Tolerance of intolerance

Tolerance of intolerance

I gave up the award only because it was taking up too much space in my house...

I am a not an award winning author. I have neither the Pulitzer, nor the Akademi, unlike many of my friends, but I wish I had an award to return. I would have done it quietly, without a press conference, without much ado, not because I didn’t want it, not because I wanted to protest, but because it was taking up too much place in my house.

I’ve had to shift house due to inflation catching up with my meager royalties and move into a two-bedroom flat, selling my three-bedroom one, bought partially with the help of an award. The award had come my way for my book “Tolerance of intolerance”, written eons ago it seems, but very relevant today, I found, for my fellow writers.

Their filmmaker and scientist friends are returning their awards too, and that too en masse, but for different reasons. They have come to believe today, while I believed then. Today, it does not matter a whit, as I struggle to buy dal and meat – any meat – to fulfill my nutritionist’s protein-rich diet, and pay tax, income, service and other indirect taxes, on my meager income.

Sadly, the man I once revered for his articulation and his ability to describe an issue any which way, and the one responsible for my current ‘between-poverty-lines’ plight, called people of my ilk ‘rabid anti-ruling party elements’ and my giving up the award a ‘manufactured rebellion’ akin to the sepoy mutiny but in 2015.

This pained me no end, as I’ve never voted in my life, for I always wanted to remain sane (yet I’m now referred to as rabid) and gave up the award only beca-use there was no place else to put it. The display case was gone as was the mantel in my previous, rather spacious, flat.

It was the prime minister who called upon us to ‘Make in India’ and when we did, they called it a manufactured rebellion, as though the word ‘manufacture’ was bad. Oh! Maybe it is in certain cases, because, it slipped my mind, they derive a lot of money from services. But there is a new concept that is taking root – spontaneous manufacture!

But even a ‘rebellion’, if it has to be manufactured, requires raw material of intolerance and suppression, and supply side economics is currently at work.

That takes me back to my book “Tolerance of intolerance”. How do you tolerate those who do not tolerate you?  What if that intolerance interferes in your daily life, in your food habits, in your ability to earn a living etc? You protest, and when your protest is rubbished and suppressed, you tolerate the intolerance.

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