During the last few months, going through various newspapers, news channels and many events of which I have personal knowledge, I was internally disturbed very much. It seemed that religious intolerance is on a rise around us and differentiation on the basis of religion is still rampant. It seems that even with the advancement of science, we still are unable to overcome the shackles of religious intolerance.
Religion – that’s the difference between Amar-Akbar-Anthony. That’s the answer to the question. But for a moment let’s forget their religious affinities. Now what do you get. All of them are human beings. All of them breathe the same air, walk on the same earth and drink the same water. Then why are they different. Because their parents practiced different religions? Because one prays before a god and another offers a Namaz?
Well, religion comprises of a set of beliefs and it surely does not teach to hate other religions. During the last two years, I have gone through teachings of the Hindu scriptures, the Quran and the Bible. All of them tell almost the same things and none of them preaches the use of violence. But misinterpretation, which is sometimes done intentionally by some religious leaders, has led to wrong practices. Even the word ‘jihad’, which actually means the ‘inner struggle’ or ‘the purification of the inner self’, has been misinterpreted and has now become synonymous with war.
The growing religious intolerance is seriously becoming a concern. On one hand we are advancing rapidly along the scientific front, on the other hand we are also becoming more and more paranoid on religious front. The difference that the society creates in the name of religion has led to various communal clashes. Distrust, coupled with instigation by some unscrupulous elements, has caused people from one religion to kill people from another religion. The religious intolerance is so strong sometimes that people do not hesitate to kill a person for marrying someone of a different religion.
This type of differentiation in the name of religion can be stopped only when we ourselves stop identifying ourselves primarily on the basis of religion. As education of a person begins at home, the parents are very much responsible for teaching a child respect for other religions apart from his own. The youths of today have pretty much more responsibility as they are going to be parents in the future and they would have to teach their children that we are human beings first and a Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh later.