Purva Raut –  Persuing MBA at Thakur Institue of Management Studies & Research , Mumbai

Culture shapes the way we see the world. It therefore has the capacity to bring about the change of attitudes needed to ensure peace and sustainable development which, we know, form the only possible way forward for life on planet Earth. Today, that goal is still a long way off. A global crisis faces humanity at the dawn of the 21st century, marked by increasing poverty in our asymmetrical world, environmental degradation and shortsightedness in policy-making. Culture is a crucial key to solving this crisis.

    -World Culture Report, UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 1999.

The values must be of the people, for the people, and by the people. They must embrace common moral decencies such as altruism, integrity, freedom, justice, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility, compassion, and must reflect the normative standards human beings discover and develop through living together. Value development must draw upon reason, science, the arts, and must express concern for justice and fairness and concern for the physical and mental well-being of every human being in an effort to maximize individual freedom without limiting the freedom of others.

Humanistic values espouse cooperation and peaceful living and reject the use of violence to settle problems whether the problems be international, national, local, or familial. Humanistic values recognize cultural or religious diversity and individual creativity while rejecting the validity of declarations made by any group alleging spiritual superiority or political autonomy over others. Humanistic values incorporate many of the moral and ethical values espoused by the world’s religions, but seek to move beyond particularistic religious belief systems (which often foster separatism) and beyond political agendas (which tend to be local or too narrow) to focus on the full humanity of the person or persons. Obviously, some humanistic values will receive support from religious and political organizations; others will not. For example, the great religions have preached universal brotherhood but, unfortunately, intolerance of other faiths and a spirit of divisiveness have made the implementation of the brotherhood ideal impossible. Narrow, parochial doctrines of salvation have barred those outside of the faith system from fellowship with those within. Humanistic values for the 21st century cannot be so contained and must not be limited by theologies or by deontological ethics that have, over the centuries, encouraged divisiveness and produced violence.

Every country falls back due to imbalance in religious aspect so to bring harmony in every country one needs to follow this rules. They are as follows:

1. All groups have to exercise tolerance and restraint
‘Christians cannot expect this to be a Christian society , Muslims cannot expect this to be a Muslim society, ditto with the Buddhists, the Hindus and the other groups,’.’Many faiths share the country, share the island. Each has different teachings, different practices,’ it meant that rules which apply only to one group cannot become laws that are enforced on everyone. Hence, while Muslims do not drink alcohol, alcohol is not banned here. Neither is gambling forbidden, though many religions disapprove of it. If we have to live together in peace, then all have to adopt ‘live and let live’ as our principle.

2. Keep religion separate from politics
‘Religion in every country cannot be the same as religion in America or religion in an Islamic country. If one group were to invoke religion ,then others are bound to push back and invoke their faith.’One side insists ‘I’m doing God’s work. The other side says ‘I’m doing my God’s work’. And both sides say ‘I cannot compromise’.’These are absolute imperatives, duties. The result will be a clash between different religious groups which will tear all apart.

3 .Government must remain secular
The Government’s authority comes from the people, and it has to be neutral and fair to all. The laws are passed by Parliament, elected by the people. They don’t come from a sacred book. A secular Government also did not mean that religious groups cannot have views on national issues, or that religious individuals cannot take part in politics. They are free to propagate their teachings on social and moral issues, and have done so on issues like the integrated resorts and homo sexuality. And obviously many Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists participate in politics, in Parliament. We have people of all faiths in Cabinet too’ When people who have a religion approach a national issue, they will often have views which are informed by their religious beliefs. It’s natural, ‘But you must accept that other groups may have different views informed by different beliefs and you have to accept that and respect that. The public debate , cannot be on whose religion is right or wrong, but on secular, rational considerations of public interest on what makes sense for the country.

4. Maintain the common space
The common space – when sharing meals, or at schools and workplaces – has to be neutral and secular, ‘That’s the only way all of us can feel at home and at ease. People of various faiths had different dietary needs – Muslims eat halal food, Hindus do not eat beef, and some Buddhists are vegetarian. If we must serve everybody food which is halal, no beef and vegetarian, I think we will have a problem. We will never eat meals together. So there will be halal food on one side, vegetarian food for those who need it, no beef for those who don’t eat beef. Let’s share a meal together acknowledging that we are not the same .Don’t discourage people from interacting. Don’t make it difficult for us to be one people. Likewise, rules were in place to keep all schools secular and religious groups which run mission schools accept this. The office environment should also be one where all groups feel comfortable. Staff have to be confident that they will get equal treatment even if they belong to a different faith from their managers, especially in Government departments, but also in the private sector .I think it can be done because even religious community service organizations often have people who don’t belong to that religion working comfortably and happily in that organization. This is one very important aspect of our meritocratic society .The basis for this is practical reality in our society, it’s not any abstract political theory, it is not any divine revelation. This is the only way all groups in all countries can live in peace and harmony.