Religious or Communal?

As horrifying news about a communal riot was droning away on TV, a bewildered 9 year old asked his dad, “What is the difference between a religious man and a communal man ?”. The wise professor was always ready for questions, and his answers provided answers to many other questions that his son never had at that point of time.
“You are religious if you believe in god, pray, observe rites and do good”, said dad. Now that’s nice, the son thought. Such people wouldn’t go around killing others with Trishuls and Bombs. “So who are the communal ones “, the son persisted. “If you do three things in a particular way, then you are communal”, said dad. He went on to explain – “One- If you choose your friends solely on the basis of religion. Two- If you make financial decisions solely on the basis of religion. Three- If you make political decisions solely on the basis of religion”. The son didn’t understand the last two. Judging from his arched eyebrows, the professor continued. “When we want to buy gold for your mom, do we insist on going only to ******** gold or do we go to *** Alu**** or Bhi***?”, dad enquired. “We have gone to all three”, the son confirmed. Now that’s it, said dad. So we are not communal, are we?. “During the last elections, did we decide to vote for that young fiery politician, because his surname sounded like yours or was it because his promises indeed sounded promising?”, asked dad. “The Latter”, the son agreed.
Thus he learned the difference. His close friend was Ganesh, He purchased groceries from Rakettan’s shop and his dad voted for that weird looking man in the last election. Thank god, we aren’t communal… the son mused and proceeded to complete his afternoon prayer. And he prayed for all the little ones orphaned by the rioters… regardless of what their names were.


Filed under Till sunset

4 responses to “Religious or Communal?

  1. Arshid Padiath

    I really liked the example. Just 1 question, Was this a true story?
    Im only asking because you mentioned the father to be a professor and couldnt help thinking of mama?…:)
    Anyway, I like reading you articles…..and dont worry about the other members of our family….Keep chirping(writing) and theyll all read it someday. And when they do, im sure theyll like it.

  2. Nab

    Well, Sangeeth bahi, Go ahead with new posts. All the best.

    “Religious or Communal?”

    With your permission I would like to comment on this.

    The essence of message is clear, must be spread and practice. By supporting with the message I would like to express my disagreements to the answers provided by dad.

    I believe decisions based on religious guidelines solely can stop the communalism effectively. But, the conclusion you reached to explain communal (decisions based on religion) did not convince my limited knowledge.

    I understand a religion means a way of life or complete system that provides guidelines for all fields of ones life. So if one follows God’s guidelines in making friendships, financial and political decisions I don’t think that he will be communal but religious.

    It is the Gods guidelines to make friendship and cooperation in good deeds and virtues with anyone irrespective of his religion, cast, colour and party and keep distance from and not cooperate with anyone (even he is from his religion) in bad deeds.

    So I understand that when one follows and makes decisions based on religious guidelines he is religious, not communal. But for me, communal is when some one making decisions based on his religion’s, (not according to God’s guidelines) party’s, county’s, race’s, colour’s or tribe’s vested or unjustified interests. I would like to call this communal.

    Moreover, I am not satisfied with the answer dad gave for religion. I am confused. Is religion is limited to only these three points (believe in god, pray, observe rites and do good)?

    I would like to believe in religion as complete submission to the God. It covers above three points and more than that! Isn’t it?


  3. Dear brother Nabeel
    In fact there is no disagreement between us at all. Both of us are in agreement on the below interpretation….
    A chooses to be friendly to B and unfriendly to C
    A does business with B and dissuades others from dealing with C
    A votes for B and canvasses against C
    Only because B and A belong to one religion and C belongs to another, without considering values, ethics or any other principles……. Then A is communal. If A’s choice is not solely based on this one dimension and is not in direct conflict with the legitimate interests of a person who follows another religion…. then he is not communal.

    I think the disagreement is over the usage of the word “religious”. Well I agree with you. I should have used these dichotomies instead- communal/not communal or religious and communal/religious but not communal.

    Thanks. Keep reading and commenting

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