Friday, November 24, 2006

Why "Don't mind , please"?

Yeah why such a title? Am I afraid of other people's comments? The answer is yes and no. I am not afraid to speak out my mind but am afraid of intolerance. And these days I think our society is becoming more and more intolerant as far as individual opinion is concerned. Take for an example what happened to South Indian actress Khushboo after she commented on pre-marital sex. What she said was to take precaution while having sex before marriage. We all know sex is an inseparable part of life, regardless of species. By being safe we can prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs. But the majority thought she was corrupting the younger generation morally! So, what did the majority do? They humiliated and insulted Khushboo.
More recently when Shabana Azmi opined against Muslim women wearing veil one Muslim clergy asked her to shut up. The reason of his disgust was Ms Azmi's profession. According to him an actress is not qualified enough to speak on such matters. Now, it seems the majority and a few at the helm of power, religious or political, are writing down the guidelines of who should talk on what and how much. The concept of majority or mass here stresses on the number of the people. The larger the number the powerful the opinion becomes. A gathering of 10,0000 people is definitely stronger than that of 50. And if the former think Khushboo is guilty then that's what she is. It does not matter if her comment has some points to ponder.
Then ones status also gives him power. By status I does not mean only political status. When the West Bengal Government banned Taslima Nasrin's "Dwikhandita" very few litterateurs went against the decision and staged no public protest. Rather most of them thought the banned was justified. And most of these litterateurs are well known in there respective genres.
In any democratic country banning is the worst thing that can happen to its people. It destroys the base of democratic system. So, that is why I am afraid. I am afraid that someday somebody will force me to stop writing because they don't want me question the established norms or they just don't like my thoughts. That's why I have chosen such a headline. Please, don't force me shut my mouth instead point out my mistakes, the fallacies in my reasoning