Traditionally, in India a person is supposed to be a virgin till he/she gets married. However this was usually not a problem because Indians used to get married early almost immediately after they start working. Being financially independent (strong) is important because in most cases the bride and the groom have to seek approval from the parents and the approval comes easily if the boy is financially able to support him and the girl.
However now a days with the emphasis on university education and even post-graduation degree, the marriageable age is getting pushed. So it is not uncommon to meet a 25 year old virgin and in some extreme cases he/she can be as old as 30 years ago because it now takes longer for a guy to complete his education and get a stable job. Times are changing and pre-marital sex is no longer a taboo, but still for many it’s a problem if they lose their virginity to someone other than their fiancé (or would be fiancé).
According to my African friend, who once had an Indian girlfriend and has spent a lot of time in India, this delay is sex creates a barrier between the desires and the practices which is unnatural. It creates a sexual tension and uneasiness, a barrier that prevent the Indian youth to express themselves freely and openly. According to him this causes frustration and might even lead to the increasing crime level.
Being no authority on the subject, I am unable to impartially and accurately comment on the issue. However I strongly believe that it’s only our generation that is facing this transition hiccups. The previous generation had not much problems with chastity because they used to get married early. It’s this generation that wants to follow the traditions, yet be considered cool enough in the modern society with changing values. Most likely the next generation will not face this problem because the transition from a conservative traditional society to the modern liberal society would be complete by then.
2 days ago when I was asking about “what keeps the country together” only one thought came to my mind:Indians don’t even have a name for their country, religion or region.
There was a river flowing at the Eastern Boundary of the Persian Empire which the Indians called Sindh. The Muslims called it Hind (and hence the name Hindu (which is the name of the main religion of India) and Hindustan (which is what the Indians call their country). The Europeans (esp. the French) pronounced this region Inde which the British called as India and the river as Indus.
Incidentally no portion of the river Indus flows in India anymore. When the Europeans took to the sea, they started labeling almost every new culture as Indians, irrespective of whether they had any ties with India or not. So now many races in Northern and Southern America are also called Indians even though they bear no resemblance.
I was raised in an environment where we did not have much of a choice. The major decisions are made easy because in reality you are not taking them. Its governed by the norms and expectations of the parents, society, relatives and even teachers.
You study hard because the neighbor’s kids have higher grades. You speak English and not your mother tongue because that is a sign of being educated. After schooling you have no choice but to pursue engineering or medicine because it is hard to support oneself on art or sports. After the bachelors one has to pursue MBA. Not because they want to but because that is expected of them by others. Jobs, marriage, kids, house, cars everything is governed by one big question “What is expected out of me?”
Indians have a greater external locus of control than most people from other countries, however things are changing. It is easier when we are told by our family, spouse, boss or society what to do and what not to do rather than take a plunge ourselves. We judge our success not by how much happiness it brings us, but by the eyes of the others. Surprisingly the system works and the country is growing by leaps and bounds. However the question is when we are going to rise above the Maslov’s basic needs of materialistic success and security to pursue our passions. When are we going to take a time out to fully understand ourselves and take time to develop our hobbies and interests? The goal of life is not material success.
One of the hardest things to be is being a second generation Indian immigrant. The parents still tend to have the same set of values and expectations that they witnessed in India 20-30 years ago, while the fantasy world of Bollywood movies show a kind of society that is quite similar to the west or their adopted country. They don’t realize that Hindi movies are a fantasy land and often bear little resemblance with Indian culture and society, while the parents don’t realize that over the past 20-30 years the culture and values in India have modernized quite considerably.
Indians unlike the folks from China and Middle East try extra hard to mingle with the local population of their new country. There a conflict of the values and culture which they need to have to be cool enough in front of their friends and what they are expected to practice at home.
Most likely it is a short transitional phase which most people in societies facing rapid changes and development face.
The situation in SWAT valley, Pakistan is far from normal. As per Time over 1.5 million civilians have been displaced and both sides claim to have killed over a 1000 soldiers.
For the past decade or so the government had little control over North West Frontier, but now the situation has reached crisis proportion. Pakistan needs all the men it can to fight the situation, but the problem is that bulk of its army and military infrastructure is entrenched all along the Indo Pak border and is miles away from the actual battlefield. The trust between we 2 countries is so low that no General can even think of sparing these men.
Now the question is:
1. What is the implication of this Afghan Pak standoff for India?
2. How can India make the best of it?
Losing control over the SWAT valley could destabilize/topple the newly formed democratic government in Pak. Now a democratic govt is always far better for the peace of the region than a military dictator. (Musharaff was a war hero and the chief architect for Kargil War)
Lawlessness are the recruiting grounds for terrorist. Even now Pakistan is feeling the heat of the attacks from these groups. We not only have a moral responsibility to lend them a helping hand, but ending this would reduce a lot of terrorist threats for India. After all its better to curtail the threat of Taliban on Pak soil then battle them out in our cities.
Goodwill: If India makes the smallest gesture like declaring:
“We (India) sympathize with Pak for the battle they are fighting and unilaterally declare cease fire till the threat is over” and also withdraw some troops then it will not only help us gain some goodwill with
a. Pak Army
b. Pak population
c. International Forums.
This will free a lot of Pak troops to fight the talibans. Indian army should also welcome this move because this way not only military expenses will go down, it will free our soldiers for other pressing tasks.
I think a small gesture like this could go a long way in resolving the indo-pak conflict over kashmir and also extract diplomatic mileage.
During my recent visit to Aurangabdad District, I was amazed by the novelty of the traditional method of sugarcane extraction. I had earlier seen a similar process used to extract oil… but still i could not admire it being used to crush sugarcane