Indian society upholds of several ethics and morals which are entrenched in our lifestyle. Whether be it from another religion, state, or even different believe, we all are brought up learning about various values. Each religion has it different set of values and India being democratic makes space for every religion to reside peacefully. There are mainly four religions- Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Sikh. We are secular, we are free to express our thoughts and believes. But is this democratic nation has become intolerant? Intolerance is a serious issue with important implication- both social and economic.
There are two major parts of intolerance
First are writers, who are threatened, assaulted and killed if they write anything against someone else’s believe or custom. Several cases from the regions of Karnataka are recorded where writers are murdered. Second is of course, cow vigilante violence. Beef is ban in the most states of India and thus if someone is found illegally consuming beef, then even before the police reaches the scene- the mob has already given the punishment, sometimes even fatal. This has given rise to social tension, many a times people are killed even on mere suspicion. That’s the reason why mob lynching keep happening frequently. A man was attacked recently in Jharkhand over the suspicion of theft, then we have a case from Uttar Pradesh where man was killed over the rumors that he ate beef. What would you say on this? Haven’t India became intolerant?
Apart from these clauses the case of movie Padmavat will help you in understanding intolerance in the country more clearly. During the making of the film, the set was attacked several times by the Rajputs who claimed that their queen Rani Padmavati shouldn’t come in a bad light. Seriously? Will a movie totally based on Indian history can pose a threat to someone who had already been dead long back? Women are getting raped every day, and we have never seen any clan be it Rajput or whoever making efforts to save them or even protest against this social evil. But certainly have seen these people creating a havoc during the filming. Does the dignity of someone who is already dead more important than the existing ones? And more important is the question that even before knowing what was actually in the movie, how can they claim that it will shed a bad light? This is completely strange and mindless at the same time.
The latest Pew report ranks India as the worst place among the most densely populated countries when it comes to religious freedom or individual expression. If a person describes his her view on something which is not much acceptable by the other people- he is tagged as intolerant. Just for an experiment, tweet something wrong about any huge personality, say it for an instance be PM Modi or Rahul Gandhi. Guess what? You’ll see a huge amount of people mocking you, and labeling you as anti-Indian. Indian people, especially on social media are seen most intolerant.
And then comes the elections. Intolerance in the country can never be seen well than during elections. People from different parties keep on defaming each other, making non sensible remarks and throwing tantrums. In an interview, Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan said, “There is intolerance, there is extreme intolerance and there is growing intolerance.” What followed were a series of attacks on the actor. People smashed him on social media and boycotted his movies. Now you tell who was intolerant? Him or those people? Hypocrisy on its best! Freedom of expression will continue to remain under siege unless we accept that people can have different opinions and beliefs in a free country.
Then we have bans! Christians didn’t liked a portion in the “Da Vinci code” and the scene was deleted. Hindu’s didn’t liked the name of their queen be highlighted so the title of “Padmavati” changed to “Padmavat”. The movie, Bandit Queen, was banned on the ground of obscenity because of the very brief scene of facade nudity. The banning itch has become infectious. Recently, we saw people smashing Nusrat Jahan just because she married outside her religion and wore a sindoor. Muslims even ruled out a ‘fatwa’ on her. Funny isn’t it? She is not even liberal to wear something she wants to. And then on the other hand, Zaira Wasim quits Bollywood and states that “it’s a threat to her religion.” The similar things happened- loads of comments and sarcasm.
Now if you ask if India has become intolerant? You know the answer. We are living in a country of growing intolerance. Attacks on freedom of expression are increasing. It will continue to increase and we will continue being held hostages by an intolerant mindless mob until we start accepting and celebrating the differences. The youth are the one who are going to make the country a better place to live in. So acknowledgement from the youth on this issue is important. They should know that secularism is not an anti-religious idea. We should know what India actually is and the Idea behind making it a democratic nation.