Is being a Hindu more important than being an Indian? Should we have to choose?”

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Our country, India, has completed its 75 years of independence amidst a lot of struggle and sacrifice. It is the fruit of those struggles that we get to call ourselves ‘Indians’ of course with a feeling of proud and veneration towards our nation. But now, the scenario has changed as rather than Indians we prefer ourselves to be identified by our religions. The on-going incidents that are promoting the ‘Hindutva’ ideology are somewhere shaking the pillar of secularism in our country and are forcing us to think over this question-“Is being a Hindu more important than being an Indian?” Should we have to choose?” and on top of that-“Is this the direction of our progress or are we just moving backwards?”

We live in a diverse country with various traditions, cultures and languages. Certainly, we have different religions and all religions deserve to be equally respected. The sole purpose of our religions is to teach us humility, moral values and unite us in a way that we learn to stand for each other instead of having the feeling of enmity. Why does this happen that we, the same humans who teach our younger generation about the concept of ‘secularism’, plant the seeds of hatred into their minds? Why we show so much aggression whenever there is a cricket match with the neighbouring country? Why every small incident in our society is linked with religious beliefs and are politicised by our respected political leaders? There are a lot of why’s and the answer to them is only one- ‘biasedness towards one religion’.

It is an irrefutable fact that the strength of people belonging to the Hindu community in our country is much larger than any other religion but it certainly doesn’t mean that the people belonging to other communities/religions do not have the right to live as freely as Hindus. The notion of majority and minority is created by us, just on the basis of the strength of the people belonging to a particular community and that’s where an unseen barrier is developed which marks the start of the differences. These differences are then fuelled by the ideologies of our political parties and produce only a single feeling which is hatred towards each other. Have we ever wondered what will happen if we just remove the so called terms ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ from our society’s dictionary? What will happen if we consider the people of every community as equal? Difference of opinions is inevitable in a diverse society such as ours but our nation will surely progress if we would keep humanity above all.

Time has itself witnessed that there have been many incidents when our government and authorities in power made attempts to create a barrier among the communities. The sudden change in the names of places, railway stations, roads and even monuments just for the purpose to establish the dominance of Hindu community is a clear evidence of suppression towards other communities.

There are a lot of other crucial issues that are needed to be addressed but our judiciary is occupied in resolving the unnecessary religious conflicts of the society. Being our leaders it was their responsibility to fill the gaps and ensuring the removal of prejudices instead they have created a new ‘Hindutva’ ideology which at each step gives dominant status to Hindus and make all other communities inferior. 

Soon, our nation will complete its hundred years of independence and surely there is a vision that our leaders has planned for. India, a developed country with better facilities and services, advance technology and infrastructure etc. Sadly, looking at the present scenario, being secular seems to be sceptical. An economic growth might surely be witnessed but humanity will seize to exist.

Therefore, now is the time to ask ourselves what we really want our nation to be? There is a need to stop and introspect about the path that is in front of us. Love and kindness have the potential to erase all kinds of hatred; the only thing required is who takes the first step. We all want the betterment of our society; we stand in unison during our national anthem. At that time, we are not Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians. We are just Indians. It is not important to be a Hindu or for sake belonging to any other religion but it is definitely important to be a true Indian. Probably then, there won’t be any need to choose because we will be capable of making the right choice that is to be ‘human’ with a religion called-‘humanity’.

-Jatin Sethi

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