History is precious and makes us smile ever so often.
I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: "As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: "Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me."
-Swami Vivekanand, Chicago's World Parliament of Religions in 1893.
May be we should send out this message to regional fanatics threatening violence at the rustle of a peaceful leaf.
O wait, I have something for the stupid Sainiks...
Mughal historian Khafi Khan: Shivaji "made it a rule that wherever his followers were plundering, they should do no harm to the mosques, the book of God, or to the women of any one. Whenever a copy of the sacred Quran came into his hands, he treated it with respect, and gave it to some of his Mussalman followers."
The problem with religions is that as time progresses religions, or rather, the idea of religions is metamorphosed to something that suits a particular set of people. The people who decide are the people whom other people look up to. Power is desirable and through the medium of religion people can contort a fundamental idea such as 'tolerance' to something akin to 'fighting to maintain our identity and pride'.
Special thanks to Shashi Tharoor