Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

Indian Culture: Boys and Girls must not ‘mix‘.
Western Culture: It’s their life.

Now what is wrong with men and women socializing, going out, holding hands, even dating, *drinking*, dancing, eating and having some fun together ? (Leave a comment. I really wish to know!)
Maybe meet their future life partners.
Maybe have a few heart breaks.

If they meet their future life partners, then there are chances that the partner will be from a different caste, religion or region.
Is that the problem?
Our Hindu-Talibanis think it is.
We might find out that just because somebody worships a different God and celebrates some different festivals does not mean they are weird or bad.
I know a huge number of such marriages and have seen them perfectly happy. But then if we stop hating each other who will vote for these Right Wing Extremists?

One fear we have is the girls will get cheated or get pregnant. (UGH at the logic) OR MUCH WORSE BE FLICKED BY ONE OF ANOTHER RELIGION! (not linking!)
And if they convert then who will vote for the saffron molesters?

(Although personally I don’t see any logic in converting to your partners religion or name, simply because you shouldn’t need to. Many of my friends are married to women and men from different faiths and they follow TWO religions in the family. Great for our National Integration I would say.)

If they are matured and well guided they will not get pregnant, and if they are ‘cheated’ or heart broken once they will be careful next time. They will learn life isn’t easy and that there IS life after a heart break. (In fact there is life after an unwanted pregnancy and abortion too.)

I had this (male) cousin who had studied in boys schools throughout and he said, “We have had an education that gives us the intelligence to see it’s illogical that we should marry someone we don’t know and an upbringing that says we must marry a total stranger, chosen by our parents.”

I know many Indians go through this.

I have studied in coed institutes all my life and found that those who have not been allowed to mix may (sometimes) have stereotyped image of what the ‘opposite sex’ is like. There is also curiosity.

Some boys would tell us (We were three best friends and called ourselves ‘The Three Witches of Macbeth’) they could joke, sing or have coffee (in the college canteen) with us without having to worry that we’d assume they were line maroing (trying to patao/wooing/courting/flirting etc).
We felt the same way.
Some boys who had never interacted with girls before thought if you as much as laughed at their jokes you probably were in love with them. It wasn’t their fault. They had absolutely no concept that girls could have normal conversations with boys, or that girls were just like any other people.

Why this ridiculous segregation of young adults?
I have seen many parents dread that the boy might find a girl who will take him away from them.
If he is bold enough to choose a life partner today, tomorrow he might wish to live in his own house. In traditional families any wish to marry a girl he likes is equal to being irresponsible.
And always, always the parents know better.
So he is considered wise enough to run a company but not wise enough to marry the girl he likes.

Sometimes the loss of dowry might also be (sad but true) a concern.

So the boys parents prefer that boys don’t meet girls who might trap them, and the girls parents fear that girls will meet boys who might exploit them. Keep them segregated. Save the culture.

In our times, we could talk to boys without ever fearing any violent attacks. Those were pre-hindutva days. We could even ask the boys the much valued boys point of view, like, “Do you think boys prefer girls who are lady like/thin/fat/dark/fair?” or “Does red colour really look hot?” We were not thinking of dating every single boy we met. And the boys had no such goals either.

There were some in the college who stayed on the campus only (I guess) for the Student Bus Passes which allowed you free rides in all DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses for Rs 17.50/- a month.

We used to hear of how they assumed that any boy talking to any girl could either be her boy friend or had to be her brother! We also heard they made guesses at which boy was going out with which girl because they could not imagine any normal interaction between two adults of the ‘opposite sexes’. It was sad but this is what segregation does to young minds.

At that age they appeared villainous to us because they were also the ones who invariably asked us. “Will you do fraindhseep with me?” I am sure they grew up hating the ‘modern and westernized‘ girls and boys who they saw having so much fun from which they were excluded. Excluded because we could sense they didn’t see us as individuals.

It is assumed by those who do not ‘mix’, that men and women cannot meet, talk, interact for anything but sex. The (stupid) idea is deeply entrenched.
They also can’t imagine a girl in so called ‘skimpy’ or ‘nude’ clothes could have any goal but to attract male attention. Just like they can’t imagine any man can have anything intelligent to talk to a woman specially if she seems ‘skimpily dressed’ to them. It is also assumed that her family must disapprove of such clothes, and even if she is an adult, she must be ‘kept in control’.

What she wants does not count?

No. In Indian culture, a girl could be an MBA or a Doctor, a teacher a mother, or she could be just another adult citizen. A girl’s wishes don’t count. It just doesn’t make sense …. and you see semi literate neighbours and elders and now even the local criminals, deciding how she dresses, who she socializes with and what she eats or *drinks*?

And this rule applies across religions all over India.

Why do we make excuses for our culture? Let’s be honest. It needs to see major reforms.

In typical arranged marriages the two people who are to spend a lifetime together are not encouraged to meet alone, and definitely not away from home.
And why? Because if they after such a meeting decide that they do not wish to marry, the girl’s reputation is ruined. WHY? Didn’t she meet men at work place, in buses, in the shops and restaurants? Why is it such a big deal if she met just one more person she does not wish to marry? She is choosing a life-partner … what’s the whole taboo-this and taboo-that about??

I think many Indian parents are genuinely worried that their daughters will come to harm if allowed to ‘mix’ with men – it basically leads to the all important reputation (The famous HONOR again!) if they meet the wrong kind of men. So instead of helping them learn to survive …millions of Indian adult citizens are not allowed to the ‘opposite sex’. They are told their parents always know best! If the parents always knew best then would there be wife-burning cases? I personally know many unhappy decisions made by parents who believed they always know better.

Parents blindly follow ‘safety procedures’ created centuries ago, by getting the children married within their communities or in relying on the false security of matched horoscopes – today we know these do not make marriages unhappiness-proof, violence-proof, burn-proof or divorce-proof. Parents mean well, but I would rather we stop assuming we always know what is best for our adult children.

Once the parents accept that they must respect their children and their (specially girls’) individual rights, the society will follow.

And our Hindutva saviours will stop exploiting these parents fears. One of the Mangalore molesters claimed that if the girls’ parents say they don’t mind the girls coming to the pubs they would leave them alone!

The attackers come from families where they can’t even imagine that any girl can have so much freedom.
Let alone not requiring to seek permission, they can’t imagine her ever being granted such a permission. There are men who would kill their sisters if they even dreamt of having ‘so much freedom’. And they say this with pride! (This is why I say, India respects women. Conditions apply.)

And how does this freedom hurt the culture or society?

When we got engaged my husband met my friends (including *male* friends), I met his – (including *female* friends). It was understood that it was impossible for any normal human to have reached their twenties without ever having had any crushes.

He came from a different region, but we were fond of Indianised Chinese (food) and western music. We danced at the drop of a hat, we read the same authors, wore the same blue jeans and although I preferred sports shoes and some in his family preferred high heels, and although some of them bowed their heads at the sight of anyplace where (they thought) Gods resided, I never felt our cultures were different. They spoke another language but English bound us.

If our language was English, our culture was modern Indian ‘Westernised’ culture – it is this culture that binds us, all Indians, our Cosmopolitan Culture. This culture that was born with our Constitution and made us all equal.

This modern culture of freedom, of trendily dressed independent boys and girls walking in and out of pubs, this culture that is our right, is Saffron Taliban’s nightmare culture.

[Usha Pisharody, I did the tag πŸ™‚ All of us bloggers protesting, holding hands against this infringement of our right to hold hands and walk in and out of pubs or anywhere else without being beaten up or molested for it …]

EDITED TO ADD: ONE OF THE AIMS OF THIS POST IS TO SHOW SOME GLIMPSES OF THE INDIA THAT THE MANGALORE ATTACKERS AND NIRMALA VENKATESH SEEM TO BE TOTALLY UNAWARE OF.

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81 thoughts on “Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

  1. What percentage of Indian population speaks English? On what basis do you think this English-speaking population gets to define Indian culture, the culture, that in your words, “binds us, all Indians..”?

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  2. For a country that has the second largest population in the world, we do try to pretend it just happens… there is no male female involvement at all( at least thats what we pretend).
    Its about control. Girls and guys holding hands- its the end of the world…..

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  3. It’s even a taboo in many families, including mine, husband and wife holding hands together! Showing love and support for your wife in front of parents is disrespectful, and parents amazingly think that what they think is right.
    Last I heard from my visiting inlaws, “how can you take wine for a gift, isn’t she your female friend? how can you gift wine to an Indian female” I asked would it have been ok if it was a male friend “well of course but not through your hands” and I thinking that I will be the biggest bitch in his eyes if he finds out that I too drink and also enjoy it.
    And here too parents amazingly think that they are right as always.

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  4. the girl child in india is circled in and then boxed in by the parents. i came from a family such as this and was raised with ” don’t do this and don’t do that – it wouldn’t look good and what will happen if etc etc.

    i wriggled inside the circle for many years and kicked from inside out of the box and one day the box broke- my weapon education.

    one of the parents was flabbergasted as i was breaking away from the box and the other silently applauded and encouraged.

    i broke free.i liked the new me and so does one of my parent.

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  5. @Kaffir I am trying to show the other India, that the Mangalore attackers are unaware of. Where parents and husbands and in laws not only do not object to girls going to Pubs, they also do not think they have the right to object.
    This is also an India.
    And I totally appreciate your other objections, most points are very valid. Will reply in just a while.

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  6. yes IHM, i do agree with you……
    I have no problem with couples who date, dance and drink….. but unfortunately, there also exists this “Other India” which deems that it is bad for our culture……
    The only thing that i can say to them is that what works for people should be left to their descretion…… and they should NOT take the law into their hands…..
    our views on society will change, as one generation replaces another, the views of the society will also change…… there is no point in forcing ones views on others……

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  7. It is a civilized country IHM the one which you speak of, the one I grew up in- treated as a person. Unfortunately it is a small one.

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  8. I am coming back to this, this evening πŸ™‚ Had to drop this note here now πŸ™‚

    Thank you for this. It need to be aired, and HOW!!

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  9. @Alankrita Did you read Balvinder Singh’s linked post? That’s exactly what he has talked about. We think it is against our culture to show affection, but peeing, spitting, fighting, getting drunk, and harassing of girls by the roadside is a part of our daily lives.

    @Sandhya Yes isn’t it unfair? I think the reason and the fear is that if a man cares for his wife she won’t fear or respect her in laws. It takes a lot of courage (and Moral courage) for Indian sons to show they respect or love their wives, specially in joint families. Taunts of JKG (Joru ka Gulam) follow any sign of care and concern. My post ‘Men will be men’ is about men who have not cared for such labeling. Please do read it.
    Indian system believes in keeping the girl/wife/daughter in law a little isolated, she has responsibilities but nearly no decision making power mainly in the in laws house so she is easier to control.
    But that isn’t the only India we have Sandhya. The other one is emerging (very slowly)…

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  10. @Anrosh i broke free.i liked the new me and so does one of my parent. So do all the other women trying to find out if this is also an option. We must write about such experiences. And talk about them so that others in similar situations find strength from our experiences and reassurance from our precedence.
    I know I could not imagine a life without the most precious right of all, my right to individual freedom. And there are thousands of women who can’t even dream of this very, very basic right.

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  11. Well IHM.i liked when u said “you see semi literate neighbours and elders”
    When i was working i used to come late , my mom never had problem but my neighbours used to peak from there windows to see with whom i came, it was sick.
    Our society/people in the society want us to behave they way they wanted.

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  12. Our society and our “Indian Culture” are going to the garbage dump…
    In times of progress and change – we seem to be moving backwards…
    Political support to behave unreasonably is the only cause for this kind of goodaism.
    and our “leaders” are so greedy that they will support the hardened criminal because he can hand out money and bribe them.
    holding hands, talking to boys, having only boys as friends is taboo – it was and still is…
    The fact that one continues to have very good friends who are boys even after marriage is frowned upon…
    The so-called unwanted “moral bounds” are not only stifling and unreasonable, they also suffocate.

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  13. On a slightly different note,

    Did you watch the News? One of the molestors of the Mangalore incident came on camera and on record and said that they will do it again and again! He looked demented…
    This is how scary it is – we have no support and no one is willing to step up any sort of action against them…

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  14. IHM, fist a real quote from my college director, “girl girl talk,boy boy talk, but no boy girl talk.”, Seriously.

    @Now what is wrong with men and women socializing:

    Metaphorically, this reminds me of the lyrics of The Doors,
    People are strange when youre a stranger
    Faces look ugly when youre alone
    Women seem wicked when youre unwanted
    Streets are uneven when youre down
    When youre strange

    I hope that answers the question πŸ™‚

    —–
    Despite of what you say seriously, IHM our culture is rotten, we have infanticide, dowry, forced marriages, child labor, ___ Sena, moral policing, gender inequality…we are living with the right, so what can’t these, loony crusaders let us live as drunks and party animals or what they think we are?

    Really miss any leadership in India.

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  15. this reminds me of the time when my MIL showed my horoscope to their family pundit and he said “ladki mein ladkon wala utsaah hai” !!!!! What exactly our society expects from us girls?!!

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  16. There is a very popular club in Kolkata called Calcutta Club which has bar only for men…My father goes there every Friday evening to chat with his friends (male)…I’ve often objected to this but he being a bit of a MCP says that one can’t be ‘free’ when there are women around and so having a place where a woman can’t even step in is a good thing…Till a few months ago, this club didn’t allow women to become members…

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  17. “We could even ask the boys the much valued boys point of view…” LOL…
    Reminds me of this time a couple of weeks back when me and my two closest friends Ms A and Mr P were out for fun, and Ms A decided to ask Mr P, “I was wondering how guys categorise women into hot or sexy. Mr P, can you tell me and Surbhi what you see us as – hot or sexy?” The poor chap was embarassed and couldn’t say more than, “Are you mad? I’ve seen you almost everyday for 12 years now. Never looked at you girls from that view. How can I categorise you like that?” Needless to say, we had some insane fun at his expense! And sure enough, he explained the concepts of ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ to us, and categorised us after we bribed him with a Gelato sorbet.

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  18. @Alankrita I realise and that is why this world and it’s culture is invisible to the likes of Nirmala Venkatesh.

    @Usha Pisharody πŸ™‚ Waiting to hear what you have to say!

    @Varunavi This is extremely common. My mom received information of where we were seen and with whom, all the time πŸ™‚
    Nobody ever had any comments on our brother!
    A girl in India is judged by all – the best way to survive this is to know that they have NO AUTHORITY to to make pass these judgments. Today I realise why she didn’t care, because it simply didn’t matter.

    @Pixie The fact that one continues to have very good friends who are boys even after marriage is frowned upon…
    And often not by the husband but others!
    The so-called unwanted “moral bounds” are not only stifling and unreasonable, they also suffocate.
    I agree. If there's one thing I truly value it is my personal freedom and also everybody else's.
    Pixie I have mentioned that *&^^%$ in my last post. That coward can do that ONLY because he has political support.

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  19. @Chirag Will you believe my kids last school’s principal told them the same thing? And they were in a coed school!
    I met her and conveyed that I would not like them to grow up confused and that I was sure that they would be working with men and women when they are a little older, why not learn to interact with ‘people’ not with girls and boys … she just said she was worried ever since Delhi’s ‘MMS case’ that the kids have too much exposure and they might get ‘corrupted’.
    And she thought the right way was not to talk to them but to keep them from talking to each other?

    This damage is BJP government’s doing. We grew up playing Foot ball and even rughby (I was no good, and was known from running away from the ball)with boys and we were never told any such perverted , twisted crap.

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  20. i still remember our teacher once though it would be brilliant idea to make one boy n one girl sit together to reduce the chitchat happening in the classroom. to her dismay the noiselevels only increased! :p i even learnt to play coupla tunes on the desk since my neighbour was learning tabla!

    i always got the guys i knew home. my parents knew about their existnece. my mom had some tough oments when i went to meet an outstation friend at his hotel and we had a huge show down. now when i look back i realise her concern about my “izzat” etc, but she left it at that and always respcted my decisions.

    i think as parents its very difficult to suddenly realize that your kid is old enough to take his or her own decisions and doesnt exactly need yoir advice for everything!

    anyhoo. i think its only healthy for both sexes to mingle and try as much as you can to make sure that they know its only normal to do so! πŸ™‚

    M is well aware of and is great pals with my crushes! πŸ™‚ and i feel quite happy n proud about that!

    and yes there is life (a GOOD life) waiting even after a heartbreak or abortion! no biggie!

    cheers!

    abha

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  21. I know! It’s not the husband who would “object”!
    It’s always the nosy neighbour or the pesky relative! Or some morality spewing “well wisher”
    Yes, I remember reading about that in your previous post! But, I was angry that I completely missed the fact that I had read that already!

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  22. @Chirag, Yes, true, Thank You, for
    this song
    πŸ™‚

    Yes we are desperately in need of a good leader! The latest is that these ‘sponsored terrorists’ have threatened to prevent any Valentine’s Day celebrations.
    I hope, no, I dream that families would come out in huge numbers on the roads and defy these goons. (lol in my dreams!)

    @Sandhya They want you to NOT to ‘be like boys’ when you demand freedom and independence and equal status, and then they want to you to have a boy’s ‘utsaah’ … it’s not clear what exactly is expected. Maybe we should just smile ..
    And just be ourselves πŸ™‚

    @Bones That’s what I read somewhere that Pubs for men have always been there, it is only now when they opened for women that the problems begin.
    Most places I know of allow women …
    My husband and I were siting in a bar only recently, and I was wondering what was so uncultured about it. And even if it was, what excuses some cheap criminals molesting some young kids in the name of teaching them a lesson. We are becoming a Saudi Arabia now. Just the thought of them touching those girls makes me so mad.

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  23. IHM the Mangalore attack will repeat again and again in india, as the molesters are out on a bail within a day.The law says no one complained about them, they have evidence but still the court says the girls should lodge a complaint.

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  24. The saddest thing is when such incidents happen all politicians seem to be united. All of them seems to have same view.

    It is women who are torch bearers of culture. What culture? No one knows.

    I am disappointed by the women’s commision of India too. What are they doing? Can’t they take on the roads with placards and pictures of our temple culture and Ajanta and Kamasutra. That is ancient culture.

    We are going back to segregation again :(.

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  25. @Anrosh *applause*Keep rocking the way you do!

    @IHM This happens and has happened .People get worried about stupid things like this ‘holding hands of all things!’
    I was studying in one of the so called elite schools of Delhi ..was in 11th..there was this teacher who would always insist on making the boys and girls sit separately!
    Loony was what she was!
    segregating the genders/sexes even more helps us to ….um……understand each other better you suppose?
    Yes,it is us the society that encourages this mindset,from the neighbour who cant stop peeking to see when the nest door daughter/girl returns home and with whom, the sundry uncles and aunties who sprout overnight only to worry about,” unki beti ki shaadi kaise hogi?” ,the aunties who give unwanted advice on what is approppriate wear/what is not , the list goes on and on….

    I am sure as of this moment many of these are gleeful…..happy and content that these girls got what they deserved…that girls are not supposed to drink or be seen at a pub….

    and men are?given the right to beat up ONLY girls like animals?what were the other men there doing?
    The other men except Pawan Shetty thought that this was okay?because this is the message that has gone out!

    A country where even the CM of a state is perfectly okay with this…who makes these statement(as Freespirit says),””A ban on Mutalik is out of the question right now, we will consider it if he continues to create such disturbances in the future.” !!

    I dont know IHM!This is just geting to be overwhelming as the days are going by…and as the hope of seeing any of them punished goes down…

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  26. @Surbhi LOL πŸ™‚ I can imagine the poor guys plight … At least he got a nice treat πŸ™‚

    We have done all this and been best buddies with both boys and girls all our lives. I think segregation does a lot of harm to women. If there was open interaction there will definitely be lesser street sexual harassment.

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  27. oh this is so discouraging to hear such views. only when we thought we’d be progressing beyond such petty issues. don’t the politicians have better things to do dammit? ugh. disgusting.

    and like u said … the less the interaction, the more the curiosity …. and more women get abused. pathetic.

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  28. @ Abha Absolutely! We were regularly made to sit like this, one boy one girl to separate best friends who disturbed the class πŸ™‚

    At our place also boys and girls all friends came home for this and that or just to meet, and now my kids friends do the same. In fact if they ever have to go somewhere on their own I am more comfortable if there is a boy with them, my mom used to be the same.

    I just don’t understand these Sene men’s perverted minds.
    I told my kids the school is influenced by new age Indian Talibanism.

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  29. Enjoyed reading your post.

    What about this ? another example or specimen?
    //
    HUGGING NOT INDIAN
    – by Samdani 02 Feb 2009
    This story has been read 3851 times.
    Category: Sports
    Topic: Others

    Thought Sania and Bhupathi have won the Australian open mixed doubles, they have forgotten to respect and display Indian culture on court. There is no difference b/w them and other country players.

    Henceforth I will not be interested in Bhupathi or Sania game they need to respect India culture and avoid male / female hugging on court and in public place.

    It is big big shame to Sania and Bhupathi.

    Warms Regards,
    Samdani

    31, 4rd Main Road,
    Ganganagar Extn
    Bangalore 560032.
    //

    sick!

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  30. i loved the way ur cousin put in and this is happening till date in the cities by so call educated people too…

    just the other day one prospective bride’s family for my cousin said that they will not allow the boy and girl to meet alone till the ceremony is done? we just asked them then how do u decide that they can live together or not and he said we decide

    and u know the girl is a doctor

    vetrimagal,
    i am shocked… each time i hold myself and recollect from the shock there is another one of those moral guards who come and shock me again

    WE DONT NEED THEM… i dont know how to get this message clear to them

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  31. @kaffir
    It’s usually a sign of insecurity when someone tries to validate their experience (like you’re doing) as the only correct or valid one, by selectively looking at other and different examples, or looking at a specific subset.
    I am trying to show an India that many people who are blaming the girls have not seen. Their assumption that the girls were definitely doing something their families did not approve of is incorrect.

    I can give you many examples where “arranged marriages” have resulted in happy and satisfied marriages, with no dowry burnings or intimidation, where both bride and groom met each other beforehand *and* approved each other, with good relationships with the in-laws;
    Kaffir Mine is one such marriage. Introduced by the families, and allowed to make our decision. I have nothing against such marriages.

    as well as examples of love marriages like yours that ended acrimoniously within a year.
    I am not in favour of or against any kind of marriages. I am against ‘segregation’, which is unhealthy.

    By looking at selective examples, I can reach any conclusion I want and show any one way of doing things is “better” than the rest. You seem to look down upon marriages that may be within the same community and same religion,
    Kaffir, I don’t think any kind of marriages that bring happiness to the boy and girl are wrong. Mine is within the religion too, but that is not an issue anyway.

    but not everyone may want a “challenge” of marrying someone from a different background and then figuring it out together.
    That’s what I meant. There is no figuring out required because we have a common culture. And a lot of Indians are like us today. We have been to the same kind of schools, read the same books …. etc. We think the same way.

    Maybe you and your partner are the more adventurous kind, maybe others prefer routine and what they already know – whatever floats people’s boats. Point is, whatever works for people, so be it – there’s a whole diversity of experiences out there, and not all of them are failures just because yours happens to be different. One cap does not fit all.
    I agree with ‘whatever floats people’s boats’. I added a note to clarify that I meant to show the other India that Nirmala Venkatesh and her gang of Ram Sainiks perverts don’t seem to have ever seen. They live in a well and assume there is no world and no way of living outside that well.

    You seem to come across as quite judgmental of any experience that’s different from yours. So much for your snob factor disguised as liberalism!
    I assure you I am not a snob. I am just very angry that there are people who are supporting these sainiks’ attack on girls who are living their life in their way. This post is about their way of life. I think everybody, including the modern Indian woman have a right to live their lives their way.

    The mistake you seem to make here is equating a certain way of doing things (arranged marriage vs. love marriage) with progress or liberalism or “better,”
    So long as the girl and the boy have a choice in the matter, I am saying absolutely nothing.

    whereas what matters is the relationship between parents and their children, and the character of people.
    Kaffir so long as the kids have a say in the matter …

    If the relationship is good and people have good character, are loving and kind, then one can have successful and happy marriage – arranged or love. If not, then it doesn’t matter how many love marriages one have – it will be no guarantee of happiness.
    I agree.
    **
    “If our language was English, our culture was modern Indian ‘Westernised’ culture – it is this culture that binds us, all Indians, our Cosmopolitan Culture.”
    **
    With more than 70% of Indian population residing in rural areas, it’s the Cosmopolitan Culture of the less that 30% that binds all Indians?
    This Cosmopolitan culture is about equality for all. About individual liberty. About right to justice and constitutional remedies – even those who speak against it want all that it empowers them with, maybe not for others, but for themselves, definitely yes.
    … but for now this post is in defiance to those Ram Sene criminals who are trying to define what OUR culture should be or is.

    Really? Talk about hubris and imposing culture of the urban elite!!
    No Kaffir there is nothing elitist about it. I have blogged about it earlier also, this culture is the culture that empowers the ordinary citizen. It’s the culture of Democratic values.

    “This culture that was born with our Constitution and made us all equal.”
    Until this Constitution empowered us, we could marry little girls at any age, we could burn our widows, wife battering was nonpunishable, infanticide was an unavoidable sin, a dalit could not complain against an upper caste, a woman could not complain against her in-laws, girls had no property rights, we could not marry someone we liked without being seriously ostracized. The Law of the land over a period of time becomes the way of life and culture of the land … when my maid can threaten her husband with a police complain if he beat her then we know our values are changing from submission to standing up for ourselves, and we do have to thank our Constitution for it.

    **
    Wow. I didn’t know that Constitution ratification gave birth to a whole new culture – you seem to be using some unique and uncommon definition of “culture” here. So people went to bed on Jan 25, 1950 living in a culture where they were unequal, and woke up on 26th living as equals in a new culture? That’s some fairy tale!!
    (CULTURE: Definition: ideas, values of a people. http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/culture)
    It is. Only unlike a fairy tale, this one might become a reality (unless goons like Ram Sene succeed). It empowered even the poorest of the poor to take a the richest spoilt brat to jail. Yes it is open to misuse, we see it all the time. We are still seeped in our old culture of MIGHT IS RIGHT, so it will take time, but eventually we’ll see … keeping my fingers crossed.

    Hey, if Constitution gave birth to a new culture where everyone is equal, why do we need reservation for women in the Parliament? πŸ˜‰
    To ensure that the Constitution is able to fulfill it’s promise. We have all kinds of unwritten reservations for men everywhere. Be fair and decide for yourself.

    Like

  32. Now what is wrong with men and women socializing, going out, holding hands, even dating, *drinking*, dancing, eating and having some fun together ?

    Nothing absolutely nothing is wrong in this.

    Like

  33. I can understand people opposing new cultures and modern ways of life. But it was never our culture to beat up women !!

    Why wouldnt they beat up drug consuming Indian Adult Males or Young Indian Males…

    Answer is simple… these guys would retaliate and give back as good as they get… thats why these idiots found a soft target.

    Like

  34. @Varunavi Yes and they have already declared they are going to terrorize young citizens on the 14th Feb also. So now it’s not just women but also the youth that they are targeting.

    @Solilo Just take a look at my last post. I suspect Nirmala Venkatesh is the secret agent of the woman’s wing of Sri Ram Sene πŸ™‚

    @Indyeah It was a premeditated attack sponsored by a political group. Your post about Judiciary gave some hope …
    and Indyeah, all this ‘boys sit there and girls sit there’ was not heard of when we were young. Traditional salwar kurta also (only for girls)started after BJP first won. We wore skirts and trousers to school throughout.
    Clothes are symbols. And very clear indication of how women are treated in a country. So many years of effort to make girls get an equal status and still there is so much to be done, and all they can think of is pubs and drinks!
    The hypocrisy is nauseating.
    I heard Renuka Chowdhary unequivocally condemn them yesterday. Maybe she can make some difference?!

    @Roop Absolutely, the more the segregation, the more the sexual harassment. Why can’t everybody see this?
    btw Loved your post. Absolutely loved it.

    @Vetrimagal I hope she shows some guts and tells them to find better causes than her personal life or some other bakra for publicity.
    Or else she should take them to court for harassment and for attempting to encroach upon her individual liberty.

    Like

  35. OMG! Read about the Manglore attack because of your blog, Thank God for your blog! Its just so ridiculous. They should keep their conservative ideas to themselves and not try to dictate others. Such complete IDIOTS !

    Like

  36. @Monika That’s our way of life!
    You are right, WE DONT NEED THEM… i dont know how to get this message clear to them

    @Nimmy Look forward to reading your post, I can expect to see lots of grrrr in it πŸ˜‰

    @Hitchwriter We may not like other peoples way of life, but we don’t have any right to force them to accept our way of life either!
    And what these men did had nothing to with moral policing, it was a premeditated, political attack, they had made sure all media was there.
    Could it get more disgusting?

    Like

  37. I come from a family where my dad offered me a drink when I was 18. A family where daughters in law are given much more respect and care than the sons. Where men cook for their wives and brothers protect their sisters just as much as the sisters protect their brothers.

    All my uncles dance with their brothers’ wives and no-one thinks twice. My aunts, my bhabhis all drink and no-one thinks twice.

    But now, will have to leave this home and go into a home of which I know nothing. Will they be like one of the people above? Will they ask me to wear only saris ( uhmmm I will not marry then) This is an India and that is an India. Divided and segregated. Moving forward? India shining? I dont know!

    If people can’t accept me talking to boys/men, how will they accept my views? My ideas, what I have to say? They just can’t accept me!

    The place where I’m supposed to secure (my country) I cant be? I cant be me !!!

    Like

  38. “India respects women. Conditions apply.” So true…
    agree with every point you’ve made in this post…the hatred towards people who do not confomr to your ideas and opinions – is disgusting. Each person has the right to live their lives the way they choose to.

    Like

  39. @RV There are plenty of nice, wonderful families and nice guys in today’s India, I am sure you will find your own kind, and these goons cannot change the way we think. Or even the way we live.
    Don’t let them. Your India is your right. Fight for it.
    Have you heard Paulo Coelho’s “When we desire something the entire universe conspires to make it come true.” Wish hard and you will make it come true.

    Like

  40. Hmm…I remember reading somewhere that the more “skimpy” the dress,lesser will men be attracted…

    anyway,I think the problem begins as they are brought up in those kinds of environment…well I think I have more friends who are girls than guys who are friends πŸ˜› And yes it is more fun to be with girls as they understand you more πŸ˜›

    Like

  41. It always bugs me when people think that those who are westernized are less Indian than those who don’t. We are all very much Indian. I think these Indians should go to China and see where because there was equality for women, when western culture came, women embraced it as well as men. In India it’s okay when men embrace western culture, but not women. The saddest sight I saw on my honeymoon was a couple staying at the hotel with us, also honeymooners, where the man kept frolicking in the sea and sand in swimming trunks and his wife sat dressed in a heavy saree staring at him in a daze! This was their routine for 4 days!!! Did that man even realise that what he was doing was wrong? This was years ago and I still remember her expression when she looked at me (I was in a swimsuit). She seemed a little confused, wondering whether I was doing the right thing.

    Like

  42. Let me start with this, I am not amazed to see that you get so many comments on everything you write, because I believe you write with such passion, it is impossible not to react to it.

    I loved this post, because of the clarity and amazing honesty it portrays. Indeed it seems like we are regressing. there was a time not long back we could wear what we wanted to, interact with whoever we wished to, and well say what we felt like without fearing anyone daring to stop us. Things are getting worse, while we keep claiming to be developing. Nothing will change till the life of the average Indian is uplifted, till we can live without fear. Wonderfully done IHM.

    Like

  43. beautiful post ihm… you just spoke my mind!

    our customs and cultures were formed more out of some form of practical convenience, years ago! infact if we actually have to reason out age-old beliefs they made a lot of sense during the times when they were formed. today they are completely out of place and illogical given the so many changes that we have witnessed.

    on the one hand you’ll find parents and relatives beaming with pride when their children (girls included!!) do well at school n college n at work too… but when it comes to being a little more broad minded about marriage and relationships they get back to behaving like protectors of the so called customs and values!!!

    Oh! I could go on n on about this… we need to change our mindsets before pointing fingers at or framing opinions about our moral n culture policemen (n women!)… they’re just doing what we’re doing – though on a larger scale!

    Once again… very well written post!

    Like

  44. Nice Post! You are absolutely right when you wrote that, “It is assumed by those who do not ‘mix’, that men and women cannot meet, talk, interact for anything but sex.” If the ideology has to change there should be only mixed schools and parents should encourage their children, the opposite sex as friends. They should be taught the morals and values of a good friend and they should not be too perturbed by a friendly touch and a hug. Any kind of repression by the society to limit the bond between a girl and a boy will have its repercussions.

    Keep Blogging!

    Like

  45. Nita, if that happened to you years ago, you will be surprised that it happens to me even now that I wear shorts. Other (most) indian women would look at with disgust if other indian woman wears shorts. but they are absolutely fine if the americans wear them.

    just the appropriate comment for your post – a woman 27 who is my friends wife told me on her return from her last trip to pune and lucknow – india’s social situation has worsened. when i asked her what happened. She blurted out that girls and boys are holding hands !!!! when i said what is wrong with that she rolled her eyes in disgust and stopped from eating me up. ( i am not exaggerating ) And i said that this is a normal thing where i grew up. And as students in hostels – girls and boys have free access (only 11.00pm-6.00 am not allowed) in the hostel where I stayed. she was astounded to hear this. oh yes, her husband too stayed in an hostel where the rules were such as these.

    And she also asked me , Do you wear shorts and tank tops. I said isn’t that the most comfortable clothes in summer? Her eyes rolled once again .

    IHM, If I start writing such issues and such stories that I have witnessed and have happened It is more than enough to fill the pages of a book.

    As I mentioned in my last comment earlier in this post one of my parent and that too the female parent still believes that women have to under the laxman rekha and tightly cordoned. let me stop right here before this becomes a marathon one.
    reading your posts brings back me to those unpleasant memories. Keep writing.

    Like

  46. To indyeah – I broke free – See! happy people are eager to find happy people.

    I am most interested in the issue of “ism” How humans (irrespective of man/woman) torture human beings for wealth and squash the “humanness/identity” of a person and still say everything is fine. more on this later..

    Like

  47. that was quite a post !! Dint read the whole thing, was taking a mini break from work, shall def come back to read it all again!!

    from what i read!!

    i too dont understand the logic of saying – boys n girls cant be friends… no holding hands and all that s!@$%$ [ pardon my language]

    I too grew up in a co-ed school and while my mom dint and doesnt have any issue of me being friends with guys[ most of my friends are men], she does worry what others[aka society] will think or say!!! what crap i tell her!! ‘ only when you become a mother, will you understand” is her standard answer.. am sick n tired of this ….. Sigh!!!

    Like

  48. Seriously IHM, your posts make me think about notions I might have had earlier which may not entirely be correct.

    Holding hands is definitely to this day, frowned upon in our Country. Remember the time when some cops went to a public park in some city and started slapping all couples sitting there. How disgusting was that?

    I personally would try to educate my children about limiting Public Display of Affection only because I think it is a personal thing. Just like I think eating in public is a bit odd. Not because it is against my culture.

    But Í hope while doing this, I do not make a difference between my son and my (brother’s) daughter. Amen!

    Like

  49. Hi
    Well these are changing times and I believe there will be clashes in people’s ideologies…people who demand more liberty and freedom and people who are old timers and haven’t witnessed the kind of freedom the new generation wants.

    My parents grew up in what is known as totally traditional and orthodox kind of environment and so they impose on their kids what they learnt from their parents.

    Drinking…well drinking is still a social taboo. Now,I have been drinking for the past two years now. Nobody in the family knows about it coz boys/girls from good families are not supposed to drink. So, I don’t go home when I’m drunk. Same goes for all my friends who smoke/drink and their family don’t have a whiff of their doings.

    Now onto the hands holding thing…adults holding hands are okay but say school going boys/girls once they have attained puberty are not allowed to mix and their mixing is certainly frowned upon. The main fear is it will give rise to promiscuous behavior. Well, we all have incidents of ubiquitous ‘sex-scandals’ in schools. We had our share and one girl got pregnant and the girl had to eventually leave school. What I feel is their is not enough honest talk in neither by the teachers or by the parents when it comes to sex. It is still a dreaded subject which everyone tries to avoid. Everybody’s shy to talk about it and so ignores it and hence the strict supervision on one’s son/daughter. We get to know about it from peer-talk or magazines or films. Even now when there is a condom ad comes onto TV everybody goes silent and all the while it’s there, it is like a ticking time-bomb.

    Like

  50. Valentine’s day is another opportunity for ppl from these senas to come out in lash out their insecurities at young couples and its just around the corner, they must be preparing their “moral policing” force to come out and break the greeting card shops and create havoc.

    Like


  51. What she wants does not count?

    That is the bottom line here is it not? And when the same generation of narrow minded bigots thinking transfers down to younger children they live with/ come into contact, this happens:

    Boys having a real time fist fight [12 year olds], this morning, because one of them accused the other of “line maaroing ” a classmate, harbouring secret affection towards her, because of the way a boy and girl interacting leads persons to gossip about them!!! And when the same notion, about line maaroing is echoed by the girls, it’s like you say this being a GIRL!!!!! GAWD!!!!!

    Sometimes one just wonders where this is all taking us! For the childrens’ sake can we not be mature adults??? Do we have to also indulge in these petty and pervert thinking, not to mention the various forms indoctrination, violence and subtle and not so subtle messages on disparity passed on!

    Another facet to this kind of cloistering is the kind of curiousity it encourages, of the sort you do not want. The way a lot of schools, ministers, media and managements are getting hyper about Sex Education is another blip on the map! It has led to porno material being avidly watched, exchanged and discussed about rampantly in classrooms.. so much so, that we now have boys and girls in the same classroom sitting separately [Orders from UP ABOVE]! Better late than never, the kids had a session with a Cousellor, from outside who very clearly outlined points on Personal Hygiene and kind of gave them the lowdown on birds bees and whole of freebies with it, :)!

    This in turn created a minor furore among the staff [ who called it vulgar… @#$U*%^$%^#%!!!] LOl!! Still, I think there would not be much they would now feel hesitant about! Most of us adults , I say we, because I must consider myself a part of that generation, even if I do not subscribe to their views, still wear blinkers on the issue, and are entirely uncomfortable with it all! If we were able to be more open, we could be sure of the ethics, morals and values, and therefore allow our daughters the same kinds of openness that the boys are given.

    I guess I have digressed a lot, but then unless on addresses the basics of bringing up children, these notions of what is right for the boy is not for the girl will persist and then the Ravan Senas will have a ball with the parents agreeing with them on issues of girls’ Safety. [LOL, did I just say safety???]

    Whew! I am not sure how much of what I have written is relevant… πŸ™‚ This page took for ever to open and only now I am able to vent and rant here!

    Do excuse the space gobbled up :D!!!

    Did I say???: The post is wonderfully pertinent and a real eye-opener!!!

    Like

  52. Great Post IHM, Some points I wish to make abt Kaffir’s comments.
    Arranged vs Love marriages which is liberal, progressive and better?
    Is there any doubt? Look at Industrialized Societies in Western Countries. There women have much more freedom. Patriarchy is in its decline. There arranged marriages are rare.
    As long as women are suppressed arranged marriages may be stable. As the Society progresses from feudalism to Liberal Capitalism arranged marriages declines and love marriages increases. This does not mean love marriages will be stable. As both partners are in an equal footing and there is no feudal [family] pressure from outside chances of divorce also increases. In feudal patriarchal system marriage is an agreement between 2 families in which the primary aim is to consolidate the wealth of the boy’s family. In liberal Capitalism it is an agreement between 2 individuals who are equal with primary aim of each individual’s happiness
    In India though feudalism have declined to a great extend it will take time for the old customs and beliefs to change.So be patient but at the same time prevent a feudal revival as it is happening it some saffron ruled States

    Like

  53. IHM , firstly thanks for providing a link to my post. I see lots of readers coming to me through your blog.

    Here what i wanted to make a point was that the diversity in the life style of our society is responsible for creating pervertions. A young boy who has always seen female memebrs of his family or his village clad from head to toe in a ‘ghoogat’ or a ‘burqa’, when comes to a city for education or employment, suddenly finds girls and women dressed attractively and finds them irristible and develops pervertions. The taboo on free mixing of opposite sex freely in ourb society is to a great extent responsible for large number of rapes in our country, particularly cities.

    Second point which i wanted to make here is that most of the times the preachers won’t like to see their followers overtaking them. Like a mother will like her son to roar like a lion in front of her daughter-in-law but expects him to act like a mouse in front of her.

    Like

  54. I recently got introduced to your blog through Mini`s and I`m hooked! Have been meaning to leave comments on your previous posts as well. But I agree so completely with everything you say, that I really dont know what more to add.
    But here`s something I thought of today(albeit a lil off track from the issue in qstn).
    All this talk about American culture in the previous posts, has set me thinking. Its not all breezy here. Really it isnt. I`m wondering if you know that for the last 8 years,Bush had stopped govt funding for organizations supporting a women`s right to decide for/against abortion. There`s a vast percentage of people here(including youngsters) who believe that a women shouldnt have the right to choose. Ofcourse the reasons are purely religious. Because they think its anti-life,anti-God and not necessarily discriminating against women.Thought that too, to some extent. I guess its about an individual`s liberty. An individual`s right to choose. Born free but living in shackles – that`s what it has become almost everywhere.. Sad,isnt it?

    Like

  55. whether its eastern, indian or western….i think, freedom is only for those people who understand its meaning and are sensible enough to observe the thin line between freedom and extravagance! once its abused, anythin might happen!
    the same some people have this prejudiced mindset that most people abuse freedom and so do acts like this….Its not just ignorance def!
    I dont know if i am clear!

    Like

  56. Very well written post. I certainly don’t see anything wrong when I see a girl and a boy holding hands or pubbing/dancing/dating etc. Partly could be bcos I have been living in a western country for last 12yrs and it looks like norm rather than exception. But I come from a very conservative family, eventhough I had my education in co-ed institutes and brought home classmates who were boys, we were never really allowed to go out at nights, wear anything other than salwar kameez etc.
    To be really honest, I don’t know how I will react when my son/daughter are at the age when they would start dating etc…but one thing is for sure that the reactions wont be different because one is a girl and other is a boy. Guess I have a lot to learn/overcome to be fair to my children once they hit that age when they start going out independently, legally entitled to drinking, start having feelings towards opposite sex and so on..

    Like

  57. I have never come across any article, where i blindly support wt ever the person is saying, Bt here i will happily, coz u r soooooo correct.
    Most of my frnds r males, including my best frnd, there was a time where my mom used 2 raise her eyebrows seeing my frnds, bt nw she knws its perfectly fine. Bt like u said, there still exist ppl who believe tat a gal nd boy can nvr b gud frnds, there is something doubtful.

    Cming frm a pretty conservative background, during my school days i used 2 think that frndship with boys r nt gud. Bt these days i can c that they r best ppl in the world 2 trust. Ys ppl mite hav bad xperiances, that happens everywher, and it doesnt mean u stop believing in things.

    Like

  58. our concept about marriage is screwed up

    from personal experience :

    same caste, same religion,she has a good job with good salary ..

    but, parents found this problem :

    she is short, skin not fair, “modern girl”, will dominate everyone else ( yea of course, she has a pg and good salary and been living in a city alone for 3 years )

    its not just the religion….

    but still, I understand the point that you are making here .. just trying to say that its more complicated,

    Like

  59. I just read a news item that a 2 year old was raped. I am in a state of shock. Obviously nothing will be done against such crimes but political parties will concentrate on petty things like going to pubs and holding hands.

    Like

  60. What’s hidden behind the closet is far more interesting than what’s out in the open. Holding hands in public is taboo, but having four kids per family (not to mention the various abortions traditional Indian women are (forced to) have, is completely within the accepted norms of Indian culture. No wonder India is set to become the most populated country in the world!
    -http://writerzblock.wordpress.com/

    Like

  61. IHM, I have been a lurker on your blog for a while, and I have to congratulate you for an amazing effort.

    There are two points I would like to make.
    1. Firstly about the caste, religion and region thing. Every few days I read another article in the papers about some couple committing suicide because their parents wouldn’t allow them to get married. And I wonder how many more such stories are there which never come to the light. A year ago, I met an amazing woman and fell in love. She felt the same way about me, but she said her parents would never allow her to go for even an inter-caste marriage, let alone an inter-religious one, and she couldn’t go against her parents will. We continued seeing each other for three months as we couldn’t resist each other, but eventually she broke it off as she knew we could never take it any further. We are still in touch. She is now doing her higher studies in the US, and her parents are looking for a guy for her. She is a mature and sensible young lady, and she is independent enough that she has her own voice, so will only accept a guy whom she feels is suited for her, and with whom she can have a fairly happy married life. She won’t be forced into a marriage against her will. But I am sure she will wonder what if things could have been different. And I don’t know if I will ever meet someone as amazing as her ever again. I am sure our story is repeated thousands of times all over India. It is a tragedy. Maybe a small tragedy in comparison to all the rapes, the female infanticides, the dowry deaths… but a tragedy nonetheless.

    2. It seems in the Mangalore incident, the goondas had informed the media well in advance. And the media promptly turned up with cameras rolling, but neglected to inform the police that they have information of a crime to be committed, which may not have made a difference anyway, and worse, neglected to inform the pub so that they could have arranged for security or shut down at the time the incident was planned. And thus the media allowed the goons to assault and molest some innocent young women, although it was fully in there power to prevent it. Our media is scum, every bit as bad as all the goons and Senas.

    Like

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