Throughout history, India has remained tolerant but one can not deny taking into consideration the threat of intolerance and the consequences of the same which somehow exist. It still remains subjective, that in what area does one consider intolerance in the country.
For instance, politics is one of the biggest things that can cause disharmony. With the rise of opposing viewpoints and opinions, one can say that it can cause a huge impact on society since a section of people might not want to adhere to opposing viewpoints. Given the current scenario, it still remains debatable if one can see religious tolerance in the country? Raising voice against injustice is agreeable but ‘extremists’ violating the law is not really justified.
The ‘Babri Masjid’ case or the ‘CAA protests’ are the biggest examples. The escalation of protests into riots was in itself a sign of intolerance. One can also blame the media to a certain extent because of their ‘bias’ and ‘exaggerated’ journalism and showing the issue bigger than it is. Yet another debate that exists is – should books/films be banned? Or should writers have to go into exile? Should one’s personal opinion draw a line on the creative side? Classic examples are the protests during ‘Padmavaat’ and the raging anger for Amartya Sen’s book: “The Argumentative Indian“.
Our land has earlier seen historic figures with different viewpoints exist in the same place.
Initially, Section 377 existed but the abolition of it shows that baby steps are being taken and now, one can see that people are coming to terms with the freedom that LGBTQ community have been demanding and have gotten. Though, in a few sections, they are still looked down upon. Gay marriages are still not legal and it was only two years ago when same-sex relationships were accepted. One can only hope that it changes soon.
One of the biggest boons of democracy is Freedom of speech and that can only exist if our tolerance level increases. If one becomes intolerant, freedom of speech and democracy might cease to co-exist. The very definition of ‘opinion’ can not prevail. The argument can go on whether India is a tolerant country or no since it’s a subjective matter. What one needs to understand is there isn’t just black and white, there is grey. Consider that grey. Look for that grey.
Taslima Nasreen, a self-exiled author mentioned once, “I think we should have freedom of expression even if that offends some people. If we do not open our mouths, society will not evolve. Of course, we should fight against misogyny, religious fundamentalism and all kinds of evil forces ONLY to make the society a better one”.