There have always been wars waged against people based on their religion, color, and beliefs. Beginning from the Crusades, numerous Jihads, Holocaust, and the South Asian religious animosities paved the way for the deaths of millions. When we narrow the geography and timeline of such injustices to our current position, the statistics still disappoint us. Considering the pace of globalization and the economic growth of this nation, one would assume that India has progressed beyond such prejudice based on difference, and at the brink of forming an inclusive society. Religious intolerance is a growing, rather than a shrinking, worldwide problem.[1]

We have listed a few recent injustices faced by Indian people in 2020 based on their values and belief systems: 

  1. Muslims are being killed for eating cows. [2][3]
  2. Converted Christians were killed for abandoning former belief systems.[4][5]
  3. A Hindu was killed for performing puja. [6]

In our view, a solution lies in our education systems.

The religious conflicts started by our ancestors and a few present day extremists can be justified by the absence of complex thought processes, leading to a general lack of in-depth religious knowledge.[7][8] While conflicts out of ego, psychopathy and greed could also be rebranded as “religious” for gaining peer/people support, [9][10] we are solely talking about the lack of knowledge and bridging the gap to end religion based conflict.

Education plays a vital role in limiting the number of people being blinded by religious beliefs.  Research shows that people who gain comprehensive knowledge about their religion often choose peace and non-violence because they are less vulnerable to manipulation, and peer influence.[11][12]

Educational reformers often alter a country’s educational structure to yield economic results. Such reformations fail to include or accentuate environmental, communal, traditional and life value aspects. Economic prosperity is often mistaken as the road towards communal harmony.[13][14] The absence of a well-researched and structured pedagogy in these traits force children to form their own assumptions depending on the perceptions of their parents and peers. Some Indian parents, widely uneducated in such areas, can hinder a child’s development by imparting their own religious prejudices, among other toxic values. A good educational system teaches pupils ‘how to think’ rather than ‘what to think’. [15][16] We urge policy-makers to form a system where each child is encouraged to gain thorough knowledge of his/her belief system, which could eventually curb such violence.

References:

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/how-should-faith-communities-halt-the-rise-in-religious-violence/
  2. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-20/cow-vigilantes-in-india-killed-at-least-44-people-report-finds
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43496017
  4. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2020-07/india-bishop-laments-killing-of-christian-woman.html
  5. https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2020/july/five-christians-killed-for-their-faith-in-india-persecution-is-on-the-rise-all-over-india
  6. https://www.opindia.com/2020/04/muslim-neighbours-killed-hindu-man-revant-singh-lighting-lamp-ram-navami/
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237774584_Religious_Basis_for_Islamic_Terrorism_The_Quran_and_Its_Interpretations
  8. http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/771-my-people-are-destroyed-for-a-lack-of-knowledge
  9. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=h5goCwAAQBAJ
  10. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40389216?seq=1
  11. https://www.mkgandhi.org/ebks/the-way-to-communal-harmony.pdf
  12. https://www.usip.org/publications/2006/01/religious-contributions-peacemaking-when-religion-brings-peace-not-war
  13. https://www.haaretz.com/1.5119355
  14. https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/brochures/kozma-wp1-conceptual-framework.pdf
  15. https://www.thinkerventures.com/what-you-think-vs-how-you-think/
  16. https://fs.blog/2015/08/how-to-think/

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