An Atmosphere of Intolerance in India

R Jayaraman

Author: R Jayaraman

Date: Mon, 2016-11-21 11:06

Today’s news headlines informed us that Mr. Ratan Tata, in a speech in Gwalior, in the presence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, expressed concern over the alleged growing intolerance in the country, dubbing it “a curse we are seeing of late.” What prompted him to say these words? Since it is coming from an impeccable source of uncompromising integrity one cannot ignore or brush it under the carpet. One must respect and ponder over why he is feeling that way. Ignoring the warning can be only at one’s own peril.

India has been under attack from Pakistan for many years now. All these years, the Indian response has been to put up a brave face to control the damage and slowly but surely put out the memory of the events, manage the outfall and move on. Making some noises at the UN followed by many seminars, conferences, back channel talks and other such efforts to once again establish a semblance of friendship. There was nothing wrong with this approach. It was by and large dictated by our thousand years of slavery under various foreign rulers. It is to the credit of the Indian that he never sees anyone as an outsider, but only another fellow human being on his journey through this earth, to attain nirvana or moksha.

He has never ever had any biases or prejudices; on the contrary the culture of the Indian soil has always been Athithi Devo Bhava. This was not a mere slogan, there are innumerable stories in Indian folklore where people have gone out of their way to serve guests to their own disadvantage, given them priority over self needs, always “shared” what was available. Such was the overall situation that when the Pandavas came back to Hastinapur and informed their mother that they have come back from their travels and that they have brought home a treasure, the unsuspecting mother told them “share whatever you have brought”  which is when Draupadi had to become a wife to all the Pandavas.

Another issue is the Hindutva brand of politics that has come into practice with the BJP coming into power. For many centuries now, due to the many attacks and persecution, conversions by all and sundry, the country lost its self-respect. This has been in evidence for many years now. At the simplest level of manifestation, many Indians, once they hit foreign shores, change or shorten their names to sound like they have descended from the Anglo Saxons. Krishna becomes Kris, Rama becomes Ram (pronounced as in Ham), Ramaswamy becomes Ramsay. Tell me one foreigner who changes his name. Except the odd one who either through association with Hare Krishna or similar such movements get themselves rechristened.

Similarly, we get very sensitive if Bombay is renamed as Mumbai, in reverence to Mumbadevi. We immediately start pointing out the long term damage that can be done to the secular fabric of the country. Valid, however the damage that has already been done to the fabric of the nation is forgotten or trivialised. How does a country regain its lost self-respect?

I wish to remind all that India is a civilisation which has been around for many moons and will be around for many more; however it has to be rejuvenated from time to time. Like what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita – I will appear from time to time to establish Dharma when I perceive threats.

The last avatar of the God was in the form of Adi Shankara who in 700 AD walked the length and breadth of this ancient land of ours, and once again established the truth of the immutable truth, advaita, the oneness and non-duality, only through debates. He was a giant of his times, he has composed such gems of philosophical treatises that are unmatched even to this day, walked the entire length and breadth of India and established great institutions.

Did he kill anyone? Did he convert anyone? Did he blaspheme anyone? The only person he defeated in his very short lifetime of 30 years was Mandana Mishra, the highest ranking Bouddha Bhikshu of his times, who, after the defeat in the debate, became Adi Shankara’s first disciple as per the terms and conditions of the debate. This is the tradition that India comes from. But how many Indians have heard of him? In how many schools and colleges do we read about him? On the contrary, a whole host of efforts is made to ensure that he is never even mentioned in any meaningful manner.

The great Indian culture will fight to preserve itself, but never impose itself on anyone. Fight it will, just like what Krishna said and great souls will happen in India from time to time to do this. The process of going from the present when the country has disowned its civilisational heritage under the garb of secularism, to the real Hindu Rashtra, where the only business that anyone has is to find his path to moksha through karma yoga, irrespective of what his creed, religion, etc. is what the journey is going to be. Along the way there could be perceptions – backed up by facts – which the pace is too fast, or just plain wrong or getting derailed.

We must listen to such wise counsel, like that of Mr Tata, and make the necessary course corrections and assure them that the movement towards a more egalitarian society, for which our ancient land has been well known, will stay its course.

 

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The helm of this thought must have come from projected intolerant situations in Indian demographic. There are many ways in which this very thought can be contested but at the same time it triggers an alarm which needs to be registered. We have a beautiful country with diversified demographic which needs to be appreciated and valued. We are united and have full faith in Unity in Diversity. This concept of unity in diversity can be elaborated as our unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation that shifts focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological and/or psychological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions. In prevailing circumstances often in trying to value others and in attempt to understand others, we miss out that we also need to maintain our widened tolerance limits. We have an egalitarian legacy, and shall maintain the same under such wise counsel.

The word Intolerance if read as 'In-Tolerane' is what has been expressed by the faculty. Though it seems that the scenario is changing and/or is at least been realised is a good start. We Indians being in the state of 'In-Tolerance' reflects with the rot learning system in schools and at homes. Asking questions itself have been banned during our formative age. This gradually rises into frustration and then we become rebels in our own way. Does this not reflects us being intolerant? It does, but only restricts to self. By the time we begin thinking about our family, neighbours, society and our country, it is too late. For we have lost the time, the physical energy and the mental agility. Root cause of it is the realisation among adults to create an environment for our generations to be logical and have strong minds. Imagine if children would have been answered satisfactorily, the phase of anger and rebel attitude would have never existed, but would have a generation that would think beyond self, yet retaining self respect. Be proud of living for self and with others and creating a harmonious environment. Though the article reflects the state of India, there is a huge concern for mankind at large. Loosing one's identity, like India has for Hindutva which believes in karmayog, is dangerous. The early we realise, the better for us and for others. Keeping religious script 'Bhagvad Gita' as a reference point, the faculty simply wishes to convey us that as a member of a particular community, one needs to preserve its heritage without imposing on others and derive peace from the heritage, through your karma to reach the spiritual zone by the end of ones journey.

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion going on about the rise of intolerance in the country. Reports of communal violence have increased, celebrities are being ostracized for their statements, students are being branded as anti-nationals just for their opinions. But all have something in common, one that people fail to focus on – data and numbers. Even after the new BJP led Government has come to power, much criticized for its RSS backing and so called Hindutva politics, there hasn’t been much of a change in the social dynamics of the country as we think it to be. Crime rates, government policies, they’re still basically the same. It’s only that news reports have also increased. Take a look at how many news channels have come up in the past few years. India has more than 70,000 newspapers and over 690 satellite channels (more than 80 are news channels) and is the biggest newspaper market in the world. And in such a tough fight for the maximum number of viewership, news channels these days turn out to be more like reality shows. And bad-press is the key to that. Even a non-issue is blown out of proportion just for the sake of grabbing eye-balls. There has also been an attitudinal change in the way people react. Nowadays the public seem to simply assail anything that does not conform to their core beliefs of the current society. The normal reaction these days would be to protest or ban anything that doesn’t match with the generally accepted principles of the social mix. It is simply absurd to be completely opposed to any sort of change without much knowledge. This really puts us in a very dangerous place. Silencing voices and opinions do not kill the idea itself. Rather, one should hear each other’s points of view and rationally counter them as best we can. More importantly, if consensus cannot be reached one should respect the other person’s opinion and mutually agree to disagree.

This article explains a few anecdotal references to our ancient past and beautifully relates them to our rich cultural heritage. If we see things in the light of recent outcry over rising intolerance in the country, we may find that there are enough examples even in the post-independence history of India which shows that this country has become what it is today by its own virtue and not by any other external force. When India became a union by unification of princely states in 197-48, it did so not by force but by extending a first hand of friendship. Even under the prime-minister-ship of Jawaharlal Nehru, India led the coalition of nation who didn’t align to any of the major powers after the World War 2. Few years later, a historic event which is symbolic of the rise of intolerance in our country was the declaration of Emergency and the rise of Janata party. That single event showed the potential and courage of this country to rise and challenge the system like it did many times during the British era. Even today, India has many issues to settle, some coming from its legacy such as disputes with neighboring countries, naxalism, corruption and more recently competing with rest of the world in terms higher GDP growth rates and globalization which the current government seems to be more concerned about. I think the solutions to most of our problems lie neither in turning blind eye nor in blatant intolerance but rather following a more pragmatic approach of problem solving which seeks to address the interest of a common citizen of this country. This way we can be more intolerant towards these issues and at the same time be tolerant enough to wait and do our part in arriving at a solution.

I agree with the author when he says that our country should make the necessary course correction and move ahead. Is the course correction confined to only one set of people and not the other is the million-dollar question? This intolerance debate going on in the country ever since the new central government took charge has been a hot topic of discussion everywhere from a tea shop to the board room. The opposition parties have stalling the parliamentary proceedings, political parties taking out rallies in the state capitals and several organizations organizing protest marches have accompanied this debate. Also, the “award wapsi” episode and the well-known personalities (including Mr Ratan Tata as mentioned in the blog) from different fields lending their opinion on the same has added fuel to fire. For a neutral observer (one who is outside the country) the reporting from news channels and newspapers may seem that things have become worse ever since the new government has come to power. In times such as these it would be helpful if one takes a pause and tries to analyze as to what exactly is happening. Is there truth in the news or is there much more to it. In the blog, the author mentions “however the damage that has already been done to the fabric of the nation is forgotten or trivialized”. The highlighted phrase exactly focuses on why these debates have been happening. The decades of rule of a single party which had ingrained a particular philosophy and ideology into the system, which does not want to accept anything other than what it wants. The moment there is a slight deviation from the ideology, even for the good, the people associated with the system start crying foul. Let us not ignore the fact that there have been few unfortunate incidents ever since the new government has come to power. But similar unwanted incidents and episodes have taken place even during the tenure of the previous government. But, the system – press, intellectuals and eminent personalities- do not accept the fact that these type of incidents are common place in a country like ours, instead only blame the current government portraying the incidents as a new phenomenon. This again points to the fact there is group thinking mentality which has been ingrained to the system as mentioned before. Till the time this particular philosophy is not removed from the system, there cannot be any fair evaluation of a particular episode in question. It will do a world of good if people start analyzing issues from a neutral perspective in turn helping the country move ahead. I thank professor Jayaraman for writing about this sensitive issue and explaining the same in an elegant manner.

Religious intolerance has been the essential precept and sign of India's ancient civilisation and history. For quite a long time, individuals honing different religious beliefs have lived together in peace. India's rich history of religious solidarity has been an image of social and religious harmony. In any case, that circumstance has been changing lately as religious prejudice has developed as an overwhelming component in conflicts. Religious brutality has expanded lately in a few sections of India. The developing condition of religious prejudice and brutality has as of now taken many lives in India. The lynching of a Muslim man in a town outside Delhi for allegedly consuming beef stunned not simply India, but rather the world. In India-held Kashmir, common pressures have been fed by the recovery of a long-lethargic law restricting the trade and consumption of beef. In a spate of little yet inspiring occurrences the nation over, Muslims and Hindus are meeting up to set cases of mutual congruity, extending their hands to help their companions, neighbours and even outsiders from alternate groups. In the event that you pollute the mind of the general population with religious scorn, it will create mutual conflicts between the devotees of various religions in India and the solidarity and quality of the nation would be ruined.

Sir, it was a pleasure reading your blog. I would also like to share my thoughts on this burning topic of current times. The word intolerance came into a fad after new NDA government came into power in 2014 and is directly or indirectly associated with right wing politics. I agree word intolerance gained significance in the light of some events yet we can’t deny the role played by media in making it a household name. India has a long history of welcoming different cultures, civilizations, dynasties and rulers. Historians have enough evidences to prove how we as a society amalgamated our traditions with the one bought by the visitors. India is used as a metaphor for “Unity in Diversity”. On the basis of various facts, we can conclude that it will be unfair to call blatantly India as intolerant. Now the question comes what happened in the recent past that everybody including a commoner and a celebrity suddenly started feeling unsafe. In order to answer this question, first we need to think in a rational manner, where any community, caste, creed or sect should not be given any special favour and second we need to see things without any political lenses. Once we will start observing things while considering the above two conditions, then we will find that there is not much truth in this propaganda of intolerance. It is nothing but a false propaganda about a great nation and its rich culture of brotherhood which some opportunist is trying to malign for their personal gains.

The Indian civil society has strong existential desires with over 5000 years of history behind. It has seen the bloodshed, the wars, the brutal killings & what not. However, every time it has shaped itself to standout stronger & more accommodating. The diversity of culture is the replica of the deep rooted history. However, off late there have been serious challenges that the modern Indian society has been facing. Probably, the most serious challenge India faces is how to deal with that an atmosphere of intolerance that divides the society in many small parts. The great Indian tiger is losing it might which otherwise was the symbol of collective power of multicolored society. The occurrence of intolerant fractions in the influential sectors of pyramid of society cannot be mere figment of the imagination. The intolerance in itself is biased as every person defines its own way of describing it. The biases make the things even worse. In the recent history the assassination of two prominent iconoclasts M.M. Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar has open the lid for discussion. The situation got worse with one section of society selling meat when other section could offer their annual prayers. The nadir is reached after lynching of a Muslim in suspicion of eating beef. Is there still a deeper nadir possible? These isolated incidents have a polarizing effect on otherwise a well blended Indian society. The atmosphere in pockets of the country remains tense, and leaves little room for any blame game. The divided policy takes centre stage in the minds of people. This could spell danger, particularly in a multi-layered, multi-religious and multi-ethnic country like ours. A wise might argue it has the danger posed by majoritarianism, at the expense of minorities of every hue — religious, ethnic and linguistic. But is it true?

A nation is intolerant when its constitution and institutions responsible for maintaining law and order in society is intolerant. Constitution of India, declares India a secular state and this secularism is one of basic constituent of governance. Constitution gives equal right to all religion and people of all faiths are governed by the same law, except in personal law matter. Selective expression of anger by many ‘so called intellectuals’ is not right. Framing an opinion based upon certain sporadic events and perceiving it as negative growth in the conscious of nation might not be completely justified. If certain incident takes place, it is law and order problem and should be tackled by them. I completely agree that, culture of this country has always been to welcome. Hinduism is itself not a religion bound by any laws but it is way of living which has inculcated among the people living in this part of world. This way of living is result of various strands of civilizations which have came to this great land and merged with indigenous people to form a homogenous culture. We might be different in our faith, race or creed but share common way of living and thinking. There are hundreds of language, region, faith, caste but we celebrate the same festivals throughout the country, we share a same way of living in our day to day life. This uniformity among diversity is the bedrock of Hinduism. Tolerance is the very core of Hinduism with very deep and grounded roots. Occasional events which have been reported in media should be taken seriously and dealt firmly by law but they cannot be called as a defining moment due to which conscious of Hinduism can be called intolerant.

Today when India is aiming to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, moving towards globalisation, there is one major deterrent -RISING INTOLERANCE that is hampering India’s global reputation. Although I would not stereotype India as an intolerant country on the whole, there are a few sections of society that create havoc in the name of intolerance and influence the mass towards destruction. I totally agree to the fact that India has moved down from one of the most tolerant nations in the pre- British rule to a lesser tolerant nation. This issue can be majorly attributed the political system of India- Hindu fundamentalists, Cow vigilantes, mob lynching- who controls them? On the contrary these cases are usually tracked down to political roots- this is the most degraded form of democracy. However everything is not about religion or beliefs. Taking intolerance to another level there seems to be general impatience in the public for anything they do not agree with- movies, books, sexual preference or identity, sports etc hence practically anything or everything can result in protest or ‘bandh’. Conversely many agree that India is a land of acceptance and integration. There are many stories and incidents that support the same- embracing diverse cultures and beliefs are a lead to tolerant nation. India is now being viewed as a country with which is growing on the policy of ‘free market’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and shares the values of democracy and diversity, hence as a united nation we should not let ‘intolerance’ demean our image. We need to look back to historical times when leaders such as Gandhi, Nehru, Akbar etc and imbibe a sense of forbearance and acceptance to one and all!

It is not the first time that someone has addressed the intolerance atmosphere in the nation. And what Mr. Ratan Tata quoted is true, indeed it is “a curse we are seeing of late.” The faculty has rightly stated that the country has lost its self-respect. We don’t mind changing our names from Ramsingh to Ramsay or Janardhan to Jordan when we hit the off-shore, but we have an issue when the city's name is changed from Bombay to Mumbai or a streets name is changed from Aurangzeb Road to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road. We really need to understand the essence of the Indian culture is to preserve it rather than impose it on anyone. We cannot force someone to change their eating habits and also we cannot force someone with one’s religious obligations. A key issue to the rising intolerance is also believed to be the Hindutva brand of politics that has come into practice with the BJP coming into power. But is it the government promoting the intolerance in the nation or is it the half read MOB. Is it true? Is there an atmosphere of intolerance in nation? I would say there is a section in our society which thinks logically. They understand that every Muslim is not a terrorist and every Hindu is not a fanatic. This is the section which understands that ‘BEEF’ is staple for some and they also believe that ‘AZAAN’ on loudspeaker is not needed. And the sad part is that this section of the society is turning tolerant to the intolerance in the nation. We can witness many of these folks discussing a social issue and just moving over it as if it is routine for a nation like us. Yes, this section is turning insensitive not towards each other but towards the scenario and social happenings in our society. ‘WE’ as a democratic country, have started losing our essence of being 'FREE'. We have to think twice before we say something logical, we have to think twice before we eat something that we have grown up eating and we have to also think twice before we wear something that we are comfortable wearing or being in. While our girls have reached to the moon and back in other countries, in India father is still worried if his daughter will be back home, safe at night. Yes, we have become tolerant to the intolerance in the nation.

Thank you very much for raising this important issue and put forward your point of view in such a forceful manner. I fully agree with you that our country must take steps to make the necessary course correction to move towards a classless society. But is this a new phenomenon happening recently or it has been already existing in our society? If we have to define intolerance then it is the difference beliefs, opinions, and practices of people of different groups. Growing intolerance in the society drives different groups apart by creating an atmosphere of suspicion. This intolerance debate is getting momentum ever since the new central government took charge. It has been discussed in every possible place. Opposition parties are trying to take political mileages from it and stalling the parliamentary proceedings, well known personalities like Ratan Tata and Bollywood stars are airing their views in different forums. A few well known writers have retuned their literary awards. These things have not only added fuel to fire but also for outside world the situation is going bad to worse. A lot has been desired from the print and electronic media also in terms of quality reporting. Intolerance creates violence in the society among people of different groups. It makes human beings narrow mindedness. It does not give chance to think positive about anything happening in different way in the society or nation. In such times one should take a pause and tries to analyze what exactly is happening should not take everything in face value. Although social media has many positives and can reach to many in short span of time; but this very positive is used by antisocial elements to spread hatred and propaganda. Although a few unwarranted incidents has taken place ever since the new government has come to power. But similar incidents had taken place even during the tenure of the earlier governments. Having said so, it is necessary to deal with such incidences strongly and ensure that such incidences should not take place in future. Antisocial elements do have any faith or religion. They should be dealt with very strongly. The press, intellectuals and eminent personalities should accept this fact should not only blame the current government portraying the incidents as a new phenomenon. Government should also deal with people strongly who tries spread hatred and send a strong message. The opposition and media should play positive role in reducing intolerance in India.

The topic you have reflected upon is amongst the most significant in our country in the current hour. This raging debate on the atmosphere of intolerance in our country does not look to be dying down anytime soon. For many the spectre of intolerance is a hoax propagated by those opposed to the current regime at the centre. However there is no denying the manifestation of the right wing ideology in our society in every sphere. Contrarian views are fiercely muzzled and censured and rampant majoritarianism is on the rise. From cinema to literature and customs to food habits, nothing seems off limits to interference by the state and its cronies. We are increasingly witnessing a gradual clamp down on the freedom of expression and choice. Never has our country been the monolithic culture it is being made out to be by proponents of extremist ideologies. The increasingly frequent instances of mob lynching are a testimony to the sway of a fascist ideology rapidly spinning out of control. Worse still is the seeming complicity of a regime that does little to allay the fear of the victim or admonish the perpetrator, further emboldening the rampaging mobs. What is of far greater concern is not just the sanction of the current dispensation to the acts aforementioned but the fact that we seem to be regressing as a society with little patience for alternative thoughts and philosophies. The need to address and remedy the situation on various levels is imperative as it is, urgent, the magnitude of the task daunting.

Thank you for sharing your valuable inputs on the topic Professor! I agree with you on almost all of the aspects mentioned in your blog to that of aspiring and working towards an egalitarian society through the application of knowledge gained through ancient Hindu treatises and texts that are of paramount value even today. However, I beg to differ on the premise that we Indians are currently not on the aforementioned path to attaining moksha or nirvana through our karma yoga already. To explain this, let's take the latest Pew reports where India ranks 42nd among 198 countries in terms of Government restrictions on religion (GRI) with an average index of 5.10 out of 10, 10 being the worst and has an index of 8.7 out of 10 on Social Hostilities Index(SHI).These latest reports may lend credence to the growing intolerance in the country but the findings need to be interpreted with much caution due to the following reasons. As indicated by the Pew lead researcher, hostility between Hindus and Muslims in India grew as a result of vigilantism against cow slaughter thus driving the SHI upwards compared to the previous year. However, SHI scores for India has always been on the higher side for the past decade i.e. between 2007 and 2015 the average SHI score was 8.9 while the average GHI score was 5.07 only slighter lower than the current average. The report being subjective in nature makes it difficult to reach any conclusion and it does not agree with cross country rankings on religious freedom either since they are also subjective as they are conducted not through first-hand surveys but based on reports of International agencies and Western governments. The Freedom House 2016 report for 2015 on the other hand, ranks India as a 'free' country with top scores on freedom to form religious organisations and maintain autonomy apart from scoring very high in protecting political as well as electoral rights of religious groups and exercising civil liberty where religious institutions, communities have the right to freely express themselves. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data on riots indicates that the rate of riots (numbers per million) has actually declined from 57 to 52 between 2010 and 2015. Incidences of riots too have come down to 65,255 in 2015 after apexing to 74,633 in 2012. In populous states such as West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, incidences of rioting have declined. Although the rioting increased in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the incidence of communal riots in the country has declined from 1,227 in 2014 to 789 in 2015, even as the rate of riots remained unchanged. All of this data actually implies that the reality is actually less alarming or grim than what it is projected out or perceived to be in the media, although worries about social strife is not unjustified. This can be diminished further through mutual acceptance, understanding, practicing sensitivity and compassion and percolating it right from the top to the bottom in all forms of establishment. India has been a tolerant nation since the time Mughals invaded our country or the British looted its entire wealth and as you rightly pointed out even when there is constant intrusion into our borders by our nefarious neighbours. Thus, such idiosyncratic misrepresentation of secular society such as ours that has relentlessly surpassed the tests of turbulent times is politically motivated and driven by opposing parties. Recent anti Army, Anti India, 'Azaadi for Kashmir' sloganeering carried out by families gathered at Amnesty International India event in Bangalore or the subsidized JNU students who misuse their privileges graciously extended by the hard earning and karma yogi Indian tax payer to openly protest against India, inciting separatist sentiments are in fact grave acts of intolerance and cause for serious concern to every Indian which needs to be nipped in the bud through adequate policing and stringent law enforcement drawn out in every place.

Something happened or not, but we got 1 new word in Indian dictionary post May 2014 i.e. Intolerance or असहिष्णुता. Almost all of us heard this new word, wither somebody is from elite English speaking class or so called Hindi speaking people. Lots of articles, blogs, editorials, news were written on these 2 words. Though this word always comes during any state elections. If we talk about Intolerance, Indians were never intolerant. We always accepted every outsider be it a friend or an enemy. I agree with Mr. R Jayraman when he writes that Indians never see anybody as outsider and we always welcome every guest. Even if that guest is our enemy who has attacked our country. Be it Qutb al-Din Aibak to Babar to Mughals to Britishers. Yes, it might be the influence of thousands of slavery that we Indians faced under different cruel rulers. I read somewhere that post 1857, one general of British Army said “When we crushed Indian rebellion of 1857, we took out a march on the main road of the biggest city of India. Thousands of Indian gathered to see our victory march. Believe me they were so large n numbers, even if they had thrown 1-1 stone on our victory march, India would have been freed that day only.” Even today, we keep terrorists in our Jails, we don’t kill them. We feed Kashmiri Seperatists, we don’t shoot them. We have human right commission which always sends notice to army or police when 1 terrorist is getting killed, but they never sends legal notice to government when 1 army soldier has been killed due to non-availability of bullet proof jacket or ammunition in Kashmir or Dantewada or Sukma. We have tolerance for JNU Gang for their “Bharat tere tukde honge, inshah allah, inshah allah”. We have lots of tolerance for all those advocates who pressurised CJI to open Supreme Court at 2 AM against the orders of execution of a terrorist. We have tolerance for all those stone palters who kill our Army men or burn Indian flag. We love that so called intellectual “Äward wapsi Gang” which comes only when it can get the popularity against the central ruling party, else they are deaf & blind when Dr.Narang was killed in Delhi, when 2 men were killed in Saharanpur, when 15 RSS activists were brutally murdered by ruling party in Kerala or when a 17 years teen age guy was arrested by West Bengal police bcoz of his facebook post. But yes, India becomes intolerant when neighbours killed 1 man in Dadri, or 1 guy in Hyderabad suicides. In all these cases local state governments are not responsible for Law n order, but central government and entire India becomes INTOLERANT. India was ok when honourable VP spent 10 years at the post, but at the very last day of his tenure... India became intolerant. On 15th Aug 2017, Honourable CJI, Justice Kehar said that it is the beauty of Indian Democracy that common men have been reached at all 3 top posts of India. A farmer became President, a poor became Vice President and a chaiwal became the PM of India. We Indians were tolerant from thousands of years and its very rare we got some intolerant people like Respected Bhagat Singh, Gandhi Ji, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Guru Nanak ji, Shivaji Maharaj, Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw, who actually had courage to stood up against the enemies of our country. Thank you, Vande Matram.

Sir, you have actually commented on a very prevalent topic of our country. And before expressing my thoughts about it I would like to acknowledge that I myself is a Hindu Brahmin and I do not intend to blaspheme this religion. I believe intolerance was never an accepted ritual in Hinduism. As you rightly indicate Lord Krishna, one of the biggest proponent of Dharma, himself ask Pandavas to fight against Kauravas for the misdeeds they did. We all know, the spark which converted into the fire of war of Mahabharata, started because of long duration tolerance of kind-hearted Pandavas and impulsive intolerance of Kauravas. The Pandavas were tolerating impartial behavior against them since their childhood and at the end, Duryodhana proved his intolerance of his brother's ability to create magnificent palace out of the infertile land. Isn’t it ironical that Lord Krishna himself asked Pandavas to fight against his own brothers, own blood? In the era of Lord Ram also one exemplary case of intolerance was depicted when Ravana kidnapped Goddess Sita because he can't tolerate rejection by a lady. Over their also Lord Ram fought against the evil and establish the order. And now we come to the modern world, it's true that few out of many facets of life we found some examples of intolerance in our nation. It is also true that lately, we found many examples of intolerance in or due to Hinduism in our society. However, I strongly believe that Hinduism is most moldable religion and survived through the ages by adapting itself and tolerating the deviated rights and intolerating or rather fighting the evil wrongs. If people are trying to use Hinduism for their political benefits, they will not succeed in the long run and this religion will again prove itself and stand with other citizens of the country with more empathy at the end.

The author has very well put his views by starting it with Ratan Tata’s concern regarding the growing intolerance in India. He made his points by giving examples of Indian culture being kind to others right from the start and how it is slowly degrading & people are becoming intolerant in recent times. However, is it really the case that India is becoming intolerant? There have been many statements from celebrities and politicians regarding this and it is magnified to an extent by the media houses for their own good. The point that a well-respected industrialist like Ratan Tata also feels the same is a concern for our great country but at the same time I noticed that he made the statement while sharing the stage with a Congress MP. This may be controversial but making a statement like this with a politician of the opposition party at the podium makes me think the authenticity of the statement. Does he really meant what he said or was it just for the sake of getting some benefits. The thing that worries the most is that this news of intolerance was trending only during some election period and not after that. Many well-known authors gave away their awards in protest, which was then trending as “Award-wapsi”; but just after the elections, there was no such “award-wapsi” news in the media. This really makes us think what these businesspersons, politicians and celebrities says is really based on facts or they just say it for staying in news. It is high time that we as Indians should think individually that are we really feeling any oppression in the society or is there any intolerance around. And come to a conclusion by ourselves and not go through the media reports. If we feel the same way, then it is a very dangerous situation of our great India, which has accommodating nature since time immemorial.

If we look at the history of India spanning thousands of years, we see that India has been one of the most tolerant places to be in. The society at large has been welcoming and has always embraced differences. In this context, the Indian ethos and values truly deserve respect. You have rightly mentioned that many stalwarts of our great civilisation have somehow been forgotten. It is quite evident in the lack of awareness of people around us. But I would refrain from saying that the country has disowned its civilizational heritage. Though a large faction of society might have done that, still there are many who understand and respect it. And the truth is that the people alone can’t be blamed. There have been many events which has shaped the society after independence. Indeed, India needs to find its glory. But should the country only look back and feel proud of the fact that it had a great civilizational heritage. We must look at the future when a grim present is staring at us. The hangover of past is somehow not able to coherently drive the society ahead. People of various faiths have voluntarily chosen to be in the society. It is a good thing that we associate ourselves with the great civilizational heritage we had. But we must do something new, keeping a sustainable future in mind, and reinvent ourselves. If we take pride in the fact that we were good at science ages ago, we have to strive hard to excel in science once again. Sometimes the first step to solve a problem is to accept that a problem exists. Only then we as a society can comprehensively tackle it and march ahead. Giving a Namastey London type lecture every time when a foreigner comments about the shoddy condition of people in India won’t work.

India has been a nation known for its tolerance and universal acceptance. This has come from our inherent quality of being tolerant to divergent views about religion, caste and school of thought. Therefore I was surprised at first to notice such a bandwagon of “award-vapsis” in 2015. I wondered if the stray incidents of lynching and violence are a reflective of the culture of such a great land in which flourished one of the oldest civilizations. This is not to say that such acts can be ignored. There have been trials in those cases to ensure our secular fabric is unstained. But we need to look at this from a broader perspective of the Indian culture. Swami Vivekananda talked of tolerance in Hinduism at Chicago’s Parliament of Religions in 1893. Thus tolerance is something Indians have been practicing for centuries. Tolerance to different views later became a part of all other religions of India. We have co-existed with people from all faiths. Debates and discussions are an indispensable part of all religious and spiritual discourses. We consider every human being as the child of God and not as an outsider or a disbeliever in our faith. Different cults of Hinduism have been flourishing here for centuries: - The Shaivites and Vaishnavites, Nirgunas and Sagunas etc. Similarly the Shias and Sunnis have resided here without any conflict unlike in the Gulf countries or Pakistan. Same is the case with Catholic and Protestant Christians. It is not uncommon to hear instances of a Muslim family looking after a temple in Poonch or a Hindu constructing a mosque in Bareilly. We can claim with pride that Indians have never been a part of any ethnic cleansing. Indian society was never involved in forced conversions. The advent of religions like Jainism and Buddhism from the folds of Hinduism was peaceful and along proper line of reasoning. Such tranquil birth of religions could not have been thought of in any other country. People would have agitated to see their fellow brethren converting to other faiths. India is a land witness to repeated conquests by Muslims, Mughals and the British. Despite all the atrocities in some of the regimes, it has survived the toughest of the times. If today there is a sense of pride in a nationalist Hindu with a BJP government at the centre, it should be seen in the light of loss of identity he has suffered from during the successive governments after independence. The idea of secularism has to be redefined to represent the real fabric as envisaged by our Constitution-framers. Having said this, I admit that there has been a spate of incidents of violence inflicted upon minorities and Dalits in recent days. This is indeed an alarm bell for our rich culture of tolerance. We must address the concerns of the weak in the society who feel they are vulnerable to violence the most. We must not let such incidents portray our society in bad light and take appropriate action to punish the wrongdoers.

Before heading towards the pluses and minuses to measure intolerance in our massive country, we must understand what is intolerance. Intolerance could be as basic as an allergy towards milk products or it can be as complicated as simple sentences, “These people eat water. Who eats water? We drink water.” “ Arey dada, paani khaya nahi piiya jaata hai,” It is a question of accepting, or rejecting our endless differences, the difference of opinion, the difference of culture, religion, food, wear, language among many more. Let me put out a very basic example. While chatting over a cup of tea with one of my North-Indian colleagues, he pointed out that Hindi is our ‘rashtra-bhasha’ (national language) and everyone is supposed to know it well. I did not object, I explained to him that India does not have a national language yet, but a few official languages of which Hindi is one. I failed to put it through despite a good 15 minutes of explaining. The only argument that he put forth is that, Hindi has high penetration and is spoken everywhere in India. He could not digest the fact that there are places in India where people are clueless about the “Rashtra-bhasha” and will fiercely oppose it in case of imposition. “Would that make them rashtra-virodhi in your terms?” I asked. Well, we both headed to Google to investigate further and the reports left him confused. “There is no national language in India. However, the official languages of the Union Government of the Republic of India are Hindi in Devanagari script and English as mentioned in article 343/1 of the Constitution of India,” revealed our first search. Now, if we go deeper to understand the difference of opinion, we see the clear relationship between our thoughts with our immediate environment and culture, which is essentially formed during our up bring and our experience with the outer world. So, if anyone expresses fear on the existence of some people/community, then they must have a negative experience in past or their cultural upbringing doesn’t allow the existence of other communities. I strongly feel labeling of people, good or bad, by their caste and religion, would not fulfill our personal and social development goals. As a child of mother India, we shall strive to stay in peace and harmony, while accommodating and respecting other’s opinion. Now, going back to Mr. Tata’s comment, “a curse we are seeing of late.” My colleague later seemed content with our (mine and Google’s) explanation. It is a curse if he still believed that Hindi can be imposed. But, if he makes a “course correction” and steps in to object the next time someone else says that Hindi is our ‘rashtra-bhasha’, the curse stands lifted.

Dear Sir, This is a wonderful article describing the Rising intolerance in India. In recent past, there’s lot of discussion being going about rising Intolerance in Indian Society. India has always been basket of religious pluralism. We are only country in world which is home to people from different castes, religions, languages, cultures who managed to coexist peacefully over the centuries. Lately, we are seeing signs of rising religious intolerance mainly by Fringe & Religious Fundamental groups who manifested itself in attacks against people who don’t endorse long held views on religion. Some anti-social elements in the name of “Gau Raksha “have made an excuse to spread violence. The Lynching of Akhlaq in his home in Dadri Village on suspicion that he consumed beef has followed by a series of attacks all over India. Prime Minister strongly condemned these Incidents and said killing in the name of protecting cows is not acceptable Intolerance not a byproduct of Opinion or religion. It is a result of lack of mutual understanding & patience among societies. In Recent Years we are witnessing Murder of Democracy where People were killed on having difference of opinions & contrary views on religious practices Like Kulburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar and recently killed Journalist Gauri Lankesh. These killings are destroying the Idea of India. The Government which is elected on a development agenda should take steps to bring perpetrators of these heinous crimes to book . As a Intolerance in our societies is not something which we can pass on . It has to be treated immediately. Our Tradition teaches tolerance, our philosophy preaches tolerance, our constitution practices tolerance. People of the country need to accept difference of opinion to establish Diverse and Peaceful India.

Sir, Have just read your blog on “An Atmosphere of Intolerance in India”, which was an eye opener for every Indian, and all must think about it. But I want to ask myself do I really feel Intolerant? If all famous and respected personalities, where entire world is admiring them are projecting that India is becoming intolerant, then the remark obviously was bound to evoke reactions from people. But are we analyzing the real India? Or we are analyzing the India in light of what media is showing or politicians are portraying in front of our eyes? Shall we not first understand or analyze that? If mango man is still struggling for basic need, such remarks are distracting the attention of society on those issues. The façade created by current media campaigning along the political leaders, who is clinching to become the Suprimo of India can mislead us on some associations, this must be the reason for him to spark a remark. As rightly stated by you, Hindus have never forced anyone and never killed anyone for protecting Hindutva, but keeping quiet and looking helpless to the situation is this the intolerant India? How suddenly they started becoming anti secular? I am not supporting Hindutva or any religion, but surly there can be scope for doubt that the remarks are coming at regular intervals whenever there is a planned event by government or does it give an indication that the growth and popularity what India is achieving across the world is not liked by few ones. This gives more boost to my thought it’s a myth created to cash vote banks. One thing our ruler British gave us in gift while going “Divide and rule” the game is still on..it’s track to win…..

Its important to look into any matter from all sides. Lets delve deep into it and lets not convert it into a propaganda against the government. The biggest instances of intolerance happened when Late Mrs Gandhi imposed emergency on the people of this country. Adding to it ,1984 sikh riots was also on the same lines . When we hear any news about mob lynching ,we are quick to say that India has become intolerant. When we compare such instances with mass killings of 1984 , the hypocrisy is very evident to the people. Why do we turn a blind eye towards the other side of it?? Modern media does not report malda riots and is swift to term india intolerant when any mob lynching happens.Violence in any case is to be condemned but we should not use it selectively. In case one wants to get a feel of what real intolerance is all about,one can visit pakistan. The population of minorities has shrunk to a meagre 2 or 3 percent in pakistan whereas it has grown in india to 20 percent. This entire debate of india being intolerant is flawed in its basic sense. Russia's president Putin clearly stated that minorities need russia and russia does not need them. This statement depicts intolerance. Trump's ban on any particular religion is intolerance.Here our PM talks about ' Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'. When toilets are being built up , it is being used by all. Roads and electricity are used by all.It is not differentiated on the basis of any religion. If we always associate the PM's chair with any royal family, we will always find ways to criticise the govt. We should criticise for improvement not for the sake of criticising.

Its important to look into any matter from all sides. Lets delve deep into it and lets not convert it into a propaganda against the government. The biggest instances of intolerance happened when Late Mrs Gandhi imposed emergency on the people of this country. Adding to it ,1984 sikh riots was also on the same lines . When we hear any news about mob lynching ,we are quick to say that India has become intolerant. When we compare such instances with mass killings of 1984 , the hypocrisy is very evident to the people. Why do we turn a blind eye towards the other side of it?? Modern media does not report malda riots and is swift to term india intolerant when any mob lynching happens.Violence in any case is to be condemned but we should not use it selectively. In case one wants to get a feel of what real intolerance is all about,one can visit pakistan. The population of minorities has shrunk to a meagre 2 or 3 percent in pakistan whereas it has grown in india to 20 percent. This entire debate of india being intolerant is flawed in its basic sense. Russia's president Putin clearly stated that minorities need russia and russia does not need them. This statement depicts intolerance. Trump's ban on any particular religion is intolerance.Here our PM talks about ' Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'. When toilets are being built up , it is being used by all. Roads and electricity are used by all.It is not differentiated on the basis of any religion. If we always associate the PM's chair with any royal family, we will always find ways to criticise the govt. We should criticise for improvement not for the sake of criticising.

At times I wonder if this was not the Topic available for Debate or enlighten our thoughts what would have happened to the society . Honestly the society could have been much harmonic and human for which we are and were known. Is this is a new topic? Certainly not since the ages this is there but with more then 375 News Channels and more then 1 lakh registered newspapers. its creating more an more buzz . For all 24X7 news channels this is the best bet as everybody is busy putting their elite panel to task and see that TRPs are maximized. For Print Media they need to fill the Editorial columns. They would put panelist against each other and then in breaks have tea/coffee and share lighter moments. But most important question is why are we falling in the trap or we are being made to see /read what the media and the society at large wants us to see and read. On top of all this the Politicians are making it worst by having non sense debates and further worsen the Problem. Is india the only country? No way read the international media or watch the international news channels you will come to know that this is made to believe that India is the only country rest all are fine. I along with the million of Indians believe that we are the most tolerant country and there should not be any debate , lets Debate on Petrol prices, inflation, infrastructure , health Care facilities and many other deserving topics. In a society which is so diverse we must give space to everybody’s opinion. Mr Ratan Tata concern is important but to portray that this is the worst time is political and uncalled for. Mr Ratan Tata in Many occasions has Praised the country progress and himself has been doing lot to address many challenges that the country is facing. His comments should be taken in right spirit and not to fill the plates of people who enjoy creating and manufacturing debates. Lets look at examples , stories of success and valor we have enough and the 24X7 channels can also get a lot of masala . Lets try and build a strong society .

I agree with you and support the views expressed by legendary Mr. Ratan Tata. It has been 2 years since this blog was posted. The recent “WhatsApp Lynching” have further reinforced what Mr. Tata had mentioned. Intolerance is indeed a big concern and hurdle for dynamic and vibrant India as we would like to see. The major causes of intolerance are due to culture, caste, belief (religion) and economic disparity. Advancement of digital world through internet is making it more complex. India is on fast track of growth, larger population are moving towards pacy urban life. Compound families are disintegrating into nuclear family. Good values learning through family members are on decline. Kids are rather inclined towards mobile which is further aggravating the good parenting principles. We are in big transition phase. Some people are misusing the technological advancement for their benefits. However, do we really deserve this? We are the 3rd largest higher education system in the world with 6.8 Crore graduates. We are having sharpest of the brains. If we really trust our unity in diversity and indulge in futuristic discussion towards making our nation the great, I believe that we could improve all walks of life. Our country needs all us more than ever to come together and reshape our country through our efforts to neutralize the disparity causes. We need to stand up to all wrong doings and guide our kids and younger generation with good values. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to curb this menace from our society before it becomes too late. We should try to find ways of creating more job opportunities and help governments to create right environment for all. In this media age of TV and newspapers on go can be a vital ingredient to tackle the intolerance. Instead of sensitizing any untoward incident of intolerance, it could be publishing and telecasting in a more sensible way by highlighting the ill effects. Many families loose the bread winner for no reason and their family find it hard to meet their basic needs. Kids and siblings take wrong route to earn their food and becomes anti-social for revenge. We all need to act together to eliminate the curse of our society, intolerance. So, be the first as catalyst of change.

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