Religion – A word that dominated 2014!

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2014 was definitely a significant year for India yet I can not really conclude what will this signify when we will look at it 20 years later. 20 years, as a safeguard that BJP would definitely not be in power by then and some guy better than Modi had come out of earth to save us.

Religion was a major floor of study and discussion for India and the world in 2014 on which many new ideas were generated, many old thoughts held firm grip, and many aberrant ideas were accepted. I’ll first talk about India and then, the rest of the world. So, I can not really help if you are not Indian. I don’t want to be one of whose Indian writers who write thinking of a western audience. I suppose I write with zero thoughts about my audience and since I am of Indian origin I am supposed to be more knowledgeable about my native country than any other nation.

Today, VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS, and many other such Hindu Extremist groups stand more powerful than ever. They are dictating terms, and want their idea of Hinduism to be accepted all over the country. The irony they don’t really have any particular idea of Hinduism. They only say one thing, “Hinduism is in danger and Hindus need to unite to protect their identity”. Like everybody else I am asking, what are they afraid of? Western Culture or a day in future when Islam dominates India?

If they think they are more concerned over increasing number of Muslims in our country, they can settle down and put their angry costumes aside. Really, no such thing will happen in even the far away future, except if India lost everything to a war against China and Pakistan combined.

Western Culture, I bet India is strong enough to protect its culture, though I am not really sure if Hinduism is our culture. I am pretty sure if I would have been a big-time icon or celebrity my statement would have been twisted and turned to present in media in the evilest manner possible. This is the state writing and media has come to in the world. I mentioned “the world”, because I believe so. It isn’t that there is no good journalism, but the majority is affected by time-bound writing, thus enormously abasing their quality standards.

India is a big country. Visit a Hindu from 29 different states across India and you’ll realize Hinduism is a propagated word, there is no such thing as Hinduism. It didn’t exist before the invasions of Muslim rulers in 7th century. We never really called ourselves Hindu, foreigners did, so that they can bind us under one category. Now, I can cry out loud if the RSS head comes to me and says “Okay, then every individual living in our country is a Hindu”. Dude! Are you sick? You are applying the before-7th-century rules here in 21st century? That is history. Today’s reality is, howsoever we negate the fact that Hinduism is a religion, it would still be a religion because of the misinformation spread in our society. And I don’t mind that.

A bengali, a telugu speaker, a tamilian, a gujurati, an assamese, a punjabi, a haryanvi, a rajasthani, a marathi; all are Hindu. But are they really similar? Do they have same cultures? So they pray same god? Do they follow same eating habits? NO. A big no!

A surprising fact is that even Sikhs are considered Hindu. I don’t really know why. Just to keep the nation united under one name?

I mean I do really agree that if we didn’t have a term “Hindu”, we would have been a continent named India with a beehive of small nations. So, in that way, we must really thank the invaders there in the past for uniting us.

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Pakistan was of course also their unintentional birthday gift.

So, the Hindu extremists are acting like they are not Hindu. Since the origin of the term Hindu, Indians (I would prefer using the term Indians than Hindus but many hardly recognize any difference) never ever did what RSS and VHP are doing today. Indians never retaliated with force. Indians never converted people into their religion. They saw it all happening, a mass conversion over many years into Buddhism by Ashoka, mass conversions into Christianity by Christian missionaries, mass conversion organised by Dr Ambedkar. But Indians never saw them as wrong. They always saw it as the right of an individual to do so. Neither did they forced or preached conversions to their own religion. Anybody know why? Well, Devdutt Patnaik definitely knows it and I am not going to repeat it here. He is right in his interpretation of gods all over the world. You can read his recent article.

So much to the flow of writing I forget what I was writing about.
Religious extremists and their idea gained a little popularity in 2014. But I am sure that more people, specially the coming generations, and the youth deviated from the idea of religion itself. They don’t want to pray to gods who make people want to fight for them. They much more take it a private exercise to pray to gods and keep their belief and faith to themselves.

Acceptance of films like PK in the society proves this point. New generations don’t really care much about religions, they are not bigots, staunch fanatics who would not change their stance as per logic. The irony again is that hard logic can not define god and its existence. So, you know the path our society is running on. One day, logic would be everything. By logic I mean the science logic.

It is possible that future human may not give much importance to religion as a topic of conversation itself, especially after how we see young individuals blaming it all on religion for terrorism and the situation in the middle east.

But if that day arrives, according to liberal thought process, we will next find nationalism as our topic of conversation. We would no longer justify killings for national security. Humanity will surface as the most important belief. This is idealism of course, and I don’t claim it to come true one day.

I am just laughing at my own idea of Humanity, how we will end up justifying many ideas which are morally wrong today. We are already on the brink of total acceptance of LGBT rights. Next, we will accept incest (I don’t see how we are harming humanity by incest), Lannister style families may resurface, sexual education would come up as one of the most important education (a mother might be teaching his son how to do it the right way, and a father might be teaching his daughter to do it the right way). Again, please see the difference between realism and idealism. I only meant to state the above paragraph as a satire to the idea of humanity and how many things that are totally unacceptable today can be justified under its name. This is because humanity simply means no harm to humans, growth of humans, and no killings of humans for any reason whatsoever!

Some say, “BJP and Sangh Parivar are the same”. Others say “No, Modi is different!”. I can hardly comprehend the thought that Modi is different than others in BJP. I know he is like a passionate young guy who wants India to develop as fast as possible. But for every good act done, there is surely someone in the way getting harmed by it. If India is to become a manufacturing hub one day, it is sure to sacrifice it’s agricultural image and many would perish because of that. Modi knows it and he is still walking ahead!

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Hinduism (the way it is defined in our constitution) is not the only religion of India. Islam is the second biggest religion. I believe as much as problems as there are in Hinduism, much more really exist in Islam. I am not doubting anybody’s god here or challenging someone. I believe every religion is strong enough to make you reach to the gods, the spirituality as we say in English. But I don’t think any non-Islamic intellectual would disagree to the fact that Islam is going through it’s worse phase today. Many have blinded themselves in it’s faith and many have stranded to the wrong paths under the disguise of Islam. Again, Islam is as good as Hinduism, but it is also causing many problems today. You need not go anywhere else to study this case but Pakistan, it is a perfect example. And I would refrain talking about ISIS. The problem is there and we must solve it! I can’t get out of the fact that the Maulvi of a famous Masjid in the capital city of Islamabad justifies the killing of over 150 children in Peshawar by a Tehreek-e-Taliban. Either Islam justifies killings of individuals for their protection, survival or regaining of land which was once theirs, or any other unjustifiable reasons, Or it doesn’t! There are many experts who just study Islam and it’s behavior over last few years. I am sure they will reach to some conclusion.

Now, I think hatred should not be a weapon in 2015, though it is today and many wield it like King Calibur’s sword. Even if there are problems with almost all religions, we must not spread hatred about one, we must realize nobody is born an Islamic or a Christian, or a Hindu. Each individual should be known from his/her ideas and thoughts, not with a pendent of religion worn by each one of us.

Pope Francis said many things in 2014. I welcome that. Christianity and Islam need to be more tolerant of atheists. They can surely learn from Hinduism in this case. Not contemporary Hinduism with all the extremists and all, but the real Hinduism in which there were schools of thoughts for atheists and agnostics. India always loved diversity, Hindus never said there are false gods, they said there are many and you can chose path for salvation. Sages, ascetics, seers, and intellectuals laid the path to be followed by many. Every individual had the right to choose! I am only stating the reality or myth associated with the epitome of Hindu civilization. Believe it as a reality or not, but it surely teaches you something. Perhaps that’s why it has been created this way!

Other than all this, there happened to be peaceful celebrations of Christmas, Diwali, Dussera, Eid al-adha, Eid al-fitr, Holi, and many more religious festivals in 2014.

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