Religion have been defined by sociologists as man’s tryst with the unknown or a relationship with the supernatural.
Religions have paved the way for civilizations to move ahead. It provided for our cultural, social, linguistic and ancestral identity. It is an integral part of our social connection system. However, sadly in recent times, owing to technological advancements that have strangely promoted religious fanaticism. Extreme polarization seems to be the new norm. How have we transformed into this selfish and self-centred human that has no respect for coexistence but self-righteousness?
New forms of Crusades seem to be taking place. India a country whose Constitution promised secularism has been a very terrible victim of communalism. The last few decades have been the most trying and testing time for Indian democracy. It is estimated that 2 million have been killed during the partition of India. India is the homeland of three major religions of the world- Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Any religion has effortlessly dissolved into the Indian society even when the Mughals established an empire here and promoted Islam.
Coming to more recent times, there have been terrible cases of communal violence, the latest being the Delhi riots in February 2020. Muslims and other minority groups cried out the ‘minority tag’ while the Hindus screamed ‘infringement into the Hindu society. Has our religious sentiments become so fragile that we feel threatened by other religions and embark on self-enticed Crusades? While the makers of our country had removed every tag of identity to create a nation for a peaceful existence, the ascenders have shrugged themselves with personal labels to promote intolerance and utter disrespect for other communities. The controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by the government in 2019 created a nationwide stir and mass protests in the country. Rashmi Samant, an Indian student who had won the presidential debate in Oxford University to become the Students Union leader was cancelled when trolls hit out at her and her family for supporting a religion viewed as fundamentalist.
The worst thing is the human nature of us to cancel out the entire group for the individual actions of the bad few. There is rising Islamophobia for numerous terrorist insurgencies that threaten human peace and wellbeing. The recent hate crimes against Asians in America provide us with another bad example. This ‘cancel culture’ is threatening human peace more than ever. The extreme extent of Globalisation has brought us equally bad degrees of conservatism and hatred towards other communities.
When Nikita Tomar, a young girl was killed by her wooer of a different religion for refusing to accept his proposal, leaders hit out immediately and labelled it as a religious crime. Nobody tagged it as a criminal act against women and her right to say no. Sadly, giving such communal tags to incidents further push religious divide among people. The common people simply got disillusioned by the ‘religion’ tag and ignored the civil and criminal aspect of the killing.
Ashish Nandy, a renowned theorist said that eve in the times of worst communal disputes, 40% of the people who got away with their lives were being helped by the people of the opposite enemy religion. This shows that all people share humane values.
Every religion have preached equality and humanness but we seem to have misinterpreted the values.
” For although there may be so-called gods in Heaven or on Earth- a indeed there are many “gods” and “lords” – yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things and for whom we exist, and one lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist”. – Corinthians 8:5-6, Bilble.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion : Truth stands out clear from Error.” – 2:256, Quran.
‘Abandon all varieties of religion and surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful activities. Do not fear.”- 18th chapter, verse 66, Bhagavad Gita.
The Way out
The only way out of these terrible and heartbreaking incidents is that we start to heal as a collective human consciousness. Eckhart Tolle, a modern spiritual teacher opines that once ” all humans become part of one human consciousness”, nothing can stop us. Leaders must prove themselves as capable humans first and protectors of religions later. Nobody deserves to live ain a world where they feel threatened for their religious beliefs.
Let religion show us the true ay of life and make the world a better and safer place.
“There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” – Thich Nhah Hanh.