Intolerance – A Conflict Within in wider perspective

 

“ The great problem in this world is intolerance . Everyone is  intolerant of each other “ — Princess Diana

 

Provoking Unrest – India a country of bans , strikes and bandhs . Writers returning awards , celebrities airing intolerance blatantly, farmers suicide , political warfare , Hindutva rajneti, sexuality , finance and economics topsy turvy . We in the land of Buddha intolerant. Is this an Irony ?

 

Freedom of expression will continue to remain under siege unless all groups accept that people can have different opinions and beliefs in a free country.

 

Soli Sorabjee  rightly pointed  – “Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our Constitution practises tolerance; let us not dilute it.” These stirring sentiments were expressed by Justice Chinnappa Reddy in a Supreme Court judgment pronounced in August 1986 which invalidated expulsion from school of students belonging to Jehova’s Witness faith. Regrettably, over the years, tolerance has been replaced by the rising menace of intolerance which strikes at various fields of human endeavour and creativity: writings, music, drama, paintings and movies.Intolerance stems from an invincible assumption of the infallibility of one’s beliefs and a dogmatic conviction about their rightness. An intolerant society cannot tolerate expression of ideas and views which challenge its current doctrines and conventional wisdom. Consequently, unconventional and heterodox thoughts and views have to be suppressed. That is the prime motivation for censorship. “ ( Source – Hindu )

 

Why not Ban the Political nautanki in Parliament and Outside , which has little to do with the common minimum programme for the people of India. We are ashamed of being in a democracy where there are still a plethora of issues that governs the state of our overall wellbeing & thereby the counter reactions in the form of Bribery ,perjury , Rape , murder and what not? Are we really ready to accept the dangers within our Governance style. If not we are destined to fail as a nation sooner or later. Freedom of expression has always a limit. Your freedom stops where my nose starts. We have to understand where it hurts. The same people who give lectures on freedom can’t stand an honest advise by others. These people who are supporting the writer won’t allow freedom of expressions in the areas that hurt them, for example advise on modesty in dressing and behaviour of our youngsters., advise on safe conduct to youngsters etc.

 

 

Our Constitution prescribes certain fundamental duties to be performed by citizens (Article 51-A). One duty of paramount importance which should be performed is the duty to practise tolerance. Otherwise democracy, a basic feature of our Constitution, will be under siege and the cherished right to freedom of expression will be held hostage by an intolerant mindless mob.

 

 

In society, many people tend to reject those who are different. It is a human trait that we all have. Regardless of ones social, economic, or ethnic background there has been a time in all our lives where we have judged a thought  by its cover without at least reading the synopsis on the back. Intolerance is not something to be proud of, yet everyone handles its affect on their life and other peoples lives differently. Some strive to rid themselves of this trait, while others simply accept it as part of their personality and fail to make any attempt at removing it. Intolerance comes in many different forms and does not see anyone as being exempt from its wrath.

 

As William Ury stated, “Tolerance is not just agreeing with one another or remaining indifferent in the face of injustice, but rather showing respect for the essential humanity in every person.”  Tolerance may seem an impossible exercise in certain situations – being tolerant nonetheless remains key to easing hostile tensions between groups and to helping communities move past intractable conflict. That is because tolerance is integral to different groups relating to one another in a respectful and understanding way. In cases where communities have been deeply entrenched in violent conflict, being tolerant helps the affected groups endure the pain of the past and resolve their differences. In situations where conditions are economically depressed and politically charged, groups and individuals may find it hard to tolerate those that are different from them or have caused them harm. In such cases, discrimination, dehumanization, repression, and violence may occur. Fighting intolerance requires an Individual awareness.

 

We seem to have become increasingly intolerant as a society. Now I fully understand that there are any number of situations and behaviours out there that should not be tolerated. There is a great distinction between tolerating something and being intolerant. Merriam-Webster tells us that to tolerate something means that you are willing to allow something or to put up with something. However, the same dictionary tells us that intolerance means “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression.” Whether it is the increasingly vitriolic set of interchanges between politicians or the kinds of spiteful comments , seems as though we have come to accept vilification as a form of discourse. If the criticisms were accompanied by some kind of creative solution, things might be different. However, criticism and cynicism seem to have become surrogates for actual involvement.

 

 

It is assumed that the feeling of evil is more widespread than the feeling of good. That is why intolerance as an attitude appears to be even more common than tolerance.  Intolerance constitute centuries-old problems of human existence. We have been disturbed by them over and over again. This is connected with man’s constant longing for the paradise lost which is unattainable because of human’s ill .

 

In matter of sexuality , Women are treated differently because of their attire – women’s clothing is more likely to be identified with a religion or particular culture, whereas men, who do not usually wear culture-specific clothing, can “blend” more into  society. This can have repercussions for them at home as their families may disapprove of changes in their dress or outlook. The pressure for women to dress in western clothing is reinforced by the fact that women in cultural dress are “invisible” .

 

 

Religious intolerance has cropped up  to such an extent where a mob rushed  into someone’s house and raids his kitchen to ascertain what he is consuming. Based upon rumours, a misguided and outrageous mob guided by fringe ends up claiming a human life. They have violated the principles laid down by the Mahatma. Why wouldn’t had the great soul not been shocked if he was alive to see this day?

 

 

Secularism is altogether a different and fundamental and independent phenomenon, but states use it to bring equality and justice in their region. It defines the relationship between the state and the religion. It has different meaning in different regions. In India, secularism means equal participation of the state in all religions. The western concept secularism envisions separation of the state and the religion. Though defined differently, the ultimate aim of both views is to facilitate peaceful coexistence of different religions. But this notion of secularism is facing threats around the world due to many reasons. They are viewing ones religion as superior to other religions, imposing religious order by force. Eg: Boko Haram imposing Sharia law in Nigeria, inability of governments to protect minorities. Eg: Persicution of Yazdis in Syria. Christians are denied rights in Afghanistan ,Mishandling of religious affairs by governments as it is a complex affair Eg: French government banning purdha without wide discussions, arrival of new non-secular governments. Eg: Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

 

We were taught distorted history . Books are banned . Book bans is a serious issue to be considered . We are  now living in an era of unprecedented access to reading material. We must keep in mind that even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. Young people especially deserve our trust. Reading literature that challenges them and encourages them to think about others and their own place in the world does no harm and can only spur them to become better students and better persons. Danger does not arise from viewpoints other than our own; the danger lies in allowing others to decide for us and our communities which reading materials are appropriate.

 

 

Under the Nazis, certain artists were not just banned and censored but sent to concentration camps; many died there. Artist like MF Hussian faced the demons too. Fundoos hated the free approach of him , they wanted Hussian to be more sensible and less offensive to them and equally offensive to other sects . Now he is gone. But we have his art. Satanic verses is banned authored by Salman Rusdie. I found nothing. in the novel which was even remotely insulting to Islam. It was a very funny novel and a brilliant piece of literature. Ayatollah declared a “fatwa” on Salman Rushdie for “blasphemy”. The truth was the Iranian Revolution was battered after the failed Iraq War, and the Islamic Govt of Iran needed a scapegoat to distract attention & “rally the faithful”.The shocking, disgusting way in which Islamic fanatics shot a 14 year old Malala because she wanted girls to get an education and the tragic way in which thousands of innocent men, women, children  are bombed, killed, maimed  every day in some “jihad” attack or the other in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Sudan and many other states. This is what deserves outrage. Not books, movies, paintings, music, sculptures. This is sheer hypocrisy . while there is no outrage against the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist organizations, the so called hindutva outfits who murder innocent people and they are protected by Article 19 of the UN Human Rights charter .

 

Finally , God gave this immense responsibility to be creators, and some realize it and some don’t. Those realized are blessed ones and we let them lead us to the path of spirituality which they have already realized. In any religion, when somebody is raised to divine level, we are acknowledging the fact that they attained self-realization and we let them lead us to spirituality. And as long as we can benefit from their knowledge, they have served their purpose in life. I am not saying that one religion is superior than the other, the point is that the essence is the same in everything and every one of them refers to the same one and only God, but in different ways/paths and we should appreciate it. We have to realize that the end goal of all the religions is the same. Serve our fellow men and Service to mankind is Service to God.

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ,तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

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