"TOLERANCE" By Dr. Stephen Gill. Canada.


Several Western democracies, including Canada, realize the importance of multiculturalism, recognize it officially and promote it actively. It is the spirit of tolerance that is behind this recognition. It is very encouraging that the United Nations

Tolerance has become more valued in the present situation that is going almost beyond control in some countries, particularly in the region of South Asia, for religious and ethnic reasons. Their formation of an unholy marriage between science and fanaticism is digging a grave for the quest for harmony.

Religions are supposed to improve human relations; instead they are shattering the delicate glass of peace into pieces. They have become the beasts of terror. No one has seen God, yet His devotees are ready to kill and be killed in His name. There is ample evidence to testify that God is not pleased with killing and that He wants His followers to practice and preach charity, righteousness, goodwill and friendliness, not hostility.

God is the supreme example of tolerance. Inanimate objects like planets and food grains follow the path of live-and-let-live which sums up the significance of tolerance. But the supreme creation, human, is just the opposite.

The individuals who presume that by killing a few people here and there they will be able to create a population of believers who think and behave alike should revise their convictions. Their use of the smithy of hatred to shape a world of homogenous ideas and faiths will cause a deeper chaos and desolation.

History has proved over and over again that killing has never been able to solve problems. War-preparations lead to counter war-preparations. Hatred breeds hatred and love begets love. Killing may silence a few souls for a while out of fear. It also raises a crop of hatred, poison and revenge for more bloodshed. We are living in an age of the most sophisticated engines of death which are within easy reach of anyone. The adoption of violent means is the road for self-destruction.

The logical conclusion is to learn to live side-by-side with people of other colours, beliefs and customs. It will be possible only if the castle of co-existence is brought into existence on the solid rocks of tolerance and understanding.

It is in the interest of survival for everyone to repudiate the brutal devices of violence, giving a fair chance to democratic and non-violent means. Otherwise, the same brutal devices will awaken the tigers of anarchy to pounce on all from diverse directions.

Tolerance builds bridges of harmony and understanding. Democracy is built on the foundation of tolerance. Bliss is the legitimate child of tolerance.

The globe of today is no longer the globe of yesterday, because there is a physical, material and scientific unity as never before. The world has come out of feudal and isolated states to become a village. Due to advancement in transportation, people keep moving from one area to another rapidly for employment and other purposes. Everywhere, there are people of diverse creeds, colours, customs and traditions.

The various nations due to the speed of transportation live face to face now. Not only that, they depend on one another for existence. The bird of cosmopolitanism is extending its wide wings to every corner. But there is no mental and psychological unity.

Citizens in several western democracies, particularly in Canada and the United States of America, have come from different nationalities. They are in a favourable situation to educate the citizens of the countries of their birth and also their governments to learn to live with people of other faiths and if there are conflicts, learn to settle them in democratic ways. This is the proven logical way to live peacefully and to promote prosperity.

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