Friday, October 30, 2015

Are we tolerant?

Intolerance has been the buzzword nowadays. We are bombarded with this word by print and digital media. High pitch debates are happening and views are being shared in intolerant way. Although, I have not had any debate with my friends and we all seem to be living peaceful but I am wondering that have we become intolerant suddenly?

I could not hold myself as I have been reading, listening a lot on this matter. I thought that its time that I also penned my thoughts. My heartfelt apologies that you need to read another piece on this.

Where do I start? I thought that why dont I look at the past for examples of tolerance. When I look at history, I find that it is full of wars. It is full of incidents where brother has killed brother to gain some physical attractions. Does it show tolerance? Most of the family fights are due to intolerance. Intolerance does have a short-tempered mind which must seek peace.

Tolerance is a virtue not everyone can master.  In history, very few people really showed the true meaning of tolerance and who mastered tolerance are treated as great men/women but society at large, does not seem to be tolerant.  These few great persons are the ones to whom people followed in abundance and made religions/sects out of that.  I believe that when people cannot agree to disagree than that is intolerance. When we cannot get along even with friends after having a fight than that is intolerance.

Does any religion teaches intolerance? Intolerance, for sure, does not have a religion. Some of them took religion so seriously that it lead to a journey to intolerance rather to tolerance and at times, intolerance leads to violence with adverse consequences. A small incident shows us the mirror that we can become intolerant in some seconds.The line between tolerance and intolerance is becoming thin.

Many of us are tolerant by chance but not by choice. If someone can kindle our feelings and make us lynch someone by just speaking on loudspeaker than it does mean that we are not tolerant.  If someone can incite riots (or fights) by speaking some words, it does mean that as a society, we have miserably failed on tolerance. Has society ever been tolerant including intellectuals? One can look at the articles on 'Communal violence in India', 'Riots in India' 'Massacres in India' on Wikipedia to understand tolerance level of Indians. Almost every year, there have been one or other riots. I dont want to sound negative but one can also check the number of court cases to understand the intolerance.

When a country boasts its arsenal which includes thousands of nuclear bombs than are they tolerant of world? When there are tax heavens and that money can be used for all kinds of illegal activities than are they tolerant of others? When a country sponsors terrorism in another country for a small piece of land than are they tolerant? When we have our jails and hospitals full due to violence, hatred etc than are we being tolerant? When a girl is burnt alive due to dowry or not allowed to even take birth than are even the families tolerant? When someone is killed or issued Fatwa for having difference in opinion than who is tolerant here? By returning the well deserved awards and highlighting carefully chosen incidents, are intellectuals (or conscience-keepers) being tolerant or intolerant?

Whether it was Kingdoms, British rule, Congress rule, BJP rule or any other Government, we have been constant and consistent in intolerance. We need another god or saviour to teach us tolerance and may be, there would be peace for some time and than another religion will born and earthlings will have one more reason to be intolerant. I might sound cynical but there seems to be a cyclic process which would stop with extinction of human beings. Gladly, animals show much better behavior and Im hopeful that they would finally live in peace on earth.

Same time, all is not lost. I do have many Hindu / Muslim / Christian / Sikh / Jain friends with whom I interact on daily basis either in person or on social media. Friends are part of my life like my body parts and soul. I cannot imagine a life without them and rarely, we discussed on these matters. We are so busy with our lives, trying ends to meet, caring for our children, caring for little we have and taking care of business as usual that we do not get that why so much hype?

Now, you may agree or disagree on above thoughts. Do share it either way. Lets see whether we together can increase tolerance in each other and the chain may continue..

Hariprakash (Hari)
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