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Today in India, is it nation over religion or religion over nation?

IndiaToday in India, is it nation over religion or religion over nation?

India is encompassed by Pakistan, China, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Burma, and Bangladesh, so nationalism is the echoed warrior cry of Indians.

India As A Nation

It is right that nationalism heightens into a fiery flame in our nation and loyalty toward India takes precedence, but there is an extra facet of India that we neglect to see.  The uniqueness of India lies in the close proximity of temples, mosques, gurdwaras, and churches, shrines, unlike many other nations.  The chanting prayers and chiming of temple bells, the beautiful songs, and messages in churches filled me with peace and as a child, I always love the sweet aromatic incense of agarbatti sticks, the Islamic calls to prayers invariably exuded a sense of quiet harmony within me, and Buddhists chanting on their wooden beads held me spellbound with their mysterious charm.

India is deeply rooted in the spiritual springs of different faiths.  Most Indians are born into homes in a rich atmosphere of prayers, rituals, and faith practices.  Even atheists have some form of belief that strings them together in a value system.   Faith or religion for the majority of Indians is like a Mother that nurtures them throughout their childhood to the dusk of their lives.

As a child, we are first exceedingly aware of our environments, our homes, and our first exposure for most would be our faith or religion.  Later, we then would identify that we were Indians perhaps around the age of four or maybe after that thus spurring on an inbuilt comprehension that we are Indians.  This knowledge made us quite happy with no disputes about loyalty to the nation or the flag.  On watching a cricket match, we naturally cheer on India to win.

No one over the decades ever even heard words like “nationalism” yet India has fought 2 wars with Pakistan and 2 with China all in their unity with diversity.  In fact, the first accusations of being called anti-national came from hard-core RSS groups who called any Indians who criticized the government anti-national, and also for the first time, Muslims and Christians were ridiculed for religion, unheard of before!

In fact, during these last seven years, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, Dalits, Jains, Buddhists, and all others united strongly especially during the anti-CAA movement and it was especially touching to see Hindus and others fight up for the Muslims during this long-tussled battle.  Likewise, during the COVID-19 tragedy, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and others helped each other in a myriad of ways and we saw the love and unity shining through these communities in wonderful ways.

When Danger Started to Stir:

Faith and spirituality flow out of souls like springs of living water to build up a nation.  They are intricately entwined within each other just like a tree for the majority of Indians.  The roots are our faith, our nation is like a tree that grows strong and sturdy and when they work unitedly, everyone will get the fruit together.

New toxicity operates in a nation when some people suddenly dig deep into the soul of a person with a knife and asks them almost threateningly, “Are you loyal to your nation or your religion?” The person feels cornered for the first time. They were always true to India, they never planned treason in the secrets of their souls nor went out on clandestine meetings to plot espionage nor thought evil for India, but suddenly they are asked to choose between something so personal within them and the nation, which they always knew they cherished.

A pure person’s soul sings its life out to the Creator, then people, which is humanity, and out of humanity sparks out a natural love for the nation.  You cannot love your nation if you do not love its people.  One cannot separate the two.  Questioning people on their loyalty is like digging daggers into the soul of India which is a very spiritual and humanity lovers in the nation.  In fact, the East is very spiritually inclined and Indians today are moving more towards the movement called humanity because of hate and divisions spurred on by politicized religion.

If we go back in time, the origins of Red Communism tried to make people choose, “Your nation or your religion,” and if people revealed a deeper love for their faith, they spilled out millions of people’s blood simply because they were asked to choose between their faith and nation.

Mao Zedong, December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976, ruled China as an autocratic and totalitarian regime responsible for mass repression, as well as the destruction of religious and cultural artifacts and sites.  His movement was responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 40 to 80 million victims through starvation, persecution, prison labor, and mass executions.  Tens of millions of people were persecuted during the Revolution, while the estimated number of deaths ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions, and his total aim was “nation over religion.”   He took away that freedom forever and that is the root of communism in its rawest form.  They believe religion is the root of evil so they will force people to say, “Nation over religion.”

Kim Jong-un North Korean Supreme Leader has declared nation over religion: and North Korea is an atheist state; Perhaps from 710,000 to slightly over 3,500,000 people have been slain, with a mid-estimate of almost 1,600,000 or far more.  Religion considered anathema to him is wiped out of North Korea through force with where nation over religion was his war cry,

China’s communist leader Xi Jinping stated “nation over religion” persecuted of members of other spiritual organizations is also continuing under Xi Jinping. Officials have targeted Christianity, and Islam, with particular intensity.  In the Chinese province of Zhejiang alone, over 1200 Christian crosses have been removed from their steeples since 2013. The government of China continued to persecute Christians during the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic.  Xi Jinping destroyed religion and made himself God or cleverly said nation over religion. Thus religious voices were crushed.

The Muslim Uyghur genocide is an ongoing series of human rights abuses committed by the government of China against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities in and around the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People’s Republic of China.  This again is to repress religion and declare “nation over religion.”

Nero (A.D. 37-68) was the fifth emperor of Rome, ruling from A.D. 54 to 68. He became the Roman emperor when he was seventeen, the youngest ever at that time. He was a homicidal psychotic ruler and a hater of religion.  He fixed the blame for the Great Fire on the Christians, some of whom he hung up as human torches to light his gardens at night.

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, born Ioseb Besarionis dzе Jughashvili, was a Georgian revolutionary and the ruler of the Soviet Union from 1927.  He declared “nation over religion” and killed over 9 million people in a bid to repress voices, resistance, faiths, and religion.

No Indian Should be asked Choose Between Religion and Nation and Here is Why:

By nature, we are naturally loyal to the nation we are born in, and it operates naturally without a shadow of a doubt.  The Indian Army constitutes people of all religions and faiths, who practice their faiths devotedly and were never asked to stop their worship, with every religion honored.  They were never pointed with a gun and barked at by their seniors, “Does your religion or nation come first?”  It was profoundly understood that they were loyal soldiers.  When a traitor comes creeping in, it is probably one in a million.  People do sell out their countries for money, power, and position, but never religion!  

When we start demanding people to prove their loyalty to the nation, it comes as a shock to them and if we ask them point-blank, it is almost like asking them to choose between their mother and nation and emotionally strung, one will choose the one who reared them up as a baby, so it is a very delicate sensitive question and plays no role in establishing true loyalty.  In fact, the ones who scream “nationalism” are probably not living in India and are just somewhere out there shooting daggers dividing Indians.

My uncles who were in the Indian Army told me that in their own units, they had their own places of worship such as temples, gurdwaras, mosques, churches, and others, and at no point were they ever asked, “Nation or Religion first.”  These questions never arose and they all united to fight the China, Pakistan, and World Wars.

The Root of India Will Naturally Bring out Fruit

There is an old wise saying that when you meet a new person, you never talk about three things, RELIGION, POLITICS, or PERSONAL MATTERS.  You gear the conversation to the weather!  Faith, religion is entwined in the soul of every human, believer, religious, spiritual, or atheist, and it grows within.  Provoking questions like these will trigger unnecessary eruptions.  The people who died for India and will die for India are ones who never talked about nationalism. They don’t talk, they do.  This is a fact.

We as secular Indians should honor our diversities and differences.  We may beg to disagree and share our opinions but not to start quarreling among ourselves.  Even if there is a radical religious person who declares he or she is more is loyal to his or her religion, it does not really matter because we don’t want to become  Mao Zedong  They still have the freedom of expression and they are expressing their emotions and sentiments, it really does not mean they hate India.  The only danger is if they want to kill you for their religion or throw a bomb at you or pull the trigger at you which I doubt will happen.

In the meantime, we need to network together and help us all to understand that even if we think differently, we are still loyal Indians, even if some of us are more radical in our faith, it does not signify we are traitors.  We do not have to infuse nationalism in others or we will start becoming like Lenin, Stalin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, and others who tried to crush the faith of people putting them on a guilt trip by demanding, “Nation or religion first?”  All this raises unnecessary conflicts in the soul and the nation.  India does not need this now!

The truth is even when a soldier is dying, his or her last thoughts will be on eternity and the Creator and the afterlife, the next place they are going to go to. Even atheist scientists and astronauts in space start thinking about God.  Our country is very precious but in the face of naked death, religion and faith become the closest to us all breathing intensely in our souls, which lives forever.  Faith is so deep and hidden, secret yet vibrant and more powerful than any force and we cannot negate its value.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution has the word “secular”, and articles 25 to 28 implying that the State will not discriminate, patronize or meddle in the profession of any religion. However, it shields individual religions or groups by adding religious rights as fundamental rights. Let us not ask people, “Nation first our your religion first,” No, not as secular Indians, let’s not do it! We all love our nation and we know it and that is enough.

People do sell out their countries for money, power, and position, but never religion so let us not target our religious ones!  Friends, if we are doing this, this is a false kind of nationalism sneaking up.  We could be stepping into the raging fires of Red Communism which was the greatest hater of faith and religion and killed billions of people over time.  Do we want this for India? It starts with a whisper, which seems very harmless in the beginning.

In my conclusive note, I want to add that many religiously-minded soldiers died for India even though they did not call themselves “nationalists or cry out nation first.” Their faith was dear to them because they knew they would most likely die for their nation.  These are the people who do…without saying much, and there are some who talk a lot about nationalism and do nothing but divide India.




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