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Can dissent die? Death of dissent can lead to poverty of thought

9/03/2021 at 12:19 PM

By DN Singh

Slowly there is a perceptible decline in the intellectualism, which otherwise, normally helps us asking questions on something and if that spirit from within, suffers and that is when we realize that the faculty of reason diminishes and so also poverty of thoughts. What is known as the dissent.

And it has gone down centuries as the right to dissent as an essential element of a free society. It was there in the epic era which crept down to the present times, making us to grapple with the binary between religions, communities and people those rule and the ruled.

Why The Binary?

It is tough to think that we encourage such trends in different guise of politics or nationalism or we are quick to dub anyone questioning such narratives as seditious.

Through many centuries and traveling through generations of thoughts, dissent has always been considered as a very strong tool for correction, in legislature, executive and education.

Even think-tanks like Howard Zinn, viewed as a celebrated rationalist, felt that, “ dissent is the highest form of patriotism” but that does not stop the take away the space for a civil debate on issues that concerns the larger mass.

Dissent Should’nt Be An Abuse

But dissent cannot be cushioned on any monopolistic premise to contest the right things as well. Whereas, right to differ must have its legitimacy as an instrument of democracy. On muzzling of thoughts or imposing a moratorium on speech, is also viewed as diminishing the beauty of dissent.

Speaking at an event, last year, Justice Deepak Gupta had observed the beauty of dissent as a very powerful means with which, the Justice alluded that, those who get stoned with absolute power and think their positions as unchallenged, “ no reputation so unimpeachable that cannot be blown into smithereens, no personality so towering that it cannot be brought crashing down, no character so pure that it cannot be torn to shreds, no idea so holy, that it cannot be disagreed with. That is the essence of dissent” said Justice Gupta.

Dissent Is Age-old

It is not that dissent faced suppression in the recent times but it can be traced back to early as 40s when governments across the world brought in place a surveillance making all attempts that ‘either dissent does not arise at all or that was seen as a criminal activity’ alluded both Alduous Huxley or Orwell.

Both in Ramayan or Mahabharat era dissent had a place. Lord Ram could not have his writ prevailed when dissent, either wrong or right, or born of misnomer, Godess Sita was made to go through ‘Agni Parikhya’ to prove her purity.

‘ Either garibi hatao or the most recent vision about social equality and freedom from hunger or poverty, we are still miles away. Political dissent and its reflections through the media are very corresponding to each other. But now the scene if different as a strong binary of policies are in place. One being objective and the other being accomodative and the former face the wrath in one way or the other. Where dissent has a role. In Indian media this binary is just perceptible.

About the Author:

DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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