Enough has been said and written about social discrimination people in our country face for belonging to a particular caste, colour, language or race. This post is not about that. People even in the west face some kind of discrimination – though nothing sort of the level seen here.
I want to highlight a very different kind of discrimination – that against rivers, mountains, animals, days of the week, food!!! and what not..
Sounds stupid? Well…..
Our people discriminate against rivers and mountains by ranking them on their Holiness quotient. So we’ve some rivers holier than the other. Which means its okay to pee in the Vishwamitri but you can’t pee in the Ganga. Which is not to say that they don’t pee in the Ganga. This holy tag really doesn’t help now – does it?
Next come animals – Cow being the holiest of them all. Its absolutely okay to kill, beat, whip or stone a dog or a pig or any other animal for that matter except cows which have to be treated like a goddesses.
We’ve associated days of the weeks with worshiping different gods. So on Mondays people go to the temple of Shiva, Tuesdays and Saturdays are for Hanuman and so on…
Amavas is considered a bad day to start any new venture.
And recently I also found out during lunch hour in my office that only a specific cereal must be cooked on a particular day of the week. So come Wednesday and 9 out of 10 guys is going to bring moong-ki-daal. The only updside of this being you get to know 10 different ways of preparing moong-ki-dal.
Coming to food – you cannot cook Khichdi (even with other items) on an auspicious occasion like the few days just preceding a marriage in the family – “Don’t ask why, you can’t cook Khichdi. That’s it“. Lemons have come to be associated with bad luck. So some of my neighbours and acquaintances won’t accept a few lemons from my backyard. I feel bad when they reject such a nice gesture. And I pity them too. What is the poor lemon’s fault? What did it do?
Banana’s and Coconuts are considered to be sacred fruits most ideal to offer to the gods. There may be many more such examples.
What do these things say about our society? The society has become so docile – it has become void of any rationality. By and large I believe these people are cowards because they don’t want to question established norms and customs. Lest they become outcasts. What kind of lives these people live – timid?
What’s your take on this topic?