on tolerance

This Monday, as I was walking in my society-complex; I began thinking about the next blog post. See, after the last post, I had decided to keep this regular, except for when I was travelling, or some other ‘Hey-I’m-here!’ thing which would have me away from my laptop, and the internet for long. I had defined regular to be once a week, and so, as I walked, I thought. Keeping continuity in mind, I reasoned, this better be something on writing. But the more I thought, the more I kept going back to this one thing in my head.

This happened. A couple of weeks in the past, yes, but this did happen!

A friend of  mine had posted on Facebook, a quote from The Hindu, from one of their pieces from an author who had just returned his Sahitya Akademi Award, along with a couple of other writers. Since then, quite a few of the writers have returned their awards in protest. This, speaks of that time.

That time, when a man was murdered, and nobody cared that a man was murdered. All they cared about was the religion of the man who was killed, and some other things. It was, politics as usual.

So, I had read that post, and I had immediately thought of commenting on that post. But, you know, I’m lazy. And so, I didn’t. Facebook seems too much of an effort these days. You put your view out there, and then you have to keep coming back to defend it, and in order to do that, you put something else of yours out there. A cycle of sorts. Vicious or not, is an entirely different matter altogether.

To put all this in context; here’s the comment:

All spaces of liberal values and thought, all locations of dissent and dialogue, all attempts at sanity and mutual trust are under assault almost on a daily basis. All kinds and forms of violence, whether religious and communal, consumerist and globalising, caste-based and cultural, social and domestic, are on the upswing.

…A lot of this is being done in the name of Indian tradition and culture. There cannot be a bigger insult or greater damage to the Indian tradition than this. One of the most ancient in the world, this tradition belongs to a civilisational enterprise called India. It is perhaps the largest in the world, unique in its plurality of language, religion, custom, cuisine, costume, craft etc. Nothing in India has remained singular for long, everything sooner or later turns plural or becomes part of a large plural. Not god, nor language, not system of philosophy and reflection, nor faith and worship, not to speak of belief and value. There have always been forces amongst us who do not like this deeply enriching plurality and who would see it replaced by some kind of uniformity which they believe would be more manageable. Our tradition has not only been one of plurality but also of dialogue and accommodation, interrogation and dissent, of public debate, innovation and scrutiny. The shastraarth, one of the unique institution of public testing of ideas and insights used to take place in public between contesting view points. The Indians have never been afraid or intolerant of dissent or debate

I re-read the post and now, I’m not so sure what my original comment was going to be. Let me try nonetheless, a different comment is way better than a non-existent one.

See, tolerance, in itself is an interesting concept.

Would you value tolerance, in a person, as a value?

Would you want somebody you knew to be tolerant?

Tolerance brings with itself, a sort of passivity, which, somehow feels unbecoming of the aggressiveness that we have as a species. In all our years of existence on this planet, we have killed many, and are on the verge of killing many other species, without even wanting to! Really, it was all just a by-product of all we were dumping in nature, which in turn, was a by-product of the processes we had employed to get something we wanted.

Just think of the things we could do, if we were really focused on destroying something!

Destruction, isn’t that our legacy?

Actually, I’m not so sure…

We are builders too, and explores, and all sorts of other good things too. But in order to create something new, you do have to destroy the thing that previously existed in your place. Things hit the proverbial ceiling when we start destroying our own-selves!

parties and uncles

Getting back to the walking then… I also noticed a newspaper clipping stuck on the communal board; the headline for which read “Paying guest karenge party, to uncle police bula lenge” which roughly translates to, “If paying guests party, then the uncle(s) will call the police!”

I do not know both sides of the story. Maybe, the people on whom the cops were called were at fault. Maybe it was the other way around. This is not about that; the right, and wrong of things.

This is about the act of putting that article, that intolerance out there, on display, as if it were a great thing. And this, is what my truck with all of this is. The growing intolerance in our society, as a whole. The ruling government is purely coincidental.

The other day I turned to the television in the living room to catch some news, and there was so much of noise there, unnecessary noise. People shouting. And it looked eerily similar to the image I have of the Montag living room. Being washed in screens of different shapes, and sizes. Being washed in noise of different shapes, and sources.

The author, in the article, talks about this as a form of protest, against the rising cases of violence, and intolerance in the country. My point, is that, never before, did we have so many people cramped in such a tiny space, and given them a medium to speak their mind.

Everybody, can be irritated by the right person. And we love to follow!

Combine all of that, and you reach where we are right now.

One last thing; I don’t like writing about political things. Because no matter what I do, when I re-read those pieces, I find everything but clarity in these pieces. I hold myself responsible for that; but at times I feel the reason that happens is because, in real life you can only wish for neatly defined things, and boundaries. In real life, everything is a mix of things, good, bad, and muddy; and no phenomenon can ever be explained to be caused by just this one thing, there’s always a second, a third, a fourth, and forth..