Name:Vardhan Dnyaneshwar Thorat
Qualification: B.Com. , pursuing MBA at AMSIMR – Aruna Manharlal Shah Institute Of Management and Research, Ghatkopar West, Mumbai , INDIA

INDIA IS A LAND OF RILIGIOUS HARMONY

India is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religious traditions; namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. India is a land of various religions and their sub – castes. India has been home for centuries to all great religions of the world. The Constitution of India declares the nation to be a secular republic that must uphold the right of citizens to freely worship and propagate any religion or faith.

Religious harmony is a must. Religious harmony comes about where there is understanding between followers of various faiths. For a country like a 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. If a harmonious relationship is established amongst societies and religious beliefs in today’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural world, then it will surely set a very good example for others. In order to sustain this harmony, both sides should not take lightly the sensitive issues between themselves.
Religious harmony is important because if there is no religious tolerance it leads to series of conflict and in varying severity. There is growing disparity between different castes and creed in the world. This is mainly because of economic challenges in the country as well as world. There are great challenges which India as a country needs to tackle to become a superpower. These cannot be tackled when the whole country is divided and fighting each other. There is a need for being a single, undivided population that can take on the challenges for a better tomorrow. Thus, Religious Tolerance is important not only for economic stability as well as for social life stability because neither can exist without each other. They are all dependent on religion as such to take the country forward.

“We want to lead mankind in the place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this is to be done by harmonizing the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of The Religion, which is Oneness, so that each may choose that path that suits him best.” By Swami Vivekananda
The concept of “religion” connotes a belief in a supreme being and his worship through a specified ritual. Religion is based on a moralistic outlook or a way of life. In its doctrine perspective, it may be defined as a system of general truths which has the effect of transforming characters when they are sincerely held and vividly apprehended.
The concept of harmony connotes a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
India’s ethnic composition encompasses myriad streams of culture and religious faiths and sects. As a multi-lingual and multi-cultured society, India has served as an outstanding example of unity in diversity among the fast maturing democracies across the world.

Cultural diversity as a major component of secularism has been widely recognized and acknowledged in the recent past throughout the world when many countries have suffered ethnic violence and constant conflicts of faiths and beliefs. Today an already well-built cultural diversity of India needs constant the legacies of our saints and leaders remain a living source of inspiration for the youth of today. These luminaries desired to see India emerge as a lasting identity of communal harmony nourishment and it is in this respect that a great responsibility is thrust upon the youth of India today. These components of Indian society have been attacked frequently, especially in recent times by divisive fascist forces, which are bent upon upsetting the social fabric of a peace loving and fastidiously growing democratic society. The young minds therefore must know that the traditions of communal harmony and tolerance and respect for diversity have always been the redeeming features of our civilization.

Communal harmony is the sine qua non of a pluralistic society such as ours. Guarding and strengthening this core ideal, upon which our policy is based, requires ceaseless vigilance.
Nearly six hundred years ago, the saint Kabir blended the mystic aspects of the various religious traditions of our country, and provided to later generations a sense of what we would today call Unity in Diversity. Among his many luminous ‘dohas’, Kabir had urged each of us to find within ourselves the spark of goodness or genius to inspire everyone.
People who summon the will and courage to protect the life and property of others professing different faiths remain in the vanguard of our movement for secularism.

The emergence of certain interest groups that do not shun violence and seem to be inspired by a particular religious ideology has tempted many religion is often viewed today as having a negative role in world politics, particularly in cases where a religious revival is perceive to be taking place. After decades during which religion seemed to be largely and effectively relegated to the private realm, religious activists are staking out a new claim for religion as a central feature of public life. The wish to restore religion to what is considered its rightful place at the heart of society is the most notable common denominator of today’s religious fundamentalist movements. In order to achieve their aim, members of such movements may employ several tactics, including violent ones. They justify their use of violence by reason, often referring to a perception that we are not living in normal times, and that exceptional circumstances ask for exceptional measures. As a result, an unusual alliance has been forged in many cases between religion and politics.

The emergence of certain interest groups that do not shun violence and seem to be inspired by a particular religious ideology has tempted many observers, notably in the West, to assume an intrinsic connection between religion and violence. Hence, it is common today to consider religion as a source of conflict rather than a resource for peace. The logical conclusion then is to try and reduce the influence of the religious factor in the political arena. Typically in such a view, religion is deemed to be a private affair, something between individual believes and their god’s), a relation that should not spill over into the public domain. Whereas religion is expected to limit itself exclusively to regulating human relations between the visible and invisible words, it is politics, on the other hand, which is deemed solely responsible for regulating their relations with the state that they live in. the formal separation between the fields of religion and politics has been the hallmark of Western democracies for centuries and was introduced to other parts of the world, notably those which were colonized by Europe, and by extension, countries that were long under the influence of Western Europe and North-America. The worldwide resurgence of religion is increasingly seen as challenging the basis of secular state. Many commentators, at least in the West, have lamented the fact that religion is reassuming a public role, bringing together again two fields of operation that in the Western tradition of the enlightenment have long be kept apart. Due to recent conflicts in which religion also played a role, and notably after the events of September 2001, religion is often associated in the West with violence. The question is, however, are we simply dealing here with religious conflict, as is so often suggested, or has religion become a suitable instrument for political mobilization, providing a resource that-like any other- can be effectively exploited for rather mundane purposes. For anybody to answer that question, it is of vital importance to analyze the role of religion in society, and to do so from a historical perspective. This is important, first to be able to understand today’s world better, and second, in order to analyze the specific properties, and therefore the potential of religion.

No one living in the 21st century will feign ignorance of the diversity of the human race. The Telecommunication Industry has made the world a global village and open vistas never dreamt off by generations gone by. Beyond the diversity of the human race also lie the conflicts ranging in many regions especially as a result of religion. It will be foolhardy to pretend that religion has not been a source of major conflicts in centuries past, however religious intolerance has raised its ugly head in the early part of the 21st century. Ever since the event of September 11, 2001 a new chapter opened in the religious turf. The reality of the human rights situation in the world today is a picture of stark contrast, on the one hand, undeniable progress on the other, the painful reality of widespread violations. Over the last few years amazing changes have taken place in many parts of the world (Marten son 1993:927).We must be quick to add that the said changes that have taken place n the world have not affected human relations. Difference is perceived as inferiority and in-equality, and an avenue to perpetuate actions detrimental to human race and relations. The theory of Race Relations have always pointed out that there is no scientific proof and backing on some of the assumptions peddled by the dominant group. The question is: How do we achieve religious harmony in the 21st century? To this we now turn. Achieving religious harmony in the 21st century is the job of all; beginning with the state, institutions and individuals.

Religion occupies a special place in the life of man, so also human rights has become as accepted way of living. Our problem has been balancing religious freedom with human rights principles.In this paper, we examined the idea of religion, we examined the rights discourse stating its evolution, we discussed religion and rights in the light of notable cases from two countries (Canada and Nigeria), we also examined the limits of religious freedom in several jurisdictions and suggested means of achieving religious harmony.It is our submission that Religion and Human Rights can co-exist if all and sundry will believe, accept and practice human rights principles and ideas alongside the tenets of their religion.