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The Big Picture – PM’s message on religious tolerance


The atmosphere of religious intolerance which has seen a sharp rise in the last several months has been a serious cause for concern in the country. This has led to a situation where it was even impinging upon the functioning of the parliament as it was witnessed in the last session. Recently, the PM of India told the country that he would act strongly against any communal violence. The PM’s promise to ensure complete freedom of faith and that everyone has undeniable right to retain or adopt any religion of their choice has been welcomed widely. This unequivocal assurance has been looked forward to by the country for sometimes now. This is expected to maintain harmonious environment in the country.

The Prime Minister said equal respect for all faiths had long been a part of India’s ethos. Swami Vivekananda said we believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true. The tradition of welcoming, respecting and honouring all faiths is as old as India itself. The PM also said that India is the land of Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi and it was in the DNA of every Indian not to accept violence against any religion. His remark on religious tolerance is also being seen as an assurance to the minorities in general and government’s outreach to Christians in particular in the wake of recent attacks on churches.

The intolerance in India was even reflected in the international newspapers. Religion is a matter of personal faith. This is a civilizational right. The PM’s move has been welcomed by many. This is a constitutional obligation of any government too. The trust deficit has been filled up. Experts also say that in a diverse country like India such assurance messages from the government are necessary along with actions.

Some also say that political compulsions have forced the PM to deliver such assurance messages. They also feel that the message which PM delivered seemed largely to be for international audience. The crisis should have been solved by the institutional mechanisms in the country like Police, Judiciary etc.