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In wake of new buzz word intolerance, you can say anything?

Published: Tuesday, 22 March, 2016 09:45 AM

In wake of new buzz word intolerance, you can say anything?

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It is ironic that India, a secular and democratic country, where different religions and faiths flourish, where the Constitution guarantees the Freedom of Speech as a Fundamental Right to every citizen, finds itself divided along the lines of tolerance and intolerance. Given the diversity that exists in India, tolerance is a value that is inherent to the idea of India, which binds different groups together. In the absence of tolerance, it would have been impossible to maintain peace in the country even for a moment.

A. For any multicultural society like India, tolerance forms the base or foundation on which the fabric of a pluralistic society is woven. Though Hindus constitute the majority, the Constitution of India protects the interests of the various minority groups. India has always allowed free inter-mingling of people from different communities and promoted harmony in the society.

B. Not just freedom to practice their religions, but the Constitution also provides Freedom of Speech to the citizens of the country. This means that the citizens have the liberty to express themselves in non-violent and non-hurtful ways. This is the beauty of India as it promotes a truly democratic and secular culture, something that even countries like China, with all its development, does not provide to its citizens.

C. However, citizens also need to realize that with the right to speak what they want comes the duty to not say anything that hurts the sentiments of people from various communities or harms national interests. While it is important to convey your views, it is more important to avoid any action or speech that weakens the social fabric of the country and that may lead to unrest in the society.

D. This is what we have failed to do recently. There have been a few incidents in the recent past, such as the Dadri killing, killing of a popular literary figure from Karnataka and the return of awards by prominent citizens, which seem to have divided the society along the lines of tolerance and intolerance. An attempt has been made to attack the government by portraying the growing intolerance in the country. While the extreme groups behind such incidents should be dealt with a firm hand, caution must be taken to ensure that the image of the country is not hurt.

E. I think that this is politically motivated. There is a conscious attempt by few political groups to make life difficult for the incumbent government. Stray incidents have taken place in the past too but such hue and cry has been created recently, just to put the present government under pressure. 

F. In the name of tolerance, people have taken too much liberty and hurt the sentiments of the people of the country. The very foundation of India is based on trust, respect and acceptance that people have for each other. By and large, India is a harmonious and peaceful country, where people from different communities live together. Thus, tolerance is in the very DNA of India.

People should not use intolerance as a tool to incite the different communities. All of us must be conscious of what we say and consider national unity as our priority.

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