Sundeep Bhutoria

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Common Indians are among the most tolerant

April 20, 2016: I had gone to the Calcutta High Court area for a meeting at the Old Court House Street. The building housing the office was and relic from the past with electrical and cable wires hanging out, garbage on each floor and an old hand-controlled wooden lift that could accommodate only three persons at a time with the lift man.
There were about twenty people in queue in front of the lift. And being a very slow one it was obvious that my turn would have come after 30 minutes. So I decided to take the stairs when I noticed a well-attired man with two persons by his side one carrying files and the other one was probably his chaperone.
On seeing the queue, he started shouting at the liftman about why the lift was slow and so on although the lift man had nothing to do it. A lot of lawyers and solicitors have office here and operated out of the building. I assumed that he must have come to meet a lawyer.
As the rest of the public quietly and patiently stood by for their turn, the current debate of tolerance and intolerance raging throughout the country flashed across my mind. I personally feel that the common man in Indian is a very tolerant person since he has to endure hardships.
An average Indian spends a substantial portion of his life standing in queues. Queues have almost become a tradition with millions of Indians cutting across the length and breadth of the country line up each day to get access to potable water. Some of them have to walk miles and then stand in queues and wait for their turn.
Many foreigners in India and abroad have shared their observations with me on this. They feel that standing in queues is not at all an average Indian’s cup of tea. Here they are wrong as they are actually mixing up those with deep pockets who travel overseas as common Indians. Whether it is getting access to the bare necessities of life or seeking divine blessings, an ordinary man’s life in India is a story of standing in the queues. Wherever he goes – to procure water for daily needs, ration shops, jobs, hospitals, for voting, seeking darshan of the holy deities in the temples, while boarding the general compartment of a train and even at the burial ground there is a long queue for cremating the deceased.
I think the common man in India is hardwired for tolerance.
The problem of tolerance is actually an issue with the country’s richie rich, like the gentleman who lost his calm seeing a queue near the lift. Our elite class want passport in a day, VIP darshan at the divine places and tickets confirmed instantly whenever they travel and all the other privileges.
If they do not get that they become intolerant and react badly. This class of people is not even five per cent of the Indian population yet their overbearing attitude and behaviour gives the whole country a bad name and branded as intolerant society or nation.
Top industrialists of India queue up to meet Barrack Obama
However there are circumstances when even the Indian elites do not mind standing in a queue provided the reason is good enough.
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