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Friday , October 1 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Peace first for the young
‘Religion not a barrier for us’
- For Nayantara and Zeba, what matters is that they are friends and they are Indian

My best friend is Zeba Akhtar. If religion were an important factor would we have been so close?

As the only Hindu in a group of friends where all the others are Muslim, I have never had any trouble fitting in. And they have never had any problems in having a Hindu friend.

Religion does not come as a barrier between friendships.

If trouble brews in the wake of the Ayodhya verdict, it won’t affect our friendship because true friendships are not based on factors like religion. Friendship, love and peace are above religion.

We are, above everything, human beings capable of humanitarian acts and of living together peacefully.

I cannot deny my religion. I have to accept that I am a Hindu and then go beyond that to identify myself as an Indian.

That is what is important, our identity as Indians.

I watched the verdict today. Not because I had any real interest in the outcome but just to see how India was again fighting over a petty issue, that too something that is decades old.

Why should I care about who the land should go to or who the rightful owners are?

We as the future of India should rise beyond all this and not get dragged down by petty issues.

Today’s verdict also does not matter to me because it all happened far before my time and I have no sense of identification with it.

I was a year old when the 1992 riots happened. It was a tragic incident but that does not mean we should be weighed down by that.

The only time we have discussed the whole Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue is over the past two days, in anticipation of the verdict.

Neither Ayodhya nor religion has ever come up in discussions among my friends and I don’t think it will in the future either.

India should just stop brooding over this and look at more important issues like the economy of the country that affects us all far more. A developing country like ours cannot afford to be bothered about who a plot of land in Ayodhya belonged to hundreds of years ago.

Instead of doing what is important we are squabbling over whether there should be a temple or a mosque when they date back to Babar’s time and maybe even before that.

At the end of the day, how does it matter?

Do you think it really matters to the Hindu or Muslim rickshaw-puller down the lane who the disputed land went to? What will only matter to them is that at the end of the day they will not earn their daily wages.

I don’t want to be part of a situation that divides and creates discord.

I think peace should be the keyword because then India can focus on more important things needed to take the country forward.

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