Atheism in India

Oct 5, 2012

Discussion by: harpreet
India is widely considered as the most spiritual country in the world. It is the birth place of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism which when put together contribute more than 20% of world population. Its also has the second highest population of Muslims in the world. 
I have always wondered what keeps us united ( mostly). Religions are intrinsically divisive in nature and time and again, in India as well, we see the differences and tensions it causes. But still I see a vast number of Hindus visiting Muslim shrines, Sikhs going to Hindu temples etc etc. What is that thing in this society that somehow makes people see the bigger picture yet keeps them loyal to their respective religions ( none in case of mine).
Is there a hint of Agnosticism  ( if that’s the correct word) or if I may dare Atheism in our culture. I can’t help but notice that all the famous poets ( and later hailed as saints) in the last 1000 yrs have in one way or other spoken against the ills of the prominent religions of those times. Some have gone to the extent of challenging the idea of worshiping god. And yet rather then being ridiculed they were and still are considered as the “wise ones” and in many cases treated as saints ( unfortunately).
Here is a famous couplet ( pardon my poor translation) written by Kabir Das in 15th Century:
“You make a mosque of stones and rocks.Mullah climbs on top of it and shouts to the GOD. Is the GOD deaf??”

PS: I am a stern atheist and on Richard Dawkins scale of 1-7 I am 6.8 🙂

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