The ‘Tauba Tauba’ Syndrome 

By Tania Saeed 

IF gossip is to be believed, our very own Lady Whistledowns of Kashmir have been raising alarms about the growing “immodesty” in our society especially amongst the young. The horror of it all is that immodesty, it seems, has found its way into our schools. From drugs to dangerous liaisons, it is all happening!

Is this the first time? Probably not but the severity of the issue has assumed worrisome proportions. Have we addressed these “issues”? Yes, in the countless tirades against women, dresses and denial. Nothing beyond it.

If assessed from the most liberal of lenses, our society has come to become quite libertine. If it were only limited to individual pursuits which bear no consequence on the larger society, one could have easily force fed someone a fatwa in the hopes that an admonition would be enough for their reformation.

However, it seems that in a bid to look the other way and uphold some sense of uncritical shyness – we have come to put our young at risk. This is not modesty. If anything, it is irresponsible of us to ignore the moral, ethical, religious challenges that our young are encountering in the face of tremendous proliferation of ‘choices’ and the impossibility to distinguish between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.

As a millennial, our limits were dating, segregation of sexes, limited interactions with the other sex and modest clothing. One would think that the current generation – the Gen Z – would have only dared to flout these limits. However, things are quite dangerous.

Young, especially those who have had access to phones, mainly due to Covid’s imposed need for it for school, are especially vulnerable. Many young boys have quite an easy access to pornography. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number is high – why wouldn’t it be? Social Media is filled with hypersexualised content and mass media is especially minting money by feeding the male gaze through sexualising women and calling it liberty.

However, in a society like ours, where the word “sexuality” in itself will draw eyeballs, how can one even suggest that young boys need to be advised against pornography in a more constructive way than before. Coercion is not going to work. Additionally, since content isn’t regulated, it can very well lead to a radicalisation of sorts in youngsters. A radicalisation of a different kind – one of violence and disrespect towards women.

The discussion here deals with impressionable youngsters in middle schools – 2nd to 6th class students. Parents are having to deal with complaints from school because their 12-year-old harassed a girl his age. This isn’t our run-of-the-mill crush which we were advised against. This is plain sexual abuse. Teachers know of it and so do parents. However, the hush hush culture in the name of modesty is worsening things as no one is ready to openly talk about it.

We need to stop living in denial. Our elders, mosque pulpits, teachers and parents need to accept that libertine values are on the rise and they’re completely entrenched in the lives that we live now. Most of us are imitating digital life or are atleast confused about which one to occupy or which model to replicate. Do you really think that not being very frank with kids is going to solve this issue? There’s also a justification of such values and sooner or later we will all just accept them as normal.

Please look around and develop a friendly approach towards the young around you. Educate them in a manner that they’ll trust you when you tell them what is good and what is not. Trust never lends itself to coercion. If anything, it is going to create a cohort of ‘rebellious’ kids.

Our youngsters aren’t rebellious. There is nothing inherently wrong with them. They are only exposed to a sea of conflicting values, proliferation of images, and targeted manufacturing of desires. They need our help through this influx of values and it is only going to happen through true education. An education that first reaches us and then reaches our young through kindness, love and without judgment.

There’s no dignity in saying “tauba tauba” at other people’s sins when you know that your own dear ones are implicated in it or are atleast as vulnerable as anyone else. Our world is changing rapidly. This is not a moral or religious appeal per se. It is an urgent alarm. Know what values you want to impart in your kids and find the best way to teach them and help them grow.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is a Researcher 

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