Take a minute to ponder over the following questions:
Would a Muslim not find the midnight mass soothing enough? Would a child not long for a Christmas break if he is a Sikh?
Do we require a Muslim heart to read the ‘Namaz’?
Would the holy Bible’s teachings differ for a Parsi?
Do we require eyes of a Sikh to envisage the exquisiteness of the Golden Temple?
Do we require Christian taste buds to relish Easter eggs?
Do we have to be Hindu to comprehend the ‘Bhagwat Gita’?
One can be a Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi or Jain but love will always remain love.
So, is Allah not residing in all of us?
These questions often bother the peace of my mind. Our society would have been so much better if we could celebrate the diversity together. Every individual is related to the society just like a child is to his mother. Why are we rupturing this umbilical cord? Fights in the name of religion have wreaked havoc in our society because communal insurrection has created resentment amongst people. ‘Love’ has been losing its value and ‘God’ has been losing its true meaning.
We Indians, have not been able to free ourselves from the shackles of communalism even after fifty years of Independence, The year 2002 saw the Gujrat riots between Hindu and Muslim. We ourselves have witnessed, those worst communal riots as an aftermath of the Godhra Massacre. Many religious pilgrims, mosques and mausoleums were burnt by religiously fanatic mob. As a reaction, communal violence erupted and Muslims were slaughtered brutally and women raped in the heinous felony; this stirred the whole world beyond measures.
Earlier, the riots due to Babri Mazjid Mosque demolition flared up violence. The aftermath bloodsheds consumed innocent people, children, women and elderly. It was ultimately turned into a politicized war among the politicians. There have been so many religious conflicts in the society during the past several decades which have not only slowed the progress of the society but also invoked hatred and bitterness among citizens.
Our religion never teaches us hatred or violence. Religion is meant for spiritual development of individual and society and for peace to prevail in everyone’s heart. Religious conflagrations are prismatic manifestation of political and economic turbulence and historical and cultural differences. But this is for sure that it is not for god. Jesus, Allah, Ram reside deep inside our souls, we ought to realise that only the names differ!
As we stand today and gaze at the past, we can, with full confidence say that we have come a long way in technological development but what about religious progress and what about individuality? We still lack the concord and unison. Let us see how religion affects the sentiments of people. Inter-caste or are still looked down upon. The idea of a Hindu boy marrying a Muslim girl is still not well accepted. We still see the minority suffering. We still hesitate to enter religious buildings not meant for our caste and community. Politicians take undue advantage of communal carnage for votes and selfish gains. The war between Madrasas and Gurukulam i.e. Islam and Hindu spiritual life still continues. Terrorism spreads its black clouds covering the whole society in menace by taking undue advantage of Achilles’ hill which happens to be religion. The colour of blood for Hindu, Muslim or Sikh remains the same, when blood does not know any difference, why do we talk of the division of ethnicity?
As Albert Einstein puts it across, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.” For peace to prevail on earth and love to manifest in our lives we need to break free from the shackles of the evil combination of religion and politics. Let us strive for a world without hatred – a world without fighting. Let us strive to give our posterity a better tomorrow. What we require is education and employment to eradicate poverty which would bring a sense of belongingness in our hearts. We need to emerge out of all this and celebrate the diversity of a united India.
I am reminded of a beautiful quote by Felix Adler-
Religion is a wizard, a sibyl.
She faces the wreck of worlds, and prophesies restoration.
She faces a sky blood-red with sunset colours that deepen into darkness, and prophesies dawn.
She faces death, and prophesies life!