This question takes me back to an incident that happened around a few weeks back while I was reading a text by the author and activist Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, where I came across an excerpt that felt true to me and couldn’t resist myself sharing it on my social media.
Though I shared it from a feminist point of view, without any intention of hurting someone’s religious instincts, within no time I found myself being attacked by a man who very directly told me to watch out things that have to do with my own religion. He made it clear that being a minority, I have no right to talk about the Ramayana, or any Hindu text, since I have no knowledge about it, and to better look after the ‘wrongs’ in my own religion. He said other things to insult me which I ignored, sensing the bigotry behind it.
I kept thinking about that incident for long, pondering upon what the actual issue was. Was it the ‘text’ or was it ‘Me reading that text’?
The problem here is not just limited to a particular person saying something at another person. But, there’s a bigger picture, one of intolerance, that this country is dealing with. We have become so indifferent and intolerant towards each other as humans, and too sensitive and defensive about our own religions.
Not to forget the recent incident of the Tanishq ad, we couldn’t even tolerate seeing two different ethnicities celebrating together!
This intolerance is not circumscribed to the cultural differences, there definitely are other areas that call our attention. It’s time we keep our myopic attitudes aside and work in collaboration towards a better future.