Sunday, January 26, 2014

IMPLEMENTATION OF PUNISHMENTS, JUSTICE, CONFESSIONS, SINS IN ISLAM

Inspite of the Laws laid down by Quran and Hadith, there is a possibility that the laws of punishment are injustly applied in many cases. But incorrect implementation of laws of injustice given to victims is not error in Islam. It is error in implementation of Justice by its followers. Do not take muslims as an examples of Islam. Because many of the Muslims are doing what suits them. Look at Islam and its laws to understand it.

Many times it is seen that while meting out justice in society, even religious leaders tend to be biased towards men. Also in some countries the overall justice implementation is different for the common man and for the the royals! And in that too, Islamic laws are tweaked to suit own biases against a section of society / group.

When Injustice is given out in judgement, then the Qazi / lawyer is doing further crimes himself.
  1. Abetting the crime / criminal.
  2. Denying the prescribed punishment to the criminal, hence denial to Allah’s command.
  3. Denying justice to the victim.
And if the victim herself / himself is further forced punishment under another unrelated law, then you are becoming an oppressor or wrong doer of the oppressed, which is another sin.
Please find some verses from Surah Al Maidah, which talk about implementation of Justice

5:8 O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people's enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just. That is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Aware of what you do. 

5:42 They are eager listeners to falsehood, devourers of things forbidden. If, then, they come to thee for judgment, judge between them or turn aside from them. And if thou turn aside from them, they cannot harm thee at all. And if thou judge, judge between them with justice. Surely Allah loves those who are just.

5:50 Do they then seek the judgment of the days of Ignorance. And who is better than Allah as a judge for a people who have firm faith? 

I also want to discuss another important thing here. We have seen / learnt that in certain matters, Islamic law is strict and capital punishment is prescribed for them. Here, I am talking about the punishments for fornication and adultery. What is important to know here is also that though Allah has prescribed strict punishments in sins involving immorality / character, at the same time we have been guided towards keeping some personal sins a secret. If a sin involves honour and character, then the best way is to keep it a secret and seek sincere forgiveness from Allah and abstain from doing it again.

CONCEAL YOUR SIN

If you study further on this issue, it is brought forth in 2-3 ways.

Confession of Sin

 In the hadiths, where Prophet Mohammed SAS was brought forth cases wherein individuals have themselves come forth and accepted their adultery or illicit sexual relations, (unless witnessed by others or there existed a proof, through resultant pregnancy or any other form), then in each case you will see that our beloved prophet has asked them to go back and reconsider their confession. In some cases, the question was asked 3-4 times and when the confessor kept admitting it, only then was the punishment implemented.

Let us take the example when Maiz Ibn Malik came to the Prophet Muhammed SAS and asked him to purify him, the Prophet (SAS) said to him, “Allah have mercy on you!  Go away and ask Allah’s forgiveness! Maiz then left but soon returned and asked again to be purified, and the Prophet (SAS) repeated what he had said.  The same thing then happened a third time, and it was only after the fourth time that the Prophet (SAS) asked Maiz some further Questions and ordered him to be punished (related by Muslim + others).  When the hadd punishment was enforced on him, Maiz tried to run away but those stoning him chased him down and forcibly enforced the punishment on him.  When the Prophet (SAS) heard about this, he disapproved and said, ‘Why didn’t you let him go? Perhaps he would have made repentance and Allah would have accepted his repentance.’ (Abu Dawud) 

 Ibn Hajar notes in his Tuhfa that all of the offers made by the Messenger of Allah and his subsequent disapproval of his companions actions indicate that it is superior for one not to confess to committing zina, and that even if one did, it is recommended to withdraw one’s confession.  Otherwise, the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) offers would be meaningless (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 9.113).

Allah says in Soorah an-Nisa (4): 148, "Allah does not like that evil should be uttered in public except by him who has been wronged."

Through this verse of Surah An Nisa, it is further clarified that if a sin like rape or other kind of abuse is committed on a person, then he/ she has full right to talk about it, in order to get justice.

Boasting about Sin

The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "My entire nation is safe, except al-Mujahirin(those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: "O Fulan! Last night I did this and that." He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah has kept a secret!" [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Through this Hadith, it is clear that committing a sin is disliked by Allah, but worst is committing a sin and then boasting about it. This is like committing an error and then propagating it and making it sound lucrative to others.

Hide in Allah’s cover and seek forgiveness.

Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Hence HE has suggested ways to atone for your sins apart from prescribing harsh punishments for committing it. It is very easy to brand Islam as barbaric. But the softness of Islam and the parts about forgiveness and mercy of Allah are not often highlighted. Even within Islam, I have seen that many muslims selectively quote somes hadiths out of context which save and protect their wrong or unjust behavior. And very conveniently ignore the related hadiths/ verses of Quran which were also to be referred to.

 "O People! It is time for you to refrain from transgressing Allah's limits. He who commits some of these filthy acts(such as fornication), let him hide under Allah's cover, for whoever admits what he has committed, we will establish Allah's Book as regards him(by applying the warranted punishment for this sin)." [Musnad Ahmad]

Abdullah Ibn Masoud (RA) related, 'A man came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of Allah! I have mingled with a woman in the far side of al-Medina, and I fulfilled my desire short of actually having sexual intercourse with her. So, here am I, judge me according to what you decide.' Umar Ibn al-Khattab (RA) then said: 'Allah had kept your secret, why did not you keep your secret?' [Sharh Muslim]


Covering sin of another.

Similarly, if one becomes aware of somebody else's sin, he should keep it a secret.

Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: "He, who relieves a hardship of this Duniya (world) for a believer, Allah will relieve (from him) a hardship of the Day of Resurrection; he who makes easy an indebted person, Allah will make it easy for him in the Duniya and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (meaning his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the Duniya and the Hereafter…" [Muslim]

Points to Remember   

Let us understand that here we are discussing the sins of honour and character. We are not discussing greater crimes of terror like murder, blood-shedding, rape and the like.
  •  The purpose of concealing your sin / another’s should be seeking forgiveness from Allah and then proceeding on the Right Path.
  •  It should not culminate in a heap of sins with no signs of reform and only eagerness to conceal them by all means.
  •  If you know that a certain person is harmful to society and your witness against him, will save others lives, then it is not advisable to conceal his/her sins.
The previous post about punishments might have made many shudder or shift in their seats. This related post, proves only one thing : Allah is Kind, Understanding, Forgiving and Merciful. Subhan Allah.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

SOME MAJOR PUNISHMENTS FOR MAJOR SINS PRESCRIBED IN ISLAM


The penal laws of Islam are called ‘Hudud’ in the Hadith and Fiqh. This word is the plural of Hadd, which means prevention, hindrance, restraint, prohibition, and hence a restrictive ordinance or statute of God, respecting things lawful and unlawful.
Punishments are divided into two classes, one of which is called 1)Hadd and the other 2) Ta'zir.
The Hadd is a measure of punishment defined by the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In Ta'zir, the court, is allowed to use its discretion in regard to the form and measure in which such punishment is to be inflicted.

Punishments by way of Hadd are of the following forms: death by stoning, amputation of a limb or limbs, flogging by one hundred or eighty strokes. They are prescribed respectively for the following offences: adultery committed by married persons, theft, highway robbery, drunkenness and slander imputing unchastity to women.

The punishments described above are the maximum punishments for the above mentioned crimes. These can be reduced keeping in view the circumstances in which the crimes were committed, the nature of the evidence, and the motive of the criminal with which he committed the crime.

Let's see what the Hadiths say about sins and their punishments in general:

Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah's Apostle said, "When an adulterer commits illegal sexual intercourse, then he is not a believer at the time he is doing it; and when somebody drinks an alcoholic drink, then he is not believer at the time of drinking, and when a thief steals, he is not a believer at the time when he is stealing; and when a robber robs and the people look at him, then he is not a believer at the time of doing it."

Reference : Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 81, Number 763

Let us discuss the various punishments prescribed in Quran for various crimes / sins

PUNISHMENT FOR THEFT

The punishment for theft for a man and woman is – Cutting off of hands!

{[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they earned [i.e. committed] as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.}[Quran 5:38].

Sahih Muslim

'A'isha reported that she heard Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: The hand of the thief may not be cut off but for a quarter of a dinar and upwards.
Jaibir reported that a woman from the tribe of Makhzum committed theft. She was brought to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and she sought refuge (intercession) from Umm Salama, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him). Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: By Allah, even if she were Fatima, I would have her hand cut off. And thus her hand was cut off.

PUNISHMENT FOR ADULTERY/ FORNICATION :

The [Unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse — lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion [i.e. law] of Allaah, if you should believe in Allaah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.}[Quran 24:2].

When an unmarried man and unmarried woman commit fornication/ adultery / zina and it is proved by witnesses / self confession or pregnancy, then both are to be lashed 100 times and banished/ exhiled for a year.

If a married male commits adultery with a female married to another man and the same is proved by witnesses or self confession, then both of them are entitled to 100 lashes and and have to be stoned to death

'Ubada b. as-Samit reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me. Allah has ordained a way for those (women). When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.

Many confuse this with Rape and end up unduly/ unjustly punishing a woman alongwith man for an act of violence against her.

PUNISHMENT FOR RAPE

Some people seem to confuse Islamic law by equating rape to sex outside of marriage (adultery or fornication). However, throughout Islamic history there have been scholars who classified rape as a form of terrorism (hiraba). There have also been specific examples in Islamic history which can shed light on how early Muslims handled this crime and its punishment.
Examples from Early Islamic History
During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, a rapist was punished based on only the testimony of the victim. Wa'il ibn Hujr reported that a womam publicly identified a man who had raped her. The people caught the man and brought him to the Prophet Muhammad. He told the woman to go, that she was not to be blamed, and ordered that the man be put to death.

In another case, a woman brought her infant to the mosque and publicly spoke about the rape that had resulted in her pregnancy. When confronted, the accused admitted the crime to the  who ordered his punishment. The woman was not punished.
Rape : Adultery or Terrorism?
It is incorrect to say that rape is merely a subcategory of adultery or fornication. In the well-known Islamic legal book, "Fiqh-us-Sunnah," rape is included in a definition of hiraba (terrorism or crimes of violence): "A single person or group of people causing public disruption, killing, forcibly taking property or money, attacking or raping women, killing cattle, or disrupting agriculture." This distinction is important when discussing the evidence required to prove the crime.

Other Points of Views and Fatwas on Rape Punishment
 Ibn `Abdul-Barr (may Allah bless his soul) said :
The scholars are unanimously agreed that the rapist is to be subjected to the hadd punishment if there is clear evidence against him that he deserves the hadd punishment, or if he admits to that. Otherwise, he is to be punished (that is, if there is no proof that the hadd punishment for zina may be carried out against him because he does not confess and there are not four witnesses, then the judge may punish him and stipulate a punishment that will deter him and others like him). There is no punishment for the woman if it is true that he forced her and overpowered her. (Al-Istidhkaar, 7/146). 
In addition, the rapist is subject to the hadd punishment for zina, even if the rape was not carried out at knifepoint or gunpoint. If the use of a weapon was threatened, then he is a muharib, and is to be subjected to the hadd punishment described in the verse in which Allah says  (The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter) (Al-Ma’idah 5:33). 
So the judge has the choice of the four punishments mentioned in this verse and may choose whichever he thinks is most suitable to attain the objective, which is to spread peace and security in society, and ward off evildoers and aggressors.
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
A raped woman is a victim that must be treated with honor and kindness. She is not required to produce four witnesses to prove the crime done against her, nor is she punished for the crime done against her. 


A woman who has been raped cannot be asked to produce witnesses; her claim shall be accepted unless there are tangible grounds to prove otherwise. To insist that she provide witnesses is akin to inflicting further pain on her. If anyone refutes her claim of innocence, the onus is on him to provide evidence, and she may simply deny the claim by making a solemn oath, thus clearing herself in public. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The onus to provide evidence falls on the one who makes a claim, and the one who denies (the same) can absolve himself or herself by making a solemn oath to the contrary.” 



SLANDERING A CHASTE WOMAN :

This law is there to avoid people from falsely accusing others of zina / fornication/ adultery.

{And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses — lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from   them testimony ever after.}[Quran 24:4]
.
Many a times, a woman apart from becoming a victim of rape or sexual assault, often has people accusing her only for bringing on the crime on herself. Some doubt her own chastity and behavior. Some comment on her clothing and some on her actions. But rape can happen to anyone. Even a well clad female. Also some men try to put the blame on her to avoid themselves from being punished.
To dissuade such people, it is ordained that if anyone is proved of having slandering a woman’s chastity without witnesses or proof, then such a person is himself / herself entitled to 2 punishments :
     1)  80 lashes
      2)  The person’s testimony should never ever be accepted.

UNJUST KILLING / BLOODSHED

"...If anyone kills a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people" (Qur'an 5:32).

"...Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom" (Quran 6:151).

Punishment and retribution

{And whoever is killed unjustly — We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life.}[Quran 17:33].

Islam is against killing of the innocents.

The Prophet Mohammed SAS said, "The first cases to be decided among the people (on the Day of Resurrection) will be those of blood-shed."

Hadith Sahih Bukhari (law ordained by quoting the Quran) :

The law of Qisas (i.e. equality in punishment) was prescribed for the children of Israel, but the Diya (i.e.blood money was not ordained for them). So Allah said to this Nation (i.e. Muslims): "O you who believe! The law of Al-Qisas (i.e. equality in punishment) is prescribed for you in cases of murder: The free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if the relatives (or one of them) of the killed (person) forgive their brother (i.e. the killers something of Qisas (i.e. not to kill the killer by accepting blood money in the case of intentional murder)...then the relatives (of the killed person) should demand blood-money in a reasonable manner and the killer must pay with handsome gratitude. This is an allevitation and a Mercy from your Lord, (in comparison to what was prescribed for the nations before you). So after this, whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. to kill the killer after taking the blood-money) shall have a painful torment." (Quran 2 :178)

The Qur'an legislates the death penalty for murder, although forgiveness and compassion are strongly encouraged.

Islam has prescribed two ways in which murder / killings can be handled

1) Capital Punishment
2) Foregiveness in lieu of Blood Money (compensation to the victim’s family)

The murder victim's family is given a choice to either insist on the death penalty, or to pardon the perpetrator and accept monetary compensation for their loss

Here again, the point to be noted is that when Punishment is given, the criminal is cleansed of his sins (Allah knows best), but when a pardon is sought through blood money, the balancing of the sin committed is done through another ways.
a) In forgiveness, the victim’s family’s status is raised in front of the Almighty.
b) The sins of the forgiver are burdened on the murderer.

This is best explained through the following narration from Sahih Muslim Book 16 Hadith Number 4164.

These are some of the major Punishments prescribed in Quran and Hadiths for some of the bigger sins.

Some of us, and many non- Muslims will find the punishments too harsh. But all laws and punishments are made with the intention to avoid the Crime from taking place (if all punishments are implemented justly)


When doubts are raised in our minds about the kind of punishments ordained by the Almighty, reflect on these verses of Surah Al Maidah :

5:98 Know that Allah is Severe in punishment and that Allah is also Most Forgiving and ever Merciful. 

5:101 O ye who believe! ask not about things which, if revealed to you, would cause you trouble, though if you ask about them while the Qur'├ín is being sent down they will be revealed to you. Allah has left them out on purpose. And Allah is Most Forgiving and Forbearing. 

We will discuss the smaller punishments for other behaviours / sins in another topic, Insha Allah.

Sources :
Sahih Muslim
Sahih Bukhari

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hope is a Miraculous medicine



Hope is a miraculous medicine.
It is the reason why many betrayed people do not end their lives.
It is the cause of smile on sad hearts.
It is the basis of survival through difficult situations.

If you keep hope alive, you keep dreams alive.
Hope makes people who are ill, laugh.
Hope scares away fears even when you have everything to fear about.
Hope makes way even when you reach a dead end.

I like this ad of Coca Cola. It has different versions based on the country it is aired in.

Sunshine waali dhoop, ummeedon waali aasha. 
Roney ke bahane kam, hasney ke bahane zyada.
Such lovely lines. 
Even when you have been betrayed by people who you trusted, its nice to know that there are many people out there who are self-lessly helping/ aiding orphans, the destitutes and even the unknown somewhere.
For every suicide that takes places, there are several who are ascertaining their belief and emerging stronger.
For every hungry homeless person on the road, there are many given a shelter and food in NGOs, ashrams or orphanges.
There are many who die due to severe cold, but many out there are surviving because some kind souls have distributed blankets.
You may come across many snobs, liars, untrustworthy people but you still have good old friends and family who will swear and stand by you, no matter what.
Sometimes the presence of the Good in the sea of bad, stops your tears. And just for the sake of the good that exists through hope and otherwise around you, is reason enough to smile.

For everyone out there, who feels that the world has ended and it pointless carrying on with life or want to shun the world, remember that the one who wins even after failure, is the true winner. 

Those who feel that all that remains is just tears and are feeling suicidal, do reverse therapy. Watch funny videos, learn a new skill / hobby and get busy making things, read thrillers, watch dare-devil shows, go on a holiday with friends or read about all the good people and also stories of inspiration. If you want to waste your life, think about living for a cause! Look for a cause and there are a plenty. 

Of course Hope is nothing without Patience. Keep patience. Pray. Hope for the best. God will do the rest.
There are less reasons to cry and many reasons to smile for! Keep your self esteem and do not underestimate your worth ever. Those who have done bad, let them cry. Don't reverse the order.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another succumbs to the Monster- Social Networking Menace!!!

Gosh, just yesterday evening I was telling my colleague why I am not on Watsapp and why I deactived Facebook in September 2012 (shortly will log in and delete it entirely, just found out that's possible!). When I was listing the points, she went from 'Uh' to 'Gosh' and wondered how I was thinking so far...! And same night all the Sunanda Tharoor suicide episode was all over TV! These social networking sites can grow on you, mislead you and make your real life a mess if you get too involved in it. And now people ending lives over it? 

These are my simple observations, which I told a few friends and selected colleagues :

1) Waste of time. Instead of connecting to friend or finding long lost school college friends, the sites/ applications connect us to strangers, pests, make you answerable to known people you don't accept as friends, get friend requests from anti social elements. And now its being used by many for all the wrong reasons.....!

2) Your life becomes an open book and people start tracking you (its virtual stalking!). Your friends. Enemies. Unwanted admirers. Your Boss. Your rivals. Your prospective suitors. Your prospective employers. People employed detectives earlier. Or poked their noses. Now they simply have to see your facebook account / page. Every post becomes a cause for gossip. There's one advantage here. You can manipulate. But everyone ain't smart for that. You end up making a fool of yourself. Even the rich and famous cannot abstain from being boastful and show off on Twitter (not yet used it myself though!). You get so caught up in this parallel virtual life that it grows on you. The main purpose of re-iterating this social media thing, is of course the Shashi Tharoor -Sunanda episode, finally ending a life. Was all this worth it all?

3) You are exposed to temptations. If you get too obsessed with the networking media, then you get transported into a parallel world. You might avoid the 'real' people. Might even not relate to them. You avoid family and real friends around you. This might affect your overall personality. Females (and innocent males), nubile girls and even kids could be fooled and swayed by anti social elements who befriend who and then might kidnap or mis-use you. I heard about a college girl get kidnapped through Facebook. Then she was found but has lost memories of the days she went missing. Damn scary! We've heard of the other famous cases.

4) Everyone has access to you on a personal level especially if you download something like Watsapp. Even if you store a number, they get connected. From your milkman to courier-wala to doctor and many people whom you wouldn't want to have a peek into your personal lives. The thought makes me creep. I am a private person. And especially fear men from getting too pally and this day no one's intentions can be known! Here I do not know if the culprit is the Smart phone which has made us fools, or the networking apps.  The smartphone itself is an instrument worth discussing about.

5) You waste precious time reading posts, re-posting posts, commenting on silly things, posting your pictures. And slowly you start posting personal pictures which shouldn't have been made public in the first place. Then you get more obsessed with it till you start acting like a celebrity and pictures from your bedroom also reach the world. I know of few colleagues, who later started posting personal pictures like candid honeymoon pictures to holiday bikini pictures. Are you tempting people out there? Or losing respect amongst colleagues, who might start making personal comments on you, which you might take offence to. Recently heard of someone make personal comments on 2-3 females, thanks to pictures posted on watsapp and facebook. Some personal pictures are not for the junta. And do not forget that these pictures are much downloadable by anyone who can see them. This isn't the best way to go down in history. Make your own history with your talents.

8) Any damn hacker can hack into your account and get vital information from your messages and might destroy your life, or blackmail you or have access to your entire network and might mis-use it against you. Not only that, we even tend to pass on passwords, phone numbers to family, close friends etc through messages within the sites. And lo! There you lose everything..... if it goes into another's hands!!!

7) And if God forbid, we die due to an accident or any untoward incident, the media will start highlighting your facebook details. The police will employ hackers to hack it to get into your lives. At least one would want to die in peace.

8) Lastly, your life and statistics will end up as NASA MIS!!!

My colleague was astonished and guffawed. And was telling me, oh God, how much I am thinking about this....

I told her how I am getting time to do nice things after getting the time. Even after putting in 10 hours or sometimes more, I found time to learn a new skill like jewellery making through You Tube and some books which kept me busy and helped me come out of my low phase. Now I've a collection of handmade jewellery made, a website!!! With the available time, I brushed up my knowledge skills, got back to my hobbies, redefined my goals, got thinking about my career aims, life. Me. In being social and helping and in the puzzle of life, I had got lost somewhere. And finally found myself again. Enjoying my shopping (though alone). The end of season sales, the running to hitherto unknown wholesale markets all by myself to buy unique raw materials to make jewellery. Learnt about basic skills of webpage designing. There's so much to learn in this world and so little time. So why waste it? Another thing to learn on wish-list : French speaking~!



A set made by me :)


Read this this article too : 
http://www.insidetechnology360.com/index.php/reasons-to-avoid-social-networking-sites-1800/

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Our objections and judgements based on our prejudices....


We South Asians (Indians and her neighbours) seem to have a problem with everything we come across. We have pretty much the same characteristics in nature. But since we belong to India, lets speak of situations we see across us. Is there anything happening around us we do not have an objection to? We act pretty much like judges passing judgements on news, views and even people. And our judgements do affect lives. Remember the fellow in MIB who can think of innumerable possible reactions to every action one takes,? Just like that, every judgement we make, has a chain reaction. This could lead to stereotypes, prejudices and the like. Or it could affect a life.

Let's begin with some latest in news. The most watched - 'Comedy Nights with Kapil' as we know is a comedy show which is not to be taken seriously. Every character in it is only a character to make you laugh. Every comment or joke is just to be taken as a joke. And people enjoy watching it. Of course, some comments go over the top at times, but Indian comedy has always been a little unsophisticated. And Indians have always liked it like that. So who could expect that a show like that which makes you laugh, can be reported as disrespectful and anti-women? Who would imagine that a comment like 'the puddles on mumbai streets can ease a poor pregnant woman's life by popping out the baby for her' be a case of serious offence?! Yes, for those who don't know an NGO activist has filed a complaint on this comment. Moreover, the characters 'Dadi', 'Palak' etc have been objected to by some as wrong representation of Indian women!!! Who takes these characters seriously anyways?! And we laugh because we see them as they're not supposed to be. A drunken chaalu Indian daadi (grandma), a jazzily dressed choti (braid) flaunting Palak and Gutti behaving strangely are just meant to amuse you! That's what entertains us. If they acted as they 're supposed to, it would become a saas-bahu saga serial. And surprisingly, these saas-bahu so called sanskari serials scare me most. I avoid them. Because you never know who will leave whom and re-marry and whose sister-in-law will be pataoing whose brother-in-law, who might catch whose fancy! And all these characterless things happen in traditionally clad clothes under the banner of 'Sanskar'! The word has definitely been redefined. Yet these serials are most watched and never objected to!

Another media and public favourite is Salman Khan. Whatever he does attracts attention, criticism or applause. If he says something or anything, whether on a show he's hosting or being interviewed, whether he hits or does charity, whether he dances at a show or shows off his chest, everything is a point of discussion! Even his charity, his anger, his single-dom is widely discussed. When I look at him, I think of the story of the man and the donkey. Whether he carries the donkey, rides on it or whether simply walks with it, every thing is objectionable! Sometimes, we too fall in such traps. 

These were some of the latest in-news events which I've high-lighted. But we object to or have prejudices based on movies too. How can we take movies and serials seriously and ignore reality? If you want to really believe movies, watch the realistic cinema. The masses would not even enjoy it as they might appear boring to them. Because that's what reality is all about. But we do not want to believe it. Strange. I was watching this song from 'Yaariyan' which goes 'A se aao re aao, B se bhau na khao, C se chillatey jao, D se daaru pitey jao.....' It has hoardes of college goers dressed in sexy pyjamas having a 'pajama party'! I don't know if the crowd is Mumbaiite or Delhiite in the movie. Over the years, in movies, it has mostly been Mumbai based. So what signal it sends down to the rest of India? Entire mumbai youth is having a pajama party somewhere with friends. Or like other college songs show, in Mumbai colleges mostly the college goers sing and dance and romance. That's what the rest of India thinks. But who stay in Mumbai but have not come across this, what do they think? What do the majorly conservative Mumbai crowd, which in reality comprises of traditional marathis and many people from other states settled here, who are like the rest of Indians, think? They think that south Mumbai colleges or some top colleges are like that. And the crowd from those colleges are like that. Basically everyone is thinking that the other is bad. Some, very conservative parents who do not step out much or not too connected with the world, think colleges are bad for their daughters and end up not educating them further. Some choose a women's college. All these actions, reactions and thought processes affect lives!

College is just one aspect. Then there are other things in movies which are so unrealistic. Every Mumbai girl nowadays is shown as mini clad, tight jeans toting and vying for a man's attention and dancing in night clubs. Earlier the 'vamp' did it, now the heroines do all the item numbers, do all the bad things themselves. So what does the rest of Indian think? Every Mumbai girl is 'chalu' (available). A few interactions I tried to have with the outside world, people end up thinking that because you are a Mumbai girl, you must be bindaas!!! So I decided not to be on social media or anywhere. My real friends are connected to me anyways. So it doesn't matter. But it has affected marriage proposals from across states. So it mattered in a way. Mumbai parents and society is moderate and they know reality and since we live in mix culture of states and in contrasts of modern and conservative simultaneously with highly rich to destitute-ly poor, we are more accepting of others and other cultures. But again every Mumbai-ite might not think like me or my family.

What movies depict is a section of society, which co-exists with the other. They might form 10-15% of the crowd. But do not represent the rest of the crowd. Same way for rest of India. The so-called conservative cultures of Kerala or Gujarat or North-East or Jammu Kashmir, are they as they are projected? These are random examples and could apply to any part of India. Lets take North-East. Is everyone there backward, not connected to India, doesn't know to speak Hindi, doesn't know ABC of fashion as we'd like to believe? If you have not been there and experienced the culture, you would believe all the above assumptions. We would generalise them and pass judgements on them. Some judgement/s might even affect some people there. It might affect a North East student studying in some other part of India. But what most do not know is that North East is very much Indian like you and me. My Daddy, who spent 2 years of his posting in Guwahati and on official trips to most part of North East has seen the people closely. When I went there, even I was surprised to see people in Meghalaya-Shillong speak good Hindi. And just like you and me. In fact I found the Shillong crowd more well dressed than many city people too. As majority crowd in Shillong is Christian, English too is officially spoken. I saw modern thoughts among people in Assam too. 

Now lets take one more example, Kashmir. It is projected as Islamic, troubled and fight-prone. And pitiable. But how much I've known it, I've seen non-Islamic, Indian cultures too within the broader culture practised by muslims there. Some people fighting amongst themselves. There are modern thoughts and some wanting change. While some confused. Some are forced to be negative or kill their dreams. Some hate. Some love. Some love to hate. Some you feel sorry for. Some can make you sorry. Basically they too are like the rest of us. They too live in prejudices like us. We have some for them, they have some (or many?) for us. I've seen modern South Indians and highly educated Biharis. I've seen non thuggie (wink) Delhiites, generous marwaris and well behaved Bhayyas! So much so for prejudices.


These prejudices lead us to objections. Person from Delhi. Cannot be trusted. Person from Kashmir. Could have a terror links. Or outdated. Or must be oppressed or terrorised by Indians (what a non Indian will think). Person from North East? Good for nothing. Person from UP/ Bihar? Unsophisticated. Or uneducated. And so on. The broader prejudices are religious too. Muslims? Violent. Based on these assumptions formed due to media or books or even others' opinions or movies, we take our decisions on them. But every person out there is an individual. And different from the other. And our objections to their presence in our lives / surroundings / companies based on our general prejudices affects lives individually. And some lives can be altered forever........