India-US committed to achieve tolerance, harmony: US envoy

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 14, 2017 15:40 hrs

Kolkata, July 14 (IANS) Constant cultural and religious exchanges between India and the US would showcase the two countries' common commitment towards democratic ideals, religious tolerance and diversity in a world where harmony is not the common order, said a senior US diplomat.

"We know that harmony is not the common order of the world. So we would have to constantly keep practicing the nuances of it and exchange of ideals between the two great countries would give the rest of the world a strong message about our common commitment towards tolerance and harmony," US Consul General in Kolkata Craig Hall said.

Hall was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a photo exhibition titled Keeping Faith: Indian Religious Traditions in the United States.

He said news about intolerance or communal crimes was not the true reflection of the entire society in "huge and diverse nations" like India and the US.

"In such huge and diverse countries like India and the US, you would see a bad news about intolerance or communal crimes every other day but that is not the true reflection of the entire society." he said.

The photo exhibit includes snaps of various communities celebrating their religious and cultural festivals in the US.

There are photographs of Jains in northern California celebrating Mahapuja (elaborate worship rituals), Hindus in New England rejoicing during the inauguration of the area's first Hindu temple, Sikhs gathering to soak in the spirit of the harvesting festival in Los Angeles, students at Harvard University playing Holi and Muslims preparing themselves for prayer at the Islamic Centre in Boston.

Claiming that the US has always encouraged such inter-religion exchanges with a nation like India, Hall said the photographs portray the assimilation of Indian religion and culture in the American society and influence the two nations to walk the path of religious coherence for a better world.

"These images contain the essence of India and America's pluralism and diversity. It also portrays the contribution of the Indian-Americans to the American experience through religion and the influence of Indian culture to the American society," Hall said.

"The more our two countries practice and share our ideas, the more we can work together to fight the vices of intolerance, anti-Semitism and bigotry in the world," he added.