“A born metropolitan from the countryside” the moment I read it (six years back) in Rushdie’s Fury, I knew he wrote to for me, or to say, for guys like me; people with rustic roots and metropolitan boots. But little did I know this seemingly glamorous tagline would implant a permanent duality in my psyche. The everyday dichotomy that was fun to begin with, has turned into an existential and metaphysical dilemma. The only consolation in this hurricane called CHANGE aka GLOBALIZATION, is the fact that I am not the only one. Ghettos surrounding the capital continue to churn out millions like me, millions metropolitans from the millions hinterlands.
The roots I am bound by, like me, are going through a thorough track change. An agriculture based civilization that prided itself in producing grains and protecting borders, is finding itself in total limbo in the face of gory globalization. The community that is known, over the years, as the ANNDAATA (bread-giver), is being forced not only to adjust to the changing global India but is also being compelled to restructure its culture and rituals. “Change is the only constant”. Agreed. BUT CHANGE BY WHOM AND CHANGE WHAT?
Has, all the advancement in technology and manufacturing, reduced human miserly by any shot?
Has, the gap between haves and have not’s, reduced in West dominated world?
Has the world become more peaceful following the CHANGE left, right and center?
That is not to say that change is undesirable. But how much to is to change, change by whom and change to what extent?
We, the rustics from Haryana, we don’t boast of a great renaissance nor of great education heritage. An age old system of Khaps is maintained to ensure the smooth flow of cultural and ritual norms. Khaps, for once, were started to oil the traditional machinery wherein dispute settlement and movement against a contentious issue figured primarily. There would be Khaps based “Kushti”(wrestling) and other healthier physical competitions. Khaps are autocratic. Yes, they are, but not overnight, and certainly not on its own. These have been empowered by its clan to look in to matter extra-ordinaire since inception. But does that mean Talibanization and Honor killing are matters of celebration? No they are not. But if Honor Killing is despicable so is killing the very notion of Honor. It’s been established within the clan that the same gotra female would be treated as sister/aunt and its an honor, duty and privilege to protect, support and facilitate them in anyway a clanster can. The big outcry against Honor Killing is understandable but what is missing is above board acceptability of same gotra marriage. In the new, global and changed India it might sound normal as well but not to those villagers. It’s a clear attack on their aesthetics. No wonder we have Taliban like dictates against every such matter and from within the most advanced and prosperous states of the country.
Now what am I trying to say?
All I want to maintain is a plain plea, an SOS call to all intellectuals and media think tank of the nation:
“Please, for the sake of all your comforts, decry and denounce every act of Honor Killing. But since you are the opinion makers of the nation and since you are shouldering the burden of nation all on your thin shoulders, please also suggest how can these poor villagers save their honor?”