The psychology of honour
Modern world has simply destroyed the very edifice of honour
What do we mean by ‘honour’? We may understand it as a mere word suggesting respect, esteem, dignity, etc. However the Oxford dictionary defines this term in such a comprehensive manner that honour in lieu of a simple word turns out to be a yardstick of basic morality: “the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right”. Oxford dictionary further elucidates the term as “allegiance to moral principles, a woman's virtue or chastity”.
The over-commercialization seems to have altered the standards of normative behaviour. Man was kicked out of Haven naked. Faced with the vagaries of life on the earth, human consciousness increased only with the passage of time. As civilization progressed--- a process spread over thousands of years--- the uncultured slowly but steadily learnt the art of living with dignity. Commencing with bare fig-leaves, man attained civility only once he donned fully the cotton attire. The process of evolution in a way is also a process of acquiring honour. Even the most uncivilised human societies had the tradition of protecting the chastity of their women. Conversely robbing the chastity of women is still considered as the most heinous crime. The oppressors have randomly tarnished the chastity of women in order to (intentionally) dishonour the oppressed nation. And at the individual level the most cherished value still is the virtue of a woman. However what we learnt with the evolution of human civilisation, we seem to have unlearnt in the age of unrestrained freedoms. Nudity has become the symbol of modern civilisation. Does this imply an evolution or decaying of the civilization?
In our schooldays we were taught that “when money is lost nothing is lost when health is lost something is lost but when honour is lost all is lost”. In our subconscious we tend to believe that this is even true today. Actually is it so? Does this society still value honour as the most valued virtue? Do we still consider the chastity of our woman an invaluable treasure? Do we still believe that come what may, whether heaven falls or hell is turned upside down; we will never compromise our honour?
Since the problem has become rampant, a survey is hardly required to inform us that unemployed girls are considered most ineligible for the marriage. It has become nearly essential for girls belonging to middle class families to be government employed in order to get married; all other virtues are entirely overlooked. In case a girl is suitably employed, enjoying a lucrative position, all her misdeeds and even licentious behaviour will be forgiven. Not only the bridegroom but his entire family will gleefully accept her as a bride. It is not a sweeping statement; this observation is based upon ugly ground realities. A delayed marriage now in Kashmir is a fact of life. A survey of Kashmir University reveals that “the average marrying age has increased from 24 to 32 years in boys and for females 21 to 28 years in the last two decades”. According to this survey conducted by Sociology Department “out of 1,500 respondents, more than 64 per cent revealed that late marriages caused and effected the pre-marital relations among the youngsters”.
Marriages may get delayed, whether due to genuine economic hardships or for that matter because of wicked greed. However is it possible in majority of cases to completely avoid the biological needs at a prime age? No it is not humanly possible: “At least 182 respondents said that sex control wasn’t possible as it was at its peak at an younger age”. For this reason only, earlier marriages were solemnised at the right age. In the age of unbridled freedoms, do we still need to pose a highly discomforting question? How many of our unmarried men and women in their mid thirties are able to uphold their chastity intact. And if a delayed marriage is acceptable solely owing to employment reasons without any moral questions whatsoever being raised, do we still consider ourselves an honourable society?
During the period between 1997 and 2001, it was a regular feature in the corridors of power; many disgusting stories contradicting the basic norms of human dignity were in circulation. I was never able to come to the terms with the question that how is it possible for a mother to facilitate the visit of her unmarried beautiful girl to the bedroom of a ruler or a top bureaucrat? Unbelievably, one- night-affair, in the quest to garner an employment, essential for getting married, now hardly invokes any moral dilemma. Who is to be blamed for this moral abyss? What accounts for desperation of a mother to marry her overage girl in a debased society? The depraved boy, in place of honour and dignity, preferring petty material gains? Or else the society on the whole that has lost its moral moorings? Regrettably in our society wealth alone has become a virtue; the dishonoured is now regarded the most honoured.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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