Secular has a new definition in India. Over time, being secular is looked at like being morally wrong. “Are you secular?” was an easy question to answer once upon a time. Now when someone asks me, I have to think twice because of all the judgement which comes along with that word. We even hear the word “Sickular” like it is a disease to treat all religions equally.
The Constitution begins with “WE, The People of India…” not Hindus, not Muslims, not Christians. It says “we” as the constitution-makers knew the importance of treating every religion equally. They understood the deep roots of caste, faith, beliefs and cultures of this spiritual land. Secularism had to be one of the five ideas of a strong democratic country like India.
Every religion is human-made; we don’t see this in other species. And I think they are all doing okay, respecting each other’s boundaries (Well, I know their brains did not develop enough to have the capacity to think as much). But, can you even imagine watching NatGeo where animals fight about religion? What a weird world that would be.
We have all been coexisting for thousands of years, and every century has seen religious bonding and differences with various kinds of issues about that time. Well, those were the difference of opinions between groups which led to the creation of new sects in society throughout history.
We did not ask which religion or caste one belonged to while making friends in school or college. Yes, I was born in a Hindu family and followed festivals, rituals, prayers, but that does not mean I do not respect other religions. I have been taught to respect people irrespective of their faith or belief system. And I am sure most of us were brought up that way.
It only becomes toxic when we learn to address that only our religion is correct and there comes a need to prove why our religion is superior to the others. Extreme intolerance towards others beliefs and their faith brings a mind of hatred, resulting in violence.
Bringing history into comparison with the present reality is the biggest fuel which adds to the already existing fire in a country like India. For all I know, we should never judge history with our present-day morals.
Talking about the present times, some of us who believe in the idea of being secular and accept what is right as right and what is wrong as wrong irrespective of which community committed the mistake, have a difficult time standing between two boats — left and right wing right now. The idea of religion has been the favourite topic of our beloved Netas in the election campaigns for many decades now to gain votes.
The Tablighi Jamaat incident was wrong. Clearly. A secular person would post that and condemn the act. But most people who claim to be secular did not voice out anything. But the same people condemned the Gomutra incident.
Also, the Palghar incident where the Sadhus were beaten was enjoyed by some who claim to be secular. If you can laugh and enjoy the pain of someone due to your views, shows the insecurity within you. It has nothing to do with your religion or your community or the God you pray to; it is just you.
Every sane citizen of India widely condemned the Delhi riots and the Bengaluru riots between the two pressure groups. Many innocent people who had no intention to take part in the process were hurt for no reason. The fundamental duty of every citizen to protect public property from any damage was completely ignored. The riots lasted for 2 days, but the damage caused for the families who lost their loved ones is forever.
If you bring religion to these incidents and not the actual stupidity of some humans in society, I’m sorry, you don’t qualify to be secular. Respecting a political party and their ideologies are one thing, being human in times like these is another.
Every religion believes in the central idea of being kind to one another, helping each other in times of need. No religion promotes violence, intolerance or disrespect to other religious practices.
There can be a Muslim who commits a crime, but that does not make every person following Islam wrong. There can be a Hindu who commits a crime, but that does not make every person following Sanatana Dharma wrong. Blaming an entire religion for the mistake of few cannot be a new way forward for a secular country like India.
It would be such great development in our country if we all just learnt the concept of let’s agree to disagree. And followed what we wanted to without imposing our beliefs on others, without spreading hatred and trying to pull each other down.
We are one nation with such diverse beliefs living under one roof called India. We share such beautiful cultures with so much history to learn from.
When the national anthem is played, we all have goosebumps with the same emotion. When we see the national flag, we all hold our head high with pride. When our country wins cricket, we all celebrate together on the streets. When our country’s forces show it’s valour, we are all extremely proud. When there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai (26/11), we all stood by each other.
The smiles we share with every biryani and laddoo will always be special and the bond grows only stronger. Indian society is considered to be the most tolerant in the world for a reason. We believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
I know those who are supposed to read this will not. But think for 2 minutes, why are you outraged? So angry that you are ready to kill someone else and also sacrifice your own life.
Politicians come and go. Media speaks for a week and forgets. Nothing is truly in danger, as portrayed by the media. Your religion nor your belief system are in any threat. The religions have survived thousands of years and will continue to exist even if you don’t.
Ram and Rahim don’t mind sitting next to each other, then why do you?