Sex, normlessness and political economy
- Part III -
There are parents, civil society pressure groups and others who have their own definitions of what morality is all about with reference to not only sexual mores but also politics and ideology.
The introduction or rather the imposition of a new worldview in the post-Pamheiba era led to finding new ways to attach value judgment over even the lowest form of manual and menial labour. In the new world view, the ruling classes represented by power elites and military commands were clubbed into what was expected of the value system of the Kshatriya caste.
Despite the monarchical order to annihilate recorded and practiced worldviews at the level of societal structure, there emerged the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins. The remaining three castes could not be superimposed on porous clan and tribe system owing to unchanging political economy of the times.
This means, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra could not be so easily superimposed on the prevalent horizontal division of society. The Kanglei warrior remained a warrior in times of war and a peasant or farmer in times when he was not called to serve in the national defence corps. He would do even menial labour considered impure and untouchable.
The burden of the value system that crept into the Kanglei society was neither connected with the economy nor with prevalent division of labour. Consequently, there was a disconnect between reality and imposed values, thus, leading to even crumbling down of earlier value system.
The indoctrinated value system that thrived with Brahmin-Monarch conspiracy gave the people a rootless conception of their own culture. There was even attempt to push downthe hitherto unknown concept of untouchability by reversing the values attached to consumption of eating 'beef' (read cow) and traditional alcoholic beverages.
Moreover, those members of Kanglei society who were not only engaged in killing of animals for meat and hides, brewing of alcohol and even crafts and sanitation began to be treated as different, thus, resulting in new understanding of occupations and professions.
The only geographical dichotomy of understanding people as hill and valley settlers took a different turn viewed from the perspective of what was pure or impure. Though Kanglei society might have had a different understanding of purity and pollution which were consistent with the period of agrarian development, the post-Pamheiba idea of purity and pollution had a profound impact on gender demarcation too.
The purity and pollution or mangba-sengba notion also became one way of profiling post-adolescent Kanglei women making them not only extraordinarily distinct from ethnic cognates in the hills where such demarcation did not have a deep impact like in the valley.
The attempt to replicate the inherent and consistent value system of Kanglei society based on the actual mode of production of an evolving settled economy in the post-Pameiba era resulted in even censuring the already prevalent values attached to sexual morality.
The sati-sabitri value of post Pamheiba value system darkened the possible rich values of marriageable Kanglei women in the previous era where there were records of equal status assigned. Thus, value systems connected with our reality are now covered up by layers of distortions not consistent with actual reading of values of society based on the foundation of economy and its dynamics.
When such distortions take place all our understanding of sexual morality too gets warped up with premium values attached to certain sexual mores. What has been termed aberrations and deviation in our sexual morality emanate from the multilayered values highly inconsistent with the stage of Kanglei society's development. The corruption and political immorality we witness today are as distorted as our sexual morality, more specifically so among the younger generations.
This is not to justify sexual deviations or mores of Kanglei society or unhealthy sexual morality as seen in present times or to take the discourse to justifying the adoption of strict moral codes. Since, this article is just an attempt to understand how have we understood ourselves, the question that arises is what is to be done.
There are parents, civil society pressure groups and others who have their own definitions of what morality is all about with reference to not only sexual mores but also politics and ideology. However, there is a need to go back to a historical discourse on values to rediscover and analyze.
We can fruitfully ponder upon the so called aberrations of our youth's sexual behavioral patterns as witnessed now - be it the restaurant escapades or any other ways considered wayward - only and if we put the phenomenon in a historical perspective and understand the same in light of dynamics of change in stages of development.
It is also important to note that we have to go beyond pathological test and diagnose the overall disease. The process calls for a public debate not on the streets but over academic podiums so that ideas of the streets do not turn to anarchy of the people, for the people and by the people.
* Ibomcha wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on September 19, 2012.
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