On the day of Independence, the 15th of August 1947, down to present times, India has evolved in many concepts while some remain the same. Today I wish to write about the distribution and outlook on different religions in India and the approach and thought process involved when it comes to the different beliefs and practices that go on.
I was inspired to think along these lines by a young 13 year old boy I met on the bus from Kasaragod, Kerala headed towards Bekal to spend the day enjoying the beauty of the Bekal Fort, one of the many historical monuments. As we passed along an area, making small conversation, I pointed out how the area seemed posh and the people seemed to be well to do. The response I got from the young lad was, “Ya, but this is Muslim area.” And true to his word, I noticed the huge crowds of women clad in hijab and the frequency of mosques in the area were relatively more. As we journeyed further, I noticed a change in trend and started seeing a number of temples and was told that that there was the Hindu area.
Religion, since the beginning of time, has been a concept that has caused men to rise to great heights and measures. While on the other hand, it has also been a reason for a lot of mayhem, chaos, fighting and the tearing of homes and families, and even nations. I write this article, as a completely unbiased individual, for I am of the opinion that it does not matter which religion you follow, rather what matters is what sort of human being and individual you are in this world that we share.
According to statistics, a vast majority of Indians, around 93%, associate themselves with a religion. Also, while India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions, namely Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism; a lot of other religions, especially Islam and Christianity have found a place in the lives of many Indians. I need not dwell into the details of how conflicts between religions have occurred, not only in India but worldwide, as that is an evident enough concept for any man. But my question is why?
Every religion in the world, if you leave aside the ritualistic aspects associated with how we pray, and conduct ourselves, professes the same concepts and that is morality and being good. No religion will ever encourage man to lie, to steal, to murder and the like, while similarly every religion in their own book and way profess kindness, compassion, morality, and respect for another human being.
Although in many parts of the world and India, things do look better of recent, there still exist some misconceptions and conflicted thoughts in the minds and some wicked hearts of some people. I personally believe that we all follow our respective paths but in the end, being a good person in this world is all that matters, and no matter which book’s laws we choose to employ in achieving this, that should be the final goal.
I personally visit temples, churches and mosques alike and believe spirituality is not limited to a location or four walls, rather is within an individual, and can be found wherever he may wish. I also have friends from different religious backgrounds and beliefs, and I find not only is mutual existence possible, it is healthy and beautiful in expanding our knowledge and familiarizing with the beliefs and practices of our fellow human beings.
Therefore, in the end one point we must keep in mind is that the concepts of religious conflicts and other associated concepts like Islamophobia and others are merely attempts by people who do not have any religion or morals to disrupt and cause malice in society. Let us join hands as one, and learn to respect one another and agree to disagree in some things while enjoin and embrace our differences.