There are numerous posts about Indian culture all over the net. There are more than enough videos/vlogs on youtube and all possible social platforms showcasing the beautiful culture. But what motivated me to write this post on a Saturday evening?
Couple of hours ago, while scrolling through my feed on Insta, I came across a story that shared a IGTV video made by Samyuktha Hegde. I didn’t know who she is, just watched that video for about 16 minutes. And I can’t stop thinking about it since that moment. Well, I learned that she’s an actress who works in South Indian film industry. Her insta account and one google search later, I realised that it doesn’t really matter if someone is an actress or a daughter from a simple middle class home, girls are just not allowed to well, wear what they want, do what they want, or live the way they like in India (in a LOT of cases).
In some of the videos with respect to this case, men gathered around talking about “Is this our culture?” repeatedly really disturbed me. Why? Because if you really want to talk about true Indian culture, it dates back thousands of years. And originally, our true culture was about vedic beliefs, natural sciences, various medicinal sciences, various forms of arts and sports, languages and some absolutely beautiful scriptures written over the time.
The temples from that era are still found in parts of India. And if you truly look at those depictions of stories carved into the stones for centuries, tell us a very different story than what people claim to understand as Indian culture today.
So the video that I saw today was about the current hashtag trending – #thisiswrong. So what really happened? Short version – 3 girls working out in a park, practicing hooping with their hula hoops. A woman comes and starts filming them, abusing them for doing something so ridiculous / against culture, gathers men, tries to abuse them. Police arrives, lot more people gather (*corona time by the way). They are forced to go to police station and a lot of verbal abuse follows the girls.
Now, it’s unfortunate that such things happen on daily basis in India and one such incident came out to public because she made a live video at the time and ask for help. And some would say, yes this happens. Some would even say, the girls were wrong for doing some sports, following all the norms and rules during corona time, in their sports bra and leggings.
Now, if you’re from India, or acquainted with India, you know what part of the last sentence would have probably created a stir.
Unfortunately, this is not easily understandable for a lot of people around the globe. A normal comeback would be – what exactly were they doing wrong?
They were not doing anything wrong.
But the fact that they were 3 girls and not 3 men in a park without their shirts on, it changes the whole story.
Now I have no idea how things have transpired since. But, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that those minutes of abuse, public gathering, police involvement, and then the amount of people involvement trying to request for action on social media, and me writing this now – could all have been avoided and each moment/minute of each of their and our lives too, if those 3 girls were just let be. They would have finished their workout, gone home. And all the energy spent on trying to stop them, and everything that followed could have been genuinely put into something for yourself, your society, your country and your so called culture.
By not interfering in someone else’s life.
Sounds so simple and yet, so difficult to inculcate.
We as a country, have so much potential. We have no end to skilled labour. No end to growth. And yet, all we see on news about India is either the population, poverty or such non sensical bullshit on global media.
Until when? Until we stop, stopping at such things and entertaining people who create a scene on the name of culture.
If you can help, go for it. But we don’t need audience to such things anymore. Why?
Because there is no fire without fuel. Each thing we say to people who are just senseless, we fuel them and give them more chances to come back with more nonsense.
I am born India and it beats in my heart. But the culture that I’m proud of does not include women having patriarchal roles in life to play and some specific society set rules.
I have been told what to wear and what not as a girl time and again while I lived there. That has impacted me so much that till today, living 8000km away from home, I wonder if what I wear is following that norm (*sometimes). And actually have to shake myself from it from time to time. It is sad but over the years, there are parts of my teachings from my ‘culture’ that just don’t join together or make sense to me. They’ve created self doubts which I still fight.
I know the culture we know today in India and in Indian society comes from hundreds of years of ruling by various colonies. Yes, it doesn’t happen overnight. But this is deep rooted now and needs to be taken out. Well, at least the unneeded things.
No, this is not the culture I’ve inculcate in my kids (*if I have someday). I don’t want them to follow the culture the recent society has made. I would definitely teach them the richness of how beautifully diverse is Indian culture in all aspects. The amazing treasures we have in forms of arts, music, food, and so much more.
Indian culture is about respecting all humans, bowing our head and joining our hands to greet them. Because we treat everyone neither above nor below but as equal. And if we have these humanitarian teachings in our true culture, where is the thoughts about women’s clothing coming and what she’s allowed or not allowed to do come in picture?
Here’s the link to the video that stirred these thoughts and motivated the post today –
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