Campaign Against Communalism

Bharat Dogra

One of the biggest obstacles in the progress of Indian society is communalism. It is also one of the biggest causes of human distress in the society.

Communal activities are based either on falsehoods or on highly distorted half-truths. Shrewd manipulators give such a twist to distorted half-truths that falsehoods can be spread by playing on people's emotions.

This is often done with the narrow view of getting political or economic gains. For example, a political party or leader may think that they will get more votes if people of one community can be instigated against another community. Or else some traders may think that they will get more business if traders of another community can be driven out by violence and coercion.

Obviously such acts and propagation of communalism are very harmful for peace, stability and progress of the country and society, but still some narrow interests pursue these tactical moves for narrow gains. These narrow interests, by spreading false propaganda, also gradually create some fanatic elements who may follow this narrow and harmful agenda without rationally thinking about these issues and their implications themselves.

However, a firm foundation of progress can only be prepared on the basis of social equality and justice amongst people of all religions, faiths and communities. On the one hand this belief of equality and justice should be a basic identity of humanity. On the other hand, this is also an essential condition for balanced and sustainable progress, as such progress can only take place in conditions of justice based peace.

When all people live together on the basis of equality and fraternity, then all of them have opportunities to realise their potential and to make their fullest contribution to the progress of the country.

Therefore it is very important for all those who believe in equality, justice and progress to get together to resist the onslaught of communalism. The truth is on their side. The Constitution of India is also firmly on their side. To defend truth and to uphold basic constitutional precepts and principles, it is important to resist and to finally expose the falsehoods spread by communal elements.

However while resisting communalism one should realise that communal forces are identified not with any single religion but with almost all major religions of the world. All major religions need to get rid of forces of communalism. So one should resist the forces of communalism associated with all religions and not of any one particular religion alone.

At the same time it is equally important not to hurt the feelings of religious people who are not communal. Campaign against communalism is not against any religion. What is necessary is to create the example of a great nation based on fraternity and respect for all religions. At the same time there must have some space and respect for those who choose to be atheists. Some of India's greatest patriots like Shahid Bhagat Singh and his associates were atheists and the nation has the highest respect for them.

Also, there must have adequate space for social reformers. Great reformers like Sant Kabir have received the highest respect of the nation and social reformers should continue to get such respect.

The campaign against communalism should not be seen as a short-term step, but instead as a well-planned, broad-based campaign that will continue for a very long time with continuity. This campaign should be linked to other issues of peace and non-violence so that a broad-based campaign and peace movement can become a reality in the entire country.

Vol. 48, No. 32, Feb 14 - 20, 2016