It was a usual day in morning metro’s over-crowded run. Everybody was rushing towards their offices, colleges or shops. Delhi was just waking up and so was I. Though I was up for last 1 hour but still I was in mode where I cut off myself from outer world and feel numb or listen to anything that is on pretentious FM radio channels. It can be said that I was half asleep. So I really don’t know how it started.
But as we all have experienced, when in a crowd everybody start to look in a particular direction, our instincts dictate us to do the same. May be an old left over habit from pre-human phase of genetic development. Anyways, there they were, one very hot girl and one not so good looking boy. I pulled out my ear plugs. Apparently they were kissing each other, to be semantically correct, smooching each other and a policeman in uniform objected to this. On that objection, of-course the boy gave that policewalah uncle a dose of “How this was none of his business” and “how policemen are disgrace to society” speech. Enraged policeman started to yell and soon, to my surprise almost all office going, middle aged crowd joined him in this mission. All the uncles and aunties were too furious over apparent obscenity of that young couple.
Soon in between that shouting somebody said “kya gandi ladki hai” and one of the friend of that girl understood it as “kya randi ladki hai”. That was the moment the match started to turn. Almost 10-12 college going students and some young office-goers started to argue in couple’s favor. And believe it or not it soon turned into a well mannered debate, a rare occasion I guess.
I was intently listening to both sides and there were merit to both sides. Sometimes I wanted to comment something but it was far more entertaining to be an outside observer. The main argument from older chaps was that although constitution provides us freedom to do whatever we want, but it must not cross the limit of public decency and morality. There were multiple reference to our beloved Poonam Pandey, mention of our culture, snares over how young generation is destroying it and many many such things which I am sure all of us have heard in one way or another. Younger crowd on other hand passionately quoted Delhi high court’s judgement in favor of kissing at public place. They were too keen to point that it was not indecent as all of us watch kissing/hugging etc everyday on TV and there was no impressionable person here.
Suddenly It hit me that those two groups did not represent the same moral code and definition of public decency. (I went in my cut-off mode again) It is not a matter of right or wrong, it is the matter of difference of value system. In a modern democratic system we allow freedom to follow one’s own value system but when issue is of public morality then it is complicated. By logical argument we can say that whatever majority wants is the public morality in a democracy. Plato, Comte, Herbert Spencer, Durkheim and Gandhi did a round of my mind.
In India value system is changing but till date majority still supports older Indian definition of morality. I, myself, having done the same act in public, clearly favor new system of morality, but I also fear that we are not making a new system of morality for our own society, we are just copying it from west. System is not evolving but it is an imposed system, which is never good for society. Society and intellectuals of society must devise and develop a new morality that is both modern and Indian at core. Our generation is lucky to live in such hot and happening times but it also adds more responsibility on us to develop a new value system for new age.
Thinking this, I realized that metro has already reached Hauz Khas, my destination. I pushed my ear plugs back and de-boarded as if nothing had happened, and really nothing happened. just another incident in life of India, which is divided on almost all major issues, struggling to cope up with changing times.