May 29, 2009

The Tyranny of Tradition

I am amazed at the amount of hold that 'tradition' has on people's mindsets and behavior.
Consider the case of rituals associated with Hindu marriages . . .
These archaic and moribund activities that go on for many days originated perhaps more than a hundred years ago . . . now, we need to pause and reflect about the quality of the people and the quality of life of the people who lived in those times . . .
It would be helpful if you travel to the villages of India today . . . in the 21st century . . . and then try and extrapolate how life must have been like in those villages a hundred years ago and more . . .
I am sure it would be unbearable for us to live in those villages in those distant days filled with ignorance and poverty and generally backward conditions.
And yet, when it comes to rituals that go on even today, people are uncritical followers of traditions created by these same folks who probably — indeed, not probably, but did think — thought that rainfall was caused by a God sitting up there in heaven or who thought that diseases were caused when you incurred the wrath of Gods for some reason or the other.
What have youngsters achieved — I wonder — with all their educational degrees and exposure to the 'latest' in science & technology if all that exposure hasn't changed thier perspectives.
How can anyone — particularly the generation that will live out the greater portion of their lives in the 21st century — take so seriously rituals that are so local in nature and so flagrantly man-made.
Don't people see how marriage rituals differ from region to region . . . inside a state and indeed even inside a district possibly?
The laws of gravity are universal . . . they're not man-made and we can' choose to obey them or not obey them. Indeed, all the laws of science are universal in nature — the principle of a nuclear weapon is the same whether the bomb is creaed by democratic scientists of the U.S. or communist scientists of the former Soviet Union.
The Space Race was fought using the same scientific principles . . .
We all breath in the same oxygen and breath out the same carbon dioxide . . .
We are all born and live for a few years and then die . . .
These are the universal facts . . .
When will people realize that keeping fasts for husbands is sheer folly and infinitely non-sensical or that the 'groom' riding a horse during marriage is at best laughable?
Let's grow up people!

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