Look! We’ve Become Modern


We were coming out of a restaurant, laughing and chatting happily, when my friend pointed with great astonishment, to what seemed to be some ‘scene’, worth taking a look. I turned and was quite shocked. I felt despair and some kind of frustrated rage-there was a girl, barely sixteen, wearing ….well, wearing something which was far more obscene than the types which we by now have become habituated to seeing.

Yes, even today, when some women are fanatically raising their voices against men who claim that the provocative clothes worn by women push them into ogling them and making indecent comments (I by no means claim, that that entitles them to do what they do), I dare to say that this irritates and enrages me as well as many other people who share my views.

I don’t think we should be afraid of being called back-dated just because we revere the cultural heritage of our country and feel hurt when people insult it. Most people will laugh at me, because for them our cultural heritage is all about the dogmatism and conservative outlook that prevailed in 18th century India. But isn’t it really all about Rabindranath Tagore, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda and Raja Rammohon Roy, who were far more modern, in the true sense of the term, in their outlook, than we are today? Tagore believed women were inherently pure, and that if a prostitute was properly rehabilitated, this purity would find expression even in her. But unfortunately, perhaps our everyday experiences tell a different story.

Now don’t mix this up with the question of feminism. That most young women around us try to make their bodies prominent, only serves to show that they are not conscious of the fact that they are, or should be equal to men in all respect. It only makes clear that the average urban girl is incapable of looking upon herself as anything more than a body and that the only thing in her that she considers worth being noticed and praised by people is her body. Thus, in my opinion, she plays a key role in keeping alive the tradition of subjugation of women to men in the upper strata of the society (’cause in the lower ones the story is much more dire.).

This is corroborated by what we see around us, as well as the   Bollywood  Blockbusters. Neither is the idea of a man walking down the street wearing something revealing anything short of absurd, nor can you find the hero of a movie, dancing with the scantily clad heroine, trying to show his body in any way (though there are exceptions). Movie-makers have found an easy way to lure people (and make money) many decades ago-by showing a lot of skin, besides music, dancing and fighting. And our modern Indian woman has quickly picked up the trend.

But there’s more to it. We are not that inclined to copying even the trends of  Bollywood , as we are to aping every bit of American society, culture and practices, though  Bollywood  itself, along with the television serials and advertisements, indulge in and hence inculcate people at large with this meaningless, brainless imitation(Globalisation or cultural imperialism?).Today’s parents even dress their 6-year-old girl child in miniature versions of these ‘modern’ clothes, which would look outrageously provocative if worn by a young woman. (Do they prepare them for the future?)

Whatever may be the real reasons behind wearing these types of clothes, the modern woman has an argument-she has to go out and work, unlike the women of earlier days, and wearing a pair of tight jeans and a short top makes her comfortable, whereas cumbersome clothes like sari and salwar cannot be managed and makes working difficult. I would like to tell them that in no photograph have I ever seen Naina Lal Kidwai or Chanda Kochhar in any attire other than a neatly worn sari!

Source by Sulagna Dasgupta

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