On this International Day of Tolerance, let’s vow to be more patient and embrace diversity

On Thursday, the world along Pakistan is observing International Day of Tolerance. And it is certainly a time for people to learn how to value and identify the rights, differences of opinion and beliefs of others.

The tolerance day reserved its place in 1995 by the United Nations. Now the day is celebrated every year on November 16, with the purpose to evolve human wellbeing, independence and progression everywhere – as well as to implant tolerance, respect and collaboration in people – moreover to elevate public awareness regarding the hazards of intolerance.

Over the past few moons, intolerance, violence, terrorism and racism have been escalating. Intolerance is an obstacle in the way of development – a danger to the consolidation of peace and equality. International Day for Tolerance gives us the lesson of humankind and morality, reiterates the dignity and worth of every human being and encourages us to live together with amity.

The key motive to celebrate this day is to make our people more tolerant and nonviolent in their routine lives – to generate awareness around the world about the importance of tolerance, as it plays a vital role in supporting peace.

Placing an eye to the point that how intolerant behaviour has affected Pakistan, I would say impatient acts, violence and racism in some ways have engulfed the mindsets of the people of our country on a huge scale. The disease is eating us all up like a worm and has shaken the foundations of society. People are even impatient towards minor activities of daily life.

I often have perceived that people hate to wait for things to take place. We are so addicted to convenience and rapid results that if any matter requires a time lag, we become impatient towards it, as a consequence, communal, moral and social issues rise.

No one is ready to wait on signals or give way to others – an interval of two to three minutes seems a burden to people.As a result of this impatient behaviour, everyone suffers from a traffic deadlock – at times road accidents. A nation that cannot stand on a signal for few minutes, how can it stand on its own?

I happened to ride the Metro Bus recently and the experience was terrible. People were hastening to get into the bus and when I happened to enter, it was like I couldn’t even breathe– the bus was overcrowded, suffocating and the people were hanging in a way that there was no room for an apple to fall. A girl rushed to get out of the bus and pulled the dupatta(shawl) of an elder lady by mistake; as expected, it resulted in a quarrel as both became impatient. Observing this I could feel my head sweating even in the cold day of November and I rushed out of the hell, two stops before I was supposed to.

In every street, most of us might have observed children playing; they play like best friends and in no time start arguing over some matter. They are kids; they fight and begin playing in the very next moment forgetting even the cause of the argument. But I have seen elders jumping on these minor disputes, becoming intolerant as to how someone dared to wrong our child. Hence, the small matters get intense with the interference of elders – resulting in major quarrels and even khandani dushmani (blood feud) at times.

Moreover, our television screens remain occupied with the news of one or two persons being killed as the consequence of a clash.It’s an alarming situation holding the fact that differences of opinion are not being respected –everyone is in a race to prove them right. People become aggressive and violent if they are proven wrong and take extreme steps. We strongly need to understand that as humans we will definitely disagree with each other on some matters, at times to great extent may be, but that does not make us bad or evil. We must learn to respect our differences of cultures, norms and opinions; discourage stereotyping and understand that each of us has an equal right to their opinion.

Intolerance propagates a bundle of immoral activities, of which violence is one. Our youth, ever so often, can be found on the streets with different aggressive behaviours arguing with each other, calling bad names, fighting on roads over an accident like mad, instead of helping each other. It seems we are losing faith in our own humanity; our values have altered dramatically due to the social evil (intolerance) to some extent.

Having a bird’s eye view over the reasons backing up the immoral and intolerant society, I agree to the point that common man is being grinded in a wheel of social problems – having insufficient jobs – lack of quality education – expenses more than the income – aggression and frustration is natural in such circumstances.

And these situations to some extent are because of incompetent government, dearth of sincere people in authority, and residents’ non-serious attitude towards improving their conditions. These facts lead the life of an ordinary man towards complications and pave the way for a disorganized nation.

But rather than being violent towards our own society, we need to behave tolerantly and fight these problems with patience and courage. Intolerance can do nothing except adding more to anxiety and anger in people.

Technology to some extent has also added to the disease of intolerance as increasing technology has made us impatient.The world isn’t the same anymore, and we are moving to the phase where 24 hours in a day won’t be enough. The world is becoming a place of night owls – a person left in a room with high-speed Wi-Fi can spend the whole time looking into his phone’s screen, even forgetting to sleep. Thus the lack of rest can be considered a reason behind our impatience and the anger that follows.

People get irritated when the internet is slow. Majority of us are hooked to work emails or Facebook chats round the clock. It seems like the whole world has been captured behind the small wall and if you need to watch anything online, you can just ask the wall in front of you to show it, and it will be in front of you within seconds.

The world has started counting the spells in seconds; this convenience and no-time response has made our demands endless and instilled impatience in us.

The media can play a vital role in promoting the culture of tolerance in Pakistan. However, parents need to work in wiping out stereotypes and differences from the minds of their children, and the coming generations. Teachers in schools, colleges and universities must give lectures on tolerance and try to inculcate the moral values including patience, tolerance and acceptance to their pupils.

On this day, we altogether must set an aim to respect, appreciate and practice acceptance of diversity and support the concept that humanity has the right to live in peace.

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