Sunday, November 25, 2007

Communal Trap

A cornered cat pounces at the throat of the one who has cornered it. Should the Muslims act likewise? Some of them did. The serial bomb blast in Mumbai was in retaliation to the demolition of the Babri mosque. So were several other acts of terrorism. But an act6 of terrorism triggers off state terrorism of greater maginitude. Besides, terrorism alienates the common people from a terrorist outfit.

An act of terrorism by members of the minority community helps reinforce the propaganda by Fascist forces that Muslims are anti-social elements who need to be dealt with an iron hand. It was because of the attack on the Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinagar and the assassinatioin of former home and revenue minister Haren Pandya that the police could terrorize the Muslims by subjecting a large number of youths to torture and then putting them behind bars under the provisions of the draconian POTA.

Violence breeds greater violence. Similarly, communalism of the majority community thrives on communalism of the minority community. Some religious and political leaders seek to encourage and strengthen orthodoxy among the Muslims on the plea that preserving a distinct identity is the only way to survive the onslaught by forces that seek to wipe out Islam. But by doing so, they add fuel to the fire of communalism on which Fascist forces thrive.

Another tendency seen among a few Muslim leaders is to accept the supremacy of the majority community and be rewarded with a share in power. Such Muslim leaders, who accept positions in the government or in the ruling party, play a second fiddle to the top leadership and come in handy for the Fascist regimes to tom-tom their 'secular' credentials. As happens with any fifth columnist, they become a subject of abject contempt among their own community even as their loyalty remains suspect in the eyes of the majority community.

A vast majority of Muslims are poor and illiterate, making them vulnerable to the machinations of politicians and the clergy. Politicians, irrespective of their party affiliations, view Muslims as a conglomerate of various monolithic, closely-knit clans each controlled by clerics and/or community leaders. In times of elections, politicians seek the support of these clerics and community leaders, who act as power-brokers.

Politicians, clerics and community leaders have shown little interest in the welfare and uplift of the common Muslims. On the contrary, they seem to have a vested-interest in keeping the masses illiterate and their attention diverted from such burning issues as education, poverty, unemployment, social and economic justice. The same holds true for the Hindutva forces too.

Karl Marx had described religion as the opiate of masses. The followers of Savarkar, Godse and Modi are proving Marx right in Gandhi's Gujarat.

No comments: