Interfaith conflicts, discrimination & Bengali educated society.

We discussed religion-based conflicts in workplaces and the world at last. We’ve met people from the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland, Islamic Society of Greater Portland, professors who are trying to revive Madrassa education in Notre Dame; and professionals who found it tough breaking stereotypes and making her mark in the professional world. I write this post to outline my feelings about this issue.

There would always be a conflict if you wear your beliefs on your sleeve. There might always be conflicts if you try and impose your thoughts on someone else. There would always be stereotypes and it is only by sustained work and thorough discipline that we can make a mark for ourselves.

Bengal Renaissance still has a lot to give to this world; the explosion of newer ideas that globalized the existing Hindu practices and consolidated Bengali as a culture is of utter importance. Diversity, openness, and acceptance are trademarks of Bengali educated families.

We’ve gone beyond the boundaries of gender, caste, creed, religion, and nation to embrace humanity. Intercaste/religious marriages are common; a transgender can become the Principal of a college, can become a judge at a civil court; “Muslims” forego Muharram celebrations to help a “practicing Hindu” for his cancer treatment. People from different faiths can come together and celebrate Durga Puja, Christmas among all other celebrations. Mother Mary and Jesus are worshipped in the Hindu way in Ramakrishna Mission on Christmas Eve while the Missionaries of Charity does not mind celebrating Diwali with us. We celebrate humanity.

tagore ramakrishna interfaith dialog

Tagore & Ramakrishna

We are rooted to what we have been taught by our religious teachers like Ramakrishna. “Religions are like paths to the same God. If you want to serve God, serve your people around”, was the chief message of Ramakrishna. Swami Vivekananda, his student, went on to establish Ramakrishna Mission as the “Temple of Universal Religion”. The Brahmo movement preached that there’s one God and brought legislative changes abolishing many Hindu malpractices. One of the biggest exponents of the Brahmo culture is Tagore. To him, the Almighty is a friend, very personal for you to converse with, own your mistakes up, acknowledge and submit to. Let’s celebrate life.

If we follow these basics and not intrude into anyone’s individual personal space, things would just be fine. Ask yourself, would YOU not work in a team, if it has team members from a faith not of your choice? People need to love you as a person. If they do, they’d eventually acknowledge the culture and religion that has made you.