• Raajveer Singh Bisht

The Different Shades of Communalism

Communalism all over the world is condemned rapidly when dabbled in by the majority yet justified and even celebrated when committed by the minority.

Communalism is definitely an issue that in the Indian context of politics, society and economy is deeply analysed and critiqued upon. Yet communal ideology by its very deciding factor (religion) is prevalent worldwide and deeply entrenched in the hearts of many.

The nations of the world have come together on multiple times to criticize communal rhetoric (as evidenced by the Christchurch shootings) that stems from the aversion and hostility that the majority religion of a nation or society shows to the minorities within this framework. Yet the liberal political agenda often times ignores and justifies the same communal outlook when it is espoused by members of the minority religions.

Of course, nation to nation this narrative changes based upon context and the subtext of historical progression yet a commonality that is alarmingly prevalent in the left-wing, liberal political platforms is this “head in the sand” approach towards the communal elements present in the organisations of the minority religions.

A few examples of this have been the controversy surrounding texts like the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, the Charlie Hebdo cartoon controversy etc. In the Charlie Hebdo case while there was universal anguish shown towards the shooting incident there was a much more lenient outlook towards the cartoon controversy and how many minority religious organisations together clamped down on the Freedom of Speech. The liberal political system supported this wholesale and justified it on the grounds of a lack of communication and effective dialogue with these communities.

In India too, slowly yet surely the machinery of left-wing politics has pandered time and time again to these minority communal elements. While there is widespread condemnation of the communal aspects of the majority religion the minorities are usually let off the hook. This sympathetic approach has often rendered the state to be vulnerable to secessionist and separatist ideologies which are founded upon a communal outlook.

While political elites from the liberal set of ideology condemn the inclusion of the majority religion in the political aspect of the nation they simply choose to ignore or exploit this same communal religious inclusion by the minority as a political expedient.

What is even more alarming is the slow yet steady normalisation of this within the younger left-leaning population of these nations as terms like minority appeasement are condemned and cordoned off as taboo and sacrilege while the systematic oppression of the majority (which is indeed possible and increasingly probable) is considered to be nothing more than a conspiracy theory. The youth of these nations eventually accepts this higher status that is presented to the minorities on the false grounds of some perverted form of reparation for perceived historical oppression.

The victims in this vicious tale are ironically the minorities and the liberal political establishment in the long run. The minorities thus, presented with this increasingly privileged status become vulnerable to violent reactionary forces present within the militant majority and the liberal political parties eventually split their vote on a bi-partisan line which leads to them losing out on potential support and actual concrete legitimacy.

The actual efforts towards bridging the gap between the majority and the minority are the collateral damage in this hail of crossfire. Those who work for this agenda are eventually isolated in a deepening entrenches hostile ideologies that reject all possibilities of compromise and conciliation instead staking hopes on a creating a social order based on the dominance of one sect upon the other.

The need of the hour lies in striking a balance and rejecting the isolationist ideologies of religious demagogues and self-serving politicians. It lies in seeking and accepting the intrinsic quality of humanity in one another that if optimists are to be believed is destined to transcend all man-made divisions. Let us hope it is so.

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