I believe there’s definitely a huge difference between the words ‘fan’ and ‘fanatic’. This is despite the fact that the word ‘fan’ has its origins from the word ‘fanatic’.
Let me illustrate. You may be a die-hard fan of Shahrukh Khan or Sachin Tendulkar. You may remember every dialogue, song, or trivia about your favorite star. You know every little personal detail of the stars, which I doubt whether the icons themselves may remember. Walls in your room might be full of his or her pictures, and you are planning to name your first born as Rahul or Sachin, even if it’s a she.
All these are fine, I appreciate, and all of us understand.
But the day you feel like mutilating the face of any one of the millions who take a dig at your icon, the moment you want to pick up a fight because someone feels that Salman or Aamir Khan are better looking than Shahrukh (which I agree), or Dravid is a better cricketer than Sachin, you transform into a fanatic. You turn into an extremist, not just an enthusiast, or an ardent devotee.
Fanaticism is perhaps the biggest cause of all modern day miseries. Fanatics of different religions are spreading terror. Fanatics for a cause are being used as a tool by politicians, governments, religious sects, even MNCs to initiate violence, destroy property, kill people.
Terror networks have a resolute mission of creating fanatics. It works for them, as fanatics are unwilling to budge from the cause, but are more than willing to and often succeed in creating more fanatics.
I have said before that I abhor extremism of all forms. I firmly believe that extremism irrespective of how harmless the subject is, is never good.
Winston Churchill once said “Fanatic is someone who won’t change his mind nor change his subject.” And the old Premier of Old Blighty was probably never more right.
Biggest issue with fanatics is that want everyone in the world to accept their point of view; they want to convert you; they want you to follow them, accept their ideals however unidentifiable it maybe for you.
While it looks like a thin line between a die-hard fan and a hard core fanatic, the delta is all about the length one would go to prove and protect their faith.
Cricket may be your religion, and Sachin might be your God, but he is not mine, and you better respect that.
You find greatness in your religion. You find inspiration in your taste in music, books, language, culture, literature. You adore a larger than life figure. But your adoration and inspiration must be limited to yourself.
I find excessive jingoism and patriotism also positively repelling. Taking law into your own hands for a jingoistic cause, only looks good in movies.
If you wonder, whether I practice what I preach, I would like to assure you so. I am a huge Dev Anand fan, and my friends ridicule me for being one. I smile at them, pity them, and once in a while ask them to listen to this song. By the way, even Sachin loves this one.