Only tolerance counts - GulfToday

Only tolerance counts

Shaadaab S. Bakht


Shaadaab S. Bakht, who worked for famous Indian dailies The Telegraph, The Pioneer, The Sentinel and wrote political commentaries for, is Gulf Today’s Executive Editor.


Picture used for illustrative purpose.

I was a schoolboy and intolerant. I still don’t know why it was the way it was. I used to land up fighting over insignificant issues. I often used to get punished for bad behaviour.

Then came my college years. I entered them with ceaseless joy because it meant lots of freedom with very little accountability, lots of coffee session, lots of free time to brood. And as far as my intolerant nature was concerned I continued to be so. And I never admitted that it was a serious flaw in my character and could prove irreversibly harmful, both in the short and long run. In college too, I almost came to blows during regular discussions in the canteen. The topics used to range from sports to politics.

It was a serious flaw...and could prove irreversibly harmful

Then one morning my world crumbled. I discovered as the day progressed that a group of people, who spoke our language but had different names, had decided to leave our ancestral home in pieces because they thought we had no right to live there. We couldn’t question their stand against us because their group was much bigger than ours. That particular day’s horror continued for over a week and victimised thousands. And I was exposed to a form of intolerance that left me changed for good. It is exactly then when my fight against intolerance started. I seriously campaigned for tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities

Therefore, I was really happy when Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities (MBZUH) in Abu Dhabi launched the world’s first Bachelor of Tolerance and Coexistence Studies degree.

It aims to create graduates with a high-level of academic knowledge and practical skills that will enable them to spread a culture of tolerance and coexistence.

It includes courses that promote these values, inspired by the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, as well as covering the role of media in encouraging a cohesive society, comparative religion and Islam.

Dr Khaled Salem Al Dhaheri, Chancellor of Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities, said, “Education plays a clear role in fostering the values that create harmony between societies. MBZUH’s bachelor degree is the first higher education programme in the world that develops students’ understanding and respect for different cultures, civilisations and religions, so they can act as ambassadors and build bridges of communication between cultures and civilisations.” The three-year programme will admit its first students from September 2021.

The sole aim of existence is to perpetuate humanity and the soul of that sole goal is love. And nothing breeds love faster than tolerance. Therefore, let’s generate tolerance everything else will fall in place.

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