Saturday, July 10, 2010

What’s the problem with Indians?

Look at this attitude:

#1. “This is how I live.  This is the right way of living.  You have to live like me”

Many problems in India come from the above attitude.  Many Indians believe they have an idea what a good and moral life is, and they believe they lead such a good and moral life that they take the next step of imposing it onto others.   Contrast the above attitude with the one below:

#2. “This is how I live. That is how you live.  You live your life. I will live mine”

We would solve many social problems with attitude #2.  However, most Indians go with attitude #1 because we tend to believe that we Indians lead a moral life which derives its strength from our Indianness or Hinduness, and we believe it is our prerogative to safeguard our lifestyle by imposing it onto others and correcting other’s lifestyles.

The current imbroglio on Khap panchayat’s honor killings stem from the same attitude – ‘we know better and we will teach you how to live’.   Many commenters on my blog continue to reflect the same attitude when it comes to many issues.  Here is a comment from the post “Thou shall not eat beef!

I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years because I am philosophical.  If they decide to ban non-vegetarian food, I would cheer them.

Banning of beef will bring only good results in the long run. It is a well known fact that red meat eaters are more prone to fatal diseases like cancer, heart problems etc. So banning beef means a more healthier population in the future.

The message is very clear. ‘I have found out what is good for me. I would like to get everyone to embrace my lifestyle by banning their lifestyles’.

In another episode, morally-conscious Indians tried to impose their lifestyle onto others by filing 22 criminal charges against Khusbhoo, an actress who condoned pre-marital sex.  Our laws are still so loosely interpreted that any Tom, Dick and Harry with extremely sensitive and narrow outlook on life gets a chance to harass anyone who expresses a different opinion.  

We had to bring Supreme Court in to say that it is perfectly legal for couples to live-in and have pre-marital sex to save Khusbhoo from such harassment.   We also need a freedom from such harassment from every hypersensitive cretin.   In Khusbhoo’s case, the court asked the prosecutor why it is wrong to have consensual sex and why it is wrong to have a live in relationship.  

Please tell us what is the offence and under which section... Living together is a right to life.

How does it concern you? We are not bothered. At the most it is a personal view. How is it an offence? Under which provision of the law?

Of course the morally upright Indians were not happy with the ruling.  Here are some comments from THE HINDU:

There may not be a law to prohibit pre-marital sex but it is a perceived and largely accepted and practised moral norm in India. Even western countries hold India's ethos in high esteem. The court's opinion is sure to send wrong signals to young men and women.

The observations would not only obscure certain basic moral values but also expose young people to erroneous ideas about pre-marital sex. With the growing jurisprudential subtlety between legal and moral distinctions, there cannot be an explicit legal recognition of such deviant behaviour which is contrary to right reason and public morality.

These Indians are unhappy about the ‘wrong signals’ this ruling sends, but nobody wants to defend the right of Kushbhoo to have air personal opinions.   Indians don’t understand what our fundamental rights are.  Therefore, they take every opportunity to impose onto others what they think is right for them.  They confuse morality with legality.  That’s why we see so many ridiculous legal cases that harass an individual, either it is Khushboo airing her personal views on pre-marital sex, Taslima being critical of her religion or M F Husain painting Hindu goddesses in nude. 

During the topic on legalizing homosexuality, Indians opposed the pronouncements of the Supreme Court.
The Fundamental Rights enshrined in our Constitution are not without moral boundaries or ethical concern for society's welfare.

The biggest problem with Indians is that they don’t understand where the morality ends and where legality starts.    Everything that is immoral according to one’s upbringing cannot be illegal – they need to understand this hard, otherwise we will continue to have harassment of individuals in this country whenever they air their contrarian opinion. 

Some of these peevish Indians, who have taken it upon themselves to defend the Greatest Culture, want  the judges to reverse their opinion.

It is not too late for the judges to reverse their opinion, taking into account the ground realities.

In the last few years, the renowned artist MF Husain was harassed by hundreds of legal cases, where the police and the state governments haunted him incessantly.  He had to flee the country eventually.  What a sad nation we have created – an artist cannot live here, an author cannot live here, an actress cannot air her opinion. 

A modern nation is founded on one of the beliefs that people have different lifestyles and different opinion and that is the obligation of that nation to defend the person who appears to be different.  However unpalatable that view is, we should not suppress that voice.  However deviant that behavior it is, we should not ban it.

We have copied modern institutions into this country but we do not know how to protect them and maintain them, exactly the way we copy the roads and bridges from developed countries but do not know how to protect them or maintain them.

Indians have a long way to go before they can create a modern nation.  They lack the maturity to deal with contrarian views and different behaviors.  They want everyone to be like them – they want everyone to eat vegetables and shun nude goddesses, and have sex only when it is consented by the marriage.  And if anyone is different, they want to kick them out or ban those behaviors.


  1. Well put.

    Its just that none of these people operate from a long-term vision. They don't have a responsibility on how their actions now invariably will have consequences and Its really sad they don't see the consequences.

    In case of Beef Banning, Being a vegetarian or not should be an individual choice after considering all the options, (even concerning his health). The current situation is like, cutting out all the other options except one and saying you can choose your way of life. These such law makers don't see the hipocricy in this.

    Earlier i used too think why shouldn't smoking just be banned, if its so harmful? Now i understand, everything about you should be your choice, even if it concerns your health. Otherwise, its just enforcement.

  2. Its perfect for Hussein to draw a nude woman and call it Saraswathi, but when such a thing is put in a question paper its right to cut off the hands of the maker of that question paper. And the best way to call the first people as Saffron and the second moral police

  3. True, "the theory of evolution" propounded by Darwin is responsible for breaking all myths regarding genesis of organism. This landmark work of Darwin showed the world that god or any other such figure have no role in creation of this universe.However, majority of the population still believe that god has created this universe but without any authencity. Most of biologists and physicists despite teaching and conducting research in this feild are swayed by the god. In their private life they are as orthodox as any other common man. They have adopted science as their vocation rather than vision. For them Sai Baba can produce a golden ring or fate of a individual may be read out by analysing lines on aman's palm. Law of independent assortment and law of segregation given by Mendel have nomeaning.Hence, using name and photo of Darwin by atheisist as logo make no sense until perpatuating a vivid discussion in society and inculcating scietific temper in people we interact with.

  4. "I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years because I am philosophical. If they decide to ban non-vegetarian food, I would cheer them.

    Banning of beef will bring only good results in the long run. It is a well known fact that red meat eaters are more prone to fatal diseases like cancer, heart problems etc. So banning beef means a more healthier population in the future"

    You put the above 2 para as the comment to your previous post ( about beef eating). You are trying to mislead the readers, because these 2 para are not put by one and the same reader. The first para is put by one commenter and the second para by another commenter. By combining these two, you are trying to prove that one is trying to impose on others what he/she thinks is good for him/her.
    The first para is purely a personal comment.
    The second one, put by another reader, is clearly scientific facts.

    Don't try this type of tricks to establish your points of view.

  5. A nation of bans(PART1 of 2)
    Pritish Nandy,
    18 July 2010, 03:59 PM IST

    India's a great democracy, give or take a few aberrations. We have a free vote, a media that largely speaks its mind. Top politicians still get caught out for their indiscretions, so do leading businessmen. And yes, we read what we want to, watch what we choose, say what we desire without being unduly worried. But will it stay this way forever? One's beginning to have serious doubts.

    The reason's simple. Our leaders are always looking for a quick fix, even when it compromises on our most basic freedoms, as enshrined in the Constitution. They are also too eager to make political capital out of every opportunity, even when they know it's bad for India and disastrous in the long run. There are many examples. But let's start with the most recent: The ban on James Laine's book on Shivaji. No one doubts Shivaji's important role in Indian history but history's not hagiography and, however great Shivaji was, like Gandhi, he is not and should not be above historical scrutiny. We must be able to discuss, debate, argue over his legacy without anger, acrimony, prejudice and bans.

    One of India's finest research institutes was mercilessly ransacked and priceless books and manuscripts were destroyed by a tiny group of angry dissenters when the demand for a ban on the book was first raised. The matter went to court and the Supreme Court has now struck down the ban, on the ground that no book deserves to be proscribed on the basis of the possibility that some readers may misread parts of it. The Court affirmed what many scholars have been saying, that there's nothing in the book that has not been said before. Yet even with the ban struck down, the publishers (one of the world's most respected university presses) are scared to put the book back in the stores because of renewed threats. Worse, the Maharashtra Government plans to bring in a funny bill to stop anyone from criticising national leaders.

  6. A nation of bans(PART2 of 2)
    Pritish Nandy,
    18 July 2010, 03:59 PM IST

    It's a funny bill because it will successfully end all historical scrutiny, all debates on our past. It would also stop people from writing books, plays, research papers or making films on any historical event to sidestep defamation. For how will you ever write about the face off between Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose, without offending the followers of one or the other? It would end the revaluation of truth, diminish the spirit of inquiry and scholarship. If passed, this bill will be a huge blot on our democracy.

    This brings me to a larger issue: Any tiny group today, any shrill, lunatic fringe can mess with India's great traditions of liberalism and free speech. A cunning misinterpretation of a line from a song in Aaja Nach Le was used to suggest that it was against a particular caste and the song had to be changed even after the Censor Board had cleared the film. A play on Nathuram Godse, Gandhi's assassin, was banned out of fear it may hurt the sentiments of Gandhi lovers. A film too, on the same subject, Nine Hours to Rama, was banned. During the Emergency, a film called Kissa Kursa Ka was not only banned but physically destroyed. Rushdie's Satanic Verses was banned only to appease Muslim fringe groups. Two literary classics, DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer still remained banned, as historic reminders of how we stupid we can be. Recently, websites featuring the charming sexual adventures of Savita Bhabhi were banned as improper. Meanwhile, the Censor Board keeps chopping away at award winning movies on the ground that the squeamish may be offended. Isn't it simpler to just let them be shown with appropriate rating codes to warn off all prudes?

    History, sex, faith, reverence: these are all matters of personal choice. Democracy is not about endorsing a specific choice but allowing all choices to coexist, with dignity. But what we are increasingly seeing is that small and shrill groups of people of all denominations and persuasions are holding the majority to ransom. And we, the silent majority, keep quiet because we don't want to pick up a fight with the easily enraged. This makes these minority groups grow bolder and bolder, demand more and more.

    As this rate we will soon become a nation of bans. Bans on books, films, songs, comic strip characters, beer bars, pool parlours, inter-caste, inter-faith marriages. Bans on what we can eat, drink, wear, read, watch, surf. Bans on what we can joke about, what we can discuss. If we are not careful we could become a nation where bullies will roam the streets with their chests puffed out, demanding that we subjugate our beliefs to theirs, listen to every command they issue. They will decide what corrupts us. They will tell us what's good for us. And the State, instead of protecting us, will succumb to their pressures on grounds of political expediency-- even if it means compromising on the freedoms we have long cherished.

  7. Read the article:

    Cow urine can
    1.light a CFL bulb for hours,
    2. charge a mobile phone,
    3. be used to make a soft drink,
    4. cure diabetes, kidney ailments, jaundice and cancer!


  8. You say that M.F. Hussain was driven away due to narrow-mindedness on some people's parts with regard to his paintings, but is it not a fact that he paints all Hindu Goddesses in the nude, claiming it to be a mark of respect, but Muslim women fully covered?

    1. I agree with Lacostana here. Just because an artist has the freedom of expression does not mean that he has the right to hurt the sentiments of people of another religious or ethnic group. He should be answerable for his work of art. Mr. MF Hussain took undue advantage of his fame, and the tolerance of the people of this nation, and tried to get away with a horrid piece of 'art', done in a really bad taste. I mean, come on, does our nation really need another bout of Hindu-Muslim clashes ?

  9. Sujai you nailed the argument by stating that Indians lack maturirty. Infact the word that does describes our people is 'hypocrites'. People in this country may be literate, but their values and principles have such degenerate interpretations that we have a long way to go before we can say that we are a civilised country.

    We dont understand what freedom is, we dont understand that it has to be respected and the rule of law has to prevail for people to remain free. One of the reason for our country's problems is that we chose universal suffrage too ealy. In the west the rule of law was established first, followed by state building and finally the installation of democracy. In stark contrast to this Indians chose to do all this simulataniously thus staying true to the concept of making a 'khichidi' of everything and getting nowhere.

    Our leaders are a bunch of potbellied retards who can never anticipate adversity and never act before being engulfed in catastrophe. They refuse to operate with foresight. Any form of change which may have been initiated will be halted, stalled or extinguished once the crisis retreates. For example, post the green revolution there has been no impetus to improve agricultural productivity.

    This is how the India currently functions and will continue to do so: Politicians choose a solution that is electorally profitable, bureaucrats chooses on that is convenient and the public that which is 'morally' staisfying. The people recieve wisdom sponsored by those with vested interests. Wisdom which propogates that engineering wide systemic change is too dangerous. Its argued that in a political economy as intricate as in India, change has to be gradual. This has become an alibis for intertia. It is also the reason people will go on ranting about how great our past history and heritage are. People need to stop living in the past and face the present for a better future.

    This is what I'd say to any tourist who wants to come to India:
    Missing the good old days? Come to India. Nostalgic for debt slavery and bondage, feudalism (the real deal, not the semi-feudal modern kind), slavery – child and adult, child labor, shit in the streets like the Middle Ages Europe pre-Black Plague? Come to India. It’s all there in spades. Yeah!! India Shining!!

    The first part of getting out of a a manhole is not just to stop digging, but to realize that you’re in a nasty hole in the first place, and would prefer to climb out rather than digging your way towards sure death.

    Indians not only won’t stop digging, they think that trying to dig deeper is some kind of a noble endeavor. Any samaritans (intellectuals of Indian society: M.F Hussain, Salman Rushdie, Arvind Kejriwal etc) stopping by to toss us a rope or offer a hand are showered with abuse for refusing to acknowledge that the Indian’s deep dug pit is actually the greatest civilization created by man. Predictably, most sane folks throw down the rope and walk on.

    Hence this is the predicament that we find ourselves in. Its the educated and civilised indians (a minority, which wants things to change) against the dogmatic and pathetic uneducated and uncouth indians (a massive majority). I personally believe that it wont take anything less than a massive violent uprising to get rid of these fools.


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