Monday, January 11, 2016

Roots of Religion

Roots of Religion

Poet Iqbal wrote,
"Majhab nanhi shikhata aapas mai bair rakhana, Hindi hai ham, vatan hai, Hindostan hamara."

Homo Sapien humans have travelled 200,000 years to gain the present form of modern humans. His desires to rule, made him the unquestionable ruler of the earth. But simultaneously, he has invented weapons for self destruction. The religions were initiated by the ancestors to introduce code of conduct to maintain law & order in human societies so that people live in harmony and peace. But the religions created to promote good virtues are becoming the dividing lines of the world population today.

When a baby is born, he/she is unaware of its identity of sex, language, nation and religion. But the parents feed information in that innocent brain and slowly the baby become hindu, muslim, christian, etc. Parents simply give them identity of religion. But do you know, who mark the religion more in their brains? The parents or the Schools? The pupils start going to the school at age 5 Y (now pre schooling at age 3Y), the age of recording information in their memory box, in the sub conscious brain. Whatever they learn, carry long lasting effects.

During Gunotsav, I had an opportunity to visit 3 types of schools: Urdu (1-5 Std), Gujarati (6-8 Std) and Hindi (1-8 Std).

The Urdu school starts its day with chanting of 5 kalimas of Quran, summarized as follows.

"There is none worthy of worship except Allah the Greatest and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Allah gives life and causes death. In His hand is all good and He has power over everything. I seek forgiveness from Allah, from every sin I committed knowingly or unknowingly, secretly or openly."

It is followed by Hamn, the prayer of Allah and the Naat, the attribute to the Prophet. The school prayers memorize them daily that Allah is the supreme power, Muhammad is his messenger, and one should walk on path of good virtues.

The religious environment of the school then changed into nationalist when the students performed simple Yoga; took pledge - bharat mera desh hai... and sang the National Anthem Jan-gan-man with utmost respects.

The Muslim children learn Arabic alphabets in Madresa (pre primary) so that they can read Quran. Therefore, the students in primary are good at reading and writing in Urdu. They study Gujarati, Hindi from Std 3 and English from Std 5. The girls perform song "manushya tu bada mahan hai" and Gujarati "amo govaliya, mathe teri falia, lakdi lai ame kherar ma jata", very pleasantly.

Our second day visit was in a Gujarati school. The day started with prayer, "itani shakti hamai dena data, man ka vishvas kamjor ho na", followed by a song "Nandji no lalo..kare re kilol, jashoda no jayo kare re kilol"; then yoga, bharat pledge and National anthem.

The third day was in a Hindi school. The prayer meeting was combined with Gujarati school. The day started with "Manushya tu bada mahan" song, followed by a dance song, yoga, bharat pledge and National Anthem.

Each school follows a system of greeting students. The cleanest will be named "Today's Rose" and the birthday boy/girl will be greeted as "Today's Lamp". There is a system of asking 3-4 GK questions and reading 3-4 headlines of the day.

Students as a community are one. They don't have dividers. Then who divides them? The parents? The schools? The religious leaders? The politicians? The media? The historians? How could innocent children we are divided in religious groups as adults?

They are innocent as children and the teaching of teachers is their truth. Therefore, whatever they learn from the school, carry permanent marks. I see the repetition of religious morning prayer everyday carry greater impact on their innocent minds that give them stronger religious identity. Parents make the marks permanent.

I could see the love and respect of students for India in all the three schools; hope not seen the seeds of division of Muslim India and Hindu India!

I could mark that Muslims follow their religion more systematically, in an organized way. Their punctuality in performing daily Namaz and discipline in community prayer on Friday are unique. Hindus generally have freedom and multiplicity in worshiping God.

The question puzzles my mind. If Muslim children can study Arabic alphabets in pre primary to read Quran and read Kalima in Schools; why can't the Hindu Children learn Sanskrit alphabets in pre primary and read Vedas and Geeta in Schools?

Please guide.

10 December 2016


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