India is known to the world for its population, Mahatma Gandhi, the Taj Mahal, Slumdog Millionaire, call centers and Hollywood wannabes. Recognition comes in its extremity. Either we worship the good or kill the bad. There is no middle-ground. Everyone is segregated into Gods or Devils.
And tolerance is molecular.
To me, that is the way India is described. INTOLERANT. From the government to everyday travel everything reeks of intolerance. We are a race where we adjust to everything but tolerate nothing. Here we base our choices on what our fore-fore-fore-fore-(fore)^n fathers did irrespective of whether it was right or wrong. Anything unacceptable is categorized into “Hurting Religious Sentiments” or “Against Indian Culture”. So our solution; thrash it, kill it, ban it or ostracize it but never amend it for it could lead to something like peace and harmony.
Example #1: MANGALORE: Two attacks on innocent people (mostly women) whose only fault was to want to have fun. Men trying to “uphold Indian values” beating and humiliating girls has less to do with Indian culture and more to fill power-hungry pockets. The Shri Rama Sene (ironic, as Ram respected Sita, never beat her) and the Hindu Jagarana Vedike are these self-proclaimed do-gooders out to rid the country of “western culture”. They know nothing of the scriptures that they zealously support. Nor do they have any educational backing to take law into their hands (if they found anything unlawful). All they have is the power to spread hatred, violence and intolerance among people.
Example #2: SKIN COLOUR:
This is an age-old issue that will never be resolved. In India, beauty is skin deep. Only. Our matrimonials, movies, marriages and advertisements are full of pretty lads and lasses whose success is more due to their colour than their talent. We import the best looking to Hollywood so that we can gloat about being on their high-handed map. We advertise shamelessly for a fair bride/groom just so that our relatives can be jealous and the photo album looks appealing. Being fair ensures better prospects for marriage, less dowry and more respect in the society. Sadly, all true. We even have a billion-rupee cosmetic industry that can transform people who were not born with the silver skin (me included) into acceptable swans. We mildly deflect our shallowness by not calling a dark person ‘ugly’ but by saying ‘if only you were fair, you would have been better’. Better at what? Still beats me. As far as skin colour is concerned there will always be a politically correct answer which borders on the notion that as long as there is a cream, bleach or any solution to it, it needn’t be a taboo.
Example #3: PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION:
Q1: What happens when you gently lay a hand on your girlfriend’s hand in public or lay a sweet one on her cheek? Answer: The moral police thrashes you. The police shoos you away or fines you (Rs. 100/-).
Q2: What happens when men pee in broad daylight flashing their little manhood to women? Answer: Nothing.
See where we are going wrong? Love is something against which we have a law whereas flashing your genitals in public places is something that is acceptable. I think love enforces an independence in us that makes us happy. There are instances of couples going overboard in public but there are more instances of male exhibitionism. These go unreported as the victim (mostly women) want to avoid further embarrassment. This is a law that wont be changed because for every 100 votes there are 100 vetoes. The law-makers will find a loophole to stamp it onto our backsides everytime we step out-of-line. And who knows you may find one of them designing your compound wall with their natural juices. So for now we keep our heart locked and free nature’s fountain (atleast men).
Example #4: SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS:
When the world was formed, the homosapien species was divided into two, namely: Male and Female. As we evolved we slipped on something called the line. And what we did was draw it on everything that makes us uncomfortable. And this is one such situation. Love was never defined as being between a male and a female. It was between two individuals who embrace emotions for each other. But our society is a cautious one. Any hint of a different lifestyle would mar its perfection. Thus came into effect a law forbidding same-sex couples to engage in any relationship that smelt of love. We treat them as outcasts and belittle them. We believe in equality without actually having to follow it. Right to live*. Yes. But conditions apply.