A nationwide ban on smoking in public places came into effect on October 2. Violators will be fined Rs 200 each. I can already hear the curses aimed at Ambumani Ramadoss. The Health Minister has been personally involved in the campaign to ban smoking since he became, er…the Health Minister.
Conspiracy theorists believe that the move to ban smoking was initiated to curb Rajnikanth, since the party he belongs to has to contend with Rajni mania in Tamil Nadu. Now, as all of you are doubtless aware, nobody smokes better than Rajni. The Stylemannan (king of style) has a wide repertoire of cigarette tricks and twirls. I find it cynical to believe that Ramadoss would have done this just to put style king in his place, especially since he has had to battle the influential tobacco lobby.
But Ramadoss, for all the accusations hurled at him (fascist, regressive, anti-choice) has proved to be liberal in a crucial matter: he wants to abolish article 377. This relic of the Indian Penal Code from Raj days outlaws homosexuality by describing it as against the law of nature.
Now this is the dilemma of a chain-smoking gay (or lesbian). Should they be pissed or pleased with Ramadoss?