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Two back-to-back incidents of male passengers on Air India’s international flights urinating on women co-passengers has raised quite a stink. And rightly so. This is an abysmal low in uncivilized public behaviour in recent times. While these incidents have resulted in outrage, disgust and ridicule as well as passionate calls for taking the offenders to task, they also say a lot more. 

A basic fact check of both cases reveal that these pissfreaks were both males, both adults (in one case a 70-year old), both international travellers, both on the same airline, both piddled on women co-passengers, both presumably under the influence of alcohol. Further, both were Indians and both incidents occurred on Air India flights. I also presume that both were reasonably well-to-do since they were international travellers. Perhaps, they were school, college and university educated too. As a fellow Indian, to say that I am ashamed of such uncouth behaviour would be an understatement. Beyond the personal humiliation that any self-respecting Indian would feel, I am constrained to make several other hypotheses and observations. 

Firstly, are Indian males more likely than their women counterparts to exhibit such depraved behaviour like peeing on another person? Secondly, are Indian male passengers on international flights also more likely to misbehave after consuming alcohol than their women counterparts? Otherwise, we could have seen any of the women passengers doing something similar to a male co-passenger. 

Thirdly, does wealth, better education or what we commonly perceive as higher social status necessarily have a direct relationship with acceptable behaviour? I have not heard of the poorest, least educated or those from the humblest of backgrounds urinating on other people. Fourthly, does wisdom necessarily come with age. Have you ever seen a kid deliberately urinating on anyone? I have not. 

Fifthly, both incidents took place on Air India flights. How were these offending passengers allowed to get into an inebriated state? What were the captain and crew doing? What were the other passengers doing? It appears they were just ‘moot’ spectators, pardon the pun in Roman Hindi. There is something called ‘collective responsibility’ which was forsaken by the rest of the passengers. Those who accept or remain silent are also guilty of turning a blind eye to such reprehensible behaviour. 

Sixthly, I saw a television news item saying that matters were not escalated and reports were not filed immediately since both parties agreed to a ‘compromise’. What utter nonsense! Who would want to compromise with someone who has just pissed all over you? How could the airline authorities even think of such a course of action? Why were their names not made public? Immediate filing of a formal complaint and FIR should have been non-negotiable in both these cases. Finally, these men neither have the slightest respect for women nor do they have any shame about what their families, friends or rest of society will think of them. Such men are dangerous. 

Apart from swift penal action by authorities concerned against these errant men and the airline staff, passports of the two offenders must be immediately revoked by their passport issuing authorities. If they are Indian passport holders, Sub-section 3 (c) of Section 10 of The Passports Act 1967 must be invoked to immediately impound their passports ‘in the interest of the general public’. Otherwise, they will continue to use their passports as ‘pissports’. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

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