[Disclaimer: The contents of this post, as always, are my views on the topic. Anyone is welcome to have alternate views and can express them in the comment section. But no derogatory remarks, please! Any comment that is inappropriate will be removed.]
This is in reply to one of my friend's posts. He had discussed about the recent attacks on women in Mangalore and other places in India for going to pubs and consuming alcohol, not because it was not good for health but because it eroded the Hindu culture. His take was that in a deeper sense, those attacks were not wrong.
I read the post and started writing a comment on it but quickly realized that my comment went quite a bit longer than is usual and hence I thought it would be easier to write it as a post so that others can participate in it as well.
First things first: I totally condemn these attacks! This is not a politically correct answer but an answer that I would stand by even in places where I don't have to be politically correct.
Reasons behind my take:
Fist, it makes us hypocrites if we want to do something and do its exact opposite. We are not true to ourselves. That, according to me, takes away the essence of life. You might not be true to the world. But its very important to be true to what you are, what you want and what you believe in. Cheating oneself is the most foolish thing in this world. In the comments section, King Vishy had said(quoting him):"Why should one do things he loves with that guilt?? if one likes it, why shdnt he enjoy it as long as it does not affect others? Am very much a traditionalist, mind you.. But I also agree with Kushwanth Singh when he says that Indians are very big hypocrites. Every man has sex on his mind, but we only wouldn't talk about it openly."
I totally agree with Vishy, if you want to do something AND do it in secret, why not do it in a non-secret manner? Does doing a wrong in secret make it right? Or if you think something is not wrong, then what stops you from doing it in a non-secret manner?
Second, every individual has the right to do something if they want to as long as it doesn't harm the society. Quoting vox populi,"Wont it affect us, if there comes a day when father and son sit and have a drink side by side?" There are fathers and sons and families who've been doing this for ages. So, I don't think that it is a result of the recent influence on culture. Further, can anyone stop a family that wants to do so? Will the Government and other groups go into each family and check this out? That is totally ridiculous. And suppose if your neighbor and his son drinks together, does it mean you and your son should do too? What happened to your rational mind that decides what is good for you and what is not? If there are such concerns about drinking spoiling the culture, shouldn't the Government ban alcohols totally? For if the problem is alcohol, its better to ban it and stop the above said situation from rising at all than making alcohol freely available and asking people to stop drinking. This is like keeping a bar of chocolate before a kid and asking him not to eat it. Won't you agree that parents would be better off not buying the chocolate in the first place if they think its bad for the kid? Or, does the Hindu culture allow the guys to destroy themselves while the girls are saved? Kyaa logic yaar!
Third, would you stop doing something just because someone else told you not to do it? Then, you are giving up your right to think and act, the basic rights and requirements for a human being. Do you think saving the culture is so important that we all stop being human beings any more? No thanks! I prefer to be a human first and then be defined by any culture, be it East or West.
Fourth, this point is in direct answer to the post. Bravery is a part of Indian culture but I'm not sure when hitting helpless women came under the 'bravery' category. Rather, that is the ultimate form of cowardice - hitting someone who can't hit you back for you are sure that they can't hurt you at all. Further, the post says about beer parties in offices. No manager or subordinate would force someone who does not want to drink. So, if everyone in the office does not want to drink, there can be no beer parties. So, I still don't get what is the problem here. All that a person has to say is a emphatic "No!". Is it so hard to say it? Would you rather drink beer to saying a small two-letter word?? Totally incomprehensible logic! Further, I do agree respecting elders is part of Indian tradition. But does your grandmother know about your office presentation and the need for you to check your mails even when on vacation? If she tells you not to check mails during vacation and instead help her out, would you risk your work for her words? Won't you try to reason with her about your actions? Then, where does "giving respect to elders just because they are elders" come in? Taking a stance only because it supports you is plain cheating, yourself and the world. In short, there are a lot of things that are different between the present generation and the past. What is needed is clear and respectful communication and not mindless heeding of one's orders. Last, it was said that someone was given something based on their seniority. Would any person accept it if he was passed on for a promotion even though he is talented enough just because there is another senior-but-less-talented person in the team? I find it disgusting that people have two standards, one for themselves and one for the society. Be true to one standard and stick by it at all times. Be true to yourself!
Finally, I follow Hinduism. Hinduism is a way of life, it is not defined by any cultural boundaries. There are hundreds of thousands of people in US and other countries who do not wear dhoties and saris to work and class in their daily lives. Does that mean that they are less of Hindus than those who do wear them? There are millions of people, even in India, who don't go to the temple every day. Does that mean that they are less dedicated to Hinduism than those that go? There are hundreds of millions of people who don't follow all the fasts and prayers of Hinduism. Does that mean that they can't be true Hindus while those that follow are? Hinduism doesn't say one can't be a Hindu if he doesn't do something. That is like God telling us that He can't love us if we don't pray Him. He loves us, all said and done, whether we pray to him or not, whether we even believe him or not. That is His characteristic. If God says "I won't love you because you don't pray or believe in me", then that is not God.
The reason that Hinduism has a number of images of God is that it allows people to pray God in whatever form they want. That is the beauty of Hinduism, its all encompassing and inclusive. It includes people of all beliefs and even non-believers. When something is inclusive, it can't have boundaries right? Hinduism does not have any boundaries. Then, where does the question of doing something to keep Hinduism intact come into picture? Maybe, the girls attacked in Mangalore did not follow Hinduism as perceived by the attackers. But, then, half a billion people do not follow Hinduism as I perceive it. Does that give me the right to attack all the half billion? Or does that give the half billion people the right to attack me since I don't follow their perception of Hinduism? That is against the Constitution of every country in this world, including India.
In all, what I do in my personal life is none of anyone else's business. Others can suggest what can be done, but it should stop there, as a suggestion. I have a rational mind to differentiate what is right for me and what is not. For, if I choose a path, no one would be most affected than me, right? Can anyone in this world have more care about me than myself? Similarly, I do not have the right to say what others should do in their personal lives as long as it doesn't affect me or the society as a whole. So, telling that these attacks were done to protect Hinduism is total bull shit! Hinduism has been in this world for the past 5000 years(recorded) and many more(unrecorded). It has survived so many issues like Muslim conquests, British rule, etc without help from mere individuals. So can it survive the challenges of the 21st century. For after all, religion is what we make of it. If we decide to be Hindus and implement the changes in our families, then Hinduism would be present always. It doesn't need goondas to keep it alive. Our culture is stronger than that. Don't you think so?
Readers, what is your take on the entire issue? Do comment on the deeper points as well. And do let me know if there is something I missed or overlooked. Would love to hear it all!