I Have The Right To Disagree, So Do You

Posted by Sumit kumar
January 27, 2017

Many people commented on my article pertaining about racism against Biharis on the Facebook page of Youth Ki Awaaz. Many lauded while some chided me for various reasons. Some asked me to not play the victim card while some Biharis said that they have never ever faced any kind of discrimination because of identity and therefore, I should not be complaining as some small incidents keep happening. Maybe you misinterpreted the words or failed to decipher the bigger picture that I was trying to portray through my post.

The post was not at all intended to make me come across as a victim. It was meant to reflect the truth. What if an old disabled person who is devoid of his government sponsored pension wrote a scathing post against red-tapism and callous system, would you say that he is playing the victim card? Suppose that tribal from Orissa who had to carry his wife’s corpse over his shoulders for  several kms pens a stinging article against the hospital authorities, will he be playing the victim card? In the era of growing cynicism, it is very easy to dismiss another’s pain by terming it as a victim’s card.

Only the person who undergoes that trauma can understand that pessimism. Having said that, this does not reflect that I have been met with any such discrimination. But, the Republic of India gives me the right to voice the grievance of her victims. Also,it was not merely about the problems that a Bihari faces. I did talk about the racism against people from the north-east which is a very common site in our country. Racism in any form is bad,whether on the basis of religion,region,costume,creed,colour,food and so on.

India is a land of multiplicity. Our entire cultural fabric stands on the premise of love, tolerance and convergence in divergence. If I stand for the values, ideas and ideals that shape India, I am fulfilling my duty as a vigilant citizen. You have every right to disagree with every bit I say, but disagreement must be backed with cogent facts and arguments.

Some people cited NCRB data to explain that Bihar, in fact ranks 19th out of the 36 units (states and union territories) and hence, I am spreading misinformation against Bihar. Friends, even 19 is a dismal score. We all are living in an era of competition. Those who are complacent with mediocrity don’t allow the society to excel. They get so firmly glued to that status that they don’t want to disrupt the things, and here, I think, we should change ourselves.

First, I never said that Bihar has the highest crime rate, I just said that it had a high crime rate and that is quite corroborated by the NCRB data coupled with the fact that many cases go unreported because of criminal-politician nexus. Statistics, some times are only a way of hiding the problems, as they put every kind of incident into a single frame ignoring the gravity of different crimes. Try explaining to Akhlaq’s kin that communal harmony has grown over the years as the statistics say so. Maybe, the statistics would reflect this, but no numbers are going to heal the wounds of the kin of deceased.

No doubt, we are better off than many states but we are worse off than many states too. Don’t see the grim picture through the lens of absolute optimism, it could be detrimental for the prosperity of our own society. Pointing the wrongs would only help build pressure on the establishment to rectify the errors and that is what, not just every Bihari but, every Indian wants.

I too am a proud citizen of Bihar, India and the world. But, I would continue to protest against the issues I disagree with. That said, you also have every right to disagree but hurling abuses to express your dissent would only belittle your logic. As I write this on the sacred occasion of 68th Republic Day, I urge each and everyone of you reading this article to be more vigilant and pro-active citizens of the state. Fight for your rights and do your duty. Debate, discuss and disagree but don’t let your disagreement translate into hate, which is often happening now on the social media.