The Statue and its Shadow
What is wrong with India? What is she heading for? How long will the country hold together? Answers differ. But there is no dearth of questions in a land where violence and communal riots are the order of the day. Violence erupts in a moment’s notice. Communal carnage is carried out in cold blood. The land of non-violence bleeds, and bleeds profusely with the blood of innocents. Indian masses have apparently lost all capacity to be shocked by anything. Perhaps this is the true Indian tradition-- total passivity before death and birth, killing and annihilation, poverty and injustice! Yet there is something of the Indian soul, which cries out, though feebly, for an answer, for justice and for the warmth of mutual love now lost to the millions living side by side.
People in high places give answers to people. But they keep changing answers as well. They know and the people know that the answers are just lame. Just a few months ago Rajiv Gandhi told people that religion was the culprit. Shun religion, privatize it, keep it in the seclusion of ‘individual’ reserves -- was his frantic call to the nation. Now he sees foreign hands that destabilize that country, invisible hands that work havoc with the peace and integrity of the nation. Communal violence and disintegration are direct operations of the foreign devil. Poor religion is excused for the moment.
There is a
relationship between religion and the communal virus. Nation’s intellectuals
are divided in defining that relationship. While one set of thinkers assert
that religion is directly responsible, and banishing religion from public
life is the solution. The other side argues that no authentic religion or
religious leader preaches violence. But the name of religion is used as a
pretext by political self-seekers. Religion, therefore, is totally innocent.
Other opinions of mixed shades appear in between these two poles.