Nupur Saraswat, an artist based in Singapore was recently turned away from the hotel she had booked on Goibibo. This was explained as being due to the hotel policy, which forbids locals, unmarried couples and single ladies the use of the hotel rooms. Nupur went on to write a Facebook post, and a series of tweets describing the incident, which quickly went viral.
It is amazing how a ‘single’ lady is such a mathematical impossibility for society even today. We like them to be numerous, or accompanied by a guardian. She needs an escort, preferably a husband who can protect her, and certify that her sexuality is and shall remain under his control.
Nupur questioned this move by the hotel staff in her Facebook post saying, “Somehow they decided I was safer on the streets rather than in the hotel.” What Nupur seems to be missing here is that her safety wasn’t the point at all. There was absolute unconcern on the part of the hotel for her safety. In this case, the narrow beliefs and prejudices of the society were legitimised by converting them into policies. By making rules that suited their limited minds, the hotel took a higher moral ground. It assumed the responsibility to rescue humanity from its apparent ‘degradation’. It sought to impose its own beliefs of right and wrong on the whole of humanity. These biases are the most powerful when they come disguised as rules. This was moral policing at its wiliest. Donald Trump signing the anti-abortion law is a fine example of this. The Supreme Court criminalising what it deems to be ‘unnatural sex’, is another.
Deccan Erragadda, the hotel in question, claimed that they weren’t opposed to a single woman staying in their hotel, but that the area wasn’t very safe for a single lady. They further added, “As per local police interaction we don’t give rooms to single women and unmarried couples.” The latter statement is a plea for the reader to recognise the definite immorality of a single lady or an unmarried couple seeking to rent a hotel room. It banks on the almost certain probability that this shall be deemed a ‘wrongful act’ immediately by the reader.
But to what end is all of this arm-twisting? To keep the woman at home, because it is considered her domain. This is because she is considered inferior and unable to compete with men. But in Nupur’s words, “Let them know that women travel solo now and we won’t stay indoors ‘for the sake of our own safety’.”
By Halak Pandya.
Halak is an undergraduate student pursuing literature. She aspires to be a writer. Halak also holds a Master Diploma in Bharatnatyam and a Black belt in Taekwondo. She describes herself as a luftmensch.