Bleeding Honor

Honor: Another epidemic in our Indian society.  

This epidemic can destroy our very sense of self-worth and self-preservation. 

Honor, shame and social approval runs in every aspect of Indian society; whether it is the clothes you wear, the school you study, the person you marry, the food you eat, the job you do, absolutely every aspect of life. 

Interestingly, even parents (mainly them) end up becoming a victim of this culture of honor that they will subject themselves, and their children, to the most gruesome of human rights violation one can only possibly imagine. It can even lead to the notorious “honor killings”

For those who don’t know about honor killings: It is an act of murder of an individual, by his/her family to preserve their family honor and shame in society. Also an act of punishment for disobeying them.

In western world, individuals are always taught to resist peer pressure of consuming drugs, teenage sex or smoking. But what can an individual do what his/her parents are giving into peer pressure and actively forcing their children to do so?

Even the parents are bullied by their relatives, their friends, their neighbors, the entire society, to conform to the norms and when their children refuse to do the same, the parents are subjected to mockery and humiliation which makes them resort to emotional blackmail, threatening to suicide, and even  gruesome crimes like honor killing their own children. 

In all this drama, the children have it the worst. They are grown up in an unhealthy atmosphere where “obeying their elders (mainly parents)” is a compulsion, not an option. The children are so deeply conditioned to blindly obey their parents without questioning them or using their own discretion. God forbid if they question their parents! They can even by subjected to physical abuse and assault by their parents. Little do the parents know that they are crippling their children of independence and free thoughts. In the end of the day, it is all about controlling the next generation and prevent letting them from “going out of their control”.

As I have stated earlier, Indian parents are probably the most abusive parents in the whole world and the whole society conspires them to be like that. The only criticism they face (which they do in massive numbers) is why they don’t make their kids conform.

This cycle of abuse continues and the abused children become the abuser once they become parents!

We hear statements like these a lot:

  • Science kyun nahin liya? Sinha ka beta ne science liya hai.
    Trans: Why aren’t you taking the field of Science? Sinha’s son has taken science.
  • Dusaro jaise Engineer kyun nahin ban na chahtey ho? 
    Tans: Why don’t you want to become and engineer like your colleagues?
  • Mummy, Daddy hi baat kyun nahin sunte ho?
    Trans: Why don’t you listen to your parents? Even 40 somethings are told to listen to their parents.
  • Dusaro jaise marks kyun nahin le aate ho?
    Tans: Why don’t you get distinct grades like your colleagues?
  • Hamara naak kyun katvana chahtey ho?
    Tans: Why do you want to bring shame upon us?
  • Log kya sochenge?
    Trans: What will people think?
  • MNC main kyun naukari nahin karna chahtey? Sharmaji ka beta vahin par hai.
    Tans: Why don’t you want to work in an MNC? Sharmaji’s son is also working there.
  • Shaadi kyun nahin karna hai? Verma ji ka beta ke do bachhe bhi ho gaye.
    Trans: Why don’t you want to get married? Vermaji’s son has two children already.
  • Beti, tumhari shaadi ek amir ladke se karana chahtey hai , Jain Sahab ki beti jaise.
    Trans: Daughter, we will find a rich groom for you. Just like how Jain Sahab did for his daughter.

Keeping up with the Jonases is so ingrained in Indians that it reaches to an extreme level. Sometimes even so, that they willingly blow up their life savings, take hefty loan from bank and relatives, and conduct lavish weddings to keep up with their neighbors and relatives.

Added to that, Indian culture is such a feudalistic culture that these things become worse. We have heard honor killings because two people of different caste, communities wanted to marry each other.  Killings have happened even when a girl decided never to marry. Even if a girl has asserted her rights, her neck has been slashed by her parents. 

The need for honor is so ingrained in Indians that they will even force their adult children into marriage, and even after their children are abused in a marriage, they are forced to continue the marriage to preserve their family honor. Individuals can’t even voice their own opinions as honor silences them all. 

Even the police force, counselors, teachers, all come from the same background and culture and when these children try to seek protection from their parents, instead of helping them, they suggest to blindly obey their parents. This vicious cycle of culturally sanctioned abuse never ends. 

Even in the recent documentary of India’s daughter, we heard the defense lawyer, A.P Singh saying this ...if my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. I would not have let this situation happen. All parents should adopt such an attitude.”

Again, this whole attitude of shame and honor comes into play. People are so afraid of society bad-mouthing them that they will even go to the extent of crushing their spirit, happiness, even life in some cases.

This same shame-faced mindset came into play while broadcasting this documentary. People were more worried about their national perception rather than the bigger, deeper problem brewing. 

Women in India are not even allowed to work as there is a mindset that if a woman works, that means the man of the family has failed to provide. Also, the woman will “go out of control”. Due to this mentality, 40% of the population in a country is forbidden from working, and the few women who are working, are subjected to mockery and harassment at work. 

Indian culture is such a broken culture but unfortunately, no one is willing to admit it. Instead, everyone is just digging a hole and  burying their heads in it. Once cannot turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the problems.

But again, facing the brutal reality is so harsh, that it can turn any person insane so everyone chooses the best escape route: Denial.

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