Indians are amongst the most tolerant people on this planet. They tolerate everything that is wrong with the country and do it with a smile.
They tolerate corruption with all its ramifications. They tolerate corrupt public servants, who take bribes just to do the job they are paid to do. They do not even attach a social stigma to corruption anymore; these public servants enjoy a high social status in our corrupt society.
Indians assume that policemen are corrupt and perfectly entitled to take bribes from the poor and the downtrodden, using their authority. Encounter killings are not only tolerated but even glorified in Indian movies.
Indians tolerate a crumbling infrastructure, with potholes in the middle of over-crowded roads in all major cities. I recently made a road trip from Aurangabad to Ajanta, a world-renowned heritage site. It was a five – hour journey on mostly gravel roads. The highway itself was under construction and had been under construction for the last six years. Hundreds of other vehicles made the same journey, mostly tourists who carried back impressions of their road trips to their home countries.
Indians tolerate air pollution like no other country does. The complaints about air quality are, very often, from visitors. The locals in Delhi and Kanpur simply learn to live with it; after all, the pollution season only lasts a few months, although the damage to health could be permanent. However, Indians by and large tolerate all this, until someone in the media – more often than not, the international media- makes a big fuss about it.
Indians tolerate power cuts and learn to adapt. A power cut of a few minutes or a few hours is not even news anymore. The rich turn on their generators or inverters and life goes on as usual. The poor suffer a bit more, but that is tolerable to the rich.
Indians tolerate the constant rise in prices of essential goods and services. While the rest of the world is dealing with falling oil prices in the wake of Covid 19, the price of petrol keeps increasing in India. Prices of onions and other vegetables keep rising, but Indians have learned to live with this.
Indians tolerate the failures of their politicians, as long as they are covered up with a strong dose of communal hatred, or, the blame game. Indians have been doing this for seventy years or more, as not too many politicians have lived up to their promise. This does not stop them, however, from making more promises, until the truth can no longer be distinguished from fiction.
Indians are, however, intolerant when it comes to religious groups other than their own. They are also intolerant of people from other races, or people with darker skin. They do, however, tolerate fair-skinned people, especially if they come from the affluent West.
Truly, Indians are very tolerant but only for the wrong things. Perhaps, it is time for them to flip things around.
Be tolerant of other communities, other cultures and other religions. However, do not tolerate corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency, environmental damage or hatred of others in any shape or form.