In this seemingly normal life, I came across a news report in the ‘City’ section of a leading newspaper, which read ‘Man cries religion bias at playschool’.
The article states that one particular playschool in Borivali was ill treating an infant who had Muslim parents. She was asked to report half an hour earlier than the usual time of the playschool, and was requested to be picked up from the premises half an hour after everyone would have left. The parents were also miffed that they were never invited to any meetings in the playschool, nor did their child take part in activities as regularly as other children.
Probing into the issue further, the reporter found out that the reason behind all these acts by the playschool was because majority of the admissions were from Gujaratis and Jains. The playschool authorities were worried that the presence of the ‘lungi-clad and paan-chewing’ Muslim father would affect their business, as most Gujaratis and Jains would pull out their children from the playschool instead of letting them mix with a Muslim child.
Instead of the usual blame game, what worries me more is the kind of teachings we are giving to these young kids. Completely agreeing to the point that cultural differences between Muslims and Gujarati – Jains are vast, I’m of the opinion that every child must be given the freedom to choose whether they want to hate some religion or not.
These tiny tots, who are just beginning to learn the difference between 1 and 10, how will they have the capacity to understand why Muslims are the way they are? How will they know the reason and all the fascinating stories behind their culture and practices? How will they understand that everyone has the right to practice their religion, and yet living harmoniously together is what constitutes a democratic society, a cosmopolitan city?
Surely and true to the saying, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. But why thrust our opinions on these gullible minds as to what meat is and what should be poison?
What are we teaching our next generation?