Tolerance ends when your Family believes in Untouchability – 24 Dec 14

Indian culture

I yesterday described the situation many young Indians are in: they are advanced and have modern thoughts while their families are still in those traditions and rituals that they don’t like anymore. They get ashamed and try to void a get-together of friends and family. Yesterday I said you should be tolerant and find a way how to be together peacefully and in love. There are a few situations however, when I, too, believe that this is not possible. Situations, in which I would not have any tolerance anymore and would tell everybody to stand on their point of view and not waiver even a bit!

Problems like these are not only limited to young people. You can get into such difficult situations at every age, if your family and the people you love are very traditional and you are strongly opposing the most outdated and thus stupidest of their traditions. For example untouchability due to caste.

If you have friends from the lowest caste and a family that still sees them as ‘untouchable’, I can promise you that there will be problems when they meet. Your family will not approve of you bringing those friends to your home. They will serve them water in a separate glass and after your friends are gone, they will ‘cleanse’ everything your friends used with fire. They would avoid shaking their hand for welcoming – which could be alright, as it is not an Indian tradition – but they would also take care not to touch them accidentally either.

How would that make you feel? And worse, how would it make your friends feel?

Or if your family believes every girl who wears jeans or – God forbid! – skirts, is loose and has no morals but you just happen to have several such friends, you will have to face lessons in morality. Maybe your parents even tell you not to hang out with ‘such people’! They believe it is bad company for you – but what do you think?

Or your parents insist on arranging your marriage to a person of your caste and will even take or pay a dowry for that, a concept that you are all in all totally opposed to! Would you not feel that this is a step too far?

These are such cases and there are many more examples. When your family believes in traditions and cultural habits that you know are wrong and they actively influence your life in this way, you have to put the foot down. There is a limit of what is acceptable for you without living a hypocrite, double-faced life!

I know, the consequences are that they either accept what you are saying or that you create distance to your family members. There is no other way – because we should be tolerant but we should also not let others take over our lives with wrong values and harmful practices!

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