A mass movement to counter the menace of communalism is the need of the hour

The madness of communal frenzy which promotes violence must be countered by collective effort. A mass movement must press for reforms in law enforcement agencies too so that they are not misused


Dr Arun Mitra

The old bedtime children’s story of the ‘Wolf and the Lamb’ where the Wolf manages to lull the lamb’s babies into a sense of safety and open the door, only to be devoured by him, applies to the present day human society as well. The powerful are using force to suppress the people whom they dislike or think to be ‘inferior’ to them to maintain their supremacy, for which they would not mind even pushing the whole society into violence.

In the past, the kings used force against those who would question them on any issue. During the period of Chandragupta Maurya, the then king Dhananand did the same. He even tried to kill Chanakya, the wise man of the period.

It is said that King Ashoka killed 100,000 people during the Kalinga war.

When foreign invaders came to India, they took no mercy on its people. The Mughals used force as well as diplomacy to control the region. Later on, they declared themselves to be Indians and stayed back here and got assimilated in the Indian society and Indian culture.

The British imperialism operated in a slightly different manner though they too overpowered India through diplomacy and force. They plundered our wealth and took everything to England, enriching themselves at the cost of our people. The list of their violent oppression of our freedom fighters is too long to be mentioned here.

After independence, to build a nation based on democratic principles was a big challenge, which was, however, met with successfully by those were entrusted with the responsibility of governing the new-born nation. Every citizen of the country belonging to any religion, caste or gender was given equal rights in the Constitution. Not only that, those who were oppressed since ages were given special privileges. As a result, despite shortcomings, many from them could be uplifted to an extent. This led to reduction in discrimination in the society and increased harmony.

But now an effort is underway to minimise and destroy those achievements. A narrow thinking is being imposed and there is dissolute effort to build a monolithic society in the name of nationalism. Those who are attempting this forget that historically, all those countries which assimilated ‘others’ have progressed while those which were built on sectarian principles got left behind.

Presently, we find that to fulfill their nefarious designs, such forces are targeting the minorities and sending out misleading information on religious conversions, among other issues. Young people aspiring for love and affection are being targeted through legislations enacted to curb ‘love Jihad’. Gangs are being promoted for such acts who indulge in violence with prudence. Many innocent people have been arrested on frivolous charges and put behind bars.

Farmers protests’ are being labeled as being run and led by ‘Khalistanis’. Several conspiracies are being hatched against this movement. Recently, when the son of the Minister of State for Home affairs Ajay Mishra allegedly crushed some farmers under his vehicle at Lakhimpur Kheri, his father tried to justify the act by saying that these farmers belonged to ‘Babbar Khalsa’.

Mob lynching, hitherto unknown in this country, is occurring on one pretext or the other. Most of the time, such events go unnoticed by the police as well as the judiciary. Many times, the victims have been made accused. Such forces have been emboldened by the backing of the State which is all out to suppress people’s movements. A Nazi mind set is apparent from a recent statement made by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat in an interview to Times Now which would seem to be justifying and promoting public lynching.

There is now a very subtle effort to spread communal venom amongst Hindus. But it is now becoming clear that Hindus too are their target. Those who question them are labelled as ‘anti-nationals’ and targeted. All this is being done to silence the voice of peace, love, and harmony in the society among the people of same community.

It has been seen that people or organisations with a violent mindset first of all kill and threaten people from their own community to intimidate them.

This has been witnessed in Somalia where nearly 800000 people died during tribal warfare between Tutsi and Hutu tribes. Neighbours killed neighbours, friends killed friends, even husbands killed their wives saying that otherwise they will be eliminated by mobs from their own tribe. At the time of partition in 1947, an estimated 2500000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were killed. During the Second World War, the perpetrators and the victims of war both were killed. In fact, nothing is achieved through violence. King Ashoka realised this; he adopted and spread Buddhism, now considered as a religion of peace.

There is a need to increase mass movements against the concept of violence. India’s freedom struggle was non-violent. There are several issues like the health, education and employment etc which must be raised effectively to counter these communalists. A mass movement must press for reforms in the police as well as the judiciary too so that they are not misused.

The madness of communal frenzy which promotes violence has to be countered by a collective effort. There is no other way to save humanity from this menace.

(IPA Service)

Views are personal

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