“Communal harmony could not be permanently established in our country so long as highly distorted versions of history were taught in her schools and colleges, through the history textbooks” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
By the end of the nineteenth century, a sense of nationalism emerged on the silhouette of Indian politics. Along with the emergence of nationalism, communalism also came into existence during that time. Communalism can be viewed as a spick-and-span term that emerged as a result of modern politics. Mainly, it is believed that communalism is bound to religion, which is the principal basis of social community; but according to the Aljazeera journalist, Zainul Abideen, nowadays, being communal does not need to be religious, because 70% of Jews in Israel are atheist, but they believe that Palestine is the promised land for them, and killing innocent Palestinians is right. Although everyone has defined communalism in different ways all of them agreed that it is a negative term that is baneful for people and a nation. It impedes the upliftment and growth of a country by creating hatred, antagonism, and hostility among its citizens. Recent incidents of communal riots are examples of how communalism results in obstacles for the growth of our society.
Before the advent of the British in India, feudal lords were living in peace and harmony. When the British entered India, they saw that religion was an integral part of every Indian’s way of life and that it was governing and controlling people.
The British did not think that religion would be a shield for them to rule in India for such a long period. When the freedom struggle started against the British empire, unity and stability of Hindus and Muslims became a threat to them. They began to use every strategy and idea to control uprisings against the British Raj. Finally, they turned to the strategy of “Divide and Rule” which proved to be successful. They had used every tool to divide Indians on the basis of religion, caste, creed, and identities and instigated Muslims against Hindus and Brahmans against Non-Brahmans. They hired writers to spread communal ideology ultimately instilling a sense of communalism among Indians. Some social reformers also fell prey to this epidemic ailment as several of them wanted to disperse their own culture and tradition.
Communalism is a threat to India’s democracy and unity. I believe it promotes killing, enmity, mass murders, and plundering and it is our duty as citizens of India to develop strategies to combat communalism.
We have to develop rationality among the new generation so that they can understand the distorted shape of complex history and we must attempt a sense of secularism among people. Educational institutions can play a crucial role in this by organizing various cultural and religious programs so that students can understand each other and respect others. As good citizens, we should make maximum efforts to eliminate communalism.
By Saeed Nadiadwala
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