Just Chatting with Life

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tolerant Democracy : Think again !

For a long time, Indians have been living under the illusion of "anekta mein ekta" or " Unity in Diversity" . I call this an illusion because it is no longer true. But was it true when the slogan was coined to describe a New India ?

The Independence was marked by the ugly spectacle of Partition. Hindus and Muslims hated each other like never before. Millions lost their lives. Even greater numbers lost their homes. A new nation was born - Pakistan. A nation whose very existence is built up on the foundation of religion. The Indians distanced themselves from the religious extremism of Pakistan by procliaming itself as a secular democracy. The Indian Constitution is a shining testimonial to secularism. The only thing which it stopped short of doing was a Uniform Civil Code. Imagine how this nation would have changed if a UCC was implemented right at the time of Independence. But the circumstances were different then and this idea was not practical.

India moved on, albeit a bit slowly, with generous ideological and financial help from Russia. She fought 3 wars with Pakistan. Religious extremism hadn't raised its ugly head until then. The first signs came in late 70s with the rise of the Khalistan Movement. Suddenly Punjab became a state strife with terrorism. Innocent people were killed, life became extremly difficult in Punjab. Millitants took over the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Operation BlueStar Was called for. A successful operation met its tragic end when Indira Gandhi was gunned down by Militants. Thankfully, within a few years, this movement all but disappeared and Peace prevailed in Punjab .

Meanwhile , other parts of the country - Assam, Manipur, Tamilnadu were simmering . But terrorism in India reached its pinnacle with Kashmir. It was back to the old conflict again - Hindus against Muslims. A beautiful valley was now torn by terrorism, Kashmir became an army state, Hindus were slowly weeded out of Kashmir. Pakistan supported this as overtly and covertly as they can. Thousands have lost their lives, the paradise on earth now lay in tatters. An uneasy peace was brokered, but the tension and the mistrust remains.

Mistrust is the key here. There was always a certain amount of mistrust between the communities . But this mistrust was heightened by several events such as Terrorism, The Bombay Blasts, and the Rise of the Hindu extremist. The Hindu Extremist came to prominence with the Babri Masjid Demolition, it strengthened its stature after the Bombay Riots, came to the front page with the Gujrat Riots and now is fast catching up with Muslim Extemism. Muslim Extremism is feared around the world. Any kind of extremism, be it Hindu or Muslim is to be feared, because extremists have a very one-dimensional view of the world. They are the height of selfishness and fanatically devoted to a cause. Whether the cause is right or wrong is immaterial . And it is this Fanaticism that makes it dangerous.

Now there is a big mistrust in people's minds. Hindus mistrust Muslims, Muslims mistrust Hindus, North Indians mistrust South Indians, Bengalis mistrust Gujratis, Marathis mistrust Biharis, eveyone mistrust everyone other than his/her community. No one will openly admit it, but it exists . This has become so deep-rooted in peoples minds that it is very difficult to learn to trust again . To the extent, that some Hindus hailed the rise of "hindu" Chhota Rajan because he was against the "mUslim" Dawood Ibrahim.

Is this a tolerant democracy ? I don't think so. It is like a volcano that is lying dormant. It may not erupt for a long time. But when it does, all Hell Will Break Loose .


  • Hey ....that's a good blog to stumble on! will be visiting more often....c ya!

    By Blogger Ellie, at December 07, 2005 2:11 AM  

  • Hi,
    just saw this link on PG n thought to chech out,
    this particular writing was very thoughtful n forced the reader to think as well,
    i completely agree with u on this,
    one thing these people dont understand is "watever be the religion, all r humans"
    by the way keep up the good work n all the luck for all ur ventures.

    By Blogger surviver, at December 14, 2005 7:42 PM  

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