RELIGIOUS STEREOTYPES ASSOCIATED WITH LARGEST MINORITY IN INDIA

India is a country dominated by religion. Constitution framers also had this concern, while drafting it that how would democratic state ensure equality for every citizen in the country. The resultant concern was depicted in the form of Article 15 and Host of rights under Article 25 to 28. Even if, the constitution did not explicitly used the word “Secularism” as it was adopted, still the spirit could have been figured through these articles. But, Substitution of word “Secularism” was done through 42nd amendment of the constitution. Even if the constitution ensures the principle of religious freedom and right to dignity, Several Instances in the form of Massacres, portrays the impact of religious stereotypes playing a major role than the guarantees by the constitution. The Killing of More than 1000 people, mostly belonging to the largest minority community in India in Godhra Riots 2002 was a major setback to the secularism guaranteed by the constitution. When a person tries to understand the reasons associated with such events, one has to take into consideration the religious stereotypes been falsely rumoured from years in the country and how the politicians have taken mileage of such stereotypes and filled their vote banks, Instead of sweeping these false rumours and slamming those who speak of it.Some of the Stereotypes such as Hearing an Islamic name and thinking of him/her belonging to an educationally weak background, but this stereotype gets smashed in the face, when one gets to know that APJ Abdul Kalam, who also belonged to same community and His education level was at par with top intellectuals around the world. Another Stereotype is that “they are very unclean”, The largest Minority community in India has a significant amount of population residing in western nations, where they are well off and such stereotypes do not run over there, Thus judging any community through their personal spheres is not a practice that has to be encouraged rather, it acts as a defaming agent. Some of the questions, also part of such stereotype are: Are You Pakistani, Are You a terrorist.Further, the list of such stereotypes are not exhaustive but the importance of discussing them and resorting to reduce such stereotype threat should be something on the priority list. Stereotype threat effects are very robust and affect all stigmatised groups. Stereotype threat leads to a vicious circle. Stigmatised individuals experience anxiety which depletes their cognitive resources and leads to underperformance, confirmation of the negative stereotype and reinforcement of the fear. We find that majority of stereotypes with respect to the minority community comes from those individuals who are themselves at self-doubt or under some threat which reduces their cognitive mind to think of repercussions of such statements. India has already faced fierce riots and massacres where huge numbers of civilians have been killed and it forces us to think upon such expectations. It is a high time that people have to take efforts to destroy these stereotypes, so that India could breathe fresh air in its diversity.