Can you be happy and sad at the same time? Can it snow when it is spring? Are you both a bad person and a good person? This is a philosophical argument involving a contradictory process between opposing sides and is called “dialectics”.
This goes back to the Greek philosopher Plato. Plato put out his argument as a back-and-forth dialogue or debate, generally between the character of Socrates, on one side, and some person or group of people to whom Socrates was talking (his interlocutors), on the other.
“Enter the paradox. Sometimes when I teach dialectics, there is this feeling like “but then what do you do?” What do you do with that dialectical tension between two seemingly opposing things? And you enter the paradox by just allowing the two to exist simultaneously,” Dr. Jillian Glasgow wrote in “A Daily Dose of Dialectics”.
I have always felt one of the most interesting intellectual exercises one can do for oneself is try to hold two contrasting ideas in one’s head at the same time. Or, be in close space with someone who you do not agree with. It has worked well for me. In the newsrooms I have led, I have knowingly hired people I do not agree with. Not that their views have always prevailed over mine, but it has helped me immensely as a newsman to have my thoughts challenged.
It seems to have worked well for Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna also. I have no way of knowing what is it that makes Akshay and Twinkle tick, but from the outside, it looks like they are having fun in each other’s company for 21 long years of their marriage and counting, despite being very different people (Akshay’s street smarts versus Twinkle’s book smarts, Akshay’s keen knowledge of the business of Bollywood versus Twinkle’s obvious disinterest, and more recently Akshay’s Right turn versus Twinkle’s liberal stance).
The last one even the prime minister joked about was when Akshay Kumar interviewed him in 2019 before the general elections. “Main aapka bhi Twitter dekhta hoon aur Twinkle Khanna ji ka Twitter dekhta hoon. Aur jis tarah vo mere upar gussa nikaalti hain toh main samajhta hoon isse aapke parivaar mein kaafi shaanti rehti hogi. (I follow both you and Twinkle Khanna on Twitter. The way she takes out her anger on me on Twitter, I feel your family life must be very peaceful),” Modi told Akshay in the interview.
Prime Minister Modi may laugh at Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna contradicting each other on Twitter. But tweeple, from both the Left and the Right, seem to lose sleep trying to figure out how these two share the same bed and much else. When Akshay Kumar said he drinks cow urine for Ayurvedic reasons, someone from the Left asked Twinkle Khanna how she can kiss him after that! Much after Akshay Kumar flagged off a women’s marathon at Delhi University holding the ABVP flag, Twinkle Khanna got trolled for being with a man who supports ABVP. Akshay gets his share of daily abuse too for things Twinkle says and writes.
Today, Twitter is on fire because Twinkle Khanna joked about how filmmakers are rushing to register movies titled Andheri Files, South Bombay Files and such others to emulate the success of The Kashmir Files.
She also joked about making a film about disastrous manicures and naming it Nail Files.
I can understand some people are angry with Twinkle Khanna because of her reference to The Kashmir Files which is about the Kashmir Pandit exodus, but to take it out on Akshay simply because he is married to her is silly.
Also, to think the couple craftily plays the Right and the Left by putting out contrasting views may not necessarily be true. Like I argued, it is stimulating to contradict yourself inside your own head. Or be married to one who does!
Far away from the La La Land of Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna, in Sandhan, a remote village in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, Bajrang Dal local unit leader Bhuri Singh finds no contradiction in being married to a practising Muslim wife and fighting for the cause of Hindu Rashtra, as friend and colleague Darpan Singh found out when he met them at their house in 2008. What are the chances of Bhuri Singh being aware of dialectics? Or having read Plato? And yet, if a Bajrang Dal activist and a practising Muslim can coexist in an intimate space, why can’t Akshay and Twinkle?