Open Letter(n.)- A published letter on a subject of general interest, addressed to a person but intended for general readership.
The strangest thing I’ve come across in the past few days of being cooped up at home with a viral is the “Open Letter to The Delhi Boy” blog post. Despite having gotten to the page only after reading the several angry retorts other people had posted about it, I started out reading with a clear head. I still had to stop halfway through and convince myself to actually complete reading, I’m not sure if it was a wise decision.
The letter, which Hindustan Times in an article published today says is a ‘Classic case of fighting stereotype with stereotype‘ is something that left me scared for more than one reason. What an open letter actually stands for has been put up in the beginning of this post to ensure I (or anyone else for that matter) do not end up doing the same thing that I am reacting against. An open letter is not a rant. As aggressively as you feel towards the person/group you address the letter too, it is still a published letter and words everyone will be reading. there is still a major responsibility you have on you to construct your argument right and in a proper manner. The more passionately you feel about the matter, the more reason to ensure your passion does not cover up all the sense your argument might have had in the beginning.
If it was just about taking a letter that laughs at you in good humor it would be a different case and easier for most people to get over. But a letter with liberal use of crass language basically dividing your country into pieces and talking about one state (and once you read the article you realize its not just targeted against the men) in the basest manner possible is harder to humor. Even more saddening then reading the letter is to read some of the replys. Almost all the ones that say ‘good job, very true’ also include ‘I am a Tamilian too’ . A lot of replys against the article have been written with the same hate that the article has been written with and here I am willing to understand why. There are people who have commented with a more rational minds against the article but I wonder how many people are actually reading these replys with the same levelheadedness. Besides the replys and the whole north-south debate you could see in them, I had trouble reading the morning newspaper because somewhere else on the very same blog, I read ‘I am a journalist’. If an article so biased and in some ways baseless could have been written by someone who I might be relying on for free and fair news, I’m not to sure I want the news. Given the fact that I am young and am still considering my career options and what adults are supposed to act like, Well- I’m rethinking all of that.
But given the fact I’m asking readers to not typecast or stereotype all people belonging yo a group because of what one voice among them says, I shouldn’t be doing the same with a profession.
There are two other blog posts that have written in reaction and I actually think they deserve to be read more than the original. If you’ve read the original article, then you’ll need this to get back some faith in people back. If you haven’t read the original, these one’s are good enough to be read all the same-
The Disgruntled Mob- Bhaiyya…Palika Bazaar ka Kitna?
The Mad Momma- ‘Tis the season for open letters
They basically manage to encompass the reply that I and a lot of other people have tried to give to the article and in the best manner possible. Another letter basically stating the same is not required. The only part left out and in a way a question that Lavanya also asks in her reply is- ‘Do all army kids think the same way?’
That’s one of the things I hope people would not think after reading the article. Until i read the letter I used to think none of the army kids ever would or even could think like that. The letter has obviously proved me wrong but like Lavanya states a case saying one south Indians views should not be taken as belonging to the entire community, I say the same, just from an army kids point of view.
Funnily enough most of us have issues with figuring out which part of the country it is to where we belong so we don’t really ever get to be a part of the south Indian versus north Indian debate. Even if we do know that, given we live in a different part of the country every two to three years and it could be the opposite ends of India for all you know, we know acceptance of every place and adjustment is much better than hate- For us and for everyone around us too.
There is a post that has been put up on the very same blog by Shahana called ‘Daughter Desh Ki’. I liked that article, it stood very true for me and had been written well with an emotion a whole lot of us could relate too. She even has a line in that saying ”We are the only category of children in the country who get very confused when asked where we are from. ‘ Which makes it harder for me to understand where her most recent article came from. I’m sure if she had the sense and skill to write that article, this article if it contained the same wouldn’t have gone so wrong. That you can’t really be the country’s daughter, as she calls herself, if you don’t see the country as a country but as several opposing states that are hostile to each other. Being a person who’s lived in several different states from the moment I was born and currently living in Delhi, the city that is being targeted, I assure you- It is not true.
We’re all allowed to rant, it isn’t wrong. Grab a friend and a coffee and do so or lock yourself up with your favorite books. If writing is the only way of catharsis for you, well and good. But please remember personal diaries aren’t such a stupid idea after all.