“Prejudices for unalike religions”

“Prejudices for unalike religions”

/ Guest Column / Saturday, 11 July 2020 17:03

By - Taniya Khangembam

How many people know that all Muslims are terrorists, oppress women and hate India, that all Catholic priests are pedophiles and are Bible-thumpers trying to get you to convert to their point of view, and that all Hindus are caste-oriented and practice purity and pollution?
Human beings are strongly attached to a system of beliefs and practices which help the whole world to be unified according to this belief system. Exceptionally, there are a few people who believe to be themselves as atheists. Most of us get anxious when we hear something against our own persuasion but we feel content when a good thing is heard for our faith. Have you ever questioned to yourself, “why the opinions from others upon our religion is not always positive or always negative?” Thoroughly we have not raised the question because we are much inclined to our own creed that we do not go beyond the boundary of our religious unification.
We are living in a country where the oldest religion in the world that is Hinduism is known for its majority. India had experienced a long history of discarding false practices such as Sati System by Governor-General Lord William Bentick on 4th December, 1829, Child Marriage under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 which came into force on 1st November 2007 and Abolition of Untouchability under Article 17 of Indian Constitution which came into force on 1st June 1955. Recently the practice of Triple Talaq is declared as illegal, unconstitutional and made it punishable act from 1st August 2019 which is deemed to be in effect from 19 September 2018. Indians accept these developments as a new way of guiding their religions. If a particular religious practice is not meant for human rights and social equality we must castaway that piece of practice from a large belief system. Change is inevitable. The only thing we must do is to choose the right persuasion and not to stop the change.
A common prejudice which is made by non-Muslim community towards Muslim community is Islamophobia. Some of them think that the aim of every Muslims is to work with arms and ammunitions and to destroy other nations. Particularly in Manipur, there is a preconception of this community as ‘good at stealing products’. However when we move out from our creed system and started to think, there are many more phobias other than Islamophobia, even our religion has given a lot of stress unconsciously that we have not realised it. At the same time, you can find any thieves everywhere irrespective of religion or gender or caste.
In terms of prejudice for Hinduism, some people think that Hindus are inclined towards Social Stratification and promote caste system along with purity and pollution practices. According to religious activist P.N. Benjamin, some Christian Evangelist denigrate Hindu Gods and consider Hindu rituals barbaric. Simultaneously some Muslim leaders has been charged several times for hate speeches denigrating Hindu Gods. Some people even mocked Hindu cremation by saying that when Hindus die, they become air after burning and go astray. However, Mahabharata recommends us to be obedient as well as the absence of wrath, adhere to purity and peacefulness.
A Christian in India might be facing an awkward phrase: trying to be western. Nowadays Indian Christians are increasing and those who belong to North East India are ridiculing of reservation seats in various educational institutions situated at mainlaind India. They have been ill treated with the ideology that they spread Christianity everywhere through missionary. Dalit Christians are being mistreated and they face untouchability and discrimination. Many of them do not come under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
Instead of taking possibilities from our religion to preconceive someone’s faith, we must explore individually to understand the nature of human beings. We need to know the real people in our classrooms, neighbourhoods, gyms, fields, work environments to fight the bias, discrimination and prejudice that is so common in our society. Through exposure to real people from different traditions than our own, we are better able to understand and appreciate each other. Perhaps we can even be in solidarity and love with each other.
(The writer is pursuing B.A Honours in Sociology at Assam Downtown University)

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