This year, I am observing more people, particularly Muslim youth, sharing “Merry Christmas” status messages on Facebook and Twitter. It’s very reassuring if the motivation behind these greetings is to express tolerance and respect for other religions.
There could be two reasons for this.
One, the recent cycle of violence against Christens in Pakistan has plunged the youth in a guilt trap. The educated youth feels it has to assert itself in terms of expressing solidarity with the Pakistani Christens.
Two, it appears social media is connecting people from various cultures. It had never been so easy to connect with people from other countries and religions as it is today by the virtue of social media. It seems people are learning more about other cultures and they are able to sneak out of their own religious cocoons.
A third possibility could be an increasing inclination toward religion itself among the Muslim youth. People sometimes reach out to other communities and religions not that they truly respect those belief sets but because they expect others to respect their religions as well.
I am obviously not against any festivals but religious festivals are a turn off to me because they clearly show how people are happy staying divided in different religions. There cannot be one color or gender for all people but it is still possible to live in a world that gives preference to humane values over religious beliefs.
One discomforting part of all this is how people indirectly make a disclaimer by saying “Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating” or “Merry Christmas to my Christen friends”.
I believe this world needs more festivals for all. Religions divide people. We need more festivals when everyone celebrates instead of wishing one community and waiting for their turn.