The books of History are replete with causes that created disharmony among the religions. We held British mainly responsible for their destructive role before our independence to create communal tension. By and large we have categorically blamed historical characters like emperors, kings, noblemen and foreigners who fuelled up tension between communities during the time of their rule in this nation. Intellectuals opined that religious intolerance played the key role in gradually creating a chasm between the religious communities and from time to time that victimized hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the communal riots.
Long back in the eighties, Indian television had held one interview with Mark Tully-famous journalist from British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). He was asked about his observation of nature of Indian people; specifically in the things they believed the most.
“Rumor….Indians believe most only in the rumors”-Pat came the reply from him
“Most of the causes cited as reasons behind communal tension are only projections. If the books tell that some politicians made us a secular nation, then it is a blatant lie. India has forever remained a secular nation”- Says a veteran freedom fighter and scholar, who laments a lot about the state of shoddy politics and terrorism in India.
Fabric of the Indian society was always secular- India remained a spiritually fertile land where numerous religions flourished and again were divided in to divisions and sub-divisions (sects and sub-sects). Rulers offered patronage to different religions. We find two great emperors who showed unique courtship to different religions during their periods of rule. Emperor Ashoka was the first great monarch who helped Buddhism to grow on our holy land. During his period Buddhism progressed to the greatest extent. The second ruler was the mighty mogul emperor Akbar. He is known as the most socially eclectic emperor in the annals of the Indian History who remained liberal in his views to all religions. We can find countless such characters in History who were staunch secularists throughout their lives.
Indian people trusted too much in the canards spread by politicians and pseudo-religious groups- Gradually with the passage of time, secularism in the ethos of our culture degraded. Our nation went through the transformation of being a democratic nation from the dynastic rule of kings and emperors and colonial rule by the British. In the democratic set up, gradually issue based politics gave way to vote-bank politics. To garner vote banks, politicians espoused social issues which bordered on communal divides. The pseudo-religious groups of all the religions hobnobbed with the politicians to successfully galvanize their plans in to action.
Projections by politicians and pseudo-secularists- In the post-independent time, we have seen numerous projections by politicians and pseudo-religious groups. For instance, currently the issue of “conversion” in religion is gathering momentum. Orissa, a tribal state in India saw unthinkable violence between Hindus and Christians because it was alleged by the former that in the backward areas tribal people were tempted by the Christian missionaries to get converted from Hinduism to Christianity.
The pertinent question is- “Do the tribal people really have a religion”?
There are areas in remote corners of this state, hidden in the scenic beauty of mountains and populated by tribes, who even refuse to wear any clothes and stay naked. They decline to abide by laws of the modern society. Violence in their society is never reported to any police station. Neither have they seen hospitals, doctors nor modern equipments and amenities. The people there worship nature and do all superstitious rites.
If some Christian missionaries happened to be with them and rendered some good services to their suffering mankind, pseudo-religious groups call it conversion from one religion to another. They are backed up politicians and fan the communal tension till it flares up to create severe conflicts and mayhems.
Spirituality is an open platform meant for the transformation of mankind. What about thousands of westerners, flocking to various ashrams situated along the length and breath of this country and there they wear traditional Indian costumes and worship pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses?
Are they not converted from Christianity to Hinduism? Therefore “conversion” in religion is just a projection aimed at gaining mileage through self-publicity and violence.
What is the need of the hour to create harmony among religious communities?
- Teach secularism to new generations and ask them to preach it- The new generations who are getting inoculated in communal hatred and violence should be told that their forefathers laid the foundations of this nation on the ethics and principles of secularism. Did not your great sages say-“Vasudevam Kutumbakam-entire world is one family”. If entire world is one family, religions can not stay different. The new generations must be educated that secularism lies in their blood. Be you a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, it is your birthright to preach secularism and throw away rubbish projections made by politicians and pseudo-religious people
- Just be a proud Indian- Just take note that your nation has survived within so many diversities in castes, colors and languages. But despite the disturbances in diversities, it has achieved high growth in every sector. The wonderful news is recent economic recession troubled all the leading economic super-powers but it could not even slightly harm its economy. There is sheer potential in the diversities of your culture. There was one incident that one boy accidentally fell in a well and as his rescue operation was covered by television, the whole country rose to his help and donated five million rupees to his family to rehabilitate the boy once again. Even in smaller crisis, the entire nation has risen united to take its challenge. It is indeed sad that we are distancing ourselves to fight together when communal tension surfaces.
- Give a place to interaction among religions and communities- Now-a-days the specter of terrorism is looming large on the horizon. It is really sad that people of every religion is taking to terrorism. But as a very perceptive Indian, you can make a difference. If there is an occasion at your home like marriage or birth day of our child, you ensure that people from other religions attend such ceremonies. From time to time we create staged shows of goodwill among people of various religions and name those “SAD BHAVANA YATRA”- meaning “march together for goodwill”. But those are almost futile in their roles in creating harmony. A real change can be brought at the grass-root levels, when families belonging to different religions care and share on such occasions with love and respect.
- Do not imitate History, try to get adjusted to rationale behind secularism- The famous proverb that “history repeats itself “would not be true if you learn from it and be cautious. You learn from it that India has a social fabric which is fully secular. But you should at the same time know that in the past repeatedly we came under the influence of instigations from pseudo-religious groups and political people. So now the logic in this is you need to be careful when anyone poisons your ears against the people of a certain religion. Every religion is created to render service to mankind, not to oppress it. Keep space for people of every religion in the good things of the society. Be participative in the festivals of every community. Appreciate the good thongs of every religion.
- Avoid rumors, projections and instigations against religions like poison- You need to avoid rumors, projections and instigations against religions like poison. Science and technology have integrated the entire world in the common thread of unity and progress. Religion is only a matter of faith. Any rumor, projection and direct and indirect instigations against people of any religion must be avoided like poison. It is because whatsoever mankind has achieved so far, religions have come to destroy it completely.