• Nikita

Why do I have a problem with communalism?

This should ideally NOT require an explanation, being a part of a secular democratic nation, it should be a fact accepted as is. But since it is not that way, here I am, giving you one!

The first thing I want to ask is - how can we survive in isolation anywhere in this world? Whether as a person or as a community, we can only grow when we live in diversity. India is a land of diversity and it is loved by everyone for this very reason. All the people living here belong to different states and religions, and yet they are similar in many ways. We have always lived in unity with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhist communities. There is no single state where people of a single religion live. There is no community which speaks only a single language. We are a mixture of many common values which makes it ideal and easy for us to live in harmony. It is not possible to live only with our family and relatives. Our friends, neighbours, coworkers and helpers of our day to day life are an integral part of our living. Religion is not the ultimate criteria connecting us. It is much more than that.

But, and this is a big but, a lot of criminal and political elements are always trying to drive us apart. They're out there trying to prove that terrorists/criminals/murderers belong to one religion, and they want to hurt other communities on purpose. Any common man of any religion always has the same ultimate goal - to earn well, feed his family and provide basic amenities, to provide education to his children, to look after his parents, and so on. This is not the man who wants to banish one religion and popularize the other. He doesn't want to kill anyone and not even spread any terror. He is just that - a common man. Only a few nasty elements of the society have ulterior motives but we label them as those of a specific religion which wants to convert or rule over others. Is it such an easy thing to do? No, and yet we assume it all. No religion creates a criminal by itself. More number of people in one religion or the other will not make much difference in the larger picture. We need to understand the ulterior motives of those who are trying to drive us apart and create disparities, rather than blindly believing politicians or activists and start fighting with each other.

Now let's say someone in your family commits a heinous crime. Then what do you do? Boycott the person or the family? Blame the person or the whole family? Or blame your religion? How does it make sense to do that?

Name one religion in this world, none of whose followers have ever committed a crime. It is just not possible. If one fruit from your basket turns out rotten, do you throw away all the remaining fruits as well? Please ponder over this.

History is proof to the fact that an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. Is that what we want? Do not listen to one person or event and develop hatred for any one community or religion. Many people hate another religion saying their ancestors were wronged by the latter. None of them even know what exactly was the wrong or how it was done and out to avenge them by continuing the enmity. They don't have their ancestors' pictures in the house but are sure of the injustices done to them. What an irony! And for once let's assume that they were wronged earlier, now what? They are dead, their enemies are dead and the present and future generations cannot be fighting over what they did not even witness. How does it make sense at all? Will we keep fighting over what we do not even know? So many facts are distorted by the governments, political parties and the media that it is hard to differentiate the truth from lies. It is like because Taliban has taken over Afghanistan I will fight with my neighbour, because he is Muslim. Do you see it?

Better late than never, and if not now then never! Wake up my dear Indians and please take note that you are an Indian first, then everything else you want to add to your name. When we travel abroad we do not say we are hindu/muslim/etc, but that we are Indian. Remember that always. The British exploited this very weakness and ruled us for centuries. We surely do not want to be ruled by local goons because we are divided amongst ourselves! Please be more aware and make conscious choices for yourself and your offspring.

That's all I want to say.