Really, how important is it?

Sometimes I wonder how important is religion. Sometimes I wonder where its two ends are. Is it between me and my maker? Or is it between the fanatic leader and the sheep. Or is it between the sheep and those forced to be the sheep. Why is it necessary to have a religious foundation of a modern civilization? Why are there arguments in favour of making a nation a Hindu country, a Muslim country, a Christian country? Who, in the first place, decided that dividing the world into countries was the most effective way for people to co-exist? And who decided how to draw those lines of division? Because the last time I checked, it wasn’t working out very well. 

Why is it that educated, intelligent young men and women are using phrases such as ‘intellectuals with Hindu names’ for moderate Hindus? Why is it that in a so-called secular country there exist excellent arguments for justification of genocide? As long as is it in response to another community’s violence or hatred, it is absolutely alright. That again raises the question: Is a secular country really secular? In a country where we have intelligentsia arguing that the country is primarily the country of people who were there from the ‘start’, and that ‘pre-foreign rule’ (pre-British, pre-Mughal, pre-every invader) values need to be brought back, can you expect true secularism? It doesn’t matter that this argument derides the basic premise of development as it fails to recognise that the present day civilisation, with both its positive and negatives, exists in the first place as a result of everything that has happened in this country up until yesterday. What happens if after following a certain faith for half of my life, while living in a country predominantly occupied with people of that faith, I suddenly find my peace in another religion. Would I then have to pack my bags and move to another country? Or should I then accept that from that point onwards, I will always be a second class citizen in a country that was till then my home?

What if I don’t have a religion? Is it so important for a child to be born into a religion? To the extent that an inter-religious marriage is deemed impossible because the children born of that marriage will not have a religion. But what if that child grows up to give up his religion anyway? Or worse still, become a fanatic, be it intellectual or the kind with guns. But coming back to me, what if I don’t have a religion? Does it matter that I don’t believe in a God as long as I am not a burden on the society? But where do I live then? Whom do I marry? Am I then a second class citizen of this planet where almost every country has a religion? But perhaps I should not worry too much about the atheists. Maybe it is not as hard for them to peacefully co-exist in this world, as you can’t really tell them by their appearance, might even mistake them for ‘an intellectual with a Hindu name’.



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