Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Perimeters of Thought : Blog # 275

Perimeters of Thought

My friend Jeeva who went to a Poets’ meet recently told me about the perimeters of literature for writers from North East. Those writers have to bear in mind not to come across as defiant towards people form the mainland. All they might be doing will be to try and bring to fore, the plight of their people. But they need to be careful to do just that and not go overboard. Else, they will be looked upon as hatemongers. That defines their perimeter of writing. This got me wondering about what defines perimeters for all of us.

Every single aspect that is part of our identity defines our perimeters. If I am from a religion which is a majority in a country, I cannot criticize the acts of someone from a religion who belongs to the minority. The moment I do that, I will be looked down up on as someone who doesn’t appreciate plurality of the country. Someone belonging to a minority religion also faces the same fate. He/She cannot condemn something that the majority does for they will be branded an extremist.

Another fascinating perimeter set these days around discussions is by the notions around feminism. The moment you criticize something that a woman has done, suddenly you become a cave man. You can call a man a pig privately or on a public platform. Everyone including men laugh. Try using a similar salutation for a lady who has done an extremely heinous act. Let us look at something more subtle. Calling a man bald is perceived to be fine. But dare you not tell a lady that she is on the healthier side. See I did not even use the F word here :)

The circumstances in which one grows up also affects how one’s perimeters are defined. Being from Kerala, the whole beef debate had me in splits. I couldn’t wrap my head around what the whole issue was about. But had I been born and brought up somewhere in the Hindi speaking heartland of our country, my reactions could have been entirely different. Here, the perimeter is defined from within rather from outside. May be this is why we should get to know people who are from much varied situations and places than ours. That will give us a perspective which we will never think of otherwise. Also, travelling far and wide opens our horizons of thought like none other.

Someone from Pakistan will be putting himself/herself at a grave danger by appreciating India. Likewise is the case with someone from our country too. Even if a politician from a certain party has to appreciate what someone from an opposition party has done, one needs to be extremely cautious.

I feel restrictive perimeters are defined when we try to define people by one singular aspect of their identity. It is time we looked at people as a whole than parts. May be that will allow debates to flourish.