TODAY -

Communalism; A Dangerous Ism

*



Manipur is still bleeding from the wounds of the communal violence that broke out from the 3rd of May. What is it exactly that incites people to slain each other in the name of religion, community, or ethnicity? How do we justify the heinous acts of violence that people have been carrying out in the name of vengeance and hatred for a certain community or a group of people?

A person Mr. x was killed by a mob of a certain A community. In retaliation, another Mrs. y from the A community was beaten to death by a village of B community, and the poor x and y had to pay their lives as a price for belonging to a certain ABC community. As soon as this mode of destruction is turned on, one had to give up their status of being an individual with its own identity.

Mr. x is no longer a human, instead he has been transformed into a representative of the B community. His whole identity of being Mr. A was subdued.

Why is this hatred towards a certain group of people so powerful that it wiped out even the slightest feeling of sympathy from us humans? People from both sides of the conflict are advocating to stand in solidarity with their own communities.

Let alone the rationale behind the act of committing targeted violence to certain community, are we really supporting or manifesting our loyalty towards our community by justifying the ghastly inhumane acts of violence?

We are blinded by the narrow division of people based on ethnicity, community, and religion. We can look at the current conflict in our state. The communal fire was somehow ignited by various factors. It turned into a messy clash and a solution to the issue seems so far away.

People in power who can bring a solution to this issue are busy engaging themselves in a political blame game. Talking about the people in power, who do we think instigate the communal violence which is currently prevailing in Manipur or any other communal violence? Dont you think the people in power are playing a decisive role in lighting up the fire of the communal violence?

For instance, the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947 is a fine example of the horrifying incidents of communalism. The bloodshed that occurred during that days did not just happened overnight. The masses from both communities did not just take up the swords and daggers to slain each other.

It was a result of a long drawn political issue. The carving out of a separate Muslim state was a demand of a particular political party which claimed to represent a particular community. So, it was that particular community who called for action to demand their state. The other community did not just sit quietly, there was a counter demand against the demand for a separate state.

The violence broke out because both communities acted against each other. Two separate nations were created out of that bloodshed, and at the end when everything was over, did it serve any purpose to dwell ourselves over who lifted the dagger first? Could it bring back the amputated half of a whole body?

To cite some more examples, the Gujarat riot, the holocaust of the Nazi regime in Germany which we still remember as one of the most horrifying incidents in history. Here, I want to raise a question, do we count the Nazi leaders who were responsible for the genocide of the Jews as heroes?

Do we remember the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler as a responsible leader for his success in eliminating millions of Jews on the ground of racial difference? Id like to leave these questions to you all.

Another significant question we can raise here is how did the communal leaders mobilized the masses? It is said that the interests of the two groups are different and contrasting, but what made us think that the interest of a displaced Meitei family is different from the interest of a Kuki one? Where is the difference between a Kuki and a Meitei family who are rotting in the so-called relief camps?

Houses and properties that were burnt down to ashes belong to both the Kukis and the Meiteis. If we look carefully without the communal lens, theres more commonality between the two communities. The difference between the haves and have nots are clearer than any other criteria of differentiation. For instance, the students and the younger generation are one of the most affected group of people.

Students are deprived of education due to the crisis. The already privileged people who can afford to go for studies outside of Manipur and not just the students, people who could afford to escape this conflict-ridden state have already left Manipur for their own convenience.

Also, the partial upliftment of the internet service is so discriminating that only those who could afford to install a Wi-Fi connection are benefitting. The people from the peripheral areas are deprived of every basic needs.

Looking at the present crisis, its very clear that the people from both sides are affected. I have heard about the situation in the relief camps, and we can only imagine the hardships that they must be going through.

Unlike the sharp differences in outlook between a Red Indian and a White settler in the USA, we find it very hard to differentiate between a Kuki and a Meitei. We belong to the same racial group and the fact that one needs to look at the Aadhar card or any other identification cards to prove their ethnicity.

Not just the Meiteis and the Kukis, all of us living under the banner of Manipur are so similar that people got confused and the incident of the killing of a woman from the Maring community who was taken as Kuki by the Meiteis speak itself for the similarity.

Everyday in the news, we see the political leaders and the rich fellows showing off their kind gesture by distributing free items in the relief camps, but the question is, is it really the way forward? How long are they going to feed them?

Its been three months and theres hardly any sign of bringing a solution to the crisis. The house is burning and instead of extinguishing the fire, we are looking for the one who started the fire. The only way forward is to put out the fire first.


* This article was shared with e-pao.net
This article was webcasted on September 07 2023 .



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