Sharing a series of comments by vijayaa108 and my attempt to respond.
vijayaa108 – You are indeed carrying a very big chip on your shoulder against Bharat ,her cultural traditions and also against the upper caste!
Pity you did not have the choice to be born elsewhere and were born in this पुण्यभूमि (punyabhoomi) called भारतवर्ष! (Bharatvarsh!)
IHM: We are not in competition with the world to prove Bharatvarsh a Punyabhoomi. Any place where people respect human values and where justice is honestly sought and respected is a punyabhoomi.
vijayaa108 – If we have people of your ilk in Bharat we do not need external enemies at all!
IHM: If life and nation have to be seen as a war and ‘enemies’ have to be identified, don’t you think discrimination, injustice, prejudice and intolerance would be serious enemies?
vijayaa108 – Wouldn’t it be better if you along with the person as ‘big as a thumb’ (who has also replied with a comment) emigrate to another country where you will never have to fight against any injustice.
IHM: Why should we not fight against injustice right here, where we live?
vijayaa108 – I am quite amused at the graphic picture you have painted of the very country of your birth.
Horrible injustices like child marriage, being burned on the pyre with your husband, suffering terribly at the hands of the husband’s family, with clean-shaven heads and drab clothes roaming on the streets of Vrindavan!
What a horror land called Bharat!
IHM: It is horrible, and we must face it honestly and fight against it if we care for the ‘land called Bharat’ (or the country of our birth).
Or if we simply care for the people who live in this land. All of them. No matter what their castes, gender or birth place or education or economic levels.
vijayaa108 – And yet paradoxically this land has given Light to World civilization.
vijayaa108 – As you are ‘western educated’ and lucky to have been born after western education came to Bharat you could try reading a bit on famous Western world figures like Thoreau, Mark Twain, Yehudi Menuhin, Kipling, Arthur Schopenhauer, Romain Roland et al.
There are many more names I could suggest but for the time being this is quite an array for you tackle.
IHM: In today’s India, the right to equality and right to justice is NOT reserved for those who have read the above list. Whether one can read or not, basic human rights are for all.
Choosing one’s partner and consensual sex without risking sexual assaults or honor killing are human rights too.
vijayaa108 – Never did I ever state anywhere that I am against western education.
I wonder how could you ‘interpret’ my posting as though I am an enemy of western education!
However, westernization does not mean as modernity – denial of one’s own संस्कृति । (sanskruti)
IHM: Which sanskruti is ‘one’s own sanskruti’? The one that one’s ancestors, parents and neighbours etc call their own sanskruti?
Why does this sanskruti need to be defended and saved? And why do we need to fight against those who don’t wish to save this sanskruti? Why does this sanskruti need approval and support, whose approval and whose support?
Do some of us feel they own this sanskruti and do they get to define how the others aught to treat this sanskruti?
vijayaa108 – What I stated was the innate anathema of some of our people against anything that is indigenously Bharateeya once they get western education.
IHM: Why does it matter? Does ‘anything that is indigenously Bharateeya’ needs to be defended? Who should be bothered, why and how should they defend it? Who should not be against ‘anything that is indigenously Bharateeya’? Why?
vijayaa108 – Unless one has roots in one’s own संस्कृति (sanskruti) one will be like गंगा गए गंगाराम, यमुना गए यमुनादास! (Ganga gaye toh gangaraam, yamuna gaye toh yamunadaas!)
IHM: Roughly translates to – ‘Gangaram when they go to Ganga, Yamunaram when they go to Yamuna’ Meaning someone who doesn’t have an identity of their own, and changes colors depending on where they are?
Does it mean we need a rigidly defined identity? Some of us may just want to be ourselves?
Also consider, many might find it more practical to do in Rome as Romans do.
And finally, all these ideas of identities – don’t they create divides? Aren’t we all citizens of this world and isn’t it enough to respect human values?
vijayaa108 – I am out and out for women (being a woman myself) but with balance.
For women to be free, independent, educated, enlightened along with virtues of compassion, honesty, sincerity and enlightenment.
To be a woman is to act with wisdom, discrimination and enlightenment.
IHM: Nobody needs to be ‘out and out for women’, it’s enough if one is for human rights for all, women and men and children.
Women do not need to be any more sincere, enlightened, wise, compassionate or virtuous etc than non-women and the rest of the world.
vijayaa108 – Who does not appreciate the comforts of modern life!
However, you have confused the issue when you say that modern comforts, advancement in medicine etc is due to Western education.
Not at all!
This is because of INNOVATION of the human mind and intelligence.
Western education is not to be confused with modernity.
Kindly do not misinterpret my words.
IHM: So modern comforts, advancement in medicine etc is INNOVATION of the human mind, but Bhratvarsh has given light to the world civilization?
“And yet paradoxically this land has given Light to World civilization.”
Is that how we defend Bhartiya Sanskruti against perceived enemies?
vijayaa108 – Who says there is no protection for women?
Women have to empower themselves. Responsible thinking and right action.
Women are in fact more powerful than men and I have never ever felt weak or powerless. All the women in family educated or not were powerful women who acted with the greatest of courage and conviction.
IHM: Which is why we pray and fast for, and celebrate the birth of a male child? Which is why girl children remain unwanted and why we have skewed gender ratio and why India is the worst place in the world to be a woman?
Do you really believe that ‘Women are in fact more powerful than men ….’? What kind of ‘Responsible thinking and right action’ would protect women from the culture of obedience and not ‘answering back’, and the culture of Silencing of Victims to protect family honor/name?
vijayaa108 – Education does not mean shouting from the rooftops about women’s rights.
IHM: Meaning education should be permitted (to women) on condition that they don’t let it go to their heads?
Shouting from rooftops, online discussions, some practical support, some emotional support – whatever is needed, whatever one can give, should be welcome. No?
Awareness of rights and justice is more about attitude and mindset, than education level, class, caste or gender.
vijayaa108 – Just wearing western attire does not make us one of them.
IHM: Ever wonder – Why does what women wear concern everybody so much?
It’s not how much is covered or exposed (sarees expose much more than salwar and many western outfits), but how much choice women have in wearing what they are wearing.
It particularly seems to bother those who claim to wish to protect bharteeyata? Why does women choosing what they wear worry them? Do some people feel that controlling women’s choices saves Bharteeyata? In that case, would you worry about what they think is Bharteeyata?
vijayaa108 – The problem is that we have lost our identity and are extremely confused.
IHM: Meaning we have stopped bothering to twist ourselves to fit into the roles patriarchal traditions defined for us?
Who is this a problem for? Who is confused? Those who had the power to control those born into less fortunate identities?
vijayaa108 – We are neither western nor Bharateeya. We have become deracinated from our own culture.
IHM: That is not a problem at all. Races, castes and even cultural identities are discriminatory and prejudiced generalizations. It is more honest, realistic and practical to see ourselves as individuals.
vijayaa108 – Come abroad and see for yourselves the state of women here and you will then realize the worth of what you have there.
Here is something from an Indian woman, who went abroad and saw for herself, and this is what she realised.
From Direct Dil Se, by Akanksha Dureja
“I hadn’t known that is was possible to be out the whole day and not be reminded of being a woman who is unsafe. Getting used to remarks and stares was the only way of life I knew, as an Indian woman. A pepper spray in my bag could also not make me feel safe even during the day. But then I saw a different world which is too good to be true. If only I could make Indian women feel respected and safe. If only I could given them a taste of safety, I would be able to enjoy my own. The guilt just refuses to go… “
vijayaa108 – If you think our traditions have been twisted then I say why don’t you untwist them?
You have the power to do so.
IHM: I see these online discussions as a small step towards untwisting them for ourselves.
vijayaa108 – You talk of choosing freedom and yes of course why should anyone stop you.
Yet there is something called ‘freedom with responsibility’ not only to oneself but those close to one.
IHM: The Freedoms that bother patriarchy the most are,
1. Freedom from semi forced marriages arranged by the family elders,
2. Freedom from being pressurized to bear male children,
3. Freedom from Moral and Culture police,
4. Freedom from being objectified as the Honor of the family, community, fathers, brothers, uncles
5. Freedom from raising a loved child to be a future obedient, dependent daughter in law.
6. Freedom from having to Get Married and Stay Married.
7. Freedom from having to save the Bharteeya Culture (particularly as defined by those who feel it needs protection)
8. Freedom of expression – which would not be necessary if it did not include expressing unpopular opinions.
9. Freedom to decide who women love, hate, divorce, have sex with, refuse sex to, live with, separate from etc.
There are many, many more.
And, here are some Freedoms that are popular with those who want to save Bharteeya Sanskruti and modern Indian women:
1. Freedom to dictate who other equal citizens have sex with, marry, divorce, dance, eat, drink, socialize with, avoid, ignore etc.
2. Freedom to decide who does not enter places of worship and when.
3. Freedom to decide what other people wear or not wear, when and where.
4. Freedom to decide what other people ear or drink.
5. Freedom to decide what other people read, watch, admire, appreciate, ignore, display, sometimes even buy or sell.
vijayaa108 – No man is an island. Everything is not based on the basic instinct sex.
Anyway your ideology is centered around yourself and so ahead and good luck.
IHM: Basic Instinct Sex is not the problem. Patriarchy is.
Basic Instinct Sex – so long as it is between two consenting, uncommitted adults (or above age of consent) is only their business.
Problem is when Patriarchy sees virginity and abstinence as virtues and attempts to enforce it, or punish those (mainly women) who do not agree with them.
Problem is when patriarchy sees Honor and Shame in heinous crimes, but refuses to respect harmless personal choices.
And problem is when victims are silenced and criminals are protected.