Buzzing Blogosphere: India and the ‘Intolerance’ debate

The intolerance debate in India seems to continue in one form or the other. While on one hand it has brought many citizens to come out and speak in the open, on the other hand, it has created an atmosphere of fear where people are scared to speak anything in public. The incidents like dadri lynching, celebrities and national gems returning their awards, the legendary Shahrukh Khan refusing to do so and now actor Aamir Khan confessing about his wife thinking to move out of India. The latter was the latest incident and has stirred a nationwide wave with people throwing in all sorts of reactions and not to forget the media having its own take on the issue. Blogging probably was a way in which many bloggers managed to relieve their minds and also put forth their perspectives. Here are some of perspectives that are worth reading.

The Intolerance Debate and India - Indian Bloggers Buzzing Blogosphere

Manjulika Pramod takes on the statements made by Aamir. She evaluates the dialogues as a mother, Indian and a responsible citizen. Read an excerpt.

If a mother feels uncomfortable in the society. If she is not happy with the growing atmosphere of intolerance and insecurity, why can’t she say it the way she wants it? If you are a citizen of a country and you feel affected by certain incidences, you have all the right to speak about it. Open the newspapers, scan the television channels or just go through your social media platforms, I bet you will find the reasons for concern.  Seriously, if you don’t see it, there is something really wrong with you. Okay, I assume that you do not have any concerns but those who have, please don’t term them as traitors or unpatriotic. Calling names simply proves Aamir’s point very well.”

Vinod Narayan talks about how the topic of intolerance remains dissected and less of a collective voice in the right direction. He is of the opinion that freedom is a subjective matter to individuals and each has a right to his own.

“Intolerance comes in different flavors..

The one that many people in India face when the Govt tries to decide what people should eat and when idiots like Togadia and Sakshi puking venom and their cronies unleashing terror.. Intolerance is also Kalburgi’s and Dabolkar’s killings; Intolerance is the death threat against Salman Rushdie… Intolerance is MF Hussain having to leave the nation… Intolerance is Sanal Edamaruku having to live in Finland Intolerance is also chopping hands of Prof TJ Joseph by the insane people belonging to Popular Front of India, a Muslim fundamentalist group… Intolerance is also people being against Taslima for writing Lajja… Intolerance is banning the book Da Vinci Code…. Intolerance is many such things…

Intolerance is also the people who tell me that when I speak against Aamir’s comment ‘I am Spreading hatred’…… To them I say, I write for my conscience not yours…

I am an atheist and humanist and for me intolerance is there with every religion. I want you to be tolerant not because you are muslim or hindu or christian or sikh… I want you to be tolerant because you are a human being and I am one too.. You are nothing different from me or from the guy next to me….

And to those who say wah on my post when I talk against Modi but do boo when I talk against Aamir…. If you have a selective tolerance or selective intolerance problem that is your problem not mine… 🙂

There is an intolerance issue which has people from all religions hand in hand in India and Aamir is just an opportunist acting like an intellect and many hailing him like he is great… Again just my (in)tolerant opinion.. 🙂

And FYI Aamir Khan has his right to his opinion but he is no poster boy for India’s tolerance or intolerance….. Any issues with that….???”

Arnab Ray who is a contributor to New York Times is of the view that India has been a victim of a broken system for long. It is thus unfair to blame the current scenario calling it ‘Intolerance under Modi’ and several other dicey reasons

“In India that system has been broken. For ages.

Which is why every political party harnesses the power of the mob from Mamata to Modi, from Amma to the Gandhis. It is the easiest way to make their constituents feel “powerful”, supply them a narrative around which they may coalesce to form a violent swarm. This narrative may be “beef” or “love jihaad” or “Tasleema Nasreen” or “cell-phone carrying bar-going women” or “CPM cadres” or “Bhaiyyas taking our jobs” or “Africans doing things not done in decent localities”. All that changes is the context, the rest remains the same.

This is the basic problem. The rest is all politics. Every political group creates its own prism, lights up the part that is aligned with its philosophy and darkens the rest. So the “seculars” would concentrate on one form of violence and ignore the other (or provide a justification citing “context” and yes you know who I am talking about), while the “Bhakts” would do exactly the opposite, and each would then accuse the other of “selective memory” or “whataboutery”.”

Partha Sadhukhan makes a realistic presentation about the intolerance situation, the personality that Aamir Khan is and why we need to keep in mind the fact that a celebrity making such a remark means so much for the general public.

“I knew it was coming. It ought to be. Now here’s why he needed that response and I am one of those who did give him back on his remark –

  • Aamir’s supporters say that violent / rabid remarks confirm that India is intolerant – The reason anti nationals can get away with such remarks, such hate speech against the mainstream population and the majority of people, the reason they can play around with people’s sentiment is this article. In fact, his publicity seeking stunts in all aspects are caught by people and such reaction is only to tell him, dude be in your place, we have caught your lies and fake tears.
  • Experiences are personal and not borrowed from others – When a celebrity says he is insecure in a country and wanted to leave, that means A LOT for ordinary people. That means ordinary common men have no life in the country. That is creation of insecurity among the masses – that is creation of a sense of false emergency.

Now, if the country has shown any intolerant behaviour again the celebrities like him are responsible for that. The videos like “I am not a woman” by Rajit Kapoor or “Boys Don’t Cry” by Madhuri Dixit fuels that insecurity. The TV shows like Satya Mev Jayate based on false data is responsible for creating and propagating this false sense of insecurity, his irresponsible comment like the one he has made is responsible for that. This is because if such a statement comes from a celebrity that means a lot for ordinary people. Yes, he is also responsible for fueling this false sense of insecurity in this country through his TV show SMJ that was supposed to create social awareness, but based one sided awareness, based on fake data. So all he wanted was money and fame and he didn’t mind undermining his nation and his own fellow countrymen for that.”

Karan Desai talks about the great Indian intolerance debate. He is of the view that the media often plays a key role in defining the sentiment of general people.

“Indians show huge tolerance in everything. Remember, India has majority of tolerant people and little amount of criminals. The only irony is that our media projects this little proportion so intensely that we all overshadows and sees the evil over wisdom. Be wise and understand that intolerance is the attribute of weaker and India’s children are not weak. See the history, India has shown tolerance and acceptance to all invaded dynasties, religions and kingdoms. The secularism is not only on papers, it is in India’s DNA and so, if some big mouths, some big news channels and few small random crime incidents make you feel insecure, then I think, you are intolerant and not the country. therefore, everyone has right to speak and express but the platform, stage and audience must also be considered.”

Satya Vijayi has a post made by a Kashmiri Pandit who talks about how issues all over the country get a biased attention that have no relevance to their priorities. He asserts in his writings that Indians show the highest level of tolerance. He finds Aamir Khan’s statement as a highly irresponsible remark considering he is an idol that is looked upon by many of his ardent fans.

When we Kashmiri Pandits faced Genocide in India and when our own neighbors were with guns on streets against us, demolishing our temples, burning our homes, raping us – India remained silent. So who should be thinking about leaving India – we living in migrant camps or you making millions in Intolerant India? Even if we face genocide again, we will never think or talk about leaving India.  
Let me tell you those neighbors & rioters were Muslims. Such was an intolerant Indian living inside me that you, a Muslim, were my super star, my role model, a person I would fight for with my friends, a person I looked up to. If India was intolerant and if I was intolerant, I would have generalized the community and never made you my role model. I will never do that, that is not how tolerant India is, never will it be.

Even after 26 years, we haven’t given up on India. Each day we think on how to make it a better place. Each day we think that Indians will come forward to help. That India is not what we faced in India. Those neighbors and friends don’t represent the minority population of India nor do you.

I didn’t question your double standards when you questioned going to a Hindu temple and then yourself went happily to Hajj. I should have. But I was too tolerant.

I just wanted to tell you that I am restless, I am restless not because I am a Narendra Modi supporter, I am restless because I regret that I wasted my two decades for a man who was not worth being my Hero. I will never forget that. Never ever.”

Vishal Kale deeply analyses the intolerance debate and  the situation that a typical citizen is into. The responsible factors are many apart from the main role players and one must exercise introspection and patience while reacting to such deep issues.  

The big question in front of us as a nation is how do we proceed, given the recent spate of events around tolerance and intolerance perceptions? We are seeing the emergence of two clear camps – which I prefer to call The Tolerance Brigade and The Intolerance Brigade. Each sides sees no merit in the others’ position, with one side actually pulling out all sorts of tactics-  both logical & cogent, as well as illogical and insultingly extreme bordering on direct personal verbal and written abuse. At times, this abuse goes beyond all controls to become extreme and personally targeted and attacking on Social Media as well.”

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay shares his views on the Aamir Khan statement. He calls it an over hyped issue just because he is a celebrity. He also talks about how some Indians faced a threat to their lives on issues they were simply not a part of.

“What is worrisome is that the view that Aamir Khan should not have spoken in public on the issue was articulated by someone who is otherwise not a storm trooper of the Hindutva brigade is a symptom of a deep malaise that is affecting Indian society. The dividing lines are sharper and deeper than before, an odd election setback to the BJP notwithstanding.

For the past several months certain categories of Indians have faced threat to their existence. This danger to their lives has two causes: their names and their views. MJ Akbar, acclaimed journalist and writer, former Congressman turned BJP spokesperson and lawmaker berated Aamir Khan the other day. “When the azaan calls given from mosques resonate harmoniously with temple and church bells in India,” Akbar began; “you want to be in London or Washington where you will never hear the call of the azaan.”

Dilip Semon’s blog has his take on the intolerance debate. He cites this issue as a huge concern for a patriot and no one else. We all are citizens and to ensure peace and harmony is a responsibility of each one and not just celebrities or people with high standards.

“Aamir Khan soberly articulated an angst that many citizens feel. It is easy for many of us to identify with that angst. It would be helpful if those who attacked him bothered to read what he actually said. The worries he expressed about growing intolerance and, more specifically, the helplessness that the lack of a proper political response from those in highest positions of authority produces, are spot on. Even the homely conversation gesturing at the question of whether our children will live in an environment where they feel secure, protected by liberal values, has a familiar ring.

But it would be presumptuous to say that Aamir’s angst is my angst. He is a celebrity. In this age, one twisted act of retribution is to teach celebrities a lesson to put them in their place. There are many disturbing aspects to the response to Aamir Khan. One is the idea that because he is a celebrity, he deserves even more odium: To the sin of political transgression we can add the charge of ungratefulness. How can he, we intone, be so ungrateful to the country that made him a star? Once you are a celebrity, you forfeit the luxury of voicing concerns as an ordinary citizen.”

Nikhil Chandra has his take on the three very important factors of a society that shape the general societal environment: Celebrities, Social Media and Indian TV channels. Words get tweaked  and are presented out of context creating an imbalance in the minds of people or his fans.

“There were a many ministers present at the awards ceremony on Tuesday when Aamir Khan made that remark. I wonder why Arun Jaitley, the senior-most minister in the audience, instead of being angry and making observation about how busy one could be in his job to think about other issues – in this case issue that concern our nation and its secular spirit as imbibed in our constitution –  did not stand up and say he understood Aamir’s anxiety and that his government would take what he said into consideration and guarantee that every Indian, irrespective of his belief, was safe? Isn’t that intolerance?

Have you seen the state of our news channels…Just contrast them with Western media like BBC, CNN, RT or AL Jazeera and you’d know what kind of farce and cheap entertainment and not news is presented by most of our news channels save Doordarshan.”

These were just a few names we thought had a point to make in their own democratic way. There are so many more who have voiced out themselves on their blogs. If you find an interesting one or the one with a lot of depth and analysis then do share it with us in the comments below. Do not forget to tell us how did you find our this week’s Buzzing Blogosphere.  

2 Replies to “Buzzing Blogosphere: India and the ‘Intolerance’ debate”

  1. “What is this India that is getting intolerant? Is it the piece of land on which we live? Or does the ‘intolerant India’ mean the people of India? The people who have been tolerating all sorts of dirty politics for long in which the parties only care for their votes and the politicians only care for their notes? Or the people who…” from BECAUSE WE ARE MUCH TOO TOLERANT :

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