The last few weeks have seen India riven by protests against the government’s apparent desire to link citizenship to religion. To most people, there is seemingly a clear-cut agenda, namely to prioritise Hinduism over other religions, especially Islam.
It is a deeply disturbing prospect for a country that is constitutionally secular, and I have been so impressed at the pan-India turn out to protest.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you how a “typical” Indian Christmas evolves.
Paralleling the news of the divisive government moves, my social media timeline has been flooded these last couple of weeks with images of Christmas trees, and Santa caps, and presents waiting under the tree – and ne’er a Christian amongst the people posting 🙂
Yesterday we had our usual Christmas lunch, with all of my husband’s Sikh family + loads of Hindus + some Muslims + a Buddhist + just us, as the token Christians, at this most Christian of celebrations. (Not that anyone was listing or categorising religions. I’m doing it now, to make a point).
It was the perfect analogy for the India I love – everyone happy to celebrate, and no heed paid to faith.
Everyone loves our traditional English Christmas lunch, everyone dreams of our Christmas pud, and with Christmas carols playing in the background, it was as traditional as I can make it.
At Mass in my local church, there were hundred of worshippers, 99% of them Indians. Roman Catholics from the North East, from the south, from Delhi – and everyone praying together in English – testimony to the linguistic diversity and talent in this country.
I cannot bear the thought of this fabric of interwoven culture and music and food and celebrations being torn apart. I really can’t.
The India I first saw over 3 decades ago was a country of enormous fun, easy smiles, amazing tolerance and a ready acceptance of outsiders.
The thought of what might happen if citizenship becomes linked to religion is an awful one.
Here’s hoping sanity prevails, and that the secular country where everyone wears Santa caps, & lights Diwali diyas, & goes to Old Delhi to eat food at the end of the Ramzan day’s fast – that this cultural mix stays.
I hope you all had brilliant Christmas…though judging from social media this Boxing Day, you all did 🙂
I’ll end with this wonderful photo that never grows old…