Sunday, October 10, 2010

Induction of hypocrisy in people by Indian laws

Recently our court has successfully convinced the public in believing that the name of the upcoming release of Amir Khan’s movie ‘Dhobi Ghat’ has nothing to do with the ‘dhobi’ caste as it denote the place. And when there were so many words related to the profession cum caste in a song of “Aja nach le”, only one word was removed because only that word was considered offensive as it represented caste and thereby was an offense to the people of that caste. Government has decided to get a caste based census after so many decades. These are some news relevant to our today’s topic.

Today we will probe into a very much talked issue and will try to explore some less explored facets of it. There are few words which are used to represent particular group of people but are also considered offensive.  These words are associated with the groups created by man or society e.g. country, region, religion, caste, profession, tribe. There are so many words which are used to represent the people belonging to above mentioned groups. And for every type of group, we have quality associated to it which may be good or bad, high and low, prosperous and poor and so on.

I am going to take two of the above groups based on caste and profession. These groups have much greater importance to India than any other country because so much of the Indian laws are based on it. And also because of the existing disparities at  group level. In between these groups there exist differences on the basis of education, income, social status and even in some cases color of skin. Another thing which is very peculiar for India is the noun for profession is also a noun for caste in so many cases, because profession and caste were synonymous in ancient ages. If you wanted to buy some utensils or  made of iron you will go to “lohār” ( लोहार ), for washing clothes “dhobi” ( धोबी ), for jewelleries “sonār” ( सोनार ) and so on so forth.

If we look back and try to analyze the reasons from the religious texts of India, we will find that initially the human race depending upon its qualities, nature, eating habits and color were assigned different jobs accordingly. This division was according to the amount of three traits “guna”( गुण ) which are called “sat”( सत ), “raj”( रज ) and “tam”( तम ) in the people and were called “varna” ( वर्ण ). Satogun ( सतोगुण ) being the highest in quality and is followed by rajogun ( रजोगुण )and then tamogun (  तमोगुण  ). It was believed that the presence of these traits in human is directly correlated to the jobs assigned to them. So, this was the first division of responsibilities among people in the civilization. Although the nature of people can change and the amount of the above three traits may vary in the off-spring if he is allowed to get education and think. But, it was natural and easy for off-springs to adopt the profession of father since there were not many varieties of jobs available for them. Also, it is very natural of a human to associate the amount of quality, praise and importance in his mind to any profession. For the people who belonged to profession which was considered inferior in society, was not easy to change their professions and get high social status and it was also due to the fact that the some of the highest ancient knowledge was the proprietary of the upper castes which were called twicw born or “dwij” (  द्विज ) and the people of other castes were considered non eligible  ( अपात्र ) So they were denied education in some ancient educational institutions ( गुरुकुल ). Since people are very careful about the quality of off-springs they produce and the social status of the relatives they have, so marriages were arranged in between the families of same social status and castes. As the civilization progressed, the variety and amount of jobs increased and also the inter-caste relations. The off-springs produced by inter-caste relations were called वर्णसंकर or hybrid-caste and these people were assigned newly created responsibilities/jobs of society. And the noun for these jobs became the name of their respective castes. At the same time it was also believed that people of these different caste/race has some traits associated with them which are very peculiar of that caste/race. So the hybrid off-spring will have a mixed trait.

The above story was based on religion and was before the advent of modern education. Now every human being has equal right. Although religion doesn’t teach racial discrimination per sé. But some of its texts do imply this fact, as we see them in current scenario. Due to the human greed of power, social status and so on the impact of those portions of religion is much profound on people. So, there still exists racial discrimination in some parts.

As we see that the existence of castes on the basis of patriarchy always denies the high social status to the lower castes. If social status is a matter of caste, it should be a gained by competition and getting it should depend upon human caliber and human caliber only. And if caste denotes the profession it should be applied to each and every person belonging to that particular profession. If it is not the case, caste must not exist to represent social status or profession. The caste system should be abolished and no man should be recognized by their caste. Everyone should be treated equally. Those who have no education and are not capable of having it, provide them according to their mental caliber. Those who are good in some physical skills, put them where they can do their best according to the degree of their skills and so on so forth.  That person who covets the social status by himself only will be praised everywhere and the other people will stop differentiating and recognizing  him by his caste. He can also hold his head high in society because his new identity is only defined by his caliber and caliber only. This is what is called social status, which should be first felt inside then others will start to recognize it.  

But the existence of caste was so essential to do politics that our new lawgivers continued this caste system, and to pacify the peoples of lower caste they prohibited the nouns used for it. They said that although they belong to this particular caste and this particular caste has this social status, but pronouncing it is an offense. Only government can ask their caste because the government does not discriminate people by their caste because it is bound by law made by it. Government creates rules to provide some amount of super power from where it can have majority  of votes and will pretend that it is all just to create equality in the society. Some sort of monkey justice.

Due to the above reason people are in a dilemma. The dilemma is that one has to tell everybody that he belongs to this particular caste (to get the degree of backwardness in classes defined by government GEN., O.B.C., S.C., S.T.,MINORITY etc.) and even prove it to the government, because without this he won’t be able to get any benefit of exclusive laws created  for him. But at the same time he feels offense by the same words by which government recognizes him. And for that government provided a remedy and the words which denotes caste are considered offensive and are against the government's notion of creating an equal society. So to develop equality in the society and in the minds of people, to elevate the social status government defined classes out of castes. These classes are supposed to have different impact on people than caste. Another dilemma for the people is the common words for a particular profession/service are also used to represent a caste regardless of the fact that  the professional/service provider belongs to some other caste. The people in India are also reluctant to do those jobs which have been done by the castes lower to them previously even if they will get more profit in it.Well! money rules eventually and as the jobs of cobbler is shifted to some factories/showrooms and the washer-man to laundries etc. and so on people seem to have at ease to adopt these professions relatively. By this I mean that if you add a little glamour to the profession and price the service/product higher than usual then it will lose the inferiority associated with it. Well this is a matter of analysis but we should not digress from the matter.

So the point being here is if the government really wanted to treat the people as equal and give jobs and tasks according to their caliber it should have made only those laws by which a person of a particular caste can be prevented from denial of opportunity to gain high social status. Creating laws on the basis of region/religion is not good if the government consider itself secular. But as we see the reality is opposite. After so many years, government has decided to count the people of different castes so that it can make use of the data. You better know for what.

What should be done to completely remove the picture of caste from the mind of people? This is the problem to be discussed. But it for sure that whatever be the laws made by the government they are not going to create equality among society and fill self confidence in each and every person. To achieve social status and to get respect in society one requires self-confidence. And this self-confidence depends on personal caliber. What do you think? Please share!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sexual Discrimination : Part II

        Now we will talk about the time when muscle power is not the only power required to be fittest like in primitive ages. The curiosity of human-being has given rise to education, which requires brain power and female has no less brain than any male for that matter. The word has spread that brain power is more important than muscle power.  So ideally women should enjoy all the power which can be achieved with the help of education.  The time has come when the notion, “man of reason” is gaining focus and “man of honour” still exists while “man of faith” has less importance.  As people become more and more aware of importance of education, importance of women increased in this field.  This is just because now she can do so many things with her knowledge because of advanced technology.  So, there are so many jobs which don’t require power, where a female can take on males. Her contribution towards the development of society increased further. Voices for egalitarianism of gender are now ubiquitous and seem valid in this realm. But, the few basic things which were discussed in previous post still exist and can never change because they are eternal and natural. A man is recognizing and witnessing the importance of woman. This is all just because of development of society and importance of education in it.

      Let’s come to the point of sexual discrimination. There are so many faces of sexual discrimination, and even some of these are required, needed for the ease of women. And some of them are required by old laws i.e. religion and have no importance whatsoever in present scenario. Let’s watch them. It is sexual discrimination when:

  • You think that chivalry is a good idea.
  • When you enjoy the advertisement with theme “Men will be Men”
  • A government starts a bus service exclusively for women, or when it is written in bus to leave the seat for the ladies.
  • There is a separate line for ladies. Or if not, a lady can directly come to the counter ignoring the people in queue. Since the number of women in that line is increasing and will increase day by day. So, this doesn’t seem fair that a woman can break the queue. She is demeaning herself,  if you ask me.
  • A husband must have equal or more education/earning/fame than wife and not vice versa. There are so many examples for this. You must have seen such tendencies more in women even if the marriage is not arranged. 
  • Anyone demands reservation for women.
  • A woman wears veil or even ghoonghat (covering face by sari) in the name of religion or whatever.  This is not about following religion only. This is a very primitive kind of sexual discrimination. 

     If you are a woman and you feel that any of the above is good thing to do; then you want to be sexually discriminated.  Isn’t it a form of sexual discrimination? But as most people would agree that few of the above are required to some extent due to various reasons.

     In the current social scenario it is also driven by demand and supply. You see that so many products, clothes and accessories etc are sold for the women. You must have seen more sensuous posters of women celebrities or advertisements where we see women with fewer clothes. Because this is what sells and is demanded by majority. So the supply meets the demand to produce profit.  

     But, we know that this word is most used only when a woman is denied her rights. Most of the times, she is denied of her rights on the basis of those primitive ground realities.Still some people(including women) haven't changed with the change in society and are conservative. They need education, awareness and assurance of safety to change themselves. If we can ensure education to everyone and the law and order everywhere, then this wrong kind of sexual discrimination will completely end automatically. Because, then women  can roam and explore freely. 

   Also, in the end if you think that discriminating women by granting reservations will stop sexual discrimination then you are wrong.This is non natural way of doing this.  Only thing which prevents this is the old notion of giving respect to women and better law and order. And only thing which will put it on a verge of stop is education and awareness. Discrimination should remain there in some form because it is required. And this required form is not discrimination, it is just the perception of difference between the two sexes. One must not take it negatively. It is so, just because unperturbed development of society depends on the safety and dignity of women. 

What do you think …?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sexual Discrimination : Part I

        This is a very ubiquitous fact that our society is male dominant and we have talked about it so much. Or at least we must have felt it around us. Here, I wish to put it in an organized way from its roots. First of all let’s build an understanding on the very abstract reasons and for which we need to accept few very basic facts.
  1. In almost every living being male are physically stronger. Being physically stronger is strongly correlated or helps with being emotionally stronger. Also every civilization required law and order for development and this law and order can’t be maintained without physical power. This is first basic reason of sexual discrimination.
  2. When the basic requirement for survival is fulfilled, human being is able to desire of something. Since the evolution, after a constant supply food (a basic need) women are the first desire of men. And also not to forget that women are the bearer of child. Later when we became civilized, clothing and shelter also gained importance as basic needs. 
  3. Every living being is selfish, and the only question to it is how much? For Homo sapiens we can add ambitions to its inherent characteristics.
        Above three are like primary colours/roots of society and can explain each and every characteristics of it. And in the order of their occurrence lies their importance. With the progress of civilization , the above three factors gave rise to some more like pride, honour, fidelity, war etc.

      Very soon, we got our definition of honour etched in our minds. And this is also our good reason to fight. Since weak sex can’t do any harm like a man and is also a subject of desire because of  it.  Beauty has become the first and only power of female over male. And due to the reasons explained later, chastity and virginity as virtue of her have come in picture. She was required to maintain it.  Since she is not self sufficient in this, a man should help her in this. That man will even wage war or die for this. It is matter of his honour. The physical power, desire and ambition gave rise to this honour. He feels pride in protecting it and its growth. Even in such a modern society, impact of this association of honour with fairer sex is so much that sexual assault to her is considered greater crime than murder. That’s why we have/had capital punishment for rape in most parts of the word.  A man’s honour that of his wife, his family or his beloved, formed an all-important issue. A man gradually became a “man of honour”. We praise those humans who die in the line of honour. This is all just because everything then was controlled by physical power and driven by desire and ambition. Human being in order to achieve something may even assault the bearer of it. Since sexual assaults aren’t equal to physical assaults because these are associated with our honour and they lead to pregnancy of female and even the baby. And that child may get humiliation from society because this society thrives on honour. So, this association of Honour with female is the second basic reason of sexual discrimination which is developed from the first two root causes.

      With the rise of civilizations in different geographical parts, some groups also came into existence like clan, tribe, village, community, religion, caste and nation and so on which are collections of in some means similar individuals, which are approximately developed in sequence with civilization. So they also will have the same property. So, our honour which was developed naturally also became associated with these groups but in order of priority which depends upon individuals. Now, the above explained association of honour with female also became the means to dishonour the rival groups, which was reflected in abduction, sexual assaults, and war rapes on women of these groups.  This also gave rise to some practices like “Jauhar” in India among pride ruler clans like Rajpoots. This was also the reason of shaved head of Hindu widows in West Bengal, the contemporary Sati practice and even for early marriages. These groups felt a crucial need of it in contemporary prevailing situation. It was like honour is above everything. But continuing it without any need wasn’t required and making it a religious law has roots in priest’s selfishness. Here, this is also to be noted at that religion was developed after the human discovery of honour. And you must agree that in such a primitive society where it was difficult to maintain law and order by king; it was needed to associate some rules with religion. Things like sin, self-conscience and guilt are promoted by religion. And we accept even now that without these we are savages.  We will explore religions later!!! But need to mention this fact that Religion is a thing which is more or less static and was developed by primitive and enlightened people. It was developing and changing and even evolving with the rise of civilizations but didn’t develop much after it. And also it acted as an ancient mean of maintaining law and order and does so even now. It also distracted people from their animal instincts.

      Since the beauty of women enticed men and this has most of the times detrimental effect in the form of fights between groups and so on. Also this leads to teenage pregnancies by the way. So, people in some part of world like in Cameroon even practised breast ironing in the name of honour. There had been so many wars in all over the world which had the root cause of “woman”. And none of them was avoidable because when we fight for our honour, we know and feel that our fight is legitimate one. Nothing stops us.  
If we see those honour killings in India which are because of inter caste marriage, we can see that killings happen more when the girl is of upper caste. And in the vice versa case, higher caste parents mostly expel their son. Which can be again be explained by the fact that honour is strongly associated with female and honour of caste adds to it.   

     After discussing this much we can assure ourselves that sexual discrimination was unavoidable because it was time when survival of the fittest was the first rule. And women were not the fittest but were a natural/needed/desired part of human race. This whole thing naturally and artificially in an unavoidable way put women in different situation and gave her different responsibilities of society. Those responsibilities have the utmost importance for the development of human race. But things should change because society is developing with the help of education, which doesn’t require physical power. Education is spreading, but some facts never changed and people are also not too much adaptive of change. Let’s talk about these things in next post.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Invasion of culture: Indian psychology and English language

       There is a large class of people in India, who tend to speak few words or sentences especially in English. We will try to identify those words and also try to find out the reason behind it.

       Let us look closely into the matter and consider a scenario where someone is speaking in Hindi in front of a formal type aggregation (of Hindi speaking people who also know English). He suddenly finds himself in a situation where he needs to utter some explicit words (related to carnal desire). In most of the cases that person will prefer to use English to express his feelings. Why is so?

       You can find so many examples like these. Also, there are also few words which aren’t in explicit words category and are frequently substituted for their Hindi counterparts. We will discuss them later in this series. We will also discuss about what can prevent this.

       So, coming to the above example, why people tend to use English version of those words? Why aren’t they comfortable in their Hindi versions? Is it true that in our society, we are not habitual of talking about these terms and we don’t feel comfortable in uttering them? So we either talk around them or use English to lessen our guilt, shame etc. I think that this is because of our society and culture where very rarely people talk about these things openly, which makes us little uncomfortable, when we need to talk about them. Also most of the common Hindi terms for these words are either slang or now have become part of ancient Hindi and only have places in text books and sophisticated literature. When the common man needs to express such feelings, he goes for English version and frees himself from guilt. Also, in contrast with this, we always find some words in English which are very frequently used in western society. We influenced by western culture, even feel light and casual while speaking these words in English. Also in the current scenario we have such a big rift in terms of education. This is promoting the feeling that English is the language of elite and if we try to use more and more words of English in our sentences we are being more and more sophisticated.

       So, this difference between societies is promoting the current hybrid Hinglish culture where we can pick up few words of English words or say that sentence in English when we are not comfortable of expressing our feeling in Hindi. This somehow also promotes the tendency to adopt English as primary language.   We are not realizing that modern ideas and culture could be best imbibed by integrating them into Indian culture, not by aping them.

      Since you are aware of this too, the topic is open for discussion. You are welcome to have your comments on it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is more important "caste" or "crime"?

Here is another headline which you must have seen somewhere in news, which I feel that if put as a head line, also implies something different. I am talking about the headlines which explicitly put the caste of the rape victims, especially if the victim belongs to some lower caste of India. When rape happens somewhere, how much chance is there, that it happened on them because of their caste, not because of their vulnerable position and the criminal mind of attacker put together. Atrocities towards the weak elements of society are not a new thing. You can see it at every point irrespective of caste. It is like Survival of the fittest. Only better administration can prevent this. This has its origin as far as the human evolution. It is just because of selfish human mind. It has nothing to do with the caste of the victim. An assaulter never asks the caste before assaulting the victim.

So if we put the caste to which the victim belongs as first two words of headline. This means that we are emphasizing the fact the “lower caste of female victim” was more important than the fact of “being raped”. Which is ironic, because in most of the cases newsmakers don’t know the caste of the assaulter because they are unidentified? And if they are identified, you don’t know the motive or driving force of the rape. I am not denying the fact that few times rape also happens in order to show power of a community/caste/army towards other. But, if we are talking about the daily rape cases of India, motives and driving forces are essentially different statistically.

When you say that, a minor girl/boy was raped, you are emphasizing the severity of crime by the age of victim and the sickness of human mind. This seems fine. When you say that a foreigner got raped in India, you are emphasizing that somebody has just smeared upon the India’s face and the crime also was against a guest of India, which also seems fine. You just showed that this rape can be seen in another perspective too, and this perspective is related to severity of crime. But when you repeatedly say that a female of this particular community/caste was raped, you just increased the rift, which many politicians have been digging since ages. You just showed that this rape can also be seen as a crime of upper caste towards lower caste.  And I don’t see any point in increasing the rift in society just make the news more spicy and eye catching.

You should start to see these things in more generic way, as crime arising from excessive male domination, unemployment, poverty, lack of judicial system, societal norms, criminal mind etc.  Or crime of stronger part of society towards weak irrespective of gender or caste etc.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The word “Indian Origin” and Patriot media

We often see in news headlines that "Indian origin guy/gal did this/that".  When we use the word "Indian origin" as first to word of headline what are we emphasizing here?  Someone did something great, or a guy whose ancestors (or maybe guy himself once upon a time in history) belonged to India has done something.  Actually there is nothing wrong in news content. But when we see these kind of things over and over as the first two words of headlines repeated everywhere, we may also tend to infer a meaning that an Indian origin guy who is/was not in general as competent as some counterparts  people of the world has finally achieved something. Now we should show the world that people of Indian origin are also capable of doing something great.  Are you not also implying your country's past or present as suppressed, underdeveloped, needy by flashing it over and over?  

Yeah, there is no harm in feeding people with complete information, but news also modulates the thinking of people especially by the portion emphasized in it. So we have option of mentioning it in the news content. By doing this you may be hurting the  guy in question as if the reason behind his discovery is Indian origin(which may be true statistically but here we are talking something different). Also it’s true that directly or indirectly there may be people from other country involved in that project.  

Yeah, India is rising and news media wants to shout and get attention about it. But there is need to take mature and balanced approach in this globalized world if you are media. You may be read by other part of world also.

This is similar to the approach which media has taken on Indian cricket team.  Only difference being that is they don’t get account of failures in the quest which is actually not needed in these cases.
In most cases, when a guy is of Indian origin, this fact itself describes the incapability India in keeping him Indian. And you are sort of giving credit to his origin.

If this continues, there is a chance that the world “Indian origin” will become a subject of mockery in few parts of world. Given the case that hard working quality (is it actually inherent quality?)   of Indians has already become a joke among many more things associated with Indians. But there are few comments made in Nation which can't be taken just as joke. Especially in this scenario they leaks some bitter truth.  What do you think?