Good morning, good evening or good night! Based on the time, when you are reading this piece. Greeting you as per your time to prove my tolerance of your point of view. Considering the consideration with lots of intellectuals gave to the awards. The awards were just sitting at their homes and taking away precious space, they came up with a brilliant idea to get some space on the newspapers as well as get rid of these awards.
“What lies in a name?” The great literary giant William Shakespeare raised this question in the 16th Century through one of his character Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” He was born in 1564 and lived on this earth till 1616 and to match his caliber; intellectuals of independent India came up with their original version in 2015. They went many steps further, Shakespeare was only writing and actors were enacting and that too on the stage. Indian intellectuals wrote a new and powerful phrase through their actions, ‘What lies in an award, award is not as sweet as it once was, if the political climate of the country has changed.”
The saga of saintly creative beings of Bharat continued with full force, they came up with ideas. The looked at ideas, which was used by Mahatma Gandhi against British regime. Gandhiji lead a march to make salt. When the awards started loosing their sweetness, it was a natural progression that these salty awards should be returned. India respects traditions, once an intellectual always an intellectual, so these intelligent beings were assured of the fact that nobody can snatch their claim to sanity and their balanced way of understanding, appreciating, analyzing and letting the society know about the state of society.
You know what, in one way, these doctors of society found the root of all evils in one word, ‘intolerance’, who is increasing it, the obvious answer, the government because democratic government is elected to measure and monitor intolerance.
There is nothing more important than this study, so said, award returning group of intellectual beings.
They chose not to work for reducing intolerance but to raise the voice against it. Some of them were busy in their own world. They didn’t have enough time to keep up with the everyday happenings of the nation. They were smart enough to go by the opinions expressed by their intellectual friends. This generous support for other intellectuals helped them in assuring themselves about their own intellectual acumen. Yes!Let us kill many birds by one stone. Their eyes told each other.
One fine day, finally, they got a call from the prime minister himself. Some of them went with full display of their ego and statements that showed their concerns for the nation and their distrust with the Prime Minister.
To their surprise, PM appeared calm and unruffled by their remarks. He participated with them in the brainstorming aimed at reducing intolerance. Ideas with top intellectuals over Gujarati delicacies lead to innovative thinking. He encouraged them to think out of the box. One senior intellectual came up with a brilliant idea, he thought about creating a new ministry. This would be known as ‘Ministry to monitor intolerance. This was like
‘aha’ moment for the whole group. Prime minister was also happy with this exercise. At last, a potential solution was in sight.
Now the big question, who would head this ministry? This question was discussed and debated, most of the intellectuals felt, they were in a position to serve the nation as minister. Their love for the nation was so deep that they didn’t bother about becoming minister, yet they were ready to take this responsibility. The greatness of intellectuals lead to talk about the financial provisions for the ministry. Prime minister agreed to allocate big budget for this important ministry. Intellectuals could visualize how it would help in traveling, staying connected with the media, organizing seminars and obliging other intellectuals who would have stayed away from the government patronage without this ministry.
Now the question was, what should be the criterion for choosing the minister?
One thing was clear, he has to be from the minority and he should be the one, who was first to return his award, well, this caused problem. At least 3 people claimed to be the forerunner in adopting this creative means for raising their voice against growing intolerance. Here was another angle, whose statements got printed in the newspaper first?
They wanted to reach a consensus, but it was not happening. In order to buy time, they said, a delegate would visit United Nations head quarter in New York and another delegate would go to China for coming up with a cost effective plan to implement various schemes about monitoring and reducing intolerance.
All of them agreed, the efficient and cheap way of providing goods and services is really very important.
This trip of intellectuals was seen as a victory of those, who want the nation to be tolerant. Media wrote about it, praised the sacrifice of intellectuals but soon media became restless. The masala of negative statements from intellectuals was missing from the headlines.
The idea of forming new ministry was kept a secret but the plans to formulate a new ministry related to intolerance got leaked. The journalists felt cheated and betrayed by intellectuals. In their minds, the whole issue of this ministry emerged due to their hard work and constantly bombarded ‘intolerance weather report’ on people. Here is the thing, one journalist talked to her colleague in the press club. ” We need to do something?” Sure, her colleague called the potential minister and shared her grudge. The future minister himself joined them after 23 minutes.
Some people overheard their conversation. ” As a minister, we will start a national award for people, who have worked hard for sharing the measurements of intolerance in the nation. You see, this shows their commitment for peace. We would call it ‘Intolerance monitoring national media award’ the award money would be huge. I guess, she would be the first awardee.
In next few weeks, the ministry was formed, the reporter heaped praise after praise on the minister. She was talking to international media about how India is celebrating its own measures against intolerance by recognizing the whistle blowers. She also talked about honesty, integrity and love for the nation amongst all minority Indians.
One day the minister got a call from PMO. Prime minister appreciated the efforts of the Intolerance monitoring ministry. He also said, there has been no negative news, there has been no ‘award return’ ceremony after the formation of this ministry.
Minister thanked the officer for his compliments and expressed happiness at the reduced level of intolerance.
Intellectuals were happy, they were getting awards and they could get awards, they were traveling abroad and they were designing new studies, they were meeting foreign dignitaries and there were plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their progressiveness by criticizing traditions and gradually the world around them started becoming familiar again. The ministry for monitoring intolerance in India is being considered for special noble
(Nobel?) peace prize this year.
The author is a Program director at ITV, New York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org