India has always been known as the land of spirituality and philosophy. It has survived for many centuries, while other nations have fallen apart on differences of religion and caste. Despite the fact that India is home to people belonging to different faiths, its vast population has been living in tolerance to each other. In fact, one of the major manifestations of Indian culture is open-mindedness and a strong belief in universal brotherhood. Worshiping and following rituals, either at home or at a common centre, is part of India’s daily life.
India is the birthplace of religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Religions originating from other countries like Islam, Christianity and Judaism have also made India their home. Followers of different religions have lived harmoniously side-by-side for many centuries. Ours is secular and democratic nation where every individual has a fundamental right to practice the religion of his choice peacefully.
All this said and done, the fact is that religion has been invoked many times, for the wrong reasons. It goes back to the struggle for India’s independence, when Pakistan was created based on difference of religion. Many people were subjected to mindless violence and rendered homeless because of the riots at that time.
Come back to the disturbances in modern India; the Godhra issue, where the mass carnage after the train incident and the attacks on Muslims, the Ayodhya question, where again, the Hindus and Muslims stand divided, and the recent attacks on Christians are all things that make us hang our heads in shame. The main argument given in such cases is that ‘they did it first so we were just taking our due revenge.’ The question that arises here is how all these justifications matter to those who suffer and die. The bottom-line remains the same.
All these issues have been related to politics. Religion and politics should not be mixed as it leads to loss of peace and unity, which is the foundation on which our nation rests. In a battle based on religion, there are no winners. Only politicians who spread discord in the hope of gathering votes have anything to gain out of it. Modern India has witnessed so many clashes based on religion, that the very fabric of our nation is being threatened now.
All these arguments are known to all, but the thing to be wondered is that why do people forget everything and act so violently and against their religious teachings after hearing a few inflammatory words from zealots. In the aftermath of mass madness, we are all left to mourn over bodies of loved ones who had done nothing to deserve the acts done so shamelessly under the veil of religion. All people worship the same supreme power, which is manifested in so many ways. We have become too blind to see it. So before you raise your voice against any person based on his religion, think about it. It is an insult to your own religion and to the highest religious order of all; the principle of humanity.