Saturday, 7 November 2015

The intolerant 'intolerance' debate

The abysmal debate fuelled by hungry journalists has reached a new low, with article by Ms. Barkha Dutt articulating her opinions on her recent interview with SRK. Now I am not going into all the details why it was wrong on every level but I am compelled to point out that SRK invited such reactions when he joined this debate in which he had no role to play. But he is an artist, and as such he will. No qualms about that.
Everybody is so gaga about this intolerance debate, some trying to pacify the situation by making the government a scapegoat of all the tension that had arisen in the first place. But the question is, are we really that intolerant as the journalists had told us so? What I think is, journalists are trying to stir up more than what’s in the pot. India’s picture is not as bleak as they have shown it to be. Some isolated incidents like dadri lynching and stuff can’t define the mood of a nation with 1.2 billion people.
But are we really intolerant? YES, we are. We have been born and brought up with a prejudiced mind. We have been trained to see only what we want to see with our limited knowledge and vision. We are intolerant towards gays and bisexuals, towards the poor and most of all towards modern thinking. A simple but quite impressive example was given to me by my neighbours who drove my senior out of this society because his ways of living were immoral. Indulging in activities within four walls of his apartment should have no consequence on the neighbours, right? But people did take an offence in that as well. Which is highly silly and pointless. But this is how we are. Our hypocritical personalities have been inbred in us from time immemorial. Socrates was hanged for his views. And so many other scientists and philosophers. Even galileo was disbarred from the society and placed on house arrest for his radical views that contradicted with views of church at that time.
So intolerance is nothing new. And it’s not a phenomenon restricted to only India. You see at the west, you’ll find Americans intolerant towards Blacks, Europeans intolerant towards migrants, Middle East and Egypt especially, on the verge of boiling. So India still has a far better situation than all these places. And if you want to see some silver lining to this intolerance debate, it’s good to see we’re evolving to more intellectual debates rather than something as mundane as water, electricity and food. This is actually progress. Only developed nations advocate dissent and free speech so openly.
I digress
The Indian version of debate has shifted its epicentre to communal lines. Muslims are like the younger siblings. Pampered and sensitive. So, the elder sibling will always get the scolding because he was elder and could’ve handled the situation. And the parents are always much more sensitive towards the younger sibling. Muslims are treated like that in India. In accordance with their wish or against their wish, their choice doesn’t matter. Living and witnessing their lifestyle with such close proximity, I can confidently say there is no more to the difference between Hindu and Muslim than there is between Jain and a sikh. It’s the political game that has given us a prejudiced mind only on paper I remind you, not anywhere close in real life.
The debate on intolerance in India started with writers returning their awards due to attacks on their community against those who advocated their opinions. But some unscrupulous minds have managed to polarise this debate as well on religious lines. The major question is not WHO is being targeted. The question no one is asking is why did it start all of a sudden now? The answer is it didn’t start all of a sudden. The seeds of the prejudice were already sown in our minds. The polarising politics by congress and BJP alike led to dissent among communities. Hindus felt neglected. When BJP rose into power, it couldn’t have possibly fathom that Hindu extremist would resort to such measures to voice themselves. Like a pressure cooker, the lid on the minds of such people lifted and all they had to give out was poison formed slowly and slowly through all these years. No offence to SRK, but he is just a puppet in the scheme of things. He didn’t have to take anything personally.
The debate is a healthy way of raising one’s concern. But making outrageous remarks aimed to defame and denounce someone’s religion is really extraordinarily insane. But how can we stop such people? Should government do something about this? Or CAN it do something about it? It can’t. People spreading hatred are doing their job. It’s the job of us civilised people to ignore such maniacs and not give them their 2 seconds of glory they don’t deserve. If we stop listening, who will then these anti-social elements talk to?


  1. People find it easier to entertain toxicities than sweetness....We all need to understand tolerance and be more open-minded. Discriminating between people just because they are different from us should never be tolerated. NEVER EVER.

    My heart also goes out to all those suffering in Paris - but the political angle blaming refugees, Muslims etc. is a strict no-no!! Let's just pray for a more peaceful and tolerant world and Insha-Allah it shall happen someday.

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