While food and sleep remain the primary and basic needs for humanity’s survival, there are other secondary needs which kick in only when the primaries are fulfilled. Once alight, these urges as one may call them, seem no less important or indispensable than the basic needs. One such need is the need to have an opinion on everything. Unlike the pre requisite of a stomach to have the need for food, the urge to have an opinion is not conditional upon the existence of any ability like an average intelligence or intellect for instance – nor does it depend on whether one has sufficient information on a particular happening, person or notion. All you need to have this urge is a filled belly and a good night’s sleep.
A young girl – Malala – has become the source to satisfying many an urges to have an opinion. How this little girl has become the topic of so many discussions and social media statements consisting of so many opinions astounds me. I would rather not go into the merits of her ‘story’. Because if I side with it and claim the story is as genuine as it gets then I risk being marked a gullible western apologist and if I claim that it is all bogus and one of many acts in a well scripted play I would then be labeled backward, a jahil conspiracy theorist – thanks to bigotry; a habit quickly climbing the steps of evolution towards becoming another secondary need. So in order to spare myself from this most irritating of our social habits, I choose not to engage in the futile discussion on whether Malala is legit or is it all a facade.
I would rather discuss my ‘opinion’ on how this has further polarized an already polarized society. I have sat through plenty of discussions and read many a threads on Malala and almost always the opinions therein have failed to strike me, what struck me instead was the bigotry being displayed. Not just that we have to have opinions, we also have to demean all opposing opinions and those who dare hold them. Obviously there are two kinds of opinions on Malala: one that holds her to be a legitimate victim of Taliban and a symbol of struggle for education in general and women education in particular, and second that says she is a pawn in the hands of the west, an agent of anti Islam forces. The proponents of both these opinions seem to deem the opponents to be one of the causes for Pakistan’s destruction. Strong words, sentiments and not so subtle expressions are prominent parts of such interactions.
The worst of this came when I read at more than a few places that the sentiments against Malala are owing to ‘jealousy’, felt mainly by the youth in Pakistan! Now this was hilariously absurd and stupid. Ok! I don’t deny that some people may actually envy Malala for all the attention she gets, some may even be jealous but to label all the opinions against one’s own as words of the jealous youth is rubbish. Just like labeling everyone writing in favor of Malala as agents of the United States or India or Israel. Why can’t we digest the fact that the urge to have an opinion is not specific to your own inept mind? All inept minds feel this urge with the same intensity. AND NO I am not saying that all people who have an opinion have an inept mind (clarification given just in case you have a filled belly and have had a good night’s sleep before reading this).