Context: The atmosphere of religious intolerance which has seen a sharp rise in the last several years has been a serious cause for concern in the country.
- India is the beloved home for practitioners of all major religions in the world. Indian culture accepts diversity of faiths and beliefs.
- Religious harmony and social cohesion are two core elements for progress and development.
- As per Pew Research Survey 2021, Indians of diverse religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths
- But there is growing intolerance towards diverse religions leading to communal violence and ripples in social harmony.
Instances of intolerance
- Recent incident of ruling party spokesperson commenting on Islam and the Prophet
- Haridwar Hate speech incident
- Frequent use of National Security Act (NSA) for ‘cow slaughter’ by some state governments
- As per pew research on the question of inter-religious marriage, most Hindus (67%), Muslims (80%), Sikhs (59%), and Jains (66%) felt it was ‘very important’ to stop the women in their community from marrying outside their religion
Why is there raise in intolerance?
- Political parties polarize naive voters in the name of religion
- Various cultural organisations are misinterpreting and propagating truths to affirm revivalist predispositions
- Irresponsible Reporting by Media: Many a times media broadcasts unconfirmed, sensitive and often biased reports on national television
- For instance: Tablighi Jamaat case during first Covid lockdown
- State’s support: India has many hostile neighbors, who wish to make it weak through a communal divide.
- Struggle for identity
- Threat to minority: Rise in intolerance and communal disharmony lead to majoritarianism
- Mob-violence: Rise in disharmony has led to targeting of religious minorities and led to a rise in mob-violence
- Threat to Rule of law: With rise in incidence of mob lynchings, there is a threat to rule of law – Lynching on cow smuggling, lynching of youth in golden temple
- Freedom of speech: It has also impacted freedom of speech-shows of comedians being banned by vigilante groups
- Regionalism: The anti-national elements get adequate opportunity to fan regional feelings and work on creating an atmosphere to break the cohesiveness of our society.
- Damage social fabric: The social fabric of the society gets irreparably damaged and the conditions of mistrust serve as a catalyst for future conflicts
- Degrading International image where countries are losing faith in India’s diverse credentials
- Political and moral support to the minorities
- Effective administration – fair probe, media guidelines
- Implementation of constitutional and legal safeguards
We, the people of India, must strive hard to generate compassion, strength, sincerity and commitment to ensure the safety and security of the people of India. And uphold the values which are synonym with the word “INDIA” – tolerance, compassion and peace.
Source: Indian Express