Wednesday, 2 December 2015

When we look back...

I remember watching a film very long ago. It was called Yeh Wo Manzil Toh Nahi directed by Sudhir Mishra. It was about three school friends now old men, travelling by train from Bombay to Rajpur for the centenary celebration at their boarding school. On their journey, they recall their days of student activism, and failures. Upon reaching they find once again confronted by political skirmishes, which reminds them of events wherein they failed to uphold their conscience. Till date, it remains one of my favourite films.

Today, when I see people's reactions and over reactions on scial media, in the news, in our living rooms, I wonder if some day we will look back at what we do to our world and say, "Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahi!"

I see people having arguments on Facebook about things and taking opposite stances. So far so good, because afterall, it's a democracy and we have the freedom to express. Then suddenly the people in the argument have unfriended each other and sometimes became sworn enemies!

Discussion is great, arguments are welcome but these violent reactions, everyone sharing stuff on social media without thinking ... is this who we are? Is this who we want to be? Do we really feel proud of ourselves after we have unfriended people for eating meat or going out at night, supporting a political party whose ideology we don't believe in? Are we really bigots who were dormant for years ad have now become active? 

Yes, someone didn't stand for the national anthem and they deserve to be punished, by law, because it is a legal matter! But sharing news feed that says "Muslim family evicted" is just fanning the fires. What if they were Hindus or Christians or non religious?  Would they still be anti nationals or terrorists?

When did we start talking about people like this? Are we soon going to introduce our friends as "my Buddhist friend", "my gay friend", "my straight friend"...Do we just want to label and judge? What happened to us?

Are we even thinking for ourselves or are we mere pawns in the political game, just turning into armies on the street for one faction or another? Or are we simply allowing the media to fan the fires and adding to the mass hysteria helping create content for news channels in the TRP games? Are we victims or culprits here?

Once upon a time people argued, aired their differences and went about the business of living. If you didn't like meat, you didn't eat it. You didn't like a person, you stopped speaking. Didn't like a car, didn't buy iy. Today, all of us seem to be keepers of some misguided morality which can only be kept by violence, be it words or actions! Whatever happened to freedom to choose? And let's not blame the government for it because we ourselves are taking it away from each other.

The nation doesn't want to doesn't need to know! And it needs to stop pointing fingers saying if they can do it, so can we! What the nation needs is to calm down! We need to realize that eating meat or dal can be an issue only when everyone can make the choice between them. As it happens, most of the Indian population can't! Give us roads, and we'll discuss road rage! Provide basic safety to our women and then discuss their moral rights! Give us jobs and then tell us what we can or cannot do! Give everyone education and then complain about fees! 

Until then, stop shouting yourself hoarse and unfriending people. And start thinking for yourself! And for God's sake, stop the mass hysteria! Focus on the real issues!

I'm a simple woman, and I already look at where we have reached and say "Yeh Woh Manzil Toh Nahi!"

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