Sorabjee frets over growing intolerance

Sorabjee frets over growing intolerance

Expressing concern over the rising intolerance in the country, former Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabjee, said on Saturday that it was the fundamental duty of every citizen to practise tolerance. 

He was delivering a lecture on ‘Fundamental Rights and Duties‘ at the IISc Alumni Association. The lecture was part of the popular series of the Association. Intolerance, manifested by banning books, movies or other modes of expression, is growing in the country, he said, adding, “Tolerance is imperative to our society, if we want to keep our democracy vibrant.”

As an example, he pointed out the recent banning of a biography of Shivaji, penned by American writer, James Laine. The biography attracted demands for Laine’s extradition to face trial in the country.

“This is not the India I or we grew up in,” Sorabjee said. “People definitely have the right to rebut arguments, but this is open dadagiri.”

Sorabjee, however, admitted that it was difficult to enforce the act of tolerance by law.

“No authority can pass a law which enforces tolerance. What is needed is an environment and culture of tolerance. This is where the role of education is crucial,” he said.

Former Supreme Court judge, Justice R V Raveendran, who was the moderator at the lecture, also voiced concerns about the dual nature of tolerance.

“How do we call tolerance a right or a duty? It is not an obligation, but an essential part of our social life,” said Justice Raveendran.

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