India is a land where a new rib-tickling, eyebrow-raising and spine-chilling story can be formed every day. Indian society, with its multifaceted dynamic culture, is a wonder in itself. The history pages go back to the days of Sati but even in this 21st century there are remote villages in Rajasthan where a widow is burnt alive on her husband’s pyre! There are some places where still human sacrifice happens once in a blue moon. There are some other common cases of rape, dowry deaths and corruption of every possible type in India, but this article would go into some uncommon societal practices that have just popped up into our lives.

Over the last few years honour killings have sprung up in various areas of our country. St. Xavier’s College in Kolkata protested strongly, by lighting over a thousand candles on the pavement outside the college gates against the suspected honour killing of Rizwanur Rehman, the lover of Lux Cozi owner’s daughter Priyanka Todi. A week ago Hindustan Times had the news in its inside pages about a couple who were beheaded by the bride’s family as they had secretly got engaged in a Haryana village. Honour killing is taking its tolls high in Haryana and Rajasthan. India still has a culture of arranged marriages where not two persons but two families get married. Marriage here is a social contract. Live–in is still strictly looked down upon as an act of disrespect to the social contract.

Another issue that sprang up is caste. Even in modern homes there are storms in a tea cup over caste. One thing nobody understands is that every blood is red in colour. The way untouchability prevailed in the ancient days, caste discrimination still poisons our society today. To add to the woes, there are superstitions, from ‘touch wood’ to ‘Vastu Shaastra’
As the Rainbow flags swung high, most of the Indian faces had a wrinkle on their forehead. As the parade marched ahead with its members who are little ‘out of the crowd’, the society criticized the Indian government to have lost its ethics. The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) community for the first time came out on the streets as Article 377 of the constitution legalised homosexuality in India. The celebrities who walked the parade were black listed by the Indian mind. The organisations received threat calls. Our society doesn’t mind four marriages of a Muslim being legal, but it fails to accept when it comes to either a couple of different castes dating or living in.

Life on this planet is like a theatre screen, you get to see a movie of a new genre every day. And the intervals are there in emergency cases to gulp down a Sorbitrate! Because the movie doesn’t stop screening. The societal practices of one century take another two centuries to fade and by the time they do, a set of new social practices come up. Incredible India, truly.

Aryani Banerjee