Sorry, I have to go on a rant today, I can't bear it anymore. Don't expect an argument - just pure outrage. And an unlikely follow-up to my last post.

First thing in the morning I read this article (recommended), then that one (outrageous). Next came memories of all the ridiculous insecure-aggressive young men I encounter on Lucknow's streets on a daily basis. Memories of the conversations I have with the few female friends and equally few sane male ones, which hammered home how Indian men are foremost sons - first of their mothers, then of their wifes - but never grownups. Back came Memories of my colleague's and friend's recent talk at Delhi University about the shocking moral policing she encounters in Madras hostels as part of her research. And then more general memories of over a year of living in a misogynist environment, an environment more often than not presented to me as the height of morality.

Meanwhile, as a good social scientist, I resist the ready temptation to just blame it all on uncivilized behavior of individuals - though I am more than ready to discuss these issues in moral terms, too. So I tried to think of institutions. Which only brought more despair still. Memories of how my wife was violently robbed in Hazratganj, the heart of Lucknow, following which the police a) only acted under pressure in the first place and b) rather than searching the guilty chose to torture a bystander and forged evidence, threatening not to register a case at all unless I comply. More recent memories of how, when my laptop was stolen out of the middle of a seminar with (ironically) the National Commission for Women, the police again did nothing, not even under pressure from several quarters, and despite the fact that I even produced a photograph of the thief. And how many laptops with German keyboard layout are likely to crop up on Lucknow's black market anyway? Is goonda raj back or was it never gone?

The bottomline (and at least a lame attempt to argument, without diluting this post's character as a rant): how on earth can you confidently say you are proud of this city, where neither basic morality nor basic state institutions are up to any acceptable level? And don't even think to blame it on the Punjabi migrants this time again - start to show some introspection! Now in two days, I will attend a two-day Ulema conference on the situation of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. I don't expect women to be on the dais, but maybe some introspection will transpire nonetheless. Which would be a nice change...