Terrorism in the biggest threat to humanity which not only kills innocents but also severely affects the economic development and ‘communal harmony’, says Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He made this statement at the informal BRICS leaders meeting in Osaka, Japan in the backdrop of the recent lynching of Tabrez Ansari of Jharkhand.
PM Modi described terrorism as the biggest threat to humanity. He said mediums of support to terrorism and racism has got to be stopped. “We must all come together and fight the menance of terrorism. Terrorism not only targets the innocent, it creates an environment that is dangerous. We must all make it a priority to do all we can to curb and end terrorism on a global scale.”
Fighting terrorism is the need of the hour in today’s world but one particular religious group cannot be held responsible for it all the time. In the past couple of months, New Zealand was rocked by a terror attack by a white supremacist and there is the 2006 Malegaon bombings and there is the Sri Lanka Easter bombings. Modern terrorism is to do more with ‘extremism’ than religion.
Bruce Hoffman, director of the Centre of Security Studies at Georgetown University said the ability of these groups to mobilize sympathy and support outside the narrow confines of their actual ‘theatres of operation’. It came with a powerful lesson to similarly aggrieved people elsewhere, who now saw in terrorism an effective means of transforming hitherto ‘local conflicts’ into ‘international issues’.
Roots of India’s Communal Disharmony
In India, terrorism is more of a ‘communal issue’. Research shows that it was spread in throughout India before independence, going back to colonial era when the Britishers used it as a ‘political card’ to keep the communities divided. According to a study ‘Understanding the Religious Nature of Terrorism in India’, in the 1870s, Hindu socio-religious movements provoked Hindus against Muslims, Christians and Sikhs by organizing cow protection societies and by introducing Suddhi (purification ritual) and Sangathana (organization) systems to reconvert those Hindus who became Christian, Muslim or Sikh and to cultivate a militant spirit, manliness and self-respect among the Hindus. And this is very much active (happening) today.
Religious intolerance and hostility is also rooted in the demand for separate electorates for the Muslims (the 1947 partition), mobilization of masculine and aggressive form of Hindusim against the minorities and ‘reconstructed Hindu history’ that projected the Hindu culture and civilization as superior to all other cultures and civilizations. The establishment of several religio-political organizations with the likes of the Muslim League (1906), Hindu Mahasabha (1915), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (1925), Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (1920) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (1920), with some inciting communalism and communal violence in several parts of India. And in Kashmir, the oppressive Dogra rule in the 1930s created a rift between the Hindu and the Muslims, thus the emergence of radical Islamic religious ideologies.
Besides communal, this differences also consumed the tribals and indigenous communities, notedly the Nagas in the late 1920s when they started feeling insecure about their ethno-religious identity and their freedom. Historians and political scientists agree with the fact that socio-religious fears and concerns that evolved in the pre-independent era began to intensify in the post-independent period. This was due to various unfavorable socio-political happenings such as the minorities’ movements for geo-political and linguistic demands, failure of the religio-nationalist Hindus to make India a Hindu state, granting of equal religious rights and privileges to the minorities in the Indian Constitution, assertion of the majoritarian right of the Hindus and military repressive measures of the Indian state to suppress minorities concerns and demands.
Living in Peace and Harmony is ‘Possible’
Instead of cashing in on the discord and differences between the religious groups, the political parties and the government at the centre should create peace and harmony. There should be a sense of brotherhood which will help India as a nation achieve greater heights.
In today’s techno-era, communal violence sounds something out of the Stone Age. India is reaching for the stars and the moon, why not first create peace and harmony. The government should play an active role.