Culture policing or moral policing is a term that is much discussed by the Indian media nowadays. In fact, much of our society is split by the debate on culture and moral policing.
This comes into evidence especially during Valentine’s Day celebrations. There have been instances of civilian mobs attacking shops and restaurants in the past and the protests continue. Also, many young couples have been driven away from sea-fronts and beaches, by conservative factions who do not like public display of affection. There have been protests against beauty pageants and bars and pubs have been shut down.
Culture or moral policing is an attempt to control the cultural and moral atmosphere prevalent in society.
The whole issue is basically that of cultural conflict – one group in society begins to move towards a culture (or a set of morals) with which the other group is uncomfortable, and therefore the latter tries to force the former to comply with their own values and morals.
With the younger lot becoming more and more westernized in their outlook and following many more western practices, the protests against the western concept of morality have also grown louder.
What do you do when confronted by such conflicting morals?
The first thing is to remember that violence, by anyone, is wrong and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. No one has the right to assault or humiliate others, or destroy property, whatever the issue. Such matters are governed by law and those who are not content with protests should tackle the issue through the legal system.
At the same time, everyone has the right to protest against something they consider wrong and they have a right to enforce rules in their own homes, if not in public spaces.
Which ever set of morals you have (and you will have to form your own, after much soul-searching) it is important to remember that others too are entitled to their space. In public, at least, you should not do anything that offends their sensibilities. Also, when taking a stand against a moral issue, remember to search your own mind about whether you are doing so because you believe in it, or whether you are simply caving in to peer pressure.
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