Maintaining social harmony in West Bengal

Polarizing the society on communal lines has become the policy of certain political forces. The urge for intensifying polarization becomes stronger at the time of elections – at any level – because it is found to be .a handy tool to get votes. Panchayat elections are to be held in West Bengal early next year. The attempt at polarization is likely to gain a fresh traction now. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has cautioned her party workers and the people to be alert about the designs of the forces who may now try to fan communal feelings among the people for securing electoral victories and spend money liberally to create trouble. Her warning should be taken seriously.
In the elections held recently in any part of the country, the undercurrent of communalism became overtly manifest. West Bengal has all along been traditionally peaceful and free of communal feelings. Efforts are quite likely to be made to divide the electorate on communal lines on the eve of the Panchayat polls by interested forces. They must not be allowed to succeed. West Bengal has registered progress in many directions. Some programmes undertaken by the State Government for improving the quality of life in rural Bengal have earned the recognition of the Centre also. These have to be carried forward so as to change the landscape of rural Bengal. Development of the rural economy will automatically reduce the migration of labourers from West Bengal to other States where they often become targets of attack by fringe elements.
If the current trend continues the need for vigilance in maintaining social and communal harmony will become all the more urgent. Migration of labour from one State to another is a natural phenomenon. If the migrant labourers of one State are attacked in another State, this may lead to undesirable repercussions elsewhere and play into the hands of those who are more interested in dividing people to serve their narrow political interests rather than uniting the people to work for the ideal of sabka saath sabka vikaas.
Forces that want to polarize the people cannot be combated by the police and the administration alone. It is essentially a political battle that has to be fought unitedly by all those who are committed to defending the core values enshrined in our constitution, namely democracy and secularism, and the equal rights of all citizens irrespective of their caste, creed or faith. Losing this battle means losing the very essence of our democracy.

Tuesday, 19 December, 2017