Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The 'M' wor(l)d!

secular state:
India has always proclaimed itself as a secular state from the very beginning of its existence. Plethora of religions call this country home...Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhist, Jews to name a few of the more 'visible' ones.

Despite of all religions having a level playing field to participate in the building process, we are still a long way off from being a truly global country. One of biggest stumbling blocks, as I see, is the uniqueness of our country's religious mix. Different faiths preaching the same lessons of co-existence, tolerance, God being one-for-all and all-for-one, etc etc. But truth be told, not many religion really believes in those teaching of the Almighty. India has & is been plagued with numerous problems to deal as is the case with any populous & multicultural country.

Unholy neighbors!
One of the biggest and most talked about of them is their equation with their neighbors Pakistan & Bangladesh. These Muslim dominated nations have been a constant source of terrorism related source & trouble to India (and drawing from near past experience, to the rest of the world). But on the biggest "export"(if I may) being the radicalization of Islam.  This doctrine is fed to innocent Muslim youths who are made to believe that Islam is at war with the rest of the world, low tolerance & ultimately eradication of non-Islamic faiths!

Muslims - Then & Now:
The reason the above mentioned issue is of paramount importance being, India has sizable number of Muslims population, who post-Independence were the biggest minority. Those figures, going by the growing numbers might be a thing of the past, and in few years from today India would have more Muslims living here than Hindus. But there is resentment among most Muslim dominated areas, that they have not been benefited by India's growth story, which I personally, don't buy into.
    Looking back at our country's history, we've  had many Muslim rulers before the British came along and ruled us. India's cultural tolerance if any is unique, vibrant & so rich that the West is awed and still wanting to learn a lot from us. This is testimony to the fact that we not only embraced & inculcated the goodness of what each religion preaches but alongside blended & nurtured a uniqueness to it.
    But the British legacy of Divide-and-Rule still holds good thanks to the corrupt ways of politicians who want to divide people on the basis of their religious beliefs. The end result is lot of unnecessary & mindless finger pointing exercises on all sides of the fence, irrespective of the religion.
    In today's context we've the likes of Hon. Mr. Kalam - ex-President, Mr. Ansari - Vice-President, Sania Mirza - Tennis star, Azeem Premji heading one the biggest Indian IT company...to name a few Indian Muslims who, in their respective fields, have carved a named for themselves & ultimately made India proud!

Forward thinking:
The need of the hour is to have more Muslim pubic faces - scholars, achievers & leaders to come forward to preach the essence of togetherness, well-being thereby connecting the zillion aspirations of millions of Muslim youths to the central chord of a growing nation! See how Belgaum's madrasas set the ball rolling.

We need to believe in the Big 5 and etch the following in our hearts and in the heart-of-our-hearts:
1) I'm a Indian first.
2) I'm proud of India's uniquely intricate religious designs which weaves the Indian-ness.
3) I'm very much part of this delicate national secular fabric.
4) My religion is merely a way of connecting with Almighty & not a tool to wedge distance among fellow countrymen.
5) I'm an Indian!

Amen!