Neither ‘Left’ Nor ‘Right’: The Overwhelming Pressure To Choose An Ideology

Posted by Devarnav Sharma in Politics
June 23, 2017

Left or right?

The answer will measure your acceptability and likability. The answer will let you know if you are an ‘intellectual’ or an irrationally driven, misguided individual. The answer will measure your love for your nation. The answer will tell you to go for protests and vandalise institutions. However, how absolute is that answer?

In a country where we still believe in the supremacy of the institution of the family, we cannot deny its influence on our perception. Only because your uncle once told you that minorities are a plague, you necessarily go ahead and believe in that idea. What we often fail to acknowledge is the overwhelming power in the process of socialisation. We often do not think about what we think and we blindly follow what we have been following.

While joining Hindu College, the idea of owning and advocating an ideology seemed very fancy to me. However, I gradually realised that keeping aside all the adrenaline rush one gets from debates, advocating for an ideology that you have little knowledge of is appalling. I found people of my age segregating themselves into small groups. I found people necessarily advocating every aspect of the ideology they believed in.

I am fearful of being called a ‘bhakt’ because I consider Afzal Guru a terrorist and did not support the decision to call Umar Khalid in Ramjas College. I am fearful of being called a ‘commie’ because I criticise the pelting of stones and vandalism of vehicles. I do not want to be labelled because I do not know where I stand anymore. I choose issues over broad ambiguous ideas and groups that I know little of.

However, I also realise that it’s not just me but many of my acquaintances who were labelled and they gradually behaved as others wanted them to without giving it a second thought. They fought for labels that were determined by others and not them. Now, they stand by those labels and consider them a harbinger of the ideology they follow without even knowing what that ideology is all about.

This is the time when people of my age should learn about ideas and ideological systems rather than following any one because it is only when you know that you realise the true implications of the ideology. When you read about ideologies, only then you will realise that splashing water on students, fighting over cows, instilling hatred for other communities and labelling everyone is not what your ideology wants you to do.

The whole idea of an ideological system was never so restricted as it seems now. I urge this generation to be more objective with issues. We are still too young to burden ourselves with the duty of justifying a broad idea which we still know little of. We can always change our opinion with changing issues, based on what is right and wrong and not what we are involuntarily prescribed to.

Image Credit: Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times and Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images