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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Monday, May 27, 2024

Religious Freedom

India, the biggest democratic nation in the world, has been a great and ancient civilization since thousands of years back in which its citizens belonging to different races, beliefs and customs have generally lived peacefully side-by-side though at times there were misapprehensions and conflicts which however soon subsided. Various conquerors who came from Central Asia soon adopted India as their own country and later on unitedly struggled successfully for independence from British colonial rulers. Uniqueness of India is its spirit of secularism which has been enshrined in the country’s Constitution by founding fathers and framers who were great thinkers and far-sighted leaders whose names will remain immortal. Under Fundamental Rights of the Constitution of India, Article 25 clearly guarantees freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Freedom, however, does not mean that one can criticise, remark or use abusive language against other’s religious beliefs or believers. These are very sensitive issues and people cannot and should not indulge whimsically or carelessly which may lead to ugly circumstances.

It is true, no doubt, that in every religion there are fanatics who claim that only their religion is the true faith and so condemn others. Therefore, leaders of all categories are expected to come forward, rein in these extreme elements before religious flames flare up beyond control. Political parties especially should not try to gain mileage by using religion as a tool to garner votes because such unwarranted practice will in the long run divide the state and society. Recently unpleasant comments against the most venerated personality of Islam roused feelings and sentiments of Muslims not only in India but world-wide. Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) has vehemently condemned the unthinkable and irresponsible remarks; it was soon joined by even friendly Islamic nations of the Gulf. Trying to douse the fire of anger the party concerned hurriedly reacted by suspending one and expelling another for their insulting comments.

India for ages has been famously renowned for its spirit of tolerance and universal brotherhood respecting each other’s belief and customs which were greatly responsible for historical unity in diversity. Therefore, social fabrics which bind the nation should be strengthened and tightened, and none in any manner whatsoever be permitted to disrupt and weaken the nation. Majority community, who all along, have been much acknowledged and respected globally for their rich traditional past and which continues unabated cannot afford to change course of direction at this juncture because if ignored then it might become perilous. Hence respective leaders of different organisations and affiliates are to bear in mind that they have great responsibility in nation-building and they should not hesitate to come forward and extinguish the fire of deadly communalism failing which future generations will have to bear consequences. History will record these events with sadness and bitterness which will become a black dot on its pages. Hence all Indians are urgently called to deeply introspect and thus act accordingly for peace and tranquility to prevail.

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