Nisha Chowta –  Graduate (BMS) , Persuing MBA at Thakur Institue of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

Harmony holds centre stage for the peace & prosperity in our multi – religious & multi cultural world. When we talk about religion, it means an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, & world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes to moral values. It plays a very crucial & central role in everyone’s life. It basically guides us to the path of honesty, integrity, high moral & inspires us to live a righteous life. Many people around the world are driven by their religion to keep themselves away from bad deeds & do good things.

The word “religion,” by Dr. Kerze is defined as deriving from the Latin word ‘religio’, meaning “bind together.” This is a key concept. It clarified that there are three things that are “bound.” First, religion binds people, forming community. Second, it binds the past and present through its teaching, and thus forms a tradition. Third, it binds the human and “sacred” around a “sacred and transcendent reality,” meaning that religion opens our consciousness to the spiritual dimension.

History of a country plays a vital role over here, as from ancient times differences in religious beliefs have caused a tremendous amount of social turmoil, including persecution, alienation, violence and even war. People of a religion decide that their God is the only God, so the faith of others becomes invalid. This “way of the thinking” often leads to the social turmoil mentioned above.

When we see the shape of religion & spirituality in the 21st Century, A global 2012 poll report states that 59% of the world’s population is religious, 23% are not religious, and 13% are atheists. This qualitative research on both inner & physical world has reached at quite high level, thanks to the tremendous strides in technology advancement & human intelligence. The world is also facing a lot of new problems, most of which are man-made. The root of all these is the inability of human beings to control their agitated minds.

There was a inter faith seminar on the preservation of religious harmony by Dalai Lama, It states that every person on this earth has the freedom to practice or not practice religion. It is all right to do either. But once you accept religion, it is extremely important to be able to focus your mind on it and sincerely practice the teachings in your daily life. It helps to achieve internal peace. All of us can see that we tent to indulge in religious favoritism by saying, “I belong to this or that religion” rather than making efforts to control our agitated minds. This misuse of religion, due to our disturbed minds, also sometimes creates huge problems in personal life as well as in professional life. He also stressed on the need to reduce the gap between the rich and poor to bring down crime rates in the world. During his delivery he mentioned, only compassion and love among people would bring peace and not development in science and technology. ” The development in science and technology has brought in lot of destruction as it has prompted more greed, competition and negative mentality for people,” he added. The Dalai Lama also noted that one should learn to respect all religions though the philosophical streams of various religions would be different. ” He said the 21st century should be the ‘century of dialogue’ in order to bring more harmony in the society and women had a great role to play in that. He ruled the fact that the crimes were increasing as there was a huge gap between the rich and poor in all countries, including the developed ones.

According to Swami Vivekananda, the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity, and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any  church in the world and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of their resistance: “Help and not Fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

There was a declaration passed by Singapore Government in 1990, the Declaration of Religious Harmony of Singapore it stated 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 people in Singapore declare that religious harmony is vital for peace, progress and prosperity in our multi-racial and multi-religious Nation. They resolve to strengthen religious harmony through mutual tolerance, confidence, respect, and understanding. There was a pledge taking by Singaporeans, stating that, we shall always: Recognise the secular nature of our State, Promote cohesion within our society, Respect each other’s freedom of religion, Grow our common space while respecting our diversity, Foster interreligious communications, and thereby ensure that religion will not be abused to create conflict and disharmony in Singapore. For Maintaining the Religious Harmony Act, the Government empowered to restrain religious leaders or members from any acts that will cause ill feelings between different religious groups.

The declaration passed by Singapore Governments creates an inspiration to all the other nations to bring in peace in the country leading to prosperity of the nation as a whole. This leads to equality & reduces discrimination.

In 21st Century there is a need for Promoting Religious Harmony for the benefit of public to bring peace & prosperity in personal & professional life. Such promotional activities can be conducted by educating the public in different religious beliefs including an awareness of their distinctive features and their common ground to promote good  relations between persons of different faiths; and promoting knowledge and mutual understanding and respect of the beliefs and practices of different religious faiths.

Let’s Pledge to work towards bringing Religious Harmony & cocreating a peaceful and prosperous world.