Lack of tolerance in Pakistan is not news to anyone. And it doesn’t just go one way. While most conservatively aligned sections of the society may think that ‘tolerance’ is just another buzz word for those who want to be shameless and wear jeans and bare their shoulders in Pakistan, it is in fact an issue with all segments of the society.
So what is the best way to fight this menace?
The same thing that is the best way to deal with all problems, educate the younger generation to cause a change of ideas in the society. There are many people in Pakistan who are teaching the message of peace, tolerance and acceptance. Young people, who have grown up in the years following the increase in insurgency in the country have proven to be the biggest proponents of addressing problems through peaceful means.
Recently, Ravvish, took students from their program in Lahore, on a ‘tolerance walk’, where students were taken to the places of worship of the various different communities in the city.
Ravvish, an education based social venture, is one such organization that is trying to help build a Pakistan whose foundations are based on harmony, acceptance and learning to work together as a community, in general.
The students visited a mosque
Another place the students visited was a Gurdwara in Lahore.
At the Gurdwara the students were told how every Sikh who visited it contributed 10% of their income in the charity box to pay for the free food, medical services and to help anyone in need regardless of what religion they belong to.
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One of the founders of Ravvish, Sunair Hassan, who accompanied these students on the walk saw how getting acquainted with various places of worship affected students and he said, “Before we were leaving I saw a few students, Muslims and Christians both, put some money in the charity box and that’s when I felt that Ravvish has achieved what it wanted to, it has changed mindsets and made students not only tolerant but more empathetic.”
These students also visited a Cathedral in Lahore
And according to Hassan, “Muslim and Christian students sat together and sang “lab pay ati hai dua bun k tamanna meri zindagi shama ki surat ho khudaya meri” tossing out all the differences and singing as true Pakistanis.”
The point of all of this is not to distract students from their own religious beliefs, but to help them see how those who believe differently are no less of a human being than they are. Students getting a chance to see various religions’ places of worship with their own eyes helps them become more aware of their surroundings and less susceptible to hate speech by poisonous minds.
At the end of the day, Pakistan is a country that the founder dreamed of as a haven for minorities of Indian subcontinent to live harmoniously in.
Jinnah even said the much regurgitated yet equally underrated words, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
Pakistan doesn’t only need more of such tolerance walks, it needs young people shunning differences and embracing each other by accepting however the wants to live. Having differences is okay but killing each other over them is not.
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