This is going to be a controversial post, I suppose. As the name suggests, the post is about things that are forbidden in our society/culture. Okay, not really forbidden, but things considered as taboo.
The roots or trigger for me to write this comes from a very recent session I attended, courtesy, The LitFest 2016. It was a session on Erotica and the panelists were established writers in the genre, Margaret Mascarenhas, Amrita Narayanan and Ananth Padmanabhan.
Like many others who had come for the session, I was very much intrigued by the title. What I had wanted, I got. It was a liberated and relieving session about erotic fiction, LGBTQ community etc. I felt nothing odd or weird on being one in the audience. In fact I felt proud. Proud that for once, I shed the inhibition and broke the stereotype of being all hush-hush about it.
These were the people who had considered erotica and sex to be a normal human process like hunger and anger. That got me thinking why our society has become very much closed. This was not the case in the Vedic period, as far as I had heard about it. So the logical conclusion would be that people who lived after the Vedic period messed it up. They created rules and norms based on the idea of patriarchal dominance and made India a conservative place to be in. I refuse to accept the argument of Indian Culture. People who thrust these conservative ideas are generally pseudo-conservative. One can actually see the same set of people asking about progeny six months after a couple gets married. Yes, six months.
Talking about how sex is still a taboo, this quote comes to my mind.
“They say India is shy and conservative, but the population stands at 1.2billion!”
I don’t deny the fact that India has one of the richest heritage and cultural background in the World. I grew up in such an environment where I woke up early in the morning to put Kolams in the front-yard of my house. I am proud of it for sure. But since when did we start to look down upon sex and same-sex conjugation with disdain?
Aren’t the sculptures in Khajuraho enough proof for our culture? We gave the world the renowned Kamasutra, the book of love. We take pride in exhibiting these to the Rest of the World, but when it comes to our own people, we take a different stand. Isn’t that hypocrisy at its best?
I have noticed many a times that we look differently at people who “come out of the closet” and at trans-gender/trans-sexual people. Aren’t they people enough to warrant a little respect at least? It pains to see people of my generation adapt and carry forward the same hypocrisy that our ancestors so proudly adorned. Isn’t it high time we change the course?
Our society is filled with taboos. Sex, Adoption of kids, surrogacy, live-in relationships, LGBT rights, marriage and divorce, anything that makes you uncomfortable is tagged and given a label that it is out of our culture and hence should not be encouraged. We are more worried about those “Chaar-log” who governs every single thought that we get and every word that we speak. We conveniently forget that those “log” were conspicuously absent when we were battling our inner demons and also when we were struggling without food. Are we still going to chart our lives to abide by the rules that the society has given us? I don’t mean to say that we break the rules. I intend that we make better and sensible ones. I want us to be supportive of each other and be less nosy about others personal affairs.
I would wish we do exercise our brains when we decide to make or break a rule and be open about it. I wish we live by a set of values than some social rules that was thrust upon us by a dominant and patriarchal society or by an even more worse English-Raj. Strangely British Raj has legalized LGBT marriage and we are still holding onto it.
A civil society is born out of its people. Unless we exercise our sensibilities and sane minds, we cannot see India progressing on its social front. Do I see hope? Well, yes. A Ray of Hope.