Problem of intolerance Causes and cure
Demonstration of superior culture, development or military strength by nations generates hatred among not so developed societies. Crisis of high expectations in life and non-fulfillment of promises by the politicians create unrest
Intolerance is a worldwide phenomenon in all continents and sub- continents. At some places, it is based on religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or based on social or economic inequality. Indian culture has been advocating for tolerance, but unfortunately, owing to the fanaticism of some people India has also joined the bandwagon of those countries, societies or races which are affiliated with intolerance based on religious fundamentalism or fanaticism.
The incidents of intolerance are causing conflicts and bloodshed and is making society unstable and unpeaceful. This is suicidal for India.
The main causes are ideological differences which turn into real and serious conflicts. Second reason is glaring disparities in society which creates latent ill-will and hatred among different sections of the society. This is more accentuated when people find that state machinery instead of being impartial and objective, indulges into discrimination corruption, favoritism and nepotism.
Similarly, demonstration of superior culture, development or military strength by nations generates hatred among not so developed societies. Crisis of high expectations in life and non-fulfillment of promises by the politicians create unrest.
Display of ill-earned wealth causes disapproval. This simmering discontent suddenly explodes on any issue which makes public consensus through it which may rationally be a non- issue. They are guided by information which now reaches them unfiltered through social media or Internet. By the time facts comes to light, damage has already been done. Through these clashes of intolerance, people will like to assert their identities through religion, caste or community. The government rather than bringing truth in focus and starting the dialogue tries to suppress root causes especially under intoxication of the state police power and majority gained in election. This is more manifested in developing and undeveloped countries where rulers behave like dictators or martial law administrators.
As a result, simple causes of discrimination, exploitation or injustice result into huge violence and bloodshed taking thousands of innocent lives. In India there is a grand tradition of rulers like Ram, Ashok, Shivaji, Akbar, Maharani Laxmibai etc. who treated every citizen equally.
The solution is a long-term one. People should follow the basic tenets of their religion which are based on love, compassion, harmony, co-operation, and assimilation.
People should follow their culture and not civilisation. Civilisation creates a sense of disparity and deprivation which is the order of the day so far.
The cure lies in tolerance. While tolerance means not to interfere with other’s ways of living or thinking. It is to bend before others and allow others to bend before you. It suggests responsiveness to the ‘otherness’ of the other. Thirdly, there is level jumping in the society. The highest class patronise the lowest class of people to serve their vested interest of money and power. As a result, middle class is clueless which used to convince and keep disgruntled people in check. This middle class in society and middle level management in organisations is to be given their due role and responsibility. Dialogue instead of clash should be way of life. Fourthly, the State should ensure good governance and equal treatment. However, classification can be reasonable. Government instrumentality should not only be honest, impartial and just, it should also appear honest and impartial. As the faith of people will increase in government or state, the flare-ups due to religious discords or differences will be tackled without use of force. Government however, should penalize masses and should punish their officers and staff holding them responsible. Lastly, non-violence should be taught in schools and be made a part of life.
It is surprising how Islam intrinsically religion of brotherhood can be responsible for all the violence which is being done today in its name. There are four factors, the geopolitical and geo-strategic factors, the economic factors of poverty and under development, the ideologisation of the religion, search of identity by Muslims in non-Islamic countries and last but not least the oblivion of the civilisation factors in Islam. The Muslim community must take the extremists acts more seriously because of the negative consequences of terrorism on the future of Islam. The thinking Muslims without fear from radicalists will have to go out of the comforts of homes and offices and work in seminaries, mosques and other public places to acquaint common Muslims of the consequences of terrorist acts for the community.
The Hindus, following the advice of the late Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan should abandon thinking that they are only possessors of light and others are groveling in darkness. Dalai Lama says that in human societies, there will always be differences of views and interests. The only way out is the promotion of a culture of dialogue and non-violence for the future of mankind. The Indian culture promotes “World is a Family”. If religion creates conflicts, people will abhor religion in line with Karl Marx that religion is opium for masses.
According to Gandhiji, the indispensable condition of the social freedom and social welfare is the “tolerance of the diversities”. It is the “unity in diversity,” which the Hindu philosophy and Vivekanand call “Advaita” meaning the essential unity of man. It implies co-operative relationship with all life rather then competitiveness. Indian culture offers its real solution. Constitution of India under Article 51 A (e) asks every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. This is the only panacea for development of individual, community and the nation.
By P K Agrawal