Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I The Sunday Guardian I September 07, 2014
Social harmony is our greatest need. Social harmony brings about normalcy among different groups of people. It is normalcy that is helpful for fostering all kinds of healthy activities in society. The opposite of social harmony is social conflict, and social conflict leads to all kinds of negativities such as hate, intolerance, violence and sometimes even war.
Now the question is what is the formula for maintaining social harmony? Some people believe that if we accept the concept of "manyness of reality", that is, all religions are true, then we can establish harmony among people. But, this formula is unnatural. Social harmony is a social problem, while, "manyness of reality" is a religious formula. For social harmony we need a social formula rather than religious formula. Moreover, the formula of the manyness of reality is an unrealistic formula. It is human need to have conviction in our belief. Without conviction we cannot live with firmness in this world. We have to believe with conviction that the reality we have found is the truth with the capital T. But the formula of manyness of reality deprives us of this conviction. Without conviction man is like a rootless tree. Any formula that erodes our conviction cannot be true.
The only realistic formula for social harmony is that which is based on respect and not on belief. We have to respect everyone, irrespective of his or her belief or culture. This respect is also a part of religion. There are two basic aspects of religion. One, making God one's greatest concern and second, developing well-wishing for every human being. Where there are these two religious spirits, there will surely be mutual respect for all and this will in turn bring about social harmony. The right formula for social harmony is manyness of respectability and not manyness of reality.