Culture of Intolerance

I see around me, breeding amongst  people my age and even the elders, the growing disease of intolerance. People seem to have no patience for another human being’s choices, thoughts, perspectives or opinions that are different from their own. I ask myself when, who and what has made us this way? Growing up I always believed that forming good connections with everyone you encounter and honest communication with the people in your life always took you on the right path. But I can’t remember when temerity began to take hold of people who started colouring their perspectives with adjectives of caste, political affiliation and social status. Most of us are taught these divisions as a child. As you grow up these divisions lay firm partitions in people’s minds. Back then in my childish optimism I often wondered what these differences were about. There were great emotional and behavioural differences in the homes of both set of my grandparents. Then why were the differences between me and a neighbour pointed out with such accusatory tones? Even now as an adult, I fail to see the merit in most of them.  The habit of tagging an individual, often sets the roots for intolerance in the minds of children who then grow up having little patience for those who are “different” than them.

I cringe when I see this widespread disease of intolerance around me. Intolerance has seeped so much into our everyday life that we are even intolerant about differences within our family. But when this intolerance creeps into social and political causes, the narrative they unfold is marked by bloody sagas. The minds of the idle ones without a moral compass of their own is filled with the ideals of others and intolerance is promoted as a tool for advocating their cause.

While it is one thing to raise your voice for rights (politically like in Egypt or  socially as in rights for the disabled), it is quite another to resort of violence to make your point. And this much I can vouch for. Few people actually endorse violence. Lack of nerve, laziness or fear of falling prey to the ones you speak against, makes people watch spectacles of violence or corruption without a whisper of protest or condemnation.  People play victims blaming failing political and social systems for their woes.

But in this world bubbling with changes, in this world of billions, the need for dialogue and debate as a means to arrive at solutions is more pertinent now than ever. We all have our own thoughts, ideas and goals. If the first person is right, it doesn’t necessarily mean the second person is wrong. Both can be right, because both come from different positions.  As one single individual I know I don’t have the power to change the world. But in my life , I do advocate tolerance to those around me. I also encourage them to actively participate in creating change for causes they feel strongly about. But never violently.

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