India has set a precedent of how to tolerate and forgive. The invasion and plundering of the vast country by several aliens like the Persians, Greeks, Mongolians and the last by British were allowed without much opposition. In that process, the great traditions and heritages were damaged and some decimated as well. The spread and growth of different foreign cultures and religions across the whole nation also vouch for the level of tolerance India displayed in the past.
Scams. Without exception, scams took place in almost all spheres of our daily life. Coal, granite, minerals, arms, pipes, telecom, land, construction, fodder, cricket, education, health, etc. The politicians caused all these misdeeds independently or in collusion. However, the citizens graciously forgot them and voted the same set of people for ruling them. Is this not a gesture of tolerance!
Corruption. After the independence, this occupies the second position in uniting the people of this great nation. Irrespective of the culture, religion and language, people have developed the tendency to ignore the ill-effects of this social malady. In fact, the citizens have imbibed the necessity for corruption to get their desires fulfilled easily. The credit goes to the political masters and the greedy intermediaries at various levels of the hierarchy.
Religion. The basic tenets of the religions have been forgotten and relegated to the backyards. The true spirit of these faiths is overtaken by the selfishness of the religious heads. Spiritual aspect is lost by the mere practice of rituals. Many religions prefer publicity and propagation over truth and peace. Some religions indulge in conversion of the gullible and poor people to their faith by making false claims amenities and privileges. Besides these atrocities, some politicians contribute their mite with derogatory comments on religions just to woo the vote banks. Nonetheless, the majority of the faithful believers ignore such frivolous acts and instigators to live in harmony.
Infrastructure. Despite the poor roads, sanitation, and transport facilities, the citizens do not grumble much and remain complacent of what is available. The political parties make huge promises of such infrastructure at the time of each election to garner their votes. Of late, the land grabbing and encroachments on the agricultural and public lands have taken a heavy toll thorough water and food scarcity and deluges in the dwelling places. Yet, people never resort to any agitation or intolerance, but calmly proceed with contentment.
Black money. The major share of unaccounted income and wealth comes from the politicians and those who earned them through illegitimate and dubious methods. Unless measures like strict enforcement and punishments are implemented, the accumulation of the black money cannot be curtailed. A small section of the population boasts of such illegal and huge resources while the majority thrive in poor conditions. The paradox is the politicians gather their votes from the majority of poor people but remain faithful to the minority group that funds them. Despite this animosity, the majority exhibits no appreciable intolerance to the politicians or the owners of illegal money.
Taxes. These are intended for maintaining an egalitarian society by taking a portion of the excess income and wealth from the rich and using for building the welfare of the have-nots and the public amenities. However, many conceal their sources of income and evade taxes. The only true tax payers are the middle class and salaried people facing deduction of income tax. To aggravate the burden, governments announce new taxes every time the budgets are presented. Whether service is available or not, service tax will be levied. The water department collects the tax much before the pipelines are laid. Drainage tax is levied without any sewerage systems. There are endless taxes that a citizen pays right from the birth to the last breath. Don’t worry, the common man turns philosophical to bear the burden of each tax. After all, he is the VOTER viz, Voice of The Tax Payer, but without any voice.
Inflation. Many people raise a hue and cry when the prices of agricultural commodities go up. They do not agitate for the steep rise in bullion, automobiles, real estates and other luxury goods. Why is this partiality in intolerance? Pure selfishness as they are affected. Again, the poor sections of the economy do not question the surging inflation and manage by cursing their destinies.
There are many such things that blatantly speak about the wonderful Indian mentality. Even after reading the above explanation, do you still persist in saying” India is Intolerant? If the answer is ‘Yes’, probably you have not understood the concept of Tolerance.
(Author Mohan Thulasingam
is a Ex-Banker and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)