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This story was written by Vyshakh from INDIA.

There is a playground near my house, where all the kids in the neighborhood come to play in the afternoon. I often go sit there and watch them; because of that, they know me pretty well. Once when I went there, I noticed that many of the kids were not there. But they were still playing with the ones present. I knew they always got into fights when selecting teams. So I asked them how they had chosen the teams today and one little kid replied “Today it is Hindus vs. Muslims”.

I was shocked and dumbstruck. I was greatly disturbed. If the minds of even these little children were sprayed with the idea of religion, how can we find fault with all the grown-ups promoting their religion as the best among all. I wondered about the present situation of our society. Every parent is so busy promoting their own religion, and how it is better than the rest, to their children that they forget to mention humanity. All the kids have already made a mental note, that other religions have some fault, which makes them secondary to their own religion.

As each day passes on, the situation deepens more and more. If we just look at the daily news, we can see all the cruelty happening around the world just because of religion. When I grew up, I studied that Hitler killed Jews just because he did not like the Jewish religion. Everyone hates Hitler so much that no one yet has the audacity to name their child Hitler, due to the immensely cruel atrocities committed by him. Let me ask a question to society “What are we doing now?”

In India, I am ashamed to say that people are being killed just because they eat beef. It is true that in Hinduism, cows are treated as a Godly creature. But I am pretty sure that it doesn’t promote murder. The mindset of a religious fanatic is that every belief of their own religion should be strictly followed and those disobeying it should be murdered. It is just ridiculous. The situation becomes worse when political parties get involved in the madness, to get more votes. Throughout the world, we can see incidents like this happening such as the recent Paris attacks and the shooting down of a Russian airplane by the ISIS, who believe they are participating in a ‘Holy War’.

To me, religion is supposed to be a guide on how a human should live their life to spread happiness and peace among all. The basic premise is that if we do anything wrong, God is watching us and we will be punished for it. All of the religions, be it Hinduism or Christianity or Islam or anyone, they all promote peace and one who has read their religious books will never even have a thought of hatred against other religions. Everyone is a human and we love them based on their character or behavior. We cannot judge anyone based on their religion. We cannot be too narrow minded to actually believe that just because some followers of a religion are terrorists that all of them are bad and violent.

I am a Hindu, my best friend is a Christian, and I studied in a Muslim school. I am sure that this is the case of many people living in India. We have a rich tradition of being united and enjoying every festival as one of our own. We should not allow a few people to be disruptive and evoke distrust among the religions.

But all is not lost. The youth or the next generation, has responded brilliantly through the social media against all these religious atrocities and the general concept of one religion above all. And I hope they follow it in real life as well. This gives us hope for a future where every religion is treated equally, and people never fight over it.

I guess I didn’t complete my story. Even though the kids made the team as Hindus vs. Muslims, there was a little problem; two Christian kids were also there to play. The kids had a brilliant solution. They put each of them on a team and made them their captain so that they wouldn’t feel bad. We have a huge lesson to learn from these kids. For them, religion is just a label and it does not make a difference to them. And I hope at the end of the day, there will be only one winner: humanity.

This story was part of Safety First for Girls (SAFIGIs) #SharingNotShaming campaign.

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