By Conrad Pinto : Non-Conformism is a narrowly defined concept. To a layman it would only mean to not conform to conventional beliefs and stereotypes. It is, however, a much wider concept with deeper meaning and also a way of life.
When Martin Luther charged his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenburg, charging the Roman Catholic Church of heresy, many eyes had opened, prior to which people had subjected themselves to conform to the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. This led to an extensive movement that spread all over Europe and resulted in the branching of the Christians into various churches that held various beliefs, contrasting to the Roman Catholic Church. It was a Non-Conformist that revamped this system and brought change, without which there would still be persistent blind belief.
Non-Conformism is a weapon against present-day conventional beliefs that blinds humans in following a cult only for the sheer reason of submittance to a society or family that it lives amongst. This submittance evolves from excessive trust of the individual on the same, and arrests growth of the mind in terms of thought and perspective, which is partly due to strict submissive cultures followed by society, and also due to the tender age at which the child is when he/she is at this stage.
In the present-day India, the Gandhi-Nehru family has been highly criticized. There have been many issues that continue to haunt this country, ever since independence. But it is the split-support of the populace for various political parties, in accordance to their sects that decide which issues are important and which are not. It is the cults of the majority that extends their supports to these parties and also to their causes which makes them conform more to the parties and less to the national causes.
There has been widespread contempt towards our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for more than a couple of years, and mainly so for many reasons. And although the Prime Minister has brought about many positive economic reforms, there have been of them criticizing for excessively concentrating on economic development, and not contributing much to the social, environmental and law and order reforms. This approach is rightly justified. It is not Non-Conformism to accept any steps of the Prime Minister blindly only on the grounds that the majorities criticize him, but it is so when you applaud him for his enactment on certain issues, but criticize him for his lack of enactment on the others. So it takes a Non-Conformist to applaud his economic policies and criticize his lack of enactment on other issues, and at the same time make sure that no matter how good or bad the person is, not to judge his performance on the same basis.
Non-Conformism is therefore, a very important concept, and also a way of life.