There is lot of discussion and debate on the topic of intolerance in the society and at times some people make us realise as this is something new which has come up in the last few years. The fact is that this was there in the past and might not be eradicated completely and so will exist in future also. Before we get into the details, let us try to understand the meaning of tolerance. The idea of accommodating the views and thoughts of all the people around us who may not think the same way as we do may be the laymen understanding of tolerance. Those who think the opposite or contrary to this will be treated as intolerant. Another issue to be pondered upon is that the ones who are in majority or power, do they need to be more tolerant as the others want them to be? In our society this is visible in almost all situations and I would like to cite some examples of the same. If a person driving a car gets involved in an accident with a motorcycle rider, in that case mostly the car driver is blamed for the accident though the fault may be entirely on the part of bike rider. Similarly, if the accident involves bike rider and cycle rider, then bike rider is usually blamed for it. If it happens between cycle rider and pedestrian, then the cycle rider is blamed while the fault may be of the pedestrian. Similarly, in the classroom if something goes wrong between the teacher and the student, then mostly the blame comes on the teacher though he/she may not be guilty at all and the list of such examples is endless.
The question here is: should the perception dominate the reality and the cases be generalised? We belong to the country where the parents and teachers were remembered ahead of God. The sons and daughters sacrificed their everything on the command of their parents. Here we have many examples starting from Lord Ram to Krishna, Jesus Christ to Bhishma Pitamah to Samrat Ashok to Maharan Pratap to Gandhiji to Shivaji to APJ Abdul Kalam and again the list is endless. The same has been the relationship between the teacher and the taught. Relationship between Guru Vashistha and the sons of Raja Dashrath, between Guru Dronocharya and Arjun are the eternal examples followed by many till the last few decades and are still existing in our societies where the students follow their teachers and succeed in their life. You might get surprised by my mention of these examples here and might question about the relevance in context of the topic being discussed. But there is very important reason for the same. We all agree and accept that the change is law of nature and nobody can stop it. True, but does the change mean doing away completely with the previously followed traditions? Or do we need to change only the branches keeping the roots intact so that the improvement is affected for the good of the human race and the nature both? This is true that no society has been perfect because even during Dwapur and Trerta era, there were problems of having people with evil design and thoughts. Every society has some set norms to be followed by all the citizens. In today`s time every country has its own constitution and the same applies to both government and the citizens. In our country, this is considered equivalent to Gita and Bible. As mentioned before that changes can be made but the soul must not be disturbed and the same has happened with our constitution also in the form of many amendments incorporated in the last sixty six years. Everything was going fine with us but all of sudden in the name of development, globalisation and modernisation, things took turn and fast changes in the thoughts of the people emerged and the same was given impetus by the marketing strategy of the multinationals whose sole purpose was to earn money. All our traditions have been hit by them. The festivals as on today have become market driven and in the process the values got lost somewhere. Initially, the people were enjoying their rights with a lot of responsibility but now the things have got into reverse gear and the people are trying to enjoy their right with a lot of might and the word responsibility is lost in the debate of intolerance. I am to ask a question here, whether asking to follow traditions and the constitution of the country intolerance? If the father of a child asks him/her to come home in time and study and eat healthy food, is it intolerance? If the teacher asks the students to study and learn and follow rules, is it intolerance? We began with some issues where the parents and teachers allowed their children to put forward their views and that was the right thing done but this did not stop and now the situation has become alarming where the children have started questioning everything the parents and teachers ask them to do. This may not be the universal truth but a general perception. The government also has contributed in this by implementing certain laws in reaction to some unfortunate incident. I have always been for the welfare of the children and all possible positive and safe environs for them in the school and at home but that does not mean that our children should not be taught respect for the parents, teachers and the constitution. What happened in one of the prestigious universities in the name of “freedom of speech” seems to be the result of ignoring the things in the past. The saying- what shall you sow, so shall you reap, is proving to be true. If a child disrespects the parents or the teachers and he/she is told that it is immoral, is it intolerance? This still can be ignored and pardoned in case of a small child but can the grown ups who form government be allowed to indulge in such uncanny debate of tolerance-intolerance. The fact is that intolerance in some cases is necessary. We should not tolerate the onslaught and destruction of nature. We should also not tolerate the attack on the culture of this great nation. We should not tolerate the insult to our forefathers who gave their life for the freedom of this county. They wanted a free country where all could live in peace and harmony but did not give their life for those who want to divide this country into pieces. Tolerance is a two way gesture and not one way signal. One cannot keep abusing others and expect no reaction ever because there is limit of everything because even the most elastic body breaks if stretched beyond elastic limit. If this debate is to be reached some conclusive stage then we must ensure that mere power, money and personal vendetta should not overpower the welfare of the society and the nation. Let the government make study of constitution mandatory in all schools and the colleges so that the children and the youth remain well aware of what they are supposed to do for our country and not only the responsibility of the nation towards the citizens. One more request that even in this debate where we do not agree with each other on any issue (this is natural and must be appreciated) but the language used should be such that it is tolerated by all. Dear parents and teachers, our constitution needs to be followed. We feel hurt when the PMs of the country are called names by the people in power and this becomes tolerable.