Cultural Diversity and Pluralism – Role in the Enrichment of Society
This article discusses the concepts of cultural diversity and pluralism and their role in the enrichment of society in the context of Pakistan. Once you have read this article, you would also visit the Powerpoint Presentation related to the role of diversity and Pluralism in the enrichment of society. The link for PPt is at the end of the article.
What is cultural diversity?
The term cultural diversity refers to the existence of more than one culture in a society or country. In other words, it means the existence of more than one race, languages, traditions, religions, etc.
What is pluralism?
The term “pluralism” refers to the treatment of people as equal and the same citizens irrespective of any difference. The difference can be cultural, ethnic, religious backgrounds.
Role in the enrichment of society
It is rare to find a nation-state with a single culture, race, or religion. The existence of this diversity requires acceptance at both individual and state levels for peace and development. There is no way other than accepting and appreciating the diversity for peace, prosperity, and development of a nation.
Thus pluralism plays a pivotal role in the enrichment of society in many respects as discussed below:
Tolerance and Peace
Acceptance and respecting people belonging to another religious, sectarian, racial, or ethnic group other than one’s own sows the seeds of peace and tolerance. Today’s one of the biggest issues Pakistan faces is intolerance. Terrorism in the name of religion has destroyed peace and the overall development of the nation. Similarly, the menace of sectarianism has taken the lives of tens and thousands of innocent people over the years. Thus by the promotion of the spirit of accepting cultural and religious diversity in our country lead to a tolerant culture in the society.
Promotion of national integration and cohesion
A characteristic of pluralism is that the state caters to the needs and aspirations of people. These people may belong to different religious, sectarian, ethnic groups, and regions. This creates a sense o patriotism and being empowered thereby promoting national integration. Similarly, if projected, the common cultural values and positive aspects can act as a catalyst in the promotion of national cohesion.
Promotion of democratic values
In pluralism, as discussed above, the acceptance of diversity means ethnic-religious communities, as well as political ideologies, are being respected. With that, the state also provides equal opportunities for the people to play their role in the political, economic, and social arena of a country. This is how pluralism can help evolve nations into democratic societies.
One of the key characteristics of a pluralistic society is that it is dominated by a multiplicity of small groups rather than by a single elite. These small groups become well organized over time. Although a few can be larger and more influential than the others the powersharing element restricts them to relatively narrow areas such as defense, foreign policy, or banking.
Equality of political opportunity
Pluralism emphasizes the equality of political opportunity. This means that all communities or nationalities enjoy equal and the same political rights. And all have an equal chance to participate in a government as per law of the land.
Another advantage of a pluralistic society is the consensus-building on the “rules of the game” that on democratic principles and values binds the members of a society together. For example, in democratic states, people of different interest groups accept regular and open elections, the right to vote, political equality, majority rule, and free speech. They also accept the right to assemble, differences of opinion, and the other rules important for peaceful and orderly politics. And, most importantly, they abide by the outcomes of elections.
In light of the above discussion, it would be fair to say that pluralism is the most widely accepted interpretation of a democratic society. A society that provides equal opportunity for development to people at both individual and collective levels.
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