Friday, December 27, 2013

Why so intolerant??

There is a lot of discussion that happens on Twitter. Common folks take up sides and fight it out with a vehemence which even the principals of the topic under contention wouldn't be able to bring out.

And every day I wonder about the level of intolerance - Religious, especially - that is festered on these platforms. We call ourselves educated, and we say that we're the future of a 'new' India. But each day, there is further proof that the New India isn't all that new. Yes, there's technology. Yes, our disposable incomes are going up. But at the same time, so are our levels of intolerance. So are our levels of idiocy.
Here is what i'm speaking specifically about. Read through the tweets first. @vizagobelix is me, the rest are strangers. I never spoke to them before today. 

I'm fairly certain the conversation isn't over. There will be a response to that, and it goes on - as it does in millions of conversations on these platforms every single day!

But coming back to the title of this post, this tweet-exchange is just a case in point. Why have our levels of tolerance gone so low? And here's the cherry on top - the guy's profile says that he's a Gandhian, and a student of Conflict analysis and Peace building :)

This chap isn't even serious. Poor guy. Got caught in a conversation when I was incensed on the subject, and he got up here! The real issue is that the biggies are no different. Folks that command a great following and influence thousands of people with every tweet. Those are the real danger. Whether it is Godhra, Snoopgate, Muzaffarnagar, NIA giving clean chit to the so-called Saffron Terror, or opinions on the Communal Violence Bill, on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, opinion from well-heeled people often is misconstrued as fact! And with retweets and shares happening in real-time, the damage to thought processes is done before we even realize it! It has often happened that people like the much-followed Jaaved Akhtar have said stuff they did not read into, and have later apologized and removed their opinions on it. But by then, it's touched thousands of thought processes, and there's no Ctrl+Z for that!!

When did we get so intolerant? Babri Masjid happened, Mumbai riots happened, Gujarat 2002 happened, 26/11 happened. But through it all, we've been stoic! We've lived our lives as we've had for hundreds of years. We've all risen up and become stronger. But someplace along the way, we got caught up in the glare of fame. And we started taking ourselves too seriously. The fine line between opinion and fact blurred, and our lives changed. We started wearing our religions on our sleeve, and politics seeped into our daily lives. In a way, we've all become politicians, echoing the upper strata of the wing we consider ourselves a part of. New terms came into being, meanings of existing terms changed. Perception became stronger than the truth, and the sad thing is that we all seem happy with it!! Is this how the future is going to be? If so, 'New India' is going to be way unhappier than the Old India was. And I would rather be a part of the old.

1 comment:

strategos said...

It's not so much that we are suddenly intolerant. We have always been like that. But not many people showed it for the sake of being seen as a good guy in society, to friends, neighbours, relatives, etc. But Social Media platforms are a boon for most of us. We get to say anything we want to people we have never met and hardly going to meet in the future, and therefore the gloves are off! At best, you get unfollowed, at worst you get a little abuse online!