International Day for Tolerance: Respecting pluralism for peaceful coexistence in era of violent extremism
International Day for Tolerance 2020: Respecting pluralism for peaceful coexistence in era of violent extremism [Representative image] | Photo Credit: iStock Images
- The Indian value system is based on the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family).
- In India, state's neutrality to religion can never mean state's indifference to religion because every aspect of an individual's life from birth to death is dictated by his/her faith.
New Delhi: In December 2018, turning down allegations of rising intolerance in India, Rajnath Singh, the then Union Home Minister, had said, “The tolerance that exists in India, I don’t think that it can be found in any corner of the world.”
There is no doubt that the foundation of the Indian idea is tolerance. The Indian value system is based on the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family) that advocates universalism and prosperity for everyone. Even the Indian Constitution acknowledges that our country’s soul resides in pluralism after assimilation of distinct cultures over the centuries. This reflects in the principles of secular ethics enshrined in it.
Engineered communal violence?
However, recent incidents of communal clashes and caste-based violence in these times of rising extremism and majoritarian politics are unfailing evidence of secular disrespect to the idea of India. Though proscribed by the constitution, the state actors may perpetuate this disrespect by strengthening impunity as they have apparently failed to take action against those responsible for political mileage, thereby emboldening them.
Neutrality to religion in India
Every year, on November 16, the United Nations, with the aim to promote tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and people, observes International Day for Tolerance. The UN's Declaration on Principles of Tolerance defines tolerance not only as a moral duty but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and states.
In India, state's neutrality to religion can never mean state's indifference to religion because every aspect, whether big or small, of an individual's life from birth to death is dictated by his/her faith. However, state actors are misusing this for the fulfilment of their personal aspirations, adversely impacting the values of humility and tolerance in the country. It is imperative that every Indian citizen recognises the need to preserve our India's sustainable value system that respects the diversity of languages, cultures, religions and ethnicities.