Where Is "Unity In Diversity"?

Religion, Region and Politics

Bishaldeep Kakati

The term 'politics' has more often than not always generated negative vibes among people, which is the sole cause, most of the people try to keep themselves away from it as much as possible. It further creates division and throws a light as to how some politicians changed its genesis, from the process of unification to mercenary based interests. And that is the reason rather than uniting people as a single force, politics has only caused some painful separation.

A diverse country like India, since time immemorial, has always tried her level best to completely cover up the 'Unity in Diversity' perspective to a larger extent. The reason for doing this was that India was aware of the fact that in order to keep this huge nation intact and to bring about peace and harmony among different classes of people, the process of unification was really vital.

Politics thus rose up from the flames of nationalism or regionalism and it was the sine qua non for the sole policy of happiness for the people at the cost of nothing. In fact even the rulers during the ancient time were always mindful of the fact that their administrative actions should not hamper the greater interest of the people. And that is the reason Napoleon Bonaparte established the highest administrative court in French, Conseil d' Etat, back in 1799 for the benefit of the people. Napoleon's rule somewhere down the line was also a part and parcel of politics, however a ruler of his caliber, never allowed negative vibes to rise up in people's mind regarding politics, thus displaying the importance of politics in proper running of a nation.

In fact, the Ahom rule in Assam was also a reflection of how politics should be used for ruling a nation in the right way. A cardinal figure in Assam history, the first ruler of Ahom kingdom, Sukapha was instrumental in uniting the various tribes that inhabited the place during that time. And his process of extracting out the good in politics was the prime factor in strengthening the Ahom kingdom, which could not be easily defeated by the Mughals. Thus even this narrative of history, is a good example of the very importance of healthy politics in the running of an administration in the appropriate way.

However, in the above discussion of positive politics, one has nowhere found or used the word 'Religion', and that is the sole reason for realising the salubrious impact of politics. Thus separating religion from politics makes politics look more robust and flourishing. But the unfortunate thing is that as people stepped into the 21st century, it was noticeable that religion got intermixed with politics, which degraded it completely. Most of the politicians, especially those in India, intentionally or unintentionally made religion an inseparable part of politics, and that resulted in a great amount of hue and cry and chaos among various tribes and communities. In fact, it had its negative impact upon the common citizens also, as people started dominating over one another in terms of the religion they practised. Thus all these slowly destroyed the positive in politics, something which was visible during Napoleon's rule in France or Sukapha's rule in Assam.

Added to this, it is a well established fact that the basic structure of the Indian Constitution enumerated the principles of secularism and it remained everyone's duty not to violate the same. But sadly not only the people, but also some of the politicians continuously kept violating it to the extreme. And the impact of it was so adverse that event chants like 'Allah uh Akbar', 'Jai Shree Ram' reached the sacred ambience of the Indian Parliament. Furthermore, people trashing one another for carrying pork or beef, compelling the other to shout continuously 'Allah uh Akbar' or 'Jai Shree Ram', are all derogatory to the secular spirit of India. And people should clearly understand that a particular party in power doesn't signify exaggerated nationalism or a chauvinistic approach especially for a country like India, where morality and humanity are regarded as two of the most important fundamentals.

However, the modem society requires a complete shift from religion based politics to region based politics. But region based politics should not be misunderstood with regionalism. While region based politics delineates about changing the aspect of politics according to regions, on the other hand, regionalism is the conception of preserving and uplifting one's unique culture, heritage and tradition. Thus things are as transparent as a glass. The fact being every region has its own predicaments, and therefore a tendency must arise to give due importance to the problems of a region while formulating out a policy.

It is indeed known to one and all, that some regions of India have similarity with one another in terms of their problems, be it the grave issue of scarcity of water or the degrading lifestyle of the peasants. So when a policy is made for improving the availability of water, importance must be given to regions suffering from the same, rather than considering the whole nation as a whole, as that would directly or indirectly solve the issue in the areas concerned. Since such policies no doubt would require expert handling, for that, in India there is the provision of delegated legislation as well. Moreover, while dealing with problems particular to a region only, consultations must be made with the people of that region who have been affected, before drafting out a policy. And all these solutions are something which are not new, but are already available in the common law of the land, which some of the politicians have forgotten because of their personal interests.

Nevertheless, one can't even deny the fact that things in theory look mucheasier than implementing it in practical terms. But if from nowhere religion could be brought about to the scheme of things of politics, then one surely needs to question: Why innovations like region based politics are still not given due importance? And the most important fact is that if the politicians try to figure out and realise the importance of this question, only then India would be able to settle down the religion based conflicts that are increasing day by day and thus can also step on the pedestal of peace, harmony and success.

It is often said that, "Democracy and India are the two sides of the same coin." India's unique feature lies on the very fact that from the houses to the offices, almost each and everyone is found practicing the principles of democracy. Democracy demands an equal share of power and that is the reason, whenever an important decision's to be taken, opinions are taken from each and everyone who forms an essential component of that particular decision. In fact, it falls under the ambit of democracy to ensure that the majority's opinion gets the upper hand while formulating out the ultimate conclusion. And that process of voicing out is often done by the way of voting in elections.

The well established fact is that the process of elections has also made its impact felt upon the ambience of educational institutions as well. And in a way it is good, because whenever one speaks of democracy, it must be present in every sphere of life, including the educational institutions as well, especially when people are taking of electing the best Students Union Body to lead the students of that particular institution. But the thing to be pondered here is: Has the elections of educational institutions remained the same as the students wanted it to be?

The answer to this question can be understood by not going way too far, but simply by considering the Students' Election in Assam, which generally takes place in the month of September in various educational institutions of Assam. The motive of elections in educational institutions is to form a strong and unified body that stands as the sole voice, wish, desire of every student studying in that institution, and also to create some future leaders. In fact, when a student comes out to vote for the leader of his choice, he silently keeps a wish in his mind that in times of adversity, that particular leader would come forward and help him to find ways to solve his issue. No to forget the fact that whenever a students' union body is formed, its primary objective is to try and improve the ambience of that institution, help out the students in getting the best environment and infrastructure possible and most importantly to secure the identity of the students enrolled in that institution. And all these can be done by simply amalgamating with the authorities in a synchronised manner, in terms of using the development fees paid by the students as well as in coming out with the best plans possible for improving the quality of the institution.

However the sad news is that currently the things are not as healthy as it seems. The matter of the fact is that the elections in most of the educational institutions of Assam of late, has turned out to be a complete mess. And that mess is somewhere down the line created by the parties and pressure groups that indirectly enter into the institutions, nominate the individuals of their choice, and then try to play the game of 'dirty politics', in order to make their candidates win the elections and in the process stamp their authority. Thus when there is the upcoming of 'dirty politics', at that very juncture, democracy dies and dictatorship takes birth.

These parties and pressure groups only to make their candidates win, not only promote them in an over-decorated way, but also try to destroy the image of their opponents, by coming up with some false allegations most of the time . In fact, the scenario gets so bad at times, that even an individual's dignity is not spared just for the sake of elections. And when people congratulate about campus democracy, people would never say no to elections, but most of the people would definitely question the need and necessity of parties and pressure groups in educational institutions.

Moreover, elections in educational institutions also means monetary show off by parties and pressure groups, where free coupons of lunch and dinner are provided to the students, thus motivating the common students to vote for a particular candidate in order to make him win the elections, in the process completely forgetting about the concept of 'deserving candidates'. And when there are elections happening in institutions, people more often than not face a scenario of quarrels, fights, wrangles etc, thus completely destroying the peace and tranquility.

Added to this is the fact that an educational institution means unity of students. But because of the entry of these groups even the unity among students is disturbed, and it seems that the students of the institution are divided for every reason and cause. Moreover the sense of hatred and constant cold wars against one another, further degrade the scenario to a greater extent. In fact, because of the divisions created by these pressure groups and political parties, the institution does not witness tremendous development, as most of the students are more oriented towards showing their supremacy over the other.

Furthermore, after the elections gets over, even the winning party more often than not behaves like a dictator and the problems of the common students are often ignored or shown a blind eye. In fact, when in a single students' union body, there are members from different parties or pressure groups, a lack of coordination is often seen and that directly affects proper running of the Union body and the institution as a whole. And the known fact is that even the ideological clashes between the students of an institution are also directly or indirectly brought by these parties and pressure groups.

So the point is that the learned members of the political parties as well as pressure groups should once again reconsider their decision of entering into the frame of educational institutions. Students are often regarded as the backbone of an educational institution, and if one can make the students free from any orientation or alienation, then much development with peace and prosperity might be witnessed in the educational institutions.

Therefore, it has become really essential for the authorities of the institutions to take a bold step by laying down certain limitations or restrictions for the parties and pressure groups at the earliest, or if opposite is the scenario, then the time is not far when things would turn out to be more violent and completely uncontrollable.

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Vol. 52, No. 18, Nov 3 - 9, 2019