'Religion, culture, nationality are different entities'

The notion that religion and culture, religion and religiousness and religion and nationality are same is wrong, said writer Prof Baraguru Ramachandrappa.

Speaking after inaugurating ‘Sahabalve Sagara Samavesha,’ a convention for co-existence of different communities, organised by the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike, to mark the Sadhbhavana Day here on Saturday, Prof Ramachandrappa said: “Culture is a way of life. There are different cultures in the country and state. Those who speak on religion should introspect and find out whether they are religious in true spirit,” he said. 

In modern society, religiousness is being equated with nationality. The preachings and principles of Gandhi, Tilak, Subhash, Bhagath had nationality in it.  During the independence movement, Gandhiji had used Charaka and salt as symbols of nationality.

But today people have made religion itself a nationality and a sense of fear is being created among the people, he said. In fact, Gandhiji is a model to prove that person who believes in religion can become secular, he said.  The writer said that Gandhi, Ambedkar, Lohia, Mao, Marx have opposed fundamentalism. “We all want a social revolution to bring in changes in society. We need to invite our opponents for a  face-to-face talk. We have to set aside our differences and move ahead towards progress.”

Lamenting that the democracies are preaching intolerance in the world, he said that even when kings were ruling the country, they had believed in the principles of tolerance. “Today we are facing intolerance in various forms, be it in gender discrimination or economy. Ours was a country which faced intolerance since medieval ages - when there was conflict between Jains and Vaishnavites in 12th century, the ruler Bukka calmed down the situation and brought tolerance in society. The edicts of Bukka call for warding off the rift. The ruler had ordered the Jains to paint the Vaishnava temple and Vaishnavas to assist Jains in their rituals,” he said.

Message of love and trust
In a session on ‘secular society- religious coexistence,’ speakers said that there was a need to spread the message of love and trust among the people. The principles of religion should not come in the way of religious coexistence. 

Inaugurating the session, writer Chandrashekar Patil (Champa) said attempts should be made to understand preachings of Buddha, Basavanna and Ambedkar without any reference to religion.

Saanehalli Mutt seer Dr Panditaradhya Shivacharya Swamiji said that religious centres attempt to disrupt harmony in society. “There is a need to construct toilets to highlight cleanliness than to construct masjid, churches and temples.” Maulana Abdul Ajeej Darimi said  that the concept of religious co-existence was there since time immemorial and the temples and mosques should continue religious co-existence in true spirit. “Those who failed to understand one’s own religion are creating problems in society,” he said.

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