Sunday, February 8, 2009

Intolerable Intolerance

The recent attack on young women at a pub in Mangalore has sent shockwaves rippling across the nation. The religious fanatism exhibited by the Sri Rama Sena has become the topic du jour. Most people are shocked and the question on everybody's lips is "Are we becoming intolerant as a nation?". The answer is a resounding NO! We are not becoming intolerant as a nation we have always been intolerant. The rich and varied heritage we are so proud of is littered with examples of gross intolerance. Almost every drop of blood shed on this soil can be traced back to intolerance.
Religious intolerance is practically a defining attribute of our so - called secular country. Originally, the Vaishnavites and Saivites attempted to decimate each other while in the throes of fervent theological passions. Later they joined hands against the Buddhists and Jains and successfully drove the former out of the nation of its birth! Now the struggle continues with Christian missionaries being immolated and mosques being torn down. Oh and self - appointed moral police run around brutalizing or killing women outright in order to protect our "values and culture" and all that jazz.
Again the treatment meted out to women is not surprising as Mother India is famed for the horrendous crimes committed against women . In the good old days of yore, women were locked up in their harems or its equivalent and their plight was not dissimilar to that of caged beasts. If their insensitive almost always gay husbands were not the death of them, boredom and a complete lack of freedom certainly was. We sighed with relief when evils like Sati and the Devadasi system were rooted out. But alas these abominations have been replaced with female infanticide, honor - killings, rape, prostitution, and other unspeakable horrors.
The abuses heaped on individuals both male and female in the name of moral - policing is merely a reflection of the ugly narrow - minded attitude that is so characteristic of India and Indians. A change in the collective mindset of this proud and rigid nation's citizens is called for to stem the rising tide of hatred that stems from intolerance. Those annoying holier - than - thou types must be made to realise that conventionality is not morality. At least they must be prevented from shoving their unpalatable views down unwilling throats. Otherwise we as a nation stand to be convicted of racism, sexism, and just about every icky 'ism' you can think of.

1 comment:

  1. Incidents of religious and moral intolerance have always been rampanat in India. However very few have been highlighted. We bend over backward to please vote banks and this includes our much vaunted "free" media which feeds of government advertising. In the Shah Bano case, the law of the land was amended to deprive Muslim women of their rights, but not a squeak from the elite. Now a few thugs misbehave in Mangalore and they grab headlines and we talk of growing intolerance etc........ I am not a Hindu by belief, but pleaseeeeeeeeee do not call ourself a secular country. I however completely agree that we have always been bigoted and will remain so...........