By Syed Akrama:
India is a land of many religions and we take it pretty seriously. Whatever religion you follow, your god would want you to follow the path instructed by your religion and abide by its preaching. It does not ask you to point fingers at other religions and it certainly doesn’t ask you to be the security force. God is not a weakened force that it will require humans to ‘safeguard’ them. If you believe God is the creator of this universe, then you should also believe that God is capable to defend itself. Praise and promote your religion by being a good ambassador for it, not by being a symbol of hatred for others.
It’s okay if your kid can’t crack the engineering entrance exam or if they don’t want to pursue MBA. Please eradicate the thought from your mind that engineering is a safe choice. We have so many great institutes for engineering but unfortunately we have an alarmingly high number of institutions which are of low standards.
It’s easy to get admission into a private college if you are willing to empty your pocket but there is a major difference between education and admission. Your child might be getting a degree but they’re not getting the education required.
Don’t follow the herd mentality. Ask your kids what they want to pursue and it’s okay if they come up with something completely unorthodox because every invention was once an impossible idea. So if your kids want to be a painter, dancer, writer, driver or something else, then let them be. Education in India has become one of the biggest businesses and it’s sad that we don’t consider our students as future resources but we look at them as current consumers.
We often shout aloud about freedom of expression (FOE) in this country. Someone makes a comment and others oppose it. People demand apologies, punishment, strict legal and administrative actions to be taken against each other and thus the debate of FOE hits the roof. People who make comments or remarks about something call it their freedom of expression and when they are opposed, they call it suppression of their freedom of expression.
What I’m saying is that if you have a right to express anything then the people who are opposing you also have the right to express their mindsets and their opinions. You cannot label this as a suppression of your rights because you are getting the freedom to express yourself. You should be open to receiving positive and negative feedback and be open to debating about it.
Suppression of freedom of expression will be when you’ll not be allowed to put your views forward and when even before speaking or writing something you’ll be prohibited from doing so. So don’t use it as a false shield if you are not capable of listening to harsh feedback and only capable of pointing fingers.
Don’t ask girls to not do something, start asking boys to behave. We speak about gender equality yet we instruct our daughters and sisters to be back home early and to dress ‘appropriately’. We don’t ask our sons and brothers to not roam late or to not do something. Why? Because we are a bunch of hypocrites and we think that there are some things that boys can never stop doing.
We have multiple traditions of females covering up, be it a burqa, ghoonghat or dupatta wrapped around your head and face to ‘protect’ themselves from the sight of unknown men. People will argue that it’s our culture, tradition and morality. I respect the cultures and moral values but do you ever think why only females are supposed to do so? Why are you asking a woman to cover up? Just because other men will stare at her or look at her? Why don’t you teach men to not stare at girls? Why don’t you ever ask men to cover their eyes so that they won’t have to look at other women? Are you not being biased here? Are you not suggesting the inferiority of women here? Yes, you are and this is what we need to change. We need to create a society in which women can be rest assured about their safety and in which they are not stopped from doing something.
In India, virginity is the ultimate certificate of ‘sanskaar’. It is considered that if you are a virgin then you are ‘pure’. We can tolerate our boys not being virgins because “men will be men” but if a girl is not a virgin before marriage then everyone loses their minds and we can’t just tolerate such type of ‘Western culture’. Some guys even make it a point to ask women about their virginity before marrying them. It’s a major obstruction in fixing marriages if people somehow find out that the girl is ‘apavitra’ (not a virgin).
What changes if someone has sex before marriage and how exactly do you measure purity? What exactly is this purity?
Some girls also make it a prestige issue and they focus on ‘saving’ their virginity. Being physical with someone is completely a matter of personal choice and nobody has any right to force or question somebody about it. Moreover, it doesn’t matter whether you are a virgin or not. If you think you want to have sex, then it’s okay and if you think you are not yet ready or don’t want sex, then it’s also okay. It’s just sex and marriage is not necessary for sex. So don’t create a hoopla over something which is highly overrated.
Nothing changes if a person you love is from a different religion or caste. Religion and caste are assigned by default and they do not change who you are as a person. This is just a method to create division because many of us love to argue about issues which shouldn’t even be on the list. This should not even be a matter to discuss. We should be open-minded to accept the fact that it is not mandatory to fall in love with someone of our own religion and caste. Period.