Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What society is better?

We often say Indian society is better. What is the basis? Our culture, our customs, our values, our respect for matrimonial alliance, our diversity etc. are the usual suspects. All of which are true. We do have a unique culture, which is the oldest. However, this is often said in ignorance.

Anyone who has spent a few years in one of the western societies (especially the US, since a lot of Indians go there) will have witnessed it. The very first thing an Indian might observe is the number of women at workplaces. There definitely are a greater number of women working in western societies. Moreover, a lot of them are in influential positions. The gender equality & freedom is greater in comparison.

Another common observation may be the respect for all kinds of work. Work isn’t assigned based on caste. Every working being is respected. Indians tend to think lowly of their domestic help or of people from lower castes. That isn’t the case in western societies. Everybody is treated with dignity.

One of the reasons why western societies function better is discipline. One can see greater discipline followed, be it at a bus stop, train stations, on the road, public places etc. A greater respect of rules & law, strict enforcement, respect for human life, respect for the disabled, senior citizens, and people from all races, ensures a smooth running society.

However, what’s even better about the western societies is the respect for women. All women are treated with equal respect in a relationship or at work. A woman is treated as an individual with her own opinions. She has the freedom to choose her life partner & power to walk out on a relationship. She can do everything a man can. A divorcee will not have a tough time seeking a partner gain. The society is open enough to accept divorcees or even a widow. A widow in India is considered a jinx.

If a woman were to be raped (God forbid), she isn’t shunned by society. Instead she can still lead a normal life & be equally accepted. Finding a boyfriend or getting married or a job or starting a business isn’t tough. This to me is an indicative of mature society. This is part of the reason why the west has progressed greater in all respects.

While our culture is definitely something to be proud of, as a society, we still have some growing up to do. Sadly this realization eludes most of our poeple & leaders. They seem to be stuck with petty issues concerning caste, religion, votes. If we have to be among the best nations in the world, we have to rise above our pettiness.

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