A silencing ethos
The ethos around me — my entire life, being an Indian school student has shaped me, or at has least tried to, demand me to act in a certain way. The rights and the wrongs, the things one should do and say and talk about in public, the words I should speak, the way I should express myself and even how to sit when I am wearing my uniform skirt. The thing no one taught me though, is how to stomach opinions that do not align with mine.
The constant urge of society to make taboos, has indeed imposed on my brain, would have hijacked it rather if I did not grow up to become an opinionated human being. The simplest and the most prevalent of situations and activities have become a taboo in the society, so much so that nobody wants to talk about it in front of a conference room, but the very people would indeed express their opinions with hushed voices in a group of four.
Trying to fit and create replicas of human beings, molding and shaping each into the same stencil by silencing them and their questions since kindergarten is how we are growing up, raising a generation who’d think twice before talking about something as simple and natural as the menstrual cycle or saying a curse word for that matter.
Matters of conflict in the community, caste based or religious are never explicitly talked about to the growing generation, not by the parents, not in the classrooms, not in the textbooks. This does not silence the flame of community hate though, only inciting the fire by making the curious children vulnerable to a vicious and a propagandist narrative.
Silencing community issues and not talking about them in a classroom, fearing differences in opinions and getting cancelled is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes of them all. Tabooing differences and opinions on social problems would only worsen them if not given a nuanced platform to express, especially for the young adults. Not giving the exposure, would only result to a unpalatable stomaching of opinions that differ from yours and would only lead to radicalized conflicts; like the ones you see by young saffron clad men and women in Karnataka, or the ones pelting stones in an attempt to “free Kashmir”.
“If you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist.”, Is the apparent notion. The core issues don’t die out though; the problem wouldn’t stop existing when people start shouting about the taboos, but at least nuance would teach the young folk to stomach opinions and thoughts that do not align with theirs. The very root of radicalization of the youth thereby exists because folks believe their point of view is the only one that could be correct or shall prevail; the only way to remove the dividend is by perhaps, having a chat about it.