Growing intolerance to criticism has long tinged the social atmosphere at public platforms and spaces. But lately it's started snowballing into fist fights, social media propagandas, inappropriate behaviour, hate speeches, to resignations and what not.

On Friday, a video gone viral of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai snatching a microphone from a seer, was one of the many instances wherein difference of opinion was met with pettiness and impatience.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai addressing the inauguration of
Bengaluru : Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai addressing the inauguration of "Invest Karnataka''- Global Investors Summit-2022, in Bengaluru on Wednesday, November 02, 2022. (Photo:IANS)IANS

In the short clip gone viral, the Karnataka CM is seen taking away the mic from seer Eshwarananadapuri Swami who is sitting right next to him during an event. While the CM did not display aggression in terms of gestures but the abrupt snatching of microphone while a person is in the middle of his speech, did not go unnoticed.

In his defence, the CM Bommai, immediately, said, "I 'm not the one who only gives assurances but has released funds to find a solution to these problems."

Not the first snatched microphone

Talking of snatching a microphone publicly and it's not happened for the first time. Back in 2019, former Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah too displayed a similar lack of patience and grace when he caught on the camera snatching a microphone from a woman who was complaining during an event. The woman was saying that she has not been able to get in touch with MLA Yathindra, also Siddaramaiah's son. Apparently, that was enough to make the CM lose his cool, lunge towards the woman and snatch her microphone.

Just another Bollywood film

What would have been and ideally should have been just another B-town mainstream film, Pathaan became a tool to judge the viewers' political ideologies. So the debate over script, action, acting gave way to the actor's personal life, his religious beliefs and his political affiliations.

The burnt effigies, threat calls and boycott culture didn't ruin the weekend for Shah Rukh Khan though.  But any criticism of Pathaan nor any praise of the film has gone down well with flag bearers of intolerance lining both sides of the fence. 

Ban on BBC documentary

If free speech requires unbiased platforms, then frank opinions need an open audience. Both are shrinking, unfortunately. The ban on BBC documentary has been viewed as one such instance where those in the power still feel rattled by dissenting voices and allegations. Sometimes responding to allegations work, sometimes silence. But bans hardly ever, but if at all The Streisand Effect comes into play.

Despite the ban on BBC documentary India: The Modi Question, it was displayed at several places across the nation, including campus of University of Hyderabad. Threats of it being screened, and violence over if it was screened have been made by the dozen by student organisations, political parties and leader alike.

Hate speech over a tweet on documentary

If the ban on the documentary was wrong, then hate hate speech over a tweet on the documentary was also not right. The big question remains -- can it really affect our sovereignty? The bigger question remains, should it?

Congress worker Anil Anthony, son of Congress leader AK Anthony, alleged that he became a victim of hate speeches after his post on the documentary. "Those in India placing views of BBC, a state sponsored channel with a long history of prejudices over Indian institutions is setting a dangerous precedence will undermine the sovereignty." But can the documentary really and should it really affect our sovereignty? That's the big question.

And in the process of taking note, while some laugh it off, others feel concerned. "Intolerance has an exponential effect," said a post. So will tolerance, hopefully.