Social Taboos

Social taboos can either be good or bad depending upon variety of factors such as cultural, social, ethical, and moral that constantly influence a particular region or a society. For example, marriage is deemed as a sacred practice or ritual in India whereas in western world marriage simply implies a trusted companionship between two individuals of opposite sex. In today’s modernized world where science and technology have invaded every aspect of our lives, social taboos no longer seem to impact people to the extent they did a few centuries ago. For example, the act of incest or sexual relationship prior to marriage in today’s Indian society is considered as a normal practice which was not the case in last century. What was deemed as a taboo earlier has become a common practice today because of the changing times and human advancements.

Social taboos have been influencing various cultures and societies since ancient times impacting people’s understanding about the phenomenon and limiting their freedom. However, it is extremely important to understand that taboos definitely impact human advancement and growth of our civilization. Sexual relationships before marriage are increasing exponentially in a conservative society like India increasing chances of contagious sexual diseases such as AIDS among the youth and compelling one to think that the earlier era of taboo was a boon to the society. This is because such a taboo acted in favor of people and society safeguarding them from unethical practices, unhealthy relationships, preventing spread of sexual diseases in the society and ensuring that marriage is perceived as a sacred bond and relationship between two souls, minds and bodies rather than merely being a mode of bodily gratification.

The example presented above certainly emphasizes that taboos can generate powerful favorable influence on a society however at the cost of our freedom. In today’s world of advanced science and technology people being literate are aware about the legal, biological, social, and cultural implications of their acts however there is an acute depletion in ethical and moral standards of people particularly in developing societies that needs to be addressed effectively. This is perhaps the era of taboos was far more effective in mitigating certain offences prevalent in the society of that era than today’s law system. Therefore, taboos can produce positive or negative effects on a society however in this case considering the Indian society as an example, present day situations and the deteriorating ethical and moral standards of today’s youth, incest deserves to be deemed as a taboo. This is because the benefits of imposing a taboo on incest outweigh the disadvantages of modernization faced by today’s Indian society.