When president Barack Obama first ran for the presidency in 2008 he conveyed with a lot of energy that he would want to change the “tone of politics” in the United states. He sought that change the divide between political parties was getting wider and unity among people was taking a back seat. President Barack Obama when he addressed his last White House correspondents dinner this, he conveyed his regret regarding him not able to fulfilling these words. Things are not getting any better as Trump leads the Republican nomination. American politics aside, let us look back at the politics of our country and gauge ourselves how much our political tone has changed, how much we have let our politics divide us, how we have deteriorated as a community who are tolerant to differing opinions, how we are letting slip the values we cherished so proudly.
The contours of Indian politics is changing fast, the space for a free and civil debate is shrinking, people have taken politics a little too seriously, little too personally. Voters of different political parties have become cheerleaders and defenders of the respective political party they support. Support for a particular party has become synonymous naming and shaming of other political parties. There is a strong belief that appreciating other political parties are tantamount to self-defeating.
One can criticize a political party and support them at the same time. Politicians seem to be having a free run even as political supporters are indulging in mudslinging and slugfest. Yes, politicians for their own reasons and aspiration do take potshots at each other even while sipping a wine together in the background. But what is there for the voters in vigorously defending the party they voted while shaming others. Voting is a confidential affair, even at an election booth we are not supposed to reveal who we are voting for. It is done for a reason, let us take that culture forward by not publicly aligning with political parties, let us keep our choices confidential, let us be neutral in the criticisms and appreciation of political parties. Politicians are not our neighbours, not our friends, not our enemies etc. They come and they go. As people we live together, we help each other, we celebrate each other, we share our sorrows and grief and we are unnecessarily letting politics and politicians creating ripples and fissures in our society, in the way we live together.
We pass the baton to our community members and we ask you to come to your conclusions. Even as we conclude this article, we leave you with few questions to ponder.
Why have we suddenly become religious in our political voice?
Do we fail to notice the fault lines politics has started to create among the society?
We cherished unity, why is there barely any mention about it?
Do you feel there is increasing trust deficit among Indian citizens due to the acrimonious political atmosphere?
Obama said there needed a change in political tone in the United States. Obama may have failed in succeeding, it is not too late for us, let us change the tone of politics in our country that would bind not separate people, that would strengthen the bonds of people and not weaken them.
It’s so easy to say, “Follow your heart” or “Follow your dreams” but when one actually tries to take that leap of liberty, the society reinforces its shackles. In myriad ways, the age-old traditions come to stop the dreams of the youth. This is more manifest in the case of girls and women. However, passion can’t be contained and restrained for long.
This is the story of Roshni Misbah. Breaking stereotypes, she aspires to be a professional racer. Her journey has been tough, to say the least. Consider this, a hijab-wearing woman riding a sports bike with panache on the Indian roads amid stares, taunts and jeers.
The parents at home know too that society will be unkind and hesitant to accept someone who is flouting the age-old norms. Perhaps, this is why the parents resort to worry and scoldings. However, if the fire of liberty has been lit inside an individual, then it’s only a matter of time before they will rise like a phoenix, gloriously new-born from the ashes.
Roshni has covered over 15,000 km riding more than 60 bikes. She shares, “The sight of a girl on a sports bike deeply dents egos of some men and the taunts start.” It’s not easy to follow one’s dream if there are self-proclaimed proprietors of ‘decency’ at every nook and corner. Yet, Roshni stands tall.
It’s not easy to stand up to your parents and then face the issues they warned you about from society. Is it not right to follow one’s dreams and one’s own heart? If people do not break stereotypes, then all the potential for achievement and innovation will die unfulfilled. If doing something does not break a law, then what gives the right to anyone to comment and object to it?
This is the 21st century. Till when we will allow ourselves to be controlled by the whims and desires of those whose opinions deserve no merit or consideration. If this is not the right time for talented and courageous women to take a stand, then when will that time come.
“When I will walk, you will stare. When I will lose, you will laugh at me, taunt me. But, at the speed of 234 km/h, I wouldn’t hear all this,” says an undaunted Roshni. It’s time we show our support to their leap of liberty and as a society, we come together and say #ChalBadhChal.
The Logical Indian commends the passion and spirit of Roshni Misbah and appreciates Leap 7X by Liberty Shoes for bringing up this story.