The Hypocrisy Of Democracy


In what is widely being regarded as a landmark decision in India, the Supreme Court declared live-in relationships and premarital sex between consenting adults as fully within the law and legal. This comes after the actress Khushboo’s controversial statement where she said that, “No educated man would expect his [bride] to be a virgin”. “Please tell us what is the offence and under which section should she be charged? Tell me how many people have been affected by Kushboo’s statement?” asked Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan. In a single unresearched statement the actress has questioned the morality of women of India, thats what’s wrong Mr. Chief Justice. And this coming from the very people who have the unwritten job of upholding India’s identity.

Former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court and BJP MP Rama Jois today said Indian scriptures bar premarital sex and Indian society still consider pre-marital sexual relationship not good. Quoting from scriptures, he said one of the nine directives of dhrama prescribed by Mahabharata was “Prajanseveshu dareshu” one should procure children only under wedlock which by necessary implication bars pre-marital sexual activity between man and woman, he said. In a predominantly religious state like India, where does the Supreme Court’s decision stand? Isn’t it just loosely based upon miming the West? Let me not even go into the health issues such practices can create. In a country where HIV has affected more people than in any other country, this new decision doesn’t help the cause. An estimated 19 million people a year in the U.S. become infected with some form of STD. Are we ready to face this in India? Will we handle it better than the US?

In a country where we harp about our cultures and traditions, this decision is a rude awakening call. With India opening to the West both technologically and culturally, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Supreme Court decides that we (the youth) should be mentally open to such “radical” ideas. Bravo to the judiciary system of India for trampling over what few moral values we have left in this “progressing” country of ours. Forget the need to educate the masses, to alleviate the poverty-stricken, to stand for what India truly represents; our honorable Supreme Court doesn’t mind corrupting the young minds of the nation towards the ideologies of the so called “advanced” West. Let us remember that it is the same country which had introduced the ban on bar dancers in Mumbai not long ago. Call me orthodox or conservative, but to me the need to accept the Western ideas while retaining our Indian identity is of primary importance. Now cynics may say that when we have accepted Western music, food, fashion, why do we a draw a line when it comes to this issue? The simple reason is that while our varied culture has allowed integration of a lot of Western practices, there are still some that are simply incompatible with it. Why don’t we go ahead and allow strip clubs to run here in India? It’s a western idea isn’t it? How about gay bars? The recently legalized gay community in India may soon make a demand for them under the right to freedom of assembly. Will the Supreme Court deny them that on moral grounds then? Why then do we cringe about these ideas when we’re open to all other western practices? Aren’t we being hypocritical?

“Marriage is an outdated institution with no security. A true relationship is devoid of social and personal pressures. It has less emotional breakdowns, but it comes with responsibilities,” says filmmaker Vikram Bhatt, who was in a live-in relationship with actress Ameesha Patel. A quick look at the readily available statistics reveal that 46% of all marriages in the US, the biggest proponent of live-in relationships and premarital sex, end in divorces. Where then does it leave Mr. Bhatts statement?

“Who is anybody to judge if two people want to stay together?”  asks Pooja Bedi, but goes on to add, “A live-in requires serious commitment. And now with the Supreme Court backing it, it is no longer frivolous”. By saying this does she mean that unless someone declares a practice frivolous, we are to continue doing it without restrictions?

On a different note, lets take a look at democracy in Europe. We must have all read about the French president Sarkozy’s promise to ban the veil in France. “The full veil is contrary to the dignity of women,” he says.  He has blissfully ignored the sentiments of the women, both religious and moral. Ask a woman why she wears a veil and she’ll tell you that it is to protect her dignity. The law does more harm than good. It instills the feeling of victimization among the Muslim fraternity. Mr.Sarkozy’s statement is a paradox then, isn’t it? Are we to accept France as a democracy then? A democracy which doesn’t allow its people to wear what they want freely without questioning them? How would the Indian public feel if the government banned bikinis in India? Isn’t a bikini “contrary to the dignity of women”?

Switzerland has recently banned the construction of Minarets stating that “Swiss residents should be able to block unwanted and unusual projects such as the erection of Islamic minarets”. Another puzzling decision taken in a democracy. Why shouldn’t a people be allowed to construct symbols of their faith? Does the construction of minarets harm anybody? Why then discriminate and victimize your citizens who are after all only demanding freedom of expression of their faith?

This is the hypocrisy of Democracy.

It’s about time we stop blowing the trumpet of Freedom and Democracy, because not only do we seem to be ill equipped to uphold the true spirit of Democracy, we are also engaged, knowingly or unknowingly, in advocating and encouraging an intolerant society which has tuned its back on its cultural and moral roots.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andrea Voyer on March 31, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I agree that democracies can often be hypocritical. However, I don’t understand how you can criticize the Indian courts for upholding the legality of pre-marital sex/co-habitation and then criticize the French for banning the veil. The way I see it, the Indian courts are willing to allow the Indian people to make their own cultural and moral decisions, while the French government is unwilling to respect the cultural and moral decisions of their citizens.
    What is the right course of action? Should the State legislate morality? It seems to me that, if you think that the State should, you cannot complain when the state-sanctioned moral code is imposed on other cultures. Instead you are not complaining about injustice, just the fact that your personal beliefs aren’t the ones being imposed on the nation.

    Reply

  2. No, I’m not suggesting that the state legislate something as abstract as morality. Imagine if it proposes to legalize euthanasia next, surely the society would be divided over the morality or immorality of the decision.
    What I’m simply saying is that in a country where such practices are largely still considered a taboo, the decision will only serve to fragment the society and the gap between tradition and modernity will further widen. In other words, I do not want my country to be reduced to and be seen as a poor man’s West.

    Reply

  3. I am pleased that I discovered this weblog , precisely the right info that I was looking for! .

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