These are times when India is facing a bit more number of threats to its sovereignty than we’re probably used to. At least as far as my knowledge goes, I haven’t seen the media report Chinese and Pakistani incursions or any other threats from these countries at the same time. Also, the internal security challenges aren’t on the decline either. It’s as though we’re disintegrating, we’re recognizing our differences but these external threats are keeping us somehow weakly glued. I recently read in an article the divide between Hindus and Muslims, North Indians and South Indians and between other social groups is increasing. The ‘Unity in Diversity’ has been remained to a bookish phrase. Is this a problem? I say yes. Is there a solution? Yes, but trying to forget our differences and suddenly unite won’t help. It will never even happen. If the branches start to dry up, perhaps the roots need to be diagnosed.
As a kid I had read a story about two pen pals, one from India and another from Japan. In one of the letters, the Indian friend writes that in India, people are Indians first and then Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, etc. It’s a good start and we can go a step further. The BJP too should be appreciated for positioning themselves as a party of development instead of religion and caste (I am not a bhakt). I think instead of saying that we are Indians first and then whatever our religions may be, perhaps we should not talk about our religions at all. Religions were not created by a God. They are human inventions, meant to moralize the society. They are just a guideline to living but they’ve now become fearful forces. As long as I respect you, does it matter how I do it? By bowing down to you with my hands folded or with a handshake? As long as I don’t eat from your plate and leave you starving, does it matter what I eat and how much of it? Does it matter what I wear or how I speak? It actually does matter, though it shouldn’t. And it will continue to matter for as long as we have multiple religions in the world. This is one of the fundamental flaws of our society. The other being the root cause behind division of Earth. Well, it’s needed for administrative purposes, but that’s not the reason it was done. The real cause behind this division is greed. Greed of one particular person or a handful who’ve managed to brain wash the masses into believing their so called just cause. Now, one can’t really eradicate greed, it’s a part of human nature but what one can do is be a human being before being any other thing. By putting humanity before nationalities and religion will help solve a great deal of our problems. Believing that we’re human beings first and then Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Americans, etc. will reduce the number of wars to a great extent if not erase them completely. Would we really need religion then? Wouldn’t it make God happier to see that we’re following the principles of humanity, we’re doing what basically every religions asks for instead of praying? Or is God so ego-maniacal that he/she would punish us for not praying? And when we think of God, wasn’t he/she created by us humans too? The basic problem lies in our incapability to accept opinions different from ours. We classify everything into good and bad, whereas opinions are just opinions. But this is a deeper problem, perhaps at the DNA level and hence it’ll take us centuries to even try to resolve it but we can find a common ground today. The common ground of all of us being human beings. Because what really classifies a person into a particular religion was created by humans. It did not occur naturally. The clothes we wear, the languages we speak, our names, our grooming habits were all created by humans. What did occur naturally was birth of a human being. A baby isn’t born with a particular religion, he/she is just born a human being. Perhaps it’s time to look back at our roots, look back to what really defines us, our humanly created differences or the common ground of humanity.