A lot of things are going on in my country lately – evil things, intolerant things, inhuman things – each one punching a hole deeper into my heart. How did we become like this? When did rape and murder become justifiable? Intolerance of any kind is harmful to the society. But I’m afraid that is where we’re going to end up in near future. India is a country that prides itself with the slogan, “Unity in diversity”. But all I see is “Hatred in diversity” looming on the horizon.
When a certain Health Minister of the country proclaimed to the masses, “Promote Indian culture, not condoms, to prevent AIDS”, I should have been wary that this was going to be the beginning of a string of other comments aimed at plastering archaic morals on the population. What exactly is “Indian culture”? There is no definitive answer. But if you know anything about culture, it’s that it’s not a constant. Culture morphs according to time, and nobody gets to decide and write down laws according to which you are supposed to live your life. What the aforementioned health minister meant when he referred to Indian culture is that sex is between a husband and wife only. And yet, you have Hindu Gods who broke this rule all the time. So where exactly are these morals, this self-proclaimed “culture” stemming from? Ooh, I know, the pigeon brained human.
And this is the problem when you bring religion into everything. Sometimes, life is just life, without any divine and spiritual underpinnings. So why does practicality go out the window in most of the cases? The only explanation I can come up with is this – it makes them feel good about themselves. And sometimes, humans will go to any lengths to achieve it. Is pre-marital sex wrong according to you? That’s fine, it’s your opinion. It’s your decision. Total respect. But you need to now that that doesn’t make you a better person than me. You’ve just chosen a different lifestyle. That’s all there is to it. But more importantly, you have no right to go around criticizing people who break the rule you have imposed on yourself. And this is where our society fails.
Now I know for a fact that the majority of the urban Indian population doesn’t give a shit about all of this. Most of us have learned to “live and let live.” Which is great. But I also know for a fact that there are a lot of people out there who get outraged with the deeds of others. How can two men, against nature, sleep together? How in the name of God can a Hindu eat beef? How can a woman wear skimpy clothes and not be calling attention to herself? But the thing is, these are not your problems. If you don’t understand them, so be it. You have all the right to worry, you have zero right to oppose.
You have all the right to worry, and zero right to oppose.
Just this last week, a Muslim man was lynched by a mob of Hindus based on rumors that he was consuming beef. Here’s the interesting thing, the man in question was a Muslim who has no obligation whatsoever to forgo beef. And yet, the village community found it horrifying that somebody could actually eat cow. You can understand their worry, given their belief system. But to actually go ahead and inflict death on that person? No amount of “culture” and “religion” can justify this. While I’m happy that the President of India Mr.Modi has finally broken silence on this matter and urged everyone to stay united and not heed provocations by communal leaders, I’m not still happy with the way a lot of other things are going on in this country.
There is just too much intolerance and hatred floating around. And sometimes even among educated people. And this is what saddens me. Because for a country to progress, the last thing you want is people fighting among themselves. But there are some groups out there( religious, right-wing, whatever you want to call it) who seem to be hell bent on polarizing the population over religious matters. Call it the Indian equivalent of Jihad, if you may. And it’s terrifying.