Despite being a model nation depicting unity in diver- sity, India has witnessed unfortunate incidents be it the mass destruction of temples in the Kashmir val- ley after the mass exodus of the minority community from there in 1989-90 or the Sikh riots in Delhi or even the Babri Mosque demolition on 6th December 1992 and last but not the least the recent untoward happenings in West Bengal.
In view of such incidents taking place though quite rare, today there is a dire need for introspection at individual as well as community level because the dangerous conse- quence of such incidents is that these result in the emer- gence of new faults in the society. Though these post inci- dent faults are often imaginary and intangible, yet the experienced fear of insecurity of life and property is intense. India has people belonging to different religions, besides having varied social and cultural backgrounds liv- ing harmoniously since centuries. Unfortunately the sub- continent has been marred by communal violence rather religious violence on many occasions and the worst being the violence at the time of partition in 1947. Despite being proud of our performance as the largest democracy of the world we feel disappointed with isolated instances of reli- gious violence even after independence. Communal polar- ization is umpteen times perpetrated as part of the antina- tional agenda by certain disgruntled politicians to fulfil their vested interests, least bothering about the human values that have been an inseparable part of the Indian civiliza- tion since times immemorial. The cataclysmic nature of such incidents needs to be realized by one and all irre- spective of the religious affiliations. We are all aware that in such situations hatred becomes the language of politics and violence a legitimate, even righteous, expression of inexplicable indignation. Irrespective of identity, whether political or apolitical, passionate or apathetic, this chal- lenging credulity hardly leaves anybody untouched. There is already full religious freedom enshrined to all the citi- zens of India by virtue of the provisions in the Constitution.
Freedom of religion should never be construed to mean liberty to be at war with other religions and philosophies and this needs to be realized by every individual in the Indian society and only then the politicians and the reli- gious heads will fail to create contradicting issues to serve their personal and political interests especially to maintain their respective vote banks and followings. Today again there are threats to the communal harmony which the nation cannot afford under any circumstances. Despite having taken full care, the isolated and rare communal riots are an alarming signal which needs to be taken quite seriously. There is a dire need for serious introspection of the issue followed by active role to be played by autonomous bodies like National Human Rights Commission of India, the National Commission for Minorities, and even the Non-governmental organisations at the ground level. Besides, the efforts in this direction at individual level by every Indian can go a long way in achieving the desired results. So let’s initiate sincere efforts to show to the whole world that Indians regardless of their religious or other affiliations are mature enough to leave no scope for communal or religious violence in future thus conveying a message of tolerance propagated by Buddha and Gandhi.