I am sorry for saying that, being an Indian myself, but I had to!
And there is an objective to it! An honest intent!
An intent to help many lost ones, to find a greater perspective. We need to take a call now, a serious one there!
I can’t be the only one in this country who is mulling over the thought that we Indians are a little too rigid when it comes to changing heads with changing times. In the current era when we need to put our energies into resolving the high hovering issues like pollution, population, inflation, and many more, we are so engrossed with petty things that are in fact preventing us from being a free thinking society.
I am not stating that it’s only us as a nation who is having loop holes and craters and conflicts; almost every nation, society or economy is going through rough patches today, yet some of them provide us grand specimens of evolved thought processes, where Indians lack big time.
Here are a few domains of Indian mentalities that disturb me a lot and urge me to try and change them.
- We Have Mastered The Art of Judging People!
Haven’t we already had enough people telling us what to wear and what to avoid, how to talk, who to talk, under the guise of culture and tradition? We are so pro at judging people on the basis of their appearances. In India we seem to be under the notion that the amount of clothes on a person’s body and how they interact with other people (more so in case of women) is directly proportional to his or her character. What’s worse is, these patriarchal thoughts get indoctrinated from a relatively early age. A person has the right to wear what he or she wants and talk to whoever they want – is it really that difficult an idea to grasp? And there should be no other interference to it! When it comes to judging people, we also judge them by their salaries and professions they are in. We treat workers like plumbers, mechanics, and maids as lesser human beings for the work they are doing for us. When, in all reality, they are the ones who run our lives! And that’s the reason we so much believe in show-offs. Showing off money, power, position and even the pot bellies, are considered the signs of wellness and riches!
- We Must Eat, Not To Eat, But To Please People, And Even Gods!
Some Indians are vegetarians, while most others are not. Yet, when it comes to food habits, there is this apartheid-like atmosphere out there. Landlords not renting out to non-vegetarians, RSS volunteers writing letters to HRD ministry to stop giving out tamsic food in IITs, local Muslims in Kerala raging over a school that served pork, saffron activists calling for bans on cow slaughter (it’s not about animal welfare though; they don’t ask for ban of chicken or lamb slaughter), these are signs of a society where some people believe they are better than others just because of what they eat or don’t eat. Well, everyone needs to calm down and eat whatever they want to without trying to force their culinary habits on others. Yes, this also goes out to meat-eaters who snigger every time a vegetarian person dines with them. Also, I have failed to understand the “kind and religious thought” of people who do not eat non vegetarian food on particular days like Tuesdays or Saturdays as they are considered to be “holy” days. They blindly follow the trend without realising why it came into existence in the first place. Not eating meat on Tuesday to appease Lord Ganesha or Shiv or whichever God the day belongs to will not earn you brownie points. You are still happily butchering and eating his creations the rest of the time, right? The only reason this tradition evolved was to prevent an over-eating of non-vegetarian food and to promote a healthy diet with a mix of meat and vegetarian food.
- Individual or Artistic Expressions Become Everyone’s Shaming Domain
We are a country of more than 100 millions now! And proportionate are the expressions!
Yes, not everything that everyone writes, says, sings about or shows in a film is always popular or well-received but that does not mean they don’t have the right to say it. If someone doesn’t like a book, he shouldn’t read it; you don’t like a film, don’t watch it. We call ourselves (very proudly), that we are a free society! But in a free society you can’t go around calling for bans or burning books. That’s not a free society but a fascist one. I mean, we have a censor board that blurs out a bra from a film. We have “student groups” running around calling for bans on essays. Every time Sajid Khan releases a film, it offends me to the hilt, but I can’t go around asking for it to be banned, can I? (Get the point here?)
- We Do Not Say SEX! We Only Count Our Population Which Grows On The Trees!
“Oh no, how can you say that word?” “Sorry, you can’t say ‘sex’ even in the subtitles.” Yes, we are a country of good moral values and rich culture. These things are not said in India. And look at the populations graph! Sex seems to be the only pass time in our cultured country! ? Well, to me sex is a natural thing. We all indulge in it! We all love it! Then how exactly our delicate cocoon of a world will explode if people start talking about sex? While on one hand, we’re celebrating the success of Mangalayan, on the other we have a few “experts” lobbying against sex education in schools. If two lovers are “caught” in a hotel, the cops inform their families or worse, force them to get married. Hello “Free India”! Hypocrites!
- Rights of the Individual Are No Rights! They Are Sham!
When we are a free society where everyone holds a fundamental right to speech, and right to point out something they think questionable, why exactly are we practising Blasphemy Laws? We just cannot question religious laws, age old beliefs and forceful and obligatory thoughts. Simply because it may offend the communities or self profiting fundamentalist lobbies of the nation. Do we identify that? I agree that it may be worse in other nations, but what is the harm in aiming higher? Why is Sanal Edamaruku living in exile in Finland? Because he tried to examine what some Catholics said was a “miracle”. Why is there an uproar every time Salman Rushdie tries to attend a public event in India? Because some Muslims got “offended” by The Satanic Verses. Why did some people feel the need to assassinate Narendra Dabholkar while he was out on his morning walk? Because he fought superstitions. If critical thinkers have to live in fear of violence, arrest or even death, we Indians need to surrender the tag of “a free society”!
- The Over Possessive Herd Mentality
“My cousin is giving medical entrance, I think I must try too”! “Oh, all of them are bullying that celeb on social media, let me join the gang”! “Everyone goes to temple on a Tuesday, I must follow the suit”!
Educated Indians believe in babas, maas and gurus, follow horoscopes, and wear coloured stones without realising the power within their own self. And rest all follow them blindly, because “herds we are”!
Do I need to say anything more?
- Relationship “Choices” That We Simply Cannot Make
We are a society obsessed with relationship taboos. In fact, it’s the one thing that unites all the otherwise rival religions in India. All of them get together to separate people who are trying to celebrate love and relationships! How hard is to understand, that If you and your partner want to get married – great! But if you don’t and just want to live together, it’s your choice! It should be! But, this country’s laws are heavily biased against people like that. Or if at all you wish to be with someone who is of same sex, you need to go through a lot of trouble! Recently, an unwed mother who was apparently in a live-in relationship, while applying for her child’s passport, was told that she needs to declare whether she was raped or not. Seriously, WTF?! And then try finding accommodation if you’re open about your live-in relationship. We even have regressive laws like Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalizes consensual sex between two consenting adults of the same sex Indians! We need to grow up and start respecting the choice of couples not wanting to get married or being in same sex relationships!
- Be A Virgin, You Should Be A Virgin, Yes Be A Virgin, Before You Get Married!
It’s sad how virginity has come to be associated with so many needless insinuations. A woman who has lost her virginity is seen as someone who is promiscuous. It’s not the same for the men, though, for whom, losing their virginity is like a rite of passage to manhood. The number of men and their families in India looking for virgin brides is not funny. The two-finger test is another effed up procedure. Pre-marital sex (hate that word. Is the sex two people have still pre-marital if they don’t intend to marry anyone) is “frowned upon”. How difficult it is to understand and accept that young people who are armed with certain natural physical desires will have sex! There is no rocket science to it!
- Kill Humans Because We Can’t Sacrifice Our Culture!
Culture! Such an overrated word and act in India! It use to be something that old people passed on to the following generations, to let them know how they lived and what is good to follow! But how conveniently it is misconstrued. Celebrating and handing over your culture to next generations is just about ok, as long as it is not used to, a) display dominance against someone who is different, b) blame a victim of gender violence, c) justify criminal acts like rape and honour killing, IN THE NAME OF CULTURE! These are things that turn “culture” into a criminal defiance. Well, I am seeing a bright side here, the more negative it gets, the easier it becomes to motivate the younger brigade to fight its regressive side.
When all I see is that the nation we dwell in is a colourful land of many cultures, beliefs and thoughts, some universal ones rule us cruelly! We see attempts by many groups to try and homogenize our identities under one absolute; but the new identity only turns out to be what the majority decides.
If we constantly keep trying to be what our ancestors wanted us to be, or what is to be followed in the name of culture, we will eventually become a melting pot of regressive identities. We will end having no taste at all. Forget the taste of liberal mindsets!
To be truly liberal, we need to shun this melting-pot fundamental and strive to be a salad bowl instead, where everything does get mixed and yet retain their unique colour, texture and taste.
So to say, all the above makes me hate my own India! Am I a racist now?