Driving through the roads of India can make one feel a little claustrophobic. The roads small and the great populace that inhabits it. One day, I was driving through and see that the sides of the road are occupied in great numbers. It was a day before EID so I guessed that it will be a group of Muslims doing something in accordance to their festival.
But I later came to know that they were Hindus and that Rath Yatra was taking place. Rath Yatra is a day when chariot of a Hindu God is taken through the streets. Now, I live in an area where there are equal number of Muslims residing. Even though everyone praises India for maintaining a harmony between these two religions, an irrational fear, or rather I should say, a rational fear overtook me. The thought that only 2 people of different religions could disrupt the so called harmonious and peaceful procession and may make people resort to violence, ending in riots. Thought of barring the door and living inside for many days, lying about religion just to protect oneself. People trying to protect their families from the onslaught of opposing religion just because they don’t follow the same idea. I saw some beggars living on the streets. A child standing in middle of a turn of a road. How their lives may change or just cease to exist in a case like riots. Indians always want India to be shown in a good light when it needs to bring these topics out to light just as any other country needs it. The incidents of Godhra riots come to mind. So do all other riots that have happened over the time in India. The violence and the mass killing, not even sparing woman and children show us how much a man can degrade to. These thoughts proliferate in my mind even though no such thing happened. But the fear remains. A man does all the work to feed his stomach and his family’s. But somewhere along time, the lines got blurred. People have made religion, which was supposed to be a separate entity into a common identity. A man’s character is supposedly known from the type of caste or religion he belongs to. A man may be rapist but if he is from an upper or higher caste, people wouldn’t doubt him. Casteism and religious prejudice has hindered the development of India for ages. Superstitious beliefs and following religious rituals that are no longer relevant to our age, make our society backward. There was a time when Indian society and civilisation was considered forward and booming. But somewhere along the time of kings and colonolisation, ideas got ambiguous. A blind following has resulted in making the mindset of people so backward that ideas and intentions of the old are no longer relevant. The same has happened with the Muslim community. As one of my professors say, they are considered pioneers of modernism and that the Arabs gave this world the concept of modernity. Their civilisation during The Ottoman empire was considered at par with the European countries. But the irony that the civilisation which itself gave us the idea or concept we know now is wanted extinct by the world. The pioneers had ideas that helped during that period but the following generations refuse to move forward.
Religion and caste has barred the progress of humanity and made the life more complicated. Animals differentiate themselves when they are of a separate species or genus. But humans with their so called intelligent brains have created rifts within themselves in the name of caste, religion and colour. Even though all are humans, humans want or need to belong somewhere. They cannot be just people on earth. But they have to be of different locations and climates. That makes colour important. But humans didn’t stop there. They went on to create religions and castes. Dividing and subdividing until the title of human is stripped. Religion became the identity and if someone doesn’t follow the order of the religion, he/she is ostracised from the society. Freedom is to be chosen in a country which itself was never ours to be called. We are just organisms on earth, trying to survive. But people have lost the thought of basic survival that entailed with living, as life became easier, started focusing on something that was just an idea. Religion was supposed to give hope to people. So that people have a last resort when everything else fails. But when it became the string to pull power and strike fear in hearts of people, is something to be contemplated upon. The business that has started under the name of gods and rituals.
Capitalism has taken hold of the society. Even though capitalism has helped develop so much and everything we see is owing to capitalism , it is a vice. It is used by power hungry people to gain upper hand and one day it is going to be exploited so much that people would have to pay for oxygen which is right now free. A system where oxygen won’t be available just because companies would want to sell it and make profits. A market where a human will be expendable if he or his body is not reaping any profits. Power has been the ultimate goal for humanity. Nobody wants to hand over the power while the others just want more and more. The hunger for power i.e. world dominance has created all the problems and events that we now know in history.
Religion has been the ultimate stronghold of power. The way religion has moulded humanity that a Hindu may fear going to a Muslim’s home even though they both are just humans. The willingness to resort to violence just to defend an idea which may just be an impossible thought, is something which shows humans are still primitive and that deep within all are just animals, defending their territory without an ounce of intelligence on the jest called religion which has been twisted to perfection by people blinded by greed and power and followed by people blinded by faith. Borders, castes, religions…. Are they truly needed as long as we remember to be humans?