Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Victim Of Diversity

India has been the cradle of civilization. Several religions trace their origin to India. We have more than a hundred languages with about 30 of them being recognized as official languages. Great thinkers and philosophers, the several invasions of India and travelers from far off lands have contributed to India’s diverse religious beliefs.

In a land where people of different beliefs live together, there seems to be a fear in the minds of Individuals that their beliefs and customs would not find a place in modern India. There is a fear of isolation , an isolation probably not during their lifetime but during the lifetime of their children and grandchildren. The demography of India is constantly changing. That is because unlike China, India allows the free movement of its people.

The so called original inhabitants of a land , dare I say aborigines , fear a change in the demography of their land. We have seen such behavior in North East India where in there have been clashes between Muslim migrant workers and the native bodo population. We have seen Hindu Muslim clashes in Uttar Pradesh. Even outside India we know of clashes between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The list is endless. It is not only religion. We have seen bihari and U.P workers being targeted in Mumbai, the tamil population being targeted during the Cauvery water crisis of the 1990’s etc etc.

So what we achieved with diversity? I would really want the people who speak so greatly of India’s diversity to answer this question. They might speak greatly about the art and literature in the various cultures. Fine valid point. But is that enough? More importantly has any culture taught people that they need to respect the other cultures equally ? Great thinkers who have started religions probably never felt the need to intellectually argue and amend the flaws of an existing religion instead of starting a new faith. I wish they had!

India has been the biggest victim of diversity in religion and culture. We might have guided the world with principles and religions. Every nation chose to keep one religion and prosper. We chose to prosper with many. Unfortunately we have failed in execution.

The problem is compounded by the fact that, we have a media which is focused only on the TRP’s. It is clear to them that an issue of religion would get them more viewership and they milk this concept. The result is that we end up focusing on personalities rather than real issues which the country faces.

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