Dr.Raghuram Rajan, RBI Director
RBI cuts repo-rate by 25 basis points. Picture (Representational Image) RBI Governor, Raghuram RajanReuters

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan believes India would be "crazy to lose" its biggest advantage of tolerance, and stressed the necessity of continuing to have an open society.

He made the comments on 4 November, emphasising his concern a second time in as many weeks over the rising intolerance in the country.

"It's very important that both fringes, extreme left and extreme right, don't say I'm going to shut you off if you don't say what I want to hear," Rajan said in an interview to a Bloomberg team that included Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.

"It has to be a genuine debate. You have to preserve that environment. Thankfully, the mainstream is well and truly supportive of this," he added.

Pointing to his 31 October speech on tolerance at IIT-Delhi, Rajan said that the speech wasn't about "here and now," but more about which direction the dialogue is taking and how the advantage that India already has can be maximised.

He added, "For that we need to keep this an open society and we need to resist all attempts at closing down."

"You cannot have a debate by screaming at one another. Let the ideas fight each other but let's not prevent each other from saying what we think,"he is reported to have said, encouraging everyone on the political spectrum to "calm down a bit in order to foster healthy debate."

Rajan stated that India would be "crazy to lose" the biggest advantage it has over other nations who are at a similar stage of development. Terming India's democracy as its supreme strength, he explained that his speech was an encouragement "to support a fundamental future underpinning for growth," The Indian Express reported.

During his 31 October speech at IIT-Delhi, Rajan had said that protecting certain ideas and traditions shouldn't be provided with protection, but the "right to question and challenge," and the "right to behave differently" unless it hurts others seriously must be protected.

He had also highlighted that India's custom of debate and "an open spirit of enquiry" is significant for its economic advancement.

"The first essential is to foster competition in the marketplace of ideas. This means encouraging challenge to all authority and tradition, even while acknowledging that the only way of dismissing any view is through empirical tests. What this rules out is anyone imposing a particular view or ideology because of their power," Rajan had added.

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