Religion ideally must have no place in our lives. And if it must, it definitely cannot be flaunted in public. So, can we cut the crap and simply be human?
I am not a great fan of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s films but I love him for who he is – as an individual, as a fellow-human. He’s a hard-working, tax-paying, honest, and important, secular, humane, citizen of my country and that for me is enough reason to love him. I am sure many who read this post may agree with me on why they too love SRK – with the exception that several among them may actually, additionally, be fans of his acting and movies!
The insinuation by some dim-witted bigots that SRK’s heart is in Pakistan or that he must be treated on par with Hafeez Saeed is outrageous. Not because they said it. Not because they said it against SRK. Not because they connected the dots to Pakistan and a terror-accused. But because their saying it represents how petty and shallow our already decadent society has become!
Think about it folks. None of us has chosen to be created human. Not SRK. Not me. Not you. Not Yogi Adityanath. Not Kailash Vijayvargiya. We were created without our asking for it. And we came without a name, without religion, without an economic or social standing. When we go we will go empty-handed – definitely without our name, religion, money or social moorings. Then why all this drama? How does it matter to anyone if I am a Palaghattan Iyer or SRK is a Muslim or if a certain so-and-so is a Christian? Does religion make any of us superior? Can we say we have conquered disease or death because we are from a certain religion?
Religion is outright divisive and fear-inducing. And anything – or any one – that divides the human race must be ostracized, expunged. What India is witnessing in the last several months is not a sign of intolerance alone. What’s going on is nothing short of a rape of human values and the principles of co-existence.
But rather than get bitter about all this, let’s work to make things better. And the best way to do that is to stop flaunting religion in public. Religion, honestly, must be given no more importance than the label of the undergarment we wear. Do you go talking about your undergarment brand in public? If at all religion must be pursued, make it a personal choice. There’s no need to wear it on your sleeve. And most definitely, there is no need to talk about the religious preferences of others!
If you pause and reflect on this, you will discover the futility of all religious discourse. All of us has the same color of blood, red; all of us has the same Life source, we breathe the same air; all of us were created without our asking to be born and all of us will surely die one day. Then what is the point in allowing ourselves to be divided in the name of “a” God whom no one has really “seen”? And what kind of a God is it who induces fear and pits one human against another? Truth be told, it is not God who induces fear and promotes hatred among us humans but it is a small bunch of fellow humans, who in the name of God and religion, are dividing our race. These are the real terrorists among us. And they need to be isolated through the rest of us uniting.
SRK is but a metaphor for me this morning to make a larger point. It is irrelevant to me if he is an actor or if is a Muslim or if he is Indian. What is most important is that he is another fellow human on this planet – breathing the same air as I do, as Yogi Adityanath does, and with the same color of blood as I have, as Kailash Vijayvagriya has. I am no SRK fan but I still love him – just as I love any other human! If we can share this post, and talk about this message in our circle of influence, we would have made a small contribution to making our world a better place!