I have always tried to convince myself that overall, indian culture has more good things than bad, but as i greww older and became more experienced with life ive becoming increasingly doubtful of it. As this is a ladies forum, it is only appropriate if i begin with issues faced by ladies. Most of the issues we Indian women have faced in our lives are deeply linked to culture. My experience from men in school gave me a feeling that i am weak as a woman because my virginity once 'broken' will be permanent, but a man only has to wash himself to move on with his life. I actually believed that if a man misbehaves with me, it is my fault, theres something wrong with my approach to him or maybe i am not decently clothed. It took me years to unlearn that and thankfully i dont have such notions anymore. Married life brought about fresh bouts of culture based life issues. But the issues dont end with us ladies they extend out to men too. My husband has also had similar experiences. When u are 25+ the societies culture makes them pressurise you day in and day out to get married. Many keep reminding you your own age and start speculating if a love failure is what is keeping you from getting married. If you do have a love during your young days, it invariably should lead to marriage. If the girl breaks up and moves on with life or maybe finds someone else, she becomes a traitor who deserves an acid attack. If a woman wears sexy clothes she becomes the wh ore of the street whom men dont hesitate gathering and leering and raping her with eyes because now she earned it. I have experienced this all my 'rebellious' teenage life when i wore a pair of tight fitting jeans. My fear of course overtook my rebellion and i stopped wearing them completely in india. The 'elders' are also pleased now. I see many culture induced interpretations to atrocities like rape. Rape in most of our languages loosely translates to 'losing chastity' or 'losing virginity ' and suchlike. I cannot imagine a girl becoming pregnant outside marital relationship and living with dignity giving birth to the baby. If that happens it will be considered to be the peak of 'kali kaalam'. I also see how we have a blind culturally attributed power to 'elders' and the powerful. He could be a heartless tyrant or a pedophile or a rapist, but he is an elder or the boss and that absolves things to a large extend. How can a person deserve respect only by the virtue of he or she being an elder? Why am i culturally obligated to fall on their feet? Probably to tell them- I not only want to tell you that you are above me, infact i want to tell you that i am so below you that i belong to your feet like so. Why is a child always discouraged to speak up or have a voice of their own? Why is a child brought up being taught that it is wrong to claim respect from someone who is above her by age or power? Why do we always fear bringing bad name to our family and in the process betray ourselvs and the ones we love? Why do we have deep prejudices against darker skin colours and lower castes? Why do we pry into others privacy? why cant we show some sensitivity towards a childless couple or a couple with handicapped child? why do we live a pointless life without little joys like vaccasions and nice candle light dinners all our lives only to save up for an irrationaly expensive wedding and laksh worth of gold(and dowry) for our daughter with someone she is not even sure she can connect with. After my marriage i came to europe. And although people are people everywhere, i see MUCH more independance of thought, compassion and respect for others in this part of the world than what i am used to in india. And interestingly, their culture as it was 2-3 generations back matches better with the current culture of india. Is it because our culture is stagnant and backward?