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.


India’s Daughter: A much needed reality check.

After the brutal case of the Delhi gang rape case in 2012, there has been a mass hysteria all across India and various protests have been conducted throughout the country. It truly sent a chilling effect across the world.

Women all across India, specially in Delhi, protested on the streets with lot of aggression, demanding justice for the victim and for the plight of Indian women who have been subjected to such crimes and have been silenced.

Regarding this, a documentary on this case was broadcasted by BBC channel, directed by Leslee Udwin, on which a new series of protests have started.  

The documentary goes into the deep roots of our Indian culture, and how Indian culture is responsible for producing such monsters who commit such crimes. 

According to one of the convicts, Mukesh Singh,

“A decent girl won’t roam around at 9 o’clock at night. … Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.”

Now, the question arises that  doesn’t the average Indian hold the same values as this criminal? Haven’t we heard our uncles, aunts, relatives, husbands, MILs, FILs, speak the same language as him? Use the same sentences? Try to make us more “cultured” by using these very statements?

Haven’t we heard our own fathers say this us?

If no, I am sure it is an utter lie to yourself, or to me. Honestly, I have heard this statement from my father several times.

Now, the question arises that what is a difference between the mindset of this criminal and our own uncles and fathers?

It is the culture of shame, honour, and patriarchy, due to which a lot of crimes against women is silenced.
It is this culture of shame that perpetuates such crimes in large numbers. Even cases like domestic violence, dowry harassment, forced marriages, get brushed under the carpet and there is a great deal of “shame” associated with it. 

Even worse, we hear this 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.”

Sadly, this mentality is horrifyingly common and is deeply ingrained in Indians. Even we hear young boys and girls make such statements.

Interestingly, this video was banned from being broadcasted in India by court order.

What interested me is that I hear a journalist yelling “This is an internal matter!” and “Why foreigners are making a documentary on Nirbhaya?” and “Privacy issues of revealing her name and graphic description of rape?” 

Now I have a few counter questions on such questions:

  • What happened to “internal matters” when Indian media digs into foreign cases and splashed it all across papers?
  • Doesn’t someone need to address the real issue and roots of such crimes and bring it out to the world?
  • How can we know the root cause of such problems if we keep brushing everything under the carpet due to “shame”?
  • What is the harm if a foreigner takes the initiative and makes a documentary on our already messed up country?
  • Are you afraid that this documentary will bring out your own regressive thoughts?
  • Do you think that just by burying your heads in sand, the problem will just vanish?
  • Are you afraid that the criminal’s sentences will remind you the same sentences made by your father, mother, uncle, brother, etc.? 
  • Her parents proudly gave her name as they were  not ashamed of her.  What happened to your “Matru-Pitru devo bhava” (Mothers-Fathers are like Gods) status now?
  • Has the victim done anything wrong that we are worried to disclose her name despite her parents’s consent? 
  • Are you afraid that India’s ugly side will be now known to the world and will being “shame” to your “best culture”?

Note: It is the very act of banning to prevent  “shame” of India to the world. It is this very  “shame” and “honour” due to which such heinous crimes perpetuate. I fail to understand how can someone not connect the two.

Once again, huge thanks to BBC for ignoring the request of the ban and going ahead with broadcasting this documentary.

Parental Abuse

Indians are obsessed with marriages: Something which their lives revolve around, something they use as a conversation starter. 

Marriage of daughter, for some parents, is a lifetime achievement.There is immense pressure on young women, and even men, for marriage.

Parents prepare for this event since the day a child is born. They are groomed in ways (as per gender requirements) to ensure that they get the best match possible. By best, they do not mean the qualities which will make their son/daughter happy; but the qualities which will give the parents honor in society.

Life is miserable for both, young men and women in India, mainly due to the immense entitlement of the elders (parents) and their unreasonable expectations they have from young bride and grooms. They are responsible for creating this dysfunctional relationship and marriages. Here is in detail the process of marriages.

Groom: The “hunt” for a groom is probably the toughest task parents go through. Combined with this nightmare, daughters have absolutely no autonomy over their lives to choose a partner for themselves. Parents look for only one thing in a groom: Will my potential son-in-law person give them better social status?
It never matters to them if their son/daughter is suffering in the marriage and is in a verge of suicide. 

The problem arises that such groom, who will give them better social status, are very few in number; while the women waiting to marry him, are in majority.

The groom’s parents have the upper hand and can call the shots. That is where dowry comes into play. An additional incentive to the groom for doing them a “favor” by marrying their daughter. Also, to have a better chance compared to all other families competing for him.

The groom is taught since childhood that his worth is based upon the income he earns. He is solely judged upon his academic and professional success.  The amount of money he earns, the car he drives, size of his house, family reputation, caste, all are the main parameters he is judged upon. He is reduced to an ATM machine by everyone. God forbids if he loses his job!

Worst is his parents’ entitlement which plays a major role in destroying many lives of young individuals making them extremely bitter and frustrated. His parents, after all, only want a daughter in law for themselves, whom they can make work like slaves and make her produce babies (sons) to continue the family lineage. In case of their sons, they can ensure that he keeps working like dogs and they can sponge off their son.

The amount of entitlement and narcissism by the groom’s (and even bride’s) parents associated with this thinking is unbelievable. Funny thing is that in such a poor country, we have majority of the joint family taking about “family lineage” and “successor”.

In some cases, when a boy is in his early 20s, his parents give him an ultimatum to find some girl for himself or his parents will get him married to a stranger they choose. Boys at that age end up feeling extreme pressure to find a bride for themselves, and the pressure is transferred to the girl he is dating. And vice versa.

Makes me wonder how many “choice” or “love” marriages have taken place due to the fear of their parents getting them “married off” to someone else?

The conditioning of their parents is so deep, that they get goosebumps even with the idea of questioning their parents against this forceful way of getting them married. This is a human rights violation. In fact, human rights is a bloody joke to them.

Bride: Brides are abused even more in India. Girls are disempowered since birth in India. Her parents select a groom when the girl is very young in age. The idea is to get her “married off” as young as possible when, when she is impressionable as parents fear two things 1) She will start having independent thoughts and start questioning her parents 2) Fear of losing potential “good” grooms. The criteria for arranged wives are good looks, family reputation, caste, and fertility.

She too, is reduced to a cooking, baby producing machine. Worse, after marriage, she is made to leave her maternal home and forced to live with her husband’s family where she is always treated like an “outsider”. This very mindset is so ingrained in Indians that if she ever demands her rights, she is called arrogant, crazy, ill behaved, etc.

Even husbands don’t stand up for their wives against his own family as he is so deeply conditioned that he family is “flawless”. Even if he sees his wife being ill-treated by his family, he goes into denial mode. We then hear statements by husbands like “no big deal” or “over reacting” or “making a mountain of a mould”.

Even if he does stand up for his wife at some point, he is mocked by his own family by being called a joru ka gulham (slave of his wife) . With this mockery, even he feels pressure to prove his family wrong and join them in the ragging of his wife.

Specially his mother, as she too has been treated like an “outsider” all her life. So, she feels that her son is one point of support and her daughter in law will “steal” her son away from her which makes her extremely insecure about her son leading to interference in their private lives.

After all, it is all about control over young people!

Weddings: Indians weddings are such a massive grand affair lasting from days to even weeks. We find extreme socially-sanctioned narcissism in such events. Loud music, people dancing on the roads, a clan of at least two thousand people, blingy clothes, relatives and their taunts on people, endless barbaric ceremonies. The ceremonies are so patriarchal, that the everything is about the girl bowing down to the groom and his family.

Weddings are one of the most abusive life events in young Indians. In the name of traditions and rituals, brides (and even the grooms) are abused by their relatives.

These ceremonies are to undignified and garish, that even the though of an Indian wedding, makes me cringe. People end up spending upto Rs 1 crore in such events. Everything has to be super lavish so that their relatives should not make fun of them.

People not only end up wiping clean their banks on such events, but also borrow from relatives, take loan for such events. Majority of the expenditure is expected by the bride’s parents.

It is not unthinkable that the bride’s parents may not even have money to go the doctor when they are sick, despite medical being cheap in India. I guess this solves the mystery why Indian parents don’t want daughters as this toxic culture will make them bow to the above mentioned social norms.

The way young people are treated, every right of theirs has been stripped away from them. Worse, this is happening in even the educated and urban bunch of India as well.  It is very difficult to change this toxic culture as forces from all over are pushing you towards a single direction.

Poverty can be fought away with money. How can toxic culture be fought away?

Life is so miserable for young Indians that only disappearing from the scene helps them lead a better life; or, one needs to be super strong to resist this culture in a search for a better life in India.

Note: In the United Kingdom, there have been programs to prevent such forced marriages as this was a big problems amongst Bangladeshis. Parents can be arrested and it is considered a serious crime.

I hope that someday, in India, people start recognizing this abuse and make parents accountable. If need be, they should be arrested for forcing their adult children to marry. We will have happier individuals. It would be personal dream come true!

About me.

Hello everyone!

I am a young Indian girl living in a small town in India and wish to share my experiences and the kind of life everyone leads in India.

My series of blogs are going to be a confrontational one, not a traditional one, as India is a land filled with endless traditions but no criticism which makes it a land full of abuse. 

The reason I have decided to start this blog is to shed light on some serious cultural issues here in India which have all been brushed under the carpet so that my friends living in India, who are as frustrated with this culture, can have some moral support that they are not alone.

To all my friends living overseas, you can get a better idea of the brutal side Indian culture which lies under the cover of festivals, culture, colors and the so-called-spirituality.

I hope with my blogs, I am able to bring some much needed changes in our messed up Indian society. Hoping for a better future for our current and next generation.

Big thanks to internet and blogging options where I can make my voice heard.

Happy reading!