We seem to be suffering from ‘Newfangled Societal Syndrome’, writes Sumit Paul
Designer Ace Sabyasachi Mukherjee found himself in the middle of yet another controversy after his new campaign was not well received by social media users. Sabyasachi has been ruthlessly trolled after photos of her new jewelry ad campaign featuring a ‘mangalsutra’ line, The Royal Bengal Mangalsutra, went viral last week.
Entitled “Intimate Fine Jewelery”, Sabyasachi’s ad campaign featured both heterosexual and gay couples featuring the mangalsutra line posing in a rather, as some netizens would say, “disappointing” manner. And as some models were seen dressed in intimate attire, netizens raised objections and expressed sheer disappointment upon seeing the campaign.
We seem to be living in extremely sensitive times. Everything is seen and observed through the spectacles of false morality and enraged religiosity. The sudden emergence of Hindu consciousness and the extreme rigidity led to protests and quarrels over trivial matters like Jashn-e-Riwaz and now this fury of ‘mangalsutra’, just because Hindu married women wear it. Thus, no intimacy or even suggestive seduction can be shown as we live in extras.sanskari times and dated back to the era of Victorian morals! Sadly, instead of evolving, we are all evolving. A work of art, a relic of creativity or an element of innovation has no place in our Taliban society. The pronounced religious angle has further vitiated all things.
Sociologists call this the “modern societal syndrome”. Sociologist Meera Kosambi explained this phenomenon in one of her sociological essays: “A generally sleepy and silent society often becomes reactive and belligerent when it mistakenly thinks that it has been marginalized for years, if not centuries. It is a state of perceived self-(de) glorification that inevitably sets the stage for an exaggerated sense of self-glorification by trying to assert and exert collective societal pressure on every trivial topic or issue. “. It’s happening now.
New moral compass
Our majority society feels that we have long been oppressed and oppressed by foreign powers. It is therefore time to reclaim our past glory and our former civilizational greatness. Because of this, you can see the “greatness” of Sanatan Dharma, the significance of the majority customs and culture, and the reanalysis of obscure and antiquated phenomena.
Right now Indian society is looking for a new moral compass and foothold for itself. Safeguarding societal morality is now the responsibility of neo-Hindus. Thus, anything that does not correspond to the idea of a new religious morality of neo-Hindus arouses resentment and resistance. This is not a good sign. This results in self-alienation. The trend towards universality has been replaced by tribal cave dwellings. This exclusivity and excessive pride in one’s culture and religion could be detrimental to a society that has so far been open and generous in all respects.
Society also suffers from socio-cultural totemism. Making stories about anything and everything seems like a movement, whether it’s Me Too or Black is Beautiful. Although both are international movements, anything that has a rigid rage loses its vigor. The same kind of pathological insistence can be seen in various manifestations in India.
Meaning of intimacy
Another thing that is overlooked is our grundyism and excessive morality. We ignore the fact that Sabyasachi titled it “Intimate Fine Jewelery”. What does the word intimate mean in an intimate context? All these pseudo-moralists should know that in the books of ancient India, namely Kamasutra, Koka Shastra, Gonika-Vidhan or Anang Shastra, intimate jewelry for women was defined as’Dehsayam lasya iti abhushanam ‘ (jewel that enhances the intrinsic feminine beauty). “Kardhani”, “mekhla” (belt), “trividh” (the old name of “mangalsutra”), among others, were feminine manifestations of the feminine and erotic self. What is wrong if jewelry becomes a metaphor for a woman’s intimate personality?
These moralists speak of India’s rich past and of Sanskrit. Do they even know a little Sanskrit or do they know about India’s varied and countless past? The ‘Kaamasya Jeevana ‘ (Kama being a key to life) is the enormous contribution of ancient India to the rest of the world.
Imagine, when Iranian mystic Mansoor Hallaj was denounced in 922 for proclaiming An-al-Haq (the equivalent of Upanishad Aham Brahmasmi: I am the truth), the erotic images in the temples of Khajuraho were sculpted by kings Chandel. . ‘Mangalsutra’ might sound auspicious, but its portrayal by Sabyasachi isn’t at all lewd or sexually suggestive. Didn’t Avon’s bard say that vulgarity is a state of mind? Illogical Islamic and Christian morality or Semitic morality has confused us so much that everything seems to have an element of eroticism.
This new twisted morality of neo-Hindus suffering from the proverbial Warholian fame of 15 minutes makes everything reprehensible and against our exalted “culture”. These culture vultures are the real shock absorbers who have no idea of India’s (Vedic) past. To take umbrage at all the trivial images and things seems to be the workhorse of these indolent lotus eaters. This “shade culture” (the appropriate phrase from VS Naipaul) must be stopped.
The government, as well as the justice system should also take measures to curb the nuisance of filing complaints against all advertising campaigns. Hyperactive social media crusaders need to be shown for them. Read first and understand the content (s) in the right context, then object if you’re still not satisfied. Or, all advertising campaigns will be seen through religious-moralistic cultural prisms.
French philosopher and historian of ideas Michel Focault has rightly said that too much morality and hypersensitivity can be harmful to the overall health of a society. We lose our minds and sleep on things we didn’t know until a few years ago. It is sad, even deplorable.
The writer regularly contributes to the world’s major publications and portals in several languages.
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Posted on: Monday, November 01, 2021, 2:30 a.m. IST