Intolerance for speaking up on Intolerance

Intolerance is the new happening word added to common man’s everyday vocabulary because of the current outrage by one and all. When I looked into the Dictionary to understand what it’s meaning, it said, “unwillingness to accept views, beliefs or behavior that differ from one’s own”. Simply put, if not my way then highway.

It may be the case that people have been talking about it now more because of the increased media’s presence in our lives. But as far as I am concerned this is the most common thing in India even before this term was coined. I am not supporting this but merely pointing out. Just to list out a few instances: When was the last time you saw that road broadening was stopped just because there was a temple or Masjid or church on the side? When was the last time you saw a tree with an engraved face of a god or daemon in the center of the road? They might have cut thousand other trees to broaden the road but have left just this one. When was the last time film directors bore the brunt of some politician backed up minority religious group forced to censor a dialogue or a song just because they did not like it? When was the last time a media channel was banned for provoking some political party in power? When was the last time when cartoons lampooning politicians were removed from NCERT books? Nobody spoke of intolerance then. Why it is that people are voicing their opinions now calling it intolerance? It may be that this word is more relevant to some of the recent events more serious in nature like lynchings of individuals opposing family traditions, burnt alive for a social transgressions etc. but at grass root level reasons remain the same. The reasons are hurting one’s sentiments, not standing to acceptable views and hurting other people beliefs.

Celebrities also have joined the bandwagon –indicating that these things not only affect common man anymore – by making statements against intolerance whether it is in the form of returning one’s awards or talking about it in public. If it was SRK the other day, now it is the man of “Satyameva Jayate” – TV Program that addressed Social Issues – Amir Khan coming out all guns blazing on the intolerance issue. I see a lot of criticism from politicians to fellow celebrities to people in media doled out to subdue them. What is wrong with SRK or Amir Khan Statements? In fact, I don’t see anything wrong with their statements. It is not just about Muslims, but I think every common man irrespective of caste and creed in India today resonate a similar sentiment in one way or the other. Except that they are wondering in the four walls of their homes and not in public. This is intolerance at its heights. By chiding somebody speaking up on intolerance, we are being intolerant ourselves.

We simply do not want to listen to the problem.  We simply assume that solution to a problem is equal to not speaking up. The moment somebody does he is crucified publicly. It is as if it is inbuilt in our psyche that we just fight the various problems without ever stating that there is a problem.

It is even more difficult when politics is involved. Politicizing every issue has become a practice in India whether it is media driven or politicians driven. Intolerance has also become such an issue increasingly abused and the one to contend with for some time now. That, we have RSS influenced, BJP led Government, helmed by a person under whose chief ministership Gujarat riots happened some time ago, is not helping the matter either.

Other political parties are using this intolerance weapon to flatten the Narendra Modi led battalion. By just brushing it under the carpet does not resolve the issue on hand. A similar thing happened when Congress was at the helm – ignoring several such burning issues – and were rightfully swept out of power in the elections that followed. Before BJP’s ship capitulates under this incessant wave of intolerance it needs to take stock of the situation and speak up positively and responsibly.

Finally, all we need is a little bit of tolerance, patience and respect to each other to prevent intolerance.


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Post Author: Kiran Bandiatmakur

Kiran is a software professional and a Freelance Blogger

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