Many a time before and after independence, Indian subcontinent has witnessed communal riots. However, it can be said with certainty that never has there been a situation when all the corners of the country ranging from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, are strewn with sharp thorns of religious communalism and hatred. And what this is all about can easily be discerned by any one using his own intelligence.
With elections to five state assemblies under way, soon to be followed by the general elections, this communal build-up, which can liquidate the very concept of India, is solely driven by the urge to hold power within clutches. The polarisation is moving to such levels as to create a concern whether this nation will continue in its present composition by the time elections are over.
With cow, Ram temple and Taj Mahal all in focus, the Central government and the political party that steers it, itself steered by a divisive ideology, are throwing every possible stone with its target of peace among the people and mutual co-existence. If during earlier days central ministers were appointed to ensure welfare of each state by assigning certain zones with a mission, now central ministers are assigned in different state as if to incite communalism there. Some ministers are trying to spread in Kerala and Tamil Nadu the same communal frenzy as in north India. A complaint has been raised by senior journalists N Ram and Sasikumar, against the central minister who tried to break law and insult law-enforcing officials in Sabarimala, who labelled mediapersons as anti-national and spreading hatred.
When the country is attempted to be torched in the name of the cow, all the problems that vex the common man are lost sight of behind that pall of flame. Apart from the sowing of seeds of communalism and corruption, not a single farmer in the country is sleeping in peace. Nobody, except the corporates leaning to the ruling establishment, is satisfied with the prevailing conditions of the country.
Even after killing a just and fair police officer on the streets of Bulandshahr, while he was performing his duty of ensuring the safety and security of the people of the country, the chief minister is, with the least compunction declaring that he will ensure the safety of cow and will take strict action against those who harm cows. The question is how such a chief minister can be recognized as part of secular Indian democracy. As for those who breed communal intolerance in the name of cow and kill human beings, it is doubtful if they know anything about the living conditions of the cow-herding dairy farmers. When cow vigilante gangs spill blood on the streets, the dairy farmers are in a situation of having to spill away their milk without getting a fair price for their toil.
Nobody can ignore the danger signals given by leaders who give promises about changing city names and the mobs that sing halleluja for them - without uttering a word about issues related to the country's development . If in earlier times it was the Muslims and tribal communities who were excluded en masse from voters' lists, that type of exclusion has now started being applied to other communities too. In Bhopal, hundreds of people including Bishop Leo Cornelio, were sent away with the explanation that their names had been removed from the list. The right of repressed minorities to express their voice of dissent through democratic channels - that the country is not moving in the right direction – is denied at an alarming scale.
The common man of this country is still nurturing the hope that even as the government is moving only along an ill-advised path, institutions like the judiciary, the election commission and the law and order machinery will hold out its lantern in the dark forest and guide us forward. The 125 crore people of the nation are persuaded so by their yearning, and more than that the hope, about sustaining the idea that is India.