By Sahil Sharma:
One word that dominated the year 2015 was ‘intolerance’. It was part of national headlines in all newspapers and television channels. It was trending on social media and it was even a topic of debate in the Parliament.
This resilient and recurring word was used in abundance this past year. As 2015 comes to a close, we look back at 8 incidents, which made the people of this country use the word intolerance.
This is what probably started it all. Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir banned beef in their states. The government of India contemplated a move to bring an anti-cow slaughter law and the whole thing just snowballed from there.
Read what the president of the ‘Cow Protection Army’ has to say about cow slaughter in the country.
The beef ban gave the power to many radical groups, who took it upon themselves to implement it. A Muslim man was dragged out of his house, lynched and killed on the suspicion that he and his family in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh had stored beef in their refrigerator. The victim’s elder son works as an engineer with the Indian Air Force and was posted in Chennai when the incident happened. His response on the attack – “I can’t blame everyone…Most people are good…only a handful are bad. Saare Jahan se acha, Hindustan Hamara.”
Read the first-hand account of Dadri’s aftermath.
From smearing ink on writer and politician, Sudheendra Kulkarni to opposing the concert of Pakistani ghazal maestro, Ghulam Ali, the Shiv Sena opposed any activity that concerned our neighbors.
Keeping this in mind no matches of the Pakistan cricket team have been scheduled in Mumbai during next year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup, which is to be hosted by India.
Over 30 writers have returned their state awards citing the reason that they are ‘raising their voice against the changing secular fabric of the country’. They were joined by many other scientists and artists in this exercise. It’s important to keep in mind that this response is not born out of an anti-Modi or pro-minorities bias. It is the result of accumulation of growing dissent over a variety of repressive measures against individual freedoms.
In an interview, Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan said, “there is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance and there is growing intolerance.” What followed were a series of vicious attacks on the actor. Social media went into a meltdown with SRK fans locking horns with people who questioned the actor’s patriotism. Actor Anupam Kher was
also very vocal in criticising SRK for his remarks.
Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Journalism Awards, Aamir Khan made a confession that his wife did not feel safe for their child, given the situation in India and asked Aamir if they should move to another country. Anupam Kher was again the first to counter Aamir Khan’s remarks. Social media again went abuzz with trolls and memes. Both Aamir and Shahrukh Khan were asked by political leaders to leave the country and shift to Pakistan, only to prove their case on ‘intolerance’.
Even James Bond was no match for the cutting prowess of India’s censor board. 007’s long and passionate kissing scenes with Monica Bellucci were edited from the latest Bond flick ‘Spectre’, which led to the birth of ‘Sankskari James Bond‘ on social media.
Images of goddesses like Kali and Lakshmi were blurred in ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ and words like “adivasi”, “sarkar” and “Indian figure” were beeped out.
Even though films are being granted an A certificate for their ‘adult’ content, the censor board is still intolerant and demands necessary cuts in the movie.
Even the Indian cricket team could not avoid the ‘intolerance’ fury of the Indian masses. During the first Twenty20 between India and South Africa in Barabati stadium in Cuttack, play was held up for more than 50 minutes. Why? Spectators, largely from one section of the stadium, began throwing plastic bottles onto the field.
They were showing their intolerance to the poor performance by the Indian team, which was bowled out for 92, their lowest T20 total.
These were just some of the major ‘headline-making’ incidents that fuelled the tolerance -– intolerance debate in the country this year.
That’s not all. The year also saw some people being intolerant to the word ‘intolerance’. The best example could be actor Anupam Kher, who took out an anti-intolerance protest march in Delhi.anti-intolerance protest march in Delhi.
What do you think? Has India become more intolerant? Share your views.