Hypocrisy: Prejudice with a halo – Ambrose Bierce India has always been the land of ‘Dharma’. We pride ourselves on our great culture and secular credentials. We believe that our country has the potential to regain its old and lost glory. But do we really work for it or do we just think about it? Hypocrisy, unfortunately, is gaining roots in Indians with each passing day. With progressing times, we are becoming a country of hypocrites. This fact will be denied and criticized by many but it’s a rather unfortunate truth. And there are ample examples and facts to prove this.

Consider racism. Indians think themselves to be the biggest champions against racism and decry hate crimes across the world. But what about us? Aren’t our matrimonial columns full of demands for a fair bride? We really don’t care much about her intelligence or a strong attitude, but what we would really like is a truly fair woman. And that’s why it’s wrong to blame all the fairness creams’ adverts on television. They just reflect our society, that’s all. Now, it’s logical for any person to be superficial to some degree. That’s human nature. We are not saints and to expect a degree of purely outer beauty is not unreasonable, but to base judgments purely on that – is. In one advert, a girl’s father is worried about her marriage just because she isn’t fair. She uses the fairness cream and voila! She is all set for marriage. Now isn’t that irrational and downright degrading for women? I think it is. It is not wrong to give some thoughts to skin colour while fixing a marriage but to base it purely on that – is perverse.

We denounce discrimination based on nationality or colour or any other fact. We don’t give a second thought while condemning a hate attack against an Indian or a Pakistani in the United Kingdom. But what happens when it comes to us? Isn’t casteism a form of discrimination? We divide ourselves in upper and lower castes. People from lower castes are treated like slaves. Their rights are denied to them. They are killed, ostracized, tortured and ridiculed against. In many cases, they aren’t allowed in places of worship. No wonder United Nations recently condemned India on this issue.

The following words from an HR executive will corroborate the above point:

“Marriages within the same caste help to rear a pure breed. I would not go against my parents’ will. After all they are the elders and we should protect our lineage,”

Source: The Hindustan Times [June 2007]

Read again: These words were from an educated HR executive.

There are many more facts proving that we are hypocrites. We take part in cleanliness drives. We clean up our homes very well. But we are the same people, who litter our cities; who don’t give a damn for the roads of our beloved cities. Ask any Delhiite and he’ll start condemning the government for not keeping the capital absolutely free from litter. But that same person will spit or throw garbage on Delhi’s roads. Isn’t that a really bad case of two-facedness?

We talk of eradicating social ills but what do we do about it? We are the same people who worship Durga during Navratris and kill a new-born girl child terming her as a liability. We talk of women’s rights but deny her a space of her own. We talk of friendship, love and relations while not really meaning it. We talk of religious tolerance but hate the people from other religions in our heart. We respect our rivers and put them on the same pedestal as God but pollute them brazenly. I can recall one shameless incident from my trip to Hardwar. At the famous Har ki Paudi, a man was washing his clothes. Another woman was washing some utensils. And we say that Ganges is sacred to us. That’s a blatant hypocritical attitude. We talk of changing the nation for good and building a prosperous India. But we don’t pay taxes and give bribes, thereby indulging in corruption. On Election Day, we sleep in our houses; we don’t vote but feel free to condemn politicians and governments.
India has been the land of a great culture. We have been the world’s greatest inventors, scientists, preachers, kings, educationists and what not? But we seem to be entering the dark ages. Let us shun this hypocrisy and be truthful. Let us make ourselves so strong that no-one and nothing can scare us with our own truths. Let us build our country on the foundations of intelligence and logic and shun our rhetoric.

In the end, let us all follow the words:

“Because we dream, Because we do”


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