Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 102: Last of Austen

OYLPA Day 102: Last of Austen, originally uploaded by klodhie.
I've been dreading the day: picking up the last Austen novel and fragmented stories - no more left! Most probably like every other young lady around, I dote upon the stories, characters, and insights into society Austen creates in all her works. I can't help but see clear parallels between Austen's Regency world of excessive honoring of rank, wealth, and family blood, and our own Pakistani community's still-present worshiping of those same aspects (not to mention the fact that almost every desi mother is a Mrs. Bennett). I wonder if it is the same way in non-desi communities, still? I'm sure to an extent it certainly is, but I can't help but feel we are particularly prone to the nonsensical emphasis on social status.

What if reading and analyzing Pride and Prejudice were a requirement for every member of desi society? Would desi mothers stop parading their daughters around, upon seeing Mrs. Bennett as in a mirror? Fathers put less emphasis on the "golden" careers of medicine, law, engineering, and finance? I know that such stereotypes of desi parents cannot be extended to all, but I still hear of far too many young people here being "forced" (or rather, being made to feel guilty) into careers and marriages. Again, maybe these stereotypes can be applied to portions of all cultures, but it doesn't make these status-seeking qualities acceptable by any means.

Our community will be held back from progress and improvement until we realize and correct our hypocrisies and learn to value happiness over financial success, creativity and innovation over blind traditional roles, education for the sake of education, and the positive qualities we can gain from opening ourselves up to people of other cultures, faiths, and races, learning and adopting their positive qualities and sharing ours with them. In this way, (please bask in the pun), we may just be able to overcome our "pride" and "prejudice."

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