It was a boring day (must have been a Monday!) . The bell ranged .Everyone sighed a relief. The teacher moved out and the class became alive again. But soon it was a disturbed by a noise. The noise grew louder every second. We looked out of the window and saw an angry mob protesting. We got to know that someone somewhere had attacked a religious monument and so these people are now protesting against that. We found this highly amusing! Someone had attacked a religious monument thousand kilometers away from this place but these people were protesting here ! We found is stupid and laughed it off. Not for a second we thought that they might come and attack us. We infact were hoping that the protest should continue so that our studies get dismissed ! We were kids. We were ‘immature’ to understand all this. We were not taught the superiority of religion , religious ‘duties’ and the importance of revenge. In our book , one big chapter was devoted to communalism . We were taught how wrong it was for the nation and most importantly for humanity. We were taught that all the religions are same . They all have some thing in common – all condemn stealing and killing. God is present everywhere – it is present even within us ! We are all God’s children. ‘God sees us’.. this was always written on the blackboard. Our school , even though it was a Christian missionary , would honor all Indian festivals.
I grew up with this knowledge. Some of my school mates would often highlight stereotypes associated with religions other than their own. I would condemn them for such low-thinking. I was unable to tolerate such a behavior.
Being a humanities student , I became interested in politics. With the base provided by my discipline , I became a news person ! I would follow al political happenings. I read agendas of political parties and would condemn those groups which had a religious affiliation(couldn’t forget that chapter on communalism!) . In history , we had a chapter on post-partition riots. I found the chapter haunting. The chapter also discussed the stereotypes that emerged , based on the experiences.
I passed out with this knowledge. It is said that school sets the base. But I realized that people forget every single thing that is ever taught there ! I began discussing politics with people . I condemned communalism. I remarked ‘its disgusting that people kill in the name of religion’. I expected praise from people but they instead recited innumerable instances where the other community people had targeted their community. They asked me to see the ‘other’ side of the coin. They would teach me how great their religion is! I realized the difference between school and ‘real’ world.
I do not want to see a side of a coin , I want to see the coin. I had considered religion a way of life and not life. I do not want to identify people by their religion. Religion is a personal choice. In Sanskrit m I had read dharma is …what we believe in. Revenge is a venom .An eye for an eye will make everyone blind. People keep attacking each other to take age-old revenge. When will this revenge end ? Both sides have suffered tremendously. But If revenge is inevitable , punish the real accused. Do not kill the innocent. Ten people target a religious monument but the whole community is supposed to be wiped off. What was the innocents’ crime ? It’s the males who ignite the fire. But in riots , everyone is targeted. Women are raped. Whats the link? People often remark ‘ we did it coz they did it ‘ . This reminds me of a famous liner ‘If he falls in a well , would you follow him?’ .
We are humans before being classified under other heads. Religion never justifies killing. Those who kill in the name of religion are those who do not even know what religion is. Religion tries to differentiate between the good and the bad. It guides us how to live a virtuous life. Revenge is evil . God sees us all.
God creates life so its destruction should also be left in its hands. Love is the soul of the world.
Someone had said to me ‘You wont understand all this . You are still young.’. Well if growing up means forgetting this simple philosophy then its better to be a kid !
In this article , I have not used labels. I have not taken any side. But if someone still feels I m ‘pseudo-secular’ ..well then I am not bothered. I care a damn what the other community has done. I care only about the innocent , I am not interested in knowing how great you religion is if it allows revenge ..if its merciless! Have mercy on humanity !