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Letter

‘‘Intolerance Everywhere’’
This refers to the edit on "Intolerance Everywhere" [Issue, December 6-12, 2015]. Without tolerance towards dissent and contrary opinion, there can never be the growth of democracy or the democratic spirit. Whether there can be true democracy is another debatable issue. The present world is post ideological globalization, market economy and consumerism rules the sway and more than the thought the lucre is sacrosanct. The independent thinking process that used to be nurtured and cherished in the past has been overturned and in its place big fat money gets recognition and importance. Such being the state of affairs everywhere, there can be nothing but promotion of uniform thought and resultant authoritarian rule with the outer cover of democracy. Most governments in the world today are either conservative or despotic and all swear in the name of democracy. America and advanced nations of the North still respect democracy and free thought but their dispensations are led by the rich and democracy and tolerance are nothing tangible for many sections of society. In countries of the South people have been given the right to vote in elections stage managed by administrative fiat or the musclemen of society and once elected the politicians hardly care for the people whom they represent. States after states in India authoritarian leaders man governments and anybody who rebels and share discordant thinking is repressed and persecuted by the agencies of the state. Intolerance thus is nothing but curbing of democracy. Though we promote capitalism, we are basically feudal in thought and hence society and economy are in retrogression. None of the mainstream parties, the regional parties and even the Left parliamentary parties have risen to the occasion to foster and sustain tolerance in the body politic and enhance democracy. At certain moments of history our intellectuals have highlighted the need for toleration of dissent but their utterances have not touched the common people by virtue of them being kept in paralysis and advised not to disturb the status quo. With a purpose the public has been kept backward, no reforms in education to nurture originality and creativity and therefore the people appear to be tolerant to aggressive majori-tarianism and lumpen raj. Only a genuine Left could have initiated a true socialist upsurge towards a better nation and real improvement in the lives of the people but yet there is no hope. State violence leads to counter violence and the game goes on and on with no liberation from tyranny and impoverishment. But some moment in future the vast millions would realize that there can be light in darkness for Marxism as political philosophy and guide has not outlived its utility. With intolerance every place there can be no essential democracy. Only through people oriented good politics the nation can be freed from the menace of intolerance.
Parthasarathy Sen, New Delhi

Frontier
Vol. 48, No. 27, Jan 10 - 16, 2016