As India becomes angrier and more irritable than ever, we the citizens are letting bigotry make more decisions for us than logic. Recently a man cancelled his ride with a popular cab service provider because he did not want to give his money to a ‘jihadist’.
Cancelled @Olacabs Booking because Driver was Muslim. I don't want to give my money to Jihadi People. pic.twitter.com/1IIf4LlTZL
— Abhishek Mishra (@Abhishek_Mshra) April 20, 2018
While in another case a woman refused to take a cab which carried stickers of Hindu deities, which were often associated with violent right-wing groups.
While one can roll eyes at how oblivious these people are, I cannot help but notice how intolerance is seeping into the Indian way of life on a day-to-day life.
For the last time don’t let crime of a few define a community or religion.
Most communities/religion/schools of thought have both zealots and rationales as followers.
The truth is that while we have numerous religions, sects, communities all over the world, there are only two types of human beings-those who are rational and those who are not.
There are people who will outrage over everything, and then there are people who are willing to give reasoning and factors like political manipulation a chance. However, as far as the irrational school of thought is concerned, no logic or explanation is enough for them. They let the actions of a group of people define an entire community or religion. It is hard for them to understand that all Muslims are not jihadists, or all Hindus don’t support rapists. Yet here we are, with literate people making assumptions as informed as a frog who has never gotten out of the well.
Will we buy clothes, toys, grocery on basis of our political inclinations/religious identity soon?
The current trend among many Indians is to let their hatred make their personal decisions. While, rejection of certain goods or companies, to make a social statement is agreeable, where does one go if one lets personal choices be dictated by hatred and assumptions?
At this rate, we will soon be choosing grocery items or even liquid soaps based on our affiliations, political or otherwise. A tiny voice in my head warns that the divide among our minds and thoughts is already prompting us to make biased consumerist choices.
There are several reasons why most Indians are at each other’s throat today. Misinformation, hate crimes, political enticement and whatnot. But why must this difference hurt the pockets of hardworking people, like these cab drivers, who just lost a fee due to our broad inaccurate opinion?
There are several valid reasons to not take a cab or give a poor review to a driver. Rash driving, sexual misconduct, impunctuality, arrogant and uncouth behaviour etc. But his endorsement of a religion is certainly not one of them. The taxi aggregating service, Ola Cabs refused to please this one customer and send out a wrong message.
It said, “Ola, like our country, is a secular platform, and we don’t discriminate our driver partners or customers basis their caste, religion, gender or creed. We urge all our customers and driver partners to treat each other with respect at all times.”
Maybe such polite but firm stands will help drill some sense in our intolerant minds.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.