Let Us Live In Honesty And Harmony

Sep 27, 2010 

We Indians have a tendency to delve in the past and then either gloat over it or cry over it. We love to waste time and energy, reminiscing about the yesteryears, with scant thoughts of improving our present and future. We do not let 'Bygones be Bygones', but rather cling to them in a sadistic sort of way. It rarely occurs to us to learn lessons from the past mistakes in order to improve upon our present.  What’s the point in revelling about India being the land of ‘milk and honey’ in the eras gone by, when the present chaos (compounded by hunger and violence) promises to get worse with every passing day?
It would, perhaps, be more worthwhile to analyze critically and ponder over the mistakes (and not repeat them) which have led to a gradual decline in public/private morality and brought us to abysmal depths of depravity—the ongoing controversies surrounding the (non)preparation of Commonwealth Games, and the Ayodhya tangle  being just two of the myriad examples of our moral turpitude.
The sheer gravity of the ongoing Babri Masjid-Ramjanmbhoomi seems to be defying all solutions. As I write this piece, rumours are rife in the city of Lucknow, and elsewhere too, about what may (or may not) happen in the next couple of days. With bated breath, all are waiting for the D Day – the day of judgement (not by God but by the Allahabad High Court). One community is pitched against another; rhetoric is whipping up emotions; and a palpable scare pervades the very air we breathe. A distraught mother of my colleague wants to stockpile groceries lest there be a curfew; parents are wary of sending their wards to schools even at the cost of missing an exam; many shopkeepers feel it is safer to close shop on the day of the verdict; people are trying to refrain from travel and stay within the confines of their home-sweet-home; while others are anxiously waiting and watching, twiddling or biting their thumbs.
And all this frenzy is in the name of Ram/Allah or Khuda/Ishwar.
How does it matter whether the disputed site was the birth place of Lord Ram or housed a mosque?
Probably it was both- in that chronological order. Or, maybe it was not. Even if it were a place of worship of one of the two communities, it needs to be respected by the other. Enough rabble has been roused by Muslims and Hindus, or rather by their political/religious leaders, on this issue. It is time now for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes of what must once have been a prosperous place. Some of our so called leaders have been crying hoarse that they will not tolerate an insult to their God and build a temple/mosque there (irrespective of the court order).
Surely there are better and more constructive ways of showing reverence to our religion. Let us (including our religious leaders) follow the real principles of Lord Ram and/or the true tenets of Prophet Muhammad, rather than squabble over the proprietorship of a piece of land. Let us try to bring back Ram Rajya (a synonym for ideal governance) in our country by becoming morally upright and law abiding citizens who prefer love to hatred. Let us not brush aside our misdemeanours- whether it be passing the buck in the murky dealings of the organizing committee of Commonwealth Games, or in casting aspersions on each other in the Mandir – Masjid (each is a six letter word beginning with an M) fight. It would be in the fitness of things, and for the benefit of all, if we take the responsibility of undoing the harm already perpetrated by us.
As right minded and responsible citizens, let us demand (and work for) the construction of a hospital, at the disputed site in Ajodhya—a hospital which will be free from corrupt practices and provide holistic care to the common patient with love and compassion. I think we can call it the 'Allaram Hospital' or the 'Ramallah Hospital' or, for that matter, give it any other name. As the Bard said--"What's in a name".
This is the only healing touch which will soothe the frayed nerves of the gods and human beings. It is also one of the ways in which we can truly worship our religion—whatsoever it might be.
Let us be truly religious by living honestly and peacefully.
Shobha Shukla - CNS
(The author is the Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS) and also serves as the Director of CNS Gender Initiative and CNS Diabetes Media Initiative (CNS-DMI). She has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP, and teaches Physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. Email:
by Shobha Shukla - CNS
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Comment on this article

  • KGSHENOY, Mangalore/Dubai

    Sat, Oct 02 2010

    I truly appreciate the views of Mr Shanawaz Kukkikatte & Mr Eric Coelho.By the garce of God if most of us think in similar way with such Noble attitude,we all can live peacefully,happily rest of our life.If so,we may not require a heaven.

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Fri, Oct 01 2010

    Very well written Ms. Shobha Shukhla. It is a nice thought to be implemented by all Indians. You are right in saying that Politicians should think beyond religion. There are so much poverty, hunger, illiteracy, population, lack of sanitation. We do not know when these politicians will concentrate on these works and lead India to development in true sense.

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore - U.S.A.

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    The subject is a very delicate issue and therefor I would not like to comment on the outcome of the forthcoming JUDGEMENT BY THE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT.

    The author of the article terms it as LET US LEARN TO LIVE IN PEACE. Indeed all of us should follow this concept and not LIVE IN PIECES.

    No religion promotes hatred of any kind. Islam promotes tolerance and peace so too Christianity and Hinduism. There is not a single religion that promotes hatred. We should by all means bury the hatchets and try to live as Indians and not as individuals belonging to any sect. We are all children of MOTHER EARTH. Let us do our best to resolve our differences and indeed we would find solutions.

    Humbly submitted by:

    Joe Gosnalves

  • George Olivera, Thirthahalli

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Politics is no religion and religion is no politics. But when it is ketched-up for sectarian purpose, then in a multi-religious cultural society harmony goes for a holiday and honesty takes a beating! In genuinely pure form every hindu home is a mandir, every muslim home is a masjid and every christian home is a church. Mutual reverence and respect for each other could be the seed of honesty and harmony for our society. Religious leaders could talk about religious matters and join hands for social harmony, let the political leaders could lend their hands for the betterment of the society. As it is now everything hotch-potch in our country.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Great article, and the comments
    are strongly signaling a dire
    call for unity and peace.
    In the comments, people of different faiths have expressed
    great passion and thirst for a
    peaceful solution for this burning

    People of different
    religions will have to ponder first, whether religion is to
    create peace or to create bloodshed!

    We have enough of bloodshed through other sources, then using
    religion for creating far greater
    bloodshed is toally self-destructive.

    The Christian hymn I heard years
    back is still very meaningful
    every day. " yesterday is gone,
    tomorrow may never come, but
    Lord help me to do, what I can do,
    one day at a time".

    Yesterday is a history, tomorrow
    is a mystery, but today is the reality.

    If we try to undo the yesterday
    by destroying religious places of
    other people, India will be in total bloodshed and chaos.

    Politicians used religious spade card,
    but now the religious leaders
    of all religions will have to come
    to the front row to tell very
    openly " we need to live in peace
    and harmony as good neighbours" and
    lay the foundation for that great
    new movement of peace in India,
    because in India, religion has
    caused greater barricades and
    walls of separation.

    Where there is a will, there is
    way. We can create peace, if we
    are focused and work hard SO HELP US GOD.

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Excellent comments by Eric Coelho, it made me to sit and think, when millions of Gods creatures humans as well as animals hungry and homeless we are fighting to build house for him, when living humans hungry, helpless, sick and beg us to help them we get angry, but we have big heart to pour milk, food and flowers on stone statues which cannot eat, see or smell. We humnas destroyed Gods creation for our own selfish reason. Our greed is so much we want to own earth, sea, space,moon, forests, mountains everything.

  • Chananlall Dhanraj, Guyana

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Another suggestion is to build a masjid and a mandir adjoined by a common wall on the same spot. Muslims can enter and worship at the masjid side while Hindus can do the same on the mandir side. This can be an example to the world that people of different religions can live in harmony side by side. Guyana is an example of this where mandirs, masjids and churches are all around each other.

  • Nishath Sheikh, Mangalore

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Good article..n m very much impressed by shahnawaz bhai's thoughts..

  • Vijay, Bangalore

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Nice article. Thanks Shobha. I also liked shahnawaz kukkikatte comments, which applies to all the religions.

  • Gomez D'Souza, Belman

    Tue, Sep 28 2010

    Mecca, Madina and Al-Aqsa are the three holiest site for Islam. So, are Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura for Hindus. Over the Kashi temple which was destroyed by aurangazeb, a mosque has been built, interestingly called Gyan Vapi with pillars of temples with carvings still intact. In Mathura, Aurangazeb razed the temple to build a huge mosque. Babur did the same to ayodhya. How would muslims feel if temples were built at mecca, madina and Al-Aqsa? Ayodhya has no spiritual or religious significance to Muslims and Babur was no saint of Islam.

    He was an invader who came to loot India and settled here. Lord Ram was a symbol of sacrifice, but even he did not give away Seetha to Ravana, he fought a ferocious war for her. Certain symbols of culture cannot be given away. The present structures represent Hate and Jihadi mentality of having conquered hinduism and laying it dorment. As suggested by some muslim friends, if these three sites are given back to Hindus, It will go a long way in building trust and secularism in this country.

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 27 2010

    To live honestly and peacefully one does not have to be religious. I strictly do not agree to many issues in this article. To live in Peace and Honesty let us first be Human. Today in the name of religion "EVIL, GREED, ARROGANCE, SELFISH" has taken over HUMANITY. I have several examples but would give two. 1.In the name of development, poor land owners property is usurped by political leaders, rich and powerful leading to naxalisam affecting life of daily common man. 2.In the name of Commonwealth Games the Poor and weaker are thrown or removed out of sight. When there is no humanity where does the question of religion arise. We have not seen god but seeing Gods creation (Human) every day and that we do not respect. To build our wealth and prosperity we have destroyed the basic values of Humanity, Destroyed Nature in the name of Development and so on. Street Dogs are more safer than common man. I am a christian and do believe in God but I never give too much importance to it because let us first respect God's creation and then think of God. The Peace on this earth has been completely destroyed by Human in the name of Religion. It is time that we give 1% importance to religion and 99% to humanity. God will be more happy to see us respect his creation i.e., Human and Nature. Will we human do that "No Way". It is below our dignity to respect Human and Nature as our belief in God(Whom we have not seen) and our Stature (Money Power) is above everything. Be Human.

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Mon, Sep 27 2010

    India is a nation of faiths and cultures. Its a beacon of diversity unlike any nation on earth. Its also a nation of religious disharmony for the sake of religions.
    No matter whatever religion or faith we follow, we cannot be with God or the creator if we do not co-exist together in harmony.
    Mosque, Temple or Church does not matter. what matters is what are we doing with these?

  • Ashok Bhat, Mangalore

    Mon, Sep 27 2010

    Excellent article, solution. Further I also specially appriciate Mr.Shahnawaz for his wonderful comments /difination of Isam in plain/simple words. At the same I wish to express that all religions are giving message of peace. Ahimsa Parmo Dharmah, Sarve Janah Sakhino Bhavanthu - which are sanskrit shlokas are pass the message of peace. Christanity also pass the message of peace. Sisters are doing immense services to the society. By their scarifice/dedicatios they are reaching to the bottom most. But only problem with Hard core.... In every religion these people are taking the control situation and impose their thoughts. Here is the point of boiling. OH God... please save us from these evils....!

  • Janette D'souza, Mangalore/Abu Dhabi

    Mon, Sep 27 2010

    What a piece of wisdom Ms.Shobha Shukla! I particularly liked the idea of building a hospital at the disputed land. My suggestion is, make it a charitable hospital, with free medicines for the poor of both/all the religions, paid by both the minority-pleasing and majority-appeasing political parties!

    What a tragedy, we, the creations of the Almighty, think that the Creator needs to be defended!! We all have forgotten the very basic fact that HE IS OUR DEFENDER AND OUR PROTECTOR and not the other way round!

    May the better sense prevail.

  • shahnawaz kukkikatte, dubai/udupi

    Mon, Sep 27 2010

    Very good article. Thanks for advice.

    I certainly dont wish to write or comment about others religious feelings and teachings. I feel free to write about my religious beleifs and practices and about my religion. i.e. Islam. Islam means salam which means peace and security. Islam is no doubt preaches and practices peace and tolerance. But this ideology and preachings need to be put into practice. By just beating the chest and crying that islam favours peace and security, shall not help us any more.It needs to be practiced by all means. This is the right time for our muslim brothers and clergies to show to the world that Islam really stands for peace. If babri masjid is the source of bitterness and hate, source of violence and intolerance, certainly we dont need this. No disputed place shall serve peace and shall never become a place of worship. As my religion stands for peace, I call upon my muslim community to make use of this opporunity to establish ever lasting peace and gift this disputed land to our hindu brothers only for the sake of peace, for the sake of which Islam has been established. If muslims believe in violence and bloodshed, they are not muslims. Our prophet signed the peace treaty of Hudabiyah just to establish peace and to avoid blood bath. We muslims must take inspirations from this treaty, its context and march forward and see the end results... peace and security for us and for our country and for our future generations. Islam means peace and tolerance

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