Thursday, 6 September 2018

Why India is a Misunderstood Nation?

When I wrote the blog "Same love" about section 377 back in June 2015, I never thought that in just 3 years we would achieve this groundbreaking victory for gay rights. I am thrilled to hear that Supreme court has put an end to one of the oldest, unjust law of criminalizing consensual gay sex. Of course legalization doesn't mean that overnight people's attitude would change. I am acutely aware of how many stubborn, close-minded people exists in our country. But it definitely is a beginning, a legal restoration of basic human right.

We often find ourselves unhappy and dissatisfied because we compare ourselves with someone who we think is better than us, perhaps more rich or more successful. There is nothing wrong with that as such, in fact it is one of the driving forces which makes us ambitious and driven. But I feel there has to be a balance, after all what is the point of living if you never reap the benefits of your hard work. It is sad if you never had a moment where you stood and admired what you have, how blessed you are compared to the lower end of spectrum.

We as a nation are always comparing ourselves to the top most developed countries in the world (who by the way weren't born that way, they had to struggle and after few centuries reached this stage) and find ourselves constantly judging and complaining.

But once you broaden your perspective and get a complete picture of the world, you will realize that we are supremely blessed nation. Look at our neighbouring country Myanmar, which had been under brutal military rule for over five decades. During which it was completely cut off from outside world and even now people have restricted rights. Just two days back two of their journalists who uncovered a massacre of Rohingya Muslims were sentenced to seven years in prison for violating state secrets. When compared to that our press is definitely lucky! ( although sadly more and more people are misusing this right and craving for only sensationalization).

Similarly it has been made to look like that India is a worst place to be born in, if you are a woman. I agree we have some seriously psychotic sex addicts walking among us who don't even spare goats, forget about anything remotely looking female human! But strictly speaking in terms of legal right, we are way better than most of the countries around. For example India gave right to vote to women from the very first election in 1951-52, the idea was adopted without much opposition as soon as we gained independence. You will be surprised to know that in Switzerland, women gained the right to vote in federal elections after a referendum in February 1971. Not to mention the fact that many of the middle-east countries gave it only in very recent years.

Recently Iranian photographer Parisa Pourtaherian was in news for being the first female photographer in the country to have covered a national league match. She was banned from entering the football stadium (apparently women are not allowed to enter for men's football match), so she climbed up on a nearby rooftop to cover it. In India, we face such discrimination against women at individual level, like there are some families who are biased but you could always break away from family and escape. What would you do if as a nation, as a legal entity you are discriminated?

Another example for Indian forwardness is when it legalized abortion back in 1971, when many of the US states were yet to do it. As per a recent report "Among the world's 1.64 billion women of reproductive age, fewer than four in 10 (37%) live in countries where abortion is permitted in all circumstances and 6% live in countries where it is banned completely". I know there is still a huge stigma behind abortion in India and not to mention emotional pressure a woman is put through. But the fact remains that she can walk into a hospital alone and without anybody else's permission, take a decision and go ahead with it.

In most of the communist countries being an artist, writer or anyone with free will is almost life threatening! Few days back one of China's best-known artists and government critics, Ai Weiwei's studio was demolished by authorities without notice. In India, even if such things were to happen it would be by a mob of misguided souls who "advocate" a party or religious notion. So you can legally file a case and complain, and even though you may run around the court without getting justice for years, it's still better than a country where government itself openly shuns your freedom.

I agree we are not a perfect nation, in fact we are made aware of it everyday and all day by news reports across the country. But we should acknowledge that our constitutional rights, the very foundation on which this nation was built, are just and admirable. It's we, the people, who need to work on executing these rights and responsibilities. Our problem has always been that we have a huge population, it's very difficult for us to follow the way most developed nations work. To add to this, unlike China we are trying to run it in secular, democratic way..which is almost an impossible feat but we are doing it. So let us be little patient, instead of always criticizing and creating this bad aura, have faith that we can bring about a change.

We never let an outsider bad-mouth about our family and friends on our face right? Consider your country as a family member! By that I don't mean to live in a delusional world and keep saying our country is the best and not accepting the issues we are facing. Instead we should work on those issues slowly but steadily. If we see our own country in bad light that's how rest of the world is going to see us. Can't help but remember something John Lennon said, "You may say I'm a dreamer.. But I'm not the only one" :)

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