Hindu and Muslim residents of Sendhwa town in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh came together to cremate 75-old-year Sitaram who had no family member left behind. People from both the communities attended his funeral ceremony and cremated him with full honour. This instance depicts inter religious harmony. Religious harmony in India is a concept that indicates that there is love, affection in between different religions.
The Indian constitution supports and encourages religious harmony. In India, every citizen has a right to choose and practice any religion. Maintaining peace and harmony in a multi-religious and multi-lingual society like India becomes an important administrative responsibility.
Communal harmony is of paramount component for the social, economic and cultural development of any country. Swami Vivekananda has rightly said “Different religions are like the streams which lead to the same ocean”
The factors that breed harmony can be found both in history as well as have to be part of conscious government strategy to maintain tranquillity and an atmosphere of tolerance:
- Nationalism as feeling of adherence to nation’s ideals helps citizens rise over differences.
- Humanity, respect for human life and liberty should be inculcated in every citizen of India.
- An impartial administration, above all, which all sections especially minorities can bank upon is a must.
National Foundation for Communal Harmony was constituted in 1992. The vision of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is to have India free from communal and all other forms of violence, where all citizens especially children & youth live together in peace & harmony.
It provides financial assistance to the child victims of societal violence for their care, education & training, aimed at their effective rehabilitation. It promotes communal harmony and national integration by organizing variety of activities either independently or in association with State Governments, NGOs & other organizations.
Ways to promote inter religious harmony:
- Promoting the spirit of the Preamble of Indian Constitution: This reflects the spirit of national integration of our national leaders who fought against British empire, culminating in India becoming free in 1947.
- Political & Administrative measures: Each ethnic, tribal, religious and linguistic group should have freedom to protect their own culture and freedom, as also envisaged by the Constitution.
- Set up an Interfaith Dialogue Committee: This will help promote understanding between different religions.
- Promote Moral Education in Education institutions: This should include the basic teachings of all religions.
- There is a need to ban all communal parties and communal organisations by which the danger of communalism can be made less serious.
Hence, teachings of different religions should be compiled and distributed among the people of the country, including teachings of Saint Vivekananda and other saints who propagated religious harmony and respect for all religions. Such teachings also need to be integrated in the curriculum of schools and colleges.