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Religious Tolerance 

Religious Tolerance 

Anusha Tamrakar  

B. Ed. 4th Year  

Recently I visited Pashupatinath temple to observe Arati (Evening Prayer). The Arati, unlike on previous occasions, started with a speech demanding that the upcoming constitution address Nepal as a Hindu state. Religious leaders, devotees and general audience had gathered there. I was astounded on seeing a white lady of foreign origin standing in front of lord Narayana statue and offering her prayers. The white lady might have accepted the Hindu religion but she was not allowed to go inside the temple because the authorities believe that she must be a Christian, a beef eater. 

After coming home, I posted a status on my Facebook: “Nepal was a Hindu state and it should be” and in another status, “Even Muslim brother and sisters are supporting for the Hindu state but we are brainwashed by dollars and euros”. I got hundreds of likes. Many friends advised me to remain silent about secularism while some others agreed with me that Nepal should be a Hindu state.  

I did my best to encourage people to comment whether Nepal should be declared a Hindu state or secular. One commentator Bhim Nepali was for secular state rather than Hindu state and was against the idea that Christians were not manipulated by dollars and euros to convert Hindu into Christianity. Nepali has respect for other religions too and feels sorry from the side of some Christians mocking Hindus as worshipers of Satan. I asked him, “are you ready to bow down or offer prayer to Hindu gods and goddesses?” he said that he was not ready to do so. Many Hindus easily bow to Jesus without any religious discrimination. 

For likes of Nepali, Christianity will be there till the end of times and it is the source of love, compassion and service to humanity. Christianity was planned before the start of time and it will be there beyond the future. He is not for Christian religion but for Christian faith and he does not believe in institutionalization of faith and politicization of religion. He further argued that God does not change cultures but religions might.  

I myself have no religion; for me all religions are equal and I visit every religious center wherever I feel like. I am neither for Hindu state nor for secular state but for beyond religious boundaries. For me, religion is purely an individual matter. Real religious person has nothing to do with groups or organized religion, I must hate Hindu religion because it has been discriminating against an untouchable like me since time immemorial, not letting us enter the temple and making us mentally paralyzed by socially humiliating and not giving equal opportunity in all state affairs. 

This is why time and again I like to say Nepal is a state ruled by caste not by constitutions. However, I have been born in a Hindu family and struggling hard within this religion without converting myself to other religion to eliminate the caste based discrimination. I must remain within this religion to eliminate all bad practices. If I adopt another religion who will look after discriminated groups? I am not a escapist but an existentialist. 

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