Lots and lots and lots of discussions on the subject of religion, in the blog world. I had posted about this a couple of months ago.
Some that are worth a read are here: MumbaiGirl, MadMomma and Broom. I agree to the larger argument, but disagree with certain issues within.
I could have commented in detail on those blogs (I did comment on one, briefly) – but then of what use is this space?
I am not going to get into a point by point argument or agreement.
What I noticed in the comments on above blogs is this: There were apologetic/defensive/offensive Hindus. Many seemed genuinely ashamed by the way some from their community behaved. There were many who said really nice things about friends from other communities.
But from the Christian and Muslim readers, anger seemed to be the main emotion. They don’t have nice things to say about the 600 million Hindu Indians they know or Hinduism itself? Really? Why?
The main premise of the argument for tolerance is that there should be no generalisation. But it takes two to tango.
I do get annoyed that when we talk about religious tolerance or doing the right thing, it is invariably targeted at Hindus (in the Indian context, at least).
Yes, we do have a larger responsibility, being in the majority. We need to be more conscious of our actions. But that does not absolve other communities of their responsibilities. How about making a few accommodations too?
And the increasing tendency for those from minority religions in India to paint themselves as victims all the time, is something I can’t digest. Can’t they find anything redeeming in the country they call home? In their fellow national of other religions? Is there no one amongst them who are doing well, enjoying the best of opportunities, living a good life?
While it is understandable that when you are in the minority your insecurity tends to be a tad more pronounced, it is also important not to paint the entire Hindu community as villains.
There is no excusing Khandamal or Godhra. It’s a shame that we never will be able to erase or live down. But amongst a billion population in a country as huge and diverse as ours, please don’t tell me you can’t find any reprieve.
Domination of one religion over another, discrimination based on religion, killings, marginalisation – it’s there everywhere. It’s been there for centuries and centuries. And the fact that we are not used to it still, says a lot in favour of the whole human race. It means that most of us are still fair and tolerant and are hoping for a more ‘equal’ world to live in.
PS: I used to think I am an atheist. But I am not. I am way too spiritual and believe in Karma above all else. I am totally irreligious, but Hinduism shaped my identity.
PS: And if you thing I am member-in-waiting for VHP or Bajrang Dal, that’s your problem!
Edited to Add a comment by ME on MG’s post. It just made a lot of sense to me, so adding it here.
the thing that strikes me is how everybody seems to have generalized everybody else.
Growing up outside of India, I never though being a Christian in India made me a minority. In fact, as a kid vacationing in Kerala, i thought all the parts of India were like mine – where you woke up to the bhajans, call to prayers from the mosque and the church bells – all nicely living side by side – a bit naive I know, but i don’t think the religion divide registered in my psyche.
I don’t remember religion as being an issue in my Indian school in the GUlf.
I do remember randoms getting hecked up about the North – South Divide and in college about the Mal – Tamil divide: talk about inane.
i guess what i am trying to say is – uh? Is this really such a big problem
And when did it become an issue on the scale of minority vs. majority? As far as I can see, you can’t really tell who’s a minority in India by looking at their face as opposed to the West (or more specifically the US) where the colour of your skin clearly marks one out as a minority.
And really, when did reading a couple of random blogs make anybody an authority on what the entire Hindu, Christian or Muslim community thinks?
For this Christian reader, it’s more like bewilderment that this non-issue could even be an issue.