Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lets earn our faith

Significance of religion in our nation

The importance that religion has in the Indian way of life is something that warrants serious deliberation. Its sensitivity many a times keeps people away from discussing it openly. Sethu Samudram being one of the interesting examples. But that doesnt clear the confusion that surrounds the understanding of religion in our heterogeneous society. Some of the most tragic riots have got triggered on communal lines. At the same time religion generates phenomenal positive energy during festivals. Its such a strong unifying force !

I take liberty in proposing an idealistic view of acquiring ones religion.

Considering the fact that something so critical to our social fabric lies misunderstood or misinterpreted by majority, is a real tragedy. The very fact that the same concept has provided center of gravity to giants such as Vivekananda, Shankaracharya, Rumi, Mohammad Younus on one hand and Osama and the likes on the other hand, pushes me to reflect on its potential. The power of this force to create people of diagonally opposite view points of life, has been a subject of much fascination and intrigue.

The interesting part about religion is that it becomes part of our life the moment we take birth in it. A baby becomes a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Sikh before he or she learns to spell A. Its strange. All religions are deep and require introspection and years of study to understand it completely. Thats why different sages and peers have spent years just diving deep within their own selves. Strangely the understanding of such a subtle and deep concept remains elusive throughout lifetime to majority as our society confers a religion the moment you take birth in a family.You may be from a particular faith without having ever opened the most sacred text of that religion; forget about internalizing its values. I find it dangerously absurd. People develop their understanding around practices at their home- e.g. worshipping on a periodic basis, adhering to certain values, practices etc. Many a times people misidentify ritualism with being religious and thats where it gets dangerous.

The point is that the emotional aspect of being from a religion is so high that it has capacity to rob an individual off his reason. More so if the individual is uneducated or lacks the capacity to think. Most of the violence in the society in the name of religion are committed by people who have totally incorrect understanding of religion.
Imperfect understanding of no other concept in the world has had such severe impact as incomplete or incorrect understanding of religion. Most of the terrorist activities in the world stem out of political and religious forces. You may not know Heisenbergs uncertainty principle yet you may become a great marketing professional. But if you dont have an understanding of religion and someone takes charge of your emotional afflictions towards your religion, you may become a weapon in the hands of that person. If you belong to the fanatic school of thought, probably people might brain wash you and turn you into a suicide bomber.

Proposed idealistic solution

Why cant individuals take birth in no religion and then acquire their entry into a certain religion through due understanding and appreciation of the religious tenets of a particular religion. This may take around 15-18 yrs if needed (in parallel with academic pursuits) but at the end of it we will have people who understand their faiths in and out and know its value in civilized world. This will atleast ensure that only those people take religious sides who have correct understanding of it. And when they have correct understanding, they would never get violent as no religion favours violence. Thus people who dont develop an inclination towards a particular religion remain away from influence of the self styled religious leaders and they would have no reason to harm individuals of any faith. Sometimes not to belong to any faith is a safer situation.

When practicalism leads to blood bath, idealism is worth taking a shot at. The world would definitely be safer in that scenario.

Jai Hind !

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