Hushed India

By Nupur Bhatt

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people” – John F. Kennedy

 India is a nation that is riding on a new political high after eons. Politics, change and empowerment are the hot topics again and the sprightly middle class is fuelled by visions of economic prosperity and realization of the “Indian dream”.   In the upheaval of euphoria and the new wave of “change” – the question remains – are we ready and mature as a nation to find the root causes and weed out the problems that plague our nation? Or are we still shy and ill prepared under the veil of fear, absence of idealism or plain ignorance?

Communal riots, racial bigotry, fear, loathing and a deep sense of wariness – these are some things that don’t affect us as a populace anymore. This deep religious and racial hatred has somehow crept into our cultural upbringing. We grow up listening to people pass asinine judgements based on a man’s religion, caste or creed rather than the strength of his character. Even in today’s era of globalization where adaptability and evolution are the keys to prosper – it takes just a mention of religion or caste to flare up widespread violence in India. Whether you are an Indian living in India or abroad, your decision to marry someone may get you killed. Whether its Pune or Badaun – your religion or caste may get you killed. Hasn’t the time come when we ask ourselves that is this the country in which we want our children to grow up? Don’t we want a better tomorrow for us and them?

We worship many goddesses , worship young girls as personifications of goddesses , revel in the religious fervour but don’t hesitate to kill a female child in the womb and even after she has taken birth – why such flagrant dichotomy ? Living under the aegis of ignorance, there is routine and widespread depersonalization of issues. The problems of India always originate in “other classes”, “other “people do it, other castes and other religions! We lack the courage to look within our own families and question. When a son’s career plan is being chalked out, a daughter’s marriage still remains a headache for parents. Sex education is still a taboo and females buying protection is still an impossible feat. Virginity still remains  a test for a woman’s character and the honour of the family is still pinned down to the females of the house .Rape  victims are  hushed up and parents still advise daughters on how to dress and when to return but not their sons on how to view and respect women. Hasn’t the day come when these topics creep into routine conversations in our households?

We are a country with a rich cultural heritage and a celebrated past. We glorify our traditions and condemn any changes to our way of life.  Our links to our past are strong but our present still is transient, effervescent and unable to shake us out of our slumber. Issues are sensationalized, they find their way into the tabloids and then quickly enough out of them and out of our hearts and minds. Animosity is remembered and reiterated and change is frowned upon. Hasn’t India survived because we as Indians were always accommodating and evolving? Four religions of the world have originated in this holy land. If the point was not taking things in stride and looking into the future together – then would we have been fortunate enough to claim this feat as our own?

As long as we keep raising our voices for issues like Sania Mirza not carrying the tricolour post her marriage, questioning why we don’t have an “Ali” or a “Sheikh” regiment the Army but have “Jat” and the “Rajputans”, as long as questioning a political leader, decision or even opining on a social medium means putting our life at peril – we can rest assured that the strength and glory we pine for is a thing of not so near future.

We can be the change we want to be. We need to question, change and act to find our lost ideals. We need to shape a future where our fundamental rights are not just words to be memorized but are actually practiced.

About The Author: Nupur Bhatt is a final year student at the Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi, pursuing Human Resources as a specialization. Daughter of an Army officer, she is widely travelled and fuelled by idealism.

One Comment

  1. stopped way to early lot of issues to address.

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