By:Syed Sajid Husain Kazmi
“Intolerance” can be termed as word of the year in India in 2015. There seems to be a general impatience for anything we don’t like or we disagree with. Religion is not the only reason or stimulus for intolerance. Movies, books, satire or different political views- anything can lead to violent protests, demand for ban or boycott, even jail if you question or point a finger towards some politician. There have been numerous instances where the public showed both of its faces i.e. tolerant as well as intolerant.
With the advancement of technology and media, incidents are telecasted hurriedly in such a way that they are considered as spicy news items and different from the contents being telecasted on other news channels. This often results in inappropriate coverage of any incident and may result into some untoward activity.
Take the example of Dadri lynching incident which sparked this debate of tolerant vs. intolerant India. On 28 September 2015, 50 year old Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched at Bisada village in Uttar Pradesh after news was spread that he had allegedly killed a cow and stored beef in his house. Debate started and tension grew in the region. Social media was full of hatred messages and ill feelings for one another. Politicians used this opportunity to get political mileage out of this incident.
This incident caught attention of international media. B.B.C., New York Times etc covered the incident forcing our Prime Minister and President to speak in favour of tolerance in India and the need for maintaining peace and serenity among the citizens.
As the debate continued, I thought about the glorious past of our country. The ‘Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb’ of our nation. The unity of our countrymen that forced the Britishers to leave our country. Unified citizens were the nightmare for Britishers who cunningly devised the plan of divide and rule and tried to divide the Indians on religious grounds.
Our countrymen sensed the clever plan of divide and rule and stood together irrespective of their religion, caste, region or language. Together they fought, together they died. The blood that was shed in our freedom struggle was neither Hindu blood nor Muslim blood, it was Indian blood.
Responsibility of our youths:
It’s high time we understand that intolerance is not the answer to anything we dislike or disagree with. In Dadri lynching incident it has been found that Homeguards constable Vinay instigated group of youths to attack the family of Akhlaq. Had the youths not been so weak, impatient and fragile, they could have sensed the situation and not taken the law in their own hands.
The involvement of youth in cases of violence, rampage or riots is on peak. You name an incident and surely you will find some youths involved in it. Youths should never forget they are the future of this country. Youths are responsible for the growth and development of India. They should learn to accept this responsibility and behave in a responsible manner. They need to learn to be patient. Hot headedness is not the appropriate way to deal with any situation or crisis.
In our day to day life, we may face uneasy situations in office while dealing with monthly targets or dealing with angry boss, or dealing with faculty and friends in school and college, or dealing with personal relationships. Often we are at receiving ends and tend to lose our cool, but this does not mean we react violently and start beating our boss if we disagree with his views or are unhappy with our faculty’s review about our performance.
Similarly, we need to keep our cool while dealing with our neighbours, relatives and with our society. We should not forget our values. We are humans and by virtue of being a human, we posses this unique tendency of being patient and controlling our anger. We should learn to respect each other irrespective of their religion, caste, colour, gender, region or language they speak. We should learn to behave in a dignified and civilized manner otherwise there will no difference left between human beings and animals (to be more appropriate apes, whose DNA is 99% similar to those of humans) and we may be mistaken for a beast.
We should try to shun hatred and spread the message of love and brotherhood by living peacefully with our fellow human beings, forming a tolerant society resulting into a tolerant India.
(Writer is Chairman Indian Progressive Youth Forum)