In a proud, prejudiced nation like ours, we often come across the term society. Obviously, our large proprietary of people put into one bracket is a society. Indian society, to be specific. Now as a society what are we? One could draw references from our good old school days where we have been taught about our society and culture. And we find the grandeur garnishing when we read about our society, our value system, our culture in the textbooks. In bold we find the words saying ‘Indian society is multi-faceted ’.
Diverse, secular, inclusive, are few adjectives which describe what our society is. Though there might be counter adjectives to describe our society such as hierarchical, patriarchal, casteist, conservative and others. But let’s stick to the positive ones. As the onus is on us to behold ourselves and follow certain norms to nurture ourselves in this society we have something called culture. Our culture, a culmination of ideas of compassion and togetherness often harnessed with righteousness. Our rich heritage has its weightage into our culture. Indian culture also includes our customs, religions and our social behavioral pattern which the whole world looks up to. All in all, our social fabric has been carefully weaved by the rich cultural values we’ve inherited celebrating the diversity of the land.
Enough of looking at ourselves through the patronizing goggles with conjunctivitis called goodness. Let’s look at things without those goggles and with a cured eye as we know introspection is inevitable.India is great. No questions about that. Our society is beautiful whose beauty multiplies with the advent of culture. True. But we can’t disown the patriarchal part of our culture, the conservative part which comes with a tint of religion, the misogyny, and other issues. We have various aspects of culture in our society which swing between the ends of amazing to amusing. So drawing a line between what’s acceptable and unacceptable becomes really complex.
Now what makes our society and how it’s nomenclature enables culture to nurture in our ways and means of life. Every aspect of our society ought to abide by the rule of the land and culture needs to co-exist with the constitution of our country. This simply boils down to the fact that our constitution gives consent to our culture until and unless things go overboard in the name of culture. Nothing goes overboard so easily until and unless it gets a religious angle into it. Only then issues become communalized. Thereby sidelining really serious issues. Who gives a damn about financial scams when Hindus and Muslims swear at each other and draw swords!
On a general note, it is the ideas and opinions that we, as people of the society possess. These ideas and opinions will be on an excessively wide range of aspects. These ideas more or less make the culture we live in. Be it in harmony or be it in turmoil, it’s the culture which commands society in the bigger context. But there is an alternate narrative to our society as well which wants to dictate terms and norms to all other sections of the society. Thereby creating an unpleasant and uncanny situation. The majority versus minority ideological battle thereby raising the issue of populism.Which simply means when the majority stands by the wrong, the wrong is no longer wrong as the majority assumes so. Many of us live with this assumption forgetting the fact that majority isn’t the authority, the constitution is the authority. But alas we hail populism!
In the process of defining this, we stumble upon bigger concepts like faith, patriotism, political ideologies, class, caste and many more. These are sort of daunting taunts of discussion so we’ll leave them to the dialect of intellectuals. What we often neglect in the quest for these bigger concepts are the smaller things. The things which matter to us. The smaller things which make the biggest difference. Those mundane minuscule matters are the matters which matter the most.
The mindset of people in our society is picturesquely peculiar. We are wired weird. That reflects in our lives as well. It’s because of our peculiar mindsets we contradict ourselves constantly. As a matter of fact, we are all a bunch of hypocrites. That’s what we are.Uttering the word ‘sex’ in public or sex education is almost a taboo in our society. But we are the most populated country in the world after China. We talk about scientific temper and academia on one hand but believe Lunar eclipse poisons our food. We give sermons on women empowerment but spew venom on rape victims by our insensitive instincts. The Kathua rape incident stands as an exemplary example to substantiate our insensitivity. An 8-year-old was raped and her rapist was shielded by the ruling party. Ironically there was a protest against the arrest of the rapist. Same is the case with the Gurmeet Ram Rahim incident. When the court sentenced a rapist, there was a backlash among the followers of the rapist Ram Rahim.
Lately, we’ve been witnessing the dynamics of hate with a religious tangent in an intense manner, with people losing their sense in the name of religion leading to tense situations. A constant contest for religious supremacy seems to be the context. Though the religious institutions seem to be ardent supporters of peace, they contradict themselves consistently. I wonder how weak is someone’s religion to get offended by one single statement by someone from some other religion. What a bunch of cry babies has this religion made? But the pathetic part is that it is the very religion which beheaded countless people in its inhuman thirst for religious glory. But the fact of the matter is that every religion is vociferously violent. All it takes is one unpleasant encounter from the other religious group and all we can expect is a bloodshed. This is our culture which can be written in red letters.Where do we expect people to draw a line of peace amidst this polarization?
The gist of the list doesn’t end there. It is one of the open secrets that Indian parents don’t really approve their daughters interacting with strangers. But those very parents expect their daughter to marry another such stranger and lead the rest of her life happily. We often complain about bad governance and bash the government outright. But who elected those hooligans in the first place. It’s we the people who elected them for the people. Taking into account the religion, region, caste and other such prerequisites of a politician, representatives are elected by the people. So we can’t really complain about our political incompetency as we elect them based on our prejudices. Even if the leader is a fraudulent and notorious person, we don’t have much say as we elected them, right.
Pretty sure even double standards have a place in our society. Probably that’s why we have this robust mechanism of non-violence as taught by our father of nation Mahatma Gandhi. But at the same time, we also have a bronze bust of Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse in our country. Glorifying the killer of our father of the nation is an epitome of our double standards. We only give advice to people. But it would be wiser if we practiced what we advised in the first place. Women are kept on a high pedestal and are even worshipped as goddesses in our country. But in this very land of a billion gods and goddesses, the crimes committed against women are at an all-time high.
Of the amusing aspects of our society, rumors and gossips would probably top the charts there. We doubt the credibility of our news media. Fair enough, as a segment of it propagates fake news. But when we propagate rumors and listen to rumors, we tend to believe each and every single word of it. Whenever we have a dispute or an issue, we don’t look at solutions. We put aside our sensibilities and take sides. And the best part is hoping we get impartial and unbiased conclusions. Probably that’s why we have a fake news problem.Hence the rumors and sensationalized and gossips ooze glamour. That’s the reason some of us still believe that Indian national anthem was rated as the best national anthem in the world by the United Nations. Lol!
Our judgmental nature is spot on. We make opinions, very strong opinions just by callous observations. And guess what we do after that? Spread our point of view as if it is a writing on the wall. No one gives a damn to consider whether their point of view might be wrong. Just because someone looks arrogant, we make him the brand ambassador of arrogance. And when he or she shows what they are capable of, we become their fans. We’ve seen it in the case of Virat Kohli when he was trolled mercilessly when he hit a rough patch in his career. All sorts of things were said to him which includes distastefully dragging his then girlfriend and now his better half Anushka Sharma into the demeaning trolls. We are this mighty juggernaut who judges people with half-baked observations but how often do we see what lies in our underbelly. By mere superficial appearance, we judge people. A woman is judged by her clothing. The shorter her dress, the lesser her morality isn’t it? How intellectual of us! Appearance seems to appease the judging instinct of us. With such sickness in our minds, let’s run to be the superpower of this world!
If this is society and these are our equipped accessories of culture, our society would starve and our culture would cripple in the long run. It’s alarming and appalling if we intend to build a strong nation on these hollow foundations.
We often find fault with others but seldom do we introspect ourselves in every aspect and every possible prospect. If we do so, we might actually find the real suspect!