National Commission for Minorities (NCM) chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalputra on Friday held a meeting with different religious leaders and discussed ways to maintain peace and harmony within these communities. Representing the Sikh community, Brigadier Kuldip Singh (retd) said religion is a private affair and people must contribute to leaving a legacy behind.
“We are capable of making the best universities with the best physical infrastructure but we forget that education comes with decades. You can have degrees but you can still be uneducated,” Singh said. “We need good educators and sensible people to teach our children … there must be a larger purpose to humanity. The country is above everyone,” he said.
Swadesh Bhushan Jain, who represented the Jain community in the meeting, said that different faiths cannot co-exist without ‘ahimsa’ (principle of non-violence). “There was a time when we were taught to love and respect all communities and religions in our schools. I would like to request the chairman to include the same in the textbooks once again. Life cannot be successful without ahimsa,” Jain said. He said that religious actions are mostly intended toward “hurting others’ religious sentiments.”
The Muslim community was represented by Sameena Hassan Siddiqui, who said that ideas of peaceful coexistence should be implemented and not just discussed. “I hope the ideas of peaceful coexistence are also practically implemented. We should change our mindset and avoid conflicts with each other. No matter what our ideology is, we should ensure that we respect other religions' ideologies too,” Siddiqui said.
Members of the Christian, Buddhist, and Parsi communities had also participated in the meeting.