Human beings aim to achieve progress and enhance the quality of their lives. Governments and societies work towards realising the same – all the developments in Science and Technology sought to attain all-round development. In a hurry to progress and achieve success, people and societies are becoming less tolerant. Understanding the diversity and accepting the same is essential and the need of the times. Tolerance is an attribute that helps people to live together peacefully. Making people believe that tolerance is an integral part of society is paramount. These are the times the world is seeing unleashing of extremism and fanaticism; the venom of hatred is spreading, and the importance of making people tolerant is vital than ever before. International Day for Tolerance is marked on November 16 and is observed to build tolerance among the cultures and people. November 16 was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of UNESCO’s Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. The day is aimed to spread awareness on the dangers of intolerance and encourage dialogue within the societies.
Tolerance is respect, acceptance, and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being humanUNESCO’s 1995 Declaration of Principles on Tolerance
The world has been divided by geographical boundaries and added to it is the diversity in religion and belief systems. In a diverse country like India, states are created based on the language. Each associated attribute develop intolerance and consequently conflict. Sharing of resources, cultural identity, and many other reasons are leading to long-lasting conflicts in societies. Globalisation has changed the situation with people migrating to, far off places and adding to the diversity of the communities. Not adopting and internalising leads to intolerance. Even after people living for generations in the adopted country, people still mentally and emotional association with the country of their origin. In a way, not forgetting the roots is good, but not adopting and absorbing the local culture and traditions always lead to conflicts. There is a pressing need for us to learn how to play nice. Peace would come with tolerance and being with peace brings prosperity.
Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeatedKofi Annan
The uproar created recently in India by an otherwise visually well-scripted advertisement of a jewellery brand, or “Black Lives Matter”, “Me Too” all are examples of intolerance. The world has seen a rise of extremism with underlying political interests trying to cause disruption in society. Being a tolerant society includes disagreeing on political ideologies but being tolerant enough to accept the existence of the other person’s point of view.
Newer forms of personnel expression and likes and dislikes are throwing up challenges, be it acknowledging the rights of LGBTQ community or same-sex marriages. While change is happening, long way to go in terms of fundamental human and legal rights to these communities. Sexuality as a topic is a taboo in societies like India. Spreading awareness in our homes, communities and sharing their experiences will be the first necessary step towards a tolerant society.
Charity begins at home, and so do ingrained beliefs. Most of the toxic environments in the workplace are the result of deep-rooted beliefs based on gender, caste, religion, and race. We should develop a culture of dialogue within our families to break the walls we have built around our homes and be open to the society. Young parents have a huge responsibility to nurture the next generations to be more accepting, tolerant to the diverse individuals in their lives. Intolerance in the workspace can be dealt with human resources departments, and prejudice at organisations can be controlled by government regulations. But to see a change in society, we need to grow as individuals and learn to accept and respect people from different sets of beliefs. Changing times is adding newer dimensions to being tolerant. With the enhanced quality of life and facilities is leading to longevity. Need to live with elderly people in the families is demanding tolerance. Elders being tolerant to younger generation approach to life and the younger generation understanding the value systems of elders. Parents are rubbing their aspirations on their children. Not able to be tolerant to younger generation diverse needs and capabilities, throwing newer challenges in being tolerant of diversity.
Om Saha navavatu
Saha nau bhunaktu
Saha viryam karavavahai
Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih
Om, May we all be protected, May we all be nourished, May we work together with great energy
May our intellect be sharpened. Let there be no Animosity amongst us. Om, peace, peace, peace.
Yajurveda Taittiriya Upanishad
Indian scriptures highlighted the importance of being with peach with yourselves and work together to sharpen the intellect and eliminate hate. Let us all take a step forward and be aware as individuals. Make the society to be more accepting, tolerant and make the world a better and safe place for everyone in it.
Tolerance would start when we accept.