Being an Indian, right from birth we are bound to follow the rules and norms of the society to fulfill other’s expectations. Somehow, society had more importance and played a key role in our lives, more than our family and friends or even ourselves. On taking any decision in our life, we were taught to first think about how it would “impact the feelings and expectations of the society” rather than ourselves. To be precise, it's the “log kya kahenge” drama which has never ceased to impress, even today. It was the ultimate question and also the answer to everything.
Generation after generation, this cycle of following such drama continues.
The moment a baby is born in India, from the next second he/she is bound to follow the instruction booklet which begins with 14 years of schooling, getting a degree and a masters, land a job, getting married, have kids and pass on the instruction booklet to the next generation.
It was always so hard for the Indian parents to let their child follow their dream, because again,” log kya kahenge”. There are few parents who did let their children follow their passion and go on a different path and had to suffer the insults and negative gossip of either their relatives or the constant nose-pokes of the neighbors who loved to spread information more than the media people. How did we even end up falling into this endless cycle of people-pleasing without even having a moment of thought as to whether they are pleasing us or want us to be happy?
When we look at the ancient system of ‘Gurukulas’, we can see how pure and meaningful the period of study was. Rather than byhearting the entire paragraph, the students were taught to understand the concepts at a deeper level. The teachings were mostly linked to nature and life, instead of textbooks and syllabus. Generation after generation, children are following a rather meaningless approach to study. They are forced to become part of the herd and follow the crowd.
Life until getting a job was all about a race of academic achievements and waiting to see who won first instead of learning to understand one’s self and others to become better human beings.
For a democratic country which follows the aspect of non-discrimination, the reality was the complete reverse. Only in the past 20 years, girls have been provided education with over many activists organizing struggles and movements of various campaigns, education facilities, and various constitutional amendments been made and put to practice.
Children were born with career tags ie; most of the time, their career was decided by their parents even before the baby was born. It was an option, either Doctor or Engineer, and the choice to choose only among these two. Our country would probably have the most number of professionals in these two fields, than any other.
I’m not trying to offend the Indian system of education or the Indian parents or families, but the mindset of the society.
We were given an insight into this mindset in our history classes which we learned in the form of child marriage, lack of educational opportunities for women, at the same time unknowingly being victims of ‘Following The Crowd’ drama.
Despite numerous changes that have taken place and many constitutional amendments, changing the mindset of the society has always been a challenging task. Because of this, so many children who had unique dreams and talents were forced to keep them aside to fit into the crowd and somehow ‘maintain the dignity of the family’, as a family who raised their son or daughter to be a doctor or an engineer, were considered well-respectable in the society.
Many films have been made based on this notion such as 3 idiots, Taare Zameen Par, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani which shows how students were forced to follow the herd but at the end of the film, they break this heinous cycle and follow their passion.
Another rule imposed by society is that girls should quit work after marriage and do household chores. She needn't work as the husband would earn for the family. This has been prevailing to this date, even in educated and wealthy families.
Women working after marriage was considered as ‘unnecessary’ as it would grant her less time to take care of the house.
Even after women achieve success in various fields and are managing their household and career life with equal importance, the majority of the people in society are still hooked to false societal norms.
We Indians take most of our inspiration for the lifestyle from the foreign system and love to practice a modern lifestyle. But practicing a modern lifestyle should not only involve living a high-fi luxury life but should also involve having a mindset that can disregard these societal myths and encourage each other to build a better world.
“According to Indian customs, one’s honeymoon destination is determined by the highest level of education or the toppest level of academic records” - Muthu Krishnan
All I’m saying is that each person is unique. So just let them be unique. We’re living in the 21st century and it's high time that we, as youngsters of our nation, create awareness, and stop this taboo.
Encourage each other, especially the children to follow their dream, no matter how big or small it is. Never let anyone consume your dream or judge another’s dream because only we humans have the power to bring our dream to reality.
As Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”