I know I am being overly sarcastic, but we Indians are intolerant of whatever the other person does, thinks, or speaks out for.
Intolerance is our way of life.
And this trend cuts across age, gender, community, region and religion.
You want to be an engineer? Haven’t you read about ever declining performance of the manufacturing sector in India.
You want to become a doctor? Do you have it in you to study for such a long time – usually 10-12 years – that it takes to acquire all the necessary degrees.
Okay, you want to be an entrepreneur. God be with you. Everyone from parents, friends and neighbours to casual acquaintances know why you are not cut out for that.
If you are working a 9-to-5 job, you are a slave and if you do your own work, you are wasting your talent, time and training.
If you want to observe a fast, you are an old-fashioned, orthodox woman who is single handedly responsible for pulling India into the trenches.
If you are an atheist, you are fit to roast in hell.
If you have high expectations from your kid, you are putting undue pressure on her.
If you encourage your child to compete only against herself, you are not preparing her for the harsh realities of the world.
Did you like the movie PK, and dare to proclaim as much, you are anti-religion.
Do you agree with Kanhaiya Kumar’s views? You are fit to be jailed under charges of sedition.
If you empathise with protestors in Kashmir, you should make Pakistan your home.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, you do nothing to add to the nation’s GDP and if you are a working mother, you are neglecting your kids and family.
These diametrically opposite views wreak havoc on the individual as well as collective psyche of the people. What an irony that the perpetrator is the victim.
The result – people are loath to take initiative even for something trivial. They fear being ridiculed. Man is a social animal, so he seeks approval for whatever he does.
Yes, there are people who give a damn to what others think or say, and follow their heart. But such enlightened souls are few. Rather rare.
So what do average, normal, unenlightened beings like me do to cope with the situation? Any suggestions?