‘Intolerance’ – Hugely discussed and debated topic in the recent times. This was not a solitary call but was heard from different nooks of the world. While all are not the same. If it is in the form of xenophobia and racism on one side, on the other side it is hypernationalism and religious intolerance.
United States of America
A country which backed globalisation now wants to make ‘America great again’ and skip back to the olden times. With the rise of Donald John Trump and his anti-immigrant policies. He fails to recollect that contributions of minorities to the building of the developed nation was not minimal. Also racism has awakened further.
The country’s rich history of its courtesy, harmony, and tolerance is under attack now. Religious intolerance being the major concern with mournful events like cow vigilantism and love jihad. Even the UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein made a statement on this. The famous quote ‘Atithi devo bhava’ (The guest is equivalent to God) taken from Taittiriya Upanishad which was a part of Indian ethos for centuries is being eroded. India’s indifference on Rohingya issue is just an indication of it. The rise of hypernationalism is another fact. India must read the history of Nazi – Germany at least once.
Party leaders who preach anti-immigration sentiments and Islamophobia have begun to see green patches, whether its Austria, Hungary, Poland or Estonia. Once the great English poet William Cowper said, ‘Variety is the spice of life’, but not many Europeans seemed to have listened to it.
But is just tolerance the ultimate solution to all these?
Tolerance is synonymous to saying, ‘Smoking is injurious to health, but its okay.. your choice…you may smoke, since its none of my business’
In a more formal sense, ‘you have the right to be wrong’, that’s what tolerance says.
But at one point or the other, this ideological absconding or irresponsiveness may pressure up and burst as tougher intolerance and pure violence.
What we actually need is a more rooted long-term key which is not tolerance but acceptance.
The idea of acceptance is like saying,
‘You’re right, I’m right, and I respect that’.
But that doesn’t come easy. There should be a wide vision and thought from all perspectives. Find what’s wrong with ourselves. Correcting them. Collaborating on ideas. Accepting own mistakes is something humans find naturally hard. Working on facts and truth rather than on rumours, instincts, and impulses. I think this can be a fine solution to at least some of our present-day issues.