What scares the pants off you?
For me it’s Indians who are fanatical about what they like or dislike and then try to push that down other people’s throats.
They don’t like a book; they will go on the street screaming that we should ban it. Perhaps kill a couple of people along the way and burn some shops. It’s apparently a walk in the park.
They don’t like a movie; they will go out there to ensure nobody else should watch it.
Screw everyone else's freedom, let them succumb to mine.
It’s kind of scary.
This is what I don’t understand. I am a bit slow, so explain it to me simply.
You don’t like a book, you can put it down. Hell you can burn it or rip it to pieces. That’s the perk of owning it. Let’s say you are pissed off because you felt that your money wasn’t well spent. Then write the author a letter, tell him what you felt. It is called criticism. It’s civil, and for a creative person that is an occupational hazard they are required to live with. But when you talk about banning the book or wanting the author killed or having all his work banned, because you feel offended, you are acting like, hmmm, how do I put this delicately? Well like a dickhead.
Same goes for movies, paintings or any form of creative endeavors.
We, I believe, do have the provision to discard what we do not like or enjoy. It’s called exercising your right. You can choose not to buy that book, or not to go for that movie. If you already did the opposite, then you can throw away the book and pick up something else you like or walk out of that movie. You can choose to not buy that painting. But the day you tell me that I don’t have the choice to read or watch a movie because it affected your precious sentimentality, you get to read what I have to say about that.
Or if you are face to face with me, you will get to hear it. Why? Because you have made the error of overlapping your choice with mine. You in short crossed the line.
I am all for a point of view. I think it’s healthy. I can even handle opinions. It’s like having your say.
What you are reading, if you haven’t already skipped this article, is an opinion. You can agree with it, you can disagree with it or ignore it. You can even write in and call me an arsehole. That’s fine too. It’s your opinion. You have the right to exercise it. But what you do not have is making the opinions on behalf of other people.
What is this Indian culture that we think is so delicate like the coral ecosystems that a creative expression can destroy?
What kind of culture is so important that we need to preserve it by resorting to censorship, threats, expulsion or possible violence?
Please feel free to correct me, but I have always felt that Indian culture is the result of myriads of different cultures that have passed through or stayed in this ancient land. The traditions or culture that we see around us were not the result of stagnant thoughts, rather it’s an ongoing dynamic process.
Truth is, culture will change. It has been changing all this while. Sati, child marriage, caste system, untouchability, banishing of widows, etc were also part of our culture. We will reject some and accept others. Where our traditions or culture cause personal harm to one another, or degrade one to upgrade another, we perhaps will one day take notice and do something about it, like we seem to have done in the past. Of course it takes someone to point it out to us.
But beating up youngsters in Kerala because they wear their pants too low, or assaulting girls in Mangalore because girls drinking will erode our fragile culture, or burn a theatre because some find a movie offensive, or harassing young couples in the name of our so called moral traditions (this is a joke right?), or chase away a painter because his paintings affected some of our religious sensibilities, or ban a book for the same reasons, is downright terrifying.
It means that some of you are deciding for a whole lot of us.
Now if that ain’t scary, I don’t know what is?