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Re: the tolerance debate



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Economy
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Dear Ash

I did not mean to imply that you were or are "pro-Hindu" (whatever that means). 
My apologies that my choice of words turned out to be unfortunate and gave you 
the impression that I was accusing you of being biased towards Hindus or biased 
against minorities.

I think in fact that you do us all a very valuable service in expressing what is
in the minds of lots of Indians today but which no one else in IP is expressing 
or taking into account.  You have consistently stated that this is not your own 
view, but a view that needs to be taken into account by all of us in formulating
policy.  I do think that this is important.  

The question is: in what way should it be taken into account?  This touches upon
an unresolved question within IP: to what extent should policies be "ideal" 
policies and to what extent should they be "realistic" policies.  You may 
recollect that I myself started with trying to get us to define "realistic" 
policies in the Indian context but since then I have sometimes swung to the 
"idealistic" position and sometimes gone back again.

I think it will be helpful for us all to agree whether we are trying to identify
a manifesto which articulates an "idealistic position" or a "realistic position"
on issues - or, if we wish to distinguish between areas where we go for ideals 
and other areas where we go for realism, to state that distinction clearly as 
well.

To come back to the issue that the majority of the country appears to be turning
less tolerant.  This needs to be seen in a historical context as a result of 
systematic attempts by certain organisations to make tolerance less accepted or 
acceptable among Indians.  And it also needs to be seen in the context of a 
history of the (now) absence or discrediting or tiredness of organisation which 
worked earlier to encourage and nurture tolerance.  The solution would seem to 
be to penalise organisations which encourage intolerant behaviour.  Perhaps also
to strengthen organisations which work for tolerance (but I am not clear how 
THIS can actually be done); however, my guess is that, where there is no 
idealistic commitment to tolerance for its own sake, tolerance is easier to 
sustain in situations of economic growth.

May I also clarify: the distinction that I draw between economic and physical 
force is simply that: a distinction.  Physical force is absolutely unacceptable.
 Economic force is less unacceptable, but still unacceptable.  What is the 
appropriateness of this distinction in policy terms?  Similar to that in law, 
where one kind of crime merits heavy punishment and another kind of crime merits
light punishment.

But perhaps this is too academic for IP purposes.  I have no objection to IP's 
own policy being EQUAL opposition to the use of force, whether economic or 
physical.

This may in fact be the simplest formulation of "majority opinion" among us on 
the IP list regarding this issue.


Professor Prabhu Guptara
Director, Organisational and Executive Development
Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre
(a subsidiary of UBS AG)
CH-8272 Ermatingen
Switzerland
Tel: + 41.71.663.5605
Fax: +41.71.663.5590
e-mail: prabhu.guptara@ubs.com




______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: the tolerance debate
Author:  ash.mahesh (ash_mahesh@hotmail.com) at nyuxuu
Date:    16.10.98 01:21

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