Never in My Name #NotInMyName

Never in My Name #NotInMyName

A Muslim friend of mine,  raved and ranted about the killing of 16-year-old Junaid in Delhi.  He forwarded a message which was spewing with hatred and accused all Hindus of being the killers.  This was not an illiterate or impulsive youth.  This is a perfectly sane, educated, middle-aged family man who is also a Doctor.  Where did this hate come from? We have spent years together sitting on the same bench as classmates and never hated each other.

There was no way I could think of comforting him.  But, it showed his deep insecurities living in a country in which he and his ancestors were born.  He was worrying about a future for his children who belong to this country.  Where should he go?  Who will comfort his fears?   When did it become ‘them’ and ‘us’?  Weren’t we the same?  

I am against all forms of violence.  Religious tolerance is very important for me.  In my school days,  we never asked for anybody’s religion.  Our talks were never on religion.  So,  it surprises me when my son comes home and tells me his friends’ names and then in the same breath continues to tell me that one is a Muslim, another a Christian and third is a Jain.  Why should he think it is important to know the religion of his friends?

A lot of these disconnected acts are adding up to become a bigger problem.  I hope this stops before we get there as I do not see a way to bring back trust, once lost.  We Mumbaikars, have proof since we had been through the 1992 riots.  I believe in all religions and do not think one is superior than the other.  Are we not taught,  that God is everywhere?  Are we not taught to be proud of our diversity?  India thrives in its pluralism and freedom of choices.  Let not one choice be better than the other.

Above all religions,  is the religion of humanity.  As a Hindu,  I do not give permission to anybody to impose my choices on someone else.  With 33 crore Gods,  it really is irrelevant to me if someone follows a different set of rituals or calls for prayers through a speaker.  In fact,  near my maternal home,  we could hear the azaans from atleast 3 mosques.  Every time it started, I have watched my mother pray to her Hindu God.  She said azaans are a call to prayer and so she is praying.

I do not give permission to anybody to represent me as a Hindu.  Your Hinduism is different from my Hinduism.  A Hindu in the north is different from a Hindu in the south.  Even Hindus among the different states follow different rituals,  even within states.  In fact,  move a 100 km and a new set of rituals will appear.  Then who gave anybody the permission to kill someone in the name of religion.   My religion does not give you permission.  It is definitely not me.  #NotInMyName will you claim another act of violence or lawlessness.  The fringe is not the norm and it can never be normal.

I believe my Muslim friend will understand that 0.0001% of people who are involved in these crimes do not speak for the majority of Hindus.  I stand with you, my friend.  A 16 year old is a child for me.  He is younger than my own son.  As a mother,  my heart goes out to the family of Junaid.  It is a fate I would not wish for even my worst enemies.

23 thoughts on “Never in My Name #NotInMyName

  1. Tolerance which was our virtue seems to be have been washed away in these times. Thanks to bloggers like you to raise a voice against the growing hatred!

    1. Thanks Sara. We cannot define a whole community due to few people. There is no godliness in their acts of violence. Violence can never be justified.

  2. The country is being so sharply divided that now no one even feels safe pointing it out, cos you will be bullied if you call out certain injustices and suddenly, you’re in the wrong. Or so you’re made to feel.
    I wholeheartedly agree with every word you’ve written. What is happening isn’t right at all. But who is to make these extremists understand. We also never spoke about religion while growing up. It was when I first moved to Kerala that these things started cropping up in conversations – so removed from the kind of conversations I was used to having. I still don’t consider myself a religious person, but whatever I’m by birth does not want to associate with these people with their divisive ideologies and agendas.

  3. I’m not a fan of organised religion and I blame religious leaders and politicians for the divide. Like you, I never saw ‘religion’ as a problem while growing up. However, it does permeate through society. I wasn’t in Bombay during the 92 riots but let’s face it, the divide between Hindus and Muslims was rife thanks to a certain political party in Maharashtra. If I’m not mistaken, the current PM of India turned a blind eye when Muslims were killed during his stint as chief minister. If that’s the kind of person ruling the country, there can only be more divide. Not a fan of religion. Your thoughts are well articulated and argued.

  4. That was such a heartfelt post Lata and you spoke for a lot of us. It’s weird, this polarisation that seems to be happening. I loved your mom’s idea of prating each time she hears the azaan. For us that is a sound of our childhood. When we would wake up early during exams we would hear it before sunrise as also bhajans from hariom sharan. All of that coexisted peacefully.

    1. We lived in a similar set up. There was a temple right below our flat and we could hear the daily aartis. Early morning studies were related to the Azaan calls. Who needed an alarm clock anyways?

  5. I dont support any one, whether in the name of religion, name or country or creed when it comes to violence. It is sad that such things are happening. One commonly hears it as” retiliation”… Wondering one one would put a stop to it.

  6. You have articulated your thoughts so well, Lata. It is the politicians and the media who are splitting peoples hearts and mind, using religion. I hope we, as citizens, will stop them from doing complete damage before it is too late.

  7. So much hatred being spewed in the name of religion. It’s a terrible incident that happened but because of few religious fanatics, even the normal population is getting effected and this hatred is getting propagated . Well written Lata

  8. What’s happening is bad! I feel sad for Junaid but also for what happened in UK!
    No religion is bad! But there are few bad ones (unfortunately) in every religion.

    Zainab @

  9. I agree with you whole-heartedly Lata. We are, first and foremost, human. We all have the same blood, similar hopes and dreams and aspirations. The Hinduism I grew up with was tolerant, all-embracing, open minded, and accepting of counter views. The Hindutva of today is nothing I can ever understand – this is not what any God or any religion preaches. Those who claim otherwise are just twisting religious books and reading religious sentiments to their own twisted ends. But yes, Never In My Name!

  10. I agree with you wholeheartedly Lata- we are all humans first and brothers in humanity. And as you said the beauty of being Hindu is the freedom to practice our beliefs in the way we want…. in my own home we each have our favourite prayers and deities and they all stay together in our family devghar .

    1. Exactly Sunita. My parents are Krishna worshippers. I got married into a Shiva worshipping family. My mother-in-law is even more progressive and does not adhere to any superstition and will not accept anything without proper reasoning. This includes fasts also. I do not pray at all except when I go to temples which is probably once a year. But, the husband is devout and does poojas everyday. Ultimately, it is my way to reach my God. That is the base of our religion. Thanks Sunita.

  11. It’s really shocking what’s happening with fringe elements in society hijacking a religion and the faces of terror are sparing no one to speak in our names as human beings.Not in my name is a good campaign to say No to what’s happening in India and people must stand tall in opposing violence and bring back the values that India always stood for. I am so glad you wrote this powerful post. I intrigued at the silence of the majority who choose not to speak about the issue.

    I wrote a post on it in the second blog and do have a look if you can:

    1. Vishal I read your post and so totally agree with it. Before publishing this post, I was so unsure and a bit fearful too. I even waited for a few hours rethinking before publishing. That is the effect of the fringe upkeepers of nationalism. But, if we fear violence and keep silent, means we are supporting them. And with a deep breath, I hit ‘Publish’.

      1. Yes I wrote this post in the same frame of mind since I don’t want unnecessary controversy and reason why there was no FB share, except on few groups. We can and should do what it takes to make our voices count.

  12. It’s very sad, Latha. Killing in the name of any religion is just sick and wrong. Like you rightly pointed out, polarization is increasing.

    1. Thanks Rachna. I am sickened by the happenings and mindless killings. But the mobs seem so much arrogant and they are ok with being seen in videos showing them as hitting and killing people. Do they not have any fear for the law? And here we are putting more money into protecting cows instead of people.

  13. Sad is the current plight of affairs. I mean, for one thing – being proud of or a staunch supporter of any particular religion does not mean that basic things like humanity should be forgotten. And that’s a personal belief – not something to be imposed on anyone.
    And it’s true right? I dont recollect asking for my friends’ religions or caste statuses or anything like that when we grew up.
    I think we have officially started going in reverse now.

    1. Thanks Sid. I hope we really do not go in reverse. Or if we go in reverse, it better be to the old times when there was peace and harmony amongst us. We should not take our freedoms for granted.

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