Empathy, Tolerance and Compassion towards the weaker sections
What is Tolerance?
- Tolerance can be defined as a fair and objective attitude towards those whose lifestyle differs from yours.
- Take a moment to think about your lifestyle: your behaviors, actions, thoughts, and environment. Now think about someone else’s. Chances are there are some aspects of other people’s lives which annoy you. Many people are surrounded by others who appear to be ‘incompetent’ and ‘annoying’. Understanding tolerance can help shift our attitudes toward others, leading us toward a more productive and happy life.
- Tolerance refers to the skills we need to live together peacefully. In times of peace, people have a chance to prosper socially, economically and emotionally. Tolerance creates a society in which people can feel valued and respected, and in which there is room for every person, each with their own ideas, thoughts and dreams.
- This is why we believe tolerance is important: because it is an essential aspect of a healthy, livable society. In fact, it is the only way in which a country as diverse as India (politically, religiously, economically) can function and use each and every difference to make its people thrive rather than suffer.
- In this globalisation, where people of different backgrounds, cultures and religions are living together, and where the world has become multicultural and full of diversity, establishing tolerance and harmony has become very crucial and important, and fostering mutual love and affection has become vital.
- Without tolerance and harmony the lasting peace of societies cannot be maintained, and loyalty for each other cannot be established.
- Tolerance does not mean that only one person or party shows tolerance and the others do not. When some people disagree on a certain issue they must advocate and express their opinion in a respectful manner, and hateful and provocative words should not be used. Tolerance must be shown from both sides on issues, in order for it to be effective.
What is difference between Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion? Which of these three qualities is most essential for a public servant and why?
- Sympathy refers to acknowledging another person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance. Sympathy is the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else’s trouble, grief, misfortune, etc.
- Empathy refers refers to understanding what others are feeling. Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes
- Compassion refers to a step further, where a person not only feels empathy but also a desire to help alleviate the suffering of the other person. Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.
- Thus, the emphasis here is on action and wanting to help. In, other word while Sympathy focuses on awareness, empathy focuses on experience and Compassion
focuses on action.
- For example, consider the issue of child labour. On seeing a child waiter in a restaurant if a person is just feeling sad, then he is sympathetic. But if he also connects himself or own children with that child or memorises any of his live experience, then he is empathetic. But when someone unleashes himself from only being a spectator and make some arrangements according to his capacity for the good (like informing NGOs, arranging education, counselling his parents etc) , then he has compassion.
- A public servant must possess all the three qualities depending on situation. Public servants are meant to serve and this requires developing a humanistic outlook and to go out-of-the way. These qualities [Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion] ensure that the public servants act sensitively and interpret the rules so as to advance public interest. This is all the more important in a country like India where most the citizens are not aware of their rights and obligations owing to their socio -economic conditions rather than out of ignorance. In their absence, the administration will become mechanistic, rigid and ineffective.
Why having tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections is important for a civil servant?
- Tolerance and compassion make a civil servant to lead with not only head but also heart. They are the fundamental components of character and positive relationship which will be helpful to deliver the services and requirements fulfilling the needs of weaker sections.
- For example, suppose a grievance redressal meeting was held exclusively for the differently abled in a Collectorate. Despite being held only for the differently able, the meeting was convened at the first floor of the Collectorate which had no ramp and was not disabled-friendly in any manner. It led to agitation of the petitioners who started protesting immediately at the venue.
- It is clear from the above example that empathy and in-depth understanding for the weaker sections be it differently able or any senior citizen is mandatory for a civil servant at every stage. Deprivation of that essential quality leads to collapse in public administration and efficient service delivery.