What should I write? A few years back, blogging was a pastime and one blog every three days was the norm. There was no dearth of topics and subjects to muse over and pen. Alas, over the past couple of years it has been a downhill journey for blogging. Bloggers who were regular on the blogs with their comments, both critical and endorsing have vanished from blogging. There were some who took umbrage at one’s comment and posts; they were pathetic- they have vanished too into newer pastures. Perhaps they all were a source of encouragement to blog and their vanishing act has dent the enthusiasm to blog?
It is now vitiated days. One has to be watchful of what one speaks and writes; worse of what one speak out, think or even acknowledge with the “like” in facebook. If in the blogs it was stray idiots who refused to accept difference of opinion or a honest critique and took “holier than thou” airs, now it is the whole society in hordes and the government too who disapprove any disagreement with the established ways.
But has the society changed? I guess no. It has been so. Matters were subsumed. It is only that the catalyst agent came about and dusted up the dormant wiggles that now have grown into Frankenstein proportion.
Intolerance and prejudice have been about. Let me mention an incident which can be an anecdote too. Once a few us were having a good evening over spirits and this guy who was back from a journey was fuming over what he saw at the Wagha border during the ceremonial lowering of the flags and beating retreat. He expressed his distress and annoyance at the ‘vulgar ceremony’ as he put it- when border guards of India and Pakistan glare at each other and shake hands brusquely. He reminisced with great satisfaction a toddler sitting in the lap of her parent on the Pakistan side of the border smile and wave at him- a stark contrast to the ceremonial play of animosity by the guards. He wanted the ceremony to be shelved. I couldn’t disagree with him about the frivolity of the enmity between the neighbours and the unwarranted ceremony that must be jettisoned. Another friend disagreed with him and laughed away the former’s opinion. He asked what was wrong in a dramatising the ceremony for a bit of fun and all the onlookers do acknowledge the lighter side of the ceremony. The former was angered and took offence. He could not tolerate a dissonant opinion, a disagreement. He was a changed person then and had a ghostly expression which resembled the want to strangulate the fellow who disagreed with him. That was the last time we all sat together as this bloke’s cussedness keeps him away from people who he knows would question and disagree.
What reminds one more is not the well meaning position he took about the need to put a stop to the obscene ceremony, but the fellow’s intolerant and saturnine side that doesn’t allow him to accept disagreement. Unabashed intolerance! There are many of his kind. And it isn’t the fault of Narendra Modi that they are abound. But it is indeed Mr. Modi’s success that saw such dormant intolerance surface. All that he did was fan the ember. Water and fan seeds of intolerance with religion and jingoism then you get a Kafkaesque concoction.
I would not mind a ban on bovine slaughter and protection of milch beasts in the country as long as they can ensure that the meat is imported for those of us who love it and provided at the current price. Let them ban slaughter of milch animals or cows quoting their scriptures or the directive principles of the constitution. As much as they have the right to detest cow meat or bacon there are many who have the equal right to like them. I only ask my fundamental right be not violated- freedom to eat beef or food I relish. This right is non-negotiable, for what is one man’s food is another man’s poison. Intolerance cannot gain such proportion as to dictate to me what I must think, speak, eat and drink, when to have sex when to abstain; who to wed and who to live with; which God I must supplicate to, deny my right to be distanced from religion similar rubbish; read the book I love and critique, ignore the ones I dislike even if it is the Vedas, Gita, Koran or the Bible and the persons too for what they stand for, draw the cartoon I like. As long as I do no crime, incite hatred or violence, thieve, rape or murder, defraud, my freedom to live and enjoy life in a way that I see and make my life worth living cannot be eroded by any government, or even God or men who sow divisiveness in the name of God and creed.
Indeed all of us do feel miserable when we face disagreements. But ignoring a person who disagrees with you, treating him as if he were plague and pariah is inherent weakness. It can be accentuated by indoctrination and also dishonesty in what one says and claim to be living for. It’s an offshoot of fear and lack of belief in oneself. If one disagrees why not accept a discussion and put across your reason for disagreement? Why not learn to live with disagreement? It is not possible to convince everybody of one’s ways and opinions. To think and say that I’m unquestionable, my belief is sacrosanct is like the proverbial adage-“after me deluge”. If I keep running from disagreements and differences of opinion then I may be literally running all my life towards Timbuktu or the edges of the world.
It is the hallmark of the meek.