Skip to main content

We are thinking of a law 'against love, for hate': What kind of nation are we creating?

By Shreshth Virmani*

Each year, India observes communal harmony week from November 19 to 25. This was started in 1992 by the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The aim of the week is to promote fraternity, maintain peace and communal harmony, and to run a fundraising campaign for children affected by violence.
However, majority do not know anything about the communal harmony week. Let alone celebrating the week in its true spirit, currently some states are even thinking of making laws against inter-religion relationships. We are thinking of a law against love and for hate. What kind of nation are we creating?
Article 25(1) of the Indian Constitution states that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. Article 19 gives the right to freedom of speech and expression. The preamble of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right of liberty of belief, faith and worship and of fraternity about assuring the dignity of an individual.
All the religious texts talk about the existence of one God, the sacred path of truth, and living in harmony and dignity with fellow humans. One gets excellent inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi on communal harmony. To Gandhi, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam from Upanishads was the same as the idea from Quranic belief that Allah, the beneficent and merciful, was the creator. He would dispense justice based on deeds and not based on the professed faith of each person. The same goes for the idea from Christian faith that the God’s benediction was for all. Gandhi said, “The essence of true religious teaching is that one should serve and befriend all. I learnt this in my mother’s lap.”
All religious beliefs chant of one God. Then, what difference it makes if God is worshiped differently? Some people may worship by going to Temples, other may go to Mosque, or Church, or Gurudwara. All these places of worship are multiple homes of the one God. Those who listen to the voice of reason will not object.
However, India has regularly struggled with communalism, resulting in violent attacks and destruction of places of worship. Time and again, we come across multiple instances of discrimination against people based on religious faith. Recently our country has seen some incidents that seek to disturb communal harmony.
The arrest of 48-years-old Faisal Khan after a few days of reading namaz at a temple was one such incident. He invested his life to strengthen communal harmony. He took 84 kos braj parikrama for the preservation of peace and communal harmony. Faisal has also established ‘Sabka Ghar’ dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives as victims of some discrimination. It is a living example of communal harmony where people of different religious faiths come and live together.
To Gandhi, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam from Upanishads was same as Quranic belief that Allah, beneficent and merciful, was the creator
In September, Christian minority groups from villages in the Kondagaon district of Chhattisgarh were attacked by a Hindu nationalist mob after they refused to apostatize their faith in Christianity. Around 100 Christians were displaced, and 16 houses were destroyed in the presence of police. However, minority Christian groups have recently returned to the village with legal protection, but the feeling of fear remains when people are not allowed to freely practice their religion.
Another incident is about a plea at the Mathura district court that seeks to remove 17th century Shahi Idgah mosque adjacent to the Krishna Janmabhoomi. The subject of plea is unconstitutional within the Places of Worship Act, 1991. 
For centuries, Shahi Idgah Mosque and Krishna Janmabhoomi temples have stood adjacent to each other, bearing witness to Hindu-Muslim harmony. Any proceedings in such respect could set a dangerous precedent before the judiciary, overwhelming the courts with numerous disputes between temples, mosques, churches, and other places of worship.
The above instances not only indicate a lack of understanding among a few social groups about the aspects of peace written in all religious texts but also indicate a lack of understanding about being human.
At the basic level, the difference between a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, or person belonging to any other religion is the different household in which a person is born. The family of birth generally leads to the imposition of religious values of the family. Nature doesn’t create any differences, but nurture does. John Rawls' idea of the veil of ignorance is a powerful tool to understand the unreasonableness of social hierarchies. This idea considers individuals as rational, free, and morally equal beings who have a lack of knowledge about their social status.
It may be questioned if some people acting as oppressors in religion and caste-based violence are doing that out of their volition or are being forced? Even if they are doing so out of their own discretion, what has led to such thinking that they can oppress someone or force another person to change his/her religion?
Prof Navdeep Mathur of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) says that most often the thinking of oppressors has been shaped by the prevailing social norms that maintain the status quo benefiting a certain social order. People do oppressive things to others because of how they have been disciplined by social norms. This is often part of the hidden curriculum of the home, family and school, the earliest social institutions in which an individual is nurtured.
Father Anand Mathew, who has led multiple campaigns on communal harmony and is the convener of Jan Vikas Samiti, Varanasi, says, in the name of nationalism, xenophobia or strangers, fear seems to be dominating India. We need xenophilia, or the love of strangers, or Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam for the revival of the nation’s values.
Indeed, it would be better to propagate love among communities and not hatred to get free from class or religion level hierarchies. This can create an equal world for everyone to live a life of prosperity and dignity. Let’s free ourselves from consent manufacturing propaganda and power of social norms benefiting the current social order. This will make India a peaceful country free from communal violence.
---
*Student of IIM-A, believes in equality of all communities and dreams for a better India based on Gandhian principles. Views expressed are personal, are part reflections of the 2nd year elective on Transformational Social Movements taken by Prof Sandeep Pandey

Comments

janu raja said…
Allah is the real name of God.
Allah is the same Brahaman ; That shakti.
Unknown said…
So you want to say that Hindus don't have right to revive their places of worship but Muslims can do. Love Jihad means that you force a girl after marriage to convert to husband's religion. Is it against Love stupid

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r