When religion meets liberality | Milaap

When religion meets liberality

While my 6th standard Social Science text book was selling me the idea of India’s Unity in Diversity, Gujarat was experiencing one of the worst massacres of communal violence. The violence between the two the largest religious communities in India-- Hindus and Muslims-- that originated on a large scale with the advent of the Muslim occupation of India continues to this day-- though on a comparatively miniscule, yet unignorable scale. India is a secular state, and we all can proudly exhibit the fact that a multitude of religions coexist in India-- peacefully or otherwise. Genocide of Rohingya tribes in Myanmar, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians in Gaza, and the never ending conflict between the Sunni and the Shiite Muslims in the Middle East— all these stand as triumphant examples of how religion and one-dimensional ideologies can take prominence over life and existence. Though, time and again, various incidents of religious intolerance in India feed the media, we can be sure that we haven’t reached a tipping point-- Our governments haven’t failed us, a winning majority of people still believe in secular India, and most importantly, our constitution inscribes equal rights to every citizen irrespective of religion. And every time you encounter an act that substantiates the idea of unity between communities, your belief in secular India is bolstered. Morab is a small village in the Belgaum district of Karnataka. The first thing that you would probably notice about the place is the beautiful amalgamation of the Hindu-Muslim population-- the adjacent location of temples and mosques and friendly conversations between people with red bindis and men with white caps and kameezes. Unlike elsewhere, in Morab, the festival of Muharram is observed pompously by everyone– both Hindus and Muslims. Everyone contributes to the celebration of what is considered the biggest festival in the village. Featuring religious processions and performances, the festivities last for five days. Most Hindus fast along with Muslims. "This kind of celebration is unique to our village, and it has been very significant in strengthening the bonds between Hindus and Muslims. People from the neighboring places flow to our village in large numbers to witness the celebrations", says Mr. Gowda, a resident of Morab. "I don’t recall any incident of communal tension in the village. Everyone is very cordial with each other", he adds.15 kms towards the west of Morab, Diggewadi is one more village which is known for its Hindu-Muslim congeniality.  One of our borrowers, Kalpana, explains how people in her village think and connect beyond the barriers of religion. Kalpana herself celebrates all the religious festivals ranging from Diwali to Ramadan with equal devotion. Her passion for God, like many others’ in the village, is not confined by a set of ancestrally transferred religious sentiments.  And this showed clearly on the walls of her house, which were adorn with framed photographs of Hindu and the Muslim Gods (a picture is shown below). The kids there don’t need a chapter on “Unity in Diversity” in their curriculum; they wouldn’t imagine that their world around could exist in any other way. And people there are unbigoted because they don't just appreciate one another’s beliefs, but they even celebrate them graciously.The Wikipedia page “List of massacres in India” features 65+ incidents which have cumulatively resulted in the death of millions. In 2015 alone, a string of communal incidents have gripped the country, reminding us of the magnitude of the problem at hand. As we attempt to grasp the damage that is caused by such mishaps, small encounters like the foregoing help us find sanity and reason even amidst a religion-stricken populace, which manages to make our news headlines every day. While some are breaking bonds in the name of a religion, these villagers are making bonds in the name of the same religion.  If anything, they are showing us how differences in people can create a new medium for forging relationships.[caption id="attachment_7186" align="aligncenter" width="733"]A common scene in most houses of Diggewadi. A common scene in most houses of Diggewadi.[/caption]