“Will I be humiliated out of my own country?”, “Will I be burnt to death?”, “Will my church be burnt down?”, “Will my head come under the sword of some politically motivated hindutva group?” Nowadays when I switch on the television or read the newspaper or log into the social media my head is flooded with these thoughts while coming across the rising cases of persecution of Christians. In fact, it is not just me, there are various other people belonging to the minority communities in India who might be thinking on similar lines. The re – emerging violence against the minority groups, especially the Christians has become a growing concern today. The string of incidents of oppression of the minority groups over a period of a year is ever increasing and without a grain of mercy towards the aged or the young. From places of worship to schools each is being targeted alike in the name of religion. Innocents are being murdered in the name of different faiths. Not to forget the barbarous incidents of the past like the night of 22nd January 1999 when Dr. Graham Staines (Christian missionary) and his two minor sons aged 10 and 6 were mercilessly lit ablaze in their sleep by a mob led by Dara Singh, a Bajrang Dal member. He is convicted for not only the murder of persons belonging to the Christian community but also for violence against the other minority community in India, i.e Muslims.
Even as we celebrate 68 years of independence, it burdens my heart and disturbs my mind to declare that India has not achieved freedom yet. The country was in bondage of the Britishers before and continues now in the shackles of the dirty politicians playing the same old game of Divide and Rule. It is not fair to divide the soil that produced respectable noble souls like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B. R Ambedkar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy who fought to keep the country united. A country like India having such rich heritage for whose freedom and unity many brave sons laid their lives as martyrs should not be split on something so moral and holy like religion. Religion should be seen as a means of controlling the social behaviour through adopting virtues of the various beautiful epitomes of peace, humility, brotherhood portrayed in every religion through prophets, gods & goddesses, saints, etc as laid down in the scriptures and holy books. We are rather on the path of destruction and bloodshed of the innocents which is condemned by all faiths and is against humanity. Be it Hinduism, Christianity or Islam, each of the religion directs religious tolerance. It is we who interpret, mold and break the religious ideologies to suit our convenience and use the name of God to create fear and inflict torture on our fellow beings.
The so – called nationalists are failing to recognize our glorious past of brotherhood, our history of unity in fighting out the Britishers, the fact that no religion promotes violence, that the God who put life into them would never want to see bloodshed in his name. As the saying goes ‘ action speaks louder than words’ so it rests that we should act in humane ways and be kind to each other as our religions preach. It is through our noble deeds that we should set an example for others that they glorify the faith that we practise, if glorification of our faith is what we are looking for by suppressing the people of other faiths. It should not be that our actions become so unacceptable and brutal that others look down upon our religion and speak ill of it, if we are actually trying to honour our religion.
To conclude, I need no sword against my neck, I need no gun on my head, the mere thought of my friends with whom once I shared joyfully my tiffin box and other colours of life while blooming from the innocence of my childhood in school to the maturity as an adult in college now, turning against me on the basis of my surname ‘Thomas’ is enough to silence me to death. This is not the pen of a Christian that is speaking but of an Indian who dreams of a country united in one spirit with love and respect for each other, a country united in the midst of various diversities.