India is a beautiful country. Here the dialect changes every 200 meters you travel, we are culturally very rich and though it is populous, it only makes people’s hearts warmer and welcoming here.
India has had her fair share of fights, quarrels, and exploitation. But it has come across everything because ours is a harmonious country. We find hope in the places where most people won’t look. It’s our strength that people from different religions live with each other with love and share the same patriotic sentiments.
In a Quora thread, Shashank Goyal, shared his thoughts on the question, “What are the things that Muslims can do in India but not in other countries?” It is a beautiful answer and we couldn’t stop ourselves from sharing it with you.
In a secular country like India, Muslims can do everything that actually matters. This includes important aspects like freedom to pursue economic opportunities and the right to practice religion.
1. Passport Application
In India, the State does not interfere with one’s religious beliefs. State matters like passport issuance are not dependent on whether you are an atheist or you believe in 330 million Hindu deities, or Prophet Mohammed or the Holy Trinity.
This is different in Pakistan, where Muslims can’t be issued a passport unless they declare allegiance with certain religious beliefs. This makes it impossible for Muslims of “Ahmadiya” sect to get a passport.
2. International Travel
Indian Muslims are free to travel to any country for tourism, education or job opportunities. However, if you are a Muslim citizen from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq then you cannot travel to Kuwait.
Since 2011, the ban, imposed on nationals from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, includes suspending all tourism, visit and trade visas as well as visas sponsored by spouses. For Pakistani Muslims, sometimes there are difficulties in securing a visa for China too (although, there is no formal restriction). China asks hotels to turn away people from Pakistan and other Muslim countries
China asks hotels to turn away people from Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
3. Practice Religion
During the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims fast for 30 days. However, Muslims in China cannot fast during Ramzan as there is a state imposed a ban on this practice.
China has banned Ramzan fasting for Muslims.
4. Religious Freedom
Compared to the above example of state-imposed restrictions on religion, Government of India, on the other hand, gives financial benefits with “Haj Subsidy” to its Muslim citizens.
Haj is one of the religious pilgrimages for Muslims, but traveling to Saudi Arabia may be expensive for many families. India is the only country in the world that provides this subsidy as part of “The Haj Act”, thus enabling Muslim citizens to perform their religious obligation.
Millions of Indian Muslims have used this privilege so far. This has been in place since 1947.
5. Social Harmony
The social fabric of India is very tightly interwoven. Muslims and Hindus participate in each other’s religious festivals too. During Muslim festivals like Eid, Indian Muslims can expect their Hindu neighbor / friend / colleague to wish them “Eid Mubarak, Aftab Bhai, chalo sewai khilao” (Happy Eid Aftab, c’mmon now share sweets).
We believe in unity and that has strengthened over time. Being one of the most populous countries on the planet, every Indian still has plenty room in his heart.