India is the “land of spirituality and philosophy”. Religious Diversity and tolerance has been established in India by law as well as custom. Some of the world’s important religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism etc originated in India.
According to the Constitution of India, every citizen of India has the right to spread and worship any religion. Freedom of Religion is thus the fundamental right in our country.
Hinduism is often supposed as the world’s oldest religion that can be traced back to the prehistoric times. Later on Buddhism came into existence. Islam originated in the first half of 7th century. Following this, Sikhism came into existence to eradicate the existing beliefs and religious superstitions, thereby alleviating the society from the evils. Although, it is believed that Christianity was there in India since 1st century, yet, the religion made its presence felt after the European Colonization. Apart from these there are still other religions in India like Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism etc.
Religion has an important role to play in the lives of the Indians. Different religious practices like worship, rituals etc are prominent in Indian social life. Every Indian religion has its own unique rituals, ceremonies, festivals, and pilgrimages in conformity with the exclusive principles of the religions.
Communalism played a major role in shaping the history of religion in India. The divide and rule policy of the British kept India divide into two parts- the Muslims and the Hindus. It also instigated riots in various parts of India, thereby killing a large number of innocent people. The most unfortunate and alarming factor however, is, in recent times, communal tensions and politics in the cover of religion is still making its presence felt although in a different and more deadly form. The pertinent question that still remains unanswered is that can it be truly said “Religions in India: Diversity Meets Harmony”? It is for all of us to think and find it out!