India and Hinduism explained.
India is an ancient country with an ancient heritage probably dating to almost as much as the heritage of human civilization. It’s also the home to Hinduism the oldest religion in the world and its related practices. It is home to the oldest languages in the world in which is inscribed the age-old traditional practices and ways to follow the religion that is followed by 80% of the population of the country. Ironically it also holds the title of having the third-largest Muslim population in the world.
In India religion is a way of life for Hindus and their daily lives, practices, and rituals are followed with very few differences from what has been written down in the scriptures from thousands of years ago. Generations after generations have been practicing the religion as it was practiced in its original format and the sensibility prevailing in the aspects and beliefs based on which the society still lives and practices when viewed thousands of years later naturally will start to look a little vague. The heritage this society has been nurturing has been imbibed deeply rooted in the lives and the thinking of the people, leading to a certain degree of fanaticism slow creeping into the minds and thoughts of the people.
On the other hand, the population in India who follows Islam does so and live as written in the holy book and probably with the equal fervor and spirit that it is observed in Saudi Arabia, the home to the religion. Naturally, with the extreme differences between the religions, the country always experienced setbacks and clashes among the followers of both religions.
Where it is going wrong.
Unfortunately, when the kind of Heritage and the pride of owning it, comes in the way of the progressive thinking of an entire society that makes up 80% in numbers of one among the world’s most populous nations, it is a wreck that obstructs them from moving forward. When thinking and technology are advancing, the nations of the world are thinking beyond the conservative and making use of logic and speed to arrive at quicker solutions to turn around situations. When India’s age-old religious sentiments and practices prevent people from following the modern patterns of life, it is clearly going against the normal wave of progression that is followed by the rest of the world making it lag behind hopelessly.
A simple example being the religion preaches against the construction of toilets as part of the house and is still followed by people in North India. This in turn is preventing them from following the modern tradition of having and using the lavatories in-house and instead still going to the bushes for excretion. It is a real-life example to establish how religious practices are preventing people from thinking progressively. Similar regressive thinking is affecting the key decisions implemented in the nation, especially so when ruling it is a party that has come into power advocating upholding the religion and its practices by not deterring from the traditional ways.
When a religion comes to power to rule one among the most populous nation in the world.
When a political party called BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) was floated, for upholding the religion and seeking to protect and advocate for Hinduism, it was easy to gain the confidence of the common people of India and to get elected to power in the nation. Currently, it is the 3rd term the party is ruling the country and in the previous 2 terms, the party showed maximum restrain in going all out just in favor of Hindus in the nation. The current term however gaining more confidence from the consecutive second term in power the party is slowly instilling more and more hardcore Hindutva (Practices based on Hinduism) ideologies into the lives of all the citizens of the nation. A few strong examples being the judgment in favor of Hindus in the infamous Babri Masjid demolition case, and the move to abolish cow slaughter and ban the consumption of beef in various states, etc. The above issues have a lot of background to research about and form your own personal opinions, so we are not going into detailing it. However, the fact remains that BJP after coming into power it dictates how the people should lead their lives, what the citizens should eat, and even mostly advocating to them as to what and how they should wear outfits. The party is vastly criticized for institutionalizing the autonomously operating entities like the Supreme Court of India and Judiciary, the Central Bureau of Investigation (The equivalent of FBI in India) interestingly who is in charge of the investigation of the corruption charges among officials and ministers, The Enforcement Directorate of the country and even the police and Military, something very unacceptable in a democracy but more in line with a dictatorship. The party also has been criticized widely for privatizing the government owned facilities and passing the ownership of government-owned airports, ports, etc to large corporates who favor the party and who incidentally hails from the home state of the Prime minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi. The free speech of the citizens, the Internet freedom of the citizens, the eating habits of the citizens, have all been altered or in the process of alteration by the policies set forward by BJP, affecting the common citizen’s life than it ever has since the independence of the nation. The country has been severely affected by a poorly planned and executed Demonetization policy implemented by the government during the year 2016. All this makes us wonder if the country is on a path to progression or regression when it is ruled by giving Religion the upper hand in the formation of national policies. The countries that have truly progressed have always put Religion on the back burner, the biggest examples being China, Canada, Australia, the US, and most European countries. Interestingly in Europe, the percentage of people who do not believe in any religion is almost 40%-50%, making them think beyond any religion and the governments can make sensible policies and decisions for the betterment of people regardless of any religion or standard practices.
When Religious fanaticism starts to affect citizens lives
After BJP came to power, many have openly started expressing more intolerance towards people from other religions. This has been an apparent deviation from the long-lasting Indian tolerant behaviour when living among people from multiple religions and diverse cultures. Something that has been considered as the essence of the idea that is India, which is 'Unity in diversity' of its society, has started getting questioned and the BJP government and its ministers have been seen openly adding fuel to the anti-Muslim / Christian sentiments. New Temples have started mushrooming up in every possible vacant space in the country whereas the existing temples have started land grabbing on a massive scale as if to establish and prove to others the absolute authority of the religion in the country. BJP ministers and leaders have been seen openly announcing that anyone who opposes their policies can go to Pakistan (A Muslim-majority breakaway country from India post Independence). With all this, it is needless to say the minorities felt the most insecure to live in the nation, first-time post the independence of the country.
When religion is brought as a solution for every problem in an Indians life :
With the religion becoming empowered from the support of the ruling political party, suddenly there seems to be an answer for every problem in the world through religion, well through the 4000-year-old beliefs. Every BJP politician and leader became a seer telling their followers how to live and solutions for every problem in life that can be achieved through the holistic way of Hinduism. In one such incident, a political leader from the party, a union minister has been seen chanting ‘Go Corona Go’ slogans to chase away the Corona Virus from the face of the country. Then there are Union ministers advocating the drinking of Cow urine to cleanse the body of Coronavirus. Also, there are statements recorded by BJP leaders who even claim atom bomb can be made from the nuclear power present in Cow dung, Cow dung to be used to treat Cancer, and the other statements that are extremely embarrassing for Indians in front of the world. And the rationally thinking citizens of the nation pause and think if the rest of the people of the nation have suddenly lost their power to think after BJP came to power as if they are hypnotized to a trance by the fully scripted speeches of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi or by the photoshopped pictures and fake propagandas promoted by the IT cell of the party through the social media platforms.
The Covid angle
The first wave of Covid hit India starting in late February 2020. The wave went into full-fledged pandemonium by March 2nd week and the rapid virus spread was claimed to have stemmed up from an Islamic religious congregation named Tablighi Jamaat, that took place in Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz Mosque in early March 2020 which was attended by an estimated number of over 3000 people. While the reason for hosting this congregation at that time itself was questionable, many have taken it up as full-fledged propaganda against the Muslims by blaming them for the spread of the virus.
The second wave of Covid hit the nation by end of March, 2021. Kumbh Mela a Hindu religious congregation that is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years, and considered to be the largest of religious congregations in the world with the maximum number of devotees attending it also happened to fall at the same time. Devotees thronged in from all parts of the country to take a dip in the holy river of Ganges at Haridwar in the Uttarakhand state in Northern India, without following any Covid protocols swarmed in ranting ‘The holy dip will wash away all infections’. In just a matter of 4 days between April 10th- 14th, more than 2000 Covid positive cases have been reported from the event itself and there has been no turning back in the Covid numbers since then for the country. Today the nation is clocking in excess of 3,50,000 Covid positive cases daily and neither the BJP government nor any Hindus have the same vigor to blame the event for spearheading the Covid spike as much they did when the Tablighi conference happened.
This is the truth of a glorious nation that has had its DNA altered, by political parties for political gains when they started manipulating the minds of lesser-educated people of the society. A diverse society that has respected other’s space and opinions and has lived in peace and unity until now suddenly has underpinnings of hate and mistrust that hopefully can be reversed back if a more secular government can be put to power. A correction is not beyond reach and let’s hope the common citizens of this country start thinking beyond religion and accommodates more rational thoughts in their minds. The Covid can be just one among the reasons that establish the fact that people must live and love beyond religion. After all, during a pandemic like this, it is the neighbour who will rush to help first by not looking into the faith followed.