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!

29 thoughts on “Tolerance Vs Being True To Yourself.”

  1. India is too far away for me to comment on, other than that I love the vibrancy of the country’s attire and that, on occasion, I feel so very sorry for some inhabitants’ living conditions and circumstances.

    Tolerance. Yes, I do underwrite that you, Ramana, are tolerant. That’s why you have never forsaken me. Unlike some.

    I’d define tolerance as being able to see beyond the length of one’s own nose. Tolerance, in my experience, is the bedfellow of patience. The ability to sit it out (whatever the “it” may be), not least in terms of human relations. Whilst I gag when quoting others this does come in useful: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Neither are friendships. Oh, Ramana, I am in serious trouble getting carried away with the weight of this most interesting subject Shackman raised. So, I’ll put a sock in it.


    PS Being a “hothead” and “tolerant” are not mutually exclusive.
    Ursula recently posted..Bitch on the Blog

    1. I wholeheartedly agree that “hothead” and “tolerant” are not mutually exclusive. And, no, Rome was not built in one day but some friendships can be built in a day to flourish later.

  2. Synchronicity. It often seems to me, after reading our takes on various topics, that we are the same core individual painted with separate cultural brushes. There is a saying here – you are my brother from a different mother.

  3. I’ve come to believe that lunacy of the type mentioned in your last paragraph cannot be explained and understood. Thank you for providing a morning’s reading. I spent the morning reading all three articles and following the links to the different stories illustrating tolerance and intolerance, trying to absorb as much as I could.

    1. I am glad that I was able to provide you some reading material about our country and its problems of a particular kind. There are a number of other issues too which makes it a very vibrant nation.

  4. I don’t understand the title, if I’m intolerant I’m not being true to myself. Unfortunately not everyone is built that way, that variation is part of human nature too, no matter what Voltaire says. 🙁
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..The Windy Season

    1. On your comment – I feel “we” as individuals, do not understand “self” (I am not sure about you, but true to myself). The say “self” is revealed I think the question of intolerance / tolerance will end, because we would become spontaneous and completely “in the moment”. An example I remember (reference some movie I have known Jesus as a very compassionate, peace loving and gentle human being. But once and once only he lost his cool with all the way of his living life – we can say he was tolerant. Jesus’ reaction was more spontaneous as had been.

      The example Ramana uncleji is using here – India centric – is more of created by media, I see the country as it was for last 20 years. We are same, only thing is Govt changed over period of time, internet has made common people like me more informed 🙂

      You are right the topic is confusing because there should never be vs, competition or opposition. We are all one, we are all related.

      1. We are all one at a philosophical level dear Pravin. But at ground level with so many pulls and tugs from various vested interests, it is but natural that some difficulties will arise and they will usually get sorted out by themselves. It is when there is an orchestrated outcry that the kind of links that I gave in my post come to be written about.

    1. It is a functioning anarchy more than a democracy Cathy. Democracy is only for name’s sake. We are highly individualistic because the predominant religion Hinduism encourages that rather than rigid adherence to dogma.

  5. fascinating.
    I read all three links.
    of all of them the first was the most visceral and emotionally moving I thought. but then it was written by a creative person rather than a political one.
    he deals in vision and sight and smell and emotion. it touched me very much.
    as a minimalist and a simple person… I think I would be overwhelmed by India. I have fallen in love with it simply through knowing it by what you have written in your blog and have sent in your videos and such.
    when he said people come to find India and wind up finding themselves… I imagine that is true. it would touch every nerve. every preconceived thought. and it might change it in ways not even imagined.
    I think your way is the best. hot heads make trouble. always.
    and for a country with over 1 billion people and 5 thousand years of history… it is amazing that it works as beautifully as it does!

  6. Voltaire has a lot of good quotes, but I usually keep in mind that he was a professional mocker and provoker.

    My reaction to the articles is that India could very well be the Intolerant person’s paradise: So many things to rage about, but so little time! Presumably there is a government agency defining what things are necessary to tolerate and what things mandate intolerance?
    Looney recently posted..Dr. Trumpenstein’s Monster

    1. As always, you have come with a peculiar approach that we are an intolerant person’s paradise! How apt! Both sides of the divide can call each other intolerant and it will be perfectly acceptable!

  7. Talking about tolerance with reference to your take on the past debate on intolerance in India is futile. The hype was more media created than actual one. After the incident – which created the furor – I have heard / read many more incidents when a person was killed (for political, religious reason) media did not question that.

    I also wrote this weeks LBC, as usual wrote something completely different or if you read too much between the lines the story falls in line, for me it does.

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