In the midst of the general discussions about Wendy Doniger and her controversial book (people whom I respect as well-read intellectuals have labelled her book as trash, and her as a fraud, so I’ll go with that! :D), I had this interesting insight.
Most of the debates center around how Hinduism is a soft target, and “imagine what would happen if she wrote like this on Islam” lines. Bemoaning fanatics is anyway fashionable. However, many were feeling that it was a sad state of affairs that Hinduism too was throwing up its share of fanatics, while in defense, others said it was only fair given that Hinduism is targeted all too easily. Familiar arguments, I am sure.
What struck me is that the louder one cried, the lesser one got hurt, if you get what I mean. If you made a hue and cry about something, you were less likely to get targeted, whereas if you kept silent, you were more likely to get targeted. It reminded me of this rather moving post I read just yesterday on sexual abuse. I can’t find the link to it now, but it spoke about how the writer was asked to be a “good girl” and submit to the abuse, and she never spoke to anyone about it because “good girls” don’t tell tales. The irony struck her when she hugged her six-year old daughter and told her to be a good girl. She corrected herself and told the little one: Don’t be a “good girl” — be just the way you are!
I guess this, in a way, accounts for the growing intolerance we see around us. People realize that if you scream and shout and hyperventilate (Arnab Goswami comes to mind :D), your views will gain predominance over softer voices. It’s a short step from there to the jungle law of “might is right”, moving from screaming in the Lok Sabha to pepper spray.
Don’t stoop to play the game at the lowest level, they say. In the end, in order to survive (as an idea/concept/religion/race/whatever), is there any other level? Sadly, I can’t think of any. But in the spirit of Valentine’s Day (what, you thought I forgot? :D), and in the spirit of all the great movies and literature and art, let’s hope Love is that other level, a level that will help us transcend the mundane, a level that will lift us up in more ways than one.
Having said that, I believe that Hope is a far more potent emotion than Love. Hope keeps you going even when Love tells you all is over. Without hope, there is nothing. So here’s to hoping that the non-cry-babies get the attention they deserve.