Communalism in India

110714_1601_Communalism101A theory opposed to secularism. A political strategy opposed to nationalism. A divisive force, that creates alienation of one community with the rest of the  communities. Communalism is what is being talked about here!!

Prime Minister Pandit. Jawaharlal Nehru asserted that communalism poses the greatest danger for India. Not so much for external aggression. During external aggression, we unite under the tag of “Indians”. Communalism, whereas, divides the Indians. Communalism is a deadly enemy. Anyone who loves India will hate communalism, but who hates India will love communalism.

India has had a beautiful history of respect and compassion towards all religions. Presently, the situation seems to be in stark contrast with the legendary stories of “respect for religions” contained in the Indian history. Currently, it seems the 21st century India is soaked in the ideas, and ground realities of communalism. And, this can be rather observed through killings, genocides, deaths, and massacres in the name of caste, creed, religion, dharma, and vigilantism.

The usage of the phrase a “beautiful history” connotes, that in a country as glorious as India, where Mughal ruler “Akbar” (a Muslim) removed the “Jaziya” (a tax levied on Hindu pilgrims). This act of his is a symbol of respect towards Hinduism. And, where Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj (a Hindu ruler) recruited Muslim soldiers in his army and never destroyed rather preserved mosques. Shivaji showed respect towards all religions. In a country where the ideologies of Vasudeva Kutumba “one world one family” and “Atithi Devo Bhava” are followed where whoever came to “Bharat” we bowed down and with modesty welcomed every guest. We gave every foreigner a place in our hearts, and let them live in our nation with their traditions and values. In a country, with this track – record incidents such as the infamous Godhra Riots, 1984 anti – Sikh riots, 1987 Meerut riots, lynching in the name of religious values are matters of great collective shame! And, to fight in the name of caste, religion, jati, and dharma is a pure disgrace to the tolerant past we hold.

To elucidate on the above riots and the stories behind them, the hidden secrets behind them!! Here, lie the stories… The year of 2002, 27th February morning witnessed the burning of train Sabarmati Express, Godhra, Gujarat which led to the demise of 58 Hindu pilgrims, karsevaks returning from Ayodhya is cited as having instigated the violence!! This was a 3- day long catastrophic and savage inter-communal riot. In this mayhem, all in all, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus lost their lives to a state burning with hatred for religions. If this was not enough to swallow, the unforgotten chapter of Sikh- Riots will give you yet another heart attack. The 1984 Sikh Riots was a genocide of Sikhs, by anti – Sikh mobs on the assassination of former Prime Minister and, Iron Lady – Indira Gandhi.

Communalism, a foe to the healthy development of society took its baby steps in India with the coming of the British Regime. British followed the divide and rule policy, to sustain their rule and to strengthen the roots of communalism in India. Secondly, it was nurtured by various forces post – independence for personal benefit. Even, the largest migration in the world, i.e. the partition of India could not solve the problem of communalism. Pluralism, religious differences are a few other reasons included for the growth of communalism in India.

If there is a problem, there is a solution indeed. And, there ought to be a solution to the grave problem of “communalism”. Surprisingly, there is not one but a number of preventive and positive solutions to the pertaining evil of “communalism”. The list is inclusive of, banning of communal organisations, teaching people to keep religion and politics separately, education having a positive orientation, a joint celebration of festivals and law and order machinery should be more active. Creative thoughts like New India programme by the Modi Government, under the aegis of which lies eradication of “Casteism in India” are dreams which need to be continuously “lit” in our hearts and determinations like a firelight and we need to take these dreams forward through our good deeds and willpower. The article “Annihilation of caste system” by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar correctly points out the eradication of the religious foundations on which caste system has being founded”. There is no sense, utterly no sense in having a system which demoralizes, discriminates, generates inferiority complex and creates a bias. Provided, the caste system would have functioned on the values of “all equals” and “no work, inferior to the other”, “accolades were given according to merit and potential” and “equal respect for every caste” then the picture would have been different. The structure of the caste system, unfortunately, pushes the society towards ignorance, cruelty, and an idea of “self-superiority”. Hence, it should be at any cost removed from the roots.

Conclusively, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj envisioned Swaraj (Freedom), Hindu Swaraj rather i.e. independence from foreign rulers, especially the Mughals. Today, Swaraj would strongly mean having respect, knowledge, and love for religions other than our own and to understand that “Dharma” never teaches destruction. Swaraj would mean to unite together and let nothing divide us. No external aggression, no politician, no political propaganda as our real strength lies in our unity. No one would dare to eye a lot of 120 crores if they have the feeling of unity in their hearts and minds. Moreover,  good and honest leaders, a sensible polity will bring us all together. Never will they separate us. This thought breathes in the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution which incorporates the term “secular” in the Preamble of India. Article 25 again holds the backbone of this thought, i.e. religious rights provided to all in India. The twin fold concepts have been given to us by our great leaders and honest politicians who understand the worth of unity. We must unite together, with the bond of respect, awareness, and love in our hearts, souls, and minds for each other and subsequently our beliefs. We must unite, for the progress of India and for its growth. It’s time India modernizes, it’s time India gets freedom and comes out from the chains of communalism and other evils! Jai Hind!