Years back when I had just joined the teaching profession and was brimming with fresh ideas and ideals, I remember feeling indignant when a cousin of mine spoke to me about the caste card he would play to, in the upcoming elections. My cousin had some years on me and had pretty clear ideas how democracy worked at the grassroot level. I was shocked and indignant because his ideas did not match the ones given in the text book.
Some years on, when I had gained some worldly experience and knew of rage, oppression and fate dealing a lame card, I was still shocked when an extremely mild- mannered colleague of mine belonging to a marginal community, spoke harshly with an almost wolfish snarl what he thought of being secular. His venomous hate for an entire community, though coming from personal experience, did not feel justified to me.
Quite recently, the brouhaha about the release of a movie on a long dead queen also felt unnecessary and roguish to me.
But isn’t this where we make mistakes? What may be clear as crystal to me, may not even ring a bell with someone else. It’s the perceptions that we form that make us the people we are. And even if it has taken me years to get this simple fact straight, I now realise that respecting other people’s way of looking at things makes life uncomplicated and hassle free. We cannot expect even our closest ones to feel exactly as we do on issues, both ideological and otherwise.
The more we read or expose ourselves to unfamiliar notions in any form, through any medium, the more we grow as a person.
While going through Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf, I got to know why he hated the Jews so much. I may not agree with his beliefs, ideas & deductions but he wasn’t wrong in his own eyes. His perception gave way to the Holocaust, the biggest genocide the world has ever experienced, and yet he was convinced that he was right all along.
Our beliefs are rooted in our own experiences. However bad a person may seem to the multitude, he is worth praising if he sticks to his beliefs. The ideas and notions of some may be repugnant to us or many others but they are there because they stand on the firm ground of experiences of that individual. That doesn’t make it wrong. They may not be justified but are true for them.
What I don’t get is being so impressionable that you can be swayed from what you truly believe, by dint of great oratory, fine language or the personality of a person.
Some of us have it easy. We haven’t had bitter experiences to shape up our thinking but for that very purpose we have been endowed with the faculty of brains, cognition, comprehension, logic, deductions and free will.. If only, we could use them instead of being blind followers to anyone that can wield and plant a thought in our minds, the world would be a more peaceful place and our relationships more transparent.