Hate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of principle, hate speech must be confronted at every turn and be tackled in order to prevent armed conflict, crimes and terrorism, end violence against women and other serious violations of human rights, and promote peaceful, inclusive and just societies. Free speech is sacred to any democratic society. Hateful statements, from a legal perspective, can be classified as opinions. However, the sometimes painful bite of unfettered speech leads many to ask two perfectly logical questions: At what cost? And for what pain?
India is endowed with the beauty of diversity in languages, geography, features, habits, cultures, religions, ethnicity and origins. It now seems that the great pot is broken. It’s the time again for rebuilding the social cohesion. We are living through a period of global transition. Technology is connecting us ever more closely, and cross-cultural exchanges are deepening every day — but this does not mean there is more understanding. We must teach our children the history of India, cultures of India, festivals of India and accepting the diversity. Tolerance is our strength and not weakness. Tolerance is not passive.
Baghdad was founded by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 762 CE. When he founded a completely new city for his capital, he chose the name Medina al-Salaam or The City of Peace. This was the official name on coins, weights, and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. Baghdad soon became the home to pioneering scientists, astronomers, poets, mathematicians, musicians, historians, legalists and philosophers. The Baghdad Peace Festival was started in 2011 to remind people of that history.
Differences are normal and should always be welcome, but any demonic thought that intends to harm the humanity should be nipped in the bud. When we speak of tolerance, it’s expected from each of us. There should not be any intolerant action by anybody that may incite others to react in an intolerant manner. Many a time, we expect tolerance from others while we behave in an intolerant manner. There should be a single scale to measure, a single mirror to reflect and that is humanity.
Swami Vivekananda (popularly known as Swamiji), a great Hindu monk delivered his famous lecture on September 11, 1893 during the Parliament of World’s Religions, Chicago, USA held from September 11 to 27, 1893.