Whether India is tolerant or intolerant, is a debate that has been going on for quite some time now, to be precise, 2014.
The very fact that people in India can keep on calling India intolerant and continue to live peacefully proves that India is a tolerant country! How can a country, in which people get away with using abusive language against the Prime Minister be intolerant? How is a country in which people of so many religious faiths live and practice their religion without any restrictions, be intolerant? India has even responded to terror attacks in a more tolerant manner than other countries.
Let us take a look at the state of Muslims in the US post 9/11.
After the 9/11 attacks, there was a definite increase in the number of hate crimes against Muslims. These hate crimes ranged from discrimination, destruction of private property, and violent threats and assaults leading to deaths.
The hate crimes also included harassment of Muslim women wearing the hijab. Many of these women were forced to stay at home while others gave up the hijab. And, we are all aware of how Muslim visitors to the US are checked extensively at the airports. Also, the world knows how Osama Bin Laden was chased and vanquished by the US.
Another example is France:
In 2015 after the Paris attacks, France closed three mosques in the country. Between the years 2015-2018, 22 terror attacks have been reported in France with 249 deaths and 928 people being wounded.
As a result of the rising terror attacks, the French Government is likely to pass a new bill in the Parliament in early 2021 which will include measures such as a ban on foreign imams, restrictions on homeschooling, and many more.
Are these countries tolerant?
It is not just about tolerance and intolerance; what we need to understand is why these countries have adopted such anti-Muslim policies. It is simply because of the terror attacks they have faced. And, they need to take more such measures to protect their country and citizens against such attacks.
Now by the same logic, let us take the case of India:
These are some of the more prominent ones. In addition to these, there have been attacks going on in the country. And, not to forget the cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.
The question is, has India done anything as drastic as France or the US? For India to be called intolerant?
All that India has done post-2014 is take action against cross-border terrorism. Is that intolerance?
In a country where people say “chowkidar chor hai” about the Prime Minister, the freedom of speech is questioned?
India is definitely not intolerant because India is a land with a majority Hindu population. And, Hinduism is THE MOST tolerant religion in the world.
Have you heard of any Hindu king going out of India and attacking other countries like Alexander or Changez Khan in history? No!
Have you heard of people being forced to convert to Hinduism? No!
Have you heard of terrorist attacks by Hindu groups anywhere in the world? No!
Then how do Hindus become intolerant compared to other religions?
The concept of intolerance in India is a myth and has been propagated by people with vested interests to misguide the youth of the country.
Unfortunately, these forces have been successful in building the intolerant narrative to a large extent.
I only wish that the youth of this country would open their eyes to this reality and work positively towards the growth of the nation.