Religious Pluralism in Peril

Communalism is religious imperialism; it is rather more dangerous than the political imperialism. Communalism is an incessant process of proliferating religious hatred in society.

Written by


Published on

Communalism is religious imperialism; it is rather more dangerous than the political imperialism. Communalism is an incessant process of proliferating religious hatred in society. It has been our experience of about six decades that the communal forces never take respite from executing their venomous agenda, hatching communal conspiracies, perpetuating communal ideology and thereby poisoning the social atmosphere.  The country has also experienced that communalism is not confined to election agenda of grabbing power; rather it has deep rooted, unexplored dimensions of functionality. Election agenda is only part of the wider agenda of communal forces, chalked out at multiple levels. Communal agenda covers the spheres of religion, culture, history, economics, education, media and of course, politics, too.
On the other hand, unlike communal forces, the secular forces are not at work, constantly and incessantly. They lapse into eater’s coma after paying lip service just by condemning communalism and raising some rhetoric slogans against communal forces on every incident of recurrent attack on minorities. Secular forces live under euphoria of complacency just by making election alliance with the so-called secular political forces for restraining communal forces from coming to power. Once the elections are over, our so-called secular political intelligentsia thinks that its task too is over.
Communalism aims at defeating the moral consciousness and esprit de corps of secular forces. It is worth pondering on, wherefrom the communal forces derive potential, material resources to defeat the moral consciousness and esprit de corps of secular forces. It also needs a considerable thought as to wherefrom they derive constant inspiration to work relentlessly on their agenda?  It seems that it is a consequence of a long term preparation of certain unexplored undercurrents of our social system. A question of vital significance also arises as to why such potential resources, constant sources of inspiration and vibrant zeal are lacking amongst the secular forces while countering the communal forces?
Among others, saffron communalism is the greatest threat to the secular framework of our society. Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) is the most prominent representative of saffron communalism. RSS is the mother organisation of all the saffron outfits in the country. Since its inception in 1924, RSS has been nourished and nurtured by saffron ideologues like Golwalkar, Hedgewar, Savarkar, etc. Its aim has been to use the saffron symbols to exploit the religious sentiments of the majority of Hindus in order to capture power and thereby establish Hindu Raj in India. For this purpose, the Saffron forces and their ideologues have devised a hypothetical notion of “Cultural Nationalism” i.e. Hindutva. They started glorifying Hindu culture, religion, history, civilisation, traditions, and customs. They started a well-calculated strategy giving distorted interpretations of the Hindu religion, history, civilisation, traditions, and customs in their own favour.
Not only this, they have poured their wholesome potential in condemning everything concerning minorities by rewriting history and by redefining religion and culture. They also keep on encouraging constantly, the ideologically corrupt and intellectually dishonest historians, sociologists, archaeologists, educationists and academic mafia to serve the ends of Hindutva, misinterpreting the historical artefacts and doctoring the cultural perspective. They strive at their level best to saffronise the school and university syllabi in the name of Hindu consciousness or providing moral education. For this purpose, they are running hundreds of Shishu Mandirs and DAV schools. Organising weekly Shakhas is a regular practice of RSSmen and thereby they inculcate hatred against minorities in the minds of innocent Hindu children. Through Shakhas, RSS prepares Saffron cadres at the grassroots level by imparting training to them in order to achieve the said objectives of Hindutva. The children are also imparted training to counter Muslims especially during communal riots. They have also constructed thousands of Hindu temples in Dalit and tribal areas throughout the country in order to convert the poor Dalits and tribals into the Hindu fold. This is done by intimidating them or by creating an artificial enemy in the shape of Islam and Christianity. Not only this, they have created their own institutional structures at all levels; be it art, culture, religion, media, academics or politics. They have also created their own saffron lobbies in the said institutional structures to serve the ends of Hindutva.
Saffron forces also encourage the majority Hindus (especially Dalits) to perform all Hindu rituals at religious festivals with great zeal and enthusiasm. They also try to link all cultural festivals with Hinduism   and hyper-glorify the Hindu religious culture so as to show off the saffron strength and to terrorise the minorities.
It is worth pondering that the issues of greater and larger social concerns like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and health which ought to have been the issues of public domain, have deliberately been thrown into the background, but the issues like that of religion have been made the issues of public domain by the saffron forces in order to realise their vicious agenda.
The saffron forces went to the extent of making an attempt (though unsuccessful) to abolish the Constitution of India in the garb of reviewing it. They think that the Constitution (which essentially protects the secular, socio-cultural and socio-political framework of the country) is the greatest stumbling block in the way of establishment of Hindu Raj in India.
It is a noticeable fact that our so-called secular forces have failed to have direct interaction with the common man at the grassroots level. They could not inculcate the values of secularism in the minds of the common man. The secular intelligentsia has failed to make the common man realise the perils of the proposed Hindu Raj of Saffron forces. What would be the status of Dalits, women and minorities in the proposed Hindu Raj if it is established? They have also failed to make him understand that the inhuman practice of untouchability and female infanticide would be revived and the system of Sati would be revived and glorified in the proposed Hindu Raj. It has also failed to make them understand that the Hindu Raj is nothing but a vicious effort to execute the obnoxious Manuwadi system that paves the way for eternal servitude of Dalits and women and it would be a system wherein, there would be no space for Dalits and minorities.
Unlike communal forces, the secular forces in India have not become an organised and concerted force. They have always been fragmented and segregated. That is why Babri Masjid is demolished, churches are attacked, bloody carnage of 1984 and horrendous lynching (of Muslims and Dalits) in Gujarat take place. That is why Graham Steins and his two innocent kids are set ablaze alive and nuns are raped in the broad daylight. The monster of communalism is engulfing city after city and village after village but our secular intelligentsia is keeping itself busy raising storms in teacups. The secular intelligentsia does not have any long-term agenda or any well thought out strategy to counter the monster of communalism at none of the levels, be it politics, religion, history, art, culture, etc. Its expression of disagreement with communalism is confined to mere criticism and that too appears to be cosmetic in essence.
Our policymakers and secular intelligentsia were under happy delusion that with the economic advancement and technological transformation, the thought process of the common man would become more pragmatic, rational and tolerant. But our experience of almost six decades shows a contrary picture. Communal frenzy has been directly proportional to the economic and technological advancement. This perception of theirs has proved to be an utter fallacy.
Hence, this is high time to wake up and realise the gravity of the challenges posed by communalism. It is also high time for secular forces to consolidate their fragmented and segregated potential and chalk out a well deliberated strategy to counter the monster of communalism. It is also desirable to put a complete ban on the communal outfits, and to make them financially debilitated by freezing their bank accounts and other hidden sources of finance so that their communal activities may be curbed. There is also a dire need to enact more stringent laws relating to the offences of disturbing communal harmony in the society as the existing laws have proved to be insufficient in dealing with the problem. Moreover, there is an urgent need to sensitise the law enforcement agencies to the virtues of secularism. The secular conscience of the common man should be awakened; especially, children must be taught about the precious value of secularism. Last but not the least, the secular forces need to work incessantly and relentlessly to uphold secularism so that the constitutional spirit of secularism and religious pluralism is no more  insulted and mutilated.