Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rising tolerance for nonsense

There's a debate in place that India is currently more intolerant than ever before. Going by the dominant voices who believe so, it's pretty obvious that their assertion is more political than social. The epicenter of this argument can be located at the recent Dadri lynching case. After the shameful mob justice that happened in UP, echoes of 'intolerance' started ringing. Interestingly enough, this perception was specific to English media. Hindi media, which has its nose closer to the ground, didn't jump on the bandwagon. It'd be safe to assume that never before in the history of the English language has the term intolerance been abused the way it is now. If one wayward incident can smear the entire nation (imagine the backlash Brand India would be facing in the international community/market due to this campaign), then the Bodo-Muslim riots of 2012 and Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 did far greater damage to the fabric of our country when hundreds of people were massacred. Weren't these two deeply religious in nature? Weren't we intolerant back then too? To make matters worse, the media was indifferent. Also, the most important point to note is both these events took place during the UPA regime. Which is why i find the whole India-is-intolerant debate misguided. It's been a massive facade (so far). When India is being labelled intolerant, the target is not Indians but the government that is in place. Because unlike Scandinavians, we don't take labels seriously. Call us uncouth, noisy, barbaric, cheap, unpunctual, vain, foolish... it doesn't affect us at all! We've grown immune to labels. That's one of our greatest achievements of the 20th century. We managed to stay the way we were no matter how ugly that made us look. And a propaganda initiated by select mediapersons—which has been propelled by artists who otherwise don't stand for anything—come to think of it, still don't because returning awards don't mean they are returning the cash prize too—isn't going to change that. It's just a theme running its course. Despite being political in nature, it doesn't affect election results either. People in Bihar cast vote for their castes, not what the likes of Sardesai or Ghose spew on TV. If at all anybody is intolerant as such, it had to be the people who claim to be democratic but can't stand the fact that NaMo won the game of thrones. I'm not a NaMo fan nor am i a BJP supporter. In fact, like several others, i'll never forgive what happened in 2002. But at the same time, the political arguments debasing NDA government has reached such intellectual lows that one can't help but hope that the country rises out of this circus. If one understands economics, there's no substitute for time—no, not even money—and India is forced to waste time thanks to the rising level of tolerance for nonsense. 

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