Tolerance vs intolerance
By George Merlo Pallath
There is no doubt that India is the most tolerant nation in this world since the advent of human civilization. Likewise the Indians are the most tolerant people that have ever inhabited this world. The Hindu religion is the most broadminded inclusive religion ever followed. The Indian democracy and its constitution guarantees equality to all its citizens and ensures religious freedom like nowhere else in this world.
But the trouble starts when political parties and politicians start playing with and using religion and caste as a shortcut means to garner votes. When politics and religion is mixed it becomes an explosive mixture which can be easily ignited. Once ignited, it will spread like wild fire and consumes everything in its path.
When political parties use and exploit religious sentiments, intolerance starts. Regardless of whether it is Hindu, Muslim or Christian, all religious fundamentalists have ulterior motives ie to divide the people, create chasms within society. They use religious sentiments for their narrow political gains, to garner power and money. The ordinary people are the losers.
These narrow minded political parties and politicians who has no real religious dedication misuse religion for their selfish purposes.
Strictly speaking, as per the Indian constitution, the political parties must not be allowed to use or exploit religious sentiments as vote bank politics. All political parties and politicians who try to misuse religious sentiments must be derecognized and banned. A typical example is the shiv sena who used the “Marathi maan” as their vote bank. Now they are trying to get onto the hindutwa plank. Likewise the muslim league and the Kerala Congress ought to be banned for exploiting religious sentiments. All political parties must be strictly secular and must not be allowed to used religion for their narrow political purposes. Any political party which has a religious background or foundation must not be allowed to operate. Sadly our ruling party is controlled by the RSS which is a fundamentalist organization. Their brand of hindutwa has brought a bad name for Hinduism which is the most tolerant religion. Likewise the ISIS has sullied the image of muslims everywhere.
Intolerance is shown by these narrow minded politicians and political parties. Intolerance is practiced by the religious fundamentalists in these religious oriented political parties. Religious fundamentalists are there in every religion. The people must see through these masks and identify the real culprits instead of blaming the government or the country as intolerant. Just because some of these narrow minded, intolerant religious zealots and politicians with selfish motives use religion as a tool to divide the people and society, we should not fall prey to them and start blaming the country or the government. Instead we must identify and isolate these trouble makers and refuse to give them an audience. They must not be allowed to exploit our religious sentiments. Religion is strictly personal and must not be allowed to be used as a political plank.
The courts must also step in and prohibit all political parties from using religion and caste as a tool for their political one-upmanship. Let us all come together and uphold the good will of this great nation as the most tolerant democracy with the maximum number of religious diversity in the world. Let us all live in peace and harmony. Live and let live.