It is critical time in our civilization when every morning we find in the newspapers, horrified stories of violence and crimes committed to humanity. The ever spreading strife sometimes emanate from religion language differences, economic disparities, conflict in political ideologies, territorial ambitions and many other factors. But much of problem lies in inter-religion and intra-religion sectarian intolerance. For eg. 1984 riots in Delhi, 1992-93 Mumbai riots and many more and 24th and 25th Feb happenings in capital city of India.
All religions in the world teach peace and peace alone. They say there is only one God. It is said that GuruNanak went to Mecca on pilgrimage and when someone reproached him for sleeping with his feet towards Kabba, he replied “Show me a direction where God is not”.
India had remained a land of religious/communal harmony from very ancient times till the country attained independence. Religious freedom, toleration and harmony have framed the characteristic texture of the Indian ethos. But after independence, communal unrest, desecration of places of worship, assassination of religious leaders etc, have become quite common. Another controversial trend is the rise of fundamentalism.
Anyway, inspite of quarrels, fights and riots in the name of religion or of some political issues, India cannot change its colors. There is underlying unity behind this incredible variety. This is to be discovered. Nowhere else we find such a serious pursuit of religion as it is here in India. That is the reason, why Swami Vivekananda ji said that religion is the life of India, religion is the language of this country, religion is the backbone of India. As long as it is sound, India cannot be wiped out from the cultural map of the world. But for the last two three decades, it is often seen, that some religious heads of every community had adopted a confrontationist attitude over petty issues, resulting riots and destruction in the country. They go to any length to prove their point, hurt or even disrespect the other side. Such kind of attitude is very harmful to anyone. The religious heads must learn the art of getting along with people, inspite of disagreeements and difference of opinions. They must always keep in mind, that we have to give something to get something. It is a world of give and take. If we want to lead a peaceful happy and tension free rewarding life in the country, then the religions have to get petty matters resolved amicably and always be agreeable and not make an issue of the petty things/ego. This attitude is essential for the progress, growth and quality of life we lead in this democratic country especially for maintaining the communal/religious harmony.
Having seen and experienced enough for the last fifty years,I can confidently say and recommend that policy of forgive, forget and move on with life is the best policy. Dangerous religious trends can destroy the social fabric of the nation. Never let religious differences disagreements come in way of our country’s progress. All religions should go an extra mile for the compromise which brings communal harmony and in turn, prosperity for the country, on the other side ego based disputes get in religious unrest and legal tangle amounting to unbearable pain, jealousy and frustration among the communities of all the religions. The religious heads sitting on the helm of the affairs, should always keep in mind that in the country like us, where unity and diversity coexist and together we can do and perform much better, compared to what we can do as a divided house or as an individual.
Wisdom demands that all religions should always aim at resolving the issues at every level, rather than letting egos dominate and play the spoil sport. As long as we believe that my own religion is the best and it must be propagated at the cost of other religions, the problem will persist. On the contrary, human civilization will prosper in peace and harmony if we believe in Sri Ramakrishna’s effort for harmonizing all religions and his belief that all religions are equally good to reach the one and only one entity.
In the present scenario, our task now is to identify the factors responsible for creating discord and intolerance in the religious field today in the country. We have to find out the causes responsible for narrowing down our vision resulting in our failure in preserving the real truth. We feel that much of the confusion in the religious field is due to our ignorance about others viewpoints and our failure to appreciate them. What is essentially important is some soul searching, some exchange of views, some recollection of spiritual experience so that the ways of upholding religious/ communal harmony can be conceived inspite of all contrary signals. Let there be exchange of thoughts conducted in mutual recognition, but without concealing contradictions and without stimulating concordance, an exchange which will be free, objective and committed with truth.
All law enforcing agencies should be given free hand to deal with anti-social elements in all the communities. There should not be much interference from the top so that impact of this may reach to a common man in respect of his caste, creed and religion. There is need to find out alleged instigators. Conspirators should not be allowed to go scot-free irrespective of the religion/ political party they belong. Communal disharmony probe should be sincere. We should slam selective tears. National interest should not be compromised for the sake of vote bank. Provocative/ hated speeches should not be allowed by the either side of the communities. Crackdown on misreporting the facts and fake news on social media, anti-national comments and speeches should not be considered a view point by the either community.
As such to explore the horizon of religious harmony as it was preached, as it was practised and as it could it be re-established, in a serious and honest frame of mind.It is our hope that such a dialogue would go a long way, paving the way for their harmonization.
Love above all conquers everything. The basis of all religions is the love, focusing on the same GOD, same Atman dwelling in all beings. Even dualistic religions have to admit that God belongs to all. We have to explore the possibilities of bringing this truth to all minds young and old, so that all fightings in the name of religion comes to eternal stop.
May the Lord bless us that harmony.