Here, we are talking about cultural degeneration, (I am not using the word ‘Moral’ degeneration here for a reason, we are talking about collective degeneration in public behavior in this article).
I wish to ponder about what happens when behavioral degeneration in public is widely accepted, or lets say, is allowed to stay and not stopped / reduced. For degeneration has a way to grow itself, increase with time, because things that hit the senses quickly, often grow like weed.
I came across this sexual meme on social media that explicitly mocked ‘Agrawal’ girls. It was just a ‘joke’. For it mentioned in a hilarious non-anatomy visual that ‘if Agrawal girls are fingered, the vaginas will secrete cashew barfi’ (since many Agrawals in this nation are known for owning sweet shops). I don’t deny that it was just a joke, honestly it was an adult joke. But what irked me was the public display of community name on an impactful medium ( & not on adult joke or soft porn site, or a personal wats app group ).
Of course, I took offense instantly and in the heat of the moment, replied nastily. But that was just a couple of times, and finally asked for deleting that casteist sexiest meme. But instead of replying or deleting it, the person on the other side retweeted my words. Moreover, it is anyway shameful to joke about anatomy in public on the opposite gender. If a woman would do that in public, about the male anatomy, it would be as distasteful and degenerated.
Anyway, I fought bitterly against it, more so because the comments under that post were even more distasteful. I checked the older tweets by that handle, only to realize that he had called Shivaling as ‘dick’, Hanuman as ‘drug dealer’ and had posted several humiliating jokes on Ram & Sita. I felt that the person posting all this may be from a non-Indic religion.
As I could not contain the fight (I should have may be), it spilled on to me being grossly trolled over with more sexiest or suggestive jokes on my community, directed at me indirectly. After a while, I got to know that the handle was owned by a Jain or Agrawal boy !! And that too, he was supported by many rightist, center-ist politically aware handles. Obviously, it was a big disappointment. In an instant, my courage turned into foolishness politically.
As I turned up at work next day, I found some verbal support against the trolling hurled at me. Normally, this organization is active on Indic causes and usually tries to report general abuse of those who fight for genuine Indic causes. But somehow, I felt my online fight could trouble the employer, so I removed the name of the website from my social media bio.
I had tweeted in the heat of the moment that I’ll consider filing a legal complaint against that meme. I spent time with cyber cell and few lawyers. I was told that there was hardly any case on individual basis. There is no specific law that prevents or punishes sexually suggestive public mockery if the offended are upper caste Hindu women of different communities. Outraging my modesty as a woman had a weak case, since the first tweet did not target me individually. In this situation, the ST / SC women have more protection and so do minority community women through the minority commission.
I was told, unless any representative organization of Agrawal community files a defamation case, the case is very weak. Also, I was myself confused after knowing that the other side is an Indic religion, and if he turned out to be an Agrawal, will it be furthermore mockery of the community to file a case?! It dampened my spirits to realize that the accused was / were closer to powerful rightist ideology influencers.
Nevertheless, I was helped by a learned Guru to reach out to some influential vaishya / baniya community organizations. They promised to help curb this kind of public behavior involving sexiest community jokes. But it was probably late, I had already made a series of tactical errors and under stress, I had already taken a break from my job ( for the second time in the month ).
Ultimately, I was told by the heads of those baniya communities that the police commissioner or so informed them, that this whole episode was an internal fight between ‘friends’ and the fact that I had replied nastily to fight back, it probably absolved or equalized the sexual mockery hurled at the community in public. I was not too shocked, though a bit surprised. I could not keep my word of taking the case legally, so I quit that social media medium for few days.
I seems difficult that I will work with the same employer.
So, in just 3 days, my life changed. My innocence, courage and integrity turned into stupidity, quarrelsome attitude and mental instability.
I don’t regret taking offense to that meme, but I do regret certain tactical mistakes I did while fighting, But I am sure that I have now paid back the Samaj Rin (समाज ऋण) in full. I don’t owe anything to this community as an individual, my work is testimony for it. I am not denying that I have shortcomings, but that’s separate.
We must note that no proven leftist liberal was involved in this case, no typical feminist was involved, and no secular political party was involved. Needless to say anything more.
So what happens when degeneration in public becomes acceptable. From a brutal story of an icon like sadhvi pragya to a simple alienation of an ordinary woman named Garima, are the stories that happen. The person doing the cultural degeneration can be an isolated incident, but when that degeneration gets excused on multiple grounds (politics, friendship, individual benefits, worth the effort, et all), the degeneration becomes pervasive. It shall increase like weed.
The medium, the ideological companions, the community, the law, the police, the organizations…. all end up weak. One person doing the degeneration will die down or hide, but how will you contain hundreds justifying or excusing that degeneration. It always affects the future generations. The collective karmas are never left unpaid. That’s the nature of law.