Intolerance of diversity, dissent reason for concern, says Hamid Ansari

By: | Published: November 18, 2015 12:03 AM

Close on the heels of comments made by President Pranab Mukherjee urging literary figures and artistes who have returned awards in protest against growing intolerance...

Close on the heels of comments made by President Pranab Mukherjee urging literary figures and artistes who have returned awards in protest against growing intolerance, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday expressed concern about the emergence of a propensity for intolerence of diversity and dissent. He said their disagreement be expressed through debate and discussion.

Addressing the Conference on Social Innovation and Social Harmony, organised by Pune International Center (PIC) in Pune, Ansari said respect of human rights unavoidably includes acceptance of diversity, not merely tolerance of it.
Underlining the need for being receptive towards various identities in a plural society lest it should remain only a majoritarian democracy that under-privileges minorities, Ansari said “it is for this reason that the Indian Constitution has provisions for the protection of minority rights.

“If a democracy is not receptive to various identities in a plural society, then it remains only a majoritarian democracy. It is for this reason that the Indian Constitution has provisions for the protection of minority rights as well as balancing group rights with individual rights. This transition from tolerance to acceptance in actual day to day practice rather than a mantra in political discourse is critical for making a society fully inclusive rather than selectively so,” the Vice-President said.

Social innovation and social transformation is premised on the understanding that it takes place in a society where people have come together for a common purpose. Consequently, it must be socially useful and must not be destructive and disruptive of social cohesion, Ansari said.

While economic progress is essential for survival and well being, it is neither a substitute nor the panacea for the social challenges that confront us, he said, quoting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that there can be no long-term security with development and there can be no development without security.

Last month, President Mukherjee had expressed concerns over tolerance post on Dadri lynching.

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