Behavior / 25.03.2011

By Anjum Altaf The title of Gautam Adhikari’s new book, The Intolerant Indian, is intended to be provocative and it might indeed provoke those who go just by titles. Anyone reading the book though is more likely to be puzzled. The subject is important no doubt – the extent of conflict fueled by the inability to agree is increasing – and so the intent to provoke a debate is laudable. But the manner in which the debate is framed is likely to generate more heat than light thereby threatening to inflame the very intolerance it aims to subdue. The book starts off on the wrong foot right from the Preface by choosing an ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ frame in which to locate the moral argument: I just wanted to talk about those of our compatriots who did not seem to appreciate the idea of pluralist tolerance, which formed the structural...