No, this is not that yet another piece of mind on the war between tolerant and intolerant. I believe the world is what you wish the world to be. It is tolerant if you see it as it is and it is extremely intolerant if you perceive it to be. After all nobody defined parameters or a scale on which in/tolerance will be measured. Or did anyone? The concept of intolerance didn’t amuse me much as the way people reacted to the whole intolerance hullabaloo.
I always thought we the human beings are one of the most tolerant of the species. We saw civil rights and we were shut about it. We saw economic/policy paralysis but we chose not to raise a voice against it till our coffers were being filled. We saw people losing right over their desire to have children in India and abroad but we were absolutely fine with it. Globally we have seen famine, floods, terrorism and global warming but all we see is round table conferences held year after year. And you still think out of all, we are an intolerant species. You must be kidding me!
But do you think reacting to such situations would have made us any more or less in/tolerant. No! I strongly feel anyone who is receptive to change (a positive change) and can rationally oppose a negative change under any circumstances can be deemed to be sensible, sensitive and a tolerant human being. However the people who claim themselves to be the harbingers of a tolerant society – the so called authors, poets, artists, social activists or personnel belonging to any other social group – are the ones who polarize the society even more. They highlight the issue which is not even existing.
It is sad to see and hear that how they disrespect their own work, go forward and give away their awards and honors. It not only reflects a disrespect to the institution of art they belong to but also to million of people who acknowledge their work. Why such people irk me more is because they are role model for many and instead of being a responsible citizen they act as a puppet. If they think that by programs such as award waapsi, etc. make them any higher in the hierarchy of society, I would like to tell them – on their face – you are received more as a fool who can’t even respect themselves.
And in a secular nation like India, which is the birthplace of 4 major religions of the world; where 170mn muslims reside more than the entire population of Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia put together; where people from particular religions came to India for rescue when they were being persecuted by natives in the so called liberal nations of the world; I believe we should NOT even anticipate ourselves to be religiously intolerant.
2 years back we saw floods in Srinagar, this year in Chennai; if you really wish to be intolerant, let us be intolerant towards rapidly changing climates. We have been witnessing terrorist attacks with the recent ones in Paris, let’s be intolerant against them. So many children die young age because of lack of basic amenities, let’s be intolerant against that. Female foeticide, let’s be intolerant against that. There are many pressing issues which require us to be intolerant, let’s be intolerant against them. Let’s be Neo-Intolerant! (where we add a new perspective and a meaningful existence to this sentiment of being intolerant). Let’s be Un-Intolerant where we will not acknowledge or appreciate any non-sense intolerant arguments.
Recently I came across an article that says Minister of Education Naeem Akhtar would declare 2016 as the year of expression. I see this as an opportunity to be an exemplary state in the nation where everybody can live in peace and harmony with each other. I ask this question to the Minister and the people of the state, that do we have it in us to make this Year of Expression campaign really big for the nation and the world to see that the region which is tormented to be one of the disturbed regions is the epicenter of such a wonderful moment.
Since we as a matter of habit do not enjoy our supremacy much, may be this quote from Khalaf Al Harbi in the Saudi Gazette convinces you more “In India, there are more than 100 religions and more than 100 languages. Yet, the people live in peace and harmony. They have all joined hands to build a strong nation that can produce everything from a sewing needle to the rocket which is preparing to go to Mars. I must say that I feel a bit jealous because I come from a part of the world which has one religion and one language and yet there is killing everywhere. No matter how the world speaks about tolerance, India remains the oldest and most important school to teach tolerance and peaceful co-existence regardless of the religious, social, political or ethnical differences.”
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus)