“Fundamental duties and rights” was being discussed with students of class 5. I was explaining “Right to follow any religion”. Most of them were showing their opinions like ‘Religion means to do good deeds’, ‘Religion teaches us to believe in God’,’God is one’ etc.
Then I asked, “Just think! If there was only one religion in our country, wouldn’t it be a better country, wouldn’t it be a better option than to have so many religions and beliefs? What are your thoughts about it?”
As most of the children were from same community, I thought that they’ll agree with me. But it was not so. Half of them said that even if there are many religions and communities, it doesn’t make a difference. But the others were saying that having one religion was a better option because most of the riots and misunderstanding among masses are caused because of different religions only.
“Do you really feel that riots happen because of religion ?” I asked. “Yes”, they said, “That’s what we come to know through newspapers, TV and other means”. Their views compelled me to think about my childhood days spent in my native village. I thought it was the right time to share my experience with them.
“Children! ” I said, “I want to share something with you. The village, to which I and my ancestors belong, has 50% Muslims. But I never heard of any riots there till now. Not a single family or person was hurt in the name of religion”.
After listening to my words, all of them looked surprised. “Ma’am! how is it possible? if this can happen in that village, then why not in other places?” one of them said. “Not only in that village!” I added, “There are many villages where people of different religion live peacefully. If you visit these villages, you can see that yourselves”.
There was a complete silence in the class for few minutes. “Then why do the members of one community attack the other community in cities?” they asked. “I don’t know”, I said, “Try to discuss with elders and find out the cause of these problems”. I don’t know how many of them will discuss this topic with grown ups and how their elders will respond. But even if one student tries to discuss and think deeply about it, I’ll feel as if I have sown a seed of integration and harmony so that people of India can expect a better future.