Does cultural & religious freedom entitle you to uncivilized behaviour?

“India is a culturally rich country with diversity prevailing at almost every few steps as you traverse the land.”

~ The most clichéd textbook statement, even though it is true. If you really want to witness this diversity, just look around and you’ll find how differently people behave and live. I remember one of my lecturers in the Communications class talking of how beliefs are mere by-products of the juxtaposition of cultural & religious roots of one’s family, geographical location and upbringing. This largely shapes a person’s belief, attitude and in turn of like-minded popular groups too. Diversity is the beauty of Indian culture. Indeed, it adds spice and flavour to our lives! The Indian constitution too respects this diversity hence introducing a few clauses that don’t let inequality persist. Good.

However, the down side of diversity comes into picture when despite cordial civil behaviour inked in the book of law, certain attitudes remain grounded into people, communities, etc. This is where the problem begins.

We live in a world where the need to coexist prevails: even before being a human right, it is the law of the nature, etched in the process of evolution. The prevalence of coexistence is the biggest challenge in the the diverse India.

A policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc. Despite fundamental disagreements – the meaning of co-existence defined by dictionary.

When I speak of challenge, it means maintaining peace. If you are an Indian and I need to explain you how this happens, you’re probably not older than four years! (No offence intended)

Speak of any two religions- have we accepted each other and can we co-exist? If so, riots would perhaps never happen!

All this co-existence gyaan reminds me of a many incidents and instances, also my post on acceptance (read here.). I’d like to share something I’ve been witnessing over a period of time.

Right behind my apartment, there’s another apartment, under construction. I am annoyed with its presence since it blocks sunlight to my bedroom completely, however, its relevance holds in this post only to an extent that I hate the building being constructed. Now comes the primary reason of hatred:

Every thursday night roughly between 9 to 11, a certain religious group of individuals, not more than 10-15, gather for a satsang sabha in the parking area of this under construction building. They gather here, sing bhajans, aartis; share stories of the God they preach. The origin and authenticity of the songs and their pledge & anthem are a matter of doubt to me as their tunes partictically resemble Hindi Film songs, India’s national anthem and India’s pledge. 😀

Anyway, the point is they use a mic and a loudspeaker to sing and do all the talking. I would have understood this if it happened once in a while and for a larger audience. But every thursday night, there is this “nuisance” as i would rightly term it, that tends to disturb my sleep.

My objections:

1. Why use a mic? There must be at least 200-300 people whose balconies and bedroom windows must be facing this building, where nuisance happens! Not all of them visit this satsang. Therefore using loudspeakers and mic are a source of big disturbance.

2. Venue is a personal choice and convenience. But aren’t there rules to behave in a civilized way? Did you just forget you are supposed to co-exist in the surrounding you are? Your preferences for religious beliefs, activities and rituals can be different from mine. Why the show-off? Keep it a personal business either in a closed hall or room. Volume is always an issue. Mic again can be conveniently avoided.

Well, where coexistence comes into picture here when neither me nor my other neighbours who are getting disturbed, have thrown things at this gathering, which was quite convenient. But then others not understanding civilized behaviour violates coexistence as it becomes no more peaceful.

The challenge to coexistence in our diverse country lies here:

A lot of aspects in a cultural and religious diversity are a matter of individual choices. That is why any given two communities are “Fundamentally Different”! Tolerance is one aspect.

However, believing that religious and cultural freedom is one’s fundamental right, does not entitle one to impose one’s thoughts or activities onto others in the first place. Secondly, it does not again entitle such beings to uncivilized behaviour, in the name of right and choice.

I happy to live in a diverse surrounding, provided everyone co-exists in a true sense.

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2 thoughts on “Does cultural & religious freedom entitle you to uncivilized behaviour?

  1. Oh please.. People get a get away for free card for many things in the name of religion.. People can blare hymns and pravachans on speakers, and nights of Garba.. But when I put on rock for an hour people have an issue.

    It is ok to use filmy tunes in bhajans, but not in other films cause then it becomes plagiarism

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    • You’re right about Playing rock music or for that matter any music becoming an issue. But I think the issue is more so because of the sick “Spoilt New Generation” mentality, which lands young lone dwellers like us into trouble. And at such point of time, when we argue raising issues like Navratri garba or bhajan mandli, they get away in the name of religion.

      The point I am trying to make here is, any such thing happening once in a while is alright, whether rock music or bhajan but all such business occurring regularly must consider civil behaviour. And not many understand this!

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