NEW DELHI: Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, spoke about the growing intolerance in India as a “curse we are seeing of late.” "I think everybody knows where the intolerance is coming from, what it is. Like many thousands, millions of Indians, one wants to see a country without intolerance," he said.

The industrialist was speaking at the 119th foundation day function of Scindia School in Gwalior. “The Maharaja (Jyotiraditya Scindia) talked about intolerance. It is a curse we are seeing of late,” Tata said, referring to Scindia’s comments at the same address just earlier. “We want to live in an environment where we love our fellow men. We don't shoot them, we don't kill them. We don't hold them hostages but give a bit of ourselves and we give and take," Tata added.

Scindia had said to the students, “We want you to be winners. We also want you to be thinkers...and the hallmark of a civilised society is debate, discussion and disagreement." The Congress leader added that "environment of intolerance" was prevailing in the country today. "An environment in which each one of us is told what to speak, what to hear, how to dress, what to eat.”

Tata’s statement made front page news, as with it the industrialist has joined a line of people who have spoken out against intolerance in India. Amongst those who generated the most controversy for speaking out on the issue are actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, with a weighted backlash condemning them for their comments.

The criticism was from the political elite and common Indians alike. After Shah Rukh Khan spoke up, BJP general secretary and a former Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya had directed him to go to Pakistan as “his heart lies there.” He had tweeted, “Shah Rukh Khan lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan. His films make crores here but he finds India intolerant." Similarly, Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam slammed Aamir Khan for his comments, saying "He was a celebrated actor till now. But now it seems that we handed over milk to a snake. If he does not want to stay here, he can go to Pakistan."

Ironically, this response -- of meeting concern about intolerance in India with additional intolerance -- is the dominant discourse whenever the issue is raised. Nowhere is this more apparent than on social media, as droves of trolls descend on the dissenter, with the “go to Pakistan” litany being the primary form of attack, along with the tags “anti national” and “traitor.”

Surprisingly, Tata’s comments have not met with the same flurry of abuse. While many on social media have commended him for speaking out, the volley of criticism has been muted.