Skip to main content

Let’s hope one day each one of us has the humility to be more tolerant

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
Never before in the history of post-independent India has “intolerance” become such a subject of heated debate, much divisiveness and which seems to bleed the heart of ‘the idea of India’.
Intolerance, one might argue has always existed! We see small and big acts taking place all over society and even in the security of one’s own family. As Indians, we do pride ourselves of being a ‘tolerant people’ and we certainly get very upset when growing acts of intolerance hog the limelight. In a defense reaction, we put on a mask saying “we are not like that”. This was so evident, when a few days ago, a motley group met the President and the Prime Minister ‘to protest’ against those who were saying that India is becoming an intolerant nation! The irony is that this very group was abusive of some of the media present at their protest and they also made very intolerant remarks against those taking a stand against intolerance!
In recent months, there have been a spate of intolerant acts all over the country: from the killing of rationalists like Pansare and Kalburgi to the burning of dalit children; from ‘banning’ programmes by Pakistanis in India to the killing of someone who apparently eaten beef. In the wake of these acts, some of the most eminent people of the country including several intellectuals like writers, scientists, historians and even celebrity film stars, have strongly voiced their protests; some of them have had the courage to return their duly merited awards from the Government. The point they have been making is that the Government of the day does not show any political will to address these acts of hate, divisiveness and violence but on the contrary, it even seems to patronise, shield and provide legitimacy to the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
This intolerance was symbolised in the fact that several functions were held on November 15 in different parts of the country to honour Nathuram Godse, the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi; for his dastardly deed, Godse was hanged on November 15, 1949 and the fact that right-wing factions have the audacity to treat him like a hero speaks volumes for itself.
It is therefore appropriate that the United Nations every year invites all member states to observe November 16 as ‘the International Day for Tolerance’. The meaning of “tolerance” provided by UNESCO “is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human… Tolerance is not concession, condescension or indulgence. Tolerance is above all an active attitude prompted by the recognition of the Universal Human Rights and fundamental freedoms of others… Tolerance is the responsibility that upholds human rights, pluralism and the rule of the law… it does not mean toleration of social injustices or the abandonment or weakening of one’s convictions”.
A meaningful definition indeed!
The terrible attacks in Paris on November 13 certainly need to be condemned by one and all! At the same time, one should never forget the many millions who are killed and brutalised throughout the world all the time but do not get the media attention and the world leaders speaking up for them. In April, more than 148 people (of these 142 were students) were killed by an extremist group in Kenya; those executed were mainly Christians. There is a muted response to the killings of innocent people, be it in Syria and Lebanon, Egypt and Afghanistan, Palestine and in several parts of Africa. The refugee crisis is certainly an outcome of great intolerance.
Exactly twenty-six years ago, on November 16 1989, six Jesuit Priests together with their housekeeper and her fifteen year daughter, were brutally murdered in El Salvador by the military junta of that country. The powerful, vested interests were not able to tolerate the way the Jesuits took a stand on behalf of the poor and against the growing injustices and fascist acts of those in power. We remember these martyrs today.
We have much to internalise and to mainstream where tolerance is concerned. Let’s hope and pray that on a day like this, each one of us has the courage and the humility to act: to be more tolerant and to make our world a more humane, just and peaceful place for all!

*Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace

Comments

TRENDING

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

Only 15% businesses provide employees real-time sustainability dashboards: Study

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft has released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. A Kyndryl note: *** Kyndryl (NYSE: KD), the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider, in collaboration with Microsoft , today released the findings of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. The study, conducted by Ecosystm , finds that while 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Violent incidents in Haldwani: CPDRS on dubious role of Uttarakhand government

By DN Rath  Center for Democratic Rights and Secularism (CPDRS) unequivocally condemns the dubious role of Uttarakhand Government and its administration in the incidents that happened in Haldwani of Nanital district of the state.

Tamil Nadu brahmins are at cross roads, their future scenario remains uncertain

By NS Venkataraman*  For over 70 years now, brahmin community in Tamil Nadu have been abused, insulted and even physically attacked on some occasions by those who claimed that they were part of the so called dravidian movement. However, brahmin community silently and helplessly ducked under pressure and showed no signs of resistance or fight back.

Ethiopian ruling classes, political masters in West have their hands soaked in blood

By Harsh Thakor  Over two hundred were killed in recent weeks in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara region. After peace-talks between the Oromo Liberation Army and the Ethiopian government did not materialise tensions are escalating in the Oromia region. Earlier, on November 22, least 25 civilians were massacred in a government aerial drone strike, in Chawaka districts of the Buno Bedelle zone. This incident took place only two days after a fierce battle arose between the OLA and governmental troops in the Sulula Fincha district of the Horro Guduru Wollega zone.

Soviet army crossed rarely transcended barriers in Leningrad to overpower Nazis

By Harsh Thakor  St Petersburg -- previously Leningrad -- has been commemorating the 80th anniversary of its complete liberation from the Nazis and the conclusion of one of the most brutal sieges in history. 80 years ago, a spectacular turn of events in Leningrad played major role in shaping the destiny or determining the path of the Great Patriotic War.

Regretful: Kapil Dev retired not leaving Indian cricket with integrity he upheld

By Harsh Thakor  Kapil Dev scaled heights as an entertainer and a player upholding the spirit of the game almost unparalleled in his era. In his time he was cricket’s ultimate mascot of sportsmanship On his day Kapil could dazzle in all departments to turn the tempo of game in the manner of a Tsunami breaking in. He radiated r energy, at a level rarely scaled in his era on a cricket field. Few ever blended aggression with artistry so comprehenisively. Although fast medium, he could be as daunting with the ball as the very best, with his crafty outswinger, offcutter, slower ball and ball that kicked from a good length. Inspite of bowling on docile tracks on the subcontinent, Kapil had 434 scalps, with virtually no assistance. I can never forget how he obtained pace and movement on flat pancakes, trapping the great Vivian Richards in Front or getting Geoff Boycott or Zaheer Abbas caught behind. No paceman carried the workload of his team’s bowling attack on his shoulders in his eras muc

Landlords' armed bandits launched merciless attack in Brazil but face resistance

By Harsh Thakor  Armed bandits called the “zero invasion movement” comprising of landowners, gunmen and police marched into   Bahia with support from the PM [Military Police]. On January 21st, indigenous Maria de Fátima Muniz, known as Nega Pataxó, shaman of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people, was shot dead in the Caramuru Catarina Paraguassu Indigenous Land and chief Nailton Muniz was seriously injured by gunshots, as were others indigenous people during an attack by the notorious  paramilitary group.

Landslide early warning system: Odisha Govt, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham collaborate

By Divya Saini  In a strategic move to mitigate the impact of landslides during storms, the Odisha government in collaboration with Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is gearing up to establish a user-friendly Landslide Early Warning System (EWS) in Gajapati district. This initiative aims to provide advanced information, especially regarding landslides caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope.