Syllabus: General Studies Essay Paper: Polity
Greatest threat to India is communalism not corruption.
Both communalism and corruption are very big threats to India. The recent “Rent-a-Riot” sting of U.P.-based politicians sheds light on this. Corruption is not the only or even the greatest danger to the country. Communalism is. Communalism divides and provokes Indians to fight against each other. Corruption did not break India into pieces over these hundreds of years. What broke India into two was the sudden rise of communalism. Corruption is a creeping crisis, communalism is an exploding crisis. Corruption can be tackled over time as our democracy and its institutions evolve. Indeed, much work has been done in this direction, including the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed in 2005. What won’t go away once sown, however, is communalism and hatred for fellow Indians.
Corruption is the abuse of power for material gain (usually financial gain). Like air pollution, it is endemic in India, practiced by institutions and by individuals, and not always recognised. Corruption is about the functioning of the economy, about the law, and about culture. Some low level corruption is a result of poverty and inequality – people need to supplement their income by dishonest means; high level corruption of the kind which makes headlines is usually about the greed of wealthy and powerful people. The banking crisis of 2008 exposed vast, accepted, and sometimes legal corruption.
Corruption is present in all spheres of our life; politics, judiciary, public, administration, and all the services. Almost all the departments, connected with the welfare of common Indians are infected with the virus of corruption. When we dig down to know the reason for corruption in India we find some common reasons like weak management and lack of control system.
The major cause of concern is that corruption is weakening the political body and damaging the supreme importance of the law governing the society. Some of the measures taken to curb corruption are, the biggest step is demonetization i.e. banning 500 and 1000 Rs notes which is the route of all evil, be it Corruption, Black Money, Terrorism. The Right to Information Act (RTI), Another potent check on corruption is Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). It was setup by the Government to advise and guide Central Government agencies in the areas of vigilance. Lok pal etc.
Though corruption has deep roots in society, it never has the potential to destabilize the roots of nation like India. Reason, let’s look at some of the major events with respect to corruption – Satyam Scam, Commonwealth Scam, 2G spectrum case, Fodder scam, etc. Despite these shocks none has shook the foundation of Nation. On the contrary it combined people irrespective of differences like rich/poor, Hindu/Muslim to come together and choose a govt. to tackle such issues firmly. We have witnessed it during mass revolution against corruption started by Anna Hazare back then.
The reason is corruption is more limited to monetary effects but Communalism has power to surpass the monetary limits as people influenced by it don’t even think twice to take or give life for a reason related to their identity. In India as soon as a child is born, he/she is given an identity based on family, caste, religion, village, region, etc. The education, environment in which he/she grew had a great impact on how he/she sees other communities. Thus it is not easy to change the attitude, though process of a person who has developed it from life long process. And this makes the fertile ground for the rulers to exploit it.
History has time and again proved it – if you want to make an individual a lethal weapon, just show him that his identity is in danger and rest will take care of itself. From medieval times to colonial period, rulers had played on this card whether it is for conquering or for administrative purpose. However the influence came from different sources. For instance in medieval times, the influencers were mostly from priestly class who in the name of religion asked rulers to treat people of difference religion, ethnicity differently.
In colonial period, British Raj used the principle of ‘divide and rule’ to hold their grip firm on India. But people at that time and again failed to understand the motive behind it. Roots of discrimination from medieval times crept into colonial period and gave rise to radical groups who further used it to gain favours from British Raj. The ultimate and inevitable result was ‘Partition’. Today the scenario is no less different but the motive has changed a little. Earlier motive was just to hold grip, now it is to come in power and hold it.
After the traumatic partition and bloodshed during the partition, developments turn given the political parties several inflammable issues for exploiting communal passions for their political gains. Not only the politicians, but also the religious heads of minorities and majority community instead of trying to mitigate the communal fringy, flared it up with their speeches and actions. The destruction of Babri Masjid and burning alive the Hindu Kar Sewaka in Godhra (Gujarat) and the incidents of violence in Gujarat after Godhra massacre, have torn the Secular Fabric of Indian Democracy to uncountable pieces. One incidence after another creates more hatred, more incidents, and more communalism in the country.
Political parties at Center and States continue to mold and divide people on lines of communal hatred to gain power. Be it the difference between two major sections or within the subsections, politics leave no stone unturned to gain the benefit out of it. Examples of Babri demolition, Gujarat/Muzaffarnagar riots, ethnic cleaning of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir ,etc. were result of political influence on lines of “dharam khatre mein hai” (religion is in danger). But the factor of spreading communalism has not remained limited to political agenda or to religion.
For instance North East region of India has remained neglected in terms of development, terrain, ethnicity of people. Many of them when come to different parts of India for jobs face tremendous exploitation just because of their facial features. The feeling of separatism has long crept in hearts of North East people because of the behaviour they face in rest of India. Recent mass exodus of North-East people from Bengaluru just showed us this phenomenon on large scale and that too based merely on a rumour on social media. Something similar is experienced when it comes to differences between North and South India. This brings us to bigger questions:
Will it endanger the foundational structure of India, where it boasts about Unity in Diversity and principles like ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’? What will be the future of India, will she too turn into a majoritarian state like Israel, Pakistan, Myanmar, etc. or will it see another partition? Is there any way this threat can be tackled?
As far as the foundational structure of Unity in Diversity is concerned, our Constitution makers have made the foundation too strong through Constitution, to be impacted. India has gained its diversity though the process of thousands of years so threat of it becoming a major state by some incidents in recent time is far from becoming true. However Separatist movements in India like that for Khalistan, Bodoland, etc. since Independence have long endangered the unity for which our leaders like Sardar Valla Bhai Patel struggled. The reasons behind these demands are largely political but it also has underlying feeling of ‘neglect’ by rest of India.
Current regime is working in this respect through programs like ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ to foster national integration. Similarly, to tackle Corruption, recent appointment of Lokpal is a step-in right direction. But largely awareness is needed which can be done through Social Media which is a potential tool to bring a change nowadays. Apart from it constructive programs should be organized at school levels (both urban and rural) to bring change in attitude at early stage and to understand the fact on how to not get trapped in duel evils of Communalism & Corruption and to contribute towards brighter India because the beauty of India lies in its Unity and future lies in hands of younger generation.
Corruption and communalism are part of a larger web of problems. Democracy can come up with institutions to tackle corruption; recent appointment of Lokpal is a step-in right direction. But, it cannot tackle communal hatred; its institutions cannot survive Fascism. For the survival of the country, secularism has to survive and for the survival of secularism, religious friendship, togetherness and tolerance is must. Communalism can only destroy the unity and integrity of the nation. Largely awareness is needed which can be done through Social Media which is a potential tool to bring a change nowadays. Apart from it constructive programs should be organized at school levels (both urban and rural) to bring change in attitude at early stage. Both the Government and people should make efforts for eradication of communal tension and conflict.
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