Swami Vivekananda’s concept of tolerance and India today
On the occasion of 153rd birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda I would like to raise the topic of “Swami Vivekananda’s concept of tolerance and universal acceptance; and India today.” In the dynamic speech delivered by Swami on 11 September 1893 in The Parliament of World’s religions at Chicago he had announced it with conviction before the crowd of 7000 people that he was proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the refugees of all religions and nations of the earth. And also that he is proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. There is a question I would like you to answer- If he were witnessing the recent ongoing in our nation had his words remained the same that they were 153 years ago? We seriously need to give this issue some attention and try to figure out what was it that led to such an unrest and heightened level of intolerance in our nation in such modest span of time.
Swami had highlighted these words numerous times-“As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies various though they appear crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.” Throughout his life he prophesied about the oneness of God. “Wasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is what he used to speak in most of his lectures. That all world is but a family and our parent is one and only The Almighty.
Religion is nothing but a matter of perception. Different religions and their followers have different ideologies and perceptions. And our duty is to respect each one of them rather than trying to prove our own religion superior over others. TOLERATING means not completely agreeing to an argument or belief system but simply staying cool with it, obvious to the fact that you do not like it. Differences in the religions have cropped up in our nation over the past century in a tremendously sharp rate. These differences started merely because of a few so called leaders of respective religions and communities who became a bit over possessive and protective regarding their religion. The opinions of these individuals started being accepted blindly and were not even questioned by the followers of their religion as if they had been hypnotized. These OPINIONS which were based on bias and the urgent need to conquer over other religions and trial for winning the “competition” which in reality did not even exist led to more differences and hence the intolerance. People started thinking that only THEIR GOD was right. That only their philosophy was justified. That only they were pure and deserving while all others were sinners for they were following the WRONG GOD. India’s identity was a home for all religions before. But unfortunately the definition has been distorted over time. Recently a lot of discussion has being going on about the rising intolerance in the nation. Starting from the loud mouthed good-for-nothing politicians to famous Bollywood celebrities everyone is giving their views on the growing unrest in the nation. But have we devised any plan to curb its further progress? Have we started doing anything on our level to ensure that we don’t(even unintentionally) become a part of this ugly fight?
Well I am doing MY part by not taking sides. By caring for all humans equally and not letting the stereotyped beliefs of my ancestors meddle with my personal decisions. By not showing off that I am a Hindu; for even if I were a Christian, Muslim or Jain I don’t see how it would have ever mattered. I am never going to be a part of the public demonstrations and outrages that are these days considered like a holy ritual to prove that you are pure and you wholeheartedly support and respect your religion. Let us stop the tradition of using surnames. Let us stop the unfair privileges given to the creamy layer via the system of quotas. Let us start promoting the highest religion of all-“HUMANITY”. Let us end the fights going on due to religions for the almighty would be ashamed of our irresponsible behavior and crimes we are regularly committing on his name. Let us end this once and for all. Let us live with peace by creating the nation Swami Vivekananda had dreamed of. That would be the least we can do to pay him a tribute on his birthday.