Interreligious & Community Peacebuilding
In India, communities are formed along a variety of affiliations and social ascriptions such as caste, class, region, language and religion. Often an individual affiliates himself to many groups, having more than one set of identities. He may belong to several communities at the same time. Man may be mobilized along different and mutually exclusive lines of communal identities. These communities, castes, sub-castes are more political than religious. However, with the passage of time, faith communities have become political communities. Fragmentation of the society into castes and sub-castes, which don’t feel comfortable with each other.
The State is secular but there is a sharp communal divide in the society, which creates a lot many practical problems.All is not well with our society. We must understand, who creates disharmony and tension?We only pay lip sympathy to our religious Masters and ignore the teachings of the holy Scriptures. As regards the religious concepts, we remember and recite them mechanically. The conferences would not serve much purpose if they remain confined only to conference rooms. Interfaith is not an intellectual exercise in an ivory tower.Political parties misuse the religious factor to strengthen their vote banks. They play foul, and overlook the rules of the game. As a result, national and international politics has become murky.
In order to understand other religions, a person should be deeply committed to his own religion. Let us try to understand each religion in its own distinctiveness and see its contribution to spiritual atmosphere and unity of mankind.Every religion has something distinctive to offer. Therefore, we should work to protect diverse cultures. People can he united on the basis of the Soul, which is one common identity that they share.In essence, we have to convince each other that there is something greater than our differences and distinctiveness, which binds us together. And that is the principle of unity. From all religious writings, people can derive benefit. Blind rejection of one faith in favour of another is absurd.
We need to organize meetings of different faith communities to come together in concrete projects. We need to tell them the story of the possibility of human pluralism.There is need to change the mind-set of the religious leaders to involve and educate the masses.Let’s work out universally acceptable principles of common consciousness of the common good.Let's obey our spiritual Masters. Let’s obey Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Mohammad, Guru Nanak and others.
We need to facilitate discussion among the peoples of different faiths to tell them how their various traditions call upon them to work together to serve others, without discrimination.Let’s make efforts to establish a common theological platform in a dialogue with the adherents of different faiths.Let the people of the world assert their sense of understanding and unity.The path that leads to unity and peace is a universal path, which has little to do with apparent symbols.Let us overcome exclusiveness and end our blindness in order to imbibe a common culture of common consciousness.We should show reverence to all the spiritual paths. Such a spirit is needed, if we are to live at peace with one another. We should celebrate and honour the richness and universality of truth, found in all holy Scriptures of different faiths. Our long-term goal is that people of different communities should understand and practice the spirit of interfaith harmony in politics, and vice versa is not desirable in a secular society.
Let's take lead as the global leaders and establish a centre that could work at national and international level to find and encourage interfaith initiatives towards unity and peace.If India does not take initiative then the UN should take it. And if the UN does not take action then the NGOs, dedicated to this cause, ought to come forward.As we gradually approach a world culture, we should overcome tension and learn to converse and agree gently with one another.
There is need for economic development, education, and awareness among the people.We should promote the cause of national language.There is need for positive role of educationists and NGOs. Good leadership, political and religious.The role of Media should be positive and not inflammatory.
Independence of judiciary, Enforcement of the Preamble, and Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Constitution, have to be strengthened.The best way to reduce sectarian hostility among world's religions is to emphasize their similarities and commonalities.Articulate universal religious ethic.Interpret religious differences as unimportant and not vital.Cooperation among interfaith organizations is still only on an ad hoc basis. To make interfaith movement effective in rebuilding spiritual and moral principles, there is a great deal of work to be done.