Liberal Times?!

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The world has grown a lot since two or three decades. It has modernised due to the globalisation and liberalisation adopted by so many countries. They say the Liberal Times are here. People are now opinionated and free. And capable of following their dreams. There are platforms that help people learn and shine in their field of interest. Yet so many of us aren’t able to voice our opinions, so many of us aren’t pursuing our passion, so many of us are still waiting to be free. Free from social bindings.

All my life I have been taught to be obedient and docile. I have been asked to behave in a way that is appeasing to people. I have been told to respect the elders and the elderly and to be polite to the young ones. I have been advised time and time again to do my duties and to accommodate myself to others needs. And like the pliant child, I do it.

This child in me is subservient, a people pleaser. It wants to obey just to please everyone around us, it wants to prove itself to be the best of the lot and gain appreciation. But the logic makes me question and the realistic me wants to argue. While the real me sleeps fitfully under the layers of self-doubt and social stigma leading to an eternal internal battle, a battle that is always won by the people pleaser.

Why does this happen? Since childhood we have been taught to stay in the good books of others. We are taught the accepted social behaviour and are encouraged to behave in the same manner only. Our thoughts are moulded in a way that we end up doing things as per the norms of the society without questioning the existence of these rules. We grow up hearing the punishments given to those who go against these social laws and we observe the mass being rude to them. They become an outcast, isolated by the society just because they had an opinion.

“A female working late night shifts becomes unchaste and a wench. While a male who has allowed his lady to shine and opted to be a house-husband is not a ‘Real Man’. A menstruating female is not allowed in a temple that preaches ‘we are all what God has made us to be’. A man not staying with his parents is impermissible but a married female has to move out of her parents’ house to stay with her husband and in-laws.”

These are the social laws that we abide to. These are the rules we follow because these are the ways of the society. A Hindu can kill the girl infant for a boy child, a Christian can immerse the new born in the water in the name of baptism while a Muslim can get married by saying ‘Qabul’ thrice. And those who do not follow these things, the non-believers, are termed as Heathens and Heretic. They are tortured constantly by the religious fanatics by phrases like, ‘God will punish you in Hell.’

We call ourselves democratic and liberalised. We are proud of the freedom that we fought so hard to achieve. But we aren’t liberal and free. We are still bound by our ages old customs and traditions. We are bound by the society and its beliefs. We are unable to accept others the way they are, we are unable to acknowledge the difference of opinions. Instead of adapting to change we prefer to belittle and forsake those who wish to change.

This makes me question, Are we truly in Liberal Times?

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