Wednesday, November 25, 2015

171. On intolerance

The recent noise about the growing intolerance is as much amusing as it is unfortunate. Respected and knowledgeable people are making statements and counter-statements which are illogical and exaggerated. It seems that a new season of statements and counter-statements has suddenly started and is going on and on. 

The most exaggerated statement has come from someone many in this country admire for his poise. I found it very strange that his wife found the level of intolerance in the country so high that she was worried about the safety of her family and considered moving to some other country. True, there have been some unfortunate incidents including the killing of Akhlaq on the suspicion that he had eaten beef. Such incidents must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and handled with an iron hand, but have they turned the situation so bad that citizens start thinking of quitting the country? To me, this is gross exaggeration.

Counter-statements are equally irresponsible. How can one say that if the actor leaves the country, the population will come down? Every one has the right to express his views and any reactions should respect this right. We cannot question someone's motive simply because his views are not palatable to us. Such extreme reactions in fact amount to the worst forms of intolerance. They neither help bring people together nor help create a good image of the country abroad.

Recently, a number of artists, writers and scientists have returned their awards in protest against intolerance. While they have the right to do so, I feel, what they have done again amounts to exaggerated response. When role models do something like this, it creates an impression that something is very seriously wrong. Such actions have the potential to convince people that a situation does exist which may not exist at all. But those who ascribe motives to such artists, writers and scientists are indulging in overreaction. That is also intolerance. We cannot start abusing our national icons simply because their actions were not palatable to us.

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? But this winter of statements and counter-statements seems to have no end in sight. The nation needs spring to set in early.

1 comment:


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