Dialogues with people 'unlike us' invariably turn into uncomfortable, hateful and aggressively alienating debates; where each person is trying to prove they are right and the other is wrong. Regardless of what side we stand on, we are getting weary of the polarisation of political opinions and extreme reactions towards those who are different or believe differently from us.
Whatever goes wrong, we blame it on the 'other side'. We have gotten so engrossed in making ourselves heard, we have forgotten to listen.
We stop engaging with those who think differently from us because they never seem to agree with us, and we don't want to feel aggressively attacked.
We aren't listening. We can't rely on dumping diversity on a table, encouraging healthy, rational and factually accurate debate to find some hopeful middle-ground. we selectively listen to and process information that confirms what we already believe, and reject everything that doesn't fit. The identity of the other is already imprinted lastingly in our minds, so we inevitably will now reject any new information they may have to offer if it doesn't fit the imprints. We aren't listening.
We can't even rely on people speaking up for themselves to tackle this, we are already in silos - so no one that needs to listen to you, no matter how loud you scream, is listening.
We think the answer is to have a new kind of conversation that is not only about making oneself heard, but making the 'other' feel heard, and not about what you or they believe in, but 'why'. The human ability to do this isn't new or unnatural; we are merely reactivating what has been educated out of us to become a long-forgotten lost tendency. the inherent curiosity in human stories that we are born with, the inherent craving we have for making human connections.
So, in trying to build this new kind of dialogue with you, Bolti Bandh is a tiny team of writers, illustrators and dialogue enthusiasts bringing to you vivid stories and candid conversations that all explore one thing. Listening to the other side.