Garbage is not littered on roads its stashed in our minds are the words of the then President Pranab Mukherjee while on his pilgrimage to Sabarmati and the thoughts which divides “us” from “them” and “pure” from the “impure” is garbage. Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt of a diverse nation where all segments would exist with equality in harmony and would hold equal rights. We witness around us unprecedented violence being unleashed daily and the foundation of this violence is ignorance, fear and disbelief making true the prophetic words of Paranb Da spoken 6 years ago.
Violence turns us into a culture of Talibani and Jihadis. What happened with a bangle hawker in Indore is not a reflection of a civilized society and the inhumane treatment meted out to a rickshaw puller in Kanpur cannot be justified in any manner at all. We are citizens of that country which is the cradle of various cultures and religions were ushered in.
We welcome one and all but never attacked anyone in the name of religion or culture and that is why we are the most ancient civilization of the world and nature worshippers have been a part of the society and those destroying nature were never a part of us, which is the teaching imparted from our Vedas.
Our country is not only diverse in the sense of religions but also on account of various natural and cultural ideologies, where tolerance has been its strength and which has led the country towards prosperity. This is the reason that when our country was celebrating the feast of Independence, Mahatma Gandhi was diffusing the communal riots spread out in areas far off from Delhi, which had claimed lacs of innocent lives. Since the days of ancient India and during the Independence struggle it is evident that our nationalism is of the idea of “Vasudev Kutumkam” and “Sarve Bhawantu Sukhinam, Sarve Nirmaye”.
Hatred and intolerance weakens our nationalism. To understand our concept of nation we need to understand the preachings and ideologies of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Nehru. Our nationalism is not bound to any particular region, language or religion. There are two kinds of religions in the world one which based on ones Conduct and another on Faith. Sanatan religion is conduct based religion while non Sanatani is Faith based and this the reason that Sanatani have full freedom to believe or not to believe in Gods and Goddesses whereas such freedom is not available in non-Sanatani religions. Despite of this if anyone forces anyone to praise any deity then neither he is a Sanatani nor its sentinel and this kind of a conduct is against the fundamentals of our religion.
The women wing of BJP has staged protests, this week in various parts of the country protesting the atrocities meted out to the women in Afghanistan and during the said period one Afghani lady parliamentarian has been sent away from Delhi to Istanbul as she had a diplomatic passport which allowed her to travel without any visa as she was aghast on the denial of any support during this hour of crisis and she commented that such a response was not expected from the country of Mahatma Gandhi. And she was surprised that this time India has denied her entry at the time when she had an appointment the very next day with Max Hospital for treatment. We are witnessing an intellectual vacuum in society as ideological debates have almost ceased in the top educational institutes of the country. These ideological debates have been crushed sometimes in the name of nationalism and sometimes under the garb of sedition.
Rabindranath Thakur in Gitanjali cites “Ho Chit Jahan Bhaya Shunya, Maath Ho Unnat, Ho Gyan Jhan Per Mukt, Khula Ye Jag Ho Ghar Ki Dewar Bana Na Koi Kara”. Definitely there should be a free flow of idea and debates in homes and educational institutions. Knowledge ceases when free debates are stemmed and this ideology is called Fascism, which leads us towards intolerance. To be prosperous intellectually the top educational institutions need to be kept away from the elements of fear, duress and disbelief and should be free for holding debates and criticism.
We are witnessing that in the past few years, attacks on members of a particular religious community, is a common thing and now castiest attacks are also on the rise. In Sholapur Maharashtra members of backward class restrained the body of a dalit to be cremated in crematorium. When backward classes claim reservation on caste discrimination and thereafter they discriminate against dalit then the same can only be termed as intolerance. I am deliberating on all this because we do not hesitate to put the Talibani and other Jihadi organizations in dock but when we in our own country adopt such a culture then we turn a mute spectator.
The Kashtriya panchayats of Muzafurpur UP has issued a decree that girls would not be dressed in jeans and top and the government has not taken any steps to stem it. A 16 year old teenage girl was lynched to death by her uncle and grandfather because she mistakenly dressed herself up in a jeans and top despite being warned not to do so. In separate incidents two dalit girls became victims of rape Delhi and police got the bodies cremated to destroy evidence. Would police have acted in such a manner if such an incident had occurred with a girl from a influential family. Maybe never? Tolerance was invisible in policemen while doing so and so was guilt in the Government which instead of condemning such incidents was busy targeting the opposition leaders demanding justice.
Before discussing the atrocities committed in Iraq-Iran, introspection is important. We need to find out as to in which direction we are moving forward. Whether are we not creating radical Hindus? Vide anti conversions law government is abetting such a creation, which will render us intolerance. An impeccable SHO was punished because he opposed the illegal activities of some radical Hindus. We live in the country crafted by Gandhi-Nehru and treading on their ideas we have achieved a respectful position in the world. In case we discard their ideals and adopt the path of intolerance and violence then we would also be like Talibanis.
It is need of the hour to debate on this issue. No religion can destroy another till the believers of the same go astray from their fundamental beliefs. Today when under the pressure of other intolerants and radicals we are losing our Vedic culture which is detrimental to our religion and culture. It is important that we adopt the religion of humanity and peace and not violence.