FLASH SERIES: # 5
Who says we are an intolerant lot?
By Neel Anil Panicker
Every once in a while one comes by a piece of information that not just gladdens ones heart but also acts as a faith multiplier.
One such occurred a couple of days ago when with some time on my hands, I very reluctantly picked up the morning newspaper.
Now, I did I say very reluctantly? Well, yes.
I have a confession to make on that count. Of late I dread picking up the newspaper. No. Don’t get me wrong. I am no Aamir Khan, one who is too mindful not to hide away a highly potent long range ballistic missile such as a morning newspaper lest his better half find something within its threatening pages that could be too toxic and repulsive and thereby endanger the security and health of her dear hubby and sweet little children.
No, none of that bullshit. The only reason why I hate to set my sights on the newspaper, any newspaper for that matter, is that of late I have noticed its pages are filled with everything drab, dreary, and gloomy __news that is all spiritless and news that reeks of utter negativity.
I mean how long and how many times can a man read the same spiel about how the country is ‘going to the dogs’ thanks to the all too pervasive ‘climate of intolerance’ prevalant in the country.
I, anyways, never had any time for such obnoxiously obtuse doomsday predictors who hide behind the rather all too convenient cloak of pseudo-secularism, using it as a ruse; like an effective bullet proof vest; hitting the streets and beating their chests and crying from the rooftops about how the nation is fast hurtling down a deep bottomless pit of intolerance from which there is leg up.
But then again, much like the proverbial silver lining amidst the dark clouds, a seemingly innucuous newspaper headline tucked away in the corner left somewhere deep in the inside pages of the newspaper caught my attention that wee bit; long enough for me to read its contents.
A couple of minutes of reading through its contents not also reinforced my belief and value systems but also brought to fore in unequivocal terms why the majority of Indians consider themselves a most tolerant species.
The gist of the article is thus: Indians, and that includes men and women, of all ages and types and denominations and shapes and sizes and forms__irrespective of caste, colour, creed and political affiliation__ have become more tolerant, especially in the last couple of years.
Yes, you read that right. And this is not something I am talking off my hat. If the results of a recent comprehensive pan India survey are any indication, then we, as a nation, have become more tolerant of our ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbours and thereupon the society at large.
Tolerant when it comes to getting into tangos with other peoples’ husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, colleagues et al. Tolerant when it comes to engaging in not just one but multiple pre and post marital affairs, tolerant about who we are seen with, about who we engage ourselves with, and most importantly who we ultimately end up in bed with.
And as with any kind of deductive reasoning, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The highly respected agency that conducted the path breaking survey even backed up their conclusions with certain irrefutable facts.
Here chew on these: Majority respondents cutting across gender lines quite categorically stated that it was well within tolerable limits for someone to have had upto ten different sexual partners before they decided to settle down with one dream one. And more importantly, the number just about marginally fell when they were queried about what should be the ideal count post marriage.
So, the Aamir and Shah Rukh Khans of the world and their acolytes and all others of their ilk: Don’t ever say we are an intolerant nation.
The breaking news just broke__we were, we are, and we will always be highly ‘in-tolerant’.
Need any further proof? Just roll over the sheets.