The most recent post on this site talked about how the media sensationalizes a piece of news and persists with it for a period, more than required. Off late, the focus has been on the opposition or support to the visit of nationals from our neighboring country, and the subsequent manifestations from both sides. This post will talk about how the situation was (mis)handled and what could have been done instead.
At the outset, let me put it in writing that this post will not be taking any of the sides. Attempt will be made to be as neutral as umpires and referees (Not being sarcastic here)
When the topic of discussion dwells around residents of our neighboring country or the country in general or particular, perceptions do differ. Some are of the view that compartmentalization is impossible and everything and anything associated with the country must be resisted and rejected in some form. They cite the tension floating around the two countries and various grave incidents over the past centuries as the reason behind their viewpoint. Some feel that compartmentalization is the need of the day and fields such as sports, art, etc. know no specific geographical boundaries. They are of the opinion that cultural exchanges must be encouraged irrespective of the geopolitical situation.
Both sides have vehemently voiced their opinion, either in writing or in action, as visible recently. Debate on which side’s argument is more justified will take ages and we would remain on square one even after ages. So, we have a deadlock which has persisted for long and likely to continue in the future as well. So what is the solution, if there is one in the first place.
So, there are 3 possible approaches which may be adopted. First, both sides may perform a reality check. The protagonists must argue with themselves whether inviting a particular person or person from a particular country is the only person who can be invited and there is absolutely no one else with same calibre who can replace him or her. The antagonists must argue with themselves what, whom, why and how are we opposing the protagonists. Are we guided by some principles or opposing something , just for the sake of it. It is likely that differences may actually get resolved through moderation achieved as result of performing this reality check.
If they don’t then we have a second and perhaps the most powerful approach. Talk with each other and not about each other. Huge disputes can be resolved through powerful discussions, moderated by competent authority. I don’t’ think the effectiveness of such discussions has been appreciated enough. The objective is to meet all the demands with no harm to anyone in public life. Give it a try.. Good chance that it may actually work.
Suppose the second approach also fails. Now, what next. An approach adopted these days in various fields is to use innovation. For instance, in this case, try to leverage the power of digital communications. Have the book launch done over video conferencing through the usage of the most advanced conferencing solutions, which depict real life size individuals at the other end. In that way, the protagonists will feel that the person is actually present 20 feet away and the antagonists will have no real opposition since the person is not actually present 20 feet away !!..All sides will end up being happy and satisfied. This was just an example which flashed in my mind. I am sure there could be better innovative ways as well.
The crux of the article is to understand the fact that the problem is not with people having different opinions, but the reluctance in adopting a common ground. Finding the middle path is critical if we are hopeful of achieving a reasonably peaceful society and harmony amongst the protagonists and the antagonists.