I am pathologically, immovably obsessed with equality. I’ve known folks of all religions, gay men and women, transgender, beautiful, plain looking, wealthy and otherwise. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t certain that everyone from these groups should be treated equally, each an unqualified citizen of the world we inhabit.
Over the years, my resolute view has nurtured itself formidably, but I wonder if the aggression with which I liked enforcing it upon others, has softened into a sensibleness. Having seen less tranquil days, are my noisy, cast-iron certainties indeed allowing the possibility of a difference of opinion?
A liberal who is hell-bent on walloping every unsuspecting fundamentalist passing by, without so much as an exchange, is she much different from the self-righteous, blinkered fellow pursing his lips down the road? Must we unceremoniously shout down to the gallows, non-progressive, non-secular people?
I have friends who have left me shocked with their communal sentiments, but they are kind-hearted in other areas of life. I worked with an action director who disliked taking instructions from a woman, but would pray fervently for his stuntmen’s safety. I have seen extremely graceful, old people spend money they can ill-afford to help the poor, but be frugal in affection for those of an alternative sexuality.
Human beings, we’re infuriating, we refuse to fit into neat classifications. Else living would be much easier. I always thought Gandhi’s way was to be admired from afar. I now see its shrewdness, its political astuteness, its sane logic. I remain doggedly freethinking, but there is, it seems, a far-sightedness in listening to the ‘other.’
So let’s listen.
Tanuja Chandra is a filmmaker and writer
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