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8460Re: [alt-ed-india] Re: Growing Up in a Multi-Cultural Learning Environment

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  • Chintan Girish Modi
    Jul 4, 2011
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      Here's an alternative view of the word 'tolerance'.

      "Tolerance" is surely an imperfect term, yet the English language offers no single word that embraces the broad range of skills we need to live together peacefully.

      The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the Greek term "agape" to describe a universal love that "discovers the neighbor in every man it meets." The various disciplines concerned with human behavior have also offered a variety of adjectives: "pro-social," "democratic," "affiliative."

      In its Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance, UNESCO offers a definition of tolerance that most closely matches our philosophical use of the word:

      Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.

      We view tolerance as a way of thinking and feeling — but most importantly, of acting — that gives us peace in our individuality, respect for those unlike us, the wisdom to discern humane values and the courage to act upon them.

      (from www.tolerance.org)

      On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 1:13 PM, Rashmie Jaaju <rashmiejaaju@...> wrote:


      I can't agree with you more when you say that tolerance/respect is not enough. Tolerance may come from reading and knowing and gaining knowledge, but unless you interact and exchange, it will remain at that - an attempted tolerance. And, like you said - that kind of tolerance is fraught with risky possibilities when an opportunity presents itself.

      You say "the essence of multi-cultural India is in allowing every culture undisturbed and free from disturbance" and in the same breath you're advocating that people stay in their "co-culture". That's like putting theory and practice at loggerheads. In a country as massive and diverse as India (or even a small country/community for that mater), if people choose to segregate themselves on the basis of faith/culture, that itself is akin to creating a breeding ground for prejudice and bias and animosity. It's in intentional real-life interactions, curiosity and exchange between people that a multi-cultural community can thrive peacefully. Not by disassociation.

      And then, segregation is practically not possible. Let alone metros like Delhi, Mumbai etc, even in second tier cities, multi-cultural demographics is the trend. The chances of a multi-cultural school are higher than a co-cultural one. Same goes for workplaces. Ensuring a multi-culture interaction early on in student life will make for compassionate citizens who can seek more interest in a culture than just prepare himself to "tolerate".

      You all can read some more comments from readers and participate in the discussion here:


      On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM, Bhuvana Venkat <bhuva78@...> wrote:

      The difference is that of tolerance and acceptance. When we evolve separately, we develop tolerance but we do not understand the reasoning or the culture which makes it difficult to accept disparity. There is no need to develop in one culture. Adopt and adapt the one that you gravitate towards.. each of us has a head on our shoulders that we can make much better use of when we know the different options and have the freedom to make an informed decision on our life rather than- follow this because this is the way of our forefathers. Well it has worked for generations so why question it... Honestly, that is regressive and no improvement is possible that way.. Development happens when you challenge the existing.. ofcourse there could be setbacks but isn't that the way of evolution. Evolution happens because nature is not afraid of setbacks. And, yes people in some places have little respect for the customs of some others because they do not know enough about it. I do beleive the approach ought to be more than you ought to respect him because you have to live with him.. Isn't a concious development of understanding more important? In multi cultural environments it is quite possible that you treat each with the same level of curiosity and understanding that one does not feel superior or inferior to the other, challenge and question the beleifs of each so you raise your conciousness to understanding of each. Most important of all is to realise that everything is wrong and right in it's own way. Just like every blind man was right in his own way of describing the elephant but still wrong as well. Because culture is a matter of taste just like the arts. There is no single winner as in the case of most sporting activities. In that I think culture and dialect are very similar. Tolerance is not enough. It still has an underlying distaste that blows up in ridicule when the opportunity presents itself.

      To: alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com
      From: senthil_nkkl@...
      Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2011 14:07:00 +0000
      Subject: [alt-ed-india] Re: Growing Up in a Multi-Cultural Learning Environment

      This is the reply i posted in rashmie blog..
      I dont get your logic.. are you saying, that people in tamilnadu hate people in assam, because they did not study with assamese people?

      the essence of multi-cultural india is in allowing every culture undisturbed, and free from disturbance.. a culture can exist only within a community.. and hence its essential people study within their co-cultural groups, so that they get a chance to live their cultural life..
      In multi-cultural environments, this is not possible..

      What will be the culture of your student, after studying in multi-cultural environment? It will be vague and void..

      Its enough if people know about each other..


      --- In alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com, "Rashmie" <rashmiejaaju@...> wrote:
      > Hi Friends,I have an article today on my blog where I discuss the
      > importance of multi-cultural and multi-faith learning environment in
      > schools across the world.
      > Please sharing your thoughts over here.
      > <http://mommylabs.gorgeouskarma.com/art_craft_projects_kids/growing-up-i\
      > n-a-multi-cultural-learning-environment/>
      > An excerpt from the article:
      > "Considering how multi-cultural interaction can enrich, I, as a parent
      > to a 5.5 year old, don't see our schools really doing much to encourage
      > a multi-cultural learning environment. At least, not much here in India.
      > Ha! What an irony. Really! Isn't that shocking and a huge set-back
      > considering India is the flag bearer of a multi-faith society? In Pari's
      > class, there are children from the North East of India, from the
      > Southern states, from East, from families following the Islam and Sikh
      > and Jain religioius faiths. But, besides just declaring a holiday on an
      > Id-ul-Fitr or a Buddha Jayanti or a Guru Nanak Day and besides
      > celebrating some popular festivals like Diwali, Christmas, Holi or
      > Janmaasthami, the schools haven't taken any positive step further.
      > Probably, they don't even realise that given the multi-cultural and
      > multi-ethnic backgrounds their studens come from, there is a need or may
      > be just an opportunity to make the students learn about the faith and
      > culture of their fellow class mates. "
      > Cheers,Rashmie

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