The costliest thing in India that inflation can’t explain: Having an opinion

Outrage is the new Indian hobby. Initially, social media would outrage over issues that required outraging, like rapes and brutal statements by politicians and what not, but now a days, we seem to outrage without thinking. Or worse, we outrage to drown out minority voices. Minority here stands not for muslims, but any person or group of people who want something different than what the mainstream does, something that is not an illegal or immoral thing to ask for.

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When Aamir Khan said his wife suggested moving out of India, he voiced the feelings of not just Muslims, but all sorts of groups who have felt targeted and the Government has done nothing to tell them they will be looked after. These groups include, but are not limited to: women, queer population, Sikhs, SC and ST population, tribals, people in high-distress areas, people affected by man-made and natural disasters, people under the poverty line, people with mental and physical disability, people affected by crimes, people stuck in human trafficking and child labour, children and young adults stuck in observation homes, and so on.

There were some Muslims who came out and said that they have had nothing but love and respect in India, so how could Aamir Khan say what he did. First of all, it’s good that their experience was nice, but because he expressed a different opinion, that does not mean that he is wrong. He has all right to say what he feels, and it is not irresponsible, because he just expressed a sentiment, that many people have been feeling, and not flung mud at anyone blaming them for it.

The outrage he harnessed proved his point that we are inching towards intolerance and bursting at our seems. But it also proved the convenient duality we had: We are happy to garner NRI investments, but loathe when someone talks of leaving the country. We want to champion minority rights, but we don’t care when Muslim women say that they want changes in the Muslim personal law. Perhaps he poked us where it hurts: our denial blind spot.

This divided attention and lack of peace-making efforts from central authorities (but harrowing communal comments from politicians, instead), speak of a psychological divide that was only at the fringes before but now is seeping in everywhere. There are some who are not divided but they simply do not care, and I can’t decide which is worse.

In light of the recent incidents, having an opinion is perhaps the costliest in India. It is much easier if you want to be a mule, absorb consumer products and mindlessly churn our revenue and tax.

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Freedom of Expression* (*conditions apply)

It’s been a long time since I put up a post. And there are many things I could talk about. The regressive 377, the stereotyping that I see happening, or the attitudes towards mental health that I see in my field, could be talked about. But I have expressed about them through arts or words elsewhere on the internet, so today I’m going to focus on something much more basic and underlying: Expression.

Essentially, all our problems are related to expression. If I can express my poverty and get help, I have a good government. If I can express my sexuality and not be judged and jailed, I have a good judiciary. If I can express symptoms of a psychological disorder and be treated just like any other patient and not as a freak, I have good health care facilities. If I can tell my partner about the times when I really am angry and irritated, and he or she does not leave, I have a good partner. If I can express my sense of humour and be liked for it, I have good friends.

The sad part is not the lack of expression, but how expression is screwed in the favour of the majority or the dominant. These are straight people, the patriarchal men, the male partner, the rich patient, or some rich kid who caused a gruesome car accident but can hide it because his dad would bribe the news channels not to focus on it.

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When expression is information freely available, then only will it be free. Or else, it will always remain the dominant discourse, bought and sold by the majority.