Discard the mindset of bowing down to 'majority'

Just like a non-vegetarian person holding no authority to impose fish, meat or eggs upon all; the vegetarians also possess no right to ban those delicacies from reaching the taste buds of its connoisseurs.

ByKajal Chatterjee

Updated on 18 Dec 2021, 3:07 pm

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

The Gujarat authorities are hell-bent in chasing hawkers vending egg-based delicacies so as to serve the "sentiments of the majority"! But this country is Constitutionally of all --- irrespective of religion, language, caste, political affiliation or dietary habits. So "sentiments of majority" hold no moral or legal ground in a democracy where all deserve absolute equal treatment in every possible sphere. Just like a non-vegetarian person holding no authority to impose fish, meat or eggs upon all; the vegetarians also possess no right to ban those delicacies from reaching the taste buds of its connoisseurs. Even if a single person desires to have eggs (or fish/beef), neither the state nor the "overwhelming majority" hold any right to bar the concerned individual from exercising his/her basic right. No wonder why Russian-American writer Ayn Rand had said "Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority". In this context, no kudos is enough for the 14-year-old Karnataka schoolgirl for challenging the powerful seers opposing boiled eggs in mid-day meals. Who are the seers to deny that schoolgirl and her peers, hailing from non-privileged social groups, from their share of nutrition!

In the same vein, it is up to the Kerala High Court how to judge the practice of carrying the photograph of the Prime Minister in Covid-19 vaccination certificates, whether to deliver the verdict in favor of the petitioner opposing the practice or reject his petition. Without asking how it can be concluded that "All Indians are proud of their PM", "Foreigners are not proud of their respective PMs" or "More than 100 crore people of the country do not have a problem with having the Prime Minister's photo on the certificate"; it can be certainly be asserted that even if "all Indians" welcome the photo of the PM on the certificate, still a single stray petitioner has every right to harbor displeasure about the practice. So the case needs to be judged on the basis of the logic provided by the petitioner, what "100 crore people of the country" thinks about the practice is absolutely immaterial. After all truth and sanity are not cheap reality shows on TV that would be judged on the basis of the popular votes garnered!

Last but not the least, during the trial and judgment of the sensational Nirbhaya gangrape cum murder case, we were regularly hearing how the "collective conscience of the nation" has got "hurt"! The same words are heard when any Bombay journalist or Hyderabad doctor gets gangraped/murdered by urchins or lorry drivers. But a woman gets raped every 20 minutes in India (according to a report). Yet we don't witness any "national tsunami of shock" in those cases! Do the "collective conscience" of this partial and biased society get "awakened" overnight in specific cases only! Punishment should be demanded/accorded according to the gravity of the crime, not in proportion to the "shock" generated within the society! Can it be concluded that if the "collective conscience" of the society remain in slumber in any particular case of gang rape, the concerned rapists will be spared from their march towards the gallows! The decision of awarding capital punishment or not should depend upon the gravity of the crime; not on the hypocrite attitude of the "Kumbhakarnas" or Indian "mainstream" whose "conscience" prefer to enjoy a sound sleep when "lesser folks" of poor/rural vintage get regularly gang raped and/or murdered, but instantly wake up when victims of the same crime hail from urban privileged stock with the culprits being of "low class"!

It is high time this mindset of bowing down to "majority" ("collective conscience" is also a part of it) be discarded from all spheres of the country and decisions be taken on the merit of the issues concerned. It would indeed be a bad day for the nation if consumption of eggs/beef/chicken/mutton/fish, rendition of namaz in the open, PM photo on vaccination certificates, punishment of the rapist ---- all topics get addressed after contemplating brute majority dwell on which side!

(The views expressed are personal)

First published:18 Dec 2021, 3:07 pm

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Kajal Chatterjee

Kajal Chatterjee

Special Contributor, KOLKATA, West Bengal

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