India, since ancient days has been known to be a nation which has a culture of inclusiveness, adaptability, welcoming change and evolving positively. As a geographical entity we have easily adapted to and assimilated with various cultures of Aryans, to Invaders, to Traders, to Mughals to Britishers. Yet we have retained the originality of being India. Those of us who emigrate, easily adapt to the cultures of those nations we go and live, yet, we beautifully retain our learning, our culture and our roots – Our Indian-ess. We are great in adapting, and evolving to better humans. I read somewhere that ancient India used to encourage TARK – VITARK (Arguments/ Debate/ Discussion).
Then where have we lost it in the recent times. Where have we, as a Nation started abusing people, who disagreed? Why does our Facebook timeline, our WhatsApp messages or Twitter account get filled with vitriolic messages that suddenly makes you feel that as a Nation our threshold to accept varied views is becoming lower and lower. We howl and rant that we are not intolerant!! That itself has defeated the message we want to convey and gives justification to the people who said that we as a nation are indeed intolerant.
The biggest bane today for this country is the TV Channels and Smart phones. Almost every house has one. The country was seemingly far more peaceful when these things were not present despite worse things having taken place. If you analyse the reasons for the sudden discomfort, the first trigger is always the media, especially the Television channels who are hungry to get the next big TRP rating. They blow up small inconsequential stuff, interviews, and statements to make it a BREAKING NEWS – SANSANI. And immediately it is followed by an Army of Trigger Happy Twitteratti, WhatsApp Creative Geniuses, and FB Tigers whom I collectively call the Key Board Commandos who are ready to strike down anything that is perceived as an insult to the nation. They are not ready to read up, listen fully or analyse completely. They only follow Shoot First and Ask Later policy. They go purely by hearsay. Most of them hide behind anonymity on Twitter, or the famous “Forwarded as Received” tagline on WhatsApp/ FB, but some do come out of their closets and have an opinion on anything without thinking of the consequences. Mind you many of them are well educated, which proves education isn’t by the degrees alone.
The recent Tolerant / Intolerant debate was one such example. What an actor said did not make the nation look bad internationally, but the onslaught on him definitely had the foreign media analysing the effect of it making the nation look really intolerant. Condemning or Disagreeing with a statement is acceptable but Vitriolic Intolerance does not augur well.
Analyse further, we get to see a pattern. Many of the issues seem to be manufactured by vested interests. They have political backing be it the Award Waapsi or the Tolerance March. Each panders to a category. Many issues have some religious connotation. Together they make a heady combination. And we are just being used as pawns because we get worked up due to the love for our nation. Are we even aware that these manufactured controversies are diverting our attention from other important issues- governance, price rise, legislation etc? We need to be more deeply aware than the surface currents.
None of these controversies would have risen in the first place had the Govt led by our able PM condemned all kinds of unwanted statements/ actions the moment it happened conveying a message that there is NO TOLERANCE for INTOLERANCE! I would be happiest, henceforth, if our Govt condemns such actions in the strongest words, and the moment that is done, these controversies would die its natural death.
No nation is perfect. Even we are not. However India is far better than many nations. The kind of unity in diversity we have here puts all theories to shame. Let us build India to be a better place.
What Can We do as Responsible Citizens? If you truly love your country, Use the Delete Key more often. Stop Sharing something which you can’t substantiate. Read More on the subject, Research for the Truth. Stop Commenting on something which you feel has the possibility of spiralling out of control. Remove attention seekers, alarmists, Pseudo Nationalists from your friend lists/ unfollow them on social media, Stop Watching TV channels which only thrive on controversies, and howling matches.
Suddenly you will see the nation is back where it is – Peaceful with some pinpricks here and there. Let us accept there are other points of view, but believe in the Truth.
As a parting line I quote a mantra from the ancient Indian scripture Mundaka Upanishad and our National Motto – Satyemeva Jayate! Truth Alone Triumphs!