Religious Intolerance: A new saga? A blot on our nation?

By:  Suvidha Jani

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Let start with a cliché- India is a land of diversity and in this diversity there lies our Unity.

This is something we all are familiar with. All schools and text books propagate this philosophy. We live in a land of multiple religious and ethnic identities, caste and class groups and infinite regional tolerance. Despite secular and religiously tolerant constitution of India and the presence of various autonomous bodies such as National Human Rights Commission of India and various non-governmental organisations, yet India has always been prone to religious intolerance. Perfect example of disunity in diversity.

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History lessons always taught us --British used a “divide and rule policy”. Today’s political policies to use the same policy. Hindu Muslim divide still persists in our country and-- as long as political parties are thriving on this divide—this division will continue to persist. With banning of beef, returning of awards, Amir Khan and Shahrukh Khan’s statements about increasing religious intolerance we are compelled to question our own stand! This policy ensured that demarcations and boundaries always exist, social/cultural/economical hierarchies are always maintained and equality remains a far-fetched dream. Religious intolerance in our country is nothing new. We have always been witnesses and partakers of this intolerance. Whether it’s the 1947 Partition riots, Anti Sikhs riots(1984), Kashmiri Pandits Ethnic Cleaning(1989-1990) Gujrat riots(1969, Bhagalpur riots(1989) or the recent Mujaffar Nagar riots religion has been and will always be the root cause of our intolerance.

India has a history of intolerance but things took an ugly turn with the election of BJP in India and a number of changes and statements made.

Bhartiya Janta Party and their dark history raised various speculations in 2014 elections. There were those who never wanted history to repeat itself (Gujrat riots and Babri Masjid terror) while there were those who believed that everyone deserved a second chance. And at last the optimistic Indian won with BJP coming to power without any coalition. The promise of ache din and change in power structures brought relief in the country.  Award wapasi, beef banning, and a number of statements— was just the beginning!

The level of intolerance was reflected when Amir Khan voiced his opinions and he was faced with hatred and criticism. Our inability to listen to someone’s opinions reflects how things are changing—or are ruining!  Another politician compared Shahrukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed.

Religious intolerance is the big mosquito which the majority of us wishes to breed.  Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room.

In the name of God and religion innocent lives are maimed and tortured every day. People are killed and we become puppets in the hands of those who are powerful.

Rang de Basanti’s dialogue –  "No nation is perfect but is made perfect."

And with this hope our country will be surviving.

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