From the Archives (November 6, 1969): Communalism in politics(From an Editorial)

November 06, 2019 12:15 am | Updated 07:53 pm IST

The National Integration Council, founded as far back as 1961, comes to life every time there is a big communal riot, but apart from calling for mass campaigns to preach tolerance and understanding, no antidote has been found for this dread disease of the body politic. The meeting of the all-parties conference at New Delhi heard various speakers prescribe their remedies. Mr. S.M. Joshi of the Samyukta Socialist Party thought economic development and social reform was the answer. Mr. Gajendragadkar said that the roots of communalism were to be found in illiteracy and obscurantism. Other speakers called for severe punishments for those found guilty of promoting riots. It is, of course, true that poor and illiterate elements in the slums of big cities are easily persuaded to attack each other and that they would be less ready to destroy property if they had some of their own. It is also true that rioting would become less popular if the trouble makers were identified and severely punished. But backwardness is not necessarily at the bottom of the periodic clashes that take place in India. For example, a Western reporter has recorded a conversation with a Muslim motor driver who said: “My village in Uttar Pradesh has a Muslim majority and we have always lived on the best of terms with our Hindu neighbours. We have never had communal riots, not even in 1947. That it because we show each other consideration. For example, we never kill cows, at the most buffaloes, usually goats, and the Hindus so arrange their processions that they never pass before our mosque.” And the man added, “We have a Muslim headman; he is very important, he gets votes, so the M.L.A., who is a Hindu always consults him.” It is this readiness to participate in politics not as Muslims but merely as citizens that distinguishes the non-communalist from the communalist.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.