We are land of culture, of conservative thoughts, of orthodox ideologies that somehow doesn’t take us back to our rotten regressive thoughts but promises bright and progressive future. Apparently.
The truth is we are a land that is still clinging on to misogyny, sexism, patriarchy, untouchability, all in the name of culture. We have allowed our apparent ‘Indian culture and norms’ to dictate our lives leading us into an abyss, an abyss that blocks progressiveness and better treatment for all, while still clinging blinding to our faith of having the best culture in the world.
Moving on from such a rant, recently, there was this video that was making the rounds of major social media handles and sparked another controversy altogether. No one can evade the power of social media, and no matter how much I undermine its essence, it comes to haunts someone or another, for some it haunts their lives and endangers their future, for me it haunts my thoughts.
This video, which has now been taken down, showed a couple much in love displaying public affection and obviously oblivious to the prying eyes of strangers whose sanskaars were tarnished because of their hugging or kissing. All soaked in love, the couple in question had no qualms about expressing their affection in public much to the displeasure or discomfort of others.
Their apparent obscene acts couldn’t evade the intrusiveness of our moral police. Yes, this police force comprises of an informal neighbourhood that enforces fundamentalist Hindu views and takes it upon themselves to uphold our now-diminished or deteriorating cultural values. Obviously, showcasing love in publics shuns our cultures whereas a rape by a husband on his wife is nothing but his control over the property he has attained by our traditions.
A guy teasing a girl, making fun of her, harassing her or forcing her to marry him in the name of liking or love is nothing but harmless fluffy portrayal of love or the intense love that she is being showered with and remains acceptable even if the girls’ consent has gone to the drain Whereas a girl consensually kissing another man who doesn’t force her to sleep with him, is something to be scowled at. Isn’t our culture hypocritical in such a stance, or has it always been like that?
We know there is always the choice to look the other way when a man gropes a woman while using public transport or goes about leering, drooling, even using force on her. But this one cannot be ignored. It has to be watched and carefully recorded. Not just that, it has to be released on social media to shame the “besharam ladki”.
A very high-on-principles man had the courage to record them, question the girl’s upbringing and justify the rape culture, and many men and women followed suit on social media. They went to the extent of saying she deserved to be been beaten up. Obviously, there’s nothing to be worried about as far as infringement of privacy is considered.
The taboo against kissing persists in some segments of Indian society. Section 294 of the Indian penal code outlaws “any obscene act in any public place,” a provision some have argued prohibits kissing in public, though Indian courts tend to disagree. Moral policing is mostly about defending traditional control over women and not so much about public decency- and when it comes to their politics, not all of them kiss and tell.
India is not like other countries where kissing, hugging et al in public is absolutely normal. If you feel affectionate towards your partner, better keep it to yourself. The public is not interested.
Our problem with PDA (Public Display of Affection) is that it threatens a man’s control on the world he’s come to believe as his. Policing and punishing, women for it is nothing but one more way to puncture her will, make her feel like the lesser gender, or make her feel dignified.
This Diwali, let us light our hearts with love than bring someone down in the name of culture. Our Indian values are beautiful and appreciated worldwide, our values teaches us to respect another individual, to support them, to spread love and let us do exactly that this Diwali, shall we?