Actress Dia Mirza during the launch of a jewellery showroom in Kolkata in Kolkata. Image Credit: IANS

Actress Dia Mirza says religion is something she explored but it has not defined who she is.

“I went to a school that followed philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurthy. I am the daughter of a Christian father and Bengali mum and [was raised] in a Muslim family, so religion has never been my identity... it’s something I explored through the course of time,” she said at the Prithvi Theatre Festival on Thursday.

“Identification boundary limits a person. Religion and faith should be followed and practised but should not be an identity,” she said.

A number of film personalities in India have returned their National Film Awards and other honours to protest growing intolerance in the country.

Mirza said: “I want to ask those who are questioning the returning of awards that when one person receives such a great honour from our country [and then] becomes compelled to take the tough decision to return that honour... how many people would have that largeness of heart and commitment to [the] nation?

“Every individual who returned their award has every right to do so and that is their personal choice of protesting. This is a mark of protest because they feel strongly enough about [the issue],” she said.

Mirza, who has been involved with several causes such as Cancer Patients Aid Association and Spastics Society of India, and has worked extensively to spread HIV awareness and prevention of female foeticide, says she believes politics and religion should not mix.

“The day when politics and religion will be treated independently, we can say we live in a democratic country,” she said.