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Youth urged to follow liberal side of religions

Youth should respect and take the liberal side of their religions to avoid fundamentalism and extremism which leads to communal violence. This was the consensus of a discussion in St Joseph’s College on Thursday moderated by Maya Sharma of NDTV on the theme of communal violence. Rizwan Arshad, Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress President, was a key participant.

Congress representative was one of the prominent faces in the discussion along with students and faculty members that took place on July 13.

“The discussion pertained to the communal unrest taking place now days. The killing of a RSS worker in Mangalore recently raised a few questions in the minds of the people. Some of us were looking at the human dimension. All forms of violence must be condemned; there is no point in claiming individual violence as ideological in nature. Communal violence is not only restricted to the people who are involved in it. It affects the life of the common folk to a greater extent,” said Dr Etienne Rassendren, Department of English.

“Historically, India has lived with diverse cultures. There have been tensions before also, but the general picture of India has been one of harmony. That is because people had understood that difference is not something negative. But unfortunately that spirit is getting forgotten now in various parts of the country. We need to reclaim that,” urged Dr Cheriyan Alexander, head of the Department of English.

“The fear is that young people are becoming the targets of fundamentalist propaganda from all the sides, majority and minority as well. We need young people to start critically analyzing. As they remain in their traditions, they must align themselves towards the reformist and tolerant side. All the religions have an extremist, fundamentalist and liberal side to them. Youngsters should be able to make the choice and be the voice of progress and reform in their religion,” Dr Alexander added.

The moderator pointed out that those indulging in communal violence must be willing to own up to it in response to an audience member suggesting that forces other than the RSS are to blame for the violence. Dr Alexander noted that young people an impressionable age are indoctrinated by fundamentalists through talk. The only way out is through dialogue and discussion. The government and the police should also do their bit and not be communalized and should neutrally administer justice, he added.