Published On: Sat, Oct 31st, 2015

RBI guv Rajan joins debate on intolerance, calls for mutual respect

New Delhi: Joining the debate on growing intolerance, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today said said tolerance and mutual respect was necessary to improve the environment for ideas and physical harm or verbal contempt for any particular group should not be allowed.

RBI Governor Raghuram RajanPhoto : Getty Images

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan

Asserting that India’s tradition of debate and an open spirit of enquiry is critical for economic growth, he said encouraging challenge to all authority and tradition would rule out anyone imposing a particular view or ideology because of power.

Against the backdrop of growing intolerance in the wake of Dadri lynching and subsequent acts of violence, he also said protection of right to question and challenge was essential for India to grow.

“Tolerance means not being so insecure about one’s ideas that one cannot subject them to challenge–it implies a degree of detachment that is absolutely necessary for mature debate.

“Finally, respect requires that in the rare case when an idea is tightly associated with a group’s core personality, we are extra careful about challenging it,” Rajan said delivering the convocation of IIT, Delhi, his alma mater.

He said tolerance can take the offence out of debate and indeed instill respect.

Citing the example of United States where burning of the national flag no longer triggers a reaction because the society over time has become tolerant of the act, the Governor said it is also no longer used as an instrument to shock.

“In sum, if group sentiments becomes more tolerant and less easily hurt, the actions that try to hurt will diminish,” he said.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi to say “the golden rule of conduct is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always see truth in fragments and from different points of view.


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