Notes on Dissent

I say dissent or disobedience is an important aspect of an individual. If your son or daughter has the exact same opinions as you, the exact same thought process as you do, and does exactly as you say every single time - that’s not something to be proud of. That is a point of concern even, in my humble opinion, as it shows that there is no difference between two generations. Dissent, once in a while, when need be, is essential for character building. Owning one’s own thoughts, instead of mimicking an elder’s. It is a necessity for progress and reform - to do away with old regressive customs practiced in the name of tradition, and make way for new ways of living.


I do not subscribe to the belief that elders are always right, that ‘gurujans’ cannot be wrong, and we should always obey them without questioning. I understand that elders are humans, they grow each day in their thoughts and as individuals as we do, so they can be wrong, and it is our humble responsibility to challenge their beliefs respectfully and show dissent. Challenge or competition to a thought process is the only way to progress - and it is a gradual process. What do we as individuals bring in for our generation if not do away with the regressive customs, continuing under the namesake of Hindu religion. What do we contribute in life if we agree to everything and succumb to the old way of living. Questioning a mindset is tough but essential. Unlearning things learned decades back, after some stage of life is required.


Had our ancestors - men and women - not opposed to sati pratha, child marriage, it would still be continuing. My point is, there is an expiry date to every ritual, and we have to accept it. When a ritual is mandated without enough reason in a household, saying that it is customary or tradition, the logic behind it is lost in the generations leaving behind just a rule to be followed. That is when the room for suspicion increases and the 'why's' grow louder. It is then necessary that we revisit them, and decide to continue them or not. What value addition do they make in our lives or the lives of others? For whom do we need to do this? 'Society' is a vague answer. Does it give the persons observing the ritual peace or strife? If any of these answers seem inadequate, then it a superstition to be discarded. The ritual is dated and people should accept that. Society should accept that - who is society but you, me and our near and dear ones. Observing something which doesn't give you joy or pride or a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment, but confuses you, feels humiliating, embarrassing, or angers you, should be done away with. 

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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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