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Talking tough on chauvinism and violent protests related to it, the Supreme Court has said that every Indian had the right to settle anywhere in the country, to carry their work and do business peacefully. Since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects, said apex court.

It is sure to give a strong message to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s tirade against north Indians in the state.

A bench comprising Justice H K Sema and Justice Markandey Katju said, “ India is not an association or confederation of states, it is a union of states and there is only one nationality that is Indian. Hence every Indian has a right to go any where in India, to settle anywhere, and work and do business of his choice in any part of India, peacefully”.

The court expressed its concern over the growing violent chauvisnistic tendencies. “These days unfortunately some people seem to be perpetually on a short fuse, and are willing to protest often violently, about anything under the sun on the ground that a book or painting or film etc. has ‘hurt the sentiments’ of their community. These are dangerous tendencies and must be curbed with an iron hand. We are one nation and must respect each other and should have tolerance”, court said.

The court said, “we are making these comments because what we are noticing now-adays is a growing tendency of intolerance in our country”.

Justice Katju writing the verdict said “It must be remembered that India is a multi-cultural pluralistic society with tremendous diversity. There are a large number of religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, cultures, etc. in our country. Somebody is tall, somebody is short, somebody is fair, somebody is brown, somebody is dark in complexion, someone has Caucasian features, someone has Mongoloid features, someone has Negroid features, etc.”
The court comparing the country with China said that there is a broad homogeneity there but our country is more diversified due to large scale migrations and invasion spreading over thousand of years.

People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas. Before the coming of modern industry there were agricultural societies and India was a paradise for these because agriculture requires level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation etc. which was in abundance in India.

Why would anybody living in India migrate to Afghanistan which has a harsh terrain, rocky and mountainous and covered with snow for several months in a year when one cannot grow any crop? Hence, almost all migrations and invasions came from outside into India (except in recent times when some people have gone to other countries for job opportunities). Most of the migrations/invasions came from the north-west, and to a much lesser extent from the north-east of India. Thus, people kept pouring into India, and it is for this reason that there is so much diversity in India, court said.

The court said, “since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects”.

“It is the Constitution of India which is keeping us together despite all our tremendous diversity, because the Constitution gives equal respect to all communities, sects, lingual and ethnic groups, etc. in the country” observed the bench.

The court cited couplets from great Tamil Poet Subramaniya Bharati “This Bharatmaata has thirty crore of faces! But her body is one, She speaks eighteen languages! But her thought is one”.

It also talked about great Tamil poet Kaniyan Pookundranar who had wrote “All places are my own places, All people are my own kith and kin”.

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