“Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.” – William Butler Yeats
“We all are Indian.” I have been hearing these words since my childhood. T that point, I was not aware of the inner meaning of this, but now, I’m sure most Indians know why intolerance has been increasing in the last 5 years. Just think about it.
The days are gone when we thought that India is certainly a land of tolerance, a land that sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religion, and when all nations of the earth would speak of India as an example of tolerance. Nowadays, we’ve been watching a certain kind of phenomena where the minority communities are being targeted. If the norms and culture of society will be set on religion grounds, can we really say ‘India is a symbol of unity in diversity’? I don’t think so.
Remarkably, the preamble to the Charter of the United Nations proclaims that to achieve the goals of the Charter, we need to “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”.
There is an association that can be seen among tolerance, human rights, democracy and peace. At present, the rise of intolerance is really frightening. The awful face of an intolerant India was seen with clashes during the CAA protests in Zafrabad, on the night of February 23. It turned into an incident of communal violence and spread across Delhi. Many innocent lives were lost in the violence.
This is not the first time where intolerance has come out with its ugly face. How could we say that we are living with ‘tolerance’ in India? I don’t think so.
Perhaps it is suitable time to remind everyone of Mahatma Gandhi’s precious words that he asked when delivering a speech on inter-religious harmony, back in 1925: “If all of us are God’s creation, why should we fear one another or hate those who do not hold the same belief that we do?” Simplistic? Maybe. Pertinent? Absolutely.
Tolerance not only denotes to the issue which is not tolerable, but I feel it can also be regarded to accept all the new ideas and beliefs of others for the growth of the country.
“Tolerance is a form of intolerance:
public acceptance, private disdain,
the pretences that humanity is one’s to allow.
Acceptable operating parameters
are not to be defined by support
and certainly not by a token indifference.
To tolerate is to glorify one’s limits.
Feigning acceptance of the beyond
the true character remains just out of reach.
Better to hate openly and honestly
than veil it in the robes of the community;
…better yet, see tolerance for what it isn’t.”