Fine! The question is not that Mr. Laxman is accusing a person who is not what he tries to label. It is a question of a national-level celebrity. Sure, being a celebrity does not mean that one cannot have a private life. But still such people come under public and media domains. The question is not only how Ms. Mirza counters Mr. Laxman's arguments but also what he said. Isn't she a daughter-in-law of Malik family of Pakistan? Sure, she doesn't become daughter-in-law of Pakistan by default as she has opted to keep her Indian citizenship. But still there is something one can object. What's the fuss?
Mind you, I am not at all defending Mr. Laxman's remarks but what I am saying is that his utterance is not that controversial as is portrayed and most of all not without reason. In the following I will explain how.
India is a country where the richest to the poorest of the planet live in the same cities. India produces one of the brightest individuals as per Asian standards but still levels of illiteracy and semi-literacy are very high here. Despite of abundance of concentrated wealth the fact remains that India has not progressed much on human development indices.
It's a land of contradictions and anomalies: inequalities, asymmetries, distinctions and differences are highest in this land than anywhere else, including in Russia and China. Therefore, one must resort to distributions in order to understand it.
Before I proceed I must caution those who have some understanding of science that they should not look for Maxwell-Boltzmann type of distributions. Ideally, this is for the randomly distributed gaseous particles with zero volume. No civilization can have distributions exactly like that but if it were to be that then that's a wonder.
Now outside the Anglican world, English is best spoken and written in India and very few among us would disagree with the fact that the Times of India is the leader among the publishing media houses in India. For some good reasons, including possibly because of the caste system, the fact is that many of us have very high ego and truly speaking otherwise unsustainable consciousness if there was not such a huge asymmetry and English was not the most dominant language of India.
Many of us love to dominate our fellow nationals and many more like to be dominated by others. That is how existence of such otherwise inexplicable mammoth inequalities and asymmetries could be explained in India.
Now the Times of India has a view and it should be respected. Also, all of us need to update with time. In fact, this is one of the beauties of Hinduism that its majority of all classes and castes accept evolution. Okay. But does that mean that the others' views be not respected? Should we dump others' views just because they are in Hindi and other vernacular languages? Or not so well articulated? Of course, we pretend to accept minorities' views along with the majority's views but the fact is that we many times ignore majority's views because of linguistic and other societal biases.
Mind you, I am not suggesting that Hindi and vernacular media are necessarily supporting Mr. Laxman or that they agree with his portrayal of Ms. Mirza as a daughter-in-law of Pakistan. But many times the views of majority, particularly those of the silent majority, are not taken up by any media in India; English, Hindi and vernacular.
Let's think about what a person who is average-skilled and see how he and she think about this issue. Sure, it depends on his and her identity as is always the case in India. But then there will be a statistical pattern with sure, dissenting and diverging views too. The question is not only that Ms. Mirza has married a foreigner but with a Pakistani. That may not be so digestive to public at large and it may become objectionable from many perspectives.
For sake of clarification I don't keep such views as I am fully solipsistic to the extent a person like me can be and clearly I have no grudge against Pakistan as I fully accept that division of British India was good for the majorities of both the two nations.
But simply because I keep such views does not mean that others do not exist. Or that I should not consider and respect others views. From my point of view marriage is a personal matter and should not be made an issue of public debate unless and until it does not involve high ranking politicians. But again others and their views also matter here too.
I am also not saying that absoluteness has no meaning and that that relativism implies nihilism. In addition, I do not contend that there should not be a direction of evolution for India as a nation. There are absolute truths and the fact is that the Times of India's views are mostly better than the average Indians' views. But then they come with a rider: condition attached; there may be certain conditions under which the assertions become truth. About direction I am not that sure as Indians have voted for political Right in recently held general elections
Now Ms. Mirza belongs to that class where hardly anyone within that class can dispute whom she should have chosen as her life partner. But then not all Indians are that rich, understanding and that talented. What do they think about the issue? For many among them nationalism matters a lot and many among them would consider Pakistan as enemy state, obstructive to Indian way of life. How will the Times of India editorial team respond to such opinion? Outdated, irrelevant, immature, and regressive? The fact is that it is none of that.
What matters is the understanding of distributions and also accepting that what is from one's point of view a glory and an achievement could be nausea and disgrace from others'. Not all matters of celebrities can be personal from public's perspectives and this is true for otherwise individualistic societies, like the US and the UK too. Can one always preach utility of friendship with Pakistan to the committed rightist people in India? Nationalism matters for tens of millions of Indians all across the nation. So what's the solution?
To leave everything on the evolving time but such would require utmost efforts as time can heal only when we are on the right track. There is no point in embracing liberalism imported from the West without actually understanding it. India is probably the most heterogeneous nation-state in the planet when size is taken into account. Understanding it requires understanding the root of this mammoth heterogeneity.
To make records straight I completely disapprove of Mr. Laxman's remarks. But then I understand that differing views also exist and they in reality could be a silent majority. So in the end it's up to self. Homogenization is successful only up to a point for a contemporary period in deeply heterogeneous societies. There is no point in implanting and enforcing one's views without understanding the limits about comprehension and cognition of the targeted people. Time exists for one and all up to his and her personal measures and this should not be disputed.
In the end I ask few questions. Does the mainstream Indian media admit and acknowledge that parallel views exist which in turn could be a majority many times? And if yes does it respect those views?