Today: Jun 25, 2024

Hegemony of one religion never been part of our culture, will never be: NHRC chief

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New Delhi: NHRC chief justice (retd) Arun Kumar Mishra Thursday said ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhav’ or all religions are the same has been the ethos of India, and that the hegemony of one religion “has never been part of our culture, it never was and will never be”.

In his address at the opening of a conference here on ‘Human Rights in Indian Culture and Philosophy’, he also said forcible religious conversion was never accepted by India’s civilisation and it is “against humanity”.

Extolling the virtues of Indian culture, he said, all religions speak of peace and non-violence. “Peaceful co-existence is our culture, our dharma”.

“If our blood is not different, how can there be any difference between religions, Gods,” he said.

“It is time to think about the oneness of Gods, all religions have one goal. Today, don’t know for what reasons or interests, attempts are being made to create a divide. There is a need to implement again the syncretic tradition of (Akbar’s) ‘Din-i-Ilahi’,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the retired Supreme Court judge addressed a technical session as part of the conference, where he said ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence) via Buddhism is a “gift from India” to the wider world.

His comments come in the backdrop of brutal killing of a tailor in Udaipur by two men who had posted videos online that claimed they were avenging an insult to Islam.

The two-day event is being hosted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). The NHRC chief cited Mahatma Gandhi, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Dayanand Saraswati, and added “we have to remember Akbar also” in this context.

“Gandhi, Patel lived with ‘ahimsa’, it is taught in Jainism and Buddhism too. Forty-seven countries have adopted Buddhism, it is a gift from India — ‘ahimsa’. What Ashoka borrowed from Buddhism – ‘ahimsa’… What we have given to the entire world is being talked about today… Indian culture, we have not forgotten, it is in our blood,” he said.

He then spoke of ‘adhikar’ (rights) and ‘dayitva’ (duties) as spoken in the Indian texts.

“‘Adhikar’ is peaceful co-existence.  No one has any right to kill anybody or snatch someone else’s bread to satiate their hunger or quench their thirst,” the NHRC chief said.

He also talked about the land being a venerated ‘Bhoomi Devi’ (Mother Earth) and River Ganga being revered as a ‘Ganga Maa’ and lamented that society was “forgetting its obligations” there too.

The NHRC chief underlined that fertile nature of land was “being destroyed” through use of chemicals and fertilizers as they benefit just a few crops and render it “unproductive” later.

India is an agriculture-dominated country and the land gives breads to millions, he said.

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