It’s everything about how they want us to see and not how it is in its capacity. It’s all about packaging an idea the way it must seemingly sell in a place that could be geographically or culturally different from another. Narratives shape the idea of a subject, which primarily may not even be close to what is being said or written about. It’s a recital made to flourish so blatantly, that disregards the fundamentals of its origin itself and that which further contaminates a generation that starts to believe in it.
We see everything from our perspective and I believe there is often a problem in having a personal opinion. A subjective opinion is well balanced between a person’s experiences and assumptions that have not been interrogated. Thus, I want to interrogate myself with your understanding today. For all those who love to listen to speeches and read opinions, remember none of them are rebutted in the moment you are acknowledging them. It is only in the moment of a discussion, that you are made aware of the otherwise. This piece is open to criticism.
Politics and religion, the two most critical forces that have bewildered humanity. These two domains have been the reason for hostility among two known individuals, known or strangers. The crimes against women arrive from archaic narratives that have shaped their authentic identity. And unless these maligned theories are disciplined, the influence they are to cause is critical.
~ The narrative of politics
A political narrative influences and sometimes exploits people’s idiosyncratic opinions, conditioning them to be chauvinist that yield only bigotry. Xenophobia being one of the outcomes that makes people jingoistic under a falsified idea of national service. Right or wrong depends on who is saying it but not on what is being said. When domestic terrorism inflicts pain within the country, the narrative is that terrorism has no religion. But when terror strikes from a neighbouring country, it is religious, and also given a nationalist identity. This becomes an ideologically driven, politically correct statement that defines terrorism according to the cultural sensitivity.
Although I was convinced with what I had to write about, I also knew I would become the sheep for the wolves. I spent days delving into questions that have been discreetly political for years but suddenly became questions that questioned your morality. Should eating beef be banned? Should the consumption of alcohol be banned? Should Pakistanis in India be banned? Each of these questions has its own narrative, unsurprisingly a political one.
I may disagree with each of the above stating beef being someone’s food; alcohol is a personal matter of discretion and not every Pakistani is a terrorist. But that doesn’t answer the question. Because in the first place, we were confused with the wrong question. Should beef be banned is a question that explicitly underlines beef that only gratifies one section of the society and disorients the people at large from the other contention with the word ban. If democracy is for the people, of the people and by the people, withholding them from any personal prerogative infringes the core of democracy in the first place. Therefore, a ban should be the article of debate and not beef.
Voltaire said, “It is dangerous to be right when the Government is wrong,” and if agreeing with a narrative on Pakistan validates your patriotism, I am afraid it also invalidates prudence and rationality. If you ban artists who have honoured peace with you, just because they are Pakistanis, makes every man equally responsible for every homicide and violation of a woman’s integrity, just because they are men.
Remember, it is easy to apprehend that which can be seen. When you don’t have solutions or answers to long awaiting questions, this is the easiest narrative available. If you cannot convince, then confuse. The moment of silence that is conferred upon a soldier’s death is infuriating. Had the governments spoken when it counts, these silences would not have been haunting today.
Politics have the lethal potential to combine religion in its course. An approach so conspicuously exercised by contemporary diplomacy that shames the science out of politics. A political narrative that integrates religion goes something like this. If you’ve heard the AIMIM‘s senior Owaisi’s recent bizarre opinion how people revolted together to protest against the ban on Jallikattu, similarly should every Muslim stand up to stand by triple talakh. It’s interesting to notice how the Jallikatu ban included the well-being of the bull but Owaisi brazenly excludes the women.
If you’ve heard the Dussehra speech last Diwali in Mumbai by the Sena’s successor, I personally was hilariously appalled by the content that was effortlessly discoursed by him. In the entire hour or whatever, there was not one mention of democracy, secularism, education, progress, development, employment, racial equality, gender bias, corruption, industrialization, globalization, sports, literature, arts or for that matter being Indian. Now that is one brilliant feat for a politician to deliver a diatribe to thousands without referring to a single word from the above. You might say that wasn’t a day for any of this. Nonetheless, it wasn’t a day to demonstrate arrogance. There is nuance between pride and ego and regrettably, the narrative of politics has always been about the latter.
~ The narrative of religion
The religious narrative is even more dangerous. It threatens the quintessence of existence making you a string-less puppet without your knowing. As a matter of fact, a religious narrative suggests prejudice that leads to intolerance towards something that one might even be unfamiliar with. There are these guardians of religion who have translated the scriptures into gibberish for the blind to read. The custodians of culture who teach morality referring to religion, are the ones who have disregarded basic human rights with all the possible amoral acts that can embarrass humanity.
In November 2012, some Muslim clerics said that the superstorm Sandy was God’s punishment for a film that mocked the prophet. In December 2014, a film named PK was ineffectually banned by Hindutva forces for throwing bad light on Hindu beliefs. A Christian lobbyist and controversial believer said that natural disasters were send by god to punish homosexuals. In August 2016, a flood destroyed his home. The counter argument could be that I am looking into extreme and radical examples. Then considering the same extremity, why are writers like Taslima Nasrin violently beaten for their so called extreme views but these clerics are guarded and tolerated?
Religion is inherently a grave narrative and displays all kinds of absurdity in its functioning. It is never accommodating to divergent views. And mankind today has learnt that it is only with divergent views that society has progressed. The biggest injury that religion afflicts onto mankind is making them obligated to the laws which predominantly were to safeguard human interests. The teachings of religion are assumed to be moral and retaliation against it is disobedience.
Evolution how I see it, is a far crazy concept. Man evolved over apes to believe in a supernatural entity that hasn’t evolved since its creation. Apes were said to be un-evolved but knew the pragmatic techniques for survival but on the contrary the evolved man still believes in the unseen and unheard to fix his cancer and dies of grief before of the ailment. I think man evolved a million years back. It’s the disintegration of the mind that’s in progress today.
The problem is not in having a belief. But in believing that those who don’t believe in your beliefs have immoral beliefs. The narrative of religion discredits natural human morals that good could be good even without its religious identity. The narrative of religion disbelieves in other’s supremacy by not acknowledging other’s deities. The narrative of religion disgraces individuality that doesn’t abide by doctrines. The narrative of religion disapproves human rights creating disparity between the rights of man and woman. The narrative of religion disobeys the constitutional laws and rights by disregarding its discipline.
And as said earlier, politics having the lethal potential to combine religion in its course, so does religion. Religion in its base is political or a victim to a political narrative. They both are the same, synonyms, spelled differently.
~ The narrative of womankind
Masculinity has been stinking a lot lately. Month after month, there has been a disintegration of man as a kind, reducing him to its despicable savagery. The problem isn’t about the various incidents happening around the country. The problem is with the pattern of perception and intent in each of these incidents.
In July 2015, Aljazeera carried an article with a headline Is it time for a woman to run the UN? Although the piece didn’t dishonour a lady, but I was only thinking about the statement being a question rather than an assertion in itself. And I realized, it’s because of the worldly narrative of the womankind, that a speculation of this type exists. Be it the molestation in Bengaluru or the loss of Hilary Clinton from the US presidency, both have set an obscure standard in their respective sense. A mortal woman is weak, in a country that worships goddesses or in the country that was represented by 294 women athletes as opposed to 264 men at the Olympics. This is the explicit narrative of dichotomy of perception swallowed by apprehension in its discrimination, against women.
She has to wear her chastity belt perennially, and perpetually make sure to be able to cover men’s vice of lechery. A personification of virtue spelled virginity, baptizes her repute. Everyone remembers Sita but nobody recalls Surpanakha. A narrative so strongly inscribed on our minds that anything less than Sita, is just a compromise on a woman herself. Surpanakha could have been a virtuous feminist having a valiant audacity to pronounce her feelings and intent about Ram. But because she doesn’t play a man’s description of a woman, a recital was made against her that defined the portrayal of womankind. And imagine the extremity of the affliction incurred on her existence, that a narrative so fiercely composed, didn’t even identify her as a woman and she came to become the hideous, repulsive monster.
You take away her freedom and tie her up in compulsions. You break her inherent bonds to fix her with external obligations. You educate her with ideals only eventually to make her compromise with the perils of womanhood. And then you say, every religion puts the woman at the pedestal. This is the true narrative of womankind. And as satirical it may be, it is not often inflicted onto her by a man; but habitually by another woman with the nurturing belief of that’s how it is. It is depressing how a man’s tragedy often becomes poetry. And a woman’s tragedy becomes her liability.
Edward Snowden said, “As citizens, we have immense power to change the world we live in. Politicians do not simply do what they think is best, they do what they think will gain them support. Ultimately, if we want to see a change, we must force it through ourselves. If we want a better world, we can’t hope for an Obama and we should not fear a Donald Trump, rather we should build it ourselves.”
A narrative is what the world’s information flourishes on. Narratives have the propensity to demolish or construct an idea in the same breath. It’s not that a narrative is always wrong. It may not be. But a narrative must come from your recognition, which has been discussed and debated, and not out of an assumption or hypothesis.
Civilization, commonly known as the process by which mankind advances into stages of social development and enlightenment. Civility has immensely influenced human thought and questions the true nature of man in the course of human progress. Ours has been a phenomenal effort in constructing this beautiful civilization. We have been able to eradicate practices of Sati, child marriage, slavery, human sacrifice, crucifixion and reduce the wrongs of classism, dowry, female feticide, female genital mutilation, Ashura, stoning and others with reason and rationale alone. And if not, it will be undoubtedly concluded that the seeds sowed by evils of narratives, this mankind will have to reap until the end of time.