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← “It’s Part of their Culture” - Reading Nick Cohen in the light of the Jaipur affair [Also in Polish]

Premiseless's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Premiseless

Comment 11 by stellier68 :

Enough of the: "It's ok as long as they don't impose it on others" or "Religious beliefs are a personnal choice, whatever anyone practice at home is none of our business". Religion has social and societal ramifications, that's its nature. Could someone say: "Slavery is ok as long as it stays in Africa?" or "Paedophilia is a personal choice, whatever anyone practices at home is none of our business?" Religion is politics in its ugliest, most evil form and has to be fought and denouced with vigor. A famous poet once said that: "If you don't take care of politics, politics will take care of you"...The same can be said of religions.

The DEVADASI are the most incredible example of how lifestyle respects are an absolute mutation of what we might consider mainstream moral thought procedure. Their culture, for centuries prior to colonial rule, revolved around preteens devoting their lives to a goddess, thereby affording them lifelong kudos unavailable to anyone else from their lowly caste. The catch? Sex slaves for life. The bonus? Women who would otherwise be owned for life by a husband and whose purpose is to serve him and the children born of this now have matriarchal rights over children born to them as a concubine to a wealthy individual, whose pleasure charms they now become another one amidst a collection of.

So here we have children, being devoted for life to prostitution, which affords them privilege and respect and the unique blessings of the goddess whom they serve. An absolute mutation of standard definitions for respect, layered with western taboos!

Comment 24 by Helga Vierich :

....... It is, therefore, looking at cultural practices relative to their environments. It is not a basis for social activism or policy.

The world over, is it any wonder conformity to a sustainable standard is so elusive.

What has always seemed odd, to me, is the overlooking of the fact that human beings can and do readily adopt new practices to fit in to cultures that they seek refuge in. They learn the language, the behavioural and legal codes, learn to conform to dress codes and so on. It is most unusual to see immigrant groups demanding to retain those aspects of their original culture, which actively defy their new setting, in a situation where this would likely get them expelled (or worse) from the society which has offered them a home.


So it is imperative to be very clear what is acceptable and what is not. In a multicultural society, it cannot always be easy to make the kinds of rules that permit, on the one hand, freedom of religion, while on the other hand, apply a uniform standard of law - especially of human rights and individual freedoms. But it must be done, and be seen to be strictly upheld. This is not a moral minefield. It is a simple matter of applying the legal system equally. Any politician who panders special interests, be they ethnic or religious - or class - should be publicly challenged and shamed. People have fought too hard for those rights and freedoms, now enshrined in the legal system of most democratic countries, to risk losing these now because some member of parliament cannot, or will not, see that this balancing of the rights of the individual against those of the state must apply to all citizens, regardless of their origins or beliefs.

In the case cited (devadasi), children go on record as saying,

"You cannot even trust your own family not to sell your life."

From an empirical position you see women, often themselves sold as sex charms around 7 yrs old, now with families in a welfare void, needing monies for sons to start a family, with daughters who can earn enough to pay for medicines and 'family norms' by sacrificing their less affluent 'wife and mother' choice to a more affluent 'sex charm' option.

As one of these lowly life philosophers stated,

"For the poor, choice is a very cruel mirage."

If you interfere in their fabric, minus a sustainable long term liberation, all you often do is reduce whatever ill wind was already blowing in their direction. Stagnation and suffering seem their only rewards for ALL capitalist agendas.

With this in mind, it seems less strange that religious irrationalities prevail amidst peoples whose multigenerational realities are hardwired to systems of thinking we would consider represent all that is to be avoided of the human experience.

In fact, when you think about it, it's only power and affluence which preserve such moral reversals of culture and belief. And this from a government set to become one of the global big players in the not too distant future.

Some big questions lie begging as to what promotes power and affluence, predominantly absent equitable opportunity. It seems a formulae we in the west know well, behind our pretentious morals!

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 08:45:34 UTC | #913715