We live in troubled times, sometimes I wonder, whether we are just like small nasty kids who do nothing but crib about the achievements, the acquisitions and thoughts of others. Life is divided into two parts, apparently, black and white, and what is black for me might be white for others and vice-versa. There are incessant clashes of mindsets and perspectives, clashes that never attain negotiation but always raise questions. Questions that are asked with the intention of not understanding the answer. Gone are the days, wherein we could write our heart out without the fear of getting judged or rebuked.
However, its one thing to dismiss someone’s thought as not to be adhered to, its another thing to dismiss the thought process entirely, not even giving people a choice to accept it or to refute it. Banning of books, like Satanic Verses, documentaries like India’s Daughter, this is worse than trying to demean some voice; it is curbing and not allowing the thought to spread its wings. There’s a difference between caging a bird than just clipping its wings.
With the ultra- presence of social media globally, one can imagine to be a star with many clicks. Promotions of movies, spoilers of series, celebrities and their thoughts, all can be found online. As they say, every information is a click away, the good the bad the ugly, its just a click away, and so is the demeaning of a thought process. But, in the least, it provides a vocal platform to voice out the concerns, however, irrelevant or offensive or non-conforming they might be.
Cyber-bullying (trolling) is a thing, and it is nothing but a symptom of the inability of people in large to accept things that aren’t their own way.
The controversies following the recent incidents, Kanhaiya Kumar, Udta Punjab, intolerance, boycotting of movies, Section 377- all reeks of nothing but a totalitarian regime, wherein the government vies for complete authority, but is elected through an all-encompassing propaganda campaign. Maybe its an utmost extreme version and highly controversial thought process, but do we actually dare to speak our minds out without fearing the consequences that must be faced? Have we become as prone to offense as we are to some viral infection?
We are surrounded by people who are enemies of Literature, of hard core facts, of reality and of creativity. All of us want to live in a la-la land, and anything that might prick the bubble or try to prick it, is shunned, ridiculed and silenced. Nothing should make me compromise my fantasy land, even though the stark reality is staring right at me. Ignorance is blissful, and the bliss is for a reason. Are we scared to get into or accept the real world?
The current Indian establishment’s priorities do not include the independence of creativity. They do not place freedom of thought and expression high on its list. The people are being asked to choose between free speech that can lead to intellectual murder or a silence that can end in intellectual suicide. And why is there such a demand in the first place? Since when did we start bargaining with the freedom of expression?
The thirty per cent of India’s electorate that has voted the ruling party into office reflects the desire of conformity, hero worship and the ideals of apparent nationalism. It’s easy to stay back into regression because it’s comfortable and full of tyrannical acts. It is difficult to step forward into progressiveness, aiming for a time wherein offense isn’t taken easily, and every perspective matters. Every voice matters, every word matters and every thought matters too.
Let us aim for a society that isn’t baffled by something new, let us learn not to be afraid of thoughts that challenge conformity, let us learn to be inclusive and free, because that’s what the country promises us, anyway.