Muslims in India

I am an Indian Muslim. However, neither my nationality nor my religion is chosen by me. No one asked me, no one took my approval. Just based on my birth in a Muslim Indian family, I was tagged with this label. I was given a Muslim name and for everyone in my country, my name is enough for my religious identity. During riots, no non-Muslim mob will ask my ideology or my faith. My name is enough to kill me. 

When I was in secondary school, I realise that different religions have different morals, eating habits and even Gods. In my class of 60 students only 5 students were Muslims. However, to your surprise none out of five were friend together even though we come from same community. I had three best friends, all of them were Hindu. Being a Muslim is not easy though. My friends seldom embarrass me for my eating habits enquiring about what is in my tiffin. They were suspicious that I might have meat in my lunch box! Thanks to my mom, she was smart enough to give me only bread and vegetables.

When I compare that time to present time, I feel those were golden days. My parents and parents of my friends never taught us to stay away from someone because of religious differences. I used to visit my non-Muslim friend’s home and they visited my home. I never feel scared. No such thought ever came to my mind.

When Babri Mosque was demolished, I and my friends had a consensus that on disputed land government should build a hospital or school so that everyone will be benefited.

Slowly but steadily things changed across the north India. Communal forces succeeded in spreading communal poison across many states especially UP, MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat. RSS and BJP finally started gaining success in convincing Hindus that they are indeed in danger because of Muslims who are in minority. Inspired by Nazi ideology, they portray Muslims as culprit of every problem in India, whether it is over population or terrorism. However, fortunately, thanks to globalization and information technology, intellectuals are still against such ideology. Unfortunately, in democracy, only heads count not intellectual ability. Whether you are an illiterate or a graduate you can caste only one vote.

I do not want to pretend like I am victim. Certainly I am not. Even today, my constitution gives me more rights as a citizen of India then in anywhere in the world. I am free to speak and I am free to follow any faith or abandon it. I am happy to be Indian. Indeed, I feel indebted of my country. My country gave me an identity when I travel abroad. I am proud to be Indian. I know many countries where constitution is heavily influence by one religion and for others there is no space. Other people have to live as a second grade people. Sometimes even citizens belonging to the majority feel suffocated because of heavy dose of religion in constitution.

In my opinion, there should be a separation between religion and state. Religion is a private affair, whereas government is for public work. Let me give you an example. When you pray to god or give charity, you give it for your own rewards which you receive in your afterlife. However, if someone asks you to build a road or a mobile tower, you will be reluctant. If a religious person has to choose between making a school or a Mosque, surely he will choose to build a mosque. Because, mosque will fetch him more rewards in afterlife.

People already have enough motivation for religious deeds. But for secular things we need a government who can develop infrastructure, make policies without discrimination based on religion and caste and colour, open more school for scientific education, secure the national borders and to provide employment etc.

Coming back to Indian Muslims, ironically, Muslims are nomore important for any political party. Even in past, no political party didenough for them. Congress and other so called secular parties use them as avote bank. In last 50 years, even Muslim leaders fail to do anything forMuslims. Indian Muslims are living in very funny situation. On one hand theyhave to give proof of their patriotism and on other hand they have to balance their religious identity.

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via #Quoted: Write one true sentence… — The Musing Quill

A Conversation with an Atheist

While coming back from India, my flight was delayed by two hours and as a habit, I reached airport three hours earlier to the departure of my flight. There was very less crowd on the airport and in less than one hour, I checked in. After roaming inside the duty-free and finishing my tea with Mexican sandwich, I was getting bore. Still I have to wait for three hours due to delay in my flight. While sitting with other people in waiting area I met with this interesting person named Atul.

Atul was going to Singapore and his flight too delayed by few hours. I am not very talkative person until there is something interesting to talk about. And I find that something interesting as I start asking about him.

Me: So, you are Ganesh devotee ( as he was wearing a Ganesh locket )

Atul: Oh no, never judge people by their appearance. It just look cool and my sister gifted me so I wear it. Otherwise I am quite secular person.

Me: I see. So you support congress party.

Atul: (Laughing) That is the problem in India, people think secular means Congress party. That is not true. Being secular means having no affiliation with any religion. Better, you can call me an Atheist.

Me: (Excitedly) Wow! I always wanted to meet an Atheist. I have so many questions to ask you if you allow me please.

Atul: It is quite surprising that you never met any Atheist before. Anyhow, I have a couple of hours, so you can ask anything. Please do not feel offended if I speak against any religion.

Me: I am quite a tolerant person. I do not think there will be any such issue. Here is my first question. If religion is a faith-based position as many atheist assert, how not believing in creator is not faith-based. I mean, if you have not seen Kangaroos that does not mean such creature does not exist. It simply means that you never go to Australia or you are ignorant about its existence.

Atul: Oh yeah, you have a valid point. Most of the atheist are actually agnostic like me. For simplicity, I call myself Atheist. Agnosticism is the default position. However, for all practical purpose we live like atheist. Secondly, you gave a good example of Kangaroos. They are very different from other animals and thus believing without seeing is difficult. Therefore, the default position is they may or may not exist but I do not know about such things. In case of God, more appropriate example will be a unicorn or fairies. Do you think unicorns exists?

Me: No, I don’t think they exist.

Atul: Bingo, you have not seen the whole universe or even this planet; still you are sure such thing does not exist. In similar fashion, existence of God is so unlikely that many non-believer comfortably call himself or herself confirmed Atheist.  I personally think Agnostic is right word for non-believers.

Me: What makes you so confident about your position? Are you from an Atheist Family?

Atul: No. Certainly not. My parents and my sister are religious. I studies international history.

In addition, I studied religious scriptures too. I was not impressed with any divine scripture. They are outdated ancient books written by some intellectuals of that time.

Me: You must study Quran. You will definitely find it logical and meaningful.

Atul: I am sorry but I already studied Quran and let’s not discuss it. You are a nice person. I know Muslims love Quran and their Prophet more than they love themselves. Even mild criticize will hurt your emotions. Ask me something else.

Me: No problem, I have more things to ask. Are you not afraid? What will happen if you are wrong?

Atul: My friend, we all can be wrong. However, we must live as per best information and knowledge available. Living in ignorance and thinking of heavens will not make your life successful. Even if I will be wrong, I will live my life in accordance with best available facts and evidence. I live with open eyes and mind. I live my life to fullest and make most out of it. How about you? If you are wrong, you waste whole life, which you will never get again!

ME: Please do not be worry about me. I have full confidence over my religion. More than a billion people follow my religion. They are not fool. Many of them are scientist, engineer and doctors. Moreover, if I was wrong, I will waste only this small life but if I will be right, I will be in eternity of bliss and enjoyment.

Atul: Pascal Wager! My friend PW does not make proper sense until you already know which religion is correct. Your overconfidence based on faith not on evidence and thus you can be wrong. There are several religions and every religious person think that he is right.

Me: Pls explain me how PW does not make sense?

Atul: The biggest problem with this argument is that first of all we do not know which religion and which god to follow? Can a person follow Roman and Greek gods will be saved by god?????

Me: Tell me how this world come into existence if there is no creator.

Atul: Ha, ha ha. Why you all religious people ask same question? Anyhow. You answer me first. If without creator nothing can exist then who created the God? How he can exist without creator? I can explain existence of universe without God using Science.

Me: (I interrupted ) God does not need creator by definition. He is neither born and nor created. He existed for even.

Atul: How do you know that?

ME: It is written in Quran and hadees books.

Atul: This is call circular argument. Without proving your scripture, you are using it as authority.

To be continue…

Read second part here

Why you believe what you believe?

 

It is a common experience that we trust our parents and close friends much easily than strangers. However, sometimes it may happen that a stranger is telling you truth and your parents are lying with you. Mare thought of such situation make us rebel. Even if that stranger is right, we will not believe him until and unless he come up with some undeniable evidence. In that condition too, we find some excuses to cover up our parents.

To understand how we believe over one thing and disbelieve other, we need to understand our mind. There are two important theories that can make us understand why we believe what we believe.

 

Both theories deals with our behaviour based on our indoctrination and upbringing. We are bias and deluded without knowing about it. We live in a delusion that what we follow is the right path and what we believe is correct by default. Similarly, we are bias towards our family and society. We think that we are right and everyone is wrong without any evidence and proof. We need a paradigm shift. We need to see world as it exist, not as we perceive due to indoctrination and unconscious biases.

How to come out of delusion?

After recognising that you are living in delusion, it is time to come out of it and see the real world as it exist. Learn about different philosophies and interact with people of different faith, culture and ethnicity and countries. Stop judging people by their name, caste, color and religion. Read books of different authors. Let your mind to absorb different views of different great personalities across the globe. By doing so, you might come out of delusion and will be able to see the world differently and correctly.

Logical Fallacies and arguments:

Whenever you encounter a situation where it is difficult to segregate truth from false hood, logical arguments can save you from making a wrong decision. Logic is different from thinking or intuition. Logic is more systematic. There are different logical arguments which can make us better person in terms of thinking and using our brain. Knowledge of logical fallacies and arguments can enhance your analytical skills.

Logical deductive argument is made up of a premises and a conclusion. If all the premises are correct and logical, conclusion will be true if it follows logically from premises. Let us consider an example:

If A=B and B=C

Then conclusion is A=C.

A=B and B=C are our premises, if both premises are correct then the conclusion that A=C is also correct.

To understand it better, let us take real life example.

Premises-I: 0 deg. C= 32 F,

And Premises-II:  32F = 273.15 Kelvin,

This implies, Conclusion; 0 deg. C = 273.15 Kelvin.

Since premises I & II are correct, thus, conclusion is also correct.

 

Fallacies can be defined as common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument. There are different kinds of fallacies which people use knowingly or unknowingly while debating. You can enhance your debating skills by learning about them. Some are mentioned below:

Circular Argument: Those arguments which does not have any end. It starts from the end itself. Instead of actually proving your point you make your point and call it a proof. It is a fallacy because you reach nowhere in your debate. Example: Suppose Wasil is a brave man, since he is a brave man he cannot commit suicide. Hence it is a murder.

Argument from ignorance: If you do not have evidence of something being not correct, it does not mean necessarily that something is right. In Argument from ignorance fallacy, absence of evidence becomes evidence of absence. For example: No one know what will happen after we die, that’s prove there is no afterlife.

Ad hominem: You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hominem attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

Example: After Nandita presents a compelling case for a more equitable GST system, FM asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

Special pleading: Applying one standard on one group of people and using another standard on other group without proper justification is known as special pleading.

 

 

References: https://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#CircularReasoning