Moral policing in India is far too common. What is surprising is most of it happens inside our homes. Mostly done in the name of protecting women, it has the implicit support of majority population in the country because it is widely believed that women need protection.
The roots of such behavior have to be traced back to a typical Indian household. Hearing all these stories from my female friends over the years, I am no longer surprised to find out instances where the current generation of men(so called progressive generation) act as the flag bearers of patriarchy in an Indian household.
Young men aim to have total control over the lives of their sisters. Her clothes, her drinking habits, her choice of friends and her movements are all controlled by the ‘I do this because I care about you’ brother. However his hypocrisy comes to forefront when he starts looking out for a female partner.
If the brother starts advocating the same standards for his girlfriend as his sister, she wouldn’t be allowed to become his girlfriend in the first place. After all sisters shouldn’t be allowed to have a boyfriend.
And such behavior is not limited to elder brothers. Young immature men trying to control over their elder sisters makes for a even sombre view.
Further it’s not only the males who help propagate this system across generations. The mothers who once bemoaned the lack of Independence and a say in decision making, expect the daughters to live up the same standards of subjugation. The choice of daughter-in-laws is based on the parameters of how ‘adjusting’ she would be to environment in the boy’s family. On the other hand, the flexibility of the groom and his family to adjust to the new member in the family is never a part of serious consideration.
These household dynamics then spill into the public life where Independence of women is often seen as a threat to male dominance.
In the context of anti-romeo squad in Uttar Pradesh, I sometimes wonder if a Saudi Arabian system of controling women were to be imposed in India, how many men would actually oppose it in letter and spirit. Will we still say, I support this because ‘I care about you my sister’.
Its high time we get our houses in order before we aim to undertake a mission to rid the society of patriarchy. I have seen far too many men and women putting up social media posts about feminism but failing to stand against patriarchy at their home. After all charity begins at home. If anyone is likely to understand your point, it is your parents and brothers rather than a male chauvinist stranger.