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'Urban areas intolerant'

india Updated: Jun 28, 2007 01:16 IST
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A UN report has found a link between religious movements and rapid urbanization in India. The cult is identified as Shivaji, an oblique reference to the Shiv Sena.



"Rapid urbanization was expected to mean triumph of rationality, secular values and demystification of the world, as well as relegation of religion to a secondary role. Instead, there has been a renewal in religious interest," the report says.



The growth of religious movements is primarily an urban phenomenon, it says. Moulana Mehmood Daryabadi of the India Ulema Council agrees: "Intolerance in big urban centres like Mumbai and Delhi is spreading to smaller cities like Varanasi and Tiruchirapalli and smaller towns like Malegaon. Rural areas are more peaceful. Thanks to stress and the struggle to match aspirations, which are exploited by politicians, cities are a hotbed of intolerance now. It is so bad that a Muslim boy would not get a flat on rent in certain areas of the city."



Ibrahim Mathai of the Christian Council says that since politicians and parties are more active in cities, they create this problem for personal gains. "Rural areas are not as hot with political activities. In cities, the stakes are higher and politicians try constantly to divide people on religious lines."



The report says increased urbanization, coupled with slow economic development and globalisation, has helped increase religious diversity.