As a society, how would you say we react to something we don't like? Do we give dialogue enough of a chance before resorting to shameless and honestly, barbaric violence? I believe the story of this guy from Delhi may answer these questions.
Daksh Bhardwaj was out late in Mumbai last night, looking frustratedly for parking. During the course of the search, he exasperatedly said to his friend, "Bh**ch*d, doesn't look like we're finding one today," and a 30-something man nearby heard them and promptly assumed that the profanity was directed at him.
Before long, the two guys were pulled out of their car and surrounded by around 15 infuriated men, ready to fight. Bhardwaj was beaten to a pulp for a painful 10-12 minutes while a crowd of bystanders gathered. He tried to explain to the group that he had not meant any insult to them when he said the word and even apologized, but they wouldn't have any of it. The beating continued with absolutely nobody intervening - including people in the crowd that actually knew Daksh.
"It's saddening that we live in a country where it's okay for such incidents to happen. Where people watch an assault and choose to be an audience. This is not the society I want to be part of. Why can't a dialogue be a solution? Why do we have to resort to violence to put a point across? And 15 people against 1 is not a fight, its outright physical abuse."
This bewilderingly violent reaction to a plain comment of exasperation is a shocking example of just where we're at as a nation. We spend long hours ostracising celebrities that speak out about growing intolerance in India and here we find men that are not only intolerant to a disturbing extent, but actually showed no regard for the law. Where is our general civility? What has India come to, if the common man feels he can just beat someone up if they don't like something they said?
These are the questions Daksh Bhardwaj's encounter raises. These are the questions we need to answer for ourselves before we say anything in India's defence when it comes to intolerance.
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We hope you recover swiftly, Daksh. And more importantly, we hope your story serves to jolt people into realising how intolerance is not some far-away, foreign concept. It is right here. And if we don't address it, any one of us could be the next victim to it's mindless wrath.