Monday, March 26, 2012

Time to change.


We spend our entire lives concerned only about those things near and dear to us. Not everyone can become a social worker, and not everyone should. I don't want to preach social values, I'm hardly the kind of person who has the right to do that. There are so many aspects of our society that we know need to be changed or refined; be it education, health, religion. We all know it, but we do nothing about it; simply because it doesn't affect us. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that, either.

I hardly gave animal rights a thought, till someone called a dog-catcher to capture the very lovable strays in our area. Though I never really fancied our education system, I didn't feel like changing it, until I suffered from the mental pressure it put on me. I never thought about changing the despicable traffic in our country, till I lost my father to a car accident.

A while after my father's accident, I was with my mother at a bank, where she had to take care of some documents. When she checked the box that said "widow" on a form that she was filling out, I couldn't stop the sudden tears that came rushing to my eyes. With the word 'widow' come to mind old history lessons about reform by Jotiba Phule and what's-his-name and phrases like 'abolition of sati' pop up in my memory. I would never have imagined the word to be so real, so relevant in my life. The first time my mother asked a woman, who was visiting, to apply the haldi-kunku on her forehead herself (because a widow is supposedly not allowed to do that) I realized much of what we label 'discrimination' is self inflicted. Thinking back to those days, when my mother instinctively felt 'odd' to go to a function dressed in bright, fancy clothes, I realized that if there's one thing we need to change in this society, it's the way we think.

Not everyone, as I said, can sacrifice their personal interests and become a social worker. It is not fair to expect that from each and everyone. But you can change society even by changing your perspectives on the smallest of things. The next time you tease a fat girl or call someone 'gay'; stop and think about it, their personal life is none of your business. Religion is not a duty; it's a choice - you can pray to God as much as you want, but you shouldn't judge me for choosing not to do it. The best way to change the education system, is to stop studying only for the exams, stop mugging up "questions and answers" and focus on understanding the concepts - you have all the necessary resources and more; books, television, internet. What people might say, shouldn't stop you from doing what you want. Walking into a temple at that time of the month should seem no different from sneezing in a temple. Becoming a widow shouldn't stop you from wearing a mangalsutra; it's your mangalsutra and it's your goddamn neck.

People are always going to be there waiting; crouched, hungry wolves ready to pounce on you, and seize away your rights. It's up to you to stop them. I'm not saying this is going to stop all the child marriages and sati practices still prevalent in the remote parts of the country. What I am saying is, it will still certainly make a difference. The change doesn't have to colossal, no one is asking you to become the next Mother Teresa. What I am saying is, every time someone smiles and tells my mother "Are you kidding? You know that stuff doesn't matter to us, you're the one who should apply the haldi-kunku."; it makes a difference.

(The Time To Change contest on Indiblogger made me publish a non-book-related post on this bookish blog.)

10 comments:

Abhinav said...

Wonderful and an honest post. I have been working in a social segment by choice for over 5 months now.I was in the midst of getting into B schools and i found this time suitable to give something back to the society.
Here is a post from me which i did sometime back.
http://littlestepstonirvana.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/realization-of-a-greater-purpose-in-life/

Gopinath Sekar said...

Priya, A honest post and it is definitely time to change from this system that is making us all like native Indians. still more room to improve i suppose. The post was really good you should have posted it for the contest. :)

Priya said...

Thanks! It's a really commendable thing to actually go out there and make a difference; good work :)

Priya said...

Thanks! I guess there's always room for improvement...

Maun Vision said...

very concerned post. Real efforts needed to make the mentality changes be seen.

KayEm said...

You are right. It is your neck. Some traditions are wonderful and some not. Ultimately the choice has to be yours. You've got to stand up to the nay sayers; depend on your humanity and common sense rather than on certain rituals that tie you down and make you feel like they are a noose around your neck.

Priya said...

That is so true! And that's what I meant; it seems hard to shake off the feeling that what everyone else says matters; it is difficult but doable. You have to stand up for yourself.
Thanks for stopping by :)

Priya said...

That's true. Glad you stopped by!

Sanveer Singh said...

Great read.

Priya said...

Sanveer, thanks! :)

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