“Every one of us on this earth is precious.” Quite a clichéd statement, isn’t it? Yes! In some way or the other we are all ordinary, yet special and unique. Is it not something to enjoy, something to feel exhilarated about? The “identity of indiscernibles” states that there cannot be any separate object that have all their properties in common. Similarly, just like one person’s fingerprints can never be identical to someone else in this world, each one of us is born with a distinct individuality. Much of our sense of fulfillment is derived from our pride of being exceptional in some way- despite our sameness. Alas! The real situation is quite different from what expected and when any human individual comes into this world he/she falls in the shackles of religion for the rest of his lifetime. Like a birthmark his religion follows him everywhere like a haunting shadow. As a child one often wonders who decides the religion of a mortal, yet standing on the threshold of adolescence he is confident that it is decided by none other than the fellow beings around him. He understands that the zealotry, sadism behavior and the universal march towards the doom is rather masqueraded as religion and worship. Yet, religion has become a sacrosanct characteristic in our everyday life and hence at times it becomes difficult to justify the hypocrisy in the name of religion.
India is a diversified country and is one of the most culturally, linguistically varied geographical entity among the continents. Religion wise it is a multifarious country with significant Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Bahai, Jain, Zoroastrian populations. Mahatma Gandhi once, on being asked which religion he belonged to, remarked that he was a Hindu, a Muslim, a Jain and a Sikh.
Yet, at times it is still strange that even sixty six years after independence India is still woefully engrossed in pandemonium relating to religion. Indian history is replete with such incidents when mankind had witnessed egregious riots for the sake of religion, one being the Hindu-Muslim riot which claimed the lives of numerous innocents. A refugee from East Pakistan fearing persecution by fanatic Islam left his country as he would have been butchered like his other country men if he continued living there by the fanatic groups involved in ethnic cleansing. Do you think that this is actually what religion is? Still, today the menace which is prevalent in our society justified as reverence to God and one’s religion has not been completely expunged and people fear apostasy. There are occasional flare-ups due to the dominance of certain religious dogmas and even the educated and the nonchalant are dragged in this and thereby hangs a tale. Like a “Sword of Damocles” religious antagonism rules over people but to revel in a cesspool of deadly sins was definitely not what mankind was meant to be. Man is being oppressed by man, tyrannized and traumatized by man since ages and man has been forced to relinquish his morality for a simple matter like religion. A mirror that shakes our complacent selves and motivates us towards humanity instead of farcical religion established by mankind and not the Almighty is the pressing need of the hour. Some maniacs fanatically pursue to establish principles which never had any relation with principles relating to humanity and thus face an eternal Armageddon . The senseless destruction and despair we see today are a result of alienation of man from each other and this cannot be a man’s religion. When will all those people with a cynical look in their eyes realize that destroying a holy shrine of any particular religion can never be justified as humanitarian values? India, being a democratic country and we considering ourselves as civilized citizens of society are united by the reality that all cultures, creed are distinct. We live in harmony by the fact that we are held to this earth by it’s gravitational pull. Yet we may not share the same religion, the same customs , we breathe in the same air which keeps us alive. More and more, entire generations are brought up on a cult of violence to propagate the message of different religions. Today one is vulnerable as one is innocent and hostility, antipathy towards fellow beings to show obeisance to God is not only a fallacy but also ridiculous. God is one supreme soul and all the religions walk on his ideals in somewhat differentiated ways and sooner the man realizes this the better for him.
Swami Vivekananda said “To be good and to do good, that is the whole religion”. One’s religion should solely be based on such an epitome. Kindness is one aspect of religion along with morality and following a path of goodness. As the great Dalai Lama says “ Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” What can be more pleasing to our Creator than to see us being compassionate and recognizing the needs of the people around us rather than residing with bitterness against any faith? Man has to realize that spiritual realization is more important than fighting in the mere name of religion and that survival solely hinges on harmonious living otherwise the whole world may perish in chaos. I guess, God did not create man in his own image to see him turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the sufferings of his fellow beings. Our only religion is to have a pure conscience and a heart which will care genuinely for others and never do anything which would have adverse effects in others lives. It is a cosmic belief that what one gives to the universe, one gets it back. Following no particular religion can help one reach salvation easily and one must realize that the richness of our country’s heritage should not lie in shambles for the sake of religion.
Indian culture as we understand today blends the ideas of different religions and hence cultures. From the Hinduism of the Guptas to the Buddhism of Ashoka , from the simple wisdom of Guru Nanak to the Doctrines of Christianity, from the humanitarianism of the Bhakti movement to the self contemplating music of the Sufis, from the glorious “jowhar” of the Rajput women to the fight against evils like “Sati” by Raja Rammohan Roy and Vidyasagar, Indian culture has come a long way and it’s aesthetic essence should not be exacerbated for something like religion.