Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - Under Threat
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- 'The World Is One Family', a concept given by the Indian subcontinent to the world is under assault in its very birthplace. We as a nation are failing to reach our potential due to the numerous inequalities breathing in our society- be it religious, caste or gender. It is a painful experience to go through the newspapers in the morning, as nearly all headlines talk about inequalities, hatred, and anger.
A society such as us that taught the world to be tolerant, forgiving and most importantly accepting people that are different from us is now regularly in the headlines for all the wrong reasons- intolerance, violence, violations of basic human rights to name a few. The culture of India is founded on the principle of freedom of thought and expression- no matter how unpleasant a differing opinion might sound.
These disagreements, no matter how cruel it might be, must assist our great nation in arriving at the truth. 21st century India tends to decide the merits of a person's opinion or views based on his affiliations to various groups. A yardstick to verify the degree to which a country is a liberal democracy can be determined by the extent of dissent allowed in society- without the fear of any legal or social implications. India's attitude towards opposing views is so malevolent that anyone with contradictory views is branded a villain or a knave.
The people of our country deserve basic human rights- basic education, housing and for that matter the right to practice any religion. It is evident from countries such as Norway, Bhutan, Sweden, that when a country offers its citizens all its basic rights, peace and tolerance prevails in the society.
Citizens are noticeably more content and tolerant where the leaders of the country guarantee them their personal rights- right to a private life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression and so on. We can see that despite not being major economies, people in these countries tend to be happier due to an existing climate of peace.
Legal remedies cannot be a cure for intolerance and its manifestations which results in basic human rights violations. To put it in another way, in my opinion, tolerance must not be a subject of legislation. No laws or commandments can make a person tolerant. Discriminations and prejudices against various communities, classes must be shunned by the society at large.
To ensure this, educational institutions must educate every student to be tolerant and impart the significance of accepting opposing opinions of other people. Article 51A of the Constitution of India specifies the fundamental duties of the people of the country. From my standpoint, it must also be a fundamental duty of all citizens of our country to help in fostering a society where people are accepted for who they are, and not impose views on anyone.
In 2019, addressing a Rally, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi rightfully claimed when he said that "Unity in diversity is India's speciality"; it is therefore doubly crucial, in these tiring times, to safeguard this speciality of India that makes us stand out from the rest of the world.
(The author is pursuing his Master of Law from Queen Mary University of London. The views expressed are his own.)
- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
- The World Is One Family