Tolerance and Universal Brotherhood

Sohaj - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on October 17, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: tolerance
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Tolerance and Universal Brotherhood

Tolerance is a fundamental aspect of the world, past and present. Support of tolerance has always promoted peace and stability while lack of tolerance has led to war and disease. The stability of American society, being as diverse as it is, relies on one thing: tolerance. After 9/11, I would take walks with my turbaned, bearded father and face an onslaught of caustic remarks saying things like, “Go back to Arabia!” I would try to tell them, “I am not a Muslim,” but my efforts were never successful; I have learned to ignore these comments. I believe that this intolerance shown by much of the community is a direct result of ignorance and misinformation of others.

Tolerance is something that has shaped my personal beliefs because it has been a big part of my as well as my family’s history. My grandfather lived through a time in which the unity of India was severed and blood streamed out from the broken seams; this was 1947. Just 37 years later, in 1984, India witnessed the assassination of its Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi; within minutes, the news of her death spread, and blood started to pour down on the Sikhs, our only crime being the fact that the two who initiated the assassination just happened to wear turbans, they just happened to leave their hair uncut, they just happened to be Sikhs. My family watched their house burn to the ground in the scourge. I’m not trying to conjure an image that all of these people were blissfully ignorant fools; in fact, my family’s survival depended on the refuge of Muslim and Hindu men and women, who shielded them in their houses until the anti-Sikh sentiment subsided. These very men and women were the ones who warned my family to evacuate their houses after the house had been marked the previous day by government officials. In the same community, there is a contrast of tolerance and intolerance, for if there was no tolerance in India during this time, “there would not be a single Sikh left in the city of Delhi.”

The “hells” of the world, drought, famine, disease, war, are caused by the labeling of people as black or white and Christian or Muslim. Religion, the purpose of which has been to unite the masses, has mainly been, in my view, what has broken up the world. Religion is an establishment meant to preach peace and aid to the impoverished. However, the landscape is still marred with the scourges of war and disease. We see the impoverished dying of the flu and the rich bathing in their success, we still see fighting between Jews and Muslims. We have gone off the path of religion and put our world into disarray. Focusing on the labels we have stuck onto ourselves, we have not fully recognized what we all really just are, humans. I believe that until we are able to see our neighbors as humans, we will never learn to be tolerant.