Defend, but don’t exonerate

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I am known to be more of a rationalist. I gladly accept the fact that I am, both in my thoughts and in my deeds.

But it feels sad when some people try to brand me an atheist, which I am not. It’s just that my perception of God and godliness is different from that of hard-core religionists. Those who know me well understand and really that’s what matters for me.

I came across this quote yesterday, “Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion and sect, and you spend rest of your life defending something you didn’t even chose”.

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Any atheist would love these words, but the rationalist me kept pondering over it for a while. Then it dawned upon me that there is nothing wrong in defending. Actually, it’s not just these five things that we never chose for ourselves but keep defending, there are many more too.

In our life, there are so many things that we have not chosen for ourselves, but still defend. I haven’t chosen my skin colour, but will defend my brown skin if anyone tries to demonise it. Same goes with my gender too. Being born as a male was not a choice I made, but would vehemently defend if it’s argued that all men are evil.

I never got to choose my parents too, but I may perhaps defend them if I need to, unless I am sure that they are wrong. For that matter, being an Indian wasn’t a choice I made at birth, but I would be honoured to shed my last drop of blood to defend my country.

Applying this logic, I honestly find no fault in defending our nationality, religion and sect, because they are part of our identity and that’s the way people identity us. There is actually no need to force ourselves to give up our identities and try to identify as only human beings, unless the entire human race is willing to embrace a dystopian world where everything is grey and homogenous

There is no harm in embracing or even celebrating our distinctions wherever and whenever possible, and not try to erase them. Doing it does not certainly make us unenlightened racists.

Being defined into a particular nation, a religion, a sect or being identified with a given name is not just a label for us. Rather, it represents the labour of our ancestors.  The decision which seems to be thrust upon us moments after our birth is actually a record of what our fathers and their fathers and their fathers before them did. This identity is actually a testimony of how our mothers and our mother’s mothers raised their children before we even came into this world.

This identity is actually a story of their struggles and their dreams, their triumphs and their tragedies. Defending it is not just a necessity but a duty as well, something which we need to carry out with pride.

Let us learn to proudly defend the identity that was thrust upon us on birth, our name, nationality, religion and sect. But in this pride, we just need to be careful that in our zest to protect them, we do not blindly exonerate them demeaning the others.

We need to be careful that our pride does not turn into egotism, arrogance and immodesty; we just need to be logical and rationalist in our thoughts and our deeds.

Epilogue:

“Thou shalt not kill”, we all know these words as part of the Ten Commandments. Let us understand the true meaning of it.

Legitimate defense is not only a right, but a grave duty for each one of us, who are responsible for the lives of others. The defense of common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.

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