PRATHAMESH GHARAT- B.com(accounting &finance), Perusing MBA at Thakur Institute of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

What is religion? George Bernard Shaw says ‘Religion is a great force – the only real motive force in the world’. There is a common misconception that religion means ritualistic religion and nothing else. The word religion actually means laws, both natural and moral, that ensure right living .Religion stands for an integral development of the personality, a comprehensive view of life.

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 worthwhile progress in any field of activity is possible. Today we all are at the verge of atomic destruction and when everybody 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 mankind .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.

Incarnations, Saints, Prophets and Sages have appeared in different parts of the world from time to time in order to teach men how to live in harmony. These great souls, on the basis of personal experience explained the essential ideals and values in life and taught how they can be achieved. In addition to their moral and spiritual teachings, almost all the religious teachers and reformers of the world gave out a plan and a system of their own on which human society would best be organized .It was thus that every faith helped to establish customs and conventions, with rites and rituals, amongst the communities of mankind and gave birth to a particular type of civilization and culture which naturally differed from others. This is how different religions came into existence.

India has been home for centuries to all great religions of the world. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that religious tolerance and the ability to evolve, despite differences, is the basis of India. Swami Vivekananda says that what makes our civilization great is the fact that it is based on the idea of the coexistence of faiths – Sarva Dharma Samabhava. This notion implies that we have equal respect for all Dharmas, for all faiths. Elaborating this idea Swami Vivekananda used the metaphor of many rivers flowing into one mighty ocean. He quoted from an ancient hymn to say:

 “As so many rivers, having their source in different mountains, roll down, crooked or straight, and at last come into the ocean — so, all these various creeds and religions, taking their start from different standpoints and running through crooked or straight courses, at last come unto Thee.”

But it has been learnt from the past that religious and communal differences have led to conflicts around the world. The Crusades were a series of religious expeditionary wars blessed by Pope Urban II and the Catholic Church, with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. Jerusalem was and is a sacred city and symbol of all three major Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). The background to the Crusades was set when the Seljuk Turks decisively defeated the Byzantine army in 1071 and cut off Christian access to Jerusalem. The Byzantine emperor, Alexis I, feared that all Asia Minor would be overrun. He called on western Christian leaders and the papacy to come to the aid of Constantinople by undertaking a pilgrimage or a crusade that would free Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Another cause was the destruction of many Christian sacred sites and the persecution of Christians under the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim.

The crusaders comprised military units of Roman Catholics from all over western Europe, and were not under unified command. The main series of Crusades, primarily against Muslims in the Levant, occurred between 1095 and 1291. Historians have given many of the earlier crusades numbers. After some early successes, the later crusades failed and the crusaders were defeated and forced to return home. Several hundred thousand soldiers became Crusaders by taking vows; the Pope granted them plenary indulgence. Their emblem was the cross — the term “crusade” is derived from the French term for taking up the cross. Many were from France and called themselves “Franks,” which became the common term used by Muslims.

The term “crusade” is also used to describe religiously motivated campaigns conducted between 1100 and 1600. The Crusades had major political, economic, and social impact on western Europe. It resulted in a substantial weakening of the Christian Byzantine Empire, which fell several centuries later to the Muslim Turks. The Reconquista, a long period of wars in Spain and Portugal (Iberia), where Christian forces reconquered the peninsula from Muslims, is closely tied to the Crusades.

Also religious violence in India, especially in recent times, has generally involved Hindus and Muslims, although incidents of violence have also involved Christians, Jews, and Sikhs. Despite the secular and religiously tolerant constitution of India, broad religious representation in various aspects of society including the government, the active role played by autonomous bodies such as National Human Rights Commission of India and National Commission for Minorities, and the ground-level work being out by Non-governmental organizations, sporadic and sometimes serious acts of religious violence tend to occur as the root causes of religious violence often run deep in history, religious activities, and politics of India. Political parties have also been involved in provoking people toward and spreading religious disharmony throughout our nation

These crusades and riots rather calling it the religious hatred have led to destruction of some very precious historical monuments throughout the world, say the destruction of The “Babri Mosque” a mosque in Ayodhya, a city in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India, on Ramkot Hill (“Rama’s fort”). It was destroyed in 1992 when a political rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people, despite a commitment to the Indian Supreme Court by the rally organisers that the mosque would not be harmed. More than 2,000 people were killed in ensuing riots in many major cities in India including Mumbai and Delhi. Or the “Buddhas of Bamiyan” these were two 6th century monumental statues of standing buddha carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 ft). Built in 507 AD, the larger in 554 AD, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art. They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were idols. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban.

The last 150 years witnessed tremendous unrest throughout the world with nations around the world indulging in conflicts over land and other natural resources some of the examples could be world war-I $ II, the gulf war, Indo-Chinese war, the kargil war between India and Pakistan which has lead to loss of several human lives for no good. Also the Cold war Separating the capitalist from the communist which divided the world into two parts. Although the tension of cold war has now resided but with the objective of becoming a global power and ruling the world new conflicts and tensions are bound to arise and threaten the world peace.

The most persistent and perhaps most important question relating to the effects of America’s wars and their related costs on the U.S. economy is whether military expenditures have been a prop or a burden for economic growth. This question has continued relevance because the United States in the 1990s spent a larger part of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense (3.8% in 1995) than any other G7 industrial nation, almost four times Japan’s expenditure and nearly twice as much as Germany’s—America’s two most important economic competitors. The fact that Russia in the 1990s spent almost three times more of its GDP on defense—and was in economic chaos—only strengthened this concern.

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”), and for matters connected therewith. The Act, which was passed on 9 November 1990 and came into force on 31 March 1992, empowers the Minister for Home Affairs to make a restraining order against a person who is in a position of authority in any religious group or institution if the Minister is satisfied that the person has committed or is attempting to commit any of the following acts: causing feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups; or promoting a political cause, carrying out subversive activities, or exciting disaffection against the President or the Government under the guise of propagating or practising a religious belief. A restraining order may also be made against a person who incites, instigates or encourages any religious leader or any religious group or institution to commit the above acts; or a person who is not a religious leader who causes or attempts to cause feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility between different religious groups. A restraining order made against a religious leader may direct that he or she must obtain the permission of the Minister before addressing members of any religious group or institution, assisting or contributing to religious publications, or holding office in the editorial board or committee of such publications. Breaching a restraining order is a criminal offence.

This act can be implemented throughout the world so as to restore “WORLD PEACE” and “RELIGIOUS HARMONY”.