|By Rachitha Poornima Cabral [ Published Date: February 16, 2015 ]|
In newspapers, in social networking sites, on our whatsapp messages, we keep hearing of how Christians have now become the target of religious intolerance. We discuss at length about a movie that makes us think. Be it an Oh my God or a PK. Just when we begin to think that we, Indians, are heading towards peaceful times, broader perspectives and mind sets and a brighter future, things take a u-turn again and we are back to square one.
Why does it have to be a President of another country who has to remind us that the acts of intolerance in India would have shocked Gandhi, the person who helped liberate India. The violence that has occurred in recent years shatters the trust bond between communities of faith and the larger nation state that supposedly protects the rights to worship freely without fear of persecution.
Is it our collective ignorance and tendency towards stereotyping that has to be blamed? What messages do we convey to our children and the people around us through our attitude and behaviour towards people of other faiths? Theoretically, religious tolerance is one of the greatest virtues and the basis of Indian society, but in reality, religion itself becomes a major cause for the occurrence of violence all around us. What we are destroying is our own feelings of peace and security.
In an age where we are happy to be drawn closer together through the electronic media and are part of a ‘Global Village', it is only through mutual goodness, mutual respect that understanding and goodwill can prevail. Religious tolerance is an ironic term today as there have been more persecutions and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else. We keep forgetting time and again that tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.
So let’s make acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness the new mantras and pray and hope that there is more goodness than horror in the world around us.
Rachitha Poornima Cabral
Department of English
School of Social Work