Thursday, 13 November 2014

Automatic Respect

Respect must be earned, not given.

Your elder brother - bhaiya, sister - didi, the brother's wife is bhabhi and they all have to be addressed as "aap". This is so engrained in the Indian culture that there's probably a term for all these relations in most Indian languages as well. It doesn't just end with terms, an elder's views and ideas all must be revered as well and without argument or even an inch of doubt — be it about international politics, bodybuilding, god or life on mars for that matter. The interesting part is that most people are aware that their elders are mostly wrong and the elders are aware that the juniors hardly take anything they say seriously or act on their advice but both the sides play their part in keeping up the act. Talk about a room of naked people all complementing each other on the beauty of the other's garments. I call the whole act an expectation and fulfilling of automatic respect.

The guy can't marry his girlfriend because of his mother's wishes but the mother also wanted him to have nothing to do with girls in the first place and just be a virgin, which the mother already knows isn't happening but she continous "have nothing to with girls" advice anyway. It's almost as if there's some psychological payback in the mother's head for just giving out the "correct" advice, knowing all fully well it's most probably not being followed and knowing all the more well never to bring that up. The son totally knows his mother is well aware of what those hours of phone calls are all about. Both parties keep the automatic respect act up and going.

Take the daughter who gets home new clothes, new shoes, is on the phone most of the time but the parents act like it's the tooth fairy and that one line advice of staying away from guys is dished out every once in a while.

Grown up adults hide their cigarrette packets from one's parents who obviously know the person smokes. Granted one doesn't have to literally blow smoke up anyone's face but the whole act of covering up such completely trivial things as a teenager would is silly at best.

Religions have been expecting AR since the begining of time. All religions and everything related to them has been automatically put out of purview of rational discourse and questioning. The usual excuse given is to prevent "hurting sentiments and feelings" but here too it's interesting to note that only the "religious feelings" are given this priviledge. Take for example politics, economics or any other field into which people invest a lot more emotionally than in religion but feelings and emotions here are just not given this protection at all.

Another certain type of AR dynamic I have observed is when a rather heavy topic of discussion is broached up in a group setting and it soon becomes obvious that only one or few members actually know the ins and outs of the subject and the rest are just chimming in to give an opinion and sound smart, the ones with the know-how usually sense an uncomfortable feeling going forward and stating any facts at all, just so as to protect the egos of those dishing out nonsense.

The purpose of writing this is to foster some thought as to why are people so scared to point out something which is wrong and retrograde to their own elders or disagree with them. One doesn't have to be a dick doing this but just politely disagree and put forth your point the next time your someone tells you about "India being the greatest country" or that the west has no morals. 

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