New Delhi, October 31: Underlying the recent furore in country over alleged communal incidents, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuran Rajan on Saturday said that tolerance can take the offence out of the debate and instill respect while speaking at the Delhi IIT convocation ceremony.
Rajan, addressing students of IIT Delhi- his alma mater on their convocation ceremony, asked whether ideas and behaviour that hurt a particular intellectual position or group should be banned.
He said, "What kind of group sentiments, should ideas or behavior that hurt a particular intellectual position or group not be banned, possibly, but a quick resort to bans with chill all debate can anyone or everyone will be anguished by the ideas they dislike”.
“It is far better to improve environment for ideas through tolerance and mutual respect," Rajan said.
"Tolerance means not being so insecure about once ideas that one cannot subject them to challenge. It applies a degree of detachment that is absolutely necessary for mature debate. Tolerance can take the offence out of the debate and indeed instill the respect that I have been talking about," adde Rajan.
Rajan further argued that protection of the right to question and challenge and the right to behave differently, as long as it does not hurt others seriously is essential.
"Actions that physically harm anyone or show verbal contempt for any group should certainly be not allowed”.
Citing an example he said, “For example sexual harassment whether physical or verbal have absolutely no place in society. After all any ban and certainly any vigilante act to enforce it may offend you as much or more than offence to me.”
"Tolerance and respect leads to a good equilibrium, where they reinforce each other. For example, rebellious youths in United States use to burn the American flag. It was calculated to upset the older generation who had fought in the America's wars”.
He further added, “The flag was the symbol of all that they had fought for. The police many of whom were veterans of the wars use to react predictably with violence. Over time now US society has become more tolerant of flag burning”.
“In some if group becomes more tolerant and less easily hurt, the actions that try to hurt it will diminish," he said.