When everyone is too busy finding flaws with the country, TBI reader Dr. Neeta shares why she believes in India. She talks about the over-sensitive citizens, the TRP-hungry media and much more about India in her own ‘outrage against all outrages’ post!
Do any of you have this regular guy in your morning routine who starts off your day wishing you a good morning every single day before ruining it for you by detailing why it really isn’t a good morning?
Well, lucky you, if you answered in the negative. I have this crabby colleague I travel to office with, who is perpetually pissed with everything and everyone, every-single-damn-day. Nothing, absolutely nothing, pleases him – be it the crisp morning air which is to him a grim reminder of the office drudgery to follow or the cheerful safai worker who very courteously nods at us day after day (reminding him of freeloaders in his society who don’t pay up society maintenance charges leading to inefficient garbage disposal which is the root cause of this city becoming un-livable) or my desperate humorous attempts at steering away from conversations that can trigger any of the above!
As per him, potholes are meant to be repaired by none less than the Prime Minister himself (since the lying, conniving mass-murderer doesn’t deserve to lead our country) after he has found time to penalize corporates (who run slave factories) and demolish slum rehabilitation projects (since that’s where the scums of society breed). Phew!!! I am sincerely praying he clears the next visa interview, so that he can migrate on his H1 to the Promised Land! Why should I alone have all the fun, no?
Outraging seems to be the national pastime these days. Ban this, shut that, block them, and delete all!
If the TRP-hungry media and their never-ending debates on prime time were to be believed, we Indians are doomed, hurtling on a retro-regressive trajectory! Blame it on the internet, I was told. Did the internet really do this to us? I mean, before this net-invasion I would like to believe people still debated and discussed all kinds of topics, but wasn’t it limited to those particular fora? I could choose to participate, or stay away.
Today, I dread going to ‘MY’ FB page fearing what all posts my friends have tagged me on-to, wanting me to endorse what trivial comment ‘THEY’ have chosen to take offence at! Everyone has an opinion today (rightly so) but I know of them only because folks ranted nonstop over it all over my TL! Try posting a counter-comment and invite more faux outrage!
So what the fish just happened to the supposedly tolerant, all- embracing Indian society, given the depth of cultural richness and diversity of our socio-economic backgrounds? When did we turn?
An adhesive advertisement had friends questioning each other’s sense of humor and patriotism at the same time. Standup comedians have certainly started scouting for jobs after the #AIB fiasco. We even outraged over President Obama’s personal concern over our “acts of intolerance possibly shocking the Mahatma” too. While we rightly welcomed our government’s stand of “any aberrations not altering history” we simultaneously tapped into our collective conscience to ridicule the ungrateful (?!?) guest while adding “this is a case of the kettle calling the pot black’ (ahem… should I use Afro-American instead?)
Political parties across the board have proved that politicians will be just that – politicians, artificially manufacturing environs of hatred and violence; internal harmony, national security, economics and development be damned.
The recent #Beefban had a friend from Mumbai indignantly foaming at his mouth. When I brought his attention to the fact that he wasn’t being served beef even earlier, he went on to warn me gravely, “you may need permission to breathe next, in this state” before expressing his desire to relocate to Delhi , or maybe Bengaluru where he can enjoy his rare steak in peace. Now Pune-based IT folks, unfortunately, cannot think beyond the Bengaluru-Hyderabad-Delhi trinity, you see. I didn’t have the heart to point out to him that cow slaughter is banned in both Delhi & Karnataka besides Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Odisha, Puducherry, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Bihar.
As much as I would like to agree with my PM’s conviction that, “India’s ancient civilization propagates acceptance of all and appeasement of none,” the sceptic in me has this nagging doubt that maybe, just maybe we were never ever that tolerant. Is it possible that we are not as tolerant as we are indifferent? This indifference just got perceived as tolerance, that’s it. The Mughal culture was enforced as was the British invasion. We just kind of accepted it and blended in. Oh sorry, is this precisely what they mean when they say tolerant?
We have forever been clashing on castes and religion – a discussion I would consciously prefer to stay out of. Communal-religious-secular issues have seen (and will no doubt see more) multiple unnecessary communal clashes and endless debates online as well as offline. Moral policing forced itself upon us while migrants (internal as well as external) have been at the heart of many a storm. The socio-economic and gender divides have claimed many a life.
Pluralistic democracies respect independent, individual choices which cannot and should not be forced onto anyone. If only we can accept this fact and work collectively towards taking this country to the next progressive level. We have more serious issues than #SRKvsSalman to discuss and debate and outrage on. Can we have a slight course correction, please? Can we steer the discourse to things and issues more productive, please?
In an age and day when denouncing our ancient identity has become elitist and slamming our government and its policies, people and their attitudes is the norm, yet, when I look across the border and beyond, I feel extremely proud and fortunate to have been born in India, with opportunities to learn and grow and love and live, despite its societal failings! A girl child, yet, in no way unfortunate or less equal than my brother.
Yes, as a society we do have rapes and female foeticides to fight against and yes, we live and thrive around filth and poverty. But, are any of these societal failings really insurmountable? Can we not give in to forces that want us to fail geo-politically, and instead focus our time, energy, effort and attention towards finding solutions to the myriad problems we face ?
I have immense trust and respect for India’s deep rooted culture and ethos and her constitution with its legal framework and terrific faith in my countrymen, especially my generation. We could be a flawed democracy, but let’s not give them a reason to write us off again!
Call me optimistic, call me naïve, but don’t tell me my country is doomed to fail. Night after night, debate after debate; stop screaming at me out of the idiot box – The nation demands no more.
PS: This was Yours Truly’s way of ranting and getting it out of her system, how dare others outrage her with their outrage and escape unscathed. A friend summed it up for me with his standard response of, “I do not believe a word of what you say, but I shall give my life to defend your right to say so.” I am also aware of the fact that while our great constitution gives me the freedom to express myself responsibly (emphasis mine) it sure does give my friends and readers the right to roast me.
– Dr. Neeta Bhatia