Saturday, July 07, 2007

Why supporting the ULFA makes you smart

At the onset, I would like to clarify that I do not support ULFA or the brutal murders that they have carried out in recent times. Also, I feel that they need to rethink their rhetoric and refine it to reflect present realities and not merely dwell on demonizing the capitalist as they have so often done in the past.

Now, getting back to my theory that ‘if you support ULFA it makes you smarter’. This may sound absurd and even sensationalistic but I assure you my intentions are not to convert or influence your thinking towards radicalism. It should be understood that this is a theory I propose and you may vehemently disagree. I encourage it. There are a few considerations before I get into the meat of the matter.

Firstly, ULFA or United Liberation Front of Asom is a symbol that I choose to represent radical groups or peoples movements backed by rational ideology. It is not specific to the left or right of centre political thought. I chose ULFA as I thought of this when I was reading about their history and because I am free as an individual to make that choice.

Secondly, by support I do not mean blind faith or unquestioning reverence. In fact, I intend to suggest just the opposite, critical thinking being one of the necessary attribute which justify the support.

Finally, supporting such an organization will not ‘make’ you smarter but is a pre-requisite as stated in the earlier point. By smart I do not mean a person with a very high IQ but someone with reasonable grasp of economic and political realities and the willingness to think beyond his or her preformed notions.

I think that a person inclined towards such movements has the will and the curiosity to know more about his or her social surroundings. This compels them to move beyond the structure created by parenting and institutionalized thinking. The very fact that a person is willing to explore rather than accept his realities is a testament to independent thought.

It would require a person to forgo the comforts ensured by the system if he or she follows the path laid out in front of them. I do not wish to insinuate that it is an easy task which requires no skill, intelligence or hard work. But yes, it is relatively easier to internalize and implement those values as the systems to do so already exist.

As most prevalent opinions discourage such leanings the task of understanding the motives and objectives of such movements is difficult. It is a constant battle to understand and if at all accept the principles or necessity of such activities. Far more difficult than what is generally heralded as a universal truth. For instance, western countries are far more developed as civilizations in present times. To refute this generally accepted notion, one has to delve into the finer nuances of the claim which is an arduous task, than to accept it as it seems obvious.

Also, mainstream media and key opinionators where mass media is not all pervasive like in India, although this scenario is rapidly changing, do not represent such causes and movements, ideologically or in action, in equitable proportions as compared to accepted views. So it is difficult to know about them without initiative, effort or interest which again is a trait likely to indicate critical thought.

A majority of breakthroughs in human thought have been possibly only by flaunting the conventional wisdom of the time. Without penetrating the mould we would still grapple with the imperfections of Newtonian physics, a non-traditional view in itself, and be oblivious to Einstein’s theory of relativity which is also now being challenged.

It is a trait that we all posses to question and evolve from our closely held beliefs and perceived facts. In this context, a person inclined to support radical movements and subjects established notions to an intense scrutiny before aligning with it. The process that one must goes through imbibes a real world-view formed by self determination and critical thought.

So, supporting ULFA will make you smarter as much as watching football will make you an athlete. But yes, it does prove to be a valid indicator of individuality and independent thought. One can argue that these values in themselves are not worthy of imbibing and rightly so as per their perception. But I choose to disagree on this one and of course with regards to this piece so may you...

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