What traditions should be about
Traditions are important not just because they are markers of identity, but also because they symbolise community and honour our past.
They carry irreplaceable aesthetic value. They embody philosophies, knowledge and principles. Rituals help people cope, and provide some structure to life that can easily seem meaningless.
What they have become about
Despite the value that they add, traditions increasingly became tools to justify and defend clear acts of injustice — against gender, caste, what-have-you.
Someone is simply supposed to do (or not do) something, because, well, that’s how it is.
Irrelevant, outmoded and, at times, downright harmful actions and principles continue to be upheld, all in the name of tradition, sanskaar, values — “we’ve always done it this way”.
And everyone’s in on it
This cuts across communities and cultures — dogma is an element of all belief systems.
This has been their undoing. The world over, people are increasingly moving away from the major world religions.
This turn to “reason”, as opposed to “belief”, can safely be attributed to persistent, blind and foolish insistence on certain traditions.
Culture, values, and morals are necessary, and every society needs them, but they cannot cheat reason and stay rooted in time.