What does it mean to be liberal in India?

Written by Shyamsalonee Rawal of TE IT

Liberalism in India maintains a very unlikely peaceful balance amidst matters like female foeticide, Hunger, Poverty, illiteracy, gender inequality et cetera. I won't hesitate to say that not more than 20% of the citizens of my nation are affected by the present condition of liberalism enough to be willing to bring a change about it.

To understand the Indian idea of liberalism better, one day, I asked my parents about their opinions about it. I learnt some rather obnoxious things that day. My father was taught to never display feminine traits, like sensitivity and much emotions in general and My mother, masculinity. It's only in India, that emotions have a gender. In their elaboration, I understood that the basic foundation of the globally known idea of liberalism is shattered in a million pieces in India, and is modified to form a rather degraded version.

The Indian version of liberalism is laid somewhere in the region of all things tyrannous and acceptable, to be brutally honest. If we narrow down ideas of liberalism for an average 18 year old female, it'll mostly include freedom of thought, independence and the liberality to be 'her' kind of happy. It's miserable really, that a major proportion of such a female's mind space is presently taken up by thoughts of getting raped and being forced into marriage without having a chance to build a career. To a large proportion of fellow Indians, Liberalism will narrow down to Secularism, to some - feminism, to some - political Chauvinism and to some - Education.

The beauty of being an Indian is that people realises how messed up their country's ideas about things like liberalism is and choose to co-exist with it by writing blogs, and posting facebook statuses against it to show their concern. Well, the real sad part is, my essay is not making a discovery here. Most Indians will acknowledge everything I've mentioned, and will in the end, quite ironically be liberal about it. The it in the previous sentence is not my essay, it is the Indian version of 'liberalism'. I wonder if I'm mistaken to be living in this mirage where I think Indians aren't liberal at all. They have their own, but false, version of it. Or is everyone pulling off a desperateness induced charade of acceptance. At the end of the day,all everybody wants is a happy life.

I am striving hard to bring a change, no matter how small, and I want to share this feeling with people too. Because at the end of the day, we need to ask ourselves what kind of a nation are we bringing our children into and putting forward to the world as their largest democracy.

Let's work hard and hope for a better tomorrow. Optimism is the staple diet of a liberal Indian, after all.