BY RASHI LOHAAN
What started as a brave woman stating her opinion to the public about the evils of our society has today turned into Kangana Ranaut v/s the movie mafia/BMC/Maharashtra Govt. It has become a topic of conflict not only in the nation but also in our minds as well.
Ranging from issues of Hinduism to Kashmiri Pandits to Bollywood and drugs to the rampant nepotism to the raging issue of Sushant Singh Rajput’s heart-breaking demise, Kangana has not shied away from remarking on such topics on public platforms and live on television.
And surprisingly, unlike a lot of our pretty plastic Bollywood girls, a lot of her arguments make sense.
Now I want you all to ask yourselves – in today’s world when a strong brave woman makes a point in public that is backed up with logic and statistics, how is she treated? How does the public react?
Hashtags like “Kangana pagal hai”, “Boycott Kangana”, “Suspend Team Kangana” are just a few examples of twitter hashtags which continued to be in the trending list for weeks, if not months.
After days of continuous bad mouthing, after many attempts to oppress her, Kangana refused to take back her words and continued her fight and rather began to point fingers at the people in power. Then on September 8th, the Bombay Municipal Corporation paid a visit to her production office in Pali Hill area of Bombay, and consecutively it was demolished on September 9th i.e in less than 24 hours.
And hence the hashtag, Death of Democracy.
David Ben-Gurion, former PM of Israel once said, “The test of democracy, is freedom of criticism.” Perhaps this is one instance which will go down in the books of history where our Indian democracy failed. Failed to answer to its public, failed to give justice, failed to uphold the honour of a woman (who calls herself as a proud daughter of India).
However, it is very important to point out here that her opinions do have certain flaws,which primarily includes the issue of Mental Health and her selective political activism.
The demise of SSR created a buzz around this issue of Mental health, almost everyone everywhere was talking about it, which brought a change that mental health activists had been trying to bring about for decades. There was a conversation about depression, anxiety, its victims and its sufferings.
Now the important and perhaps the only thing to remember here is that, when we as laymen talk about mental health, it is important to address the fact that we are not experts in this field and have no scientific knowledge about it, much like we don’t talk about Tuberculosis or Cancer as a disease and give our “opinion” about it, we are not certified to give our opinion on Mental Health. No illness works the way any person perceives it to. There is a science involved. Now, by calling a patient of depression a “self-proclaimed mental health patient” is undoing the years of work of mental health professionals that helped people come out and get the help that they needed.
Now because of this dialogue where words like pagal and addict are thrown about so carelessly, it is instilling a deep fear of judgment in those people who want to come out and get help.
And it is not just that, her videos regarding sensitive topics such as Jihad or the Kashmir scenario very clearly show her blind support towards the right wing wherein she open uses terms such as “agenda carriers” or “anti-nationals”. Her political opinions display a blatant bias in favour of the right-wing nationalist ideology and the muscular concerns of the ruling establishment which claims to be the defender of patriotism.
While on one hand she refuses to directly engage with any politics on the public platforms, her statements are often used as propaganda and her example is often brought up by big names such as Ramdas Athawale, who recently visited her residence. While freedom of speech is an important right, it is a dangerous double edged tool meant to be used with the utmost caution in order to maintain the peace of country and not knowingly provoke any unrest which could arise, due to simple ignorance of what one’s choice of words.
There is a very renowned quote from the movie Spiderman which goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Kangana Ranaut is a woman who has been backed by the support of not just politically powerful people, but also millions of followers on social media. Her fight against the privileged establishment is much needed but it needs certain amendments, so that a range of people from struggling actors in Bollywood today to the laymen who take anti-depressant pills to families of lynched minority communities, can all come together without hurting each other, and raise voice against the enemies who we can fight together for the greater good.