What is intolerance and identify its forms? How best to come out of it all?
Intolerance is supposed to have taken place when we do not accept others’ point of view or belief, are not in sync with others’ sensitivities or habits which are different to that of ours, etc. This intolerance could be due to our incapacity to put up with others beliefs and practices. These beliefs and practices could be ritualistic or religious in nature or could be in conflict with our own persisting beliefs and its consequence / spin-off may produce harmful effects on the country as a whole. It should never be forgotten that any over-indulgence in our beliefs and stark disregard or denigrate differing perceptions produces hostility between the communities. Also, the allowable deviation in beliefs, if at all, could be ironed out by sitting of differing communities and reach to a conclusive result by an approach of give and take otherwise intolerance between could result in bad blood and ill-feeling and could prove to be counterproductive to inclusive growth of a country. Divisiveness could spell doom for unity and integrity of a country as well.
Intolerance in any form has disastrous consequences and if not controlled with iron hand can prove ruinous to the inclusive growth first and then shake the very foundation of the state. We should never forget that India is a pluralistic society and every community has its role to play in its growth and development.
Following are some of the Intolerances which are creating ill-will and spoiling the congenial environs:-
COMMUNAL CONFLICTS AND INTOLERANCE
In India, we cannot separate state and the religion the people follow. Religion is a motivating and binding force in Indian context while having secular credentials. The state remains as an unbiased player as far as religion is concerned. We believe in the philosophy of secularism (Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava) – all are equal while we talk about religion. Despite secularism, we have differences in the name of caste, language, colour, culture consequently giving rise to conflict of interests wherein each community wants to have upper hand. In such a scenario, sometimes conflict is the natural corollary. As I said before, the state has to remain a neutral player lest this conflict does not take a turn for the worst.
The partition of India after independence in 1947 into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh took place on the religious lines. There was huge spillage of blood due to mass migration of people to their respective countries. The resulting widespread violence took toll of more than 5 lacs. Such dreadful consequence of communal mindset was enacted. In order that we remain united, it is important that we respect each others’ beliefs while following our own with fervor it deserves. Are not we participating and enjoying each other religious festivals? We are, then why create unnecessary differences. Religion is a sacred intent. If this is for our common Creator’s connectivity then there should not be any difference whatsoever. If some extraneous reasons are there then we’ve to remove those differences and live happily despite differences. Each one of us has the freedom to follow his/her religion of choice. No one can stop us from following this course. It is because our constitution gives full liberty to follow whatever religion we want. Communalism is antithesis to inclusive progress of a country so it should be nipped. Dissent if any, should be met with persuasion. Creating ill-feeling for vote bank purposes should be stopped.
In India there is unity in diversity and it is a must that all should have full faith in its diversity. Presently, there is perceived (I see that way) growth of communalism. Communalism is expression of love towards our own religion – thinking it to be superior while disregarding or disrespecting the aspirations and considerations for others’. We ought to follow the dharma of ‘live and let live’. The hydra headed venom of communalism divides our society. Although India is a Hindu majority country (85%) of people are Hindus yet all the people can follow their religious percepts without compunction – because our constitution guarantees religious freedom. Communal harmony is a must for inclusive progress of the country is an undisputed fact.
Secularism has to be the buzz words so that all contribute their mite for all round progress of the country – pro-Indian should be rooted in Indian psyche. Our conscience should prick if some aberrations take place without being selective in approach.
The Constitution of India gives freedom to follow the religious belief with freedom without any outer pressures. In India, we’ve special incentives for minority communities in education etc so that they remain in sync with the progress in education as the majority communities in order to get the benefits of national cake equally. It is in India only that we had had Presidents and every other heads from minority religions (It may be from Muslim, Sikhism, Christians etc) no discrimination or bias is exercised while choosing any constitutional posts.
It has been observed that so called fringe elements or loose cannons stoke fires by their irresponsible pronouncements and these off-the-cuff statements are picked by some media and dissected times without number. An utterance which should not have been given any thought and ought to have died a natural death after sometimes is made to perpetuate and results in bad blood. The Government in power should see to it that stringent laws are made in which equal space is provided to all religions for following their beliefs and practices. has to be maintained, all the cultures, beliefs, traditional modes of behavior, biases generated over a period of time. Though religion is a motivating force in Indian psyche yet it should not be stretched to a limit wherein it proves counterproductive for the overall good of the state.
FOOD HABITS AND INTOLERANCE
I am really perplexed as recently we are witnessing a perverted sort of intolerance as regards the food habit of people. This is for ‘beef eating’ – though I am a pure vegetarian yet I think food preferences are the personal in nature and should be left as such. There are states in India in which beef eating is banned then what is the harm in imposing ban and if one community’s religious sentiments are affected then others should also respect – at least in the states where ban has been imposed through legislation. Why raising hue and cry over food habits and create differences where none is warranted. If somebody wants to have it even after ban then why there is there such a hue and cry about it. Why lynching of a person as happened in UP (Dadri). This is really a black spot in India’s secular character of tolerance. This should not happen again anywhere in India. We’re not living in dark ages. Mutual respect for each others’ religious sentiments is a must. Now coming to criticism concerning beef ban, Digvijay Singh had asserted in the past that his party (Congress) wants ban on cow slaughter and beef ban but it was not taken vociferously as has been the case now. The national media too is responsible for excessively doing its postmortem (may be for enhancing its TRP) without thinking about the negative fallout that will entail nationally or globally.
It is the freedom or liberty to criticize and go hammer and tongs or getting extra strident sometimes a particular way of thought or action and in this process identify oneself with the thought in sync or commensurate with particular school of thought of the society. This ideological difference can be positive or negative in nature. The people to which negative criticisms or unhealthy criticisms are directed become the worst victim of intolerance. – sometimes without any plausible reasons. It is also a fact that everybody reacts differently to a situation. It is ok when differences are not to the detriment or at the cost of others’ ideologies. The dictum: ‘your freedom stops where my nose starts’ should always be kept in mind while accepting and respecting others viewpoints. A small difference produces such a backlash as though we’ve not to live in the society to which we’re vociferously criticizing.
Insofar ‘awardwapsi’ competition that is going on is the case in point. Award should make us proud recipients. Not that now something different has happened. Not that there were no riots and resultant killings of innocents on the basis of religion, there was no mega-scams, there were no flaring or heightening of religious feelings and consequent killings in UP and other parts of India but the aftereffects of Dadri incident and some irresponsible utterances has resulted in return of awards.
I do not understand why Central Govt is being held responsible for each and every incident that happens in states:-
- Killing of Pansare and Dabholkar happened in Maharashtra – while Cong rule was there.
- Kalburgi was killed in Karnataka with Cong rule.
- Dadri happened in UP in SP govt is there.
Selective outrage is not understood at all.
INTOLERANCE BASED ON SOCIO-ECONOMICAL STATUS
We have observed that some people show off their material prosperity and consider have-nots as the flogging horses. No mercy is shown to their state of health or change of situation which has brought about the dismal strait.
Then there are intolerances due to the following:-
- Gender Intolerances.
- Socio-economical Intolerances.
- Caste based Intolerances.
- Intolerance due to cultural tyranny of some.
- Language and region based Intolerances.
Some of the suggestions for removing the menace of intolerance:-
1. Government should be firm in dealing with any adverse remarks (based on religion or ideological differences) coming from their own ruling ministers or party members. Such people should be counseled and advised to show restraint. In a vast country with variety of religions and cultures incidents would be there but how the ruling party conducts itself counts for fostering good relationship.
2. People should have freedom to follow their religious beliefs and cultural traditions without fear.
3. Intolerance is generated with the cocktail of politics and religion. Each should grow in different sphere because each has different goals. When these merge, there is problem.
4. When creative instinct of people especially our youth gets fillip, they will not resort to cheap stratagems in order to get publicity and will become epitome of tolerance.
5. Hate mongers of all hues should be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
6. National award is conferred for any outstanding achievement in variety of fields. An awardee should feel pride in receiving a national award. Returning the award due to one reason or other is not understood and when it is done with a ‘motive’ in mind then it is not understood at all.
7. Sang Parivar should introspect first what they want to convey to the people in general lest its utterances may create ill-feeling amongst the people.
8. While respecting the sensitivities of all, eating habits of all should be respected.
9. As we are witnessing too much of media coverage of any adverse comment by any hothead, meaning we are enjoying freedom of expression enshrined by the constitution but while doing so we are overdoing this and in the process willy-nilly we are tarnishing the image of our country.
10. While there were worst situations created by anti-social elements in the past but now return of awards by our intellectuals require a rethink. What has changed so dramatically now! Has emergency been imposed and their right of self expression trampled, has some writer or a creative film producer interned without a trial or his /her rights taken away? Then why this return of awards? What do these highly intellectual classes want to convey to the masses and the world at large? Why now and not before when more grievous/heinous crimes against humanity were committed! I think ‘manufactured rebellion’ should stop altogether.
11. Liberal space should be respected and propped up by listening to their point of view.
12. If we give an intolerant society to our offspring to our future generations they will be even more intolerant. It is because our children will imbibe our way of thinking.
13. Respect for each other, love for everybody should be the buzz word for all of us.
14. New ideas should be generated for generating brotherly feeling for each other and ultimately this brotherly feel should take us to new heights in national building.
15. The state should perform its Dharma in true sense of terms and nip the hydra headed menace of INTOLERATION with an iron hand whenever it raises its head. We believe it would be done for inclusive progress of our country.