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Communalism: A Political Hypocrisy

By Areeba Saghir,

Being a tolerant and a peaceful country, the saga of foreigners assimilating in the Indian culture has not been hidden from anybody. From Aryans to Shakas to Parthians to Mughals, Indian land accepted them with open arms and inviting heart. The Himalayas stand witness to Ganga-Jamani tehzeeb which still reverberates in many pockets of the country. A famous poet encapsulates it beautifully in the lines below:

“Aapas mein kat maroge to aakhir bachega kaun…
Dukh dard apne dil ka kahega kisi se kaun…
Hoge na tum to layenge bhai kahan se hum…
Honge na hum agar tumhe bhai kahega kaun…”

The mornings started with Fajr azaan and the evenings resonated the bhajans & aartis…the lives were coloured with the hues of love, care and respect towards one another. However, when the British entered into India with the earlier ambitions of trade and commerce, they looted and plundered India in a way unlike their predecessors. They faced a severe setback in 1857 when they witnessed the power of Hindu-Muslim reaching the zenith. General Bakht Khan marching towards Delhi, Rani Laxmibai bravely defending Jhansi, Maulvi Ahmadullah courageously leading from Faizabad, Kunwar Singh from Bihar, Begum Hazrat Mahal valiantly shielding Lucknow…the entire revolt of 1857 was the portrayal of Indian culture wrapped in Hindu-Muslim bonhomie. British soon realised the possibility of getting pushed out from the Indian Territory unless the unity is broken and people are divided. Hence, they gradually implemented their divisive agenda, “Divide and Rule” driven by economic and political rapacity which later on, snowballed into painful partition in the flames of which was jolted the essence of Hindustan…

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The country witnessed its first communal riot in 1893 in Bombay. The year itself narrates the very realization of British aims in India. Most Indians tend to classify Indian history into – Hindu Rule (Ancient India), Muslim Rule (Medieval India) and Christian Rule (Modern India). But to everyone’s surprise, this very classification has been given by a British puppet, James Mill, who in his book ‘History of India’ divided history to divide us. In reality, rulers are not driven by any religion to invade and intrude a particular territory. The only motive is resources. Whether it was Aryans or Mughals, India attracted them for it had umpteen resources, several mountain passes for easy entry, weak defence and open seas. This prepared the right recipe for foreigners to rule India for centuries. While history must be seen via neutral lens, the British communalised Indian history, and the after-effects of which India faces till today. It is futile to fight over the kings and kingdoms. They fought battles and wars to satiate their vested interests.

Beautifully captured in the movie ‘Mulk’, communal harmony rests on the pillars of empathy, tolerance and brotherhood. The movie urges each one of us to break the stereotypes, preconceived notions and prejudices about each other, to stop questioning one’s loyalty towards the country.

We are fooled by these kleptocrats-cum-politicians who mainstream the fringe groups, fan hatred and adopt extremist ideologies. Across the globe, communal hatred is being perpetuated in the society. Indians, in particular, need to realise the very idea of India is unity in diversity. In a nation where costume, cuisine, colour, dialect if not language changes every kilometre, how can one even imagine a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. That would mean belittling and crushing the diversity of India. In this context, I remember a few lines by Javed Akhtar:

“Kisi ko ye koi kaise bataye…
Gulistaan mein kahin bhi phool ikrangi nahi hote…
Kabhi ho hi nahi sakte…
Ki har ik rang mein chhup kar bahaut se rang rehte hain…”
[gulistaan: garden; ikrangi: same colour]

Unless these fringe groups are checked, politicians are held accountable and miscreants are dealt with an iron fist, the secular and social fabric of the country will be eroded soon. For this, me, you and everybody out there needs to come forward and join hands. Need of the hour is to take a pledge to overcome the hurdles of hatred, communalism and anything and everything which divides us. Communalism is religious fundamentalism and dogmatism. We all are one community, one nation, one people. No matter which ideology we nurture, on either side we lose…we lose India.

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