December 4, 2006


A post after what seems to be ages. I have been making the excuse that I have been busy to write, and that I have to put up with too much. Well, that is true to a certain extent. I have been busy upstairs. I have been doing things that I am not too happy about, and things that have not been as pleasurable as I would like them to be. This is where it all ends. From this day forth, I shall do only those things that I like. That means that I shall be writing, or rather pursuing my mostly pathetic effort of converting thoughts in this head of mine to text on my laptop.

I was talking to an uncle after five years. Considering the fact that I am the only person I in this entire universe who can talk to him on a one on one basis, I guess that five years has been too long a time. I do not want to delve in to the things that prevented me from having a more regular talk with him. He did not do much in terms of influencing me, but to give him credit, he tried. All he left me with is a profound sense of what I am.

Coming to what I want to talk about, tolerance. I guess most of us think that we are tolerant people. What do we mean when we say that we are tolerant? Do we mean that we put up with things that we do not like? Do we mean that we do not care what others do as long as they do not interfere in what we do and at times, even if they did interfere, we are irked, but would rather shut up? Do we mean that we do not care what others do as long as it is not in our faces? This is what we have thought of being tolerant.

I have thought myself to be a very tolerant person. In fact, so many times I have tolerated things that I did not like. Today, I had a rude awakening. So rude that I have had to check the premises that I have been working upon.

I have always thought that not to care and carry on what we are doing is tolerant. Today I realized to tolerate what one is doing one needs to understand. Understand why the other person is what he is, why something that is being followed is actually being followed, why something being done is being done, we have understand the cause.

When someone has said in the past that he is tolerant of people that follow Islam, he has meant, more often then not, that he has nothing to do with them, and would not like to. He did not care what they did in their lives as long as they did not bother him. The minute that they bothered him, he would gladly throw down his tolerance. This can be said of so many things. My mother is tolerant of people that eat meat, even when she cannot sit at the same table as them while she is eating and she cannot stand the smell or sight of anything that has either not been plucked or fallen from something that was once not rooted to the ground.

This is not tolerance. As I understand it, to tolerate is to know what you do not like, to understand why you do not like it and finally think that because you know about it, it does not matter that others do it, you personally have a reason that is backed by reason as to why you are not doing it. This would mean that a person who is a Hindu because he was born a Hindu or a vegetarian who is one because his parents are one would not classify to be included in the tolerant list. This is applicable for all despicable things that one tolerates.

Only when one says that he is a Hindu because he believes in the Hindu way of life and that he is a vegetarian because he thinks that killing animals is not something that he would indulge in, but accepts what others do as a personal choice of theirs just like his, he can be tolerant.

Tolerance can never be a state of being, a state of existence. It has to be a constant effort in understanding the unknown and to test the limits of ones own self to realize what they are, it has to be firmly rooted in knowing oneself, in being true to oneself.

I must know me before I can tolerate others.


91 said...

Long time indeed. Though, I am hardly the person to talk about this.

Well, Tolerance...
This is something about which I had asked quite a few "Tolerant" people about their views, and I did get a lot of different answers, all of which had one common strain. Hypocricy.

Predictable though.

But then, all through time, all the different factions of the world have always been intolerant of each other. Except for a few rarities. I agree with your reasoning and I am going by that line of thought here. I believe it is impossible for almost everyone in this world, to come out of the mindset that his or her way of life is the only right way of life.
It is sad. But it is true.

yours truly,
- -

Suchi said...

'Tolerance' is a lie. One can never be truly tolerant to anything. The minute one starts resenting something, the 'tolerance' breaks down. However, I don't think tolerance is a virtue. Survival is. You can't survive with tolerance.

Uttara said...

it guess it is accepting the things that we cant change ...rather being adaptive...or lets say accepting ppl who are not adaptive to things we are adaptive to...yup, u are rite, its thinking in the other person's shoes and knowing the cause..good one there