All of us have encountered hypocrisy since the day we were born. Our parents are the first hypocrites we meet. Remember them telling you that if you are a boy, it is not okay for you to cry like girls? And if you are a girl, it is not okay for you to want toys like cars, helicopters, etc. mostly because they are boy stuff? Wouldn’t they be the same people you would hear talking about gender equality and about abandoning gender roles with those relatives whenever they visited your home? And it didn’t stop there. They even encouraged you to follow your own dreams the age at which you were busy sucking lollipops, but as you grew older, didn’t they force you to follow traditional career choices even if it was against their liking?
Anywhere you go in India, the story is common. People being forced to be someone they aren’t due to societal pressures; the kind of pressures which stem from hypocrites who are known to act differently in theory and in practice. Things they preach in theory, do they really follow it in practice? For instance, everyone knows breaking traffic rules is wrong and we do support it by saying things like, “India me jab tak rules strict nahi honge tabt ak log nahi sudhrenge”. But how many of us sincerely abide traffic rules especially when we are in a hurry? Or take for example the accident victims whom people are so reluctant to help as they are afraid they might get into some trouble with the law. Now every religion preaches humanity, religions which Indians so blindly follow. But where is your humanity when you see accident victims drenched in blood, screaming out for help with no aid in sight?
Talk about sex, and there is no lack of hypocrites. In a country which boasts of being the land of the Kamasutra, which boasts of deities engaging in sexual acts artistically depicted along the walls of temples, how often do people object at even the mere thought of pre-marital consensual sex? See a couple kiss in public and moral policing begins. It is acceptable to piss, but not kiss in public. The guy who boasts of holding an MBA degree from a reputed IIM, the guy who is an IAS officer and who wrote essays on dowry, women empowerment and liberation, is the same person who wants a virgin, “pure” bride along with a handsome dowry.
Another classic example is the people who support “Swachh Bharat”, who write posts and upload selfies on FB with broomsticks in their hand, are the same people who will throw wrappers of chocolates and chips on the road when out on a picnic.
There is no dearth of such examples in India. In fact, hypocrisy is the societal norm. We never follow what we preach in theory, something that stems fundamentally from our very own education system and the way we have been conditioned since childhood. Indians have traditionally studied only for scoring well in exams. The knowledge and wisdom education offers, your job is done after mugging it up and writing it down on a piece of paper. How you develop as a person, as a citizen, education has no part in it. This leads you to behave quite differently in reality from the way you claim to behave on paper or in the digital world.
Hypocrisy is embedded in human nature, which is for sure. What makes it toxic, are the repercussions faced by fractions of society who are most vulnerable to it. However, at the end of the day, a just and peaceful society depends on hypocrites who ultimately refused to abandon the ideals they betray.