Learn to live with differences

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By: Dar Javed

We live in Democratic set-ups which make it essential to respect other people’s opinions howsoever we may differ from one another. In an autocracy, the writ of the autocrat runs but in a democracy it is the people who matter. Therefore, it is imperative that we should respect other people’s views and opinions despite their being just opposed to ours. In human affairs tolerance, accommodation, collectivism and pragmatism is a sign of richness of culture and civilization.

Knowledge has evolved through the process of adjustment with differing views and ideas. So also, evolution of further knowledge will depend on the extent to which mutual adjustment of views is allowed. Democracy in fact is founded on this principle and true democracy and true Democratic temper can usher in only when we learn to live in harmony with those who hold opinions and views different from ours.

You want to break the head of a man who has an opinion different from yours .But you don’t think of breaking your own head in spite of the fact that ten years ago, you had altogether a different line of thought and your opinion was different from that at present. Would you not call it a game of double standards or a case of cruel partiality? In case your reply is that your line of thought and opinions have remained unchanged for the last ten years, then the natural conclusion is that during the last ten years of life you have learnt nothing new and have made no addition to the store house of your knowledge.

The mind which changes opinion as new knowledge is added to it is like flowing water which keeps clean and is healthy enough for human consumption. Otherwise a person is like stagnant water stanching and smelling foul.

Hindi poet Tulsidas has written that ‘even God Brahma cannot teach and awaken a fool- one who refuses to learn and make a change in his way of thinking’ .The seer poet goes a step further and writes elsewhere that ‘a wicked person has a grey matter in his mind and does improve in a good company’.

To maintain free will and be at peace there is only one remedy-the  angularities must be rounded and made smooth. This process would not only keep the individuals at peace but also afford them opportunities to make progress and be able to evolve consciousness. Such individuals make a society civilized and progressive.

A lot of thinkers agree that problem is of the individual and not of the society. In case every person thinks about his counterpart in these terms- that I am as good as you are, not that you are as good as I am, the humanity will see a new dawn and life will be worth living. Please note that I am talking of life of peace, cooperation, love and progress. To make ourselves worthy of such a society, we would have to adopt an altogether a different way of life which would be of mutual respect and cooperation. Respect for each other’s opinion is the first step in this direction.

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