Being an Indian by birth and heritage, I always have appreciated and some times wondered about the cultural diversity that we have in a single country — India. Without being aware of this diversity, many foreigners start thinking India as one country. Those who appreciate this diversity, really enjoy seeing India. Based on all the news reports, ex-President Clinton appears to be one of those people. I always considered cultural diversity to be a strength of a society.
Sometimes this strength, however, crosses limits and could become confusing. Some developments in India are going in that direction. This could be the result of one segment of society adopting some progressive cultural values blindly from outside while another conservative segment going back and adhering to arcane cultural values more dogmatically. And if this extreme segments have conducive environment to grow, then this may result in a big confusing cultural diversity. This may some times become dangerous because of the conflicting and confusing signals that it sends to younger generation and to outsiders.
India is going through this in many matters. On one hand we hear about all the progress that is taking place and how India is likely to become a great power. On the other hand we see that it remains one of the poorest country and its infrastructure is comparable — in most of the country — to some of the worst in the world. On one hand we have IITs that are considered the best educational institutions and on the other hand we have highest percentage of uneducated people.
Today I read a good example of cultural rift that is developing in India. This rift is becoming dangerous because it crosses the cultural domain and enters legal area.
Bollywood is producing movies that are the main source of entertainment in all of India and it produces bold sex-orinted movies. The India brand of sensuality is very provocative and is used more for sexuality rather than for story-telling. In major India cities, discos are common and India is becoming very good in producing M-TV style programs. On the other hand this article describes that an Israeli couple who got married in India according to Indian traditions. After the cermony, this couple engaged in a routing western tradition when the wedding ceremony is completed — the bride and groom kissing. ANd this is ILLEGAL in the country which produced Kamasutra, Khujaraho, Belur-Halebidu and similar traditions. So now this couple is facing Police department in India. As described in this article:
â€œWe see tourists kissing every day. But since this is the first time someone has complained, we have taken action,â€? Rameshwar Lal, the officer in charge of the investigation, said.
The pandits, who had wanted the couple booked for hurting religious sentiments â€” a more serious crime that attracts stricter punishment â€” are now pushing for the Israelis to be arrested. If they succeed, the couple would have to apply for bail and await trial.
The pandits, who had wanted the couple booked for hurting religious sentiments, a more serious crime that attracts stricter punishment, are now pushing for an arrest.
So if you are going to India, make sure to find out what the laws are!!! When you go to Saudi Arabia or similar countries, you know what to expect. But the diversity in India makes sure that you are alert and careful.