And for that reason, and that reason alone, we need to fight the increasing (fringe) voices of intolerance – because it encompasses all – every sane and insane element in the ongoing ‘tolerance Vs intolerance’ debate that has seemed to envelope the nation’s consciousness.
Is there a radically surcharged atmosphere of negative connotations in the country?
Yes. It is.
Even if it is limited to some fringe elements!
Because they present face of an eminent danger lurching all around – that their increasing mainstreaming can vitiate the atmosphere to the extent that social harmony can again be taken for ride, can be tossed, by various anti-national elements, desperate to grab any such development.
We have seen it so many times – especially during rounds of massive riots that engulfed a large part of the country’s consciousness.
It is no hidden fact that Babri demolition and riots associated with it caused some ominous and fundamental changes in ‘manifestation of religious expressions’ – both by Hindus and by Muslims.
Opinion leaders and religious satraps of Hinduism threw more claims and threw vehement claims. Loudspeakers cropped up on many mosques. And the ensuing aftermath saw many more sporadic rounds of communal violence.
But, even after that, even after several such dark chapters in our post-independence history, the common refrain from an ordinary ‘common man’ Hindu or Muslim is still that living peacefully and surviving harmoniously always get precedence over the nitty-gritty of religious affairs; that an ordinary folk has his day to day survival in mind and not these ‘supercharged elements and the resultant surcharged atmosphere’.
The Indian society has survived and survived well these – keeping them at bay – and whenever these voices got some space, the social weaving came to heal the sentiments pushing such voices to the fringes of irrelevance.
We are so ‘common and routine’ about our life and its survival priorities but not about such religious preferences that work to divide us becomes once again clear when a sensitive portrayal of our togetherness in a movie, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, binds Indian and Pakistanis together in a mission – the two nations, the two sworn enemies, the two religious domains – with history of conflicts and hostilities.
And we need to fight fringe voice to preserve this ‘so common and routine’ way of our life – whenever they try to push their course into the mainstream of our conscious – we need to push them away, to beyond even fringes of irrelevance – today or tomorrow.
Religion is an important part of our being but it should always be – as it is in our day to day life – where we decide on our worship routine – where we shape how we need to follow our religion – where we feel a friendly reverence for our Almighty – where we ‘routinely’ fear about repercussions of doing something bad, something that will hurt and thus will anger our God.
We should decide on our religious preferences and practices. Religion should never decide on who we should become.
The conscience of the universal values of humanity should the conscious of every religion –open to changes with changing times – and not the other way round.
We have been and we are resiliently tolerant and we will successfully fight this momentary, peripheral surge of intolerance.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/