Friday, March 8, 2013

Liberal extremist...no better than conservative extremist.

Recently one very interesting news made headlines in Indian electronic and print media, one of worlds best management schools Wharton was in news for withdrawing its invitation to Gujarat's chief minister Mr. Narendra Modi as a key note speaker to its Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF). The reason of this withdrawal was fierce opposition for Mr. Modi as a keynote speaker by sections of Wharton professors, students and other stakeholders, they opposed him because of his so called communal political background, specially for his alleged involvement in Godhra communal riots of 2002 (charges which are not proven in any court). I was totally surprised by this decision of WIEF, opposition to Mr. Modi was not surprising because there is huge section of so called secularists who love to bash only some political parties or leaders for their so called communal policies or views but conveniently ignore similar acts by so called secular forces.

I agree that religion and politics should not be mixed but in reality this happens very rarely anywhere in world, religion and politics have so many similarities in them that it's really hard for them to remain separate, both these faculties get benefited from each other and survive with help of each other. These so called secular groups have made 'secularism' a separate religion which has its own rules and norms, they also treat some things as untouchables and are extremist in their views on some issues. Most of these people love to call themselves as liberal, they get angry when Mr. Salman Rushdie was not allowed to speak in some literary festival in India, they cried for freedom of speech that time, but same people keep mum when Mr. Narendra Modi was not allowed to speak as a key note speaker at WIEF. There is nothing wrong in protesting against anyone's policies or opposing some political actions, people who are against Mr. Modi should protest or try to ask him questions wherever they face him but I think not allowing him to participate in any function is bit too extreme reaction according to me similar to what some groups did to Mr. Rushdie few months back. One can have serious differences with Mr. Modi's political stance or Mr. Rushdie's books but to stop them from participating in any public function or bar them from sharing their views from any platform is not the way to fight with their ideologies.

I also don't understand what they achieved by stopping him from participating in this function, many controversial political leaders are there is US politics, many of them and others from all over the world visit US and deliver seminars or speeches at so many places. I really admire this quality of American people and institutes, they are very tolerant to a broad spectrum of ideas and beliefs, they encourage open debate about various sensitive issues. But this indecent is really unique and I think a huge mistake, they lost a chance to hear from one of the very successful chief minister of one of very successful Indian state (Gujarat), it's not at all loss for Mr. Modi but huge loss of students of Wharton. This group who opposed his visit must be very happy for their achievement, they must be thinking this success as another feather in their cap to show their secular credentials but in this process they have showed that they are not at all different than other people who don't allow certain people to express their opinion just because it doesn't agree with their own beliefs, just because who they are, they judge based on past, they don't believe in democratic ways but want to deliver justice themselves. Like conservative extremist we also have liberal extremist and both are same with absolutely no difference in their attitude only they identify themselves with different name tag. I think we need to fight against both these groups to have true liberal or free society, where every voice is heard and every topic is debated, where issues are more important not the person who is raising them.

Thank you for reading and please share your views on this topic.

(Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

References:
1. Full text of letter protesting Modi invitation to Wharton
2. Modi’s address at Wharton cancelled
3. Wharton backs Modi invite cancellation

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