Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Intrinsic trait

It is sad but true, that the politics of divide and hate continues to flourish in India, a country which once prided itself as a secular, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-religious society where tolerance had so long kept the diverse character vibrant. Whether it be the caste wars in the cow belt or communalism in north India and casteism also in some north Indian states, Indian politics has earned an unsavoury reputation. Caste and communal politics being part of the way of life at it may; becomes a natural course to run when politics is played out. In this, communal and caste politics is being played by almost all political parties but to varying degrees. If thousands were killed during the anti-Sikh pogrom in 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, supposedly by Hindus a.k.a. Congress workers or sympathisers; a few thousand muslims were also killed during the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. These serve to remind of a famous Sherlock Holmes story about ‘the dog that did not bark’. Holmes solves the mystery by surmising that the murderer was known to the watchdog. In a like manner, what is being witnessed in India are scores of attacks, verbal and physical, on Muslims and Christians of the country. Yet, the watchdogs- those who rule the country and its law and order machinery – seem to have heard nothing. Recent communal clashes and stone-pelting and arson, in which several people, including policemen, were injured in MP, Rajasthan and UP are worrisome signs. On April 10, communal violence was reported in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. The provocations and resultant reactions have been the causes that has sparked communal embers. This has become the order of the day after 2014, when the notion of pluralism has been subjected to constant bombardment by groups and leaders of political parties, who were once described as fringe elements. Today, thanks mainly to the abuse of authority and browbeating media into submission, the fringe they have become mainstream. On the other hand, the entire machinery and polity have been used to defame, dislodge and discredit secularism and unity in diversity and the once liberal community comprising of all who believe in a pluralistic and democratic India, have today been pushed to the fringes. Today in India, the media has become drum beaters and by that, become accomplices in muzzling democratic freedom. A case in point, unconfirmed allegations of conversion fraud became headline in some electronic media. Later all these were proved to be half truths. Whatever be the arguments or counter-arguments, the lurking apprehension felt among minority communities in India cannot be dismissed outright especially since some ministers including some MPs of the ruling government have not been censured for their provocative utterances. In a parliamentary and constitutional democracy, the role of the opposition is vital. Today, the opposition in India are at loggerhead with each other and that itself is a serious concern against checkmating authoritarianism.

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