When somebody talks about anything today in India, you will invariably judge if it falls in the domain of ‘tolerance’ or spills over to the domain of ‘intolerance’. The stamp of either side is invariably applied across the geography, across social and political spectra.

It is not true that people of India are intolerant in general. We have tolerated all kinds of invasion, be it cultural, political or military, through our long history. As I have written and spoken before – the point of contradiction is about what should be considered as the starting point of Indian Nation: 1947 or a date that is perhaps thousands years ago. And to certain extent, we have only this issue to deliberate in India. At least what our politicians make us believe.

But elsewhere, as many tell, there are multiple problems. Europe is struggling to understand mid-thirties of last century from the current perspective fearing that history may repeat. A loose version of political and economic experiment in Indian subcontinent is being tried and tested in the form of European Union. But of course, people may not have to cite an adhering document in the way that we, in India, invoke our constitution to make it sacred in deliberation rather than deed. We are more flexible, and can segregate practice from a mere theory.

The western world, as we say, has taken note of our wound in Mumbai. It is visible after ISIS attack in Paris. And the incident has changed the scope of discourse around the globe like that in India. People speak how much tolerance is acceptable. Should we stop accepting Syrian migrants into western society or not?

It’s again a debate on tolerance versus intolerance, and has taken over the popular psyche across the globe. Perhaps, as winter sets in, the chill touches our mind to fetter to this narrow frame of discourse.


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