The alert issued by Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief in the meeting of DGPs over rising communal tensions during Lok Sabha elections serves as a warning bell towards the nation’s internal security. The manner in which certain parts of the nation have witnessed communal violence over trivial issues in recent times is a major testimonial to IB’s warning. What’s more worrying is that instead of making attempts to reinforce communal harmony, efforts are being made to deepen the existing fissures in society. It’s mainly due to this very reason that even trifle issues generate communal hatred. The nation has been witnessing instances of communal clashes since long. It was widely anticipated that the nation will take the path of rebounding after partition and efforts will be made to develop communal tranquility, driving the nation towards the path of peace. Contrary to all expectations and anticipations, nothing of that sort could happen as politics driven by vested interests acted as a major hindrance. The Congress could be held responsible for this as despite the party having reins of power at the Centre as well in states for a considerable period of time, it failed to galvanize the nation. Though they often spoke, or are still speaking on the necessity of maintaining communal harmony, the party has failed to translate its words into action and could do nothing concrete to narrow the gap between different sections in society, especially the Hindus and Muslims.

When Pakistan came into existence after India’s partition, there was an exodus and exchange of people of both communities into either sides of the border. The Muslims, who chose to settle down in India, always lived with this feeling that they are not being accepted in totality. Though that generation, which affected directly during partition, exists no longer; the new generation has not yet been able to dissociate themselves with a few pages of history related to that incident. While on one hand, a certain section of Muslims, has developed a feeling of hatred for Hindus on being misled by certain aspects of ‘wrong history’, in the same way, certain sections in the Hindu community are still finding it difficult to digest that Muslims are an integral part of the Indian subcontinent. There are several Hindu organizations which are trying to spread hatred amongst the people in the name of Mughal history and eras preceding it. The sole objective of such organizations is to make India a Hindu state and it’s mainly due to this very reason that the Muslims feel insecure. These Hindu outfits seem to have forgotten the fact that a prominent quality of Hinduism is that it has embraced diverse views, communities and sections with open arms. Several organizations even tried to define Hinduism in their own way in order to derive political mileage, but the Supreme Court of India made it clear that Hinduism is a way of life and it can’t be compared to any other views, communities etc. In spite of that, a few political parties define Hinduism in an inappropriate manner and cashing on this the other political outfits try to polarize Muslim community so that vote bank politics keeps on moving consistently.

The Muslim community is not trying to come out of this nefarious politics in spite of understanding everything. There is no dearth of such parties which make tall claims of taking steps to put Muslims on the path of development, but deliberately refrain from taking any step to bring them in mainstream. These parties advocate for Muslims in such a manner to garner their votes that it baffles the people of majority communities. It would not be wrong to say that some parties are posing a major challenge mainly due to their lack of secular credentials. The Muzaffarnagar riots have made this clear that the situation went out of hand mainly due to lackluster attitude of the Uttar Pradesh government and administration. Had the police taken action without any discrimination when the first incident of killing came to light, the situation would have not been so worse. It can be understood by anyone that this was nothing, but a vote bank politics. The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh is of the view that Muslim votes are of great value for them and that’s why they pressurized the local police and administration to take one-sided action without caring about the impact it would have on other communities.

One of the major reasons behind tensions between Hindus and Muslims is Pakistan’s anti-India stance as well. It has now become completely clear that Pakistan is using misguided Indian Muslim youth to its own advantage. These brainwashed youth are increasingly getting extinct after becoming toys in the hand of Pakistani intelligence agency – the ISI. The IB Chief, while pointing out towards this very fact, has also underlined that Indian Mujahideen (IM) is still potent enough to disturb communal harmony by orchestrating terror attacks in the country. This same thing has been mentioned by the Prime Minister in a different way. The Indian Muslims should be aware of this nefarious attempt of Pakistan. They need to understand that people of their own community are being provoked for their own vested interests by people seated on other side of the border.  They need to make the nation aware of this particular attempt by Pakistan, but this does not happen.

It would be absolutely incorrect to say that the government has done nothing towards the welfare of Muslims or dominated it and, therefore, it’s completely unjustified on the part of any individual of this community to get influenced by Pakistan. The Muslim community may have some genuine problems and issues and these can be solved through proper discussion and negotiation. A bit of success in this direction has been seen as well. In order to promote communal harmony, apart from abandoning the policies of Muslim appeasement, it’s also necessary to counter those elements which are spitting malice against Hindus.

All communities should understand that a uniform civil code should come up in order to keep the spirit of communal harmony intact. The BJP had once even batted for uniform civil code, but surprisingly this demand was projected as anti-secular. The BJP might have felt it better to sideline the demand in this era of coalition politics. There is a doubt that any political outfit will talk about uniform civil code in the era of coalition politics. A uniform civil code will come into existence only when there is a general consensus among those heading the various religions and groups. Those who claim to represent interests of particular sections of society need to rise above religious lines and contribute towards reinforcement of national integrity and impose pressure upon the political parties to bring a uniform civil code in place. It needs to be understood that in a nation like India filled with diversities, a uniform civil code is need of the hour.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on November 24, 2013 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)