Friday, October 18, 2013

Can constructive criticism be considered as an insult?

Can raising a question be called as an insult, specially about some traditions? Can constructive criticism be considered as a insult to those traditions or culture or to a society who practices it? Can objecting to views or opinions of some famous personality (for whatever reason) be considered as an insult to that person? Is constructive criticism really an insult? All these questions are very similar and lead to the same ultimate question that is, can questioning/criticism be considered as an insult? I am asking this because some people who claim to be ardent fan, devotee or followers of some famous personalities like  Chanakya or ISKON founder Prabhupad or followers of any particular sect, cult movement or religion objected to my questioning to some of these people's views or raised strong objection on me criticizing some traditions or rituals in some of my blog posts. They all believe just criticizing someone's views or objecting to their statements can be counted as an insult, they even didn't seem to believe in constructive criticism. I am also admirer of Chanakya for his views related with topics like governance and economics but I am not big fan of his views about women, so I wrote a blog post about it. I also clearly expressed my opinion about Prabhupad and his sectarian views, specially about his completely misleading book, Gita as it is, in which he claims to explain Bhagavad Gita as it is in blog post related with this topic. These two posts along with some other posts related with women suppression and gender equality attracted lot of such criticism.

Freedom to ask questions or objections is very important characteristic of any liberal and progressive society, most of the ancient books or scriptures which people think are divine and even worship them were written because there was freedom to propose new things and credited authors of all these texts dared to question established customs and theories. Constructive criticism is also very necessary for progress of any society or culture but if it's not taken in right spirit it can be misunderstood as an insult and can create problems. There is huge difference between criticism and insult, criticism (constructive) is offered to improve the things and insult is used to demean things for no reason. This is what it seems to be happening in most of these discussions, some people are just not comfortable with the idea of old traditions being questioned, or views of some big names being criticized, they just reject these things. Instead of thinking about the objections or questions which are raised they just try to attack the questioner. They try their best to silence the voice of a person raising the question rather than trying to answer it, I feel they do this because they find it easy to silence the person rather than trying to answer the difficult or uncomfortable questions. Every religion or sect or cult movement has dark spot in their history, rather than accepting these things, acknowledging their mistake they all just try to downplay it, justify it or even deny it, this is what leads to confrontation and more questioning. Because of this attitude, I am labeled as anti-Hindu, anti-religion or anti-Indian and what not, it seems if you raise objection about anything (let's call it X) you are X hater or you are anti-X, it seems there is no middle path for these people.

According to me respect doesn't mean keeping silent even if you see something wrong is going on. Just because something was practiced for centuries (so called traditions or rituals), it doesn't mean it was right. We should not accept anything blindly just to show the respect to some tradition or because it was said by someone great or senior, such behavior to show respect is very narrow and timid definition of the term 'respect'. Seniority should be respected as much as it needs to be, following age old ways of showing respect are really superficial (like standing every time someone senior enters the room or tolerating their improper behavior just because they are senior, etc.) they all need to go. Everyone should first of all understand that questioning is not an insult, one can say that it should be done in proper way but it should be encouraged from each group and section of society. Everyone should have right to raise objection on views or opinions which they believe are not right, it is not important whose opinions or views they are, there can be debates or discussions about anything. Technically anyone should be allowed to object as long as they don't violate law of land, actually in true democracy every voice counts so it should be heard. Forbidding questioning is like forbidding progress and I don't think any culture or society can evolve by discouraging people who want to object or rebel or think differently, so let's keep our gates open for new questions, new doubts and new challenges, this will take us to new heights, will bring lot of new ideas, new solutions. Please remember that knowledge is not stagnant it's continuous and endless process and questioning is an integral part of it, nothing is sacred in this process, everything is open for discussion and debate, once we understand this then people will realize the potential and power of questioning and constructive criticism, until then lets just keep on asking questions.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. Chanakya and his views about women 
2. Bhagadvad Gita-As it is or As it is NOT..Part-I
3. Bhagadvad Gita-As it is or As it is NOT- Part-II

6 comments:

  1. In response to your many statements in this blog like [[According to me respect doesn't mean keeping silent even if you see something wrong is going on.]]

    All i would say is why are you upset when we see all the wrong things you write on your blog with your backward thinking and tell you so!
    You write utter nonsense and expect us to take it but yourself you are having a big moan in this blog when we criticise your bad work!
    This blog is yet another hypocrisy.

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    1. Upset?? when? I don't remember getting upset after reading any comment which questions or opposes my point of view. I think you want me not to reply to those comments and accept them as it is without explaining my side, do you think just because I reply to them I am upset? You can have your own assumptions and I don't have any problem with that, on my blog I try to reply to every comment, try to answer every question to best of my capability, not because I am upset or angry but because I want to discuss...even I am smiling while I write this and wonder what made you to conclude like this..you have full right to criticize whatever you want and I also have same rights, so go on criticize whatever you feel is bad or inappropriate on this blog or anywhere else but at the same time try to respect others views also. Thanks.

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  2. Upset?? when? I don't remember getting upset after reading any comment which questions or opposes my point of view. I think you want me not to reply to those comments and accept them as it is without explaining my side, do you think just because I reply to them I am upset? You can have your own assumptions and I don't have any problem with that, on my blog I try to reply to every comment, try to answer every question to best of my capability, not because I am upset or angry but because I want to discuss...even I am smiling while I write this and wonder what made you to conclude like this..you have full right to criticize whatever you want and I also have same rights, so go on criticize whatever you feel is bad or inappropriate on this blog or anywhere else but at the same time try to respect others views also. Thanks.





    Upset?? when?
    All the time. For example you have posted this line of defence from yourself many times before. It seems you are trying to keep readers brainwashed about how nasty those who criticises you are --in the hope that people will side with you. Regrettably similarly minded thinkers will no doubt side with your backwardness. So by posting this line of defence again and again clearly shows you are upset about people who tell you how wrong you are.


    [[I think you want me not to reply to those comments and accept them as it is without explaining my side, do you think just because I reply to them I am upset?]]

    No its not your replies that’s the problem. Its you-- blatantly being obnoxious by continually posting about Hindu themes in a negative way that is clearly an attack on the religion.
    Secondly when things are explained to you, the only response you make is that ONLY your thoughts and ONLY your knowledge is SUPERIOR.
    This is sheer arrogance and shows hatred towards Hinduism and its culture and its people etc.
    Talking about and attacking them are two separate issues. You ATTACK and only ATTACK even when there is nothing wrong with what ever you write about.



    [[You can have your own assumptions and I don't have any problem with that…..]]
    But time and time again you do have a problem—otherwise you would try to understand what is being explained. But clearly you don’t want to know or understand and make some silly defensive remarks as you will no doubt do here again about how this is your blog and its up for discussion blah blah.





    [[I try to reply to every comment, try to answer every question to best of my capability,]]
    You don’t have any ability to understand the subject you write your blogs on. If you did then you wouldn’t write some of the stuff that you do. Now you make blogs like these to defend your views time and time again because your lack of understanding.

    Discussion takes place with those who are willing to understand another point of views. You on the other hand have no intention of understanding any point of view. You are like those people who are blinded by hatred for others way of life and no matter how much is explained to them they will only continue to say bad things about you. In that comparison you are no different.
    You will say you don’t hate but your blog is full of hate—the only difference is that its presented in a polished way –no difference to hate really.



    [[even I am smiling while I write this and wonder what made you to conclude like this.]]
    I dont expect nothing less, because people like you enjoy criticising others for no good reason and expect everyone to agree with them.

    I will continue to post my views on this anti-hind blog-- time permitting-- so that future readers are not led astray by your views.

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    1. I can not thank you more for your this comment, you yourself demonstrated who is here to spread hate and criticism, I invite any one (including you) to read your comments as well as mine and decide who is posting things full of hate. I am not here to judge anyone but it seems you love doing that.

      Whatever I write is my responsibility and I know very well why I write and what it means but I have no control what meaning or conclusion you derive from it, it's entirely upto you to derive whatever meaning you want and I am not responsible for it.

      The blog is not anti-any religion, I comment about social or religious customs which I feel are discriminatory, if you feel otherwise just put your side and leave it to readers to decide what they think.

      You can have your own assumptions about how upset I am or angry I am, if that's what makes you happy then let it be, I have no problem whatsoever.

      If you care about knowledge and know its meaning then you should have known that there is no superior or inferior knowledge. Knowledge is just knowledge nothing else.

      I do understand whatever is written on comment section of my blog, after understanding only I comment but I understand doesn't mean I agree, I guess you don't know the difference between two, your comment shows that, but believe me there is huge difference.

      http://selfrealization-vinay.blogspot.com/2012/08/difference-between-understanding-and.html

      You are welcome to share your views about topics presented on blog, doors of this blog are open to anyone and everyone who want to share their ideas and discuss the topic.

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  3. Actually its full of anti-religious sentiments. You even write in every blog that “I am not against …..this and that” then make a scathing attack on the religion. Its such a hypocrisy. You attack Krishna, Bhagvad Gita, Parhupada Chankya etc when you have not understood anything about them. In no cretin terms you claim to be better and wiser than them. This is your foolishness.


    [[If you care about knowledge and know its meaning then you should have known that there is no superior or inferior knowledge. Knowledge is just knowledge nothing else.]]
    ..and with this sort of backward mentality you write your blogs, it’s a joke if anyone even takes you seriously.




    [[You are welcome to share your views about topics presented on blog,]]
    In all honesty there is very little to share or discus with someone whose mindset is closed.


    my final say on this..............

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment full of kindness and love, this post is not about any religion I wonder where you found anti-religious sentiments here?? But you are right I do write about rituals, traditions and customs (religious or non religious) which I find are discriminatory in any sense, I attack them, I criticize them, because according to me they need to be eradicated from our society, I offer explanation from my side why I do this and why I think we need to get rid of them, if you favor them or want to continue to practice them then you are free to write in their favor and explain it to readers no one is stopping you from doing it, but it seems you are more interested in commenting about me and my intelligence rather than about the topic of discussion, please remember that I am not the subject of any blog post.

      If you bothered reading carefully I write about specific customs or rituals which are discriminatory and not about any particular religion, but I guess for you it's very hard to understand. I clarified this many times before also but it seems you never understood the difference.

      [[You attack Krishna, Bhagvad Gita, Parhupada Chankya etc when you have not understood anything about them. In no cretin terms you claim to be better and wiser than them. This is your foolishness. ]]

      If you think that I am claiming to be better or wiser than any of these people you mentioned or anyone else then I am sorry to say that it's your foolishness and ignorance, I can not help you to clear this misconception of yours, you yourself have to do this.

      Backward mentality always drags us backward, that's why it's called backward...and readers can see who want to drag things to past...or want to preserve things from past which are no more relevant, at least use proper terms while offering criticism, it sounds really funny when you write about backward mentality of others.

      You are right, there is little scope for discussion with someone with closed mindset and rigid views, this blog is place to come with open mindset and share your ideas, not a place to teach anyone or judge anyone, so please next time visit this place with an open mind and lots of love in heart.

      Thanks.

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