A TASK FOR SOCIAL WORK PROFESSION
Can Social Work profession help India to help herself to save her cultural heritage?
Social work as a systematic profession is doing wonders in today’s profit oriented world. Social work profession is a paid profession and not a free service, it helps the people help themselves. This “empowerment approach,” of social work profession has yielded and is yielding good results in all walks of life, such as Health care, Crime control, Self employment, Access to public benefits, Protection of women, and Victims of trafficking, Safeguarding children and orphan, Elderly immigrants, Old age people, Tribal, Victims of disasters and Juveniles, etc. The efforts of Social work profession are bringing social transformation in the society. It has proved to be very good intervention in bringing Social inclusion and in reducing Social exclusion.
In the recent times, cultural fabric of our nation is being damaged by the Western impact, many social institutions of our nation are being damaged by the amoral cultural practices of the West. The “Sex Friendly” attitude of the West is leaving a lasting impact on the “Sex Taboo” attitude of the East. And as a consequence HIV/AIDS is becoming endemic affecting the physical health of the people and concept of ‘Live in relationship’ is becoming more sought option to the sacred bond of marriage among youths and same sex marriages are happening. All these developments are affecting the cultural health of the Indian society as a whole.
Hence the social work profession instead of confining itself to the aspects of Social justice and social transformation has to involve in safeguarding and nurturing the cultures, values, ethics and morals of rich heritage and social institutions like marriage and family. Law is one tool in the hands of social worker to work in this direction. But law can regulate only the human behaviour but not the attitude, and that attitudinal change can be brought about by the social work profession.
Research Scholar, Karnataka State Law University’s Law School, Rayapur, Dharwad
Relevance and Role of Social Work Profession / NGOs:
In recent years, massive changes are occurring in the non-governmental sector. The non- governmental organizations (NGOs) have been both criticized and acclaimed for their functions behaviour. However, when population is diverse, services that satisfy the majority may leave many people severely dissatisfied. NGOs are thus an alternative mechanism for providing public services.
Recent years have witnessed the emergence of NGOs as an increasingly visible and forceful presence on the development scene. They have not only championed and financed the cause of poverty alleviation, environmental protection and social concerns, but have also been active advocates of policies in these and other areas. These transactions and relationships may be beneficial to development processes, but there is also evidence of less positive trends.
The current policy climate arguably requires NGOs to play the role of the innovator more than ever in order to find real relevance in addressing issues of poverty, inequality and social Change.
International Association of Schools of Social Work, International Federation of Social Workers sets out that, “The Social Work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environment. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to Social work.”
Multicultural differences are also salient interpersonal factors that have significance for the group culture. Traditionally, group processes have reflected the European and American values of individualism, independence, competiveness and achievement. These values are different from the values of humility and modesty that are dominant in some other cultures.
Hence when an NGO or a social work professional works in multicultural society attention should be given to the cultural aspects of that nation and its heritage, if any of their effort lead or supports the acculturation of native culture, the consequences will be serious. Such act not only affects very existence of the Social worker or an NGO but also affects very social fabric of the society.
Impact of Western Culture on Indian Social Institutions:
The basic social institutions of Indian society such as, Family, Marriage and Adoption which were once considered to be hallmarks of our culture have undergone drastic change on the advent of western invasion. The impact is so much that the destroying factor of these social institutions called ‘Divorce’ is not too far from being recognised as another social institution as an antinomy to the sacred institution of ‘marriage’. And the new apprehension is that another western social institution (which resembles more of animal practice) called “live in” has taken birth in the Indian society, it’s not natural child born in the Indian society, rather through artificial insemination and that illegitimate child is being diagnosed by doctor of our legal system (higher Judiciary) as healthy and conferring it with legal status of legitimacy. Hence, a question of future of our social institutions bothers moral mind of the society. And judicial attitude towards hallmark institutions of our society and distorting factors called ‘Divorce’ and ‘Live in relation’ has become matter of concern.
The increasing impacts of fast disseminating scientific know-how, along with modernization and urbanization, have influenced the traditional institutions such as marriage, family, customs and religion. The secularizing currents have restricted the impact of traditional and ethical norms and values in controlling human behaviour.
Human behaviour is being guided by notions of liberty, freedom and equality and the universal importance attached to achievements. Information and communication revolutions have made the world a global village and the cultural boundaries of Oriental and Occidental are getting diminished.
The “Sex Friendly” attitude of the west is leaving a lasting impact on the “Sex Taboo” attitude of the East. All these currents have helped in the construction of sex conscious or even sexually aggressive personalities, irrespective of the gender differences.
The most bothering developments affecting Indian social fabric are increasing number of divorces and attraction of young generation towards “live in relation’. To add to it higher judiciary today in the activist mood with the enthusiasm to bring women empowerment and social justice putting seal of validity to “Live in relations” and equating it to the sacred bond of Marriage and applying very same law to govern the consequence of “live in relationship” and for break in “live in relation”.
The institution of marriage already is weakened gradually in contemporary Indian society, particularly in urban pockets. More couples instead of tying knot preferring to simply live together following the western culture, which does not suit to Indian culture and tradition.
Although the live-in-relationship is quite prevalent in western countries, but the reality in India is different. Here marriage is still an institution, which is preferred over any form of union. And one must not forget that significance of marriage, as an institution will not be diminished.
The onslaught of new health hazards, in the form of STDs and HIV/AIDS, has added a newer dimension to the sexual life of humanity, transgressing boundaries such as East and West and developed and developing. STDs and HIV/AIDS are posing a global challenge to think differently about the “Future of the Present Generation” and “ Present of the Future Generation”. Sex is no longer the personal affair of an individual; it has become a collective concern for the well being of all of humanity. Sex is no more an ethical or moral concern only; it has become a psychological and clinical concern too.
Factor Responsible for Adulterating the Indian Culture
The Colonial Government sponsored studies on the castes, tribes, languages, religion etc. of India with the aim of depicting India as a confused and divided entity. This was done as a part of the well-laid strategy prepared after 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. The micro studies on castes, tribes, etc. depicting India as a heterogeneous and confused conglomeration of different races, castes, tribes, languages, dialects, regions, religions and sects. They successfully projected the empire as the liberator, the deliverer of good, unifier of India and the best guarantee for safeguarding the interests of the fringe areas, the tribals and the untouchables.
The hold of colonial scholarship is very strong on the Indian scholars and elites. The anthropology, linguistics, history, indology, etc. have failed to get rid of the biases of the colonial days. This is why, our studies are overburdened with the emphasis on so called conflict between the core (mainstream) and the fringe, imaginary dangers on ethnic identity, the conflict situation between the Aryans and non-Aryans, exploiters vs. exploited, caste vs, tribe, etc.
Issue of LGBT Rights and NGOs and Social Work:
Upholding the petition filed by Naz Foundation, the Delhi High Court ruled: ``Indian constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders ) are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual.''
The High Court decriminalised gay sex as provided in Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and had ruled that the sex between two consenting adults of same sex in private would not be an offence. Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC makes gay sex a criminal offence entailing punishment up to life term.
Judges in Delhi high Court wrongfully invoked Jawaharlal Nehru's stirring words to the Constituent Assembly, while linking the issue of homosexuality with the politically resonant theme of inclusiveness. ``If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be (the) underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of inclusiveness.'' As a corollary, it added that ``those perceived by the majority as `deviants' or `different' are not on that score excluded or ostracized.''
Vehemently opposing the decriminalization of gay sex, various social and religious organisation contended before the Supreme Court on 28th Feb. 2012 that allowing such acts would lead to "horrendous" situation. They contended that homosexual behaviour is a disease, which should be cured through counselling and rehabilitation.
Senior advocate Radha Krishana, appearing for a Catholic organization has argued that, "It would be a horrendous situation in Indian society if it is allowed. The organizations (fighting for gay rights) should try to bring such people to national mainstream by providing counselling them, approving such acts is against the concept of family and marriage. India has got its own culture, tradition and custom. We cannot follow other culture. These things are being dumped in the country,"
Other Christian groups, including Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance too have opposed the Delhi high court order which had in 2009 legalized gay sex between consenting adults in private. A Delhi-based social group Krantikari Manuvadi Morcha also opposed the high court verdict.
The beneficiaries of decriminalization are not the general public Or the people involved in the abnormal and freak sexual acts, but the NGO's who are being financed/funded by donor countries headed by the US followed by Germany and UK whereas list of donors are headed by Ford Foundation, World Vision International and Christian Children's Fund... google for "Globalizing queer"...
Abnormal and freak sexual activities spread in numerous incurable diseases, World Health Organization has declared such diseases hazardous status, whereof 'prevention and precaution is better than cure' and prevalence, therefore such acts should not be decriminalized, but remain criminalized... being against Public Interest... govt. should essentially rethink all over again...
Science/scientists have proved that it is not genetic, not amongst animal, not in built, not sexual orientation, not humanity oriented, not psychological, but human oriented/orientation on the basis of preferences, choice, desire, mentality, trend, tendency etc. whereas, medicals have concluded in numerous contagious incurable deceases evolved to the affect of being hazardous status ... given in authentic international scientific/medical journals.
The social work profession being a trained profession with an object of bringing social change and social justice has to be very cautious in dealing with the Indian society which is cultural mosaic . The social work professionals or NGOs involved in the services touching upon the cultural aspects and social institutions like Marriage, and protection of women , youth training, health care services, shelter homes have to involve themselves not only in bringing social change and empowerment but also in spreading, preserving, developing the Indian culture , ethos and values which have maintained this unique diversity from ancient times.
Today the judiciary and legislature are also being guided by western notions like, Liberty, Human Rights, Development which are in a way affecting our cultural heritage, hence the Social Work Profession being an alternative agency to bring in social change and social justice should not be influenced by wrongful judgments of the higher judiciary or legislations produced by the legislature under western influence.
Nor the NGOs and social work professionals should get attracted by the funding agencies which want to promote western culture in the name of development and empowerment. Social work profession having emerged as an effective alternative for the social ordering has to work in the direction of preserving the Indian cultural heritage.
Let social work profession be decolonized and new era of Indianised social work profession flourish and give positive answer to the question, Can Social Work profession help India to help herself to save her cultural heritage?
Manojkumar V Hiremath
Research Scholar, Karnataka State Law University’s Law School, Rayapur, Dharwad.
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