Shame

When I was 8, to inculcate the habit of not wasting food, our teacher used to check our tiffin boxes after lunch. Whoever hadn’t finished their lunch were asked to meet the Vice-Principal outside class while the rest of the class continued with the regular schedule (proverbially, timetable). I never knew what it was that these kids who hadn’t finished there lunch, did with the vice – principal. Until, that one unlucky day, wherein I couldn’t finish all the rice my mum had packed for me in time.

As the strict and also my favourite English teacher peeped into my tiffin box which I was too scared to open, she took off her round-rimmed glasses and looked at me in surprise. She gazed at me and said, “Did you know, When you waste rice, you go directly to purgatory!”.

Funny how we use religion as and when it’s convenient. Since childhood, certain things have been engrained into our thought process, that have  become so deep, that now, even though unknowingly, we still believe in them.

Religion has been woven into the moral fiber of the house, that the moral police isn’t God, but its the people who misuse this undying, blinding faith in God itself. The laws these people have created are entirely on what they’ve understood or what they’ve wanted to understand, and instead of guns and batons, they use guilt and shame to punish those who have offended these believers.

This tactic, that has proven to work really well for those who use it, isn’t just limited exclusively to religion. Anyone, with a large enough fan following, as per social norms, with a strong belief in absolutely anything can use similar tactics.

Shame has been used as a weapon for a really long time. Shame can immobilise us and makes us conscious that other people might be paying attention. It makes us prisoners of our reputations, that forces us to worry about what people think, that can be insanely stressful and immensely paralysing.

Ever wondered why a certain religious group is always questioned and reprimanded when something tragic and heartbreaking occurs in the world?

How often have we seen a community being doubted when the terror of the incidents comes to the forefront of our political and social life?

These nights are continuously captured, detailed, described, retold, publicised and given utmost attention by political figures, news outlets, social media, and our social interactions. The images of the terror that night, take on great significance as they were digitally imported into and bombarded our societies by the very next morning. When the world was momentarily gripped by terror following these events, how did we deal with it? Those innate beliefs that has shaped this mind overpowered with emotion and grief now holds on to illogical beliefs to seek respite.

 

Don’t let people shame you into submission and don’t let the society, religion, or any other socialised structure hold you hostage simply because they don’t deem what you want to be worthy. Liberate yourself from the clutch of these ridiculous thoughts.

Don’t let emotions, terror or  heartbreaks, cloud your logical and critical analysing abilities. Don’t trade in your rationality for deferment.

Be innocent, like we were as children, because I had no idea what purgatory was, but finished my food at the Vice-Principal’s office nevertheless, only because I didn’t want my mum to be sad and wanted to rush back to my English class.

Apparently, they give all students extra time to finish there lunch with the Vice-Principal 😉

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