While our nation was gripped by Padmavat fever caused by infection of freedom of expression virus, I really enjoyed interacting with emerging young educated India, because it aggressively and argumentatively stood by Mr. Bhansali and the grand idea of freedom of thought.
While I enjoyed confirming my diagnosis of the virus now being resident in most young minds by trolling them, I did develop a temporary illusion that Karni Sena mind-set was passé and we are in for a cultural renaissance.
Unfortunately, during last week, Indian youth from the elitist of academy where kids make a light breakfast of Ayn Rand had an opportunity to confirm my diagnosis. And what transpired was extremely interesting.
As the academy had invited an author; who, in past, had expressed views that some of the brilliant young kids disagreed with, they demanded that he should not be allowed to speak.
Interestingly, the subject of the talk to be delivered by the author was completely different; the same kids, many of them may even have defended Mr. Bhansali’s right and made fun of Karni Sena mind-set on social media demanded exactly what Karni Sena did, i.e. stop him from expressing without even listening to him!
While my illusion about the age of flower people coming to Indian academies was broken, it made me ponder over in interesting dilemma.
It is no secret that none of us actually believe in freedom of thought, and even if we claim to do, the bluff gets called every time when we confront thoughts that we don’t agree with. Our brains have same innate reaction that was expressed by the spectrum of brains starting from raw Karni Sena to highly intellectual IIMA kids.
While nature has evolved this trait in all of us, how do we have constitutions and democratic nations of the world that are founded on this theme? Why do we want humanity to operate on ideas that its parts are designed not to believe in?
When we look closely at the idea of freedom, it is the most cherished possession that our brain loves intensely. The freedom of expression of all exists just because it is an unavoidable extension of our love for personal freedom, as our freedom is possible only if it is universally offered to all.
So, the very concept of having freedom is linked with granting freedom and hence has an inbuilt conflict, but we, by some miraculous ability of brain, have managed to find a way to have the cake of freedom and eat it too.
Once we understand this phenomenon, it shows that we are innately incapable of beholding an idea, and yet we are not only using to survive but thrive. The fact that we have been able to discover the concept of “law” that is external to us is, undoubtedly the greatest achievement of humanity.
Humanity has actually worked like a giant brain learning and making rules without requiring that its parts are able to behold them or agree with them. Humanity is a true Theseus ship where whole far exceeds sum of its parts. And its success has a message for all of us.
Just as humanity achieved so much by beholding and entertaining an idea that its parts didn’t agree with, we as individuals can also learn from the example and attempt to reap the benefit of this process.
It is extremely likely that if we achieve this ability to behold and evaluate ideas that we disagree with, we will grow a lot faster, because most of the real learning is possible only by de-learning and dissolving our stigmas.