How Social Science can Promote Peace and Tolerance in Society

(Usman, Faisalabad)

We as from the house of Islam are taught about the tolerance 1400 years ago by a man whose life was an essence of tolerance. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) depicted tolerance and it be could serve as the cornerstone for matters of serious nature. Our country is in a state of crisis and our fundamental social values are at stake. The faith in our social dogma and traditions are fading for me with the turbulent flow of other societies fascinating rules and principles. The country facing staggering problems like terrorism, intolerance and inequality etc there is a need to develop a sense of urgency to solve the problems.

Tolerance lays the foundation of peace. Tolerance and peace are both interrelated with each other. Hence they were the jewels of our culture during the 1960 era. Then a major pseudo-Islamization changed our social values regarding tolerance and peace .Imagine a tolerant society collectively have a discriminatory view developed for the minorities . This major change was affecting the social thinking and it jammed our way thinking and understanding the world. Some vital factors hindered our journey towards a tolerant culture.

The wider vision capable individuals have the responsibility of tolerance (George Elliot). The policy making is the cornerstone to determine the growth of a nation in terms of various aspects. Our policy makers failed to develop a policy that fosters a tolerant culture. Those with the vision lacked authority and many put their hope in respect to brutal military and political dictators both alike.
The following are the issues addressed along with their solutions for the promotion of peace and tolerance.

Lack of direction, patience, basic classroom, blended curriculum, religion,
Radicalization, media ,law ,individual family culture, community developing events, superiority complex, psychological well-being, group ethics and morality
Social equality, promoting cultural harmony, education, poverty and collective mentality.

Lack of direction:
Our nation is facing critical problems and one of them is the direction. As a country, we lack the direction and goal setting. Let’s assume as a Pakistani do everyone knows the next five year plans of our country. The answer is straightforward “No”. The lack of direction is incorporated into our life deviating us from the consistency of fostering a culture of tolerance, sticking with good values and creates a sense of pessimism. This is one of the major root cause that is of indirect nature grounding our processes to dead halt.

Patience is very valuable for individual behavior and one of the major factor in living a good life. Lack of patience has unfortunately played its own part in diminishing the tolerance. Collective patience has diminished over the time.

Basic Class Room:
Every society has some fundamental components which help to developed thinking model of the individuals of the society. Children and youth being the most basic valuable component of society who are going to the future of Pakistan. This set of social groups engages in most of their creative time at their educational institutions. The change should be derived or start from the basic classroom because by focusing on the fundamentals we can mold their view towards the world.

The initiative needs to be carried out by the social scientists in effective collaboration with the government to lay out a plan in strengthening the fundamentals necessary for tolerance. The policy makers with clear defined direction are of significant important in achieving our aim for a tolerant society.
Teachers need to be trained and those with the totally 180-degree view need to be handled tactfully.

A human derives his mental model from conventional education and religious education. In school and colleges, it is normally emphasized on conventional education creating a vacuum for the religious education, unanswering the questions of spirituality, their main purpose in the world and how religion guides our daily life. Hence the opportunity to solve the problems is highly connected within the institutes of socializing.

There is a need for the development of curriculum that is a blend of conventional education with the touch of religion full filling the requirements for a tolerant culture. Policy makers need to adjust the position of current policies in respective to the new curriculum and changes.

In the modern, the world religion is majorly held responsible for the all negative activities happening in the world. Mainly the terrorism being of the serious issues to the whole mankind. In this case, the centers of education for religion “Madrassas” need critical reforms creating a path for well-defined strategy implementation. The religious dogmas and pseudo-Imams and religious scholars have to be handled tactfully by the government authorities. Max weber quoted “Religion as force of social change”

Radicalization being one the results originating from fake religious teachings. Radicalization is one of the major threats to the establishment of peace in our region. The mentality that is developed with the incorporation of extremism is detrimental for our collective tolerance and peace. The dialogue and discussion in a patient manner promote open minded civilized culture where everyone has the freedom of expression.

In Pakistan, unfortunately you think thousand times before discussing a topic. We have made a lot of social issues taboo .These tabooed issues need discussion to pave a way for the solution e.g homosexuality, Ahmadis persecution and equality of women.

The law which regulates the behavior of an individual is not helping in the promotion of tolerance. There needs to be an effective legislation for the tolerance related matters. The law requirements neither that strict nor easy. The urgent legislation is a need. Abolishment of illegal persecution laws such as “blasphemy law” affecting peace.

Media is one of the most powerful tools for propaganda and in making general thinking of public. Media as a force if used properly can do wonders for our country. There is no doubt that Media has played its own role in harming the tolerance values. We often see through our colorful channels the destruction of tolerance .Dramas and mainly the political shows, political elite demonstrating the essence of tolerance. Our young generation which learns the values through media contributes towards the development of intolerant society as well.

Individual Family Culture:
The individual culture of the family also needs alternations to emphasize the lesson of tolerance and peace. In some ethnic groups even talking on some matters lead to excessive intolerance. The major family heads mentality needs to change in accordance with tolerant values.

Community Development Events:
In developed and civilized countries there are events held with intentions for the community developing on a set of principles. The major reason of such events is to have interaction among individuals leading towards positive effective socializing. Social sciences also guide us about the interaction being a valuable factor in developing a culture. Major cities normally held events like “TEDx” but the major chunk of the population are not given reach to such events.

Superiority Complex:
Many Pakistanis are in a state of superiority complex which contributes towards intolerance. Being a superior with power a person don’t like to engage in a tolerant manner given the already demolished cultural values of our society.

Psychological Wellbeing:
Psychologically anthropology understanding of people is necessary. The current crisis environment and concern for other issues make people psychologically inferior to adopt values that really hold value. Individuals are having a lot of mental diseases but no one gives significant importance. A critical understanding by the social scientists in collaboration with the policy will determine more root causes and hence rectify problems leading to “Psychological wellbeing”.

Group Ethics and Morality:
Freidrich Nietzsche quoted: “In individuals insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is rule”. A person is identified by his group or clan. The ethics of certain group will create a culture of tolerance. If the group ethics have flaws it needs to be addressed.
The Germany of Hilter era compared with the modern Germany now allowing the influx of refugees is a prime example of nation tolerance and urge for peace.

In our history the era of General Zia-ul- Haq destroyed our values terribly by creating a culture of persecution of minorities and forced implementation of pseudo-Islam.Peaceful groups participated in massacring the minorities (Ahmadis) and enforcing their own fake Islam. A culture of hatred dwelled tear apart our peaceful country.

Social Equality:
Social equality and social recognition of deprived groups need to be shown through verbal and non-verbal communication of the significant personalities in authority. The government needs to take action against the troublemakers. Keeping in mind not to make them feel inferior to the rest of mainstream.

Promoting Cultural Harmony:
A solution for making tolerant and cultural harmonized culture through promoting cultural harmony and tolerance can be promoted by province based student exchange programs. We are divided into a set of ethnic groups (Punjabis, Pushtuns, Balochis and Sindhis) craving for excessive recognition and showing prowess to belittle others. The province based student exchanged programs could be implemented in summers to show the youth the vibrant and amazing culture of each ethnic group. This specific youth making awareness in his family and changing others mentality.

Education is immense power. Education with induction of peace-oriented curriculum could be vital for making a culture of peace. Individuals need to be taught about how to earn their rights through allowed ways instead of using violence and spreading terror. Lifting up the Balochistan should be a top priority. People suffered negligence and deprivation of their part in resources have led to a crisis.

Poverty Alleviation:
Poverty alleviation is the requirement for the era of peace to happen in Pakistan. Aristotle said: “Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime”. Poverty has played its part in the destruction of peace before and now it is linked with terrorism as well. Minimizing the poverty rate is a significant need. Micro Finance and well-planned initiatives are required on a broader to finish poverty hence contributing towards peace.

Collective Mentality:
General mentality of the country needs to be changed in compliance with real values of Islam. The mentality of human controls and defines the way of actions. The tools such as Media, law, government and moderate Islamic councils should be used to change the collective mentality of Pakistanis.

We as a nation are trying to avoid the unpleasant reality and illusions offer an attractive escape route for all of us. Molding the behavior is difficult and change is hard to adapt. But if we don’t change and adapt to the golden principles given by Prophet and religion in the context of peace and tolerance, it will be detrimental for our growth and survival.

“We should really love each other in peace and harmony”
Bob Marley

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