Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pub Culture-Vulture Hai Rabba!

There's an extremely interesting controversy-cum-debate raging in urban India today: Whether or not pub culture should be encouraged...whether it goes against the Indian values of what culture should be and so on....
As expected the Media is twisting facts, putting words in mouths and basically fanning the fire to see to it that people of India have a completely deluded picture of what "freedom" means, what exactly is "responsibility" and what "moral" or "immoral" constitute.

And now, my two cents...

As far as my memory goes, I don't remember anybody being lauded or hailed as a hero or even someone to look up to if he or she visits a pub, exercises his/her so called "freedom" by drinking and splurging moolah by going regularly to pubs/discs/whatever. What freedom are we fighting for over here? Freedom to get drunk? Freedom to put oneself in smokey bars and pubs to inhale carbon monoxide( and God knows what else)? Freedom to be out "partying" with inebriated men and women? Is this the freedom that young Indians are fighting for? Ridiculous. And this is apparently a "choice". But these very bunch of "freedom fighters" do not realise that after they become parents, their kids are going to be out "partying" too. I cannot somehow imagine a parent not being concerned or in fact mighty worried about his/her kid out in a pub, exercising "freedom" and making a "choice" by going and drinking at a pub/bar/disc! Is this generation THAT myopic??
Now one might argue that one has complete "freedom" to spoil one's own health by drinking. What has the moral police got to do with individual choices. But in any case the "I, me, myself and mine" syndrome has swung now to the extreme end! One does not stop to think that every action and inaction has an effect on the society as a whole. No matter how much we disscociate ourselves from society, the fact remains that all individuals are a part of society and we are interdependent. Just one person alone without assistance and encouragement from others can't do nothing! So, it's only sensible that one is aware of the choices that one makes. And I fail to understand how health is not an issue in the mind when one chooses to indulge in pursuits which are clearly harmful! Healthy individuals make a healthy nation. It's so simple. And a healthy nation means a prosperous nation.
It's really not about Indian culture against western culture. It's just about beind sensible. Atleast little sensible to start with.
Yoga, Pranayam, Secularism, Hospitality, seeing Omnipresent Divinity, Respect for elders, Ayurveda, regarding the body as a temple...these are a part of the amazing Indian culture. How about starting with atleast the first two in the list as a primer to our ancient culture?
Personally I don't even regard going to a pub as "culture" of any sort. But maybe it's time for Urban India to experience Indian culture too. That way they can make a more "informed" choice.


Swabhimaan said...

Join Swabhimaan


.blink said...

Its nice - like a journey from a firebrand right winged to a centrist.

I did expect this from you. just my point that this instant high is a phase - and one outgrows it if they are left on their own. Evidence are the amount of teens and 20-somethings that trot into clubs, pubs etc vs the 30-somethings or the 45 somethings.
Its the age of un-reason that leads to the age of reason. Never forget, nothing teaches you better than your own experience. Vandalizing places and abusing people has never led to anything except fear and hatred.
It's just the time of exploring and learning, we should take it as a way of growing-up, just because they won't do it when they are some years older. Look at us - what we were and how much we have changed.

Kribbeln im Kopf said...

I think, when such rage against any issue arises, the issue at all gets defined. In other words: people who are involved in the so-called pub-culture are not only the ones, who are defining it, but even those others, who are against it and essentializing it. Becuase they are "for" something else. And the issue at stake is not really, if pub-culture should be abolished, but rather promoting other activities (let me call them). And I really see, that Yoga and other such elements of our way of life, through which we define ourselves as Indians, needn’t be promoted through such negative manner, as opposed to something else. I think, the problem really lies somewhere else, when it comes to this whole issue of pub-culture. I think, you are also talking of “responsibility”. I mean “responsibility” towards one’s own-self and not towards maintaining some vague idea of "the indian culture".
Having encountered the western youth at some proximity, I have come to the insight, that even they have values, which they could call ancient. But what they also have and I think that lacks in our youth is a feeling of responsibility for one’s own deeds. We like to be dependent on our parents for the things that we do. And even in this case, some parenting institution like a quasi-political organization is allowed to take action against the pub-culture. The feeling of responsibility can be instilled through various ways and not only through means of the so-called ancient Indian culture (which is also at all first defined by the westerners during the british raj and not an Indian concept).
Another observation that I have made during my very short stay outside India, my studies of European literatures and encounters with Europeans (I don’t like to use this abstract term “culture”) is that we Indians live very “contemporary” and have always been living so. We have been practising several forms of living without the need of defining it as ancient. (We have very much learned it from the western intellectuals or through the colonial legacy to justify ourselves through the so-called ancient tradition). And to come back to the point of departure, our contemporaneity will also make see this “pub-culture” as a phase. And anyway, even if pubs wouldn’t have existed, persons who tend to cross the limits, will find some other means to do it, irrespective of the fact, whether they follow the ancient Indian norms.

Acoustic Dreamer said...

@ .blink: Kavita, I have always looked forward to your insightful comments on a lot of issues and I am glad that you read this particular article... :)
You know, I realise that am not perhaps as weary of "Pub culture" itself as much as of the Media being involved and making it look as though some great struggle for freedom is happening and the media supports the youth! I really hate that. Having said that, I also hate the tactics( which hardly exist actually!)of the "custodians" of Indian parampara which entail vandalising establishments of all kinds. I hate it because it brings a kind of shame to Hindus. Hindus being perceived as "vandals" or "goondas", unsophisticated, uncontemporary or the like...I cannot stand it! And honestly that's the single most important reason why I dislike vandalising :) Being totally honest!
But I see what you are saying and I agree with you :)

Acoustic Dreamer said...

@ Kribbeln im Kopf: Thanks Gokhale for your very informative comment :)

Just to repeat what I said earlier...I am more uncomfortable about the media fanning the fire than people going to pubs itself.
And whether the British "invented" the concept or not, the bare truth IS that ours is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. It's stood the tests of time and invasions and is yet going strong. And as a practitioner of Yoga I am wishful that more and more youth partake in the rich benefits of practising this way of life. That's it. :)