Symbolizing chastity

Greater Kashmir

Chastity is difference between worthiness and worthlessness

Human societies can never be prefect. The process of evolution and learning is never ending and as old as the history of mankind itself. Every society has its high points as well as some lows. It is but natural, for any society to be portentous of its strengths and shy away from its weaknesses; those creep in with the changing dynamics of the time. A contemporary social scientist may argue that moral values are ever evolving, relative with a period and can never be absolute. For a person of faith value systems can never be relative, morals are born out of one’s mores and belief; traits may vary with time, but not moral absolutes. Even among a freest of the free society, freedom of expression and free choice of an individual is never unrestrained, collective well- being has primacy over individual preferences. The notion of what is right and wrong, fair and false, protection of human life, sentiment of honor and shame, deceit and loyalty are few constants those are inherently ingrained in the human psychology. A varied level of awareness and adherence of these basic characteristics, from society to society does not make them relative. A society might be ridden with violence but as a matter of principle it can not condone murder. Treachery and falsehood may be order of the day does that mean the virtues of the truth and loyalty can be discarded for all the times to come. The valor, honour and dignity in short supply cannot justify prevalence of shame, if the individual freedoms are not appropriated by the social value systems, the societies will disintegrate into chaos and anarchy. The history of human civilization bears witness to the fact that the all pervasiveness of evil has never deterred the human mind to resist the vice, the struggle between virtue and vice is immortal linked with the very existence of human civilization.
 In the search for better tomorrow, both men and women strive equally, but since ages and times immemorial, the lap of the women is conceived as the cradle of the human race, it plays a far greater and significant role in the well-being of humanity then the men.
 Women are icon of magnificence and creative instinct, which by nature symbolise the sentiment of respect, honour and affection, but in the primitive ages and now in the post modern era also, they have been the most exploited and battered lot. Previously, in the male dominated tribal setup, women were buried alive in apprehension of loss of prestige and they are killed now in the womb itself in trepidation of paucity of materiel recourses. The millions of missing daughter’ tells the gory tale of well-known practice of infanticide. When the education is widespread, all the information required, is available at the click of the button; materiel richness has no bounds, an emancipated world free from ignorance, prejudices and malice would have been thought to be the case. But sadly in the so called liberal occidental societies women have been turned into object of recreation and wicked pleasure, and in the oriental world women still carry the burden of guilt and curse of being.
 Kashmir too is not free from moral turpitudes and dichotomies. Women here continue to undergo tremendous hardships and agonies. The most heartrending and mournful is the scene to see a wailing mother endlessly waiting out side a military camp or anxiously making umpteen trips, to a police station, offices of human right commission and media oragtnisations to get to know the whereabouts of her beloved missing son. And disdainful and embarrassing is the scene when a father accompanies his young educated but unemployed daughter to the homes of lustful politicians and bureaucrats in a hope of a petty job without any qualms for one’s honor and dignity. Is it a paradox in a society wherein, on one hand,  sobbing motherhood  still finds no respite from the cruelties and crudités of the ongoing mayhem of violence and on the other hand, a father or mother without any remorse, unashamedly pushes his/her daughter into  dark alleyway for  her economic well-being and marketability. In a conflict zone, the distress of a mother, though un-fortunate, is understandable; however, what is apparently incomprehensible is the behavior of a parent today in the society to go to any length, to secure a government job for their daughters at any cost.
 The unabashed extravagance associated with the marriages, has made otherwise a sacred tradition, cumbersome. The marriages,  those are getting, complex, and bigger and bigger with every  season going by, if termed as mother of almost all ills related to the women issues in the valley, will not be a overstatement. Lavish and brazen spending of the neo-riches at the top, those can afford the money from their-ill gotten wealth, has made life miserable for middle and lower middle class of the society. Whether one can afford or not from his meager resources at hand, such are the social pressures for imitation, poor head of the household finds himself in a life-long pursuit to cobble recourses by hook or crook. The buck doesn’t stops here, the daughter to be married, employed in government service is required to mop-up the financial resources to pay for her dowry and marriage expenditure. Off-late a new trend is emerging, though at a limited scale, confined to a section of society yet, but catching fast with other segments as well; in the process of matchmaking a government employed gets preference over highly educated but unemployed girl.
 In this uneven society of filthy riches and very poor, wherein, virtue is fast depleting and vice spreading like a wild-fire, compulsive and hypocritical behavior pushes, a docile father, conniving mother and willing daughter towards ‘Vultures’. These shabby characters’s prey upon these gullible, to satisfy their unbounded lust. Unfortunately few hours’ of exploitation by a politician or bureaucrat is preferred over chastity and self-respect. 
 Who is to be blamed for this moral erosion and debauchery? Mad race for imitation and pretentiousness in the society without any regard for good or bad, or social pressure on a parent to be able to find reasonable match for his/ her daughter on time, or we have already crossed the moral threshold where these things matter least. Whatever the reason for this moral bankruptcy, it is not the matter of few hours where one crosses the threshold for a while, may be under great compulsion and unwantedly, but it certainly reflects   the deep decay of  mind. Honour is characteristic of self; it is not a social custom that can be abused or preserved according to one’s convenience. The chastity of the women is the real difference between self-respect and disrespect, worthiness and worthless
 Everybody is too eager to throw a stone at an immoral, what about the carcasses in our own cupboards. For the society on the whole, the virtue is to strive for a healthy change and the vice is to maintain a studded silence, thus to allow the cancer of moral corruption to further spread its tentacles on the body and soul of the society. The sooner the society comes out of this moral-inertia the better for the overall good of the society.

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