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The First Step

“Culture is constantly changing. So what is the point of culture? Culture is about the preservation of continuity of a people. Culture does not make people. People make culture” – Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.
If a culture prescribes oppression as a means of control, it is time to reject it.
A culture shouldn’t cause fear.
A culture shouldn’t teach hate.
A culture shouldn’t spread anger.
Culture is about preserving humanity, not destroying it.

Author: Shreya Volety

Recently, I watched the Amazon Prime Original series, Bandish Bandits. The show is well written and well-produced, but this piece is not about the show but rather one particular moment in the show. The show is set in Jodhpur, a city with old palaces and rooted in even older traditions. And patriarchy is the founding tradition of old, and if we’re being real, even contemporary India. 

The particular scene I’m referring to is one where the woman of the family, who for thirty years of her life has not dined with the rest of the men in the family, is invited to sit at the table for the first time. Everyone at the table hesitates for a second, and then the head of the family pulls her chair out for her and she sits at the table.

She is the first woman in 12 generations of the Rathore family to sit at the table.

Now, I don’t mean to glorify this moment, because a tradition as archaic as this should never have had a place in the 21st Century, democratic India. But it does and despite understanding the full scope of misogyny in this world, I can’t help but be moved by a 30-second scene in a TV show. 

I live in a world, where people are philosophizing progress, while slowly regressing backward. 

What this 30-second clip represents to me, is the first step forward.

All we need to take sometimes is the first step forward to

Listen,

Acknowledge,

Try to understand,

Act.

We are living in our heads. The whole world is the world we have created for ourselves. Max Ehrmann said in his poetry,

“With all, it’s sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

And that is only because every world is a world of our making. And we can take the first step. If we can redirect even 30 seconds of the time we spend on invalidating people, their thoughts, and emotions to listening instead.

If we can spend 30 seconds not 

Dehumanizing,

Oppressing,

Dismissing,

and looting people of their identity, we at least have a reasonable shot at creating a better world.

All it takes is the first step forward.

By thoughtstains

This blog page serves as a platform for the Editorial department of The Hindu Education Plus Club at VIT Vellore. We provide opportunities to budding authors across campus to hone their writing skills. We publish blogs four times a week, where writers can communicate their views on any topic of their choice with our readers.

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