Communalism: As an instrument in Political Strategy
By: Aslam Khan
Empirical evidences suggest that communalism as an instrument in successful political strategy has been completely failed because it is a negative means to achieve power. Historical evidences also endorse this fact. Paradoxically, despite the huge passions that religious and racial communalism generates, it has never been very successful politically. The Jews had wanted a Jewish state that the British Government carved out for them out of Palestine after the WW 1 but far from being the Promised Land that they had hope for Israel remained afflicted by unending violence and anger as the Arab and other minorities were no willing to be totally subjugated.
In South Asia, the province of Punjab had once been the largest and richest in the British Empire till the Muslim demand for an Islamic state led to partition of United India. But later this pure Islamic state was to be no paradise and fellow Muslims from East Pakistan resenting the Punjabi dominance soon split away. But even in the West Pakistan the nearly pure Islamic state faced an unending spate of communal upheavals with conflicts not only between the Sunnis and Shias, but also in conflicts between Biharis, Ahmediays and other Muslim minority groups and ethnic groups like the Sindhas and Baluchis where feeling among them awaken to get independence because of the injustice at their lands.
The Sikh communalism resulted in a further splitting of India's post-independence Punjab and the non-Sikh states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana were created. But even in the rump state, Sikhs though the largest group, were hardly united and there were conflicts not only between the Sikhs and Nirankaris but several factions as well.
Hindu Fundamentalism had similarly longed for a pure Hindu state and the doctrine of Hindutva tried to define a Hindu paradise of pristine purity free from the corrupting influences of the descendants of so called Muslims and Christian's invaders. Unfortunately, they also wanted to change Hinduism from a gentle and tolerant faith into a Hindu Jehadi movement. On the basis of very dubious history from writers like Savarkar and Golwalkar, who were better at rhetoric than history, there was soon a deliberate demonization of many historic figures like Ghazani, Aurangzeb and Jinnah to say nothing of leftist historians, Nehruvian thinkers and moderates who were considered the enemies of their dream nation. Their political wings like the Jan Sangh, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, RSS, all these factions come together to evolved into BJP rose to prominence after 1991 when the movement to destroy the Babri Masjid and replace it with a Ram Temple at Ayodhya. The inept and hesitant attempts of the ruling congress government to counter this movement allowed the BJP to become political force. But it was never strong enough to act independently and had to moderate itself to accommodate their political allies like Janata Dal (S).
In Ireland, Sri Lanka, Bosnia, Ethiopia and many other places demands for a homeland far from materializing have only resulted in violent bloodshed as the strong the strong communal passions of the dominant group was opposed by equally counter passions from their opponents.
Unfortunately, religious passions always divide as they can seldom unite with those of other faiths. Efforts at ethnic cleansing have often been attempted but world opinion today under the vigilant eyes of TV, Media, and Internet bloggers coverage ensures that they will never be allowed to succeed. For bigots it is hard do accept the fact that it was only when the dominant religious or racial groups recognize that they have to live and let live with other minority communities that lasting peace will ever be possible. The male instinct that loves guns and violence thrives on extremism and does not care for the wisdom of Buddha, Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Paigamber who believed that the only victories of heart should be the way to cope up with human crises today in the world. Let's come together on the occasion of birth anniversary of great South Asian leader Mahatma Gandhi for the bright future of the next generation.