Shreyan Acharya writes about religious intolerance among the Indian youth and the imperative of staying together.
India is one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of different religions, castes, languages etc. India has been internationally commended for upholding the democratic principles in such a diverse society. Recently, an Australian diplomat has applauded India’s role in controlling its citizens from the joining the barbaric and gruesome ISIS terror outfit.
According to the official, only 20 Indians are associated with the organisation, whereas more than 250 Australians are have joined the terrorist organisation. The framers of the Indian Constitution had the wisdom to realize the importance of religious tolerance and freedom to profess, propagate and practise any religion. by recognizing its importance, they included “Right to Freedom of Religion” as the Fundamental Right. Secularism, by constitutional amendment, had been included to the Preamble of the Constitution which makes India a secular state. But, India on several instances been vulnerable to violence based on religion, caste etc.
India has always recognized the importance of religious freedom, but on many occasions, irritants whether internal or external has tried to destroy the fabric of secularism by infusing religious enmity. India ‘s independence was marked by the effects of partition dividing the people on religious lines. In 1947, the world witnessed gruesome and barbaric religious violence and a mass refugee crisis.In 1984, during the Khalistan movement, India went through one of the darkest days. Anti-Sikh riots, the aftermath of the Indira Gandhi’s assassination, led to massacres of thousands of innocent Sikhs. 1992 Babri Masjid demolition divided the nation among religious lines causing nationwide violence. The 2002 riots saw Gujarat burning and many more such incidents have made India vulnerable. Henceforth, some light would be thrown on the radicalization of the Indian youth.
Youth is known to be the backbone of any nation. India has one of the highest youth populations in the world. Many consider it as a bright opportunity for becoming a successful nation. But due to the religious intolerance and exploitation, youth has become vulnerable too. Many have adopted those courses which are deterrents to national development. Some examples could be during the Khalistan Movement, many young Sikhs enrolled for armed struggle. The riots also left a deep scar in them turning many into terrorist activities. The anti-Muslim riots have led to the emergence of Indian Mujahideen, which is an internal terror outfit. Many Muslim youths have taken up arms and ammunition and are responsible for murdering their own people. Besides youths from minority communities, many Hindu youths have taken the violent course by joining an extremist organisation such as Sanathan Sanstha, which is responsible for the murders of M.M. Kalburgi, Pansare etc. These are some of the internal factors that make youth vulnerable and are allured for radicalisation.
There are external factors too for radicalising the Indian youth. According to the magazine Foreign Affairs, internet insurgency is one of the newly developed phenomena for radicalising innocent youths to join armed struggles. Social media sites are used by the terror outfits to allure the young mind to join the cause. They are effectively used by the terror outfits for recruiting youths across the world. Systematic brainwash through internet or person, is a matter of worry. Young minds are easily manipulated. Many state and non-state irritants use their innocence for radicalisation. India, unfortunately, had been a victim of such projects.
Growing attacks on religious minorities should be stopped, otherwise our own people would be used by the external forces to destroy us. India has so far maintained its secular fabric, but it has been constantly tested. The recent lynching in Dadri has raised many questions. It is rightly said that ‘Unity is Strength’, and we must together fight to remove the religious enmity. Government has a key role to play in this. Reformative measures need to be adopted for the ones who has gone to the wrong path. We must realise that it is not just the government, but the citizens must know their responsibilities towards respecting the secular fabric and nurturing the means of secularism to our young ones. Therefore, education and awareness must be spread to stop the radicalisation our young ones and as it is said “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”.