We think our states and communities are free and liberal. Yet, seeing intolerance take over the entire nation, we might need to give that a second thought. In a worrying scenario where people do not have the right to speak, eat, wear or love (whoever they want), the intolerance and communal overtones are the subject of this latest video that has gone viral. In election month, this is where voting responsibly, liberally and inclusively is extremely important and pertinent.
The Young Indian Initiative, an activist group, aims to inculcate a commitment towards the ideal of a democratic and secular society. The video talks about the growing intolerance in our country, where it is common for a man to be killed for eating beef, and women are told what to wear, and religion creates a huge barrier in the dynamics of love, too. We got young voters to react on this concerning trend, and how such videos open eyes to the injustice amidst us.
Lydia Johnson, a city-based MSW student says she was extremely agitated after seeing the video, and that it evoked something larger, “We might have got Independence in 1947 but we are still not free. I think more than calling ourselves Indian, we end up categorising ourselves according to state, language, caste or creed or even religion. How can we be called a democratic country? Every individual has a right to speech, choice, and religion, and no one can stop that.”
City writer and author Amandeep Sandhu, who watched the video repeatedly, after carefully analysing it, he says, “Obviously, it is made in the time of elections.
The idea is to make people aware that this time, their vote has a much larger implication than just a change of government or status quo. The implication is freedom itself. Do we want to be people who can make free choices or are we voting for authoritarianism?”
Even though the video sends a message to vote consciously, such bigoted incidents are disturbing, and Kise Nara Odyou, an early childhood development teacher avers, “I believe everybody should have the right to do anything they want, and keep the sentiments of others in mind. No matter where we live, I think we should have rights to do what we want, wear what we want or say what we want. I don’t think in reality people are given that kind of freedom like the ad showed us, because we face that kind of discrimination frequently.”
But Titus Michael, an MBA student goes further, recalling our country’s foundation of secularism, “The video shows the dream that was written in our Constitution, the kind of nation it was, and what it is right now. What our forefathers wanted it to be when we became Independent. We’ll have to strive for that.”