Secular Rethink - Part II

[continued from the previous post]

There is yet another problem. Our fathers still wince at the thought of having to share their bottles of water with a co-passenger who might be from a different community. That, broadly, is the reason it were the big cities more than the rural areas that witnessed the most widespread riots in the recent past. The bigotry is entrenched. No amount of reasoning can change that. The solution lies not in changing for the better the minds of the older generation. It lies in bringing the younger generation up in another mould. For us, thirst dictates the buying of a bottle of water; we don’t stop to think what community the bottle-vendor is from. It is the young minds that can be moulded into the sublimity of secularism while retaining the impressions of their own respective religions. The old and hardened minds can be beaten to pieces; you cannot change them.

Sometimes it is just plain ignorance, or sometimes it is just the low self-confidence we have on ourselves. We just need a reason. Never mind how remotely connected that reason may be. It is reason enough for the mind that there exists a reason. Moreover, there is the feeling of being wronged which was carefully implanted, nurtured and then when finally sprouted the tree of evil within the heart, the man is perfectly ripe for being sent into the fray. The fanatic comes in and torches houses, rapes women, butchers other men, and then he thinks he has redeemed his hurt pride and revenged his ancestors. He never knows that he is just adding fuel to fire, that he has become precisely the same monster which he detested and wanted to kill. He never sees the mirror --- there is too much light for him to be able to see anything.

The Solution:
The solution has been there, all the time, staring us in the face, shouting from rooftops, and pointing out the way. Simply put, it is education. When people learn, they begin to think. I do not imply that one who has had no formal education has no intelligence whatsoever, but education definitely triggers thought processes, opens doors, and makes us more rational. Perhaps the greatest boon of education is that it gives a freedom to interpret the world around us in our own way. If you are educated, you can draw your own conclusions, and don’t need someone to tell you what to think. In doing this, the new, liberated and rational individual is born. Education from the grass-roots to the very top will be the path to enlightenment. Such education should comprise of broad, logical implementation of patterns so that one might draw his conclusions, which must be unbiased. The new liberated, rational individual to be born needs such education -- not the ordinary education -- but patterned, cultivated education. The syllabus right from the school must tutor the child to draw his own conclusions, and then support them by his own logic. Only then it will be the path to enlightenment. When people like you, who are reading this article, or like me, who thought this up, form the majority of the vote-bank, petty communal politics and theatricals will no longer hold fort.

The young mind needs to be taught that it is never ‘they’ and ‘us’. Ignorance is the root cause of all this strife. People tend to believe in all the stories about ‘them’ --- how they torture everyone around, how they have corrupt morals, how they stink, how they act; these ‘they’ people are always portrayed as the embodiment of evil, since we always need to reassure ourselves that we are the good guys. And such instigations succeed because of ignorance. There is an inherent fear among all humans of the unknown, which again stems from ignorance. As a first step in the process, let us use the known mediums of bonding people. Let there be cricket matches between teams comprised of people from all communities, and not between the communities. Let there be group efforts such as theatres, plays, etc with people from all communities. In short, let people know each other. Let the fear and prejudices be broken, and cock-and-bull stories about ‘them’ be questioned and disputed. Let people from all communities invite “the others” into their own local festivals, into social events like gatherings, marriages, etc. The day a small hand goes up in a crowd which is being asked to be cautious about them, and when that hand asks ‘why’, the objective will be achieved.

[to be concluded...]


  1. Good person? Nice. Write to me. Am not too bad miself. I think :-)

  2. hmm...u have a good collection of cliched facts repeated again and such an extent that,now they dont register as enlightning or constructive reading.Moreso,u and i are in no position to dictate the action of a person whose house has been set to fire and whose mother and women were stripped naked across the streets and gang-raped by 20 women....i would love to see u teaching them toleration and amicable co-existense at that time...and how would u react to ppl who after having a professional degree,resorted to communal violence or segregation.We,as people are deeply entrenched in our own small cosmos,and amble with an onerous philosophy of secualrism...snd as time holds testimony to the fact that frequently the burden of secularism is shedded and the inner chasms and rivalries are revealed.Do read V.s. naipauls, india:a wounded civilization,it does change ur point of view.

  3. men...i mean...sorry for the callow mistake

  4. Daily Unusual, yups.. wrote to you and saw your place too :)

    Kay, yes, the facts do seem to point otherwise, and my repititions are cliched, of course. But I still do not see eye to eye with you. My point is to see to it that the day of the torching and violence never comes. My point is to get to the roots... perhaps just my expression is not proper. And I will read V.S. Naipaul's book some day. Lets see.

    P.S.- In spite of the rather serious nature of this discussion, I could not withold a guffaw or reread and re-interpret as I read through your callow mistake ;)


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