Suppressing Dissent, Aren’t We?

Aamir-Kiran 1If you think Kiran Rao or Aamir Khan or any citizen of this country does not have the right to say that the country is not worth living in for one reason or the other, you are not exactly ‘intolerant’; you are – to put it in plain, old-fashioned manner of saying – stupid.

We have every right to criticize ourselves. And, yes, Kiran Rao, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and every other Indian without exception is a necessary and indispensable component of the ‘us’ that constitutes this nation. So, before you hijack the discussion about the ‘growing environment of intolerance’ and twist it into a ‘debate’ about ‘Intolerant India’, may you be reminded that calling India ‘intolerant’ is pointless, senseless and mindless, and we don’t need you – any of you – to let us know that we as a nation are indeed pretty ‘tolerant’. After all, we have been tolerating you for as long as we care to remember, but then the past few years have been particularly testing of our much debated ‘tolerance’ – ‘debated’, mainly by you. But then, you already know that part, which is why you have turned it into a pointless debate from a rather pointed debate because now, after having contorted it to your convenience, you have something to say.

But then, again, you are also the same ‘us’ as talked about above, and, therefore, are entitled to your opinion, and also to your agreement or disagreement with any opinion expressed. However, no part of your right to express your opinion confers upon you the right to shut others up, which is because you cannot have for yourself what you want to deny to others. Furthermore, just to make it clearer, you cannot have your right to your opinion at the cost of others’ right to hold an opinion that is in absolute and irreconcilable conflict with yours.

Before we part, just a random thought about this ‘tolerance-intolerance’ thing. One can be ‘tolerant’ of an unwanted visitor to one’s own house, but to claim to be ‘tolerant’ of someone who is in his or her own house is simply ludicrous. To put it more simply, you have no right to force anybody to believe in anything you believe in because belief or faith is essentially personal and absolutely subjective. Therefore, one might treat your faith with as much respect as he or she does his or her own, but you don’t really have a right to demand such respect, which is different from your right to be not disrespected for the beliefs you hold, but that is, for now, working more for the other side than yours.

To dumb it down further for your easy consumption, if doing X is wrong by any of the moral or religious principles you believe in, stop doing it. Don’t ask others to follow suit.

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