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Book review: Facets of religious tolerance ignored by identity-led discord

Arvind Sharma peels off the complex nature of religious tolerance and burrows into areas that often get overlooked when examined through a political or identity-led discourse, says Arundhuti Dasgupta

The book talks about a time when the task of tending the lamps of the Al-Aqsa mosque in the old city of Jerusalem was given to Jews, a story that sounds so improbable today that it seems more fiction than fact | Photo: iStock
The book talks about a time when the task of tending the lamps of the Al-Aqsa mosque in the old city of Jerusalem was given to Jews, a story that sounds so improbable today that it seems more fiction than fact | Photo: iStock

Tolerance is a hard sell in the times we live. Up against the brute force of muscular nationalism and the politics of religious polarisation, it is increasingly being pushed out as a relic from a fading liberal age. At its best, to be tolerant, in a contemporary reading of the word, is an adjustment one makes to let peace in through the skylight. At its worst, it is an indefensible position at a time when the enemy is marching in through the border.    What does tolerance stand for and where should the picket fences go up in the religious and cultural battleground of present-day ...