Sunday, February 15, 2009

WTF to culture

Read this.

*Culture* is soon going to become a basis for defense pleas. Don't be shocked to hear reports of - "Dear members of the jury, I killed only to protect my culture"

It's beyond comprehension how so much hatred can be directed to a person who was born of another bloodline, in the name of *Culture*, while calmly taking in and tolerating more serious issues like
- men who beat up their wives ('He has the right to, esp. if she behaves badly' - Ref Indian Culture)
- incest (Have you read Bitter Chocolate - the common response to this within households is "He's a man, he has needs, so what if it's his daughter/ sister")
- marital rape ('There IS no question of consent, lie beneath the man and do his bidding when he feels like it' - Also Ref Indian Culture)
- not letting daughters go to school ('I don't understand why women can't just learn to stay home and make chapattis for their husbands' - A very cultured Mr. Muthalik)
- Dowry deaths (Still rampant, in case our insulation from the event leads us to believe in its non existence)
- Female infanticide and the stigma associated with giving birth to daughters (Chromosome lesson time perhaps? The man controls the sex of the baby, not the woman. Of course, getting this into skulls that are worrying themselves with which other brahmin person in the vicinity has been corrupted by non brahmin influences is probably a tad difficult.)

All of which, just to be clear, is not only not opposed, but almost condoned by this fantastic culture thingie we hear about ever so often.

This is not even counting basic indignities like abusing your wife in public, expecting that women will pick up leftover food after men, that women will eat after men, that it's OK with all your education and so-called metropolitan upbringing to insinuate in your son's Bharat Matrimony profile that his job is more important than that of the woman in question and hence she needs to move across continents to be with him - like the alternative is not really an alternative at all.

Not to forget insane cultural mores like spending atrocious amounts on money on lavish weddings that are absolutely uncorrelated to the quality of the marriage that follows, feeling obliged to conduct some ten ceremonies and invite a million people just to show them that you love your children and can provide for them, expecting men and women to be asexual creatures until the time that they are lawfully wedded and then expecting them to overnight (literally) create babies, treating cooking as a matrimonial resume bullet point for every woman vs. a life skill for human beings in general.

I'm better off without this ridiculous notion of culture. I'm better off figuring my way through life without referring to an invisible book somewhere that preaches how I must live.

If I hear the word Indian culture one more time, I'm going to give the person a serious piece of my mind. Whether it's a 'well -meaning' relative telling me to *adjust* with my in laws or some aunty somewhere asking me why I'm 28 and not married.

And for THIS Culture we have people dying and taking lives? Pah! Seriously!


Goofy Mumma said...

Wonderful post MP. Very well written, and thought out. Loved the bit "expecting men and women to be asexual creatures until the time that they are lawfully wedded and then expecting them to overnight (literally) create babies". Really, so true. I am surprised you have so much insight even though you are single.

Brilliant. Superb. I can feel your anger in this post.

Anonymous said...

Bollocks. How dare you write a post like this. Submit, woman. Submit. To the man. (Any man will do.)
Learn from, err, that Dutt dude's wife. (I have a question here. Which one of the two would you call "the better half" ya?)
I am very cultured, Indianly (TM). You should also try it. I can teach you.
kwillputtringtringtonight /mogambo

unpredictable said...

GoofyMumma: Angry posts somehow need the least edits coz the anger just pours out :) Thanks for your very kind words, I'm single, but have been surrounded by enough and more news/ instances of this nonsense as I grew up.

Btw, have you noticed that the 'asexual creatures' bit is evident in how people book a newly wedded couple a hotel room to be able to consummate at their best??

Mbo: U justu called!!!

roop said...

u go, lady.

add religion to 'culture' as well. wtf to religion as well!

unpredictable said...

Roop: WTF to religion indeed. What purpose has it served in the last few years above what basic humanity could have served anyway? All I've heard of is physical and mental trauma in the name of religion, nothing more. Sigh.

Goofy Mumma said...

Oh yes, after never having heard of sex, nor having met your spouse in private/alone, the moment one gets married, she is to suddenly become all ready for sex and producing kids. Real double standards man. The hotel rooms are just such a slap on our fake morals.

jvd said...

my upbringing has been all wrong!
been listening to and running behind various women for the last 25 years!
where was indian culture when i needed it ??

LUCKY said...

We gloss over so many basic 'humane' things in name of culture and tradition... I wonder where all this apathy will lead us to. It is not a happy thought :(

Who said that cooking is a resume point for the gal.. it is the headline for the guy ... ask me :P

I though have one small tiny clarification to ask.. I hope u ain't defining and decrying culture and religion (whatever those words mean) by only the negatives that you have described here. Pardon my immature questioning!I would love to have a discussion on this.. offline.

unpredictable said...

Goofymumma: Pity it doesn't end at the rooms ...

Jvd: Culture, for the last 25 years and before, was being twisted into contorted versions for itself so it would lend itself nicely enough to misuse now..

Lucky: I think the positives aren't specific to culture, ours or anyone else's for that matter. That's all i'm trying to say. Why would respecting your elders be something we'd attribute to only a particular religion or nationality? And do not confuse how people of a nation behave, vs. what the nation originally deemed humane behavior.

We can indeed speak offline :) You're here very soon, let's put thanni and talkings :)

LUCKY said...

I have never spoken in my comment about one particular nation or culture or religion. Neither did i intend it to be implicit. Also I am not confusing behaviour of a particular nation with what was originally deemed etc.

Anyways, my comments offline.. and by the way, to coming to ur house. trip cancelled. no budget! :(

unpredictable said...

Lucky: Fully alas only :( April then?

Fork Spoon Knife said...

Lol.. ya, silly culture.. btw adding to the stupid list "the notion that the you become a 'woman' only and immediately after the first socially accepted incidence of sex (with married partner, ofcourse!)"
Gotto love the lack of identity before that sigularly defining moment!

Nutan said...

I was reading taliban rules for women the other day. It won't be too different if Sri Ram Sena or one of those Indian Culture Protectors take over here in India.

Mogambo said...

Bluddy hell. My lunch hour is getting ruined. Blog blog blog.

unpredictable said...

Nuts: I loved your rules for women in your blog :)

Mbo: I just did!

Anonymous said...

"WTF to religion indeed"

Interesting post, although I beg to differ on the comments on religion. You're basing your opinion on sensationalist (read fundamentalist) and often misguided interpretations of religion. The unfortunate aspect of religion today is individuals like us in all our ignorance dismiss it without even knowing its essence. Religion like economics, law, etc. helps structure society; and therein lies some of its importance.

nmk said...

Interesting post and I largely agree with you rant....

Quick question.. what triggered such a wave of anger. Culture (in this context) is a word people use when they dont know how to express their inability to deal with a rapidly changing world in which they are not sure of their bearings any longer.

unpredictable said...

CaptainMolecule: When a structure is taken so far as to exclude people from groups of human beings and to treat them badly, it is clearly no longer needed. I don't see what value religion adds over teaching people to be good human beings. All the lives lost in the partition and the Babri riots could've been saved if their parents had taught them humanity vs. religion no?

NMK: The pub attacks on women triggered this. In addition to YEARS of hypocrisy of a society that produces the most babies in the world and pretends like sex is a bad thing. WTF!

nmk said...

hmm... yup the pub thingie was a bit over the egde and triggered a massive backlash...loved the pink chaddi response...

The religion argument I shall not go into now (the need for religion vs lets follow our principles and everyone will be okay), but the essence of the rules that govern most religions is that they evolved in a different time.

They evolved in an age when what we have come to accept as right and wrong were not so. For example, slavery was legal, women did not have the right to own property, did not have the right to an inheritence, life was less secure, war and armed unrest was a real day to day likelihood. Plunder an pillage were a fact of life (not justifying anything, just painting a picture).

All these religions evolved in the context of civilization at the time of their creation. A lot of the rules they developed were techniques and tactics for survival. The rights accorded to women in Islam today (which we think of as retarded and medieval) was incredibly forward thinking and liberal for the middle ages (european women could not own property or engage in business, muslim women could and also had rights of inheritence).

The fact that religions have not adapted or changed in all these years is a sad fact of life. As institutions they are not very flexible and nible, their rate of evolution is incredibly slow.

The funny thing is that as human beings (as a collective) we dont seem to want flexibility or choice. Religions that are inflexible and unreasonable seem to grow and attract more adherents and the more rational and flexible ones seem to wither away.

Amodini said...

Loved this post. All this culture being shoved down out throats, and so much of it such a sham !