Observation is a big word. And, to keep its dignity intact, it should be used wherever it is apt to use it and, possibly shouldn’t be used where it is not proper to use it. Therefore, I am not saying that I have observed it. Nonetheless, this has come to my notice that sensible people are losing interest in tuning into mainstream debates and discussions on TV channels and this is true for a large chunk of responsible people from almost all sections of society, belonging to different professions and varied lingual and geographical backgrounds.
They prefer to tune into debates and discussions on various social media platforms instead and, they do it with much more participatory sense too. Many pointed out to me that these days TV debates neither enrich them intellectually nor add any meaning to their life. They say, the infusion of a sense of united humanity which is inherent in the timeless cultural ethos of Indic traditions, hardly ever reflects these days through such debates. Rootless, hit and run kind of run of the mill debates and discussions alone pop-up across news channels.
In debates and discussions more often than not speakers do not make efforts and verify with one another that they agree on the meaning of any particular word in the same sense, especially if the specific word in question has acquired some kind of centrality in the present public discourse? Audience understands that it is neither feasible nor desirable to define every word one utters. But, it would add value to any debate and make it meaningful to all if definitions of key or controversial words central to that debate are made clear during such debate/discussion.
For example, in current global milieu when dismantling Hindustaaniyat have become an agenda and obsession in academic circles and, many words such as tolerance, acceptance, inclusiveness etc. are being perceived with “layered meanings” the audience finds itself at sea that which of these meanings are intended ones? Who authorised or entitled to tell this? Therefore, it will be apt to understand the root meaning of these words. Idea and intention behind this exercise is that when speakers/participants agree on the same meaning and in the same sense then, it transforms into a meaningful debate for the audience as well.
The audience understands that it is neither feasible nor desirable to define every word one utters in debates on TV. But, it would add value to any debate and make it meaningful to all if definitions of key or controversial words central to that debate are made clear
Is tolerance the same as Sahishnutaa? Root meaning of ‘tolerance’ denotes the action of bearing hardship. Clearly, word tolerance doesn’t exude positivity in spirit. The sense it conveys is tilting towards something like, I am not happy in being tolerant, I am suffering (undergoing hardship) in being tolerant kinds. Now, Sahishnutaa, its roots are in ‘esh’ dhaatu, ‘esh’ means ‘to desire’. And, conventionally it is well established in the Indic thought that among infinite desires there are three main desires namely, that of progeny, wealth and conjugal bliss. Therefore, Sah+ishnu+taa means being fully engaged and involved in the matters concerning aforesaid three desires cumulatively (sah) and collectively (sah) as a society. Since most of humanity is engaged and involved in these three pursuits that is why sahishnutaa is so much spoken about. Sanaatani Hindu political leaders such as Gandhiji also used it to connect with masses. But when the same word is utilised by a spiritual person, say Swami Vivekananda then its field, context and relevance and intention change. Therefore, translating sahishnutaa as tolerance is not proper. From an Indic spiritual point of view, Sahishnuta is a virtue but not that great a virtue either. If one evolves beyond aforesaid three narrow limitations (Eshnaayen) in one’s consciousness and looks at the welfare of the whole existence, then whole creation, then whole world, then whole humanity, then one evolves from sahishnutaa to sweekaar.
Let us contemplate and deliberate a bit whether translating sweekaar as acceptance is the proper translation? English is a conceptual language therefore, English words have fixed/static meaning. While Indic languages have realisational (sic) roots therefore words have dynamic and fluid meaning as states of realisation are dynamic and static (gatik and sthaitik) simultaneously. Acceptance may be defined as receiving or taking or understanding something as one comes to know it as at that particular point of time. While, sweekaar may be defined as a process of realising the oneness of existence in a systematic order. Sweekaar is realising that ‘other’ is part of oneself, that ‘other’ is essentially inseparable, that neither there is ‘other’, nor I am ‘other’. Therefore, saying that acceptance is the first step on the path of sweekaar wouldn’t be out of place.