A blog post How Do We Influence our Culture? Does it legitimize honor killings ?@Bell_Bajao prompted me to write this. I am Indian and have always lived in Asia where one hears the word “Culture” used often. What is Culture –Wikipedia definition is as follows
- Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
- An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
- The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group
This culture is used against women the most. Women are not allowed to wear some clothes, work in some professions, talk loudly and a list of endless do’s and don’ts, and all this in the name of culture.
To me this is not culture but a myth and belief that has been created by a sect of people and has been carried over for several generations only because the oppressed or the discriminated (women in this case) have not dared to raise their voice.
Any belief in the name of culture that promotes honor killing, oppression of women, rape and torture and denies her basic human rights is not to be promoted.
Whilst I agree that there are many countries even in this day and age where women are murdered & abused for going against the so called norm, silence does not help. Silence from the victim or from the spectator is not going to resolve the issue, instead, the oppressed will continue to suffer.
Women have to raise their voice and change their thinking and this can only be done by creating awareness through media, and education.
In India this can also be achieved through Bollywood. I attach a video here of an extract of a movie called “Dil Bole Hadippa” which is a story of a girl called Veera who lives in a small village but has dreams of playing cricket in the big league.
While Veera dreams on in India, Rohan is an accomplished captain of a county cricket team in England. Rohan returns to India to captain his father’s cricket team which has been losing consecutively for the last 8 years.
In a village where girls don’t play cricket, Veera has to put on a turban and beard and become a man to fulfill her dreams. Her brilliance on the field earns her a place in Rohan’s team and Veera Kaur becomes Veer Pratap Singh.
The attached video extract is a fantastic dialogue which she delivers when she is told by her captain to reveal her true identity. She basically questions the audience as to why a women cannot be accepted in a man’s team, Why look at the gender when the end delivery is better than a man and when she enabled her team to win. Watch the play of the player not the name ( or rather gender). She quotes examples of Sunita Williams, Kiran Bedi, Indira Gandhi who have created wonders in their own way. What I liked the most in this dialogue was when she says that one can stop a Veera from becoming Veer, from playing cricket, but can you actually stop her from dreaming?? Please watch.
It is these kind of dialogues and content that the media should promote to raise awareness amongst women and society. We cannot use culture as an excuse any more. Women have to learn to fight for their space and human rights.