Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Safe From What!?

Mahati got bored of peace and started browsing youtube for some Arnab Goswami videos. She found one debate from 2009 about the failure of the Indian government in protecting the Indian students in Australia. The host asked if the Indo-Aussie relations would be skewed for which the guest replied that whatever the Indian government could do, they did. 'The Indian government is doing all it can, through diplomatic talks and assurances to make sure Indian students and citizens feel safe to go to Australia,' he said! Mahati wondered, 'Has the government ever done that in India??' She searched for related videos and got nothing. She finally lost her peace!!

She thought, ' Why is that there is no assurance of safety for people in their own country when those going away from the country get a lot of importance. Are they special or would it mean that those who stay back are not special!? Looking at the rate at which people are flocking abroad, definitely those who stay back will be treated specially one day,' she thought. We talk of safety abroad! How safe is our own country for us? The newspapers seem to have reserved one full section to report about the road mishaps which are killing many, especially students. We are still hurting and killing ourselves on the basis of gender, race, caste, region and religion. All this can be attributed to a single phenomenon: over population. But one thing really bothered Mahati. The killing of critical thinkers!

'Where is the society headed to? Are we progressing or going back? This has been the trend in the entire sub continent. Every now and then, a rationalist is brutally murdered by some nut case fundamentalist who fancies a pistol or a knife. In fact, a teacher is supposed to think critically and pass on the same kind of attitude to the students. If critical thinking is suppressed this way and if narrow mindedness prevails through force, only two things might happen in future. Either there is no creativity, rationality and criticism or there will be a counter force, much like what Prabir Ghosh tells all rationalists to do, carry arms. A rationalist and a teacher, Prof. Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka. The murder might be committed by anyone, but in the end, a fine teacher got murdered. There is no replacement. Is this murder just for the fact that he opposed stupid superstitions? Rationalists are not going and killing babas, fakirs and saints!! The one time that happened, we are still weeping for the aftermaths, in Kandhamal!! Why is that no Arnab Goswami is holding a debate with the government which is not assuring of safety for thinkers in the country? What is the difference between our neighbours who we brand as religious fundamentalists and us, Indians? Can't we tolerate a little criticism?' thought Mahati.

'The west had done the same brutal things. Those who questioned were executed and those who supported them were jailed. Those who listened to them were banished. A Socrates was forced to consume poison, a Galileo house arrested and a Copernicus outcasted. Though this continued for centuries, the thinkers did not stay lumpen. They inspired a larger number of people to raise questions, think and search for meaningful answers and they succeeded. The surge in those seeking truth led to a renaissance and it still continues in the west. Probably that is the reason why attacking a student there is taken so seriously abroad whereas in India, even killing a rationalist teacher is not cared about. Actually, historically and even mythologically, we have had critical thinkers who were treated with a lot of respect. Probably if the Telugu poet, Srinath belonged to this century, he would have been chopped to pieces! There is an eminent need for a renaissance in the sub continent, else conservationist and fundamentalist ideas will bring progress to a standstill or much worse, regress! Those who kill should keep in mind that thousand other voices would raise by silencing one.' thought Mahati hoping that no body will hurt her for thinking! Mahati believes that a true ode to Prof. Kalburgi would be to pass the "Anti-superstition" bill sitting in one far corner in the Vidhan Soudha