Sunday, September 27, 2009

When religion is called faith

It’s a hot September afternoon. Razia is sweeping the floor in the house. I look at her and wonder to myself, a woman who works so diligently to earn two square meals and raise her family does not compromise on her faith and values and observes fasts for thirty days every year.

Munni is in the kitchen washing utensils, refuses the cookies my mom offers her. “I cannot eat this, am only having fruits for nine days”, Values and belief again is predominant.

I am sitting in the drawing room; I look at Razia, Munni and the news channel. Three parallel realities in our country depicting simplicity, faith and how the modern day literate and reasonable Indian is robbing the country of its innocence, purity and faith.

One fasts before Eid and the other one before Dussera. Both follow their own faith the culmination of which is in celebration, happiness and offerings to the almighty who is the ultimate entity controlling our lives. I speak to both and they tell me how they plan to celebrate the occasion with everyone in the colony – with friends & families. Friends – people who are not chosen on the basis of religion and clan. People who we connect with and include in our circle of happiness.

Razia & Munni – living in a slum in Lucknow, have not had the luxury of being literate. They did not read history books that talk about different religions and clans. They are simple, honest people who have a belief, a faith which the news channel calls religion.

Not once did they say “All Muslims celebrate Eid and greet each other” or “Dussera is a Hindu festival”. If the simple and the innocent have not drawn lines in their mind then why have the seasoned and mature Indians complicated ethnicity?

We all have beliefs in life and know that there is some power that is omnipresent and ruling lives & destinies. To give a name to this faith and make it into a human form is a choice that we make. Christ, Ram, Mohammad, Guru Nanak – are the choices we have made to give our faith a name & a human form.

And in the race of making these choices we forget the core. The choices we make become more important and powerful than the faith that binds us all. In the name of religion we still, after 62 years of so called independence, divide & rule.

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