Religious Chauvinism is an evident expression of religious fanaticism. It instils the feeling of superiority for one's own religion to such an extent that the person becomes almost intolerant or prejudiced towards the other religions. This phenomena is generally seen in a multi religion and religion-centric society where religious identity is considered to be Sacrosanct and thus given utmost importance. However, India despite being home to multiple religions of the world has defied this general trend of society by successfully establishing the fact that there can be harmonious, effective and progressive co-ordination amongst various religions and our history is a testimony of it.
Technically, Hindu is the ancient religion of all and has got maximum number of followers. This numerically reduced all religions to the status of minority and vulnerability has been an added implication of it. Because, there are always possibilities that the demands of minority can get blemished due to Hindu dominance. This risk has been inherent in the Indian society due to the disproportionate demographic composition. In such a scenario, religious chauvinism shown by the Hindus could have led to immediate and distressing outcomes for minorities. But, it's quite overwhelming to see that India very delicately balanced the diversity without letting any polarisation.
In recent times, there have been some sporadic episodes of violence which draw their roots from the Hindu chauvinistic attitude. Be it the case of Babri Masjid demolition, violence pertaining to beef ban or the over activism of various Hindu Organisations. Some of them are making their presence felt through their hooliganism. They claim to establish the ideal code of conduct drawn from their own interpretation of Hindu scriptures. But they forget that their suppressive actions are undermining the nation's diverse culture and these odd actions can have grave repercussions.
At an individual level, such chauvinism can challenge the dignity of a person belonging to different religion leaving him demoralized and making him/her feel that he/she is in adept for the society which can stunt his overall growth. While the constitution of India says that dignity of every individual is sacred.
Such tendencies can end up creating a religiously intolerant and violent society, where no individual can grow, evolve or prosper and an excess of this can even lead to marginalization of minority religions. Thus vanquishing the very essence of Hinduism i.e. 'SARVA DHARMA SAMBHAV' Politically, such religious fanatical patriotism undermines the 'law of the land'. As our constitution aims at creating a socially progressive society by acknowledging 'personal liberty' and respecting 'choice of religion'. Besides, unchecked fanaticism can hamper the government and public relations as it hints towards ineffectiveness and inefficiency. It also hampers the very ideal of democracy by abstaining the religious minorities from voicing their demands.
On the economic front, these unproductive activities decrease the overall efficiency and productivity of the society. As well as out casting these minority groups will reduce their contribution to GDP and will lead to the wastage of human resources.
human resources. In order to tackle the multi-dimensional threat of growing Hindu Chauvinism it's important that we take some lessons from our peaceful past. Emperors like Ashoka began practice Buddhism, despite the fact that Hinduism was a popular choice at those times. He did so because he was convinced by Buddhist philosophies. But at the same time he was liberal enough to not impose his new religion on his subjects and was courteous towards all other religions. This had two implications. Firstly, it began a trend where one could openly express and exercise his choice of religion without fear or suppression. And second was that, it helped in balancing out the extra advantages enjoyed by Hindus i.e. Hinduism enjoyed the privileges of being a majority and Buddhism and Jainism enjoyed the privileges provided by the state.
The government should also take a lesson out of this and understand that they can't afford to be reckless when it comes to handling the rights and sentiments of minority religions. In this era of universal brotherhood, it's important for us as well to be amicable towards everyone irrespective of their background and be and receptive to all the good ideas that anyone has to offer as that's the sign of a progressive being. It's time for us to act on our very own philosophy 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam' and direct the energy generated by the synergy of various religions for the development of our nation and culture.
- Ruchi Singh