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Intolerant India

July 4, 2011

After a long time, I came across an article that actually made sense in one of the local dailies. It collated a lot of the incidents in recent times that seem to indicate that India is actually on a back foot.

Starting with the exile of one of our most celebrated painters, MF Hussain, who died abroad because of intolerance to his art. And we are supposed to be a country that has always celebrated and encouraged artists.

Then came Baba Ramdev and his protests, and the following midnight raid on his protest.

India, apparently, has always been reluctant to change. It took invasions and several harsh methods for us to have this ‘diverse’ culture that we are so proud of. Some people call his reluctance to change a result of all that bloodshed. But maybe, we have just lost our ability to be open minded.

While watching TV, I notice a little bar at the bottom of the screen that tells people to email a particular address if they find ‘something’ offensive. I wonder how many mails they would get. Every program would have something that is offensive to someone. Would that mean we have to go back to the age of Doordarshan, with only government approved programs?

If they really wanted to stop offensive programs and ads, then the first things to go off air would be programs like Big Brother, Splitsville and tons of those reality shows. But I’ve a feeling the ones that would really take a hit are the more culturally aware shows.

Call me paranoid, but I see the government interfering more with the media. Censorship, journalists shot dead, people who file for RTI disappearing or beaten up… the government is now ‘them’ and the ones fighting for transparency is ‘us’.

Let’s not even start about corporates and the quality of journalism in the country.

We have come a long way since the days of ‘Aap Ki Adalat’. I sorta wish those programs were still there… plenty of politicians I would like to put on the hot seat.

On one hand, we are pushing for anti-corruption bills… but the people who hold the power to pass those also hold a thick file of cases against them. All pending, but they do exist.

Women continue to be married off as children, people continue to be murdered in the name of family honor or caste, dowry deaths continue to rise and murder for gain, well, that was always there.

India is apparently richer but the number of slums have increased. The divide between the fat and the thin continues to widen.

And apparently, we are on the path to becoming a superpower.

I’d rather not be a super power till we get these problems sorted out before they crush us. Till we can figure out how tolerant we really are as a nation. If we have the ability to welcome a guest without fearing that the guest might introduce us to some new habits, which might be good but o lord! could take away those horrible habits our culture asks us to follow. Till we learnt to know the difference between good and bad.

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