Name: Ahinave Priyanka Balshiram
Qualification: B.C.A. , pursuing MBA at AMSIMR – Aruna Manharlal Shah Institute Of Management and Research, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai , INDIA

India – The Land of Religious Harmony

“We must learn to live together as brothers, or we are going to perish together as fools.” -Martin Luther King,Jr.
The greatest leaders in human history always fought for harmony between people, so that they can ensure them a good livelihood. All the great leaders have lost their lives in achieving so. As it is said earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best with the stated line. Leaders belonging to every era stressed on this social reform subject. World leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. ,Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama, Suu Kyi of Myanmar, they all played a very important role in bringing this injustice to the interests of their governments.

Every government in the world has faced this problem in their history of governance. This problem was faced by our nation too. India has faced this gruesome injustice for a long time. India has a very long history involving incidents belonging to religious harmony. One thing is clear, Religious Harmony can play a very important role in nation’s economy. In 1993 Mumbai Blasts, Mumbai’s economy was crampled because traders were not opening up their shops in fear of the social injustice elements.

All over the world , Religious harmony can play a very important role in the economy of the nation. If the nation’s internal harmony between citizens is stable, so people will be very comfortable in living there or doing business there. In 2011, there was a uprising in Syria because of a ruthless dictator. There was no religious harmony between the people in Syria. That’s why, there business was jeopardized and it affected a lot to the economy of the nation.

Similarly, in Iran, there was uprising, and so it affected India very badly. As Iran is a big exporter of oil, it raised it’s price because of instability in it’s economy. This was met with a a protest by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. According to him, India was paying a lot of it’s revenues for oil.

In India, however, there is a positive side of religious harmony too. Every state in India has a very large population of different religions. Many world leaders have commented on the religious harmony of people living in India. Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, said India, where different religious traditions “live harmoniously”, is a model to other parts of world, and should continue to keep this tradition. “India has great heritage. There is harmony among different religious traditions. India is a land where people of different religious faiths can live peacefully and harmoniously here. India’s tradition is very relevant in today’s world,” he said. This is a proud statement for all the Indians living in all over the world.

In United States Of America, there were also incidents of religious harmony and racial inequality among the people. People should learn to respect everyone’s religion, cast and creed. This will be better for every citizen and for it’s economy.
Some nations have developed laws for bringing in religious harmony in their nations. The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (“MRHA”) is a Singapore statute which, according to its long title, provides for the maintenance of religious harmony, for the establishment of a Presidential Council for Religious Harmony (“PCRH”).The Declaration of Religious Harmony of Singapore is a statement that affirms the importance of, and the commitment of Singaporeans towards, religious harmony. It is a basis for Singaporeans to reflect on religious harmony, and what should be done to achieve it.

The idea of having a Code on Religious Harmony was proposed by the then Prime Minister (now a Member of Parliament) Goh Chok Tong in September or October 2002. This followed strains in racial harmony in the country following the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States of America and the arrest and detention of members of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network in Singapore in December 2001.

Dalai Lama has said it best in his speech about Religious Harmony. Excerpts from the speech :
“Only human species has the ability to transmit information and knowledge from one generation to the next. This ability has given man his cherished civilization and culture. An enquiring mind naturally seeks for an order, for a unifying principal behind the apparent diversity. It is well known that faith infuses energy
and grit, without which no worth while progress in any field of activity is possible. Today we all are at the verge of atomic destruction and when every body is busy in the mad rat race of materialistic pursuit, religious harmony will be a relief .We should make an effort to peep into the prominent religions of the world and find out a secular message for the man kind .Our aim should be to enlighten and educate the masses about all the religions, so that the message of universal brotherhood is spread throughout the world. This is where schools can play an important role.”

There is a prevalent mindset in the United States regarding true freedom to practice one’s religion. Opinions and viewpoints usually amount to saying that followers of different religious beliefs should be able to accept one another’s differences and live in religious harmony. While this general doctrine certainly sounds peaceable, logical, and practical, it could not be further from sound reasoning according to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the major religions of the world. If Mr. Spock, the second-in-command of the fictitious starship enterprise of the once popular television series, “Star Trek”, could offer a statement on the topic of a religious harmony, his words would make more sense than those of supposedly intelligent philosophers and thinkers.

True followers of Christianity believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. They also believe that Jesus has commissioned them to share his gospel throughout the world according to several biblical scriptures such as that of St. Matthew 28:19-20. Therefore, if they are going to practice what they preach, they must offer the gospel to everyone. There’s a problem with this because true followers of Islam, in order to be obedient to Allah, must also promote the teachings of the Koran which gives explicit instructions to come against believers in Jesus and against the Jewish people whether they have believed on Christ or not.

Consideration must also be given to the dedicated followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and every other religion that exists or will come into existence. Practice of many of these other “isms” involve practices that both Christians and Muslims must speak out against as the Bible or the Koran doesn’t permit an attitude of looking the other way.

How, pretell, do rational, educated people who use even a trace of logic in their thinking, expect for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and followers of other religions, to achieve religous harmony if each group consists of dedicated adherents to their faith? If one claims Christianity but does not preach Christ as the only way to the living God and eternal life as prescribed by the Bible, he may justifiably be labeled as an unbeliever or as a hypocrite. If one claims adherence to Islam but disobeys the Koran by refusing to join in the war against Christianity and Israel (often mislabeled as radical Islam), he may justifiably be labeled as an unbeliever and a hypocrite. The same rings true for followers of other religions.

In the last, all, I want to say that the religious harmony between people of all the countries will play a important role in coming years. The coming years will play a very important role for the economy of the countries.