As we have said bid adieu to 2015 and welcome 2016. It is right time to look back at the hits and misses of the past year and setting a path forward for the new year.

As most part of the year past was dominated by intolerance debate, assertion of Hindutva and a debate over country’s secularism. We have committed a mistake. It seems we have not understood the terms ‘Religion’ ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hinduism’ ‘Toleration’ ‘Liberals’ properly. The richness and heterogeneity of the religions, intellectual, moral, literacy and artistic tradition of a diverse and pluralist country has not been understood properly by the present generation. It is no doubt that India is one of the most tolerant countries in the world the atmosphere that led to the intolerance debate was politics any motivated upto a certain degree. It is true that it was the culmination of certain shameful events and irresponsible political statements, yet we can imbibe the values of our great icons. Such as Gandhi, Vivekananda and Radakrishanan to set a path forward. As Radhakrishanan said,

No country and No religion have adopted this attitude of understanding and appreciation of other faiths. So persistently a consistently as India and Hinduism.

To create a peaceful and positive atmosphere we have to understand the true meaning of “Religion and Hinduism”. As our Vedas suggest, religion is the code of ethics, it has less to do with the rituals and habits of individuals. Certainly today we need a Vivekananda to once again articulate an ecumenical vision for Hinduism-

A religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance as the memorably put it at the world parliament of religions in Chicago in 1893.

We have to look at the values and beliefs set by Mahatma Gandhi to establish communal Harmony in our country. We should understand how we established the communal harmony and lead a mass struggle during the course of Independence. Leaving Hinduism into the hands of Hindu religious readers, he propounded the value of ‘universal brotherhood’ and ‘the doctrine of equality of all creatures on earth.’ Although he was a devout Hindu. His political idea like- “Ahimsa (अहिंसा)”, “Satyagraha( सत्याघ्रह)” found Hindu favor and his prayers involved recitation of ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’. Yet we equally appreciated the teachings of Buddha, Mahavira and even Quran.

communal harmony in india
communal harmony in india Image Credit: mkgandhi.org

As we move into a new year, the need of the day is to inculcate the real values of religion in our daily lives. Gandhi or Vivekananda has taught us a lot. We have to imbibe these values in our deeds and thinking. Happy New Year!!

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