Since, the last few months there has been an ongoing debate on the growing intolerance in India. Intolerance, as defined by Oxford Dictionary means – Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own. I don’t know what all things have come out of it but I understand that the word has become a joke. People have debated, stats have been thrown, counters slapped back, awards have been returned, comparisons, whichever convenient have been used to prove some point, and people have tried to establish the hypocrisy of people asking questions as the weakest form of defence. Well, as per definition, if there are two sects of people who are fighting over it, then that too is intolerance. There is a difference between agreeing and accepting. If someone says, there is rising intolerance, then your tolerant response can be, “It’s okay if you think so, I just am not in collusion with you, but maybe let’s agree to disagree” and if you want the intolerant responses then just check any social media comments section. There are fringe elements everywhere and I believe in individualism, so I don’t want to comment on the country, a community based on these comments. But the thing is that the debate has continuously, either callously or meticulously been modified from ‘growing intolerance’ to intolerant or tolerant India. Although, there’s a world of difference between these two, but I want to comment on the latter. The former is most probably an attack on the current system and government, whereas the latter is an attack on the Indian society.
Well, people have talked about unity in diversity prevalent in India, cultural variations etc. There are fringe elements who show their intolerance towards that too, there are so many religions, sects castes etc, some people just can’t accept it, let alone agree with it and the govt.’s inaction against them and the statistically rising cases of these are troubling a few or more people but let’s forget about them and talk about majority. We keep on comparing India with Islamic extremist countries to prove a point about tolerance. As far as acceptance of beliefs is concerned, India does not even legally accept LGBT. It’s beyond preposterous, that people can be prosecuted for practicing something they didn’t choose. Isn’t this a clear case of not accepting a belief different from normality? Isn’t that one of the most blatant cases of intolerance? Most of the people in India still can’t marry people of their choice, forget different religion or caste, once again, something which people don’t choose, but is enforced upon them, but even choice in the same caste or religion isn’t a privilege in a lot of cases. Religious laws, be it any religion always oppose women and lower castes and are yet followed as a norm by the society. We, maybe not just as Indians, but a group of humans in majority have always been intolerant towards abnormality or difference. Most of the men, can’t tolerate a woman doing better than them because woman are different from them and men have taken over the world in general by curbing all women rights. You see a commotion on road and you say, ‘there must be a woman driving.’ We have our fake rules of patriotism and respect like Indian flag can’t appear below a person’s waist. ABP News made Mandira Bedi change her saree as a result of their repeated criticism of Indian flag appearing near her foot and were proud of it. You really want to compare the tolerance level or acceptance level of USA or Europe, then compare these. People in USA, openly deride the churches, the President of the USA, make a TV series deriding the Senate and its elements, stand ups deride Jesus and Evangelists, churches and every other VIP, the people in general and the people mocked tolerate it. India made a movie deriding religion and although the movie earned money, there was enough criticism, theaters were vandalized, and there was a call for the lead actor’s head because he didn’t belong to the religion of the majority in India which was covered mostly in the movie because the movie was based on INDIA. Government decides that a person is good enough to vote and choose who will govern the country, and 3 years later, a person can legally marry but it takes 4 more years to decide if the person wants to drink. And don’t get me started on atheists, I don’t think I will ever see a day when they will be taken seriously, when people, especially their near and dear ones will stop enforcing their faith on them based on the labelled religion by birth. Indian censorship decides, what views or artistic requirements of the artist is good enough for the audience to see, comprehend, accept and appreciate. If there’s always an Indian culture argument to every different, flowing, unconventional thought to prohibit it, then how come Indian culture be accepting of different views. It’s purely ironic. The views of the celebrities, if it matches with your own, idolize them, else put them to a censure where they would be afraid of speaking their minds in public. There is unity in diversity, because a lot of individuals who actually want only their sets of belief to dominate don’t want to get their hands dirty in doing what’s not fair and what they want to. I, being born in India have always appreciated the diversity here, but please don’t tell me that India as a country is the most tolerant and accepting country. Certainly better than a lot of them, but surely worse then a bunch too.
And finally, if speaking against something wrong in a certain country is discouraged for the sake of maintaining a false image of the country, then it’s the highest form of intolerance which the country faces. It’s the most disturbing form of nationalism, the one which leads to wars, both internally and externally. Ravish Kumar covers it brilliantly in his prime time intro – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPrpYBpOrZw&feature=youtu.be