What is the problem with the culture in India? My take is that we are too casual about everything. 70 years on from independence and we still don’t know how to treat half of our population decently. We still don’t care about where we throw our garbage. We still don’t care about mental health or equality. Rapes, murders, corruption, plastics in the water, sewage on the roads, garbage in the rivers, etc. have become so commonplace in daily news that we’re almost desensitised to these occurrences.
The case of the 27 year old veterinarian who was raped, tortured, murdered and burned by four men prompted me to write this article. Here are four members of the trucking community (which has a bad image as is), puncturing the tyre of this woman’s motorcycle and then kidnapping her on the pretext of fixing the tyre. Where is their decency? Where is the pride in their work? Where is the love for a fellow working class citizen who dedicated her life to the welfare of animals? If these “men” (I hesitate to call them as such) had cultivated a pride for their motherland, respect for their own mothers, reverence towards the founders of the nation, and love for the people they see, how much more could they have achieved in their lives? For a people who always think about practical matters such as education, saving money, investments, family planning, etc., it is ironic that such monstrosities continue to fly under the radar. Who is to blame? We all are. If we had taken more active roles in society, we could’ve helped these people be better. We could’ve prevented such heinous acts.
I think, to bring about a change, we as a people need to have one important thing – respect. Respect for fellow citizens and people of the world. Respect for animals and their rightful habitats. Respect for nature and natural resources. Most importantly, respect for the law. The Constitution is not just a big book meant to control the population; it seeks to propagate the core ideology of who we are as a nation and who we are as individuals. People need to understand that respecting the law is what makes them Indian and what makes a civilised society. Once we learn to respect the law, we will automatically become more respectful to every single facet of society and nature.
We need to be respectful, we need to teach respect and we need to earn respect. Good is just as powerful (if not more) than evil, and can spread just as fast. Take active roles in society. Teach people right and wrong in a way that they would care to listen. Strike up conversations with the stranger next to you when you take the bus. Write posts on social media. Every step counts. Every little act counts. To respect the law is to respect the foundations of civilisation. It is the basic criterion for decency.
On the 26th of November, we celebrated 70 years since the Constitution of India was drafted. I respect and admire our Constitution; it was drafted by the most brilliant, the most open, and the most inclusive of minds. It demands and commands respect. And it is our duty as citizens to do so, as clearly seen in the Preamble- we the people secure to all citizens. Not just the government or the police. All of us. We shall let the Constitution guide us to be righteous- enough so that we become fit to modify and update it to be with the times. Lacking this respect means we violate the very core of India’s identity. We are fit to be banished. We shall not befit the fundamental rights and protections offered to us. We are not Indians.