Binay Kumar Sinha | May 5, 2015
While going through media reports we often come across reports of religious bigotry traumatising the common man of our country. As a result we do not get peace of mind living in a world of paranoid fears. Religion that teaches one to live in peace becomes a cause of tension creating a strife-torn society.
What is the way out of this religious bigotry after all is the moot question haunting us all because religion seems to have become a handmaid of politics at present. We are in the habit of losing our temper even when there is a slight difference of views without caring for the dire consequences thereof. We are too rigid in our attitude to consider other people’s views
E.M. Forster, a British novelist, in a thought-provoking essay “What I believe’’ therefore writes:
“Tolerance, good temper and sympathy, are no longer enough in a world rent by religious and racial persecution.”
‘What he means to say is the spectre of fundamentalism that is creating rift and dissension all around and unless we come to our senses, considering the gravity of social and political malaise, we would never be able to take rest.
Only five months have passed after France became tense the Charlie Hebdo attack. After the attack on the cartoonist and journalists of the magazine, millions of people participated in the republican march to assert the values that unite them, especially, freedom of speech and the need to keep religion out of the public sphere.
What one understands from this ugly incident is the rigidity of outlook as well as the communal feeling taking a deep root in the contaminated thinking of a fundamentalist.
This is reason that, in our constitution, we lay more and more stress and emphasis on the secular image of our country. Religion as such takes a back seat in the domain of politics without interfering in the private affairs of a religious organisation.
Notwithstanding the claims to having created a secular state, riots are more often than not a common phenomenon in our country which is ruining our reputation.
Our national identity is victimised by the seeds of religious identity marked by the division of castes, creeds and communities of several kinds jeopardising the basic principles of a pluralistic society. Religion, as such as we take it to be, can never be the basis of our nationality.
Religion being a personal and sensitive issue has always been used to exploit the people leading them towards disunity. As a result people start falling into the ditch of medievalism misguided by the narrow grooves of thought. The Hindus and the Muslims are both equally responsible for this narrow mentality leading them towards the destruction.
What is therefore needed is a strong national identity implying a sociological and geographical identity, and not a religious one.
Secularism is an antidote to the communal tension. This is the reason why secular ideals carry a greater weight in maintaining the integrity of our character than in following the whimsical attitudes of the religions guided by a false sense of values. We should therefore never allow religion to be the handmaid of politics on account of which bigotry is becoming India’s icon day by day.
We have to look within and examine ourselves. Example can be taken from the latest Bollywood movie PK. In case we follow its message we would realize the mistake we did in banning Katherine Mayo, Nine Hours to Rama, Satanic Verses and many other books.
Let us therefore look within to keep ourselves free from the religious bigotry.
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