Last night, as is the norm in most hostels, some of us had a debate (and a passionately heated one at that.) The topic largely involved our definition of what it meant to be an Indian. I was largely aloof from the discussion for the longest time but well as you know, I am very passionate about my beautiful country and its unique unity in diversity. Nothing ruffles up my feathers as someone who would remind me or let me rephrase that, as someone who would want to categorise me on the basis of my religion. I am an Indian first and foremost and don’t you dare try to factionalise me on basis of religion, caste, creed or a regional belonging. I despise all those who would want to do anything of the sort.
I really couldn’t keep my mouth shut after a short period when one of the guys got aggressive about his own religion. What really ticked me off though, was the fact that he said he was able to express his views because all the people in the room were not from that religion and mentioned me as a hindu. I am deeply religious and do visit my temples on a regular basis but I also visit the churches, mosques, fire temples and gurudwaras. All religions are on the same level for me and I will not take crap against any one of them from anyone. I live in a “secular democracy” where everyone is at the same level and must view the others with the same respect as he would view himself. If you tell me that you consider one group of people as the source of unrest, then I am sorry to say that your views are largely misinformed and highly communal. To me, you are the one at fault. You are the one discriminating against a single religious sect. I do concede that there are fanatics on either side but if you are a fanatic after 23 years of education and more importantly, if you subscribe to such views after having proven yourself worthy enough to be among the elite in this country and being here in an institute worthy of me, I am sorry to say your education has been futile. If all the education has not taught you that you are an Indian first and last, you might as well start all over again. How dare you tell me that this country is largely dominated by a certain sect of people. This country is as much yours as someone else’s who might be the only follower of his religion. This is a democracy that respects and treats everyone equally. If you do not subscribe to the same views, you might want to change your views sooner than later.
This country was built on a very strong foundation of non-violence and indiscrimination. Our views are liberal enough to not even distinguish against those who oppressed us and we welcomed them to be a part of us even after independence. No one in this nation is inferior or superior as opposed to another on the basis of caste, creed, gender or any other distinguishing criteria. How dare you tell me of all people, that your views just stem from your heart and although your mind says you might be wrong, you accept that view point without reasoning with yourself. How dare you say you do not reason for yourself and accept what is the norm. Nothing in the world could ever be acceptable without a rational explanation or justifiable reasoning. And such a statement from a 26 year old graduate? I was ashamed at myself for having been silent and letting the debate reach a level where someone would make a statement such as “… my brain says I might be wrong but the hate stems from my heart and I accept it without reasoning. It is rooted deep within me…” My nation having had fallen to such levels? Why have we opened so many schools at such huge subsidies? The education is fruitless. If the youth of today really can still subscribe to such an erroneous view, we truly deserve to be called an un-developed nation.
You talk about riots instigated by one sect? What do you think your sect is… a group of saints? Who gave either sect a right to hack down the countless citizens of my nation on the basis of a couple of irresponsible acts and remarks? My nation stands amongst the most rapidly developing nations in the world today because it was not built on foundations ravaged by violent civil wars or bloody battles, it was built on the foundations of peace and non-violence. All those who believe that Mr. M. K. Gandhi chose the wrong weapon to fight for our freedom, please do a thorough research on the topic before forming such an abstract and aggressive opinion. Show me a single “progressive and peaceful” nation built on the foundations of a bloody uprising. Show me a single such nation that would allow its citizens such an open hand in terms of the views they hold. Show me a single such nation with liberal views and such freedom in terms of thought and expression. The way to progress is in realizing that way lies forward in terms of co-operation and co-existance. Factionalism and discrimination can only take us one way and that is to a civil war. Once again, we might be brought back to a time when the winning group ends up suppressing the loser and builds a nation built on the foundations of blood-shed and deep-rooted hatred. I implore you to open your eyes to the world around you and realize that your happiness lies in the happiness in that immediate environment. A single faction of discontent in that space would mean a catastrophic end to that state of perfect balance. Please do reason for yourself as to why you subscribe to a certain point of view. Can you logically justify those views you hold?
And for god’s sakes, please do not read this article and be influenced by it. These are the views held by a certain individual who might have formed it without indepth reasoning or research. Please, if you wish to influenced at all by it, be influenced enough to kindly argue and question your own beliefs and arguments. If you cannot justify them, do not hold on to them and please try and find out why. Please do not let my beloved country be inhabited by a bunch of people who refuse to think. Please do not let it get to a stage where we reach the death of reason, especially not if you are educated enough to be reading this.
(I am sorry if I have been too passionate in this article but I couldn’t stand it. I love my nation and dare I say, this whole world at large. Please do what you can to make it beautiful. It doesn’t have to involve aggressive marketing or even active participation. All it needs is for you as an individual to be a rational thinker. All it needs is “REASON.”)