Mob Lynching — This has become a common feature in India; only that some of the recent incidents were instigated by the help of fake messages through some social media platforms. And the responsible authorities (with exceptions) are not even moving their fingers to prevent it — leave alone prevention, not even condemnation of the same.Why the mob is ready to go for lynching?
- I am determined by a single identity and other identities are forgotten. Any damage (which may be even fictional) is considered as an attempt to destroy me, and I destroy the other.
- I am living in a free country, whose constitution gives me a lot of choices. But I have given up right to make choices (of & for me) to some ideologies/leaders and I follow them.
- It is okay to beat any person for a different view if it is opposing the dominant view. And surely I will be protected and appreciated for the same.
Now from all these, I see one reason as the most dangerous… it is the loss of ability to think. In this context, the famous quote of Heidegger makes a lot of sense.
Now the question is what is thinking? It is much discussed philosophical question, but I am not getting into it here. I just need to make a distinction.
When I was studying in school, I used to enjoy subjects like mathematics and science, which were considered as the so-called thinking subjects. The other subjects like language and social sciences were mostly subjects where I need to mug up a lot. I used to hate those, made limited interactions with them (avoided it as and when possible). Although the arts and humanities based courses and subjects are in demand today, this idea of mine exists to some extend in the school systems. I remained sane only because I was forced to read newspapers, watch news and I enjoyed it.
Ability to think is often equated (may not be in scholarly journals, but in normal life) to the ability to do science or to be good in technical matters or to solve puzzles.They are just one component of thinking; there is also a component of thinking based on the ability to think about the matters of society and make your choices. Surely other aspects are also there. Neglect of one and the glorification of the another is very much evident when we see brilliantly educated scientists/technicians holding fundamentalist views without a question of why s/he holds them? ‘Why and How’ are important questions in their professional field, not in society or personal life.
What is the alternative? Definitely a revamp of education system where the subjects like social sciences and language are taken more seriously. I don’t think it is coming so easily. An easier and plausible option. The ability to think and question need to be encouraged in the educational institutions, though it can make life more difficult for teachers, parents and elders. Encouraging them to read newspapers and news-portals which are more objective (who will decide this is a question, but the best option is allow them to read and watch from many sources that they can choose) is a good option.
Any invitation to all people of good-will, to all people who oppose mob lynching is an invitation to encourage thinking — thinking in its entirety by all sorts of means. The only danger of encouraging thinking is that follower may take a contradictory view to the master — we should accept that risk and danger.