I felt very sad when I read this news and this one. Pakistan or Taliban, were using bombs in crowded places to terrorise our cities. Now, they have resorted to attack other religions directly, esp. the religions of India.
When our cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and lastly Pune) were attacked, we showed restraint in attacking Pakistan and are still inviting them for 'talks'! We are still keeping Kasab in 'custody' and looking after him, literally, even after the video evidence showing him clearly in the Mumbai terrorist attack.
As this article in TOI says, 'In a country like India so helplessly addicted to religion, the gods don't just abide. They migrate,mutate and fraternise. Different streams of faith meld and swirl like a dancing dervish into a melting pot of beliefs: a pot in which a heady plurality triumphs over hard ideas of purity.Benevolent,smiling gods regularly hop across religious lines to help those in need.'
When we went to Tirupati, must be some years back, before the terrorist threats, I saw two purdah clad muslim women standing in the queue to have a darshan of Balaji (I have seen the sign in most Hindu temples that 'non-hindus' are not allowed inside! Still I saw two muslim women and when I smiled at them asked them if they visit this temple often, they said 'nearly every year'!). And no one in the queue troubled them in any way.
When my first son was very small, whenever he cried without any visible reason, the maami (an old orthodox brahmin lady) who was staying with us to take care of him (I was working then), took him to a nearby dargah to have a black thread with a talismaan, tied around his neck by the moulvi! She believed that the baby would sleep if the black thread was around his neck! She never hesitated to go to a muslim shrine. It was a common practice in the nearby houses which were full of brahmins.
I had a muslim neighbour once and we were very close friends. Once when her Ramzaan kheer did not come out properly, I prepared it at home and gave it to her because she did not want her husband to know that the kheer got curdled while preparing, which is a bad omen! She had many guests also at home! Her children were very close to me and some of their Pakistani relatives who visited them used to like our vaththal kuzhambu and saambaar! They were wondering how vegetarian food tasted so well! I learnt some Urdu word pronunciation from that friend! Except non-veg. food, I did not have any problem in mingling with them.
I know many of our Christian friends who follow some of the Hindu rituals during wedding, child birth etc. Thaali (mangal sutra) also is worn in yellow thread. They don't behave like aliens to our culture. The Velankanni church here, in Besant Nagar (Chennai) is visited by many Hindus, even brahmins!
The TOI also writes:
Think, for instance, of the Zoroastrian woman who is a staunch Ganesha bhakt.Or the Muslim teacher who places his hand-written Urdu petitions before a statue of St Anthony. Or the pious Hindu with a caste mark who travels cross-country to pray for his child's health at the centuries-old dargah of Khwaja Garib Nawaz.
A shrine to the 12th-century Sufi saint,the dargah has long been a pilgrimage spot for Hindus and Muslims alike. It was bombed in a terror attack in 2007, a blast that was seen by many as an attack on the idea of religious unity. Of the 10,000 pilgrims who visit the dargah every day, more than forty per cent are non-Muslim.The dargah itself has long been an icon of secularism,even in divided Ahmedabad.The Mamajijiya Pirdada ni dargah here is maintained by an all-Hindu committee headed by a devout Jain,Jitendra Kankuwala,who shuns both onion and garlic and believes that "one force guides us".
"When all religions lead to the same god experience, why should we be closed to experiencing god through different paths? The very idea of god is absolute. So how can there be many absolutes?'' asks Fr Frazer Mascarenhas,a Jesuit priest and principal of the prestigious St Xavier's College in Mumbai.
I think the last paragraph says it all! We can only write and discuss about respecting each and every religion and say we should love all human beings. Most of the terrorists involved in the US and other huge bombings were well educated people, so we cannot just say 'education will help'...should we just say 'we have to live with it?'
We can try our best not to promote the politicians who disturb our religious harmony.
Added this link now (24.2.10 - 9.45 pm) : Thank god, we have not stooped to Pakistani level and never will. I wanted to include this also in my post and forgot, as usual. For us, religion is not important. Every human being is created by God and no one disagrees with that thought ...why should we think that one religion is better than the other?
I remember reading a news about Narayana Hridayalaya, Bangalore, treating a Pakistani child who was a heart patient, a couple of years back. I agree that ordinary Pakistanis think just like us but they are not able to control the fanatics. Now, read this: