Indians are probably the biggest hypocrites. Growing up in this country, you experience several such moments every single day and after a while you get used to of it simply because you have no choice. Gender equality is an unheard of phenomenon in our great country. Religious freedom is another illusion. Freedom of speech is limited to a certain section of people. And don’t even get me started on the greatness of culture! A few examples that provoke me to shout it out are outlined in this post although I could write a similar piece every single day, several times in a day!

If we ever come across domestic violence, we do one or all of the following:

  • Refuse to believe the victim and advise them not to take the fight to ‘that level’ next time
  • Talk about the victim (man/woman) behind their back rather than the perpetrator of violence
  • Tell the victim they have no choice but to live with their spouse as that’s what the society expects

As a result, there are many men and women who choose to stay in violent relationships than become a topic of discussion. Women are scared every other man will hit on them because they don’t have a husband in their life. If a woman has left her husband, she must be ‘easy’ or ‘available’. She must have needs that any man is ready to swoop in to fulfill! Men, on the other hand, cannot even voice that they are physically abused because the society will blame them for not being man enough! What does that even mean?

When we hear of an extra marital affair, who do we blame? The woman. The woman must have used her charms to entice the man. Or, why would a man not indulge in sex when a woman is willing? Yes, of course, because it’s the birth right of men to get physical whenever they have an opportunity, while the women should be chaste and faithful.

When a child is abused by some relative, we ask them to be quiet about it. The child keeps wondering if they did something wrong. They grow up to believe they somehow were responsible for what happened to them.

When a woman wears short dresses and becomes a victim of eve-teasing or molestation, we say – well, what did she expect, dressing up like that? Why don’t we blame the molesters saying why did they do that? Of course, she aroused some feelings in them by her dress or behavior or any damn reason in the world. But the molesters are not to be blamed. I am unable to understand why all those memories of someone winking at me or groping me in a bus are painful for me and are probably something the man must have bragged about to his friends.

When we come to know that a certain guy is gay, what is the first reaction? Most of the time it is – he doesn’t look gay! How does someone ‘look’ gay? Or some people start analyzing why that person is gay. Well, does there always have to be a reason for something? Why are you straight? If you are exploring the reason behind someone’s sexuality, doesn’t it mean that you think something is abnormal against something else? I say – may be it is normal to be bisexual or gay, maybe it is abnormal to be straight. Who decides what is normal? Why should someone even want to define normal or abnormal in this case?

Take the other case in this matter. If you hear a woman being lesbian, most of the men start fantasizing about her making out with another woman. And for many people, being lesbian is a lesser abnormality than being gay. Why? Because the fantasies are far more exciting. Isn’t it?

Oh and we can’t understand a woman being expressive of her sexuality. That is such a big anomaly, an offense even, to our so called culture. If she knows what she desires and says it honestly without mincing her words, then she must be crazy or a whore. What else? Yes, there are other synonyms for such women, but she can never be called honest. Oh well, because the land of Kamasutra and Ajanta caves believes in sexual freedom for men only. After all, women are second rate humans. Right?

Now the matters of religion. We say Hinduism is a great religion etc. I agree that on the principles it is. In fact, all religions are great on the principles. But what about in practice? A religion is only as great as the people who practice it. Although I am very close to God, I don’t light a lamp every day. I don’t bow my head in front of each temple that I pass on the way. I have complete faith and I remember Him in happiness and sorrow. I am constantly thanking him for everything.  I may be called a Muslim supporter for this but I am going to say this. The whole country is voicing their support against triple talaq, but what about the dowry system, wife bashing, child marriages etc in Hinduism that we turn a blind eye to? Do we Hindus treat our women with respect? Does a Hindu woman have equal rights in marriage? Do Hindu men treat their wives with as much respect as they treat their sisters or mothers? Or worse, aren’t there any Hindu men who are violent towards their mothers and sisters as well? Do we rejoice as much when a daughter is born as we do on the birth of a son?

Now, let’s talk about working women. Although this is a global issue rather than a national one, yet I think we are still in the mindset that a woman is not a bread winner but is working as a hobby or just to pass time. We almost never take women employees seriously and they are paid much less than their male counterparts because of the assumption that she is not a bread winner. We always assume that if she is single then what does she need the money for? She doesn’t need to save for her wedding as her father would have saved the money for it. Plus, the husband will take care of her after marriage so she doesn’t really need to save anything. If she is married, then of course, she has a husband, so her salary is just a bonus for the family. And then, she would never be as dedicated towards her work as a man because she must be doing it just as a hobby! This assumption comes from both men and women, by the way. Even in IT industry which is very progressive so to say, there are very few women in high positions. In my organization, in the top most executive level, there is only one woman head, in the legal department.

Look at the other side of the coin. Take teaching industry, specially schools. Most of the teachers are female and the male teachers are looked down upon. The general thinking being a guy must not have got any good opportunity anywhere else so he became a teacher. Still, the male teachers are feared more by students and parents. Students hit on female teachers, objectify her and parents too sometimes think she is easier to talk down to. Male teachers may not have to go through these issues but do not earn as much respect from society in general as they would if they were not in this industry.

Then, look at how we treat our children. Oh we are so great parents, aren’t we? We allow our kids to stay with us beyond 18, unlike some western countries. We take so much pride in our so called “family values”. The truth of the matter is this. How good a child is considered in the family is directly dependent on how much potential he/she has to earn for the parents or help them in any way. As soon we have kids, we start teaching them how they have to take care of us or return our favor of taking care of them, in our old age. In fact, many parents shamelessly say that it was the reason to have kids, so that we have someone to care for us in our old age. After all, didn’t we bring them up, fulfill their wishes, spent all our lives on them? Well, we do spend a lifetime in bringing up the kids. But if you don’t want to see them as individuals, just as your caretakers, then it’s better you don’t have kids. I have seen parents forcing their children to do a certain course or a job just so that they can be near to their parents. I am not against children caring for their parents, I am against parents’ seeing their children having only that sole purpose in life. I personally look forward to the day when my children will start living their lives, doing what they want to do, what they are best at, going anywhere in the world their passion takes them. I don’t care if they live with me or not, they should just be happy in their lives and they should be trying to fulfill their life goals, not mine! I had a whole lifetime to do what I wanted, why force that on my kids? Why should they have the responsibility of living my dreams? They have a right to live their lives as they desire, it’s that simple. As a mother, I have and will make sacrifices for them, but I have no right to ask them to do it in return.

Look at relationships, specifically friendships. A man and woman can never be friends, says our revered Bollywood industry. Then, it must be true since that’s where the youth gets its education from. So the fact that a woman has many guy friends and she can discuss anything with them, must mean she has a ‘lose character’, correct? What about a guy who has many female friends? He must be so respectful towards them, he must be popular, he is even branded as “Kanhaiya” – God! Really? So it’s a God-like quality to have many women friends, but it is a slut-like quality to have many men friends.

A man making jokes about his wife, in her absence, in front of his colleagues is considered cool. If a woman does that, well, you guessed it, she is a thankless bitch! How dare she? Almost all the jokes about marriage out there put a wife in a negative light, not a husband. If a couple is working, then what does the man do when he returns home? Watches TV! After all, he has to know what is going around in the world, or he needs some form of entertainment, doesn’t he? What does the wife do? Well, she has to cook, watch the kids, prepare for the next day etc etc. And then, after all that, she is supposed to please the husband in bed, because he needs it, you know!

Although the wife is the primary caregiver for the kids, they carry the name of their father. In fact, in our great country, the school admission still requires a father’s name for filling up an application form, although mother’s name is optional. So a child is always required to have a father, but can be without a mother. Wow! Even in the case of a divorce, the children still carry the name of the father. The schools will allow admission to a child if the father just leaves the mother’s details blank, however, a mother will have to provide the name of the father as well as a reason why his details would be absent, from the application. What a wonderful system we have. How awesome it is that a woman is supposed to do everything for a man to make his life easier, yet when it comes to having rights, she has none. She just has roles – mother, sister, wife, friend, daughter-in-law, daughter…Men will be men. No roles, no responsibilities.

Well, isn’t it easier for men to remarry whatever the situation? So is the case when the spouse dies. Sad but true. A woman wanting to remarry is again going against the expectations of society, while a man has right to remarry even when he becomes a widower at 60.

Since I am writing all this, I must be someone who hates India or men or the institution of marriage, right? Go on, tell me to leave the country and stay where I don’t find such hypocrisy!

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