Eight US Senators and twenty six members of US , House of Representatives have expressed grave concerns , regarding increasing violence and intolerance being faced by the minority communities in India. The law makers have expressed concern about the treatment of Muslims, Christians and Sikh communities in India. The statement has been issued ahead of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to US on March 31st and 1st of April where President Barrack Obama will be hosting a summit on nuclear security.
The ‘Law Makers’ of US to their credit have graciously endorsed , India’s commitment to pluralism and tolerance.This augurs well for India as the ‘most powerful nation’ in the world acknowledges that India is a tolerant and a secular country.
As per the Merriam Webster dictionary , pluralism means,’A society in which people of different social classes , religions , races,etc are together in a society but continue to have different traditions and interests.’
‘The great American tradition is one of pluralism, not exclusive secularism.The strength of our country is reflected in the contributions that we all make to the common good’ writes Donald Wherl. India too is secular and plural in its approach .
India an ancient civilization is the cradle and melting point of rich cultural traditions and heritage . Hinduism was more a way of life than mere religion. . The country proudly hosts several religions like Christianity, Islam , Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism among others.
In this rainbow coalition , there are believers , non believers, ascetics, rationalists, heretics , agnostics and all open to healthy debates.
Several centuries back the country embraced 62 heterodox sects , chief among were the Charavaka philosophy , Buddhism and Jainism , when Hinduism became inflexible and unbending.
Charavaka or Lokayata philosophy is an ancient school of Indian materialism ( as far as back as 600BC) , which rejects the Vedas and its rituals. The premise of this school of thought was that Charavaka holds direct perception, empiricism and conditional interference as proper sources of knowledge , embraces skepticism and rejects super-naturalism. This epitomized scientific questioning of various philosophies and nothing was indoctrinated or thrust upon the populace.
Sankaracharya , in several scholarly discussions defeated and overcame the Buddhist traditions ( which became flabby through several inherent contradictions) and was to establish the Advaita philosophy . This was followed by the Dvaita and Vishistadvaita schools of thought when the Dvaita philosophy itself became exclusive .
Interspersed and interwoven during the medieval period were the Sufi and Bhakti movements which enthusiastically welcomed the mystical Hindu and Islamic schools of philosophies. Thus debates and discussions have been always been integral to the growth of Indian culture and tradition. It is cyclical in nature and harbingers change for common good and growth of any civilization .
The Parliament of India recently witnessed an erudite and passionate debate on nationalism , Mahisasur Mardini martyrdom day or student’s issues(be it the Rohith Vemulla or Kanayiah Kumar’s case) which rocked certain central universities .
The robust constitution of India , and through various checks and balances between the executive , legislature and judiciary enables the Law Makers of India to identify the casus belli of the recent spate of unrest in the universities and muddles confronting the student community and even issues pertaining to nationalism.
At the zenith and frenzy of our freedom struggle, Gurudev , Rabindranath Tagore ignited minds of the people with a debate on nationalism. He wrote thus ,’Yes, this is the logic of the Nation.And it will never heed the voice of truth and goodness. It will go on its ring-dance on moral corruption,linking steel unto steel , and machine unto machine ;trampling under its tread and sweet flowers of simple faith and living ideals of man.’
Rig Veda says,’Let noble thoughts come from all sides’. This is the rich tradition of this country . Aberrations may have taken place , but since time immemorial , denizens of this great land have parleyed several uncomfortable questions and the concept of India has emerged triumphant and victorious.
Our plurality does not need certification by a set of ‘Law Makers’ of a foreign land.
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