With 176 million Muslims in India is the second largest Muslim nation in the world! Although predominantly Hindu, India has always been a land of diverse religion and cultural practices. One of the finest attributes of an Indian identity has been our tolerance for religious and cultural diversity. India, no doubt, is poor, corrupt, hot, dusty, crowded, untidy, but above all is an epitome of unity in diversity!
Sadly, something has gone wrong with this beautiful country of late. Be it the assassination of those who criticize idol-worship, or the beef-eating Muslim people. Hinduism always stood for values like tolerance, self-restraint, forbearance, non-violence, and patience. The great Mahatma Gandhi practiced many of these values while resisting the mighty British Empire.
We are religiously and culturally so diverse that one can easily say there is nothing like common or shared Indian values. But then this was pretty much the case when the Hindus and Muslims fought side by side in both the World Wars. This was pretty much the same case when the Hindus and Muslims resisted the British dominance over India. This was pretty much the same case when again the Hindus and Muslims fought fiercely in all our wars against Pakistan. What is it that has always united Hindus and Muslims over a common cause in times of crisis and emergencies? Was it leadership? Or simply people’s passion for India? Of course, it was everything other than religion.
Perhaps, that’s why India after her independence didn’t chose to become a Hindu Republic. Because, India has been never about religion. India has been always about unity. India has been always about diversity! Unsurprisingly, diversity and unity are core Indian values! Unlike most developed Western and Arab nations, We aren’t identified as a republic centered on a religion. Rather, India is centered on diversity and unity, which forms the core Indian values!
History, Politics, and the Media Chatter
From the historical perspective, some Hindus perceive Muslims as invaders. The Mughal Legacy is remembered by some Hindus as suppression of Hinduism and its sacred practices. One the other hand, some Muslims perceive a resurgent Hindutva as a threat to their Islamic roots. Politicians representing both the religions are as a result busy in capitalizing on people’s stereotypes, judgmental errors, and vague understanding of history. Add in the often off the mark, battling fiercely competitive TRP game the Media chatter and the situation gets even more murky.
The recent killing of a Muslim man over the rumors of beef consumption is a concoction of various complex factors. The act is shameful for a religion that has a rich history of over 5,000 years! A religion that considers self-restraint, non-violence, and forbearance as her core values cannot endorse such murderous actions. It’s nice to see hundreds of thousands of Hindus like me criticizing this act on various social media platforms. But what isn’t nice to see is the rising intolerance.
What the Government needs to know Whether the reader is a Hindu or Muslim please understand that India over the past several hundred years remained in tact by allowing diverse faith and beliefs to flourish. This is a damn rare phenomenon! Look at all the countries with diverse religions and they are all jinxed. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia collapsed as they couldn’t integrate the diverse religions, including Islam well into their societies. Currently, there’s a kind of Islamophobia in the US and Europe over the infiltration of Middle Eastern Muslim refugees. On the other hand, the Shia-Sunni divide is tearing much of the Middle East into pieces! Every one of you should be proud of India’s unity in diversity credentials. For this is duly tested or stress-tested by time for over the past several hundred years.
There’s no doubt the BJP regime has great developmental ideas for this great nation. However, when they ban beef and other forms of meat they forget the real credentials of India. Perhaps, if they wish to ban beef, then they should first declare India as a Hindu Republic. As a matter fact, there may not be many takers for this idea as India belongs not just to Hindus, but Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jews, Jains, & Buddhists. The BJP government needs to know this and feel immensely proud of the same! Our strength is our unity in diversity!
Image Credits: Incredible India Tour