Celebrating ‘Unity in Diversity’

Celebrating ‘Unity in Diversity’

Every year in India, the National Minorities Rights Day is celebrated on the 18th of December, symbolic of safeguarding the rights of religious minorities guaranteed by the constitution within the boundaries of the country.

The sole goal of this day is to uplift the minority section in the society and stop any kind of discrimination towards the people belonging to this community. The day is to focus on the challenges, issues and problems faced by the minority communities and to try to eradicate them from society.

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India is a country where people from various races, castes, religions and languages reside. The country can be described to be a perfect example of 'Unity in Diversity'.

The Constitution of India gives equal rights to all citizens of the country irrespective of the linguistic, ethnic, cultural, and religious groups that anyone belongs to.

The religious communities that have been marked as minorities in India are Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis or Zoroastrians.

A Zoroastrian shrineUnsplash

A few of the constitutional provisions reserved for the minorities are as follows:

  • Prohibition of discrimination against citizens on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Citizens' right to 'equality of opportunity' in employment and prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • People's freedom of conscience and right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion – subject to public order, morality and other Fundamental Rights.
  • Right of all religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • Freedom of minority-managed educational institutions from discrimination in the matter of receiving aid from the State.

Buddhist womenUnsplash

The United Nations in 1992 had adopted the Statement on the Individual's Rights belonging to religious, linguistic or ethnic minorities. In the same year, the Indian Government set up the National Commission for Minorities. On 26th January 2006, the Ministry of Minority Affairs was set up as a separate entity. Earlier it used to be a part of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

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On this day, debates, sessions and seminars are held to discuss the topic of Minority Rights and to spread awareness. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, all these mass conferences may be held digitally.

(Keywords : India, minority, rights, Muslim, Christian, Parsi, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, constitution, December)

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