Grace has become much less common than even common sense! Indeed, rude behaviour, if that is symptomatic of a graceless society, abounds in our daily social interactions, at home, in public places, offices and finally on the streets where this can easily turn into road rage incidents which sometimes lead to violent crimes.
Most people following politics in India today will testify to the fact that the quality of grace is becoming conspicuous by its absence in any political discourse either inside the parliament (or any other legislative bodies) or out of it (say, in TV studios of big national news channels). Political opponents are routinely seen to interrupt each other and blatantly usurp the debating space to voice either one’s partisan position, premise, speculative promise of an intangible beneficial fall out of this or that government policy as a foregone conclusion or, holding a contrarian view point, express apprehension of an unmitigated disaster and a dark future guaranteed to unfold from the same policy, depending on their relative coordinates vis-à-vis the political divide.
Just look at the comments people proffer in the ubiquitous electronic space, in respect of the e-paper or ezine articles, blogs and the social media postings. The proclivity to post comments is often not commensurate with minimum required knowledge about the subject, basic civility to engage in a conversation, attitude to learn and contribute to take a discussion thread forward. On the contrary, utter arrogance and extreme and foolhardy self-righteousness often characterize such responses. The more sensitive the topic is the chances are that the author has to walk a sharper razor edge so as not to offend one side or the other and invite virulent comments. To be fair, sometimes the original blogs/postings themselves are tendentious, judgmental, make sweeping statements, and include tasteless insensitive pictures, almost as if spoiling for a fight.
Intolerance of any view, worldview or even perception other than one’s own is often found in individual or group interactions, and this probably is pointing towards a fact that Indian society is becoming increasingly intolerant. Our prescription of economic development and the way its fall out has been managed has unleashed not only irreconcilable aspirations among various sections of the people but often an ugly conflict between simultaneously prevailing centuries as a part of this modernisation project. We are a divided, indeed, very fragmented society with too many identities – ethnic, caste-based, religious, regional (even sub-regional), and of course political identities, to defend from each other’s perceived pillory.