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Intolerant?

Let’s begin with a question. How tolerant is India? That is a tricky one  to answer. Since Independence, India has faced a number of problems that remain unresolved today. Over the years, India has not only grappled with poverty or the lack of education but a pseudo-secular mindset. Some blame the Hindutva-dominated BJP for such a mindset, whereas some blame random fringe elements. However, the point is that such blame games have always existed in India, without anyone arriving at a solution. The media, as a watch dog, always had the power to moderate a debate. With the advent of social media, everyone in this world has become a publisher today with netizens freely expressing themselves. Now that accounts for great power. However, with great power also comes great responsibility. The later though seems to have taken a back seat. Quoting Sandeep Sugumaran, a media professional residing in Bangalore, “In the game of Chinese Whisper, usually the information is lost after travelling some distance. Let’s play Indian Whisper”. The quote, in the context of Aamir Khan’s statement at the Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism, is something that the media should ponder over. However, there is a slight difference. In the game of Chinese whisper, the change of information is more unintentional than this form of Indian whisper where the statement made by the Bollywood actor has been distorted resulting in much hue and cry. Aamir Khan spoke on the rising levels of ‘intolerance’ in the country and how his wife feared for their son’s safety in such an environment. However, what the media reported was something absolutely different. Being the brand ambassador of Incredible India or an opinion leader in general does not take away the actor’s right to freedom to express his  concerns. Nowhere in his speech did he undermine the country or speak about leaving it as the media seemed to suggest. Some from the industry spoke about the same in support of the superstar’s comments whereas there were others like Anupam Kher who were critical of the superstar. Meanwhile, the debate over tolerance rages on.
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