Promoting a world view that doesn’t allow citizens — including students — to protest against government policies, question teachings in educational institutions, critically analyse the teachings of our political and religious leaders — is pushing us towards slavery. Throughout history, dissent has been very important in bringing about vibrant change in any given society. Today’s information explosion has made the common man believe many things which are more than often; fictitious, one sided and planted for exploitation — which ruins a democratically intellectual atmosphere. In South Asian history, inclusive democratic dialogue, between communities left a legacy of spiritually aware individuals — who debated upon the finer dimensions of life, and brought us the notion of a better societyThose who propagate societal betterment, accept criticism and are respectful towards the opinions of others. These are indeed the citizens who have laid the foundations of a society we dream of living in. However in recent times, this culture of questioning is slowly evanescing — even regarding the smallest of events.Growing up in a society where I am told not to utter a word when a religious preacher is speaking, emphasizes on the notion that he is all-knowing and pious — serves as a mental block for me. What is worse is that I cannot muster the courage to seek even meagre explanations. For the underlying assumption that we function upon is that he the preacher is right and I the student have no right to question him. As students we are not equipped with tools to critically analyze events and people, despite the plethora of questions that erupt in our minds. We are too confused and afraid in most matters, that nothing specific seems to catch our full attention, resulting in our opinions and points of view to be lukewarm. This makes us slaves within our limited understanding, of limited concepts. The questions, if we have any, are tucked inside our conscious forever.There is beauty in listening to one another, trying to understand our shared reality by combining our diverse opinionsIt seems we think of the two terms ‘questioning’ and ‘disagreement’ as interchangeable. However, I am not necessarily disagreeing with what a teacher has to say perhaps I am just humbly seeking clarifications in regard to the topic in discussion. Even disagreeing is not necessarily a bad thing it provides us with a chance to look at something from other person’s point of view. Observing a single idea from different perspectives, yields a variety of meanings, which add richness and depth to the subject matter. Moreover there is beauty in listening to one another, trying to understand our shared reality by combining our diverse opinions. Or in the least, creating a space where these opinions can be shared without social judgment and formal retributions. Similarly, in our political domain, leaders hold an unflinching, dominant and unquestionable status and the policies they draft, the moves they take and the guidelines they draw up, are final. Questions with regard to such situations are unwelcome and often lead to serious repercussions for many. As quoted by J William Fulbright “In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith,” dissent is an indicator of healthy democracy and one of the parameters of democracy index that UK based company Economist intelligent unit (EIU) considers when measuring state of democracy in different countries. Dissent acts as an instrument of expression and if not respected it often takes violent forms. One can say that curtailing dissent is the worst human rights violation.There are two dimensions to which questions are usually asked- one is the external world which includes various systems, institutions, faiths and political setups while the second is inward introspection-asking questions to one’s own self, which wise men believed was more important as it lead to self-discovery, self-improvement and enhancing ones productivity.As Tony Robbins once said “If you want to change your life, change the questions which you ask yourself each day” Great men ask great questions to no one but themselves. When people stop questions the establishment’s wrongdoings, authoritarianism emerges as the dominant culture. However when we stop asking ourselves about our behaviour, we lose our ability to comprehend, become lazy and un-productive. Our lives are an accumulation of our choices, every present or future outcome is based upon past choices, hence questioning ourselves while making important decisions As our results are the outcome of what we chose in the past, choosing involves asking questions, this makes it even more important.The conundrum then is that if asking questions is so important, then why don’t we? Moreover why don’t we let others ask questions? Why have we rejected critical engagement on a whole?The writers are Motivational speakers and social activistsPublished in Daily Times, August 10th 2018.