The world needs more ministries of tolerance

Our readers have their say about harmonious societies, the Gaza war and the Indian general election

Hindu monks arrive at the first stone-built Hindu temple in Abu Mureikha last month. AP
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The UAE’s commitment to fostering a culture of harmony and unity is exemplified through the very existence of the Ministry of Tolerance and Co-existence. It is dedicated to promoting a spirit of brotherhood and understanding, with an aim to create a society that thrives on diversity and mutual respect, particularly at a time when the world is grappling with unrest and tension.

A manifestation of this commitment was witnessed in the ministry's role in facilitating the construction of a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. By championing various cultural and intellectual activities, it seeks to build bridges among communities.

The UAE’s commitment to tolerance sets an inspiring example for the world.

It is time for my country India to also conceptualise the idea of tolerance and create a ministry, similar to the UAE’s approach. Such an initiative would further strengthen our nation’s commitment to fostering a harmonious society that celebrates diversity and promotes mutual understanding among all communities.

Shiben Krishen Raina, Dubai

Gaza has changed forever

I write in reference to Michael Young’s article Hamas's dilemma is that it lacked a political objective in October and it lacks one now (March 12): Mr Young writes that in negotiations with Israel, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has essentially “sought a return to the status quo before October 7”. But the question is, how would a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops constitute a return to the status quo?

According to a report published by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of last week only six hospitals are partially functional in Gaza. The Norwegian Refugee Council reports that in the first week of the Israeli operation, 43 per cent of the housing units in the territory were damaged. Full and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops at this moment would still leave Gaza with monumental challenges.

Name withheld by request

The scope and scale of India’s general election

I write in reference to Taniya Dutta’s article India general election: Date, voters and how the world’s largest polls are staged (March 18): those unfamiliar with India's electoral process may be startled to read that this year's general election will be held in seven phases, from April 19 to June 1. But the sheer size of both the country and its electorate makes the task of holding the world’s largest election extremely challenging, especially in the scorching heat, which explains the need to stagger it over one and a half months. The high stakes involved make this exercise even more challenging, not just for the Election Commission of India but for the security forces and other organs of government. Moreover, with much controversy surrounding electronic voting – amid concerns that machines could be compromised – bureaucrats will have their work cut out to ensure that the entire process is foolproof. They have my best wishes.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru, India

Published: March 22, 2024, 3:00 AM