Tolerance Vs Being True To Yourself.


One would imagine that humanity would follow Voltaire’s advice.  Alas, that is only wishful thinking.

In India recently, a raging debate about tolerance and intolerance has got everyone’s attention including some from the West who also gave some unsolicited and much disliked advice on the matter to very sensitive Indians who will fight among themselves but resent others interfering in their internal matters.

To get some idea of what the brouhaha was all about, I give below three links that should explain the various nuances. The first from DNA, the second from The Economic Times and the third from The Hindustan Times give a broad picture including some silly developments like banning a movie.

I personally consider myself by and large, a very tolerant person but as Shackman, who suggested this topic for this week’s LBC post so eloquently points out there will be occasions when my tolerance will be tested if it conflicts with my being true to myself and my beliefs. Leaving that aside however I would like to approach tolerance in India particularly in reference to our inter religious problems that keep cropping up at regular intervals.

At the grassroot and individual levels, all religious and caste groups in India, particulaly so, very visibly in urban India seem to be living in harmony with each other till some lunatic elements interfere using acts to disturb the harmony with vitriol using some provocation or the other. Such interfering can often lead to major inter-religious / caste problems resulting in loss/damage to life and property. When such incidents take place, I am often asked by friends as to what my own take is and I inevitably express my inability to understand that lunacy. Even if I share the ideology with the aggressor, I simply will not be able to understand the need for the provocation and consequent violence etc.

But that is me. The hot heads have a different approach!

Sexual Harassment.

I was under the impression that Indian cities were the worst in the world for women due to sexual harassment that they face. Here is a sobering thought about the situtation. It is also another fact that among all the cities in India, Delhi is the worst with one in four registered complaints coming from that city, our capital.

So, this article in the Guardian came as a complete surprise to me. My memory of the London of my visits had not prepared me for this shocking news.

Our two capitals seem to compete with each other for the fist place.

What is it that drives these men to such despicable acts? The most reasonable answer that I have received is that they are frustrated in their personal lives and take it out on women who are perceived to be easy targets and fair game. I suspect that there is more. In the case of India, single men migrate to cities to seek some kind of employment not available to them in their native towns or villages and are subject to loneliness, and also the very suggestive Indian films and television programs that make it appear as though securing the attention of women is very easy.

Whatever the reason, quite why this should happen in London is beyond my understanding. Continue reading “Sexual Harassment.”