By – Hardik Madani, Meher Legha
I can’t help but smirk when my fellow Indians boast about our nation being the epitome of acceptance, approval and tolerance. I understand we are a diverse nation with a history of successfully designing and following an unbiased political framework. It led to flawless democratic elections for choosing leaders objectively and this has remained unperturbed since Independent India emerged.
However, breaking the consensus facade, let’s get to the infinitesimally small drivers that make the status quo disarrayed. Before you start building your confrontations for my using the word – “facade”, pardon and let me try to substantiate it. Hasn’t India witnessed the chaotic situation instigated on the grounds of castes and creed discrimination? Didn’t things go wrong to such a level that a group started having objections with what others eat, watch or believe? Didn’t it affect the thought process of an impressionable youth that forced him to take a stand and then defend his/her side? Is the world’s largest democracy on the verge of being an intolerant nation? Ponder and the idea or the rage will sink gradually.
No, I do not follow anti nationalism but it is always better to view the situation from all perspectives. There are flaws but we can always figure out a way out.
Our nation is the perfect example of Yin and Yang striving to exist in perfect harmony. We’re a perfect mélange of social contradictions. India is Ram. India is Ravan. India is the fastest developing country in the world. India is also ranked low on Human development. We are no strangers to this dichotomy. The tolerance of the British colony in the Golden era for India, had a very different texture, seeming like something learned gradually, with difficulty but also determination, while India appeared from a distance like a society where tolerance had grown organically, and has a far longer history, and was more deep rooted for that reason.
Speaking at the launch of Tawazun India, a city-based think-tank that focuses on “counter extremism”, the Dalai Lama himself was of the opinion that India is the best example of religious tolerance, where non-violence and religious harmony were propagated as early as 3,000 years ago. A very strong point of about educating the young in secularism and teaching them the “goodness of being peaceful” was stressed upon along with the proposition that secular ethics should be part of modern education.
We might be a complex, indefinable and incomprehensible nation but we are also one that is slowly trying to make the transition of being more tolerant when it comes to the socio-political, economic or even financial conditions prevailing in our nation today. It is true that we cannot fully be judged or understood on the semantics of tolerance and intolerance alone. It is however our prerogative to build to a slightly more empathic India and the pinnacle of this example is our present Prime Minister Narendra Damodar Modi. A man of his calibre just might be the answer to our troubles with our neighbour. Just like a kid in a school yard, India is the budding chap, brown be speckled child still toddling over to the swings. Pakistan, the one trying to bully India. India can fight back if ticked off far enough. But taking the humanitarian way is what we have learnt while growing up. Gandhi would be proud. Coming back to our beloved Prime Minister, he has floored the entire nation by a simple phone call. While flying over Pakistan, we wished his counterpart in the country and visited them just out of the goodness of his heart. It was not a political move; it was ironing out of those blood laden wrinkles that has been there for a very long time. It’s these few small things which make the difference albeit slowly than expected but at least we have found the right path to walk on. We are and always will in an era where our thought process will dictate that we win over our friends with love. Enough said, let our moral compass do the talking now.