After neglecting this topic for around 1 year, I am writing on it since many of the so-called intellectuals are again trying to open the graves of closed discussion after some of the recent activity in some parts of mother India.
The discussion is around a word which was not heard by many folks few months or a year back .The golden word which I am talking about is “Intolerance”.
To all the readers, I will firstly mention that Indian society was never based on principle of tolerance.
To explain further, the Oxford dictionary meaning of tolerance is “the ability to tolerate the existence of opinion or behavior which one dislikes or hates”
So in simple meaning it can be said tolerance is nothing but living with the thing which one dislikes or hates.
With reference to this, one can say that religious tolerance is living with religions which one dislikes or hates but why to dislike or hate someone’s religion at the first place or to tolerate in the second.
Can this type of tolerance make a good society? The answer is ‘never’, because you can live with a thing you dislike or hate, tolerating it only till a certain level after which conflicts will arise which will never make a good, healthy and peaceful society.
Now to explain further, I will give some practical example on what tolerance means and why it will never end up making a good society.
Assume two person A and B are neighbors, one person keeps his house clean all the time whereas second is by habit dirty, who keeps his house unclean and also, throws the garbage in the house of Person A . Person A always keeps on cleaning garbage thrown by B in his house. When he complains to Person B there is no change in the latter’s behavior. So after sometime Person A stops complaining and cleans the garbage thrown without any reactions. This is the concept of tolerance which will have a limit. After sometime the person will get annoyed and may become violent which will be called intolerance? Now let there be a case where even if person A remains silent as he was and keeps cleaning his house, but then a person C comes to his house and he gets annoyed by person A then also conflict will arise and peace between both houses will be hampered. Same will happen to a society/country which functions on the principle of tolerance, since tolerance has a limit and the limit will be breached for sure at some point of time.
Now a question will arise that how a long lasting friendly society can be created.
The answer is simple – A society based on principle of mutual respect will only flourish. Now, what do I mean by mutual-respect. Considering the previous case of person A and person B, if there is no tolerance but mutual respect then irrespective of how much unclean person B is, he will make sure that his uncleanness does not affect his neighbors. In that case they will live as a friends and even if when person C visits person A’s house, he will be introduced to person B by person A and they too will become friends and that will be an ideal society in which all will live peacefully.
Indian society is based on mutual respect from the very beginning. “Ganga-jamuni tehjeeb” means respecting each other’s beliefs and not tolerating each other. One should not be liable to follow other religion but should respect them, so that a peaceful society can be formed and this is a mutual process if it is done only by one end then it will become tolerance.
PS: I am not justifying the events which has led to this debate but I am writing just to put up my view on whole debate itself.