Boundary Testing

Liberalism is being touted as a fundamental right

Boundary Testing
Boundary Testing

Are BJP and the Government not guilty of boundary testing?

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]any years back, a seasoned sales trainer was conducting a training program for our sales staff. During the training, one of our sales executives came across as rather aggressive. During the lunch break, the trainer sat opposite to him (we’ll call him X) at the lunch table, and started playing a mind game with him.

After Modi came to power in 2014, not just the opposition parties but also ‘liberals’, in tandem, started playing such mind games of boundary testing with Modi and his Government


He took a sip from his glass of water and pushed the glass close to X. As if casually, X pushed it back closer to the trainer. The trainer then took another sip and pushed it closer to another guy seated by his side (we’ll call him Y); Y just ignored it. The trainer then took another sip and pushed it closer to X again, and X pushed it back again, as if casually. This went on for some time, and most others around the table didn’t even notice it.

During the training session that afternoon, the trainer discussed a concept that he called ‘boundary testing’. That is, someone, in real life, tests the boundary with others, trying to encroach on the property or rights (or whatever) of others. The success of such boundary testing effort depends on how the other party behaves and his/ her relative strength vis a vis the boundary tester.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter Modi came to power in 2014, not just the opposition parties but also ‘liberals’, in tandem, started playing such mind games of boundary testing with Modi and his Government. Tolerance debate, Award Wapsi, accusations of ‘majoritarionism’, etc are all part of this mind game. Most often, though Modi didn’t take them head on directly, he gave them back in his own way, at a time, mode and measure of his choice.

It is the fast increasing liberalism of the liberals, support for the offenders and their questioning of the Government’s every action against these offenders that has emboldened separatists to get stone-pelters to resort to their violent acts

Even Pakistan and China are playing mind games of boundary testing with Modi, but we can discuss this topic some other day; today, let’s just focus now on internal politics.

What ‘liberalism’ means today is far more liberal than what it meant some 20-30 years back. For example, had Maj. Gogoi tied a stone-pelter to his jeep to save lives in Kashmir valley 30 years back, exactly as he did now, liberals of those days would have lauded Maj. Gogoi for his presence of mind in handling the tricky situation tactfully, because Gogois of those days would have typically just fired at the stone-pelters and dispersed the crowds, killing a few in the process if need be, and that would have been unquestionable then.

It is the fast increasing liberalism of the liberals, support for the offenders and their questioning of the Government’s every action against these offenders that has emboldened separatists to get stone-pelters to resort to their violent acts. In fact, the stone-pelters are merely thoughtless pawns in the hands of separatists who are playing the boundary testing game, and they do so because they see no risk in doing it. The stone-pelters see a risk in not obeying the separatists, while they see little risk in confronting an army with stones, or even burning down schools.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]oday, it is the Maj. Gogoi who is pushed to be defensive. They have to avoid any kind of hurt to anyone, including abettors of terrorism, at all cost, even at the cost of their own lives and the lives of any number of people who they have to safeguard. They have to keep a rule book and SOP in one hand and handle violent mobs and even terrorists, with the other.

Liberalism didn’t mean ‘the right to offend’ others with brazen untruths those days; today, it is being touted as a fundamental right

Though student militancy has always been there, there were no likes of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and Shehla Rashid 20-30 years back; even a handful of students wouldn’t have admitted students with such ideologies in their groups, and such people would have been denounced vehemently by the entire society; nationalism and patriotism were undisputed principles then. No parent would have allowed their children to behave like a Kanhaiya Kumar of today.

Gen. Bipin Rawat has to speak for Maj. Gogoi today because he sees the danger of his patriotic and disciplined team members losing their morale after being lambasted by at least a section of the ‘civil society’, particularly the vociferous ‘liberal’ section. At this rate, I’m not sure if any well-meaning competent person will be interested in joining the defence forces, a few years from now.

Liberalism didn’t mean ‘the right to offend’ others with brazen untruths those days; today, it is being touted as a fundamental right. Ironically, ‘the right to give back in full measure’ is not accepted as a right at all. The right to distort truth, history and beliefs of others in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ is a right today; it never was, in the past.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hankfully, such liberals are in a minuscule minority. They are doing boundary testing with the rest of the society, all the time. It is only the vocal ones among the general public who are trying to push the boundary testers back. The vast majority is silent, though, by their several actions (including voting in elections), they have been making it clear that they don’t agree with the ‘ultra-liberals’ one bit.

How far will the ‘liberals’ push? To any extent. The more they are successful, the more they will push. So, it is for the rest of the society to keep pushing them back when they push boundary testing to unreasonable levels.

Are BJP and the Government are not guilty of boundary testing? Not really. Cow vigilantism is a case in point. Arguing that a cow beyond its mulching age is worth lakhs of Rupees (which is obviously not true, and if true, huge business empires comparable to Google and Apple can be built around gau rakshana), they are also guilty of boundary testing.

Though it does feel bad to see cows being traded for slaughter, and billions of $s earned through cow slaughter, since stopping it (directly or indirectly) will affect the livelihood of millions of people, and crores of farmers will be pushed to the brink, BJP and the Government will do well to come out with creative solutions that don’t affect the rights of the minority (not referring to religious minorities here) who are not in agreement with BJP and the Government.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]E[/dropcap]xtreme right-wing vigilantes are as guilty as the ‘liberals’. If BJP and the Government want people not to fall for the boundary testing tactics of the liberals, they should desist from doing boundary testing with people themselves, and not appear to support vigilantes who do.


BJP and the Government should realise that, while they have gained legitimacy to govern the country and many states through electoral victories, and hence they have a right to govern based on what the majority people want, they should not become majoritarian, taking away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual. It is this balance in approach that will keep the majority of people on their side.


Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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