No, Indian Tolerance Has Not Changed, It Is Still A Multicultural Heaven


Has hate become the new mantra? No, not at all. The narrative that Indian tolerance has changed is utter nonsense. Step back from this overindulgent narrative of a new, corrosive India. We are facing an existential threat as the overflow of every small incident magnifies hate – and defuses love.

India’s practice of cohabitation is too deep-rooted for such a scenario. We, as humans, are becoming victims of our own success. Let us step back, and realise the facts. Nothing has changed. The only difference is information. The whole subcontinent has become our neighbourhood. Everything seems to be happening just outside our doorsteps. We think we are the direct victim.

Regrettably, hate and sensationalism sells, whereas ‘1.4 billion slept peacefully’ does not. Honestly, good deeds on an individual level will make our countries heaven. The example of the Pakistan-based Edhi Foundation is but one instance. The Edhi Foundation took care of Geeta, a deaf-mute Indian woman who wandered across the border to Pakistan. This kind act, and reuniting her with her family over a decade later, warmed the hearts of a billion. We need to promote love and tolerance amongst all communities.

malala[via Onedio]

In this age of connectivity, isolated incidents become huge – and create disproportionate outpourings of love or hate. The former is okay, the latter can be devastating. One hate crime or intolerant action becomes the lead story, and poisons the minds of many million. Tragedies happen. We cannot let individual acts consume us collectively.

All good work is lost in a mire of hatred. As social media users, we should try to build bridges, not burn them. We must not forget that with the increasing exchange of global information we face new challenges. A crime that was once limited to a village becomes a story of a billion hates. A small story of love becomes a story of a billion loves. This media glare is how Malala Yousafzai became the universal symbol of courage. The entire world adopted her in her heroism, a beacon standing firm against the ignorant and callous oppression of the Taliban.

The word needs acts of kindness – on an industrial scale. Otherwise we are destined for implosion. Since we live in a global neighbourhood, we are afflicted by the pain of the whole world. It becomes our own. Individual tragedies travel at the speed of light. The propensity to create hate is very high. The time has come for India to have a reckoning with its own identity. India is a paragon of cohabitation, it is time to prove this. Let us have a sensible dialogue about how to handle cow and slaughter issues. Let us not fall victim to the narrative that ‘all hell has broken loose’.

When a Hindu is individually targeted in Pakistan, the news is far more damaging than the positive impact one thousand good efforts. Similarly, when Muslims are murdered in India, the repercussions are grave, and the consequences are tragic. It is not hate that has exponentially increased. The ability to influence minds by propagating hate-filled news has gone up. People think India has lost tolerance.

I don’t buy it. It is the negative information overflow that is killing us. We need to stem the tide. We must build bridges of understanding. We must demote hate-mongers who do not understand that hate kills. If we do not, it threatens to consume us all.


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