Fundamentalism : Blackening the Hoardings of Secular India
The only image that haunts me after a short trip to the royal city of Mysore is the blackened hoarding on the Bangalore- Mysore high way. All that was written in English were blackened with threatening call to use Kannada instead. The extremist, intolerant movements with scant regard for national feelings are playing spoil sport in India’s march towards progress. Add to that religious fundamentalism the situation is spinning out of control.
The discussion on terrorism are mostly confined to those associated with religion. The need of the hour is to analysing the looming threat to the progress raised by the fringe elements in the society which is increasingly becoming visible in the horizon. While innocent comments from aam aadmi are seriously dealt with at quick pace, the fundamentalists elements are allowed a free run and are they are literally running over the unique ideals on which India is built up.
A series of incidents should open the eyes of authorities to reign in the culprits. Hindu fundamentalists asking the organizers to remove nude paintings of Hindu gods in a Bangalore exhibition, Muslim fundamentalist up in arms against Kashmir all girls band Pragash, issuing fatwa which ended up in dismantling the band, Banning Kamal Hassan move Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu. Attack on parties, pubs, blackening of hoardings, Call for separate states and the list goes on.
The fundamentalist elements in the society usually has a generous backing of mainstream political parties. Even though the senseless jibes and dangerous diktats are posing serious challenges to the secular framework and fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution. The government machinery remain mute spectators to the fundamentalist rampage and remain ever vibrant to add woes to victims plights.
The Centre and State governments have the duty not to let the fundamentalist forces to flourish. Each new fundamentalist organization shoot themselves to fame by bringing up issues which could be easily tolerated in a secular country. These organizations stir up emotions, misleads people and poisons their mind and thoughts. They are the crucial back ends of major political parties who are responsible for tilting vote backs. Thus they are given a free hand on whatever pervert ideas they subscribe and propagate.
Outright ban doesn’t seem to be a way out but every brainless fundamentalist acts or jibes has to be severely dealt with by the government machineries. The cases registered against them has to reach the logical conclusion. Implementing strict measures would curb the temptation to being new organizations along the narrow mindsets of caste, culture, creed and religion.
India as a nation is a miracle with its mark of diversity and spirit of unity and oneness. The concerted efforts to break this unity should be resisted at any cost. Narrow political interest should not come in the way of national interest. The media too should not fall to the bait of ‘controversy’ and give un wanted coverage and publicity to fundamentalist outbursts.
Why are we seeing more support for fundamentalist movements off late? A fundamentalist rigid mentality is a natural tendency to protect and sustain a culture, religion, language et. al which is fast becoming a minority and losing popular appeal. Along with myriad other reasons globalization seems to be the immediate reason which is fast becoming a melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions.
Migration too has contributed to this phenomena. The pace of migration if increasing in break neck speed. Down in the southern region of India, local buses now display bus routes in Hindi, in nroth India the shops display south Indian languages, the attires and attitudes which used to be the hallmark of a locality is being fast gobbled up the melting pot. This mutual exchange question the traditional power centres in the region or religion. Fundamentalism arise as a reaction to this phenomena.
The society must be allowed to make an organic transition. Together with controlling the fundamentalist forces, the government machinery must make sure that in midst of transition no one is subject to unjust subjugation and neglect and their rights to uphold and promote their customs, traditions, languages and religions are protected.
(The author is on twitter as @jeffshawn )
Photo courtesy: http://mymysore.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/aug-18-railmuseum-011.jpg