Monday, June 11, 2007

A long way to go

Got this today morning on my IBN-live Google gadget -

Essentially, it's about a 'school' where women are taught to be submissive and obedient towards their husbands and in-laws. This is supposed to be in accordance with Indian culture and traditions.

Yes, we Indians have a fine culture of sati, dowry deaths, treating women as property. I can go on. And before the self-righteous self-appointed moral brigade starts throwing comments like 'It has become fashionable to demean your own traditions and culture' and 'It's all due to Western influence that we're losing our culture', let me put forward some points.

Speaking out against regressive and abusive practices is NOT demeaning one's culture. Every culture has traditions which have certain elements which are simply not acceptable from a moral and rational perspective. It is perfectly possible to discard these elements and imbibe what is good and progressive and thereby enrich the culture itself. Culture is not static. Those who believe it is, are, simply speaking, delusional.

As for the Western angle, the people who make such comments are simply not aware of how cultures intermingle. I'm not claiming to be an authority on cross-cultural interactions, but nobody has the right to decide what or what not should be read, worn, talked about, seen or practiced by others as long as it is not harming anybody.

Coming back to the article, it says a lot about the state of gender equality in India when you read the parts about women actually eager to join the school.

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