Storm heaped on Internet and broadcast media on 28 March 2018 (Wednesday). Around 1.24 lakh students in Kerala did not file their caste and religion during admission to government and government-aided schools. Education minister C. Raveendranath reported as many as 1,23,630 did not fill the caste and religion columns. Though, today the figures are seen as a technical error but still the numbers are on the higher side.
It is overwhelming to see that the new generation is rising above caste and religion. Religious sentiments have always been the heated issue in India. Constitutionally, we are a secular country but are we really secular?
A place is called Secular when all the religions have their place. There is no conflict of interest and all communities can equally co-exist in peace.
The pie chart suggests that the majority of the population belongs to Hinduism. It is followed by Islam or as perceived as the largest minority community in India. Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikh, Zoroastrianism, etc follow thereby.
Now, you must be thinking why we are studying factual data and how is it related?
Well, you are right. There is no point in all these facts and figures but what we do need to understand is “Communal Harmony“. It forms the backbone of National integration which lacks in our country and thus leading to mishaps over decades.
Since inception, or as we might say after independence the scenario has completely changed. There is a circle of riots going on in India. It is not only affecting the bond but also the economy. The riots are making Indians intolerable as the families of millions are getting affected.
India is ranked fourth worst in terms of religious intolerance according to PEW research analysis of 198 countries. Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years.
But, are restrictions enough to condemn Hate war? Or is it that we need to address to the problems with much more empathy and tolerance?
List of riots on religion after independence
- 1967 Ranchi-Hatia Riots – The major contestants were Hindus and Muslims because of Anti-Urdu agitations. Around 184 people were killed and 195 shops were looted and set on fire. A huge blow to the eastern economy of India!
- 1969 Gujarat Riots – The period recalled the mixing of religious sentiments with politics. The violence was Gujarat’s first major riot. It involved massacre, arson and looting on a large scale. Property worth 42 million rupees was destroyed during the riots.
- 1989 Bhagalpur violence – Muslim Community adopted “eye-for-an-eye” tactics. They objected a Hindu procession through their area. The worst Hindu-Muslim riot ever where over 1000 lives were lost.
4. 1992 Bombay Riots – Protests over the demolition of Babri Mosque led to the agitation in Mumbai (then Bombay). It took lives of 250 people and left the families broken and devastated. 1993 blasts are considered follow on of the 1992 riots. See, how riots can turn things up and shake the whole country.
5. 2002 Gujarat Riots – One of the worst communal riot India has witnessed. 59 passengers (karsevaks) were killed in Godhra when one coach of Sabarmati express was set ablaze. Riots in Gujarat resulted in the death of 750+ muslims and 250+ hindus.
These are some of the major riots that took place within the time frame of 1960-2005. All these cases entails the intolerance of communities towards each other. So, we need to take a deep dive into us and find where the real fault lies because if we don’t, then there is no stopping.
Politics and Religion
Religion has always been a “sweet spot” for the political parties to sway community voted in their favor. We have been listening to much Hate speeches yet sometimes amendments were made to favor communities. but, what we need to understand is to keep away Politics and religion from mixing.
We are so sensitive to issues which are of less importance and thus it leads to lynching. It creates a disturbed environment and a house divided against itself cannot stand.
One such instance is #Blackeid thread on twitter. It revolved around the cow vigilantism that led to many lynching incidents across India. In the name of ‘Gau-raksha’, many Muslims were killed and our honorable representatives kept mum. It is indeed an act of cowardice when the victim is brutally lynched. India is now a country where gau goons can easily pounce on unarmed boys and stab them on a train. When this happens, instead of jumping to the rescue of the boys, the passengers on the crowded train moving through the heart of India scream for their blood like spectators watching a blood sport in the Amphitheater. Like deranged maniacs in the Gladiator, they raise cries of ‘kill them, kill them’.
What we can Do?
It is never easy to fight for the truth. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation quoted “The most difficult task is to speak the truth and stay beside it“. Well, he was indeed right. Also,
“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind“
These are all wise words but we choose to stay beside our community than the truth. Instead we can be liberal in our thought and empathetic in our actions. India will only be a secular country when it becomes action, not just ideology.
We should start thinking as Indian first before thinking as a single community member.
After all, religion is made for people, people are not made for religion.
Steps to avoid conflict at first stage
- Be liberal in thought – Liberal does not only mean to sit and eat with other communities. Being liberal indicates respecting their morals and values without sacrificing the core ones.
- Be empathetic – Try to put on the shoes of others. You will know how the sentiments work. You will know what upsets them and similarly communicate your sentiments to make them understand what pinches you.
- Start interacting – Not all the fingers of a hand have equal length. Not all students of a class have equal capabilities. We are diverse. We are different. And that’s the beauty of nature. So stop judging others and start interacting.
- Be tolerant – We all get hurt by some point of time. We all get emotional but abusing and hitting the other person will not result in anything good. Rather, it will worsen the situation. So be tolerant and try to understand the perception. If you are unable to understand, ask.
- Respond, not React – Reacting spontaneously creates tension. Instead of reacting, lets respond. Let us first try to understand point on which the whole discussion revolves and then respond calmly.
- Stop generating a view based on what you hear – Every coin has a flip side. Similarly, every story has two point of view.
- Most of all, don’t let political speeches and commercial media affect your attitude.
India is not just a country but an example
There are many provisions in the constitution to avoid any conflicts among the religious communities. No one is allowed to hurt the sentiments of other communities as per the section 295 A of Indian Penal Code.
But this amendments will not lead to any solution unless we act on it.
So, let us set an example of UNITY in DIVERSITY in front of the world. And show them that our home is not divided.
We all are made up of same flesh and Blood. Nothing should separate us.
My identity is Indian. What about yours?