[Answered] Recent rise in communal disharmony and intolerance is a threat to Indian plural democracy. Comment.

Demand of the question Introduction. Contextual introduction. Body. Discuss how recent rise in communal disharmony and intolerance is a threat to Indian plural democracy. Conclusion. Way forward.

India has been a country of tolerance. Since Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi, Indian society is full of examples of tolerance and harmony as a way of life. But in recent times, there has been a rise in violence across the nation. Current instances of intolerance threaten the very social fabric of Indian society. With rise in communal disharmony and intolerance, there is threat to overall peace in the society. Mob-violence, lynching are some of the symptoms caused by various reasons.

Causes of rise in communal disharmony and intolerance:

  1. Vote Bank Politics: The politicians use the communal card to align themselves to a particular community or for the purpose of breaking up the vote bank of another party often indulges in instigating a communal riot.
  2. Struggle for Identity: In order to ensure their relevance in a system that appears to be highly biased, various classes of people, like the Dalits, the tribals and other minorities tend to project a collective front. Any threat to their class is furiously opposed, so as to make their voices heard in this oblivion.
  3. Conflict of Interests: Communal conflicts are a means for communities to assert their communal identities and to demand their share in economic, educational and job opportunities. Especially in the present times of economic down turn the struggle for ensuring that the interests of their community is appropriately safeguarded is very firmly contested.
  4. Reports of Threat to Religious Ideologies: The examples of these are burning down of Churches in Delhi, Hindu-Muslim riots in Muzzafarnagar in 2013, ethnic clashes over the disputed Nagaland-Assam border, Dadri lynching, etc. Caste-based violence was also reported in several states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  5. Irresponsible Reporting by Media: Many a times media broadcasts unconfirmed, sensitive and often biased reports on national television, just to sensationalise the issue and improve their TRP. This often adds fuel to the fire and increases animosity between the two communities, as the minority community feels threatened and the majority community feels victimised.
  6. Resource Crunch: As the availability of natural resources like land, water, minerals, etc. is reducing due to an exponentially growing population, the clamour for ownership of the available resources, which are there at the disposal of various communities is also increasing.
  7. Growing Intolerance Levels: The social insecurities arising out of a life of deprivation and mistrust for everyone around has made the common individual irritable and intolerant. Further, fear psychosis among minorities is being percolated to the majority community as well. Instances of hate speech, data about the increase in population of minorities as a threat to majority interests generate a situation of intolerance in the community.
  8. State’s support: India has many hostile neighbours, who wish to make it weak through a communal divide. Pakistan is causing an unconventional war, which is more damaging to the national stability in the long term.

Rise in communal disharmony and intolerance- a threat to Indian plural democracy:

  1. Threat to minority: Rise in intolerance and communal disharmony lead to majoritarianism and thus, suppress minorities and hinder their rights.
  2. Mob-violence: Rise in disharmony has led to targeting of religious minorities and led to a rise in mob-violence, which has impacted the psyche of minorities and led to an atmosphere of threat to life.
  3. Threat to Rule of law: With rise in incidence of mob justice, lynchings, there is a threat to rule of law. For instance, the recent killing of Rapists in Telangana by police, is being celebrated in India. The recent killing of policemen by mob is an example of eroding rule of law.
  4. Freedom of speech: It has also impacted freedom of speech. Disharmony and intolerance has led to excessive scrutiny of speech and expression and prevent many to speak freely due to fear of life.
  5. Harmed human rights: Deployment of large scale security forces dissipates the state exchequer and may result in occasional Human Rights abuses. The Human Development Index of the society is adversely affected by these hampering restrictions that are laid on the basic right to freedom of people.
  6. Regionalism: The anti-national elements get adequate opportunity to fan regional feelings and work on creating an atmosphere to break the cohesiveness of our society.
  7. Lawlessness: Lawlessness accruing out of communal disharmony is exploited by the divisive forces operating in the country because of which internal security risks gets heightens.
  8. Damage social fabric: The social fabric of the society gets irreparably damaged and the conditions of mistrust serve as a catalyst for future conflicts on flimsy grounds.

Way forward:

  1. Efficient administration: Quick and appropriate decisions by the administration is needed. After identifying the type, stage and gravity of the disturbance, must take immediate actions to mitigate the losses and be proactive to requisition and detained personnel with provocative behaviour.
  2. Training: Police forces especially trained for the purpose must be promptly deployed in adequate numbers with requisite equipment and proper gear to handle situations at the physical, as well as emotional level.
  3. Delegation: Proper delegation of responsibility and authority must be defined so that no one looks over the shoulder at the time of crises. It is also very important to hold a person in charge accountable for any misgivings or overreach of authority.
  4. Media guidelines: During the outbreak of a riot, the local people must be regularly kept updated regarding the prevailing situation through various forms of media, which must be provided with guidelines to ensure it does not aggravate the situation further.
  5. Fair probe: Prompt and fair probe into all incidents that may take place during the riot be conducted and locals appraised of the action taken by the administration.
  6. 6.     Cyber-security: Cyber police should be watchful of posts made in the social media and websites carrying any provocative content with the aim of spreading communal tension and bring to book such people.

The basic reason for all communal disturbances is the communal atmosphere pervading the country and the communal tension built up between different communities. We as an evolving society, especially the youth, need to unite together to fight the communal forces and rise above the pettiness for the sake of humanity and for the security of our great nation.

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