Embracing Dissent View

72

All of us look at the world through different sets of assumptions. Our observations and interpretations are bound to differ from one another. A political view or an opinion that one may have cannot enjoy absolute sacrosanctity. All our views and opinions are subject to conflict with other views with a different ideational base. Yet, it is also important to recognise that these differences are very much part of any social debate. This fundamental understanding has its primacy more so with those who are actively involved in social actions. The vanguards of social organisations who are leading any sort of movement should be able to live and grow with the debate. For this, one must be able to withstand the battle of ideas with convincing reasoning. The tendency of overruling a divergent view through intimidation, as the only weapon, is a brazen sign of intolerance germinating from the poverty of ideas. Any socio-political movement is premised on political beliefs of those leading the movement. It is also important to recognise that movement is a form of collective action in which the motivation to act springs largely from the common aspirations of different individuals, who are united by common beliefs. Their sense of commitment and activism must be guided by those beliefs. It is unfortunate that there have been tendencies to equate social movement with raw street hooliganism, or spontaneous upheaval of public sans any planned action in pursuit of a particular goal. Intolerance and intimidation has apparently become tactical weapons. We have seen this in many of the agitations that rocked the state in recent times.

In the context of Manipur, it is indeed unfortunate that those in the helms of a movement seem to have ignored the fact that not everyone sees the world with the same eyes. Looking at the current trend of organisational behavior, it is apparent that those in the movement have shut themselves off from any divergent views. Alone and isolated, without the support of the people, a movement is vulnerable to alienation and disillusionment. Besides, the conduct of the activist in many spheres demand a serious introspection on their part. The activists have failed to understand that their actions, their words and their efforts towards a goal are part of a larger organisational mechanism. There are also indications of sheer deficit in terms of inducting energetic individuals as activist into the organisational fold, who would selflessly commit to a cause. Perhaps the unguarded habit of the activist of breathing down on the people, which is in many ways similar to the conduct of the state security forces known for their arrogance, implies many things. One clear implication is their obvious lack of ideological moorings. With all due respect to their commitments and sacrifices, a true dialogue particularly on their conduct with the general masses is called for. If not, the historical task of democratic mobilisation of any movement will remain an impossible task. The beginning of action in that direction should be through self-introspection. That should be the core dimension of any organisation that wishes to build a better future. Having said this, ideological foundation should be the guiding light in every step of an organisation. And in this very aspect, a question may be posed, whether our social organisations have surrendered their ideology or not. We believe they have not; the need is to replenish it by accommodating dissent views for it to grow.

Leader Writer: Senate Kh.

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