June 22, 2010

Indian Values, Raising Children

Apu

THE DVD OF LOVE, Sex aur Dhokha has been lying around at home for some time, but it was only over this weekend that I got around to watching it. Directed by Dibakar Banerjee (of Khosla ka Ghosla fame), LSD is actually three stories in one, with peripheral links to each other.

The first one is a mushy love story, the second an MMS sex scandal and the third, about the media’s voracious appetite for ‘stings’. It is the second and third stories that really hold your attention; the first one is slow to heat up and I almost forwarded a little of the first 10-15 minutes. Yet, my mind keeps going back to it. (This post isn’t a movie review though.)

*Spoilers here, beware!*

When the love story of Rahul, aspiring director at a film institute and Shruti, the “Simran” of his film begins, it is hard not to think of this love story as more a paean to DDLJ than anything else. Cheesy like the film they are making, it is hard to imagine that Rahul and Shruti really love anything beyond the feeling of being in love.

And yet, given the conservative family Shruti comes from, there is no possibility of their dating or getting to know each other. Love must lead to an elopement and marriage almost immediately. Rahul’s blithe confidence that after marriage, the family will “come around”, is almost revolting to watch in its stupidity. The end, when it comes, is gruesome, even though nothing of this honour killing is really shown.

Just yesterday, the Supreme Court has issued a notice asking the Central Government (and a few states), why they are doing nothing to combat the recent spate of honour killings.

The thing about us Indians is that we pride ourselves on our superior ‘Indian values’; we lose no chance to deride Western societies for their (alleged) lack of affection, ‘family values’ and morality. Nowhere is this more evident than in our smug attitude to the upbringing of children. It is so common to hear people talking as though Indians are the only people that know how to bring up children well – everywhere else, children are neglected, spoilt, abused and grow up to have no love for their parents.

And yet, this is the country where a good chunk of people are all too ready to sacrifice their children in the name of honour, society, family name and blah blah. Honour killing is one extreme end of the spectrum, but the unwillingness to accept children’s choices and their happiness as a primary consideration exists in many other forms, ranging from emotional blackmail to being ‘cast out of the family’.

Gajar-ka-halwa aside, we need to stop kidding ourselves. I suppose we have good and bad parents like everywhere else, but no magic beans that qualify us as the best parents on earth.

7 comments to Indian Values, Raising Children

  • Yes, it’s not just the honour killings, and marrying right, but also career choices, and starting way earlier than that, the great marks race, which is school. We suffer, or rather our children do, from too much ‘concern’.

  • neo

    Great post. By pushing everyone to become a parent regardless of interest, skill or temperament, Indian culture almost by definition guarantees mediocrity in parenting.

    -Neo

  • Thanks for this great post. I only hope more people felt the same way!

  • In a typical Indian household , and I talk about a small town and rural homes, children are not seen as individuals with feelings or having capacity to think as intelligent beings. They are loved and cared for as one would a toy or a plaything.On the girls especially, lies the burden of family’s “izzat”(honour), boys can play the field. This attitude ,unfortunately,exists even among the literate of the society. It gets a religious and hence a moral sanction of the society. A complete social revolution is required to change the scenario and it will start when girls take up a stand.Till then ‘dis’honour killings , emotional blackmail will make news irrespective of the ‘gajar ka halwa.

  • Its great stuff.Its nice and excellent quality content that is forever updated.Thanks for sharing us.I was looking about….

  • Vir

    Superior Indian Values, what a load of tosh ! The first step is always “know thyself”. What is feminism anyway … and Indian Feminism ?! The only difference between a man and a woman is biological.

  • I’m gonna be a mommy in January! I have got another scan on Saturday! Were all of you this happy?

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