The events of the last few weeks, in France, in India- the Charlie Hebdo shooting as much as the anti-Islam protests, the burning of Perumal Murugan’s One Part Woman, the outrage over Owaisi’s ‘We are all born Muslims’ comment, the Homosexuality cure clinics in Goa all make me think the world’s agenda today is homogeneity. Our intolerance of diversity has been taken to a whole new level. I thought the shrinking of the world through the world wide web would be an eye opener on diversity, didn’t see the reverse coming.
We all must think the same thoughts, have the same opinions. One person belonging to one group does something, the entire group must agree. Hinduism is this homogeneous brahmanic practice of going to temples, doing pujas for Ram, Shiv and Krishna as perceived by the RSS and all other pluralistic (age old) expressions of it are insulting to the religion. Diversity in opinion, expression, thought, sexuality are not desirable and deserving of criticism today. The nuances of diverse opinions negotiating with one another, the beauty of these conversations leading to a kind of eye opening to the perspective of the other are not desired. It requires too much effort, it requires being in an uncomfortable space where your opinions are not the majority, it requires articulating respectfully your disagreement. Has this become too difficult? This has a direct effect on the growth of humanity. Only when opinions are challenged, are they fine tuned. If people always agree with you, where is the evolution?
The sea of information available to us through TV, newspapers and internet, gives us the idea that we are well informed and that we have seen all sides of a situation and are ready to have an opinion about it. We rely less on our everyday experiences of humanity and more on the media’s representation. If just for a minute I were to focus on my everyday experiences and not on opinions and images of the media, I would see the diversity and lose the stereotypes. I know this development has its positives, I know that media and internet has also made it possible for us to feel more solidarity when we feel like a minority in our immediate surroundings. I have expereinced it.
But the human connection has been compromised by the stereotypes in our minds perpetuated by the media, we are unable to reject the stereotypes projected by the media in our everyday interactions. Even a first time interaction is no longer a clean slate, it is coloured by perceptions of the person’s sex and sexuality, religion, nationality, origin. Is this a result of the all pervasive media as I perceive it or has it always been the case?
Either ways humanity is so incredibly diverse and our practices so pluralistic that generalisation of humanity as a whole is impossible. No?