Need to maintain social harmony

The peace and social harmony prevailing in West Bengal is under threat. The Hindu Right-wing’s move to bring out Rath-Yatras that will cover all the Lok Sabha constituencies in the State is aimed at earning electoral dividends. A single bench of the Calcutta High Court has refused permission for the Rath Yatras and adjourned the hearing of the case till 9 January, 2019. The BJP has moved a division bench of the High Court and indicated that it will go to the Supreme Court also if necessary. The ruling TMC has threatened to bring out Pavitra Yatras on the same routes traversed by the Rath Yatra immediately after the chariot goes. The political temperature is rising in the State, not only in the urban areas but in rural areas as well.
Polarizing politics does no good to anyone. It only harms and hurts. It creates deep social fissures and abiding mutual suspicion between different religious communities. This brand of politics cannot be countered merely by administrative actions. It needs conscious political action by civil society to checkmate the growth of communalism and the politics of hatred. Today the civil society, by and large, takes no interest in any brand of politics. There is a sense of quiet resignation to the reality that whoever comes to power misuses it. The passivity and indifference of the civil society to whatever is happening around it creates the situation in which divisive politics makes rapid headway.
Post-independence, West Bengal has been remarkably free from communal violence, barring some minor incidents here and there. The State has seen political movements by different sections of the people on economic and political issues but these were totally free from communalism. Now communalism is being introduced into the politics of the State in a thorough and methodical way. This will do immense harm to the traditional peace and amity between different sections of the people living in peace in this polyglot State. Once the politics of division begins it takes many forms. It divides society on religious, linguistic, caste and other lines. The main and most effective weapon of this brand of politics is manufacture and dissemination of what has come to be known as ‘fake news’. Gullible people often fall victim to fake news and unwittingly help to spread it. The time has come for each citizen to be aware of the dangers inherent in the present situation and prevent social peace and harmony being disturbed.

Tuesday, 11 December, 2018