fifty years ago June 16, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (June 16, 1970): The Politics of Communalism(From an editorial)

Certain unhappy trends emerging from the frantic attempts at image-building during the Congress (R) session in New Delhi are too unmistakable to escape notice. No one expects a political party to be an altruistic do-gooder, out to establish the moral verities. Its business is of course to pursue power for its own reasons and keep out its political opponents. Nor can there be any doubt that honest and patriotic Indians are grieved over and ashamed of the ugly communal clashes that erupt from time to time. But is harping upon communalism, emotionalizing it out of perspective, the best way of eradicating it? Or fixing the guilt by subtle or even inadvertent suggestion on one community or those supposed to represent part of it the ideal way to promote that harmony which has been disturbed by past political gambles? Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s rhetorical, question whether a man who killed four children, while the mother, cried, was a Hindu is unfortunate, however well meant it might have been. The same question could be asked about infanticidal maniacs of all religions. Such rhetoric can rouse raw passions among the communities, rather than assuage them, whatever the immediate advantage to one political party in chastising by implication certain other political or quasi-political groups.

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