UNDERSTANDING THE FIGHT AGAINST COMMUNALISM
Partition is done with, Britishers are gone and Secularism has been adopted by the Indian society. Many even believe that secularism has now integrated with the modern Indian society. Yet every time the country witnesses some political festival it is preceded and proceeded by long debates on the secularism and religious communalism, thereby highlighting the earnest need for redefining communalism and secularism in the modern Indian society and understanding these terms in their very basic forms.
Communalism as defined in the modern dictionaries is ‘loyalty and commitment to the interests of your own minority or ethnic group rather than to society as a whole; or the practice of communal living and common ownership;’ thus when a person tries to promote his or her own community even in the minutest way possible, that person is being communal. While secularism is ‘when a person does not promotes his community’.
A community is a group of people having a religion, ethnic, profession, or other particular characteristic in common. Thus communalism could be religious, ethnic or even linguistic in character but form that needs most highlighting is the religious form of communalism therefore in the essay that follows we’ll try and explore the roots of religious communalism and how can the menace be fought in the modern day society.
The question that we need to address in our quest to find the roots of communalism is ‘will communalism exist as long as religion does’? The answer to the question according to me is a definite yes. What religion does is that it divides people into communities which is a requisite to communalism. Analogously speaking, religion is the spark to the communal fire, there can be no fire without a spark, or if we frame it differently; there will be fire as long as there is a spark. People may assert that communalism is only the perverted form of religion and there is a possibility of having a religious society not mutilated by the communal inferno. But the claim is an idealistic one; it does not see the world as it is rather as it ought to be.
No religion claims that it is the best nor does any religious book asks for beheadings yet what religion does is that it sows the seed of belongingness to a particular faith, it forms the ground for dissection of human beings into religious communities and when there exists more than one such community, the futile competition to prove primacy is but inevitable. Thus all communal conflicts in the modern society are fertilized in the ovum of religion. A person who follows one religion but claims his respect for other religions is also communal for the mere belongingness to any particular religious community is religious communalism.
Secularism stands on delusive grounds but its fight is strengthened by the augmenting cloaking exigency in the expeditiously modernizing society or in simple words, no one wants to be secular but everyone needs to be in order to survive and to grow and thus most of the people hide their communal intents to socialize under the veil of secularity. Such a person cannot be called secular but only harmlessly communal.
There are numerous stages in communalism itself, a very broad bifurcation of these stages is as follows.
Stage #0 – no knowledge of the institution of religion
Stage #1 – feeling of belonging to a particular religious community
Stage #2 – supporting your religious community
Stage #3 – comparing your community with other communities
Stage #4 – promoting your own communities
Stage #5 – promoting your community and criticizing other communities
Stage #6 – inciting or taking part in religious conflicts
The zero stage is only limited to infants and kids and it continues as long as one is not introduced to his religion. The Aam Aadmi starts from stage#1 and usually dies at stage#5. The stage #6 belongs to Babas, and the Maulvis and is usually touched to attain political gains. The sixth stage and beyond which leads to atrocities similar to those conducted by ISIS and other such terrorist organizations is called fanaticism.
We can see how religion which however does not directly asks for murders or killings in the name of religion but is indirectly the sole factor responsible for all the turmoil in the world.
The most ironical instance which also proves how communalism and not secularism is integrated in our modern societies is that whenever the secular individuals (or perceived to be secular) are asked to comment upon politics, the only things visible to them are those which are religious in nature and bent upon proving the other communal. Is the perceived secular leader himself not communal? Is he/she himself/herself not using religion?
Secularism is a myth while communalism is a reality. As long as religion exists communalism will also. The chance and method of fighting communalism is by rendering it harmless which can only be done by paralyzing the communal intents of a person with the pill of modernization but this is just an escape road. Communalism shall exist as long as religion does; a permanent cure to communalism is the gradual decline of all religions.