A year has passed since the murder of social reformer, Dr Dabholkar but his killers remain at large. In February, social activist, Pansare’s killing went unchallenged by the authorities. Yesterday, renowned Kannada writer and research scholar, Kalburgi was killed in cold blood. All of them were senior citizens who refused to play silent to the cacophony of anti-social actions.
Similar killings felled bloggers in Bangladesh, a Dalit boy in Ahmednagar (for having a mobile ringtone praising Dr B R Ambedkar) and human rights activist, Sabeen Mahmud in Pakistan... all were first threatened and then murdered for not acceding to the demand for silence. Sadly, apologists are justifying these cold blooded killings. They are demanding the silence of the rest.
Alice Walker said it so well that ‘No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.’ The demand for silence is a rejection of the diversity of opinion. It is a regressive attitude of refusing the right to dissent and disagree. Diversity is the strength of any community and it will only flourish with sane debates.
In personal or public life, when we demand such silence, we align with the thoughts and actions of inhuman murderers. We may not agree with the other voice, we may even vehemently disagree... but there can be never any justification for demanding silence by threatening and then killing. While the authorities need to arrest the criminals, we need to arrest our thoughts that demand such silence!
Collectives are elevated by diverse expression
Demanding silence is an act of regression!
- Pravin K. Sabnis