There was once a sage who charmed his devotees with his benevolence and forgiveness. A sage who is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation which was created in 1981 that aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence. A sage who refused the Nobel Prize, and a sage whose devotees are as loyal to him as the wildlings are to Jon Snow.
The Padma Vibhushan winner, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recently created uproars by claiming his refusal to accept a Nobel Prize, snubbing Malala Yousafzai who hasn’t done much to receive the honour. After his comment, Twitter reacted in a manner that it is capable of, millions of people trolled Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for his statements.
Finally, when our very own Mrs Funnybones, Twinkle Khanna did the same, the ‘learned’ sage and his team took offense. Apparently, as long as snubbing is inflicted upon others rather than having to bear the burn of it, life is good.
Art of Living’s international director Darshan Hathi took a bullet for his leader, and asked the fellow followers to boycott the upcoming movie of Akshay Kumar ‘Houseful 3’ because of Twinkle Khanna’s statement. Boycotting has been crucial during our struggle for independence, why can’t it be of any importance when it comes to defending the learned sage?
Sri Sri is just another pompous, self-righteous, judgmental holy man who like many Indian men look down on women and their achievements, and find it difficult to digest that his ‘Art of living’ didn’t fare as much as Malala’s fight for education. Typical case of sour grapes.
However, this ugly spat between Twinkle Khanna and the representative of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar unearthed another aspect of tolerance. The followers of the saged man threatened to boycott the movie of Akshay Kumar, apparently as an act to portray the disappointment faced by millions of the followers. Why ban Akshay Kumar’s movies, when they have the option of banning the articles or the book of Twinkle Khanna?
However, the threat seemed to have rung a bell as the lady apologised to the concerned followers for hurting their ‘sentiments’. At a time when people are getting quotas by protesting, this move by the team of Ravi Shankar doesn’t come as a shocker. And yes, of course the country is still democratic, threatening or intimidating our way to win reeks nothing but of democracy.
India is a backward, regressive country which is thin-skinned wherein a single sentence could spark a controversy or trigger a riot. It’s a country run by corrupt politicians and flawed religious leaders. Therefore, they want to suppress the intelligentsia, and the liberals who want to point out these facts.
With this latest controversy, we again saw commercial interests taking prominence over assertiveness in belief and opinion. The fear of the political clout and strength of numbers is such that the otherwise outspoken celebrities, now have to make politically correct statements.
Well, freedom of speech is for all, but not for people who speak the truth. Such threats not only inhibit the celebrities to voice out their concerns, but also strengthen the fact that the best way is the majority way.