Presently in India, what is being touted by crusaders of modernity in culture for rural India to adopt in fact is a way of life that has emerged with immigrants with no social roots of their own to contend, while settled communities worldwide have been living with their own cultural mores corresponding to their settled ways of subsistence, gaining ground through a long process of assimilation.
This is what is being attempted feverishly now to make the scheme ‘irretrievable’, as was declared so by the then Finance Minister while embarking on this charted course in 1991 on the floor of Lok Sabha.
American type of economy needs an American type of culture, which is the culture of immigrants in the nation of immigrants and where sex is a commodity freely available at the call of market with no inhibitions attached, turning it into an object of entertainment on a price.
Women Liberation Movement there has made it easy for females to convert with existential concepts in vogue. This is recent history and well rehearsed.
Immigrants are a rootless lot always, having no ground of their own to stand firmly upon and no community to care about. Survival of the individual becomes the law that governs relations with adjustments here and there to iron out patently divisive edges. Cooperation between them is like those of marketeers, governed by the rule of convenience of merchants to the command of money power.
Man and woman are slaves to the rule of money-wage with little or no emotional relationship in between. Freedom for each is to be free for sale and/or purchase of their capabilities as per rule of market or dictate of the powerful master. The code to exist or adjustment in such a domineering milieu is the culture of immigrants.
Other fringe apps are decoration pieces to make living a bit easy in the midst of frenzy. Immigrants, unless they are given chance to settle for taking roots for a community to emerge, are a difficult lot to assimilate and are generally not permitted universally to mix with regular settlements.
But in America, economy took over rapidly giving no chance for them to settle and grow into defined communities and consequently the culture also took a different course which now defines an altogether different category.
The culture, likewise, in a settled community corresponds to its way of subsistence that is characteristic of agriculture. India is still largely a nation of villages with settled communities having family-labour based subsistence agriculture and allied occupations that gave it a culture of its own and as distinct to immigrants’ culture.
It is distinctly different from America culture on this account. The concepts of brotherhood (bhaichara), cooperation, inter-dependence and mutual trust are traits that keep agriculture operations running smoothly in a community setting here.
To denounce these traits, in the name of fighting ‘old (feudal) traditions and customs in favour of industrial-commercial customs, virtually is a war cry against agriculture based economy of rural India.
To present customs and traditions, ipso fact, good or bad is mischievously flogging a wrong horse. Each category of era, be it agriculture or commercial-industrial has its own distinct set of customs and traditions for smooth delivery. Traditions and customs do not come down from the blue; these are the tools of respective mode of life based on method of subsistence in each era.
When traditions and customs based on agricultural life in rural India are flogged as despicable, feudal, anti-national and anti-development the message is clearly for the commercial-industrial ones to take over, even if the object remains unsaid and under cover for deception.
The tussle between the two is thus being forced to take final shape without first analysing which one goes in favour of society, taking for granted that industrial-commercial mode is the sure path for bliss while world wide it is in cyclic crisis to the detriment of majority and breeding constantly deleterious strife in trail. What is there so progressive about it?
It is non sequitur. If one is not conditioned to repeat clichés, ad nauseam, industrial-commercial mode under corporate capital or under the so-called socialist dispensation, so experimented during twentieth century, does not provide conclusive answer in its favour. Why? We will see it a bit later. First, a related aspect of immediate relevance.
In larger part, like Haryana, western UP, Rajasthan, Punjab, MP villages are mostly settlements of kinsmen. Large number of them developed as habitat of blood relations on separation. The culture so developed is ingrained with customs and traditions that act like code of conduct for smooth functioning between families having distinct traits of their ancestors.
Villages are thus clusters of kinsmen with a web of relationship that cannot be wished away at will. If disturbed forcefully by any means it will invite uncalled for disaster in trail. Agriculture being their mainstay, villages generally have been free from Brahmanical order, more so in North India to the annoyance of protagonists of sanatanist mythology.
This area has been nurturing a way of life which is more secular and mundane with its own customs and traditions to regulate the social life. A sort of truce worked that made this area fiercely independent in self governance; interference in community, family affairs was never accepted from outside forces and remained free from sanatanist oppression, inviting a scornful attention from brahmanical orthodoxy.
This is the background of a running prejudice against Jat community and its way of life since long in such circles that clouds judgement on issues as khap since media was able to project it deliberately in its recent campaign as a practice with the Jats, which is far away from ground reality.
Take an example: Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 has many provisions that cross customary laws of many regions and invite scorn from unwilling communities in a country of diversity. It seems many things were sought to be stream rolled by back door politics in the early period of independence through legislations of this kind. One such provision in the said Act ordains that no one will be allowed to marry a widow of his brother.
The provision is there in this piece since 1956 but who cares? It appears that few members of that time feared this type of dichotomy to work against harmony and invite trouble later. See a case in point: While speaking on Hindu Code Bill in the Provisional Parliament on 22 September, 1951 one member representing Punjab, from Haryana region, cautioned against inviting such disasters.
He ‘objected to efforts imposing Manu or Yajnavalkya law when none from his region, whether Hindu, Sikh or Muslim has not asked to over ride their customary law. He said: I cannot help saying that this attempt is nothing but an act of abuse of power because we should have applied this Hindu Code Bill to those only who wanted to be governed by it....our race did not yield to the Brahmanic rules...and I am opposed to the back-door method through which it has developed.
I disagree with regard to the rules and regulations which you are enacting in respect of marriage and divorce without caring for the prevailing customs. You can differentiate between the mode of life in a town and that of a village and see how much difference is there between them but still you want to enact a common law for both.
With such a vast difference between their social customs to enact a law which will be against their customs and usages, would be a great injustice to them, he had cautioned.
Since in the presence controversy developing around ‘honour’ killings, if someone or some group of people happens to ask for change in Hindu Marriage laws cannot be a sin, unless one is prejudiced that the demand has come from people from Jat community when such killings in recent past have not remained confined to any one caste or community.
There are few pockets of immigrants or forcefully displaced ones here also taking cultural shift akin to immigrants. The rapid urbanisation is giving rise to a class of people of late who feel easy more with culture of immigrants, though Indian towns and cities in general, barring few metropolitan urban centres, had enjoyed community settlements which now are threatened to an alien atmosphere more akin to immigrants.
The question then begs as to what are those reasons a change in the mode of subsistence and culture of a settled way of life is being sought to that of a vagabond life for these rural folks by these crusaders?
Why freedom of sex, sexuality and marriage are touted so forcefully these days and who stands to gain from such nefarious change? Why this time is selected for such issues as sex, sexuality and marriage by this campaign and who stands to loose by this choice i.e. what are the motives behind this tirade.