I have long been lactose intolerant.
Now I am intolerant of gluten too!
But I hate being called intolerant
Of lactose, gluten or anything else.

I know that intolerance is not a virtue.
But it is not really my fault.
Mine is a medical condition:
And it does no harm to others.

When intolerance becomes a social malaise
It is a much more serious:
It harms individuals and groups.
It tears apart the fabric of society.

I wonder why the words and acts of others upset us,
Or is it what we think are their secret agendas?
Why do we not try discussion and persuasion?
Or at least agree to disagree?

Please don’t attack or hurt those you disagree with.
They are not lactose or gluten,
They are human like you:
People you need to live with.

J. Krishnamurty lives in Geneva. He works on development issues and the history of economics as a profession in pre-Independence India. His most recent publications are on Ambedkar’s educational odyssey and on an employment guarantee for the urban worker.

Featured image: Noita Digital / Unsplash