Frankly speaking, I am a bit slow at picking the meaning or source of any kind of controversy. So it took me a while to understand what the hullabaloo was about this ‘intolerance’ thing. I knew a few sad incidents had taken place, which of course needed to be condemned and taken care of. But it was beyond my imagination that those a few incidents would be transformed into a scale to weigh the character of 1.25 billion people.
So last a few days, I have been questioning myself about this ‘intolerance’ issue. And when our finance minister said, ‘where is intolerance?’, I instantly agreed with him. Not because I am a BJP loyalist, but because I have also not been able to find it. During last one month, I have traveled about 5000 kilometers, from J&K to Bihar, certainly not in search of intolerance, yet all the while searching for it.
Every time I read a newspaper, or listened to a debate on TV, I looked around if I could find it around me: in the train, in the bus, in village, in fair, in rallies, in social gatherings- every where I searched for it. But no, it didn’t come across. Every day I found/find people protesting, talking against government and then going to sleep peacefully. Nothing was/is happening to any one. No one is being arrested on this or that pretext. All are enjoying life. So where is intolerance?
People in Bihar, a state with sizable amount of people of various communities, are coming out to vote in hordes. They are participating in rallies like never before without any fear. Yet we are talking about widespread ‘intolerance’?
I heard someone saying, ‘Society at large has become intolerant like never before.’ Really? How come then he was speaking so freely. Wasn’t that a point in itself that he was living in a more liberal, freer India? An India where we have the freedom to return awards, say what we want to say, write what we want to write and no one bothers to question us? Are these the signs of intolerance?
If these are intolerance, then what is tolerance?
When hundreds of people die no one speaks that is tolerance?
When an anti-beef activist gets killed and no one speaks, that is tolerance?
When a writer has to give up writing no once comes in his support that is tolerance?
When thousands of Sikhs gets killed and no writer, director returns award that is tolerance?
When people are forced for castration and no one protest that is tolerance?
If these are the example of tolerance, then it is better we must not have it. I think we would be better in the world of intolerance, where we have all kinds of freedom, yet we can complain about it.