Its 2013, India. How About Growing The Hell Up?

2012 ends today, and all I can think is: thankgodthankgodthankgod.

The past few weeks have been a nightmare for Indians all over the world.  It is when it stuck us with brute force that we are a nation raising monsters. We, who call ourselves liberal, developing, democratic – we’re raising monsters. From the parents who tell us not to talk to boys and then order us to marry a stranger, to mothers who tell their boys to marry only “good girls”, we’re making ourselves a nation of repressed aggression.

We make the children of India sexist prudes, mystifying sex, weaving “sex before marriage is a sin” into every child’s upbringing. We make men superior to women, and tell our men that “good girls” are marriageable, while “bad girls”…they’re easy, fair game. Go ahead, they’re asking for it.

This month, I have felt something deeper than loss. I have felt grief bordering on insanity, because for the first time, I feel ashamed of being an Indian. Of being a part of a nation that can make me sick to my stomach; kneeling on a cold tile floor, heaving out my insides, thinking of all the times I have felt safe in India. Thinking of December 16th, when a girl my age, would never feel safe again. If she had survived, she would never ever have felt safe in her own country again.

I’m an Indian woman. When I’m in India: I wear shorts and revealing tops. I kiss and hug my boyfriend and male friends in public. I have travelled within my city alone post-midnight. My girlfriends and I have stumbled out of bars after too many beers, and sat on footpaths smoking cigarettes. I have lived with my boyfriend, no marriage prospects in sight. I am, by Indian standards, a “bad girl”. Should I be made to feel unsafe in my own country? The country I have carried inside me since I was born? The country I have always called home, despite the cities I have lived in? The country I have always said I would raise children in? If I raise a daughter in India, will I ever sleep again?

It’s a new year, India. Change. Grow the hell up. Realise that modern values aren’t evil threats to your glorious traditions, but are steeped in common sense. Instill sex education into your children’s upbringing. Make it an integral part of their education. Teach them that sex isn’t an illicit&unnatural pleasure, but a human joy. Teach them about safety and love. Teach them that sex is about togetherness and mutual want, not an infliction of power. Teach your boys that they are equal to girls, and teach your girls the same.

You believe in education, don’t you India? You boast of your literacy, of your high standards of education. So educate. Not how to memorize textbooks, but basic rights and wrongs. Of how no means no. Of rational thought over primal urges and what it means to be human.

Change for the savagely damaging beliefs Indian parents have been pouring into their children’s head for centuries. Change for the beautiful&educated unnamed girl in Delhi, one of the thousands you lose annually because your children have been raised all wrong.

I never knew her, and now no-one ever will. But don’t let her die in vain, the way you have allowed thousands to. Don’t let her be just another nasty report in your records, one that is collecting dust. Don’t let her be just another impassioned status update, another candlelight vigil, another black dot of a profile picture, another blog like this one. Make her your symbol for change, make her the reason you rid yourself of the demons of our upbringing.

Make her the reason to make women feel safe and in love with you again.

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3 thoughts on “Its 2013, India. How About Growing The Hell Up?

  1. Kyra, so well-written…ur thoughts are exactly what our generation moms would want to or rather should impart to their children. I have two daughters and it scares me to hell, just thinking about how crazy the world is going to be in future…But, I feel there is another side to it too. Nowadays, you don’t really find typical mothers of our yester- generation, the ones who sit at home, who are only concerned about what lunch or dinner should be served that day, how clean is the house, etc. They are totally aloof of what’s happening around them…
    Nowadays, both parents are equal bread winners and to tell you frankly, they don’t have the time to sit and impart value education to the children. That doesn’t mean they are bad parents…At the end of the day, we need a solution to the whole issue and we cannot really depend on parents teaching right or wrong, because finally its something nobody can actually predict. I have constantly requested ADEC to include self-defence as a part of the school curriculum. Atleast that the girls would be trained to kick his b****, if they ever need to…
    Anywayz, good writing dear…

  2. I am a western feminist from Berlin-Germany of the so called second wave feminist movement and I was searching in the internet for feminist responses in India ref. the violence against women.
    So I discovered your text and it makes me almost happy beyond my despair about what you describe with so much will for joy of life.
    Once in the early 90ties I created the term gender democracy as a needed precondition for an understanding of democracy and as an aim for feminism.

    But not too much progress world wide.
    Now I am again researching for women who are not afraid to challenge their cultures and are looking for international debate and support.
    No more racism traps for feminist solidarity- I do not know of you in your youth can understand what I mean with it.
    I might come to Dehli in March 2013 to look for activists in India to organize an international conference with them. Would you be interested to meet me?
    warmest
    halina.bendkowski@gmx.de

  3. What can one say about a very special person? An individual more absent minded than my cat. But it’s okay! It’s his first time away from home after his graduation from the University. Coming from Central Europe and looking for some English teaching experience, he came to China for an adventure of a life time. He is originally from Krakow, a city full of history and surprises. This nation [Poland] that has certainly changed in the last 30 years and one of the most conservative countries in the whole of Europe, is a place noted for beauty.

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