Rising Intolerance; Myth or Reality?

Lately there has been a significant media glare on incidences of religious and caste based intolerance. Notice that I do not mention a significant rise but a significant media glare on such incidences. To set out the tone of this article right here, I would like to say that India is a diverse country with diverse interests pulling in different directions. Intolerance is as real as everything else in our nation. Unless you’ve completely cut-off from all news sources, you obviously know what’s been termed as the Dadri Lynching and the beef bans. This preceded another campaign by the intelligentsia, termed as rabid anti-BJP leftists by the BJP, of returning of awards conferred upon them by the nation. A string of writers, authors and scientists have put their weight behind this movement along with historians and the Sahitya Akademi.

The problem with this movement is it smacks of short-sightedness. These awardees have been around for long enough to see what the nation has been through. They have seen riots, lynching, corruption, terror attacks, human rights violations, need I say more? Nothing can be further from the truth that India is an epitome of peaceful and tolerant existence. This isn’t true today and certainly hasn’t been true since time immemorial. Being a nation so wide and diverse, incidences of religious intolerance will never be uncommon. There are always fringe elements in all communities who thrive in such environments. The point here is that the incidences of late are being magnified and blown out of proportion. No wonder the killings of people who eat beef or the murder of activists is condemnable. However, is this new in India? Have we not got used to these reports in the media? Have the writers, scientists and historians not seen the Sikh riots of 1984, Ayodhya 1992, Godhra 2002, innumerable corruption scandals? Where was this conscience then? Intolerance is not on a rise. It is the media that has jumped upon such incidences and projected an image that such incidences are uncommon when in fact such murders and lynching were so common that it never got reported by the mainstream media. Are the awardees so short-sighted that they do not realize a media-generated incident when it is staring them in the face or is there a deeper political controversy that is behind this?

The question is not whether the BJP is behind this or whether the RSS is communal, it is media that is stealing the government’s thunder by exaggerating on issues that it somehow missed out in the past decades thereby creating this image that we are becoming an intolerant society thanks to the present establishment. I say exaggeration not because the incidences are so miniscule that they do not deserve media attention but they have been provided disproportionate reel time than the precedent set by the media itself.

The liberals argue that the Prime Minister’s silence is hurting the nation. Modi must reel in the BJP loudmouths who seem to be more publicity hungry than Rakhi Sawant. However, a comment on each and every issue by the Prime Minister sets a very wrong precedent. Modi is not a silent bystander but a hunter biding his time. Like every other issue that the ignorant media and we as an ignorant nation have forgotten, the BJP knows that this too shall pass. Remember the December 16th Delhi gangrape that generated enough media hype for the world to call us rapists? This is an exact repeat of such a media-generated crisis. Rapes happened in India just as much as they did before and they take place around the world just as much as they did before yet when the media “takes up a cause”, for as long as it appears juicy to them, they make us believe what they want us to believe. The news channels and newspapers lack responsibility and their demands for freedom of speech appear less and less agreeable with their current conduct. No wonder China likes to keep a state-controlled media.

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8 comments

  1. Prakrut Chauhan · November 7, 2015

    Brilliant. I dont have enough words to express your writing skills. You really can be a professional writer. Best of luck. Although I feel that your views are slightly inclined towards government, nonetheless, I am impressed by the overall article.

    Like

  2. Vamagandhi · November 7, 2015

    Well written.
    As far as awardees of Sahitya Academy awards, and playwrights or activists are concerned, I am just a petty blogger to them, and can’t question their integrity in a flash. But, yes, if I were there, I would have surely been glued to award till death irrespective of what happens around or what media shows 🙂

    Your last para is a bit crude when you talk about rape snubbing it off as day-to-day event and blaming media to exaggerate Nirbhaya episode. I must say it was much needed exaggeration which shook the country to the core, though we shifted back to our daily chores pretty soon.

    Loved your reasoning and way of writing.

    Like

    • Poorv Sagar · November 7, 2015

      Thanks a lot for that….
      Although it’s not about questing the integrity of the awardees but more so their motive behind such a movement which appears uncalled for.
      While rape is definitely not something to be shrugged off lightly, it is the approach that the media takes of highlighting a particular case for TRP while gladly ignoring the vast multitude of cases. If the media or for that matter the nation really cares about such issues they must not make a fuss about just one issue but take it up as a cause.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Prakrut Chauhan · November 7, 2015

    Over 40 award winning writers including a Booker Prize winner, India’s eminent scientists, and 24 National Award winning film makers have returned their awards. Although few intellects may not agree with the ‘returning of awards’, but there is a general consensus that intolerance is rising in our nation. One may always argue that there have been several acts intolerance in past which were not protested with such intensity, but can it justify the lynching of man in broad daylight? How can we label so many eminent citizens of our country as leftists or Congress sympathisers? These are not laymen, these our independent, free-thinking citizens. The government should be indulging in a dialogue with these people instead it is labelling them as anti-nationals. Yes, you are absolutely write in saying that the fringe has always existed in our country but a right wing government that doesn’t even condemn such incidents will only encourage the fringe. Instead of condemning the fringe elements, the protesters are labelled as ‘naxals’! When people were on streets on December 16 didn’t it ruin India’s global image? If protests against the previous government was nationalism, why protests against the current government is seen as manufactures?

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    • Poorv Sagar · November 7, 2015

      Lynchings in broad daylight are nothing new. Look at all the Khap Panchayats that exist today and the crimes they have committed. Dialogue is a must and the government may have jumped the gun by labelling them as naxals however, there are ample evidences of how we have always been an intolerant race and the magnification of incidences nowadays is portraying an incorrect image. You cannot ask Modi to comment on every murder or religious skirmish. If the PMO began issuing statements on every issue it would set a precedent where if it fails to comment on any issue it would be construed as prejudiced and biased against a particular race. One must understand that law and order is a state subject and protests against the previous or current government have no basis. Congress wasn’t responsible for rising rapes the same way BJP isn’t responsible for intolerance. It is the pro-Hindu image that the BJP already possesses which makes people believe that the government is either directly involved or aiding and abetting it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prakrut Chauhan · November 7, 2015

        ‘Lynchings in broad daylight are nothing new.’ This is the exact attitude I have a problem with. Indians are very good at adapting to everything.We get ‘used’ to rapes,murders and lynching. I am not saying that the government is directly responsible for this incidents, but when the government doesn’t respond to such heinous crimes the right wing fringe is encourages by the PM’s silence. And how ironical is it that I have to talk about Modi’s silence when BJP for 10 years called Manmohan Singh a silent PM!

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  4. Poorv Sagar · November 7, 2015

    Let’s not compare Modi and Manmohan. That just can’t be up for debate. And no one adapts to anything. We have so many fringes and vested interests that such incidences will never stop until there is all round development and education. We just can’t afford to cry a river everytime something despicable happens.

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