Considering Attila tolerant is as historically heretical as comparing Swami Vivekananda to a Jesuit. The President’s speech at the KS Rajamony Memorial Lecture appealed for amity—“there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian,” he declared. Which begs the question—“Who is the tolerant Indian?”
In today’s divided national narrative, anyone pathologically opposed to Narendra Modi and his agenda is considered ‘tolerant’ while those who believe in Hindutva as a political ideology is deemed intolerant. A little-known fact about Attila is his religious indifference, in spite of his addiction to murder and massacre; he allowed his soldiers to worship all gods, so long they didn’t interfere with one another’s faith. Considering him tolerant is as gruesome as calling Hitler virtuous because he was a vegetarian.
Decades of a pro-Left political and academic ethos segregated the religiously conscious Hindu as politically and socially intolerant, while the conservative Muslim was treated with secular tolerance, being a minority, albeit a large one. But in radical Islam, there is no space for tolerance, even towards members of the same faith. In Balochistan, Pakistan and large swathes of the Middle East, non-Sunnis are persecuted, kidnapped, massacred and raped. The modern Islamic blueprint does not allow for national identity since the sharia is the universal law. Tunisian diplomat and thinker Habib Boularés wrote, “Under Islam it is not religion that is part of life, but life a part of religion.”
In the context of Islamist Pakistan and petro-Muslim countries funding and aiding terror to establish sharia, Kashmir is an India-Pakistan paradigm rather than a ‘Kashmiriyat’ cause. The Pandits, who were driven out, have as much right to Kashmiriyat as Muslims in the Valley—a fact the Congress party has glossed over.
Its faux-secularist legacy has polarised religion in India. Intolerance was attributed to the RSS ideology. Nathuram Godse’s membership was held against the Indian Right.
However, Gandhi himself, before he became the Mahatma, was openly intolerant during his stay in South Africa. He wrote to the Natal Parliament in 1893 saying, “I venture to point out that both the English and the Indians spring from a common stock, called the Indo-Aryan. … the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.” Until he was humiliated himself for his skin colour, Gandhi condoned racial intolerance, even protesting being thrown into the same prison as Africans.
The Congress, which he later led, showed the intolerance within itself by colluding with the British in creating Islamic Pakistan. It’s been downhill ever since. Citing secular tolerance, it looked the other way when thousands of hapless Muslim women were divorced with a thrice-repeated phrase, even over WhatsApp. Unwilling to tackle powerful clerics, it defended the ghettoisation of the Indian Muslim. It had no effective deradicalisation mechanism. Indian Islam is killing its tolerant Sufi-Shia tradition, promoting the mores of a desert wasteland of camels and carnage.
By politicising the definition of tolerance, the cynical manipulation of youth must end. True liberals do not exhibit intolerance towards other belief systems, including the conservatives.