Communal violence has been the bane of our society. There had been a perception that this violence is a spontaneous clash between two communities. Over a period of time, it is becoming clear that it is not a spontaneous phenomenon, nor is it a clash between two communities, it is a planned violence. Scholars basing themselves on analysis of the inquiry commission reports and the pattern of riots show that violence is generally a planned event to polarize the communities for electoral benefits. Surely apart from communal parties other parties also have to be blamed for various slips of mainly omission and partly occasionally for active commission of the violence. The main source of this curse of our society is communal politics, which aims to rule in the name of religious identity. If there was any doubt about it, that got cleared in the Kasganj violence in UP on the Republic day 2018.

The story so far is that in Kasganj in Shahid Abdul Hamid chowk a program was organized by minority community to celebrate the day, chairs were laid etc. The motorbike rider youths nearly 90 or so belonging to RSS affiliates ABVP came, carrying tricolor and the saffron flags. They also had clubs and other armaments as per some reports, videos. They insisted at the Chowk to remove the chairs as they had to pass from there. The local Muslims asked them to join the program rather than disturb it. The clash ensued. The tricolor-saffron flag wielding youth shouted the slogans, ‘Pakistan Murdabad’ (Death to Pakistan), Hindi Hindu Hindustan, Katve Bhago Pakistan, (Muslims go to Pakistan) ‘Is Desh Mein Rahna hai to Vande Matram kahna Hoga’ (If you want to live in this country, you will have to say Vande Matram). In the clash and bullet firing that followed two men received bullet injuries of which Chandan Gupta, who was also a participant of the bike rally died and other Muslim labor Naushad is being treated in hospital, having been severely injured.

A section of TV and other media presented it as if Muslims were resisting the tricolor hoisting so they opposed the bikers and forced them to shout pro Pakistan slogans, something which is far from truth. The role of a section of media is very negative in communal violence. Police as usual did not stop or control the inciting mob. On the following day Rajveer Singh, BJP MP, at the cremation of Chandan Gupta further added to the fury after which the mobs resorted to selectively burning vehicles and shops in the Muslim locality. Yogi Adityanath Government has by now announced a compensation of 20 Lakhs for Chandan Gupta, hopefully compensation for other injuries and damages will be forthcoming.

An interesting sidelight took place this time around. Raghvendra Vikram Singh the DM of Barilly in his Hindi face book post criticized the event saying that “by now it has become a trend to take out procession in Muslim localities and shout anti Pakistan slogans. Are these people Pakistanis?” The post was taken down after intimidating trolling and the state administration expressing displeasure over the post, he wrote, "I apologize if some sentiments were hurt by what I said, but there is no denying that our secular ethos is at stake; there are things which need to be protected at all cost." Another officer, Rashmi Varun (Deputy Director, Statistics, Saharanpur) in another post said that Chandan has been killed by saffron politics. (Hindustan.com)

The tragic violence has led to loss of one innocent life; injuries to few and loss of social property. The compensation so far has been selective. The whole incident and the face book post of DM reveals the deeper dynamics of how the violence gets orchestrated, The mechanisms of these do keep changing over a period of time, but what is constant is an evil innovation of techniques to target the vulnerable minorities. Earlier it had been taking the procession with loud music in front of the mosque and putting beef in temple. With time one saw that in Mumbai violence of 92-93 Maha Artis (Invocation Prayer) were devised to mobilize Hindus, the dispersing mass after the prayer would indulge in anti minority violence. One has also seen the issue of love jihad being used in Mujjafar nagar violence. The girl who is supposed has been victim denied being harassed by the Muslim boy, but the mobilization of Jats-Hindus continued nevertheless. One can see the changing pattern of issues which are used to incite the violence.

What strikes one in Kasganj is that anatomy of violence is very clear. Seems this may be a preparation for the elections which are in the offing a year later. The tiranga (tricolor) issue is quite paradoxical for Muslims. They hurl it or abstain from it, both ways they are damned. What is more interesting is that tricolor, which was opposed by RSS at the time of independence on the ground that number three is evil as per Hindu ethos and that the real flag of Hindus is saffron alone, today stands to use the same tricolor to browbeat and to make it a vehicle for polarization, through its affiliates like ABVP and VHP.  It seems as a backup to what has happened in Kasganj now RSS is organizing rallies in different cities and towns across the state. The rallies at this juncture look to be a “show of strength” in which uniformed cadres of the RSS and its affiliates in the Sangh Parivar will be marching with sticks.

To cover the whole thing BJP leadership wants to project that minorities opposed the tricolor and shouted Pro Pakistan slogans! One knows that all through BJP electoral strength has been going up courtesy violence and consequent polarization. The society needs to protect itself against such aggressive abuse of tricolor for inciting violence, and be careful not to fall in the traps of provocation on any ground whatsoever.

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED

With Indian independence and coming of Indian Constitution; the foundations for progress in the society were laid. This was to be for an all out progress and the basis of this was the principles of scientific temper. This process was guided by the architect of modern India, Jawaharlal Nehru. We saw the surge of the institutions which contributed to the progress of the country; with great contributions of Indian scientists. There were flaws and weaknesses, of course, but the direction was a rational, direction was that of scientific approach. This fulfilled the clause of the Article 51a of the Indian constitution which enjoins upon citizens the “fundamental duty” to develop “the scientific temper”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and its leaders, who are currently ruling and dictating the direction of scientific research and development, seem to have different ideas. While we have good foundations in all round areas of science and technology be it the area of basic science and technology, health, atomic energy, space science and what have you, it seems that currently direction being pursued by ruling dispensation is putting the things in the reverse gear.

During last seventy odd years the way our institutions have developed we can see their massive all round contribution in most areas of science and technology, though one can add, things could have been better. The inkling of this retrograde direction began with the previous BJP led NDA Government when Murali Manohar Joshi, the then MHRD minister introduced courses like astrology and Paurohitya (rituals) in Universities. In continuation with this pattern Dr. Satya Pal Singh, who is currently minster in MHRD, recently stated that Darwin’s theory is wrong as our ancestors did not mention that they saw ape turning into man in our scriptures. He was duly backed up by the RSS ideologue turned BJP leader Ram Madhav.

He himself a while ago he had stated that Wright brothers were not the first one’s to discover aero plane, it was and Indian, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade who had discovered it. He emphasized that such books should be taught in the schools which highlight the likes of Talpade. Theory of evolution has been one of the turning point discoveries of science, based on the painfully collected evidence by Darwin for a period of decades. As science is not based on faith there is always a scope to fill the gaps of knowledge of the original discoverer, and that’s how science develops. In contrast to the methods of science, the fundamentalists harp that all knowledge is already there in the Holy Scriptures, the word of almighty. Singh-Joshi-Ram Madhav clone is not the only ones’ in this retrograde thinking. The Christian fundamentalists went on to counter the theory of Darwin by putting together ‘Creation science’ and similarly Islamic fundamentalists like Zakir Naik also dismiss this theory on frivolous grounds.

Singh’s statement has been very disturbing for the scientific community in India. A large number of them expressed their anguish in a letter, which they sent to the Minister. The letter says that the minister’s statement was simplistic and misleading. “There is plentiful and undeniable scientific evidence to the fact that humans and the other great apes and monkeys had a common ancestor.” The letter further says that the minister’s claim that the Vedas contain answers to all questions is exaggerated and “is an insult to the genuine research work on history of Indian scientific traditions”.

“When a minister working for the human resource development in the country makes such claims, it harms the scientific community’s efforts to propagate scientific thoughts and rationality through critical education and modern scientific research,” reads the letter. “It also diminishes the image of the country at the global level and reduces faith of the international historical research community in the genuine research by the Indian researchers.”

At another level there are claims that Kauravas were born through the techniques mentioned in our holy scripture based on which Balkrishan Ganpat Matapurkar has patented the technique for body part generation, inspired by Gandhari’s giving birth to 100 sons and Karna taking birth from ear of Kunti. At equally interesting level is the understanding of the Chief of Indian Council of Historical Research, Y. Sudarshan. As per him reading of the Hindu epic Mahabharata can make us infer that the weapons described in them were the result of atomic fission and/or fusion. He also claims that stem cell research was there in Iron Age India.

It is not difficult to imagine that with this pattern of thinking among policy makers our science policy will get a strong jolt. Currently on most of issues the policy has been to encourage research and funding on topics, which are purely based on figments of imagination. Huge top level funding has recently been announced for Panchgavya, a mixture of cow urine, dung, ghee, curd and milk. The efforts to prove that Ram Setu (Adam’s bridge), bridge between India and Srilanka was for real and was built by Lord Ram with the help of Monkey army; are also on. In matters of History efforts are on to prove the existence of River Sarswati, to prove historicity of the epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are among the few of them.

The twin processes involved here are to claim that all the knowledge is already there in our scriptures and that science-technology research and development should be along those lines. Second is to claim that all discoveries have their roots here in India, more so in India before the coming of Christians and Muslims. This seems to be running in parallel with identifying India with Hindus and Hinduism alone. One does feel that already during last many decades good foundation of scientific enterprises has been laid, the question is whether this community of scientists and Indian society at large will be able to resist these impositions on the march of direction of our science? Will our next generations be able to benefit from the rational thinking and achievements of science in coming times?

Category :- English Bazaar Patrika / OPED