Name: Prachi Shah
Qualifications: B.M.S. Graduate , pursuing MBA at AMSIMR – Aruna Manharlal Shah Institute Of Management and Research, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai , INDIA

INDIA – The Land of Religious Harmony

A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life and/or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith, belief system or sometimes set of duties.

India is a land of diversities. Religion in India is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions; namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. This diversity is also visible in the spheres of religion. The major religions of India are Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. Throughout India’s history, religion has been an important part of the country’s culture. Religious diversity and religious tolerance are both established in the country by the law and custom. India with diverse religions exits in harmony and peace. This harmony is seen in the celebration of festivals. The message of love and brotherhood is expressed by all the religions and cultures of India. The secularism is one of the most important aspects of the country.

Indian religions are practiced or were founded in the Indian subcontinent. They are sometimes classified as the dharmic religions, as they all feature dharma, the specific law of reality and duties expected according to the religion.
Hinduism is the dominant religion, or way of life of the Indian subcontinent, and consists of many diverse traditions. Hinduism has been called the “oldest religion” in the world, and some practitioners refer to it as Sanatana Dharma, “the eternal law” or the “eternal way” beyond human origins. It prescribes the “eternal” duties, such as honesty, mercy, purity, self-restraint, among others.

Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Quran, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God and by the teachings and normative example of Muhammad, considered by them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.

Sikhism, or known in Punjabi as Sikhi, is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, by Guru Nanak and continued to progress through the ten successive Sikh gurus (the eleventh and last guru being the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of the Sikh Guru’s writings that was compiled by the 5th Sikh Guru).

Christianity is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world’s largest religion. Christians believe that Jesus has a “unique significance” in the world. Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human, and the savior of humanity whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Buddhism is a monotheistic religion that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning “the awakened one”. He taught Four Noble Truths of – The truth of dukkha, the truth of the arising or origin of dukkha, the truth of the cessation of dukkha, the truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha, with the ultimate goal of attainment of the sublime state of Nirvana.

Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of ahimsa—nonviolence—towards all living beings, and emphasizes spiritual interdependence and equality between all forms of life. Practitioners believe that nonviolence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation. Ascetism is thus a major focus of the Jain faith. The three main principles of Jainism are Ahimsa (Nonviolence), Anekantvad (Non-Absolutism) and Aparigraha (Non-Possessiveness).
Zoroastrianism, also called Zarathustraism, Mazdaism and Magianism, is an ancient monotheistic Iranian religion and a religious philosophy. It was once the state religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires. Zoroastrianism arose in the eastern region of the ancient Persian Empire, when the religious philosopher Zoroaster simplified the pantheon of early Iranian gods into two opposing forces: Spenta Mainyu (“progressive mentality”) and Angra Mainyu (“destructive mentality”) under the one God, Ahura Mazda.

Judaism is the religion, philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people. Judaism is a monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship that God established with the Children of Israel.
Religion has an important role to play in the lives of the Indians. Different religious practices like worship, rituals etc are prominent in Indian social life. Every Indian religion has its own unique rituals, ceremonies, festivals, and pilgrimages in conformity with the exclusive principles of the religions.

Religious harmony is a must. Religious harmony comes about where there is understanding between followers of various faiths. For a country like India, as well as to the World, religious harmony is important as religious harmony is the need of the hour to make this world a happy place to live.

Whether it’s the gathering of the faithful, bowing in prayer in the courtyard of a mosque, or the gathering of lamps that light up houses at Diwali, the good cheer of Christmas or the brotherhood of Baisakhi, the religions of India are celebrations of shared emotion that bring people together. People from the different religions and cultures of India, unite in a common chord of brotherhood and amity in this fascinating and diverse land.
India has set an important example of communal harmony to this world. It is important to note that even during the reign of British; there was no tension among the various religious people.

India, a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-racial country, has always ‘enjoyed the essential unity of culture amidst diversities that kept her people united. After independence, narrow religious, regional and communal feelings attracted the country. The apparently mindless communal tensions and bloody riots that take place occasionally create a sense of mistrust among the two principal religious communities involved in clashes. The country pays a heavy price for such disturbances through loss of life and property.

Unfortunately, this traditionally peace-loving country is sometimes plagued by communal problems. It all happens as some fanatical zealots indulge in torturing the people of other religion. The alarming rise of fundamentalism is a great concern to the nation. Almost all the States of our country suffer owing to religious intolerance. Inter-communal relationship suffers a breach in this vitiated atmosphere. Our unity, integrity and solidarity is now at stake. It hampers the growth of the nation at every step. If the nation wishes to make sound progress in the socio-economic, political and scientific spheres, communal harmony has to be ensured as a permanent feature of life. Evil forces trying to destroy this should be crushed at any cost. It is also our duty spread the message of importance of communal harmony.