India has a rich cultural heritage. We have so many vivid varieties of ethics, customs and traditions, which are perceived as holy in our eyes, and thus have been comfortably embroiled in our society. Indians follow everything diligently, or so do they think, when it comes to the various rituals and ethics borne out of religion, and their beloved cast. Like different exams have different weightages, but towards the end they count up to to give the total percentage; here, the overall percentage is the ‘honour’ which most of the Indians wear with pride when they step out of their houses.
“Indians have the best manners when compared to people from different countries,” is what many Indians blurt out many a times in their minds; and manners is the direct English translation of the hindi word’sanskar’. The ‘sanskars’ of ours are apparently so sanctified that we, Indians, who have got used to them raise our eyebrows at the mere thought of the customs and traditions belonging to other races.
Humans have a tendency to love whatever is in their possession, and some of us have engraved the wrong impression on the mantle of our brains that whatever belongs to us is the best. Be it our language, or our old rituals, which may be totally unfair, but nevertheless, they are the best.
We will irk at the sight of women wearing jeans, but we won’t hesitate to kill a girl child, who is believed to be a gift of god. We are just too awesome.
A woman, who files for a divorce because she can’t bear with her husband’s drunken scenes is looked down upon, and thought off to be foolish; but we won’t hesitate to marry two children, who don’t even know what puberty feels like.
Yes, Incredible India it is, where we brag about how women are equivalent to Goddess, but we often forget to follow up the preaching part with actions.
Women, if not more, are as capable as men; but this whole idea doesn’t really pass through our heads. Many of us still perceive women as symbols of weakness. It’s like if we were caught by some terrorist, and we had to plead for our lives, our prejudiced brains would ask us to tell the women around us to go down on their knees, ‘cause we think that we know that they personify weakness, and weakness attracts sympathy. So, with all the mathematics’ tools used to their fullest, the ultimate result would be that we would get our lives back. Or, so would happen in our brains. However, you can’t really underestimate the power of life; what if the terrorist too was riding the boat of false beliefs regarding women?
Women can do whatever men can do, and more. They can earn the bread for the family, and even take care of the children, turn them into morally beautiful human beings. All this, along with the task of taking care of the house. The husbands too do their bit when it comes to going to office, and then whiling away time in pubs and bars. However, our society considers whiling away time as something very difficult to do, and maybe that’s why women are perceived as burdens, who have to be supplemented with money at the time of fixing their marriages. They might be the best in their field of work, and may be too big a boon for the human race, but just because they are not men, they are inferior; and inferiority is overcome by money here.
Some of our customs have really been given enough thought, but some, like dowry, focus totally on the word ‘Partiality’ in the English dictionary.
I have a wonderful senior in my college. She is intelligent, going by her grades only, witty, doesn’t lack common sense, and overall is someone who would easily make it to the list of humans, who have used their traits to a good extent. She has got a job too. Well, everything is perfect, right?
She belongs to a high upper caste of a certain subdivision of religion. You would think that’s good, right? ‘Cause upper caste means closeness to the then king, which ultimately means a ‘rapport’ in the society. Well, that’s not really the case. With high position comes great responsibility, they say. So, just because she belongs to a family that was nearer to the king in the olden days, she has to undergo an arranged marriage that would involve dowry. Her family lives in the city, and not in some “not so advanced area” as most of you might be thinking.
“This ritual has been going on in their castes through centuries, and being the upper limit of this system here, they can’t really turn a blind eye to it.” This was the explanation given by her father when she showed her disregard when it came to dowry.
Let people go and start their families on Mars, but certain things won’t change, you see. If such ‘things of honour’ get ‘hampered’ by the sharp and addicting claws of technology and ‘development’, the whole meaning and existence of the caste system would vanish.
In the 21st century, we go on talking about how all humans are equal, and the religious divide shouldn’t be there. However, when we can’t afford to unite a single religion by disbanding the various castes, how can we expect to look beyond the religious aspect?
Sometimes, I feel that the animals, whom we look down upon as ‘uncultured’ and ‘uncivilized’, are actually laughing at our delusions; and that constitutes the biggest irony of our human civilization.