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Day 39 – Q 2.What do you understand by the concept of ‘tolerance’ in the context of a secular democratic country like India? Why is it an important virtue to have as a nation? Examine.

2. What do you understand by the concept of ‘tolerance’ in the context of a secular democratic country like India? Why is it an important virtue to have as a nation? Examine. 

भारत जैसे धर्मनिरपेक्ष लोकतांत्रिक देश के संदर्भ मेंसहिष्णुताकी अवधारणा से आप क्या समझते हैं? एक राष्ट्र के रूप में यह एक महत्वपूर्ण गुण क्यों है? जांच करें।


“Diversity in India is not just tolerated but is celebrated”. India being a country with all the major religions of the world, hundreds of tribes and languages, thousands of castes has to accommodate the views, beliefs of different religion to stay as a secular country. The supreme court securing the rights of LGBT community observed that the numbers of the community is immaterial for upholding basic human rights and tolerance is not only legal but also moral. 


Concept of tolerance:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. 

Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty, but is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace etc. The constitution though articles 25-30 upholds the secular principle entailed in the preamble accommodating diversity of different communities and religion

Tolerance in a democratic country like India means that the country belongs to minorities as much it belongs to majority community/religion. It ensures the minority rights and prevents Authoritarianism or Majoritarianism.

Tolerance is required to uphold equality of all religions. Tolerance is a necessity for India owing to its historical partition due to communal differences. The instances of various communal clashes including the Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits, Babri masjid demolition, Godhra and Muzzafarnagar riots bring in the consequences of intolerance.

Further, the secularism also entails tolerance within a religion. The instances of dalit lynching, discrimination, exploitation of women in the name of religion gives instances of intolerance threatening the secular fabric of the nation.

Furthermore, tolerance doesn’t mean accepting all the practices of different community even when they are discriminatory. E.g. The practice of triple talaq was declared unconstitutional, women were allowed inside the temple of sabarimala as they were discriminatory.

Tolerance as an important virtue for a nation:

  • Without tolerance and harmony, the lasting peace of societies cannot be maintained, and loyalty for each other cannot be established. Lack of tolerance leads to fighting, violence, and finally it destroys the peace and security of society. E.g. Kashmir underdevelopment, Infightings between communities in Assam or between tribes in North eastern states, Mass shootings in USA/UK. 
  • Intolerance takes away the attention of the society away from development. E.g. communal environment in Eastern UP is one of the main reasons for the lack of industrialization, the state of Afghanistan suffering from intolerance. 
  • Human development: Where everyone is treated equally and given equal opportunity, everyone is able to effectively utilize their talents and resources to improve their living standard. This helps in achieving social and economical goals like ending poverty, health, education etc., Best example is Japan or South Korea which saw exponential development over a few decades.
  • Human creative freedom: Any country which is intolerant has suffered from suppression of human creativity. Whether it is Albert leaving Berlin or even MF Hussain leaving India or writer Perumal Murugan (who said he is dead inside after his book was forced to ban due to intolerance), all shows intolerance is counter productive for creativity. 
  • International credibility: In the age of globalization, all the countries are interdependent. Tolerance as a virtue builds credibility of the nation which also helps in international diplomacy. E.g. India being a secular country upholding tolerance is respected in international community. Whereas, countries like Bangladesh (atrocities on Rohingya muslims), Iran or Syria or North Korea etc., have seen erosion of trust and also at times saw international sanctions, foreign interventions etc., 
  • Even economically, tolerance helps a nation where in the investors are willing to come up with new projects which can be seen in countries like India whereas the countries like Pakistan where intolerance is a norm is seen as unworthy of any investment.
  • Absence of tolerance always led to holocaust historically be it be the persecution of Jews by Hitler or the latest Rohingya persecution in Bangladesh. Intolerance has led to civil wars and created crisis situations like the Yemen crisis or Syrian civil war. 


“Tolerance isn’t about not having beliefs. It’s about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you.”

Tolerance means recognizing diversity as a strength. Secular values and not religion or caste or community that makes us a tolerant society. Secularism thrives in tolerance, but also suffers when there is tolerance towards intolerance. Thus, tolerance upholding the human values and individual freedom is the need of the hour to achieve the goal of secularism eventually developing the nation. As it is said “A house divided cannot stand”.

NOTE: Understand the concept of Tolerance, secularism and remember any 4-5 diverse arguments (as you can only write that much in the exam). Make list of quotes and examples.

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