Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Values, Traditions and the Law



India is a vast country. We’ve been multicultural since centuries – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis; and we are multilingual – at least seventeen different languages and 5 to 600 dialects. 

A country like ours is bound to have vastly differing values. 

Some of our sensibilities are completely foreign to each other. Our close proximity as neighbours, at work, on our beaches, in our restaurants, on public transport and everywhere in between means we constantly witness those differences. The majority of our people are tolerant and in fact, might even enjoy those differences.

Some are intolerant. That is also acceptable as long as that intolerance doesn’t translate into their physically or mentally hurting the hateful "others". 

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That is why there has to be no ambiguity about what is punishable by law and what isn’t. 
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In India there is. People believe, by virtue of their power, money or influence they can break the law and get away with it.

For that very reason, the sooner we (especially our law enforcement agencies) learn to respect the laws of the land, the more we realise that certain things are punishable whatever our justification, the more we’ll be able to co-exist and even prosper together. 

The alternative is chaos.

"It would be a fair comment,” she stated, “that we all react differently to different cultures. Most of us accept that whilst we follow our own traditions, we need to let other communities follow theirs; that the common umbrella we all share is that of our humanity, guided by the laws of our city. This helps provide order, peace and justice through which we share our city's resources. This umbrella covers all of us in our diversity; all of us have to obey its dictates to be able to live and prosper together, under its shade. 

And then,” Bharati paused before declaring, “…there are the others.” 
(Excerpt – Never Mind Yaar, first published in October, 2000.) 
[To find out what Bharati believes is the mindset of our traditionalists and why we don’t react strongly to their intolerance of the hateful “others” please wait for the book to be published in India.]

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9 comments:

  1. Very well written....honestly speaking I dunno where India is headed with things the way they are.

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    1. I guess it won't change unless we unite and I think once or twice in the past two years we've seen the result of that unity. We've also understood that the government waits for our anger to fizzle out...

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  2. It is almost heart shattering the way we expected great uprising to bring in sweeping changes to our nation but they failed without much flicker. Our politicians are too shrewd and Anna has been reduced to mere shadow. The recent split between Kiran Bedi and Anna has proved that our politicians are too smart for them.

    Our efforts are scattered, Divide and rule was possible a 100 years back and it is still a potent weapon, only hands using them are our own. May be diversity is not a virtue after all.

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    1. Yes, I remember the surge of hope. I think Gandhiji must've been at this point at one stage too - with people wanting the status quo because it was safer - a known evil. I have a lot of hope in Arvind Kejriwal's AAP. They are putting in the hard slog by holding many rallies to let people know what exactly is happening to their money, their electricity, their gas cylinders...

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  3. Well written Kay Em. Things are looking really bleak but as you said that unity that has shown its face in the last two years is a ray of hope.

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    1. And, gbtp, if the government want to play a waiting game - do nothing till our anger is spent, till we feel we cannot give any more time to our cause, I hope people remember (as my friend Mukta Sharma said) "Gandhiji's quit-india movement gathered momentum when people began shunning imported goods and disobeying their imported bosses, all this while turning up for the protest marches."

      United and consistent action is the key.

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