With countless Instagram posts, raging WhatsApp messages and everyday discussions, the current political discourse has widely affected our relationships and this piece aims to answer the question that should you let your political opinion ruin your friendships?
India is currently standing on the edge of revolution with more than 40 prominent universities including central universities like the University of Delhi, and globally acclaimed universities like Harvard University all protesting against the fascist regime of the elected government.
This protest has not just reached the streets but it has even engulfed our daily conversations. Students throughout the country have shown immense support to the right of peaceful protest and raised voices against police brutality witnessed by students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. With section 144 imposed and means of communication and transport cut, students have refused to stay silent even after constant detentions of their comrades.
However, there still exist many who have been blinded by years of BJP propaganda and have to awaken the “Hindu” in them to dominate. The co-existence of both extremely strong perspectives can be found easily. Unfortunately, these people aren’t far-away citizens, they are found in our proximity and interact with us daily.
People you idolised might support actions that you condemn, your childhood friend can appreciate police brutality and even your college boyfriend can ask you “What is the problem with CAA? Why are you over-stressing?”
In times like these, where there are bleating hearts, it’s important to remember a few things.
- It’s okay to be emotional: While many might tell that it’s just a policy or it’s just an act, and you’re being over-emotional over something that doesn’t directly affect, you, by all means, are allowed to tell that person to leave. It’s good to be emotional, it’s good to keep yourself in shoes of those who are oppressed and not be blinded by your privilege. It’s okay to share a million stories a day. What’s not okay is to blame yourself for caring too much.
- Unfriend, Unfollow, Block: While you’re posting your opinion, many will share videos of buses burning and doctored images of protest posters to undermine the student revolution. Seeing even one story can fill you with disgust and a longing frustration. If you believe, the person has the intellect to comprehend the gravity of what you’re saying, you may engage in a healthy discussion that doesn’t affect your mental health. But, if not, you’re completely allowed to eradicate that person from your social media as well as life.
- Others lack of awareness isn’t your burden: If all your friend leads you in is unnecessary bickering; distance yourself. It’s not your job to debate on half-known facts and pseudo-nationalism. It’s recommended that you ask the other person to educate themselves with the current scenario and then have a discussion. You may send them sources of information to correct their perspective but not on the cost of your mental well-being.
- Judge people on their opinions: Often you hear that you should stay cordial even after conflicting political opinion. However, it must be assessed whether the opinion just technical or lacks basic empathy. Is the debating point whether you like the reach of the possibility or you fail to consider someone human? The political opinion just doesn’t determine a political standing of the person but also questions their fundamental privilege.
- Call them out!: In a family WhatsApp group, if you feel suffocated with your uncle’s marginalising joke, call them out. Instances like this pave way for the banality of evil. Examples like these, normalise cruelty and in many cases even internalise it as it’s said without an objection in a comfortable safe environment. Hence, you calling them out will make people question the normalisation of it.
While relationships constitute a large part of our life, nothing is above your mental well-being. It’s imperative to remember that even conflicting opinions can turn relationships toxic.
Feature Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons