Of late, the internet and news channels have been abuzz with conflicting views on various issues and practices, some of which even date back to prehistoric era, and one has to wonder how tolerant we are towards people from other communities and religions. But irrespective of our stand on religious tolerance, we, Hindus and Muslims, would continue to coexist in India because no one is giving us an alternative option, although, these debates would only make the process a bit strained.
Recently, actor Kamal Haasan said that intolerance existed from 1947 and that’s why we became two nations, and rightly so. Actually, intolerance existed even before 1947 and there are enough evidences of that. Clash of ideologies will always be there because of how things evolved in the past, but by undermining the very existence of a group of people, we would achieve nothing other than cluttering up our minds with unwarranted trivialities.
We are not born with communal ideologies. As a matter of fact, they don’t even fit into our scheme of things during a large part of our growing up years. We adopt them gradually as certain factors around us start influencing our judgement and force us to look at things from a different perspective.
Harmful elements are there in all communities who relentlessly impose their set of beliefs on us. We cannot fight them individually but we can certainly reduce their influence on our society by not conceding to such ideologies, but this can happen only if we, as individuals, don’t harbor similar thoughts.
Communal attacks are often initiated by organized groups and not individuals. However, they come from within the society as we create a favorable environment for them to grow with our tacit approval of their points of view, which not only disrupts communal harmony but also hinders the progress of our nation. If an attack on a group of people yields a sense of satisfaction to the others and we try to justify the act, then coexistence wouldn’t be a natural and peaceful process.
To be honest, I don’t know what secularism stands for because the flag bearers of secularism have virtually abused the term. They play a key role in planting the seed of bigotry in our minds when the communal forces fail to do that. I probably wouldn’t have known what communalism is if I hadn’t seen or heard them aggressively attacking people of a religious faith in the garb of protecting the other.
But now that we are more mature than how we used to be, we can dismiss such misleading propaganda, because all that matters is that we live peacefully together, and that can happen only when no Hindu or Muslim is subjected to unfair treatment.
We find it quite annoying when terms like Hindu terrorists or Muslim terrorists are used. Yes, we cannot exercise political correctness and address an issue at the same time, but pointing the finger at an entire community for the acts of a few defies common sense. However, the responsibility, to some extent, lies in our hands as to how we project ourselves. Yes, the views of outsiders are often biased as they are based on preconceived notions and not facts, and we can disregard them as frivolous, but it that’s how we look at it, then we shouldn’t be concerned about how we are categorized by them either.
It’s a cliché that we should be Indians first and then Hindus or Muslims, but there are few (which include pseudo-seculars) who do not hesitate to defame the nation for petty gains, at times just for a mere pat on the back from their peers. Fortunately, we have enough sensible people in our country who negate these forces and make it a wonderful place to live in.
We have come a long way from being regressive, prejudiced, and savage barbarians to reasonably civilized human beings. We have shunned wrong practices, embraced progressive beliefs, and moved towards a purposeful way of life. Things shouldn’t ideally go wrong from here on. And we are definitely not going to see Hindus and Muslims killing each other on the streets every day.
Published at indiaopines blog