Current Affairs : Who are Hindus and Who are Muslims? Thinking out Loud!

Dear Self,

The Indian Population is in excess of a billion. ie One sixth of humanity.

A large percentage of these people are Hindus and Muslims by religion.

When you say Muslim.. do you see your best friends and colleagues? Do you see Javed Akhtar and other moderates? Do you see Abdul Kalam and Aamir Khan? Or do you see Geelani?

When I say Muslim, I see the young muslim girls I met in the bus who were happy to go to Meenakshi temple to get a relief for their troubles. I remember the muslim lady in Madras, wearing a burkha who gave me clear and helpful directions to the Lakshmi Narayana temple.

I think of those muslims, who play Lord Ram in Ram Leela and those muslims who were my neighbours, colleagues, students and friends.. don’t you?

It takes an effort.

There are fundamentalists in all religions. There maybe streaks of fundamentalism and racism in all human beings. But there are also good and moderate people in all religions. There is also goodness and fairness in all human beings. We need to let the good feelings and good people take the driving seat.

When you say a Hindu, do you see your mother or Uma Bharthi, or Barkha Dutt? Do you see Gandhiji or yourself? Do you see that guy welding iron bars together, selling vegetables, working on scientific problems?

I suggest that when we think of Hindus, we see our mother and when we think of muslims we think of our friend’s mother.

It takes an effort.

Let us not think of Babar. Let us think of the movie garam hawa. Let us think of the simple movie Amar, Akbar, Anthony!

It takes an effort.

Let us not get provoked or excited by extremist statements on any side… It takes an effort.

Foolishness pervades all humanity. Prejudice pervades all humanity. Let us rise above that. This is our chance. Write for peace! Vote for unity! It takes an effort.

Who are Indian muslims? Are they not descendants of the same ancestors with the same gene pool who accepted willingly or unwillingly the tenets of another religion and philosophy?

Some people who claim to be the spokespersons of Hindus and Muslims may make statements in the media. They may truly believe themselves to be such spokespersons. But are they truly spokespersons? Why can’t we accept Javed Akhtar  as the voice of the muslim majority?

Which famous Hindu spokesperson represents our voice, or the voice of the “aam Hindu”?

In my work and travels, I have met many kind and good Hindus and Muslims, who want to get ahead in life and who want some divine help when they are stuck. They turn to any divinity anywhere, in anyone.

I believe that Arjuna’s role in B.R. Chopra’s tele series Mahabharat was played by a muslim actor, who demanded that Krishna should belong to muslims as well as Hindus! He loved Krishna!

So, Who are Hindus and Who are Muslims?

We are cousins, worshipping the same divinity on our different ways. Previous generations were more easily excited by politically divisive speeches. I hope the following generations will  be immune to them. I want my country to be safe and strong. When spokesmen for the other side makes unfair statements don’t get annoyed or provoked. When spokesmen for your side tries to arouse your defensive emotions don’t get aroused.

All this advice is really to myself… I am no saint or guru to advise anyone else!

Satya Sarada Kandula

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