The issue of “Mobocracy” as addressed by the Supreme Court of India recently, comes to a head following the “Gharwapsi” (homecoming) campaigns by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). The groups dedicated to transforming India, a country which prides itself on adhering to the values of a ‘pluralist and secular democracy’ as enshrined in its iconic Constitution, into a Hindu State.
Sliding further down the slippery slope of dogmatism and majority domination and the intent to prove that ‘Mine is Right’, the phenomenon of religious intolerance can be cited from across the globe. And it continues to threaten communal harmony, massacring innocent human lives for establishing ‘the Supreme Religion’, leading to a tense atmosphere, hatred and unnecessary bloodshed.
It’s not just India, countries across the world like Canada, USA, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, to name a few, are similarly placed on lines of religious intolerance. And who would know it better than the Rohingyas in Myanmar? The question that arises here is- Why are people so intolerant towards people of another religion, and is there really a need to establish a ‘supreme (the religious practice of the majority) religion’?
If the sacred texts are read and understood in their true essence, then the answer will forever be ‘no’. All religions demand the practice of love and compassion. It needs to be practised so that the generation which is perplexed at its failures, finds mental peace and understands the importance of humane values in the long run.
The Atharva Veda says: “Seen through the eyes of love, all beings are beautiful, all deeds are dedicated and all thoughts are innocent. The World is one vast kin. One must love all mankind, all are children of God. One must not emphasize the differences between Nations or between castes and creeds but cultivate universal heartfelt love.” The Bible says: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”. But such principles rarely escape the pages of the books and are scarcely practised in reality ever.
The danger posed by majoritarianism for the minorities should be strongly condemned. In this context, we must heed the great political philosopher Karl Popper, who advocated “in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant”. This is a critical stage where all the leaders from across the political and social spectrum should work together to sustain the inherent quality of a world that can welcome people of all faiths and all denominations, without discrimination in any form in the years to come.
Incidents and practices of religious intolerance should be nipped in the bud. It should be remembered that economic development is not possible at the cost of social cohesiveness and religious harmony, be it for India or any other country in the world. It’s high time that we understand the need of the hour, and contribute in whatever little way we can to aid the creation of a better world for ourselves, before the matter gets out of hand.