“Religion is never the problem; it’s the people who use it to gain power.” said Julian Casablancas, aptly picturing the current status of the world. More than 80 per cent of the world population follows one religion or the other, and hold it very dear to them. For us, we learn from it, we grow with it. However, some people just use it for their own vested interests, which have resulted in distress all over the world.
India is the birth place of various religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism. We had Lord Rama, Lord Mahavira, Gautam Buddha and Guru Nanak Sahib, who through their life and preaching enlightened the world. They espoused noble ideals, and spread their faith across the world. They strengthened us culturally and spiritually, making us better human beings, so that we could lead a happy and peaceful life with love and compassion towards one another. People following so many different religions like Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and others along with the above mentioned four, contribute to the diversity that India has today.
However, the basic teachings of all religions; humanity, kindness and peace is nowhere to be seen today. Religion is used like a double-edged sword, by some religious and political leaders these days, instigating hatred and discord among people to such an extent that men start behaving like beasts, baying for each other’s’ blood. It is indeed shocking to see that in the age of enlightenment, we are still living in the dark period, believing one religion to be superior to the other.
Personally, we have been greatly influenced by the western culture. The strict moral tenets of our religion are gradually being forgotten. No longer do we find many Christians going to church every Sunday, Muslims offering namaz five times a day or Hindus going to temples daily for offering prayers. This is so because our outlook has become very moderate and easy-going. However, at the political or social level, we are ready to exploit our religion for garnering more power. It is this contradiction in our psyche that is being exploited by the unscrupulous leaders, who sow discord among us which results in communal strife.
The cause of this dichotomy is that we do not really understand religion. We neither have the time, nor the inclination to really know and understand our own religion. If we had really understood it, things would not have come to such a pass. This is so because there is no religion that preaches violence, disharmony, and disrespect for other religions. It is only in our ignorance that we fall prey to the mechanization of conspirators in the religious garb, who exploit it for their own interest. This is currently leading to disastrous consequences, resulting in riots, strife and much violence that no religion advocates. Charles Colton rightly summed up this dilemma when he said, “Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, and fight for it, anything but live for it.”
India, which is known for its diverse culture, is now bleeding on the grounds of it. It is still not late to save our country from all this bloodshed if we realize that we cannot wear religion on our sleeves to be used only at will, and abide by the basics of what we claim to know. We should practice what our religion preaches and be proud of being a part of this diverse India, creating a feeling of brotherhood all over again.
Richa Singh is a student pursuing Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited By: Shaireen Khan
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.