Friday, October 22, 2010

Shivsena heading towards a wall? An argument for an open society

What is the first thing coming to your mind when you hear the name Shivsena? At least a good percentage of the answers may look like – ‘banning some books, movies, channels etc’. This may be because of the active criticism (also due to the cut throat competition for primetime space) of electronic media or Shivsena themselves wants to be like that. A party, which always works for banning ‘everything’, that are supposed to be/ or imagined to be against them (in their words – against the culture).

Now a days Shivsena is always in paper, requesting (or ordering?) the government to ban something.  Usually parties and leaders are coming to the frontline politics by using some issues/strikes as their carrier. Some will remain in the forefront by working for or against something, others will simply fade away. They always require something to act against, living in a constant confusion – will their support base erode if they are not inflating the already hyper inflated negative ego of people?

There is nothing wrong in protecting our own culture, opinion etc. But every element of culture and opinion can’t be a universal truth. For example, respecting elders and divisions based on caste lines (untouchables and all other worst things related to it) are part of Indian system for a long time. But first one doesn’t become bad practice and the second one will not become good practice only because the system belongs to us or existing here for a long time. If you are keep on saying (no matter what others think) that the first one is correct and second one is also correct because it is part of out system, what will happen?

There are many things in our society which have to change. All these rotten eggs will be visible when some one dares to challenge it – like Raja Ram Mohan Roy did, like Sri Narayana Guru did. But if you are not allowing some one to raise their voice, to hear their opinion how we will came to know what is actually rotten in the system? European society took long time to agree that Earth is round; many people in India are still unable to wipe out the feelings of caste divisions from their mind.

Many radical changes pushed us a lot of degrees in the progress bar. Like the changes from Newtonian Mechanics to that of theory of relativity, from the hand written books to that of the printing machine. But for that to happen we have to open our ears and eyes to see the world, to hear what others have to say. I agree that all the ideas airing every day have any weight than air itself, many are coming simply to fade away in the flow of time. But a lot of ideas came and withstood even the strongest whirlwind. Sun may finally set in the British Empire but still the Westminster democracy is active in India. Gandhi lost his Physical body but his ideas still form a huge body in front of us. These are possible if you are ready to hear, assimilate the good and reject the bad portion of it – like what we are doing with food.

Now some may argue that everyone don’t understand good from bad and they are required to put all the good things in a capsule and give them in a regular interval’s. But let me ask one question– why some people believes in the some other ideas – not yours? Why huge number of people joined Buddhism along with B.R Ambedkar? Why a ruling party is failing in election even if they think, they ruled well?

It’s all about perceptions, it’s not necessary that your golden ideas have to be golden for others also. Another interesting thing is that, the subject of ban will become an instant hit. I don’t know whether writers secretly like requests to ban their books from political parties and groups. These are the best helping hand they can have. It is another matter that whether all the people who are requesting for banning books already read it etc.

I am not fully against bans. There are materials whose only purpose is to create negative influences in the society. But a blanket ban is not a solution for anything just like selective reading will not do much good. As we usually say, at least reading two news papers is necessary for getting the real news, reading for and against is necessary to find a good solution. By not giving a chance for opposite opinions, people are making their stands much weaker. US give almost full freedom to their citizens and in China, until some years back (even now?) everything is controlled by party. But this procedure doesn’t make US a weaker state or China stronger (in terms of openness – Tiananmen is a good example) one.

Shivsena can do a lot of good things for the development of Maharashtra, than simply making noises. Indeed Maharashtra needs a credible opposition and strong parties for the future. Shivsena can fill these gaps. Their name gives them more responsibility!!!


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