THE OTHER SIDE
Greta Thunberg, climate change, Aarey forest issue, WhatsApp snooping and even the Ram Janmabhoomi case- all these issues have at least one thing in common. For some time, they attracted considerable attention and revved up emotions of the public and are now mostly relegated to the background. The irritating circus going on in JNU, political games in Maharashtra and other issues have for the time being replaced the issues mentioned earlier.
There are two major aspects to this syndrome that we are habituated to. Firstly, most of us, especially the younger generation, are unaware of our culture and roots. Secondly, many of us, on both sides of the argument display symptoms of those suffering from false dilemma.
When it comes to our culture and roots, if more of use knew the facts- both good and uncomfortable aspects, many of the differences existing now would probably not exist or would be inconsequential- we could have handled them maturely. The recent incident of a statue of Vivekananda in JNU being vandalised is an example of what frustrated people unaware of their culture and facts end up doing. The lack of knowledge about our own past keeps us open to distorted notions that most of us have soaked and believe in. The sad fact is that the parents are unaware or uninterested in teaching culture and history to their children. Further, those speaking about some aspects of our culture do so in ways that turn off most youngsters. A youngster brought up on a diet of distorted history, made to feel ashamed or look down upon his or her own culture cannot accept facts overnight. All the more so when such facts come from persons who are otherwise neither convincing in their appearance, communication and mannerisms. As with most things these days, one has to package and present the content in a manner acceptable and interesting to the target audience in order for it to be appreciated and accepted. However, barring a few persons, this is neither being understood nor done by most including those in the establishment purportedly working to harness the strength of youth that India possesses.
The second aspect- false dilemma, is basically an informal fallacy in which a thing is falsely claimed to be an either/or situation- a binary choice tactic- when in fact there is at least one additional option. This fallacy can arise from accidental omission or by deliberate deception- both of which are strikingly visible in India these days. The once controlling do it deliberately while the ones being influenced are doing it because that is what they have been taught. Hence, if one appreciates an aspect of the current government, one is labelled a “Bhakt”. If one appreciates an aspect of India’s Vedic heritage, one is labelled a “Gaumutra drinker” or “Gobar eater” mostly by those who know less about the ‘ideology’ they believe in than they know about India or Sanatan Dharma. Same is the case with many on the other side of the argument. Many of those who profess to be followers of Indian culture or Sanatan Dharma seem to have little authentic and factual knowledge on these aspects. Simply wearing traditional clothes, following a few formal traditions or applying a tilak on the forehead in front of the mirror does not make one a person aware of and respectful of all that our civilisation stands for.
Difference of opinion is okay and even good to some extent but illogical arguments and baseless protests by people unaware of facts are wasteful and detrimental. While debating issues with youngsters and even adults who look down upon most things which are traditionally Indian, one often finds them parroting ideas and terms propounded by the Left or the west. How many of them know why Mao Tse Tung had rotten teeth? It is said that he never brushed his teeth but simply gargled with tea. His logic- a lion never brushes his teeth. Obviously, no one told him that a lion never wears clothes, kills and eats his food raw and doesn’t follow any of the customs that humans follow in a society. Obviously, the hardcore followers of people like him will reject such talk as propaganda of his rivals. But facts are facts- name one nation which has progressed and made its people happy following the principles espoused by Karl Marx. Similarly, those in awe of all things western should also know how advanced they really were as compared to India before we became influenced into believing distorted history. One can find such facts about some persons and practices on the opposite side too though they will be fewer in number and much less damaging in effect.
We can either continue arguing in a futile manner, being controlled by actually ignorant and petty people with vested interests or we can learn facts and do the needful. Until we do so, we will remain like an army of soldiers too intoxicated to be of much use.
Saturday, 16 November 2019 | Paritosh Kimothi | Dehradun
Author: Paritosh kimothiParitosh Kimothi is the Deputy News Editor in the Dehradun edition.
Paritosh Kimothi is the Deputy News Editor in the Dehradun edition.
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