Friday, November 21, 2008


I don't agree with the concept of respect that we have in our society. Old or rather older people expect to be respected purely because of that reason i.e. that they are older, and hence they assume wiser, than you. Now I am of the belief that all people have had certain experiences in life that make them wiser than me - they being 5 or 50 years old! But in an Indian society the older people just expect blind respect and by that I mean blind acceptance for whatever they say - that what they say must be followed no questions asked, that it is gospel! Disagreements are out of the question and if they do come about the younger person must accept the older person's point of view and admit his/her mistake (of existing with a thinking mind??).

Respect needs to be earned no matter your age - by your thoughts and deeds. And if someone disagrees with you that is their point of view. Choose not to associate with them if you don't like the way they think. Or better yet accept a difference in opinion and continue your relationship. But no! Here we have a culture of emotional blackmail. How much can we squeeze out of person? How far can we make them bend by showing them our disapproval? Ask yourself - What all am I doing just because someone else has asked me to do it (for them)? How much freedom do I actually have in my choices and actions? Isn't someone close to me holding their relationship to me hostage insinuating that if I don't behave in a particular way they won't associate with me anymore? And we as an Indian society are so dependent on relationships that we exist for others, never thinking about our own wants/needs. "He's my father, Chacha, Nana, Taya, ... " The list is endless, basically "he/she is my elder and is always right!"

Now I don't like the society that exists (to (perhaps wrongly) generalise) in the Western world, where people just don't care about others, just go on living their own lonely lives. How does one find a middle path between the two?

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Hey Shilpa,

I really like this post. I totally agree with you that we should earn one another's respect. Or maybe rather, we shouldn't LOSE one another's respect. When I am dealing with people for the first time, I always come in to the transaction with respect, but then somewhere along the way they may say or do something that chips away at that. So the starting point is respect, sure, but it's not a given. Having said that, just because I disagree with someone doesn't necessarily mean I won't respect them any more... I'll just continue with my life as I think is right.

I understand your dilemma. In the west, we do have different relationships. I would say that on the whole we are more cut off from one another physically (in terms of the amount of space we share) and often also emotionally. I wonder if you might say that in cultures such as yours people are cut off from one another intellectually? And by that I mean you are not always free to share your ideas with people for fear of their reactions. Do you think that's a reasonable analysis?

Keep blogging girl :o)