Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The myth of a tolerant civilized India

We regularly talk and discuss about how we are moving away from a "tolerant civil society’' that has been termed as the ‘hallmark’ of Indian society.

Are we really moving away? An honest introspection would give us the answer. To move away we should have first achieved it completely. Its been more than 60 years since India achieved independence and during these 60 years there have been numerous incident that if looked into honestly enough would give us the answer that we have never been ‘ a civilized tolerant society’. Albeit the converse is more true.

We were intolerant when Kandhmal happened, we were uncivilized when MNS activist beat poor and weak people in full public view and we were brutal when Gujarat riots occurred.

The above incidents are just three of the many numerous pages of a book that is based on our society. A book whose theme is violence.

Look around you and we will find many such instances which will suggest that how far we are from being civilized. Road rage, mob violence, quarrels over sharing of seats in trains, violent incidents in educational organizations and not to forget the state assemblies paint a very painful picture. Even issues of religion are decided after scores of lives are lost.

The notion that we are a civilized and tolerant society is too sweeping and general in nature too be true, infact it’s an exception.

The country with the most religions and even more practitioners of these religions, we are always on look out for issues to show our inflated ego and might. The truth that religion preaches peace, not violence is conveniently forgotten as and when the situation arises.

A word of insult, sign of dissent and even a slight raise in voice invite violent repercussions. ‘Might is right’ continues to grow day by day- hour by hour.

As we become more independent psychologically and materialistically, the need for friends and allies is steadily disappearing. This has resulted is a thought process that forces us to acquire more of everything; power and wealth to counter the aggressive world. A world that owes its aggressiveness to us, the individuals , its we who constitute it.

What is needed from each individual is a small participation of not more than one minute. Politeness, compassion is words that should not just be written or preached but practiced in spirit. Letting go off ego, once if not twice will make huge difference. Taking initiatives to build new ties and strengthen old will make us more human if not humane.

Perhaps the dream of being a 'just' society is not that difficult to attain. Only if we could be just a little bit more humane...

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