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Friday, February 17, 2017

Challenge the Views, not the Individual

Recently, a 77-year-old lady took umbrage at one of my articles and called me a pervert, insane, unstable and wonky. I too hit back because she deserved the comeuppance. After that, I began to think, why some people directly hit the individuals and not his/her views. I've absolutely no problem if someone disagrees with me or condemn my ideas. He/she has every right to do so because I also criticise and often pooh-pooh many an idea and view. But why should I be condemned? This is the problem with all of us. We tend to get personal and hit the person below the belt. Here, I'm not justifying my hitting back. I'll again do the same if someone choose to target me and not my views. 'Mukhalfat insaan ki nahin uske khayalaat ki karo/ Jab bhi kisi se uljho dhang ki baat karo' (Argue not with the individual but with his thoughts/ Whenever you oppose, oppose in a sane manner).
Why do some people abuse, condemn and excoriate an individual? Because they don't have the calibre to argue in the same convincing manner. They lack knowledge, reading, argumentative skills, class, status and so many things. Their views don't hold water and more often than not, they're rabidly envious of the individual. Since they don't have the capacity and calibre to challenge the individual's views on the same plane, they find abusing him/her the easiest way to resort to. People who come to blows are often those who lack necessary as well as basic intelligence to hold and continue a debate. The easiest thing in the world is to abuse someone. 'Calling names is much easier than creating a name for oneself,' aptly stated English statesman G K Chesterton. 

One more thing that I've noticed over the years is that people who fail to accomplish anything worthwhile in life, often criticise others and become quite personal. Great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib's coeval Yaas Yaghana Changezi of Lucknow, who himself was a very high class poet, criticised Ghalib's difficult and recondite poetry throughout his life but never cast aspersions on Ghalib as an individual. When other petty poets were gloating over Ghalib's known and alleged affairs with women of all hues, the ultra-refined Changezi chose to keep mum. This quality cannot be expected of petty minds because petty people love to discuss people. It's indeed very difficult to be able to be like the person you're criticising. First of all, reach his/her level and then play with your scissors and scalpels.  

                                          ----Sumit Paul

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