Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Indian values are actually habits I

This is a hypothetical conversation between two Indians A and B.

A: We all deeply respect our father. Many others in our society respect him too. He has lot of values and he is a very principled man.

B: So what are his values?

A: Oh, there are many. For example, he never eats meat, no matter what.

B: Really? So how does he go about implementing his values?

A: He does not even touch meat or consume anything that has animal produce. Even when he is traveling abroad he will make sure he eats only vegetarian food though the people in those countries are predominantly non-vegetarian. He even avoids cheese in those countries because sometimes these foreigners use animal fats in their cheese.

B: So, did he become a vegetarian at some point of time in his life after realizing the inhumanness we extend to the animals?

A: Not really. He was a born vegetarian. He is born into a family which has a very long history of being strictly vegetarian.

B: So what you are saying is that he doesn’t eat meat because his parents didn’t eat meat. Isn’t that a habit he just inherited from his parents? How come it is a value?

A: Well. You don’t understand. He has many other values - not just that one.

B: Like what else?

A: He doesn’t drink alcohol. Not even touch it.

B: Let me guess. Your father’s parents don’t drink alcohol. Is that right?

A: Yes. Hear me out. It is a principle he holds onto no matter what. And he really scorns people who eat meat or alcohol and avoids their company. He ensured none of his kids even sniff the smell of alcohol. While growing I was tempted to drink alcohol but he is such a strict man - he forbade me from drinking alcohol. I thank him for that.

B: According to you that makes him principled?

A: Yes. Very much so! If you hold onto your values in all trying circumstances, then you are principled. Many things he does are actually his principles in action. He goes to temple every day and that is not something his parents do all the time – therefore you cannot say he inherited that from his parents. Also, he does many pujas, reads scriptures daily in the morning, and fasts twice a week.

B: Whatever you have told me are his habits, things he does on a daily basis, as a routine. How can you call them values and principles?

A: Look. You are only saying that because you don’t have his values and principles. I know that you drink alcohol and eat meat – and therefore you are not able to appreciate his values. He holds onto his beliefs no matter what.

B: Can you please elaborate?

A: Like when my sister married out of caste, he did not accept the marriage and eventually boycotted her. Even when she got a kid, he refused to embrace the grand kid. He is very determined and he did not waver from his stand. For this all our relatives grew immense respect for my father – they said he is the only true person in our caste. Most others would have succumbed to emotional pressures and relented to embrace the grand kid. Not my father. His values are pretty strong.

B: So what are your values? Eating food on time? Or taking a shower daily?



  1. LOL, This is exactly the great Indian culture.. Worrying about rituals and proceedings that hold no values and are a hindrance in becoming a civilized society..

    I wonder when we will be truly 'civilized', though we are claiming to be 'cultured' since some 5000 yrs ago..

    Thank god, I am an atheist.. Don't have to remember to bow towards every tiny temple hidden between the buildings..

    Yesterday, in my office, a colleague brought her 3 yr old girl child at work.. Among many jokes about her habits and cute way she speaks, another colleague commented,"Well, she must learn Marathi." (As we are in Pune.) I keep wondering, of everything else art, paintings, music, travel, writing, why do we get stuck in our own regionalism and religion-ism??? Is this true culture and/or civilization??

  2. Sujai,

    Awesome. That was very funny and sarcastic.

    I would like to see this conversation continuing and B convincing A of his point and make A understand.

    The "value system" (Habits) of A is such that, he can not truly listen to B. Never.

  3. Well this post epitomises the hypocrisy and also the blind faith ans assumptions that we have about things we've inherited part of which we assume is sacrosant to our culture.

  4. I just came across your blog recently. Your dialogue reminds me of a point I made to my sister about our mother's daily pujas. I said that mom is not religious, but ritualistic. She does pujas because her mom did them, and her mother before her, etc. If you ask my mom to explain what the words mean, she cannot say anything more detailed than, "Oh, you know, talking about how thankful I am to God for his blessings, etc." Well, that does not distinguish it from a Christian, Muslim, or Sikh prayer. What makes it distinct, aside from language - she cannot say.

    IMHO, most people approach religion like Santa Claus - you hope that if you pray long enough and hard enough, God will leave you something nice on Christmas Morning.

    - KXB

  5. who is an atheist .. one who fails to believe...not in religion...but in the presence of the someone/thing greater than them

  6. another Indian culture is cr@p article.
    Man where is all this spawning from.
    You guys need to chill, if you want to drink, eat meet and do whatever the @#@$ you want to do, go ahead and do it.
    You dont have write such misleading articles(juxtaposing two different things together and debunking both in the process).
    Agree that most people are ritualistic, does not mean Indian values are habits.
    I am still trying to understand where is the connection to Indian values(and from the comments to religion).
    I the father as a bigot.
    A seems to be created by you.
    A very clever article create to promote a pre-concieved agenda.
    i have to give you credit for that.

  7. As you have said while values maybe habits and there may not be any deeper meaning to them, habits (if they are not harmful) by themselves give you a sense of satisfaction and regularity in life and also a lot of mental peace. Going to temple regularly and offering pujas (even if they don't convey any deeper meaning) gives a sense of satisfaction to people who do them even if they don't mean anything to others.

    So there's nothing wrong in sticking to your habits as long as it doesn't harm anyone, but yeah, there's nothing in that to be proud of either.

  8. you are the man ..... very nice article keep it up ...

  9. Dude i think u r sick tired of every body being nice and all but actually they are not we all know ...... U have equated that equation here to the Indian culture and this where u r wrong ............ this is not indian culture what u r talking about first of all ... and how can you describe everyone of us on the basis of this example ............
    Mtech IITKGP and mind i am a devil inside

  10. What do you want to say exactly?? Do you want to make fun of the principles A's father follows?? It is absolutely ridiculous to portray that indian values are actually habits. It needs a lot of courage and determination to adhere to principles one has been brought up with, for life time. Do you think consumption of alcohol is being civilized?? That was the main reason behind many offenses of the world. Be it any religion, one who is pious, is very kind and compassionate to his fellow human beings. Do you think this is not right??

  11. dude.. i agree with Harry Potter and Raj. I dint get what u r trying to say exactly.. do u mean to say that drinking alcohol is cool? or not drinking alcohol 'coz ur parents said it is bad for health is bad? can u give one good reason (atheist believe in reasoning, i suppose) why ppl shoul drink alcohol?

    u seem to have confused between "good *habits*","customs" and "religion"..

    to comment on something, u need to know about that dude.. don't just go by the fashion of saying "i am proud to be an atheist". At least try to learn that it is just not criticizing religion, that makes an atheist...

  12. As for the article....I think Ignorance is the root cause of evil....this article is just a product of misgiving and a resulting scrwd up life of a very ignorant person....Frankly i think the author is an idiot...n some of who have posted here....aethist???..the idiot doesnt even know what tht means.....bowing down befoire every tiny temple doesnt prove ne1 to be religious proves the person to be sort of weak...but tht is even more common in India....much like the fools giving a thumbs up to this article.....njoy ur scrwd up life ppl....

  13. Why not look at it from a perspective of science

    1. Not drinking alcohol saves the central nervous system of the human body from being destroyed.

    2. Being a vegetarian has its own health benefits (Well, you can find plenty of supporting material for this on the net)

    3. For doing puja early in the morning, u need to go to bed early as well to get proper sleep. And need I tell you, early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise

    4. Fasting on a regular basis helps keep the human digestive system clean and fit. (Scientifically proven, search on the net)

    I dont know about every religion ...and I wouldnt want to comment either...but at least for all the rituals that I follow I know the perfect scientific justification for it.....I believe that the rules that were laid down for me to follow (optionally of course, there was no imposing), were set by some of the most intelligent and brilliant people of the old times and I trust them that they laid it down for my own good cause they cared for their younger generations and had a genuine love for them.

    Stating the practices of our elders as fake and superstitious and making science a shield, a pretext of not following them is absolute nonsense.

  14. Wonderful comment inner voice.
    Especially the last line sums up the "intention" of this writer
    "Stating the practices of our elders as fake and superstitious and making science a shield, a pretext of not following them is absolute nonsense. "

    This writer is part of the propaganda brigade aimed at destroying these "indian values" cause there are many who stand to benefit from it.
    They want us Indians to be like americans just consume consume and consume.

    Talking about athiest. I must have had one of the most unique spiritual journeys.
    I was born a Christain, turned an atheist(for obvious reasons :-P). and after being an atheist I realised the Hinduism(or rather the advaita way of life) is the only way of life that gives man a purpose.
    Anyone can use it the way they want.
    In this case people blindly following it as a ritual will also benefit(and it a remarkable feat in itself so I really dont mind A boasting about the "principled man") One should understand it.
    One should have an open mind towards it.
    The "scientific shield" these writer use are infact just jargon to pull wool over our eyes.

    The vedas these "rituals" are so scientific that it is beyond the understanding of todays science(which has been choked by a certain section of the society for their own gains) Tommorrow science, i.e is quantum science which recognizes the presence of energy and "intention"(conscience).
    (even though we entered the quantum era in 1925, the Mainstream scientific community has been trying to suppress it, and actually pass it off as vodoo science. Even though the best diagnositc instruments, like the MRI scan are a result of quantum physics, scientist refuse to apply it to other fields like energy and medicine, because then stuff cannot be patented like it is being now and cures will be permanent). Quantum physics will easily be able to scientifically explain all these "rituals" and "Mantras".

  15. Mr Raj
    In the whole conversation nowhere B says that his father is wrong or his habits are meaningless. You must be more open minded to understand this article. And you should try to believe in yourself before jumping between religion.

  16. who said this is an indian culture...
    its just made by some evil who have grow from the past 10000 years.

  17. Very interesting article. Equally interesting comments!

    It is quite clear that each of us define abstract terms like values and principles differently. Unfortunately, we hold on to these "values" and "beliefs" so firmly, either out of conviction or convenience, that sometimes we just refuse to see reason in the arguments of others.

    But then, cultures, civilizations and religions around the world, in the whole of human history, seem to foster ignorance and often encourage blind convictions for its own survival.


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