Before I jump hooves on the issue that is moral policing, I reckon morality is an issue which needs a brief address first. Morality is concerned with the principles that help in making a distinction between right and wrong. Morality helps us to make choices, drive our thought process and implement it in day to day activities. A strong moral structure is essential for a comprehensive personality of an individual. Here's the catch though, morality is subjective, it has no bounds. Your sense of right and wrong might be completely different for another person, or some things may also fall under the moral grey area. Therefore, morality is at a constant struggle with other person's perception of morality leading to various challenges, quarrels, debates frequently. But when one oversteps his boundaries and attempts to shove his moral principles down someone's throat, then that spells trouble.
India's current transition is a complicated one. India is moving drastically from a traditional set of values to more liberalized modern ones. There are bound to be patrons on each side and the general pleb population is averse to change. On the other hand you have the young rebels who dispose off the traditional values and become disciples of the modern ones. Since the basic idea is that modernization is a practice propounded by the west, this turns into a conflict between the western culture and the Indian culture.
Many vigilante groups, political parties, pressure groups sell the idea of being the guardian of the Indian culture. But what is "Indian culture" really? Is it something that falls in the way of someone's celebration at the bar or a pub? Is it something that is opposed to the idea of a day of love and affection? Does it create an obstacle for women who have the freedom to wear whatever clothes they set their heart on? All said and done, they have an opinion like i do one. And i respect that. But when they enforce their opinion without the consent of others and use physical or non-physical force in doing so, then that creates a fiasco, and that is when the case of moral policing steps in. Because moral policing poses a threat to an individual's liberty, it is often seen as a rather desperate attempt to to preserve the every last bit of chunk of the indigenous culture to fall prey to the foreign one.
There have been many incidents of moral policing in our country, more so ever to secure vote banks or to act as "protectors" of the Indian culture. Political parties always seem to be at the helm of moral policing, indulging in ridiculous acts with their leaders making outrageous statements. Other than political parties, pressure groups, vigilante groups, or even police are seen to be indulging in such acts. Now what are the activities that these groups condemn?
There is a wide umbrella of activities that the groups disapprove of, be it public displays of affection, alcohol, partying in pubs and many more. Basically a wide array of activities that were supposedly brought about by the western world, making it an extreme polarization between ours and theirs.
Vandalizing, filing defamation cases, lawsuits, self immolation are some of the ridiculous acts that these groups have resorted to following a particular incident. This usually leads to instability, violence, and inconvenience not only on the part of the general population but also the governmental machinery.
Now I am not going to debate on the pros and cons of both the cultures, because it is very subjective. But I will say this, acceptance levels need to be altered regarding the varied conceptions of Indian culture among people. I always find that relentless energy is wasted in deciding which culture is better suited for us and what a person should or should not do. Now we know that India is a country where there is an influx of mindsets living under one roof, so conflicts are inevitable. We need to develop a system which respects other's values and ways of living. Now I know that sounds very quixotic when it comes to the real world. But we have to work towards that. Individualistic freedom needs to be given a change in this country so that a more harmonious, peaceful society is created.
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