lntolerance continues | Pakistan Today

lntolerance continues

  • What does the Aurat March have to do with the coronavirus?

Every society in the world has a moral recognition which identifies it to the world at large. The set of morals and values which guide a society form the essence embodied deep within. Tolerance, amongst others, is a virtue which defines multiple aspects of a society. It can be sub-divided into different categories; such as tolerance to co-exist, religious tolerance, ideological tolerance and political tolerance and so on.

Pakistan, unfortunately, is the harbinger of intolerance in each one of the aforesaid forms of tolerance. We do not condone tolerance of any sort as a matter of fact. Certain exceptions can be found, but the focus of the discussion is the society at large therefore, not much room for tolerance in general. Greater importance is attached to religious tolerance as it entails violent consequences and is fundamental in our society. Radical forms of religion expose within themselves the distaste of intolerance every now and then. In the name of religion, discrimination and all sorts of atrocities are committed against religious minorities.

We have been unable to adapt to the simple principle of co-existing, the sort professed by our own religion, which we miserably fail to comprehend. For the longest time, religious sentiments have been spiked with radical slogans which end up taking a toll on the minorities; within as well as outside Islam. Coupled with its impact on the general public, religious intolerance has been the forerunner for pressurizing the executive, legislature and the judiciary in order to protect the religious sentiments of the majority of the public. There is little room for difference of opinion as far as the religion is concerned. Our ideals are guided by our radical views which govern our belittled minds. Rather than being religious, we have, in the name of religion, become ultra-judgmental and are every ready to issue fatwas in case of a disagreement.

Till the time we do not focus on educating the masses in a proper manner, we cannot count on the general public to act as one, be it for the coronavirus pandemic or any other difficulty of the time. Similarly, we cannot expect religious harmony or the adoption of the notion of equality for women, until and unless we work towards clearing out the ill-conceived misconceptions regarding religion and society that our people nurture. The day we are able to breed within ourselves the notion of being considerate to the needs of others, only then can we progress as a nation and be better equipped to fight out calamities like Coronavirus

One would think that over the years we would have moved ahead from the lamentable days of religious persecution where, in a bid to suppress the minorities, violence would be employed as a tool and a chain massacre would follow. False allegations of blasphemy being the front-runner in our bigoted society, we are still far from comprehending our shortcomings and progressing as a society. Bigotry continues to rule our nation with no bright light in sight. Dim-witted ideologies remain bent upon destroying our future generations and there isn’t much being done in order to counter it.

In recent times, patriarchy has reemerged in the form of opposition to the Aurat March. With the exception of a few controversial posters, the purpose of the March is greater, much greater than what even the organizers might comprehend. The symbolism of women empowerment is embodied deep within our religion and even if we solely adhere to Islamic principles, we would be able to comprehend the significance of equality; one which we have failed to integrate into our society. Patriarchal intolerance has had its day in the field by blasting out the Aurat March and the women supporting it.

Rather than arguing about whether to support the March or not, we should learn to identify the underlying issues and work to resolve them. It needs to be understood that wasting our breath by arguing with illiterates is not going to nurture tolerance in the society. Nor is it going to resolve the issues faced by women in general. An illiterate mind is not going to change its thought process solely due to a berated argument. As mothers of the future generations, these women, instead of arguing with illiterate patriarchal men, should work to educate their children and breed tolerance within them. The children of tomorrow need to be taught to co-exist with others irrespective of religion, gender, caste or creed.

Women in rural areas need to be reached out to, and educated about their rights. Similarly, religious tolerance is equally important and needs to be deeply instilled in the minds of our future generations. Religious intolerance and patriarchy has seen the blood of thousands split and serious working needs to be done to overcome these obstacles in the future.

We have grown into an intolerant society where no one is willing to do as told. The very concept of being told what to do is the bedrock of intolerance. Take for example the recent calls for social distancing and self-isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic. Solely because we are being told to do something, most are not willing to adhere to it. By displaying their inherent illiteracy, despite being educated, a vast majority of the elite class consider it an insubordination to their egos at being told how to live their lives. Consequently, we fail to be tolerant towards the government’s instructions and naturally become a source of spreading the pandemic.

The roots of this lack of cooperation on the part of the public can be traced to the underlying intolerance planted deep within the society. It is not only a matter of adhering to the guidelines in wake of the coronavirus, but for all times which have passed, we, as a society, lack the basic discipline and tolerance required to work together. It becomes too difficult for us to follow simple instructions, the instructions which are for our own good, due to the lack of patience and intolerance for the needs of others present. Each one of the aforesaid is a form of intolerance and Pakistan, unfortunately, harbors every single one of them.

Till the time we do not focus on educating the masses in a proper manner, we cannot count on the general public to act as one, be it for the coronavirus pandemic or any other difficulty of the time. Similarly, we cannot expect religious harmony or the adoption of the notion of equality for women, until and unless we work towards clearing out the ill-conceived misconceptions regarding religion and society that our people nurture. The day we are able to breed within ourselves the notion of being considerate to the needs of others, only then can we progress as a nation and be better equipped to fight out calamities like Coronavirus



Top