The Nature of Religious Interaction
I was watching a TV show a few hours ago on BBC, about a ‘training’ camp in North India. The age group of the students there ranged from ten to twenty, mostly teens. The programme was a series of interviews with the candidates, a look at their families, at their upbringing and education, and what their training meant to them. The girl being mainly showcased was talking about how it is necessary to know how to defend yourself. And to be ready to attack, in case the community needs to arm itself against other communites (muslims, basically). Also how she would not hesitate the build or detonate a bomb, should the need arise.
I can’t understand where we’ve gone wrong.
So you have Hindutva camps that teach their followers to target practice at skullcap wearing dummies and role play riot enactments. You have Islamic terrorists doing the same thing, making an international mess of our name. And you have a healthy number of Christian Bible thumpers when you shift to the Western half of the world.
Is this a mental disease? Because the inability to tolerate anyone who does not share your ideology, your idol, certainly can’t be healthy. And if someone is going to tell me that one particular side is ‘right’ and ‘entitled’, then you and I are going to seriously disagree. I mean, what the hell. I once had a patient who refused to let any of the female doctors treat her because ‘muslim women belong in the house, not running around the city with men’. I have Muslim acquaintances who find it extremely uncomfortable that I have Hindu friends, or male friends. I have Hindu friends whose families have pretty much banned them from calling their muslim or Christian friends over so as to not ‘pollute’ the house- oh yes, this too. And I was once good friends with a British guy whose mother forced him to stop talking to me because I’m muslim.
I mean, what the heck, come on.
The good side to this convoluted tangle of religious interactions is that to some extent, to a certain extent, the younger lot are more progressive these days. But then right in the mirror are these parades of children holding guns and shouting slogans about issues that people way older than them are yet to understand. And societal pressure is not something to be underestimated either. People who want to be on good terms with you can still be held back from doing so by the people around them.
Honestly, I’m just hoping I never have to deal with these sort of personal philosphies any more than I already have. Life is tough enough without being hated for which direction you bow to. And I know that’s an escapist sort of mentality, definitely not the answer to this mess.
But then, what is the answer?