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Curating Life

Animated Discussions to Animosity

Pushkar Sane Friday, 23rd May, 2014 Tags: , , , , Life, Observations, People No comments
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We, the people of India, have voted in the next government under the leadership of Narendra Modi with a clear majority. India is all set for legislative stability for next 5 years.

This election was unique and electrifying in every sense. Political parties launched aggressive campaigns and tried every trick in the world to achieve victory. For the first time (in my memory) common people passionately debated issues across different topics like development, governance, economy, corruption, human rights, education, and even healthcare. The debates happened at homes, on the streets, in restaurants, and above all on social networks. I found it to be a very positive trend and I have no doubt that it will help in changing the political discourse in India. For any student of human behavior it presented a perfect opportunity to learn and decode from human reactions. Several alarming trends emerged from this elections and I was disappointed to see some of the reactions. This is my attempt to highlight the alarming trends and discuss them with an open mind.

Lack of objectivity: Debates on social media or otherwise lacked objectivity. ‘My party can do no wrong’ attitude prevailed. People selectively put out stories of other parties making stupid statements while conveniently ignoring statements or actions by their own party. It is important to have objectivity in discussing issues of national importance.

Fiction ruled over facts: It was disheartening to see educated (and otherwise sensible) people spreading fictional stories, photographs, and posters through social networks. Personal opinions were passed around as facts without providing any data points or providing very ill informed data points compiled by western journalists.

Intolerance towards opposite opinions: I observed that most debates started of well but as they progressed intolerance started surfacing. Rudeness, personal accusations, and calling names hijacked the real issues. In fact I personally was abused and subjected to rudeness on Facebook because I spoke in favour of Narendra Modi or against AAP. In fact some people decided that it was not worth having me as a their social connection as I was being communal. In effect my social network shrunk by 10 people who opted out of our connectivity. It demonstrated highest level of intolerance and felt like a my-way-or-highway situation.

Intolerance towards humour: Expressions or videos or photos used in humour were subjected to emotional responses rather than taking a moment to laugh at the chaos that prevailed in India. One person got angry and blocked me on Facebook because I posted rahulgandhiachievements.com or some journalist friends were rude to me because I posted a video called great Indian media circus showing Rahul, Kejriwal and Modi in a humourous way.

I found it extremely disappointing that my social group moved from just doing animated discussions to actually demonstrating animosity. Now that the elections are over all I can say is take it easy folks. You can continue to be animated if you want but forget animosity. We might have differences in terms of our idea of India but I’m sure none of us want India to fail. So please get back to business and help the next government build a better India.

(Photo credit: Pete Simon: https://flic.kr/p/68mZvD)

You don’t sing well but I like your singing

Pushkar Sane Sunday, 18th May, 2014 Tags: , , , Life, Observations, People No comments
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Today while putting my son to bed he asked me to sing. I was thrilled as not a single soul has ever asked me to sing as my singing skills are very limited and I have the funny distinction of winning laryngitis competitions during my university days. So in my enthusiasm I started to fish for compliments.

Me: do you like my singing?

Son: Yes

Me: do I sing well?

Son: NO

Me: then why do you like my singing?

Son: because you’re my father and I love you

He said it with such a simplicity and honesty that I couldn’t help but give him a tight hug. Our kids are born brutally honest but as they start growing up we program them to be less honest or politically correct. And by the time they finally grow up they get programmed to fake things. I think the world might be a better place if we didn’t teach them to be less honest or politically incorrect. All we need to do is to reprogram our own thinking to accept brutally honest feedback.

I don’t sing well but I’m happy to sing because my son likes it.