Tolerance and Responsibility in society

Anuj Verma
India’s is one of the most old civic societies in the world, with its glory of golden era behind and a stigma of two hundred years of British slavery. The partition of India, on basis of religion, was one of the darkest phases in our history which saw a naked dance of death and crores of people left hapless without single penny, on both sides. India was rebuilt like Japan, the country totally ravaged during World War IInd, in the same decade.
India rose back as a strong nation, alongwith it’s fast growing population. But, as compared to Japan and Japanese people we have not evolved enough to speed up with their high pace of growth and nation building character.
Our minds, still, are stuck up in finding ways and means to avoid taxes; corruption spread over in every aspect of our life whether in business, in Government service, in religious, educational and health institutions; land grabbing; forests cuttings, degrading quality of air by burning of stubble and by high polluting industries, brick kilns, diesal and thermal power plants, poisoning of soil and water by unscheduled sprays of toxic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides in agricultural fields, failure in rain water harvesting; menace of food and milk adulteration; unethical power struggles; spreading violence, anarchy to meet vested interests; an evil outdated web of ethnicity; religion; casteism and demanding reservations and subsidies as a matter of right and so on. No doubt, the list is very long. The Governments too have pretty good pressures on their shoulders. On one hand, the pressure caused by population explosion; corruption as an inseparable part of our system; a big force of para millitary personnel required to meet law and order challanges thrown by terrorists, arsonists, religious anarchists; challenges to protect borders and handle regular border skirmishes and disputes; pressure to generate and manage resources to meet infrastructural demands; to feed and run upliftment programs for a big chunk of population under Below Poverty Line and Economically Weaker Section; pressure to maintain good economy and GDP ratio; meeting WTO and environment challenges ……………!
An average Indian is peaceful, God-fearing and law abiding citizen, but a small but powerful section of not all but few businessmen turned politicians, Godmen, preachers, mafia, land grabbers try overpowering minds of a big chunk of population to achieve their personal goals and have a control over this chunk of population by playing with their emotions, sentiments, regional and religious faith. They also exploit and try to control raw minds of unemployed and poor youth and lure them to indulge in unlawful activities. These unemployed youth are an easy source of fodder for cannons of arsonists and anarchists. During last two three decades, we have been witness to a number of violent resistance, terrorism, unrest caused due to regional, religion ethnicity and conservatism overpowering minds of a chunk of population; Anti national and anti social elements mixing up with the local population to fullfill their greed for money and power.
No doubt, the Indian police was able to finish up infamous Dacait gangs operating in rural and semi rural areas till eighties, but, it seems the present days dacaits have changed their modus- operandi and now they have become part of our urban society and do crimes in calculated and lorganized ways, involving more people in their crimes, even without their knowledge, overpowering their minds with regional, religious and ethnic sentiments. 1984 killings of Sikhs, burning of Hindu pilgrims in Godhra train Coach, it’s aftermath riots in Gujarat are the deep wounds given by anarchists. But, still the Indian Composite and Secular culture is intact and the country moved on the path of peace, growth and development.
Equally disturbing were a series of violent protests in Jat reservation agitation, during February 2016, by Jat people of North India, especially those in the state of Haryana, which “paralysed the State for 10 days.” On February 18, outside the district court in Rohtak, a group of traders clashed with a group of lawyers and nearly 30 lives were lost in this episode. From this point, it became a jat versus non-jat clash and the violence spiralled out of control, paralysing Haryana for days. The state issued shoot at sight orders and Section 144 was imposed, but these measures had barely any impact. Few eyewitness described the violence as worse than what they had witnessed during Partition riots. The state suffered a loss of Rs 20,000 crore owing to burning and destroying of public and private property during the violence. The murkier part of the movement, as reported, on the night of 22–23 February 2016, was that 10 women were pulled out from cars, stripped and raped by the goons in Murthal. But, no rape victims came forward to lodge complaint and the case could not be proved despite of investigation by a SIT headed by an Inspector General of Police.
In Kashmir valley, too, we witnessed a strange phenomenon starting year 2008, when during daytime, para millitary forces and passer byes were subjected to heavy stone pelting by those coming out of Mosques after the Namaz prayers. This pelting of stones was more intensive on Fridays. Then, during nights, there used to be loudspeaker announcements from mosques asking all non Kashmiris and non muslims to leave the Kashmir valley. Similar situation was witnessed during 1989, 1990 when the Kashmiri Hindu population was forced to migrate from Kashmir valley, leaving behind all their properties behind. That time also, announcements were used to be made from mosques and the Hindu females were subjected to inhuman tortures and sexual assaults. Today also, a non muslim cannot think about buying an immovable property in Kashmir valley. I think this is one of the most glaring example of intolerance and inhuman face of our society. Indian is a composite society with equal rights and opportunities for all citizens secured by its constitution. All fears about losing ethnicity or indigenous identity, in a state or a region, are promoted and precipitated by few vested interests who have illegal and inhuman fears of loosing control over people living in that state or region. On one side, we talk about globalisation and softening borders with neighbouring countries and on the other hand, we are hesitant to accommodate fellow Indians in our lands and our culture. People are misguided and misled by those claiming to be their leaders to meet their lust for money and power.
We, again, witnessed a mele of violence, loot and arson by followers of a self styled Godman Ram Rahim, when their Godman was arrested by the security forces to be put behind bars after the court decision on rape charges. Citizens of Panchkula, Sirsa alongwith few other parts of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and were put on ransom by the roitors for a whole day. There were reports of around forty deaths and three hundred injured persons.
It’s only during last three four years back, when incidents of mob lynching started taking place in few parts of the country. To stop occuring of such incidents was a great challenge for the Government agencies and fortunately the Government has been successful to stop such incidents. But, it is the common citizen of India, who has not only to raise voice against mob lynching but also be vigilant enough to stop occuring of such incidents in nearby localities.
The more serious challenge before our society has been increasing number of cases of rapes and murders of females. Very recently, when there were discussions going on over Citizens Amendment Bill in Indian Parliament, reports starting coming of loot and arson by those opposing the bill. Is this a right way to oppose a bill being discussed in the Parliament. Aren’t there better and peaceful ways available? We all shall enjoy a holiday on 2nd October and may take pledge to follow footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabh Bhai Patel and other Indian legendary leaders, but very next moment shall forget their sacrifices in building this nation. Intolerance, whether that is Political, Religious, Ethnic, Cultural or Regional, is very dangerous for growth, development and evolution of a society.