RELIGION- A PRACTISE, NOT A CONSTRAINT
Author: Karan Gupta, I Year of B.Com.LL.B(Hons.) From UILS, Panjab University Chandigarh.
The religion is being used as a weapon and many conflicts arose and became the burning issues that would not have got much flame had the conflicts not been arose. The religion needs to be taken as a practice and preaching and not should be dragged in the ambit of conflicts.
In the present era, online gadgets have become the part and parcel of our life, especially during the pandemic period. With this, we even heard that cyber crimes are on the alarming rise. So, it is in our hands how to utilize these online gadgets. It is not that computer is a demon who will incline us towards the illegal and unlawful activities. It is our mindset that magnets us towards the image tarnishing activities.
Similar is the case with religion. Now, try to relate religion, in the aforesaid situation, as computer. It is the mindset of the people that tends to create a healthy environment or conflicts on the basis of religion.
The religion has been given a legal aspect by mentioning them in the Constitution as Fundamental Rights under Article 25 to 28. Even the Preamble mentions the word “secular” which implies that anyone is free to adopt, practice or follow any religion or not to follow any religion. Nobody can force anybody to convert their religion.
Despite providing legal validity to religion and its adoption practices, there are numerous examples where the conflict has arisen either directly or indirectly.
Let me take you back to the era of independence, many Hindus and Muslims were slaughtered and who slaughtered them? They were none other than the Hindus and the Muslims. It was a ghastly seen of train to Pakistan with so many dead bodies with a few alive. It was the first major religion based intense conflict.
Then with a short span of 2018- 2021, many religion based conflicts arose.
The Sabrimala Temple of Kerala became the frontrunner in one of the religious practice issues. It was believed by the people that women of menstruating age must not be allowed entry to the Sabrimala Temple dedicated to Lord Ayappa. But the Supreme Court allowed entry of women in the temple irrespective of age on the grounds that the ban on entry of women violated fundamental right of freedom of religion within the ambit of article 25 of Constitution of India.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 was brought to give citizenship to religion based communities from the countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar. It was a welcome move by the Union Government and even it shows their generosity on inviting the people of different religions mentioned in the Act to be a citizen of India but even that was criticized immensely by the opposition and many people saying that they are against the Muslim community as they did not included them in the Act. Many Muslim students of Jamia Milia Islamia protested against this amendment and the police intervened by the excessive force.
In Kerala, the news related to marriage by a Muslim boy with a Hindu girl became a hot potato topic. This even resulted in a case where the father of girl filed a case on the grounds that boy is trying to convert her daughter’s religion on the pretext of marrying her.
Such cases even arose in many states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. In 2020, the Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 was passed. But even before passing the bill, it was criticized on the notion that it is being used as a device to oppress the Muslims but its legislative intent was to prohibit the forced conversion of religion through marriage. The Government, in the welfare of protection of the abstract of secularism enshrined in the Constitution, framed this ordinance. But where it resulted? It led to religious conflicts articulated, by the different influential people just to create conflicts.
The religion has time and again, been used as a fabricated device to create conflicts within different religious sects. But, it has now been extended to such an extent that religious practice is being made the weapon. It is an utter disappointing implication that is though, not an established fact but it can be inferred as one of the inferences.
This has been spotlighted in the Hijab case filed as petition in Karnataka, where 11 Muslim girls came as petitioner when they were not allowed to give their pre-board exams by wearing Hijab. The arguments ensued in the High Court of Karnataka it was been argued that wearing Hijab is not an essential religious practice. But, after analyzing the whole situation and applying the rationale and considering the legal point of view, it can be said that Hijab can be worn at any place. It needs to be understood that restricting them from wearing Hijab in pre board exam could be considered in view of preventing the non disclosure of identity of any student.
Moreover, there are chances of cheating practice to be conducted on allowing it. However, they are not restricted outside the educational institutions to wear Hijab. The practice of Hijab was compared to the turban of Sikhs as an essential religious practice but wearing turban does not hide anyone’s face. The restriction on Hijab would have been wrong if it had been imposed in Mosques as it is a religious place and religious practice cannot be restricted from practicing in religious institutions.
Now, let us consider the case of government jobs interview. Nobody is coerced there to wear formal dress code but the aspirants wear formal clothes. Why is it so? Because, they know that it creates a good impression and it is the practice followed in the public institutions.
A religion is a practice to be followed and its aim is not to constraint or hinder by using it as a tool. Even the religious books convey a similar message that God is one. So, it establishes that every religion except practice follow the same preaching either one way or other. Religion is a holy concept and the pure, unchaste concept should be kept within the four walls of the honesty, integrity and should be refrained from bringing in any conflicting nature. That is the essence of the holy concept of religion as a practice and preaching.