In the last few years there has been a systemic attempt to hijack religion, culture and nationality in the name of ancient values in many parts of the world. It has happened in our neighbouring countries and frequently in our own country. Somehow, fortunately in India, so far, such attempts have been made and have usually died their natural death. But looking at other countries we cannot afford to be complacent.
Recently we had attacks on pub going women. Not much action has been taken against the perpetrators of this act. Nor has the society made sufficient show of their anger at the wanton act. Now a group of young women have started a campaign on their blog to collect pink underwear and send them to the perpetrators of these mindless acts of trying to subjugate people to their way of thinking through acts of force.
The idea of the whole campaign, The Pink Chaddi campaign, http://thepinkchaddicampaign.blogspot.com/ does not seem to go down well with people who don't understand the underlying purpose of it. The idea is to mock, to trivialize a section of society which wants to assume the role of guardians of society.
True, its also attention grabbing, but then the more people, specially the young, realise the dangers inherent in any sort of dicta being issued by any section of society, even when they are non violent,( in the case under discussion they were violent too! ) the better.
A number of articles have been written about the dangers of allowing other people to dictate our lives. I too wrote one, but did any of them serve the purpose? Absolutely not. So if this method serves the purpose, then what's wrong with it? It’s not hurting anyone. It’s just making people aware of the dangers of letting someone else takeover the reins of our lives.
Drinking or pubs might not be the ideal things in life. Any number of other activities might also injure us. Do we abdicate the responsibility of teaching what is right or wrong, moral or immoral to any self proclaimed guardians of our society and culture? Do we inculcate the sense of right and wrong in our own children when they are growing up and then not trust them when they are adults? Do we assume that our progeny would never become adults enough to make their own choices? The choice is our own and the time to make it is right now. Tomorrow will be too late. The whole world is reeling under these tendencies which manifest themselves very innocuously and by the time we will wake up it will be too late.
You can deal with a few alcoholics in society, you can deal with most other ills but once the right to choose has been frittered away, there is nothing more left to deal with except dealing with the business of survival itself. Cannot we see what is happening around in our neighbouring countries? When it starts it commences with simple values that many people in a society hold dear. So it is allowed to go on for a few years. By the time people realise that these are no longer their values that are being thrust upon them, the stranglehold of such groups is too strong to break free or to even protest.
If Indian culture or even the Indian way of life has survived so many invasions and centuries of foreign rule it is only because of the reason of our flexibility, adaptability and the non rigid nature of our religion and culture. Take that away and nothing worth cherishing will be left. Even a non believer was accepted in our fold. There are examples of debates being held on all kinds of issues including what was dharma, truth and the like. Most other societies had a holy book to tell them how to live. We believed in finding our own answers. If this special and distinct quality of the Indian way of life does not survive there is nothing left to distinguish Indian values from any other or one religion from the other. How can we, in the name of this culture or religion, do the very opposite of what we stand for?
Even if we go by our Constitution, which we should, I am sure the basic principle is of freedom without any discrimination. How and why are we discriminating or allowing anyone to discriminate between the sexes, age groups of adults? How can we assume to preach to adults? In case we do not consider young people to be adults even at the legal age of marriage or using their franchise then we ought to increase that age assuming Indian minds do not mature like the rest of the world's.
PS:I wrote this article during the height of the pink chaddi controversy.I did not post it on my blog at that time due to some vague reasons. I don't even remember them now. :) The reason why i am posting it now is because someone pointed out to me this article which mentions a few Hindi blogs including mine regarding this topic.