On Criticism

Criticism is something which has always fascinated me. I have read many a times that constructive criticism is good and have seen people claiming that they are fine with criticism. However, like everything else, it is easier said than done. To be very frank, there have been quite a number of times when I abhorred the person who criticized me. I am sure it has happened with majority of the people, at some point.

I always felt that it is way too easy to criticize someone or her works than to actually understand her and her works. Hence, I consciously try to keep myself away from criticizing people, even if I don’t like them or whatever they are doing. Nonetheless, I find it rather astonishing how some people keep on passing judgment about others day in and day out. It is next to impossible to like everyone, every film, every book, every song and so on and so forth. However, using harsh words for everyone and everything that you dislike, not keeping in mind what the other person beside you might be feeling, is something which I personally detest.

While going through my Twitter Timeline or the Facebook status messages, I find that there are people who like to criticize something or the other. Some do it articulately, with clever usage of words and some do it blatantly. For some people everything that is new is bad, and for others vice versa. Prejudice and dogma are the traits, which I feel, can result in stagnation of your growth as a human being, emotionally as well as professionally. Yet, we love to stick to them and see anything beyond that. We will criticize a universally acclaimed personality without even going through his works. When someone confronts you and ask you to first read and then criticize, the critique will come up with bizarre reasons of not reading their works. It might be an attack on their characters, their way of living or something negative which they might have heard of. Then again they will compare them with other reputed people who, according to them were more talented than them yet due to various reasons did not reach that point of success. For such people, those famous creations are not even worthy enough to read or watch. The word ‘logic’ is often missing from their point of views. It is true success is something which more or less everyone craves for and a few can go to any level to reach that level of success. But, it is also true that if you are not talented and hard-working you will never able to succeed and maintain your honour. In the field of literature and culture, your creations are not limited to the narrow confinement of your office. It is the readers, audience and the viewers who will make or break you. Whatever is good will be appreciated if people are able to understand them. The inimitable creations of a Rabindranath Tagore or a Satyajit Ray are universally liked by people. The laurels and adoration that they have received and continue to receive from all corners of the world can never be simply fluke or due to destiny. Their creations must have struck the right chords with its innumerable readers and viewers and it is foolish to even overlook that very achievement, if not the others. Yes there are millions of people who might not understand or like their works. It is perfectly fine not to like them, but to demean them and their works is something which can be avoided. More so when you have hardly any knowledge about their works. No need to value them or their fine works, but the negativity can be spared.

There are people who love to demean successful people, whom majority of the people like, just to be different. If you are aware about their works, at least to some extent, then you can be heard. Otherwise, there is nothing fashionable in your so called “different views”, if only you have one. Becoming a critique and criticizing other people is very easy. It is hard to actually go through the works and then assess them. In general also, we can find a lot of negative aspects in a person – the way she talks, the way she dresses, the way she looks, the way she carries herself, her choice of friends, her works and the list may go on and on. However, I feel it would be simpler and easy if we actually overlook the minor skirmishes and appreciate the good traits in her. We tend to forget that everything in this world is an amalgamation of good and bad, and we are no different.  It is important for us to at least try and look beyond the negative aspects of others. When you constantly criticize something which the person sitting beside you might like, it shows disrespect to the other person as well. The person might remain silent for some time to avoid arguments, but not for long. You are most welcome to put forth your opinion, but is always good to keep a check on how argumentative you are becoming. You may not be a free thinker, like the other person in front of you, but you can at least welcome the other person’s ideas and views rather than attacking them without logic.It is important for us to remember the difference between “criticism” and “cynicism”. It is important for the well-being of a person as well as the society at large.

I would conclude with a quote which is just apt to wrap-up whatever I was trying to express.

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless”. – Leo Tolstoy