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Extremists not necessarily the sole riders of communal disharmony

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By Surbhi Moudgil

Is it the faith to be blamed or the politics of polarisation?

Cities in India known for their peaceful environment are now engulfed in communal tension created on petty issues. Is this a reflection of intolerance, bad governance, mob mentality, illiteracy or simply a strategy of communal polarisation?

Undoubtedly no propaganda can succeed without a sum of the above-mentioned points, for these cities have historically been culturally rich and peaceful, governed by royal lineages. They have been renowned for their humble habits and therefore, such occurrences raise a doubtful perspective.

Incidents of violence were reported in Gwalior, the city of Scindia’s, on Saturday during a Muharram procession between members of two communities, leading to imposition of curfew in the city.

According to the police, the passing of a procession was opposed in front of a Hindu religious site, leading to clashes between members of both communities on the eve of Muharram on Friday. The incident was repeated the next afternoon on Saturday and led to heavy brick-batting between the two communities, compelling the police to use force for dispersing the mobs.

Similar incidents took place in the cities of Sri Dungargarh and Bhilwara in the royal hub of India, Rajasthan. These otherwise peaceful towns witnessed communal clashes due to objection on loud music being played.

I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi here to display an ideal answer to my question, “I am convinced that the masses do not want to fight, if the leaders do not. If, therefore, the leaders agree that mutual rows should be, as in all advanced countries, erased out of our public life as being barbarous and irreligious, I have no doubt that the masses will quickly follow them. Both (Hindus and Muslims) will act simultaneously (i.e., do the right thing without expecting reciprocation), as soon as the workers become true to themselves. Unfortunately, they are not. They are mostly ruled by passion and prejudice. Each tries to hide the shortcomings of his co-religions and so the circle of distrust and suspicion ever widens.
If we, the so-called leaders, have no control over our fighting elements, our agreement must be held to be unreal and useless.”

So what is the reason behind rising communal tension in these peaceful regions? Is it the extremists or all political parties have some interest in keeping India’s communal pot boiling in their greed for power?

The tussle between political parties can create an illusion of them being concerned about situations of distress by providing aid to affected people, but should they allow ministers, such as Sakshi Maharaj to deliver statements like, “The temple was there and will exist forever. No person will be allowed to keep even a brick in the name of Babri mosque.”

He also added that construction of Ram temple was “inevitable” and that it’s been only a year since BJP came to power at the center and has another 4 years to go.

Thus, should any party compromise on the peace and safety of the society just to achieve their goals which they assert to be bothered about, while indirectly harnessing the political narcissists to spread religious prejudice among people?

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Why are Ordinary Citizens becoming ‘Extremists’?

Factors of people dwelling into extremism

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Extremists
Extremists (Representational Image)

Oct 1, 2017: The 21st century is witnessing more and more of extremism, in the form of both verbal and physical assault. The phenomenon of showcasing extreme support is visible in many countries. Groups like ISIL target extremists and through them conduct violent activities in the name of defending ‘Islam’ and Muslim communities.

Who are Extremists?

A person who has extreme political or religious views and lacks the quality of being ‘objective’. The actions of extremists may often be aggressive and violent. Various organisations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have gauged the factors of people resorting to such measures.

One may wonder as to why do extremists resort to aggression and violence in the name of religion or ideology? What could lead to someone dwelling into such actions? Apart from education and poverty, there are factors which result in such behavior. Various studies and researches indicate factors- loneliness, depression, and need for societal acceptance as some of the reasons.

The FBI in one of its reports has stated some vulnerabilities which lead to terrorists or extremist groups.

Also Read: Muslim Population May Take Over European Dominance In the Coming Decades

The following factors make people more prone to believing in such ideology:

1. Feeling of loneliness.
2. Emotional distress.
3. Hatred towards a sect of society.
4. Disagreeing with governmental policies.
5. The need of being accepted in the society.

Terrorist organisations are in search for these people only. While the reasons for becoming an extremist is mostly a mystery, but terrorist organisations recruit the ones who have these vulnerabilities, as these factors are directly related to a person’s psychology and conscience, and the game can certainly be won by playing with the person’s psychology. These people are dehumanizing those who do not fit into their view, and as mentioned before this extremism is leading to terrorism. Extremism in India, which has lead to terrorism is prevalent in conflicted areas like Jammu and Kashmir, where Islamic militants are conditioning and instigating the citizens of the state to raise their voice against their nation.

The rising extremists is a grave concern that commands immediate actions to be taken. The present actions determine that the future may be very bleak. We need a future which has humanity and objectivity. Extremism needs to be beaten through the power of knowledge, education and right information.

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