By Tanvi Sharma
Edited by Namrata Caleb, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
The old order is being challenged now. In a country which survives on its dogmatic traditions, a transition from the antiquated to the contemporary is a welcome change. In an era where patriarchy is all pervasive and societal norms are quite clichéd, the breaking of old traditions is making way for a better, liberated, diverse and culturally rich society. It is laudable that the choices, attitudes and experiences of today’s youth are radically different than the generations preceding them.
No way can you date boys.
You cannot choose your own life partner.
No jeans or mobile phones for you.
You cannot party late at night.
Your family must come before your career.
Such are the diktats which Indian women were supposed to conform to in traditional society in order to live a dignified life. In fact, these statements made by several politicians, khap panchayats and certain eminent personalities are not very old. However, what is new is that rather than simply conforming to such absurd comments, people are breaking up the shackles and living their lives in whatever way that suits them.
The youth has particularly become progressive in matters of love, career, marriage, sex and money. They no longer like to tread on the so called “socially acceptable” path. There are couples who do not deny their relationships but in fact accept them publicly. More and more people are going for love marriages even if they have to face the wrath of their families including death threats from the families and the panchayats. The young couples seem optimistic about their future and girls are not worried about the “fake honour” due to which their families and communities resist to inter religious and inter caste marriages.
Homosexuality is being widely accepted and there has been a dramatic shift in traditional values related to love, sex and marriage. Sex is no more a “hush-hush” word to be kept inside the closet. The youth openly talk about it and are consequently more aware. Birth control options and the government promoting the use of condoms has also led to wide acceptance of pre-marital sex among the youth. Even family life and social structures are undergoing a drastic change. Marriages are no longer arranged on the basis of caste, community, money, etc. but are rather decided on the basis of love, compatibility and mutual understanding.
Career is no longer meant to be given up for the sake of marriage, family and kids. Indian women are now leading the change. They are equally working with their male counterparts in corporate, government offices and in other business sectors. Girls are now increasingly understanding the importance of education and also the importance of being economically independent. Even the social media and the visual and print media is doing wonders for the emancipation of women and the society as a whole. Philips’ TV commercial “I am not a kitchen appliance” blatantly rejects the patriarchal mind set regarding women’s role after marriage. More and more female centric films and TV shows are gradually making a mark and are contributing towards a slow and steady societal transformation.
Social prejudices and crimes against women are being questioned and it is the youth of the country which is embracing the change. Our country is at crossroads at the moment. We are stuck between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. However, change is inevitable and the Indian revolution has begun!Tanvi firmly believes in the power of words over weapons. She is here to change the way people look at things. An avid reader, a closet singer and an inveterate foodie who can live her entire life on the Internet.