Morality: God gifted or an evolutionary tool?

Theists claim that morality comes from God alone. And that without Gods morals, there is nothing stopping us from stooping to absolute decadence and chaos. It is kind of sad that one has to explain that being ‘moral’ out of fear of a God is a lot more scary thought, than that of an individual choosing to be ‘moral’ of their own volition, without needing to be threatened with dire consequences.

But what does ‘morality’ mean? Is morality entirely subjective? Or is their some underlying objective cause that shapes our sense of morality.

Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species

As far as I could think, it appears ‘morality’, or our perception of what is ‘ethical’ or not is simply an extension of our survival instinct. Primitive aspects of morality can be seen practiced by moderate to highly intelligent animals also. Kindness, compassion, caring for the young, looking after the injured etc are simply tools that ensure maximum chances of survival of a species. So perhaps the objective cause shaping our perception of morality is – whatever fulfills chances of optimal survival and helps achieve a higher standard of living.

Morality is an extension of our survival instinct

There appears to be a directly proportionate relation of morality with intelligence. And our perception of morality must have evolved like the other aspects of our civilization, language, architecture etc. The nuance and complexity of this ‘morality’ varying from region to region, culture to culture, and community to community.

While subjective morality varies from individual to individual, depending on the majoritarian view, the concept of a cultural morality must have evolved. The basic moral sense of an individual is influenced by their immediate needs, authority and position of influence they hold. One considered that immoral, which they didn’t want to be done to them. So killing, stealing had to be the first immoral acts. But as said, the moral sense was influenced by the power of authority, there were probably sections of society they were okay with keeping out-of-bounds of the moral code, people whom they didn’t consider equal. (This is also reflected in the tenets of most early religions). These moral or ethical codes was written into law and the  sense of morality imposed by higher authority on the entire community. That is how the system of law and order probably came to be.

In today’s modern-day and age, those primitive notions of morality, as recorded in religious books and backdated constitutions are now obsolete. And sticking to them is regressive. Our sense of morality has to evolve like other aspects to continue serving the prime objective – optimal survival and higher standard of living. We have come quite far in bringing the marginalized sections of the society into the folds of a commonly beneficial sense of morality. Though we haven’t achieved the prime objective yet.

My personal subjective moral code is that all people should be free to do whatever they choose as long as it isn’t violating the personal liberty or fundamental right of any other human.

P.S: I have used the word ‘morality’ very loosely and interchangeably with ‘ethics’ and ’empathy’. The above is simply my personal opinion and I don’t claim them as facts. Please give your own opinions and perception of what morality is and it’s use if any in our society.

Pride: Pune, The second Chapter

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Its almost been a year (10 months to be more precise) since I attended my first Pride march, here in Pune. Last Sunday again I got the chance to be a part of Pune’s 5th pride march. The last time I was there, I was a lonely guy who didn’t know anyone out there and just showed up out of the blue because I wanted to feel the sense of belonging, ironically, from all strangers. And I was right, all the people there were a part of a giant family, which so readily welcomed me and made me feel at ease. The feeling of pride and acceptance from the fellow members of the community and the allies really lit the fire of passion for freedom and self acceptance in me. The shy, nerdy, silent, awkward and introverted boy found it in himself to shout out loud on the streets filled with strangers alongside a newly adopted family. An hour at most, the pride lasted, an hour where I shouted loud enough for all the years I had spent silent. For all the other guys who were still silent. I wanted my voice to reassure me and them….that change is possible …that it is possible to be able to love and respect yourself for who you are and to be loved and respected for who you are. 10 months in Pune have gone so soon…it is hard to believe. I have hardly began exploring the city. And already have a love hate relationship with my job. But the friends I made here. The very first members of my newly adopted queer family in Pune, they have kept me anchored to this city and given me memories so fond that I will cherish them as some of the best moments of my life.

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In the last pride I met Manoj, we had a spark instantly, and he has been my guide, mentor and friend in the Queer culture of this city. We spent time together, got close, even worked together. Though I am sure at times I might have been a pain in the ass (No…not the kind you are imagining. Just Stop!). He still put up with me and introduced me to a lot of wonderful people. I would like to take this chance to thank him for being who he is. He really is a darling gem of a human being. And the night before the pride was an absolute riot as was the night of the pride (we won’t be talking about the latter).

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Thanks to Manoj’s ‘mehendi ki rasam’ I got overexcited and managed to get my hands mehendid as well. But Sumit really did an excellent job and I have girls in my office requesting me to get him to mehendi their hands. I got to meet a lot of people from the community (whom I have been stalking) this year and really, really enjoyed my time with all. Sumit, Aditya, Mayuresh, Chandramohan, Anup, Partha, Krsna, Sagar, I really had a fun time with all of you guys.

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And Aniket, I am really glad that we finally met. You are one of the sweetest, most decent guy I know and you certainly have a lot of guts! Vishal….you too are one of the sweetest guys and so helpful, supportive and encouraging always. I am really lucky to have found you guys. Wish instead of being annual, Pride marches were monthly. It would give us all more excuse to keep gathering and enjoying that familial energy.
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Pride: The Guwahati Chapter [15/02/2015]

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I know the pride was over a week before I began writing this. But I have been very busy the past week as this Pride not only turned out to be the MOST happening amongst the three prides have been to but also as this pride bestowed me a gift of a special companionship, that which I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week, and which I hope to carry forward into the future. This week indeed has been the most magical week of my life.

The North-East Pride Walk might have not been as grand an affair as the Pune pride, nor it might have had the 5000 strong turnover as the Mumbai pride, but what set it apart was that it consisted of people who were not entirely strangers to each other. There was a familial feel to the entire crowd and conversation flowed easily and freely among all the participants. Also it was one of the few Prides in the country that had presented dance performances, and poetry recitation.

On a personal level this Pride meant a lot more to me than any other could. This was the first pride march in my hometown I was attending, this was the first time I was involved in a pride in a way more than just as a participant,it was the first time I was not going to a pride alone but with real friends. And most importantly, this was the pride in which I got clicked in a lot of photos! 😛

For me the Pride never ended on that day, it seemed to carry on the entire week. Each time we guys met it was like a mini-pride, we really enjoyed the company where we could be truly ourselves, where we didn’t give a shit to what would be thought of us, where we would cuss and talk of the dirtiest, grossest, weirdest things (especially some girls :P) and not bother who’s listening. It was pride each time I met you and walked about holding hands in SK, in the bus, near Brahmaputra and talked and enjoyed each others company. It was pride when the three of us shared those soothing moments sitting on a rock on the river-shore in Umananda. This entire week has been an unforgettable journey and it really makes me sad that right now I am miles away from u guys and will be many more miles away in a few hours. But I hope to live those moments again with you and until then I will just cherish them.

 

 

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Some friendships grow when u spend a lifetime together….but a moment spent with some special friends seems like an entire lifetime. Love you guys. And to someone special….I Love You….and I will make you mine. 🙂

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Pride: The Mumbai Chapter [31/01/2015]

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So just been to my 2nd pride march! Queer Azaadi Movement! I m trying to stick to my promise of attending as much of such events that I can….he…he…he. However until the last minute I wasnt even sure I would go or not. On saturday I woke up at 7:30 had my bath, packed my essentials and set off towards Mumbai. Had to change 2 buses to get to the Main bus terminus…then got off at Sion, took another bus to Mumbai Central and walked from there to August Kranti Maidan. By the time I reached it was already 2:30 and people had already started gathering. I could see the variety of people that had showed up in all kinds of costumes and dresses. And sheer number of people were astounding! There were already thousands and more and more were pouring in.
Now I was stuck with a weird dilemma. This was my first visit to Mumbai and I was all alone, I started frantically to look for any familiar face  so as not to feel too awkward and my luck favored when I spotted Anuvab….we met only on Facebook but I recognised him easily enough. It didnt feel at all like we were meeting the first time and we gelled really well and clicked pics. In fact all the pics I have were clicked by him as my already useless phone had also ran out of battery and I hadnt had the chance of charging it.

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By now some people had gathered on the stage and I had not even recognised Harish Iyyer, one of the leading members of the community who had also appeared with Amir Khan on his show ‘Satyamev Jayate’.
He gave his opening speech, and really impressed and enthralled everyone with his witty and humorous take on the concerned issues and Sec 377. He also did not forget to thank all the organisers, the media, the police and all straight allies as well. After which many other prominent members and supporters of the community also took the chance to send a message or shout slogans. Amongst them were Sushant Digvikar of Bigg Boss fame, his father, a proud mother of a lesbian girl and a proud girl of two lesbian mothers. Harish even asked for participants to come up on stage whence I took my chance to get up on stage and tell them how I felt….that though I had come alone for the first time to this city it felt like I had come home. By then all my initial awkwardness had vanished and I now felt one with the crowd. Oh…and I also got my face painted there, a blazing Sun on my left cheek and an anti-377 sign on my right. We were given pride flags and badges and as the march started it felt soo fabulous (yes i can use that word, i am gay). There was a huuuge pride flag that about 10-15 people were holding and waving through the entire march. At one point many people even marched right under it. And there were so many uniquely and beautifully dressed people, the versatility of the crowd really blew my mind. I also took my chance to eye all the eye candies I had no chance with :D. We marched for about 1 hours through streets, the names of which I dont remember.
And through the entire march everyone enjoyed….some were busy photographing, some were making sure that the march didnt congest traffic, some were making sure to clean any litter left by marchers and some were dancing to the beats of the drums.
In that one hour nothing else mattered, everyone was just being themselves, something that they are denied most of the time in society. It was not just a cry for help, it was a show of strength. The honorable Supreme Court of India has denied our rights, dismissing us a ‘minuscle’ portion of public. Well now the entire country could see just how ‘minuscle’ we are. We are out, we are proud and we are here to stay.

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A Mother’s plea…

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“Son… I have never asked you for anything in your life. This is the only thing I ask for. Trust me…..you will not regret this.”

She said with confidence. She had full faith in her son, that he would do the right thing. She knew him better than anyone else. She saw him struggle through his life, she saw him overcome his own failures. She herself taught him to trust in himself and believe in himself. She had full faith in him, that he would overcome this hurdle too. All that he needed was a little guidance. He was the son any mother would be proud of, and even if he was going through a dark time, she knew he would eventually find the light.

He held the phone tightly. He could feel her unwavering faith in him, he could feel the love in her voice. He could feel the warmth of her hug, he longed for nothing more than to rest in her arms. He knew he could always confide his deepest and most personal feelings to her.

And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say what he really wanted to. He couldn’t dare to imagine the pain and hurt in her voice if he really said what he wanted to.

“ok….i will…”

He whispered into the phone. He could feel the chains rattling around him, tightening their coils as he spoke the words. He felt like reading out his own death sentence.

 

She smiled in relief. “You will not regret this. Have I ever asked you to do anything wrong? You will realise in time that this is the right decision.”

 

He smiled, she was happy….for now. He knew what would be in store for him in his future. She didn’t know it yet. And he hoped she never would have to find out. But how long could he fake it? His happiness. Maybe long enough to start believing his own lie? Could he go back in denial? Back into the closet? Maybe if he could marry a girl who could be a good friend, maybe when he had kids?

Maybe she is right? Could it be that once he married all his feelings would change? If it did….what would it mean about his feelings now? Was what he felt until now just a phase? An illusion? Did he really believe in a lie all these years, from his childhood? If it were so….then could he really ever trust his own feelings again? Could he ever believe in himself anymore?

Every fibre of his being told him it was not a phase. It is how he has always been, and it would never change. And if that is the case….what would happen then? Would he have to fake his happiness in front of her? How long could he keep up the charade? And what about their relation? Could he ever be truthful to her anymore? If he had to fake his happiness, there was no way he could share his feelings with her.

In addition to the chains he could see the bars of the cage holding him in, secluding him from his loved ones. This is what his life would be, forever…. He felt his heart sink. And realised, he would have to kill it completely to do what she asked him to do.

Taking a deep breath he let out a sigh.

“I am sorry, mom….I can’t.”

The other end was silent for a long time.

“Don’t say it son….please…don’t” she pleaded with him.

His heart broke to hear his mothers voice…..

“I’m sorry mom….but you have to trust me on this. I know you are hurting now. I could say yes just to stop you from hurting…. but I am hurting too. And what you are asking will hurt me and you both. You could be happy now thinking you have saved me. But when time will pass, you would realise my pain and I know it would pain you twice as much. You taught me to believe in myself, to trust my instincts. Now I am asking you to believe in me….trust in me, that I will find my own way to happiness. I have not forsaken you or all that you have taught me. I am merely using your guidance to forge my own path. I don’t want to fake my happiness for you. That would be an insult to you too. And I don’t want you to ever regret or feel guilty for the mistakes in my life. Let me make my own mistakes, I will atone for them. I don’t want to hide anything from you, Mom. So please don’t force me to make a decision that will force me to hide my feelings, force me to doubt myself. You taught me to be free, you of all people I expect to understand the most how I feel. So please forgive me Mom, but I can’t give you what you are asking for.”

Tears streaked his face, his heart ached to feel her hurt. But the chains were gone, and so was the cage. He told her what was in his heart. He couldn’t lie to her. And he would never lie to her.

She was silently sobbing on the other end. She knew there was nothing she could do for him, but trust that he find the right path by himself. She had tried….but it was all up to him now. She prayed that the Gods be with him.

“I trust you son. I hope you make the right choice….whichever it maybe. And I will not force you for anything ever again. And you should never have to fake your happiness dear, not for me and not for anyone. Take care and Good Night….”

 

What Pride means to me…….[Pune Pride march 11/9/2014]

‘What does pride mean to you?’. That’s a question I have heard many people ask. I finally have an answer for it; to me Pride means to accept the things I dont need to change and be proud of how far I have come from being ashamed of myself to taking to the streets and shouting at the top of my voice that I am gay and that’s ok. To me Pride means freedom, self respect and hope that no other kid has ever have to feel ashamed of who they are.

I had languished for years in the closet so deep i had managed to fool even myself but 3 years ago i started breaking down the closet door one piece at a time. With each stroke i gained back my self respect and confidence. And today i finally managed to demolish the closet all at one go.

Pune Pride March of 9th November 2014, marks my first participation as an open and out gay person in a public event. And believe me it will not be the last. I will cherish all my memories of the experience; the euphoria, the strength, the power of unity and the burning hope. These feelings are burnt into my heart. And how I wish we could have this events every month. To feel so connected to a crowd of strangers that you feel more close to them than family, i will miss it.

I am glad I came to Pune and luck favored so that I could be a part of it. I regret having missed the first pride march in my home city Guwahati. But I will try my best to be part of all such events that take place in whichever part of the world I am in.

Thank you Sampathik Trust, thank you Pune city and thank you all the wonderful people that came and participated. Thank you all for these wonderful memories and feelings.

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