An avoidable polarisation

A political environment has to be created in India today that is inclusive and accommodative

Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 12 2017 10:01PM | Updated Date: Dec 12 2017 10:01PM

The gruesome killing of a Muslim man in Rajasthan last week is yet another chilling reminder of what levels of extreme violence individuals with extreme views could unleash in a biased polity. This case has shaken immense number of people across the globe, mainly India's 150 million Muslim population, and other minorities. The kind of justifications the murderer of the Muslim man used, are symptomatic of a much larger malaise, an environment that is seeking to demonize India's minorities, particularly the Muslims to achieve certain narrow partisan political interests. This situation does not augur well for the country's peace, stability and progress. Moreover, acts like these will only serve to accelerate psychological isolation of Muslims and their disengagement from the national political mainstream. For a country disengagement of such a large population from the political mainstream would never help its democratic aspirations. Nor would such a situation help in making them equal and productive participants in the cause of the country's march to development and economic progress. It is still not too late for the the political leadership of the country to take this situation and the accompanying social and political drift of the country's minorities seriously. A political environment has to be created in India today that is inclusive and accommodative of diverse identity aspirations. Importantly, there has to be no place for violence in managing diversity of opinions around identity and caste. The state has to ensure zero tolerance to acts of violence carried out in the name of an extreme majoritarian world view. Not only that, lately, there is a trend wherein the application of law is perceived to be selective when it comes to articulations by individuals that promote extreme views and even call for and encourage mass violence. The country's rule of law has to be uniformly applied, irrespective of the political affiliations and ideologies of people. Such a situation could only be created if there is a strong message across all political layers and sub-layers about the unacceptability of a political course that breeds exclusion of the minority communities and encouragement of violence. In the absence of an environment of accountability, acts like the one witnessed in Rajasthan could manifest in other forms as well. For a country like India, with immensely large number of people belonging to diverse religious, caste and ethnic denominations, it is only an inclusive polity that would work. An inclusive polity is the only way for the country to solve the immense political, economic and environmental challenges faced by it today, and prosper.