A lot of news stories have been about this unfortunate growth of “intolerance” lately. Especially since it’s drawing more comments every few days from prominent writers, actors and politicians. How could it not? Every citizen wants to feel at home in their own country.
When they don’t, they are hurt and frustrated. They are bound to react. Is equal treatment of all the people too much to ask for these days? This sensational movement against intolerance was started by writers returning their national awards. And then scientists, historians and filmmakers joined in.
On monday, Shah Rukh Khan said, “religious intolerance is the worst kind of crime. We may talk about freedom of speech but people come outside my house and throw stones.” He also said that he respected people returning awards to protest against intolerance. The response to this by BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya can be labelled one of the most pathetic when he said that Shah Rukh Khan’s “mind is always in Pakistan.” Way to go!
Here is a question to counter that. When an innocent man was lynched and a 20 year old boy was brutally murdered for allegedly eating beef and buying cattle, ink was thrown on a man for organising a book launch for a Pakistani author, an MLA was attacked for hosting a beef party and when other similar incidents happened all over the country, where were the “minds” of the ones responsible for all these acts?
And just because our Union Minister Arun Jaitley denies that there is growing intolerance or Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that Congress should not give a lecture on intolerance, things don’t get better. The ones that left aren’t coming back. The ink thrown is not going back into the bottle.
Engulfed in this climate of hostility, more and more Indians are being left hopeless and alienated. For a country with such a vast population, nothing could be worse. Is this all an attempt at divide and rule? Or is it just pure ignorance? Nobody can tell.
But what goes up must come down. Anyone with their heads in the sky and oblivious of the suffering of their fellow citizens will have to get their feet back on the ground one day. And with all these fierce protesters and fighters of justice, it’s safe to hope to see a light at the end of the tunnel soon.