Connect with us

Uncategorized

Coexistence, a unifying factor for Indians

Published

on

By Asad Mirza

For most political parties, sociologists and psephologists what a common Indian on the street thinks matters most. It is an insight into a common mans psyche, which allows them to strategies and formulate new plans and narratives. Though the political parties are able to set the narrative for their own narrow agendas yet they are unable to control the common perceptions and thinking among the populace.

Studies like a recent one by the US-based Pew Research Centre’s Survey of Religion across India, helps not just the narrative formulators but also offers a peep into the common man’s psyche. The recent Pew study based on nearly 30,000 face-to-face interviews of adults conducted in 17 languages between late 2019 and early 2020 (pre-COVID-19), finds that Indians of all religious backgrounds overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths.

Religious Tolerance

Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation. Across the major religious groups, most people say it is very important to respect all religions to be “truly Indian”. And tolerance is a religious as well as a civic value: Indians are united in the view that respecting other religions is a very important part of what it means to be a member of their own religious community.

Yet, despite sharing certain values and religious beliefs e as well as living in the same country, under the same constitution e members of India’s major religious communities often don’t feel they have much in common with one another. The majority of Hindus see themselves as very different from Muslims (66 per cent), and most Muslims return the sentiment, saying they are very different from Hindus (64 per cent).

Tolerance

Indians, then, simultaneously express enthusiasm for religious tolerance and a consistent preference for keeping their religious communities in segregated spheres meaning they live together yet separately. These two sentiments may seem paradoxical, but for many Indians they are not.

Indeed, many take both positions, saying it is important to be tolerant of others and expressing a desire to limit personal connections across religious lines. Indians who favour a religiously segregated society also overwhelmingly emphasise religious tolerance as a core value.

In other words, Indians’ concept of religious tolerance does not necessarily involve the mixing of religious communities. While people in some countries may aspire to create a “melting pot” of different religious identities, many Indians seem to prefer a country more like a patchwork fabric, with clear lines between groups.

This is what I ascribe to the syncretic Indian values, which you’ll not be able to see in any western society. The Indians in spite of all differences and antagonisms try to view themselves as colours of a rainbow, which India is and this is what makes India, united.

Dimensions of Hindu nationalism in India

The survey reports that Hindus tend to see their religious identity and Indian national identity as closely intertwined: Nearly two-thirds of Hindus (64%) say it is very important to be Hindu to be “truly” Indian.

Most Hindus (59 per cent) also link Indian identity with being able to speak Hindi. And these two dimensions of national identity e being able to speak Hindi and being a Hindu e are closely connected. Among Hindus who say it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian, almost 80 per cent also say it is very important to speak Hindi to be truly Indian.

Overall, among those who voted in the 2019 elections, three-in-10 Hindus take all three positions: saying it is very important to be Hindu to be truly Indian; saying the same about speaking Hindi; and casting their ballot for the BJP.

Indian Muslims

Vast majority of India’s Muslims say Indian culture is superior. Today, India’s Muslims almost unanimously say they are very proud to be Indian (95 per cent), and they express great enthusiasm for Indian culture: Eighty-five per cent agree with the statement that “Indian people are not perfect, but Indian culture is superior to others”.

Overall, one-in-five Muslims say they have personally faced religious discrimination recently, but views vary by region. Relatively few Muslims say their community faces “a lot” of discrimination in India (24 per cent). In fact, the share is similar to the share of Hindus who say Hindus face widespread religious discrimination in India (21 per cent).

In addition, most Muslims across the country (65 per cent), along with an identical share of Hindus (65 per cent), see communal violence as a very big national problem.

Muslims’ desire for religious segregation does not preclude tolerance of other groups e again similar to the pattern seen among Hindus. Indeed, a majority of Muslims who favour separate religious courts for their community say religious diversity benefits India.

South v/s North

The survey consistently found that people in the South (the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, and the union territory of Puducherry) differ from Indians elsewhere in the country in their views on religion, politics and identity.

For example, by a variety of measures, people in the South are somewhat less religious than those in other regions e 69 per cent say religion is very important in their lives, versus 92 per cent in the Central part of the country.

Hindu nationalist sentiments also appear to have less of a foothold in the South. Among Hindus, those in the South (42 per cent) are far less likely than those in Central states (83 per cent) or the North (69 per cent) to say being Hindu is very important to be truly Indian. And in the 2019 parliamentary elections, the BJP’s lowest vote share came from the South. In the survey, just 19 per cent of Hindus in the region say they voted for the BJP, compared with roughly two-thirds in the Northern (68 per cent) and Central (65 per cent) parts of the country who say they voted for the ruling party.

Other contentious issues

Most Indian Muslims opposed triple talaq. Fifty-six per cent said Muslim men should not be allowed to divorce this way. Still, 37 per cent of Indian Muslims say they support triple talaq, with Muslim men (42 per cent) more likely than Muslim women (32 per cent) to take this position. A majority of Muslim women (61 per cent) opposed triple talaq.

Similarly many Indians, across a range of religious groups, say it is very important to stop people in their community from marrying into other religious groups. Roughly two-thirds of Hindus in India want to prevent inter-religious marriages of Hindu women (67 per cent) or Hindu men (65 per cent). Even larger shares of Muslims feel similarly: Eighty per cent say it is very important to stop Muslim women from marrying outside their religion, and 76 per cent say it is very important to stop Muslim men from doing so.

The survey throws up many findings which may sound contradictory and unbelievable, yet they represent the true feelings of Indians, however convoluted they may be. And this contradictory yet assimilating feeling is what makes India what it is.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs. The views expressed are personal)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technology

BYJU’S announces launch of new innovation hub

Published

on

New Delhi, Oct 5: Edtech company BYJU’S on Tuesday announced the launch of BYJU’S Lab — an innovation hub based out of the UK, the US and India.

The hub will redefine the role of technology in learning and transform powerful ideas into solutions.

It will create an exciting and fulfilling environment for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) professionals, both experienced as well as new graduates.

For the new venture, BYJU’S will hire AI and ML specialists in the UK, the US and India, who will focus on projects with longer gestation cycles that involve deep analysis to gain valuable insights into the learning habits of children.

“By combining the ability of computing, technology, and data, we at BYJU’S Lab want to explore the power of information and technology to create a more personalised, enhanced, and democratised learning,” BYJU’S Chief Innovation and Learning Officer Dev Roy said, in a statement.

“As we continue to grow and experiment, we will operate at the intersection of business and technology to make innovation real and relevant for our end-customers. We are looking at strengthening our team and look forward to working with bright and curious minds to transform the way children learn,” Roy added.

The company is also paving the way for geography agnostic learning tools that sit at the intersection of mobile, interactive content, and personalised learning methodology.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Hubble spots spiral galaxy with celestial eye

Published

on

Washington, Oct 4: The Hubble Space Telescope, an international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), has detected a spiral galaxy around 130 million light-years from Earth that showcases a celestial eye.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) captured the galaxy — NCG 5728 — which appears to be an elegant and luminous, an ESA statement said.

WFC3 is extremely sensitive to visible and infrared light and thus beautifully captured the regions of NGC 5728 that are emitting light at those wavelengths.

However, there are many other types of light that galaxies such as NGC 5728 emit, which the WFC3 cannot see.

NGC 5728 is also a monumentally energetic type of galaxy, known as a Seyfert galaxy.

Powered by their active cores, Seyfert galaxies are an extremely energetic class of galaxies known as active galactic nuclei (AGNs). This AGNs at its core shines bright due to the gas and dust hurled around its central black hole.

There are many different types of AGNs, but Seyfert galaxies are distinguished from other galaxies with AGNs because the galaxy itself is clearly seen, ESA said.

Other AGNs, such as quasars, emit so much radiation that it is almost impossible to observe the galaxy that houses them.

In the new image “NGC 5728 is clearly observable, and at visible and infrared wavelengths it looks quite normal”, ESA said.

“It is fascinating to know that the galaxy’s center is emitting vast amounts of light in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that WFC3 just isn’t sensitive to! Just to complicate things, the AGN at NGC 5728’s core might actually be emitting some visible and infrared light — but it may be blocked by the dust surrounding the galaxy’s core,” the statement said.

Continue Reading

National

UP cabinet expansion to see 7 new faces, allies to be accommodated

Published

on

Lucknow: Cabinet expansion of the Yogi government will take place on September 27 with seven new ministers taking oath of the office. This is the second cabinet expansion of the Yogi government.

Earlier on August 22, 2019, the Yogi cabinet was expanded for the first time. This expansion is being done keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly elections in 2022, in which the focus will be on creating caste equations.

Sanjay Nishad, A K Sharma, Jitin Prasad, Paltu Ram, Sanjay Gaur, Dharamveer Prajapati, former cabinet minister Chetan Chauhan’s wife Sangeeta Chauhan are among some names likely to get a place in UP’s new cabinet. At present, the Yogi government has 53 ministers including 23 cabinet ministers, nine ministers of state (independent charge) and 21 ministers of state. So, it can accommodate seven more.

The expansion would also indicate how the BJP prefers to deal with its allies ahead of the UP assembly elections. It is most likely that both allies Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the Nishad Party could be accommodated in the Yogi ministry. Leaders with a clean track record are expected to be given priority in the election year.

All discussions on the subject have reportedly been held with chief minister Yogi Adityanath and other senior UP leaders, including state BJP chief Swatantra Dev and general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal.

Continue Reading

Trending