Here are some social norms in India that you should break free from

Konkona sen breaking social norms

As an infant you have to go with whatever fate doles out to you ranging from sleeping in a swing made of an old sari tied to a tree in a construction site, or be a lucky millionaire baby with a silver spoon and everything else. As one grows up, your parents, elders, schools and society will mould and fashion you in a manner that makes them happy. They will teach you how to walk, talk and think, and let’s be fair, they do all that with your best interests at heart. Some children however have the gumption to question everything. The millennials are a good example – most will insist on knowing “why” and if you can answer that, mostly they do your will. However here are some rules that are laid out by social or peer pressure that can be avoided and will make your life a breeze.

What will people think?

One of the most constricting lessons taught in every family is “what will people think?” Well for one, if your next door neighbour is not the one bringing the food on the table, or paying the rent, you are not answerable for anyone’s prying questions, objections or judgment. Believe me, if you can rid yourself of this fear, you can breathe easily and walk with a smile on your lips.

Read more: Our relationships are as complicated as our coffees these days!

You are a girl, so you can’t do that…

Yes this still exists; in most families girls are told to keep their legs together, not talk loudly and to eat after the men have finished. If you can overcome this one – you will probably be labelled as a tomboy or a rebel, but at least you won’t be frustrated and you will do your thing. I remember playing “langdi” or hopscotch with boys and climbing trees when on my period.

social norms in India that you should break free
The langdi game

Religious damnation of women

All religions hold women in lower esteem than men. It does so by ensuring that their men are gods to be obeyed, and that submission is the only way to be respected, or honoured. In earlier days this was a way to ensure monogamy and the institution of family and the father’s knowledge. If you can arrive at a rationale for the belief system that you follow, and make conscious decisions in your life, you will avoid meaningless torture, whether it is question of castes, marriage, divorce or abortion. Please note I am not asking for you to cause a revolution in social norms – just feel free to follow the ones you agree to.

Read more: Pati not the parmeshwar any more for married women

Don’t blindly believe in the modern world

My parents’ belief in doctors was 100%. They were never wrong. They knew the best. I thought so too. Until I got felt up during an eye-test by the doctor. In this day and age of information, you can always seek a 2nd, 3rd or 4th advice. Whether it is a product or a service, a doctor, lawyer, a corporate injunction or a school law, you can find the truth. You will know if you are being conned. Many young folk believe in one-night stands, but the least you can do is ask if he or she has had a previous bout of a sexually transmitted disease. Prevention as they say, is better than suffering and pain.

Once married it’s till death do us part

This is the biggest lie we have been conditioned to believe. People should realise that as they grow, every four years all the cells in their body dies and is replaced. According to the science of neuroplasticity the neural networks in the brain can also get rewired. Which means a person can want to change anything about their lives, every now and then. This is evident with the growing divorce rates, break-ups and separations. If you can decondition yourself from this social norm, it will save a lot of unpleasantness, sorrow, and bring great equanimity.

Social pressure in india
Once married it’s till death do us part

Trust not the banks, the ads or the media

Since our lives have become so commercial and we have become too busy to use our own critical and analytical mind, we have become numb. We are like sheep easily led by insurance, real estate, advertisers, and news peddlers. A healthy distrust is most necessary to live a wholesome life. Not everyone is out there to cheat you, but you must ask the question what is in it for them. And you will be able to make an informed decision.

These are in my humble opinion, your path to living a life with relative freedom, peace and good health.

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Readers Comments On “Here are some social norms in India that you should break free from”

  1. Ashutosh Singh

    Just one sentence that NORMS ARE BUILT FOR US AND WE ARE NOT BUILT FOR THE NORMS. We should follow the norms but only unless and until it does not messes with our happiness. WELL WRITTEN.

  2. In India, social and cultural norms often tend to hold back women from going all out and following their heart. However, there are some women who have not let deep-rooted stereotypes and social norms hold them back.

    But, it’s high time and we should go ahead and embrace who we are.

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