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Mainstream, VOL LII No 34 August 16, 2014 - Independence Day Special

Slow and Steady Destruction of Togetherness

Friday 15 August 2014, by Humra Quraishi

MUSINGS

Last week I was in Uttar Pradesh. And I saw and sensed communal politics at its peak. Citizens, cutting across communities and castes, sat apprehensive and worried. It was more than writ large that the BJP and Right-wing outfits are spreading poison, dividing people on religious and caste lines. Though these divisions have been ongoing right from the early nineties but now this poison is getting unleashed right into rural belts, under all possible garbs and ploys and tactics-cum-third class moves. Last week itself there were reports of communal clashes in and around Rampur, Saharanpur, Meerut and also in certain pockets of rural Bareilly/Baduan. Also, perhaps, it’s for the first time after partition that the Sikhs and Muslims clashed in Saharanpur, on a politically created ploy centring around a land/property dispute.

In fact, you don’t have to go very far back to see the well-executed BJP designs at work. Last autumn clashes between Muslims and Jats were made to erupt in Muzaffarnagar. All these decades the two communities were living in harmony till about the time the BJP made inroads and saw to it that the Muslims were uprooted from their ancestral lands. Till date living like refugees, under those tattered tents!

To the why to this current communal surcharge, there is this one-liner: it’s Amit Shah’s strategy to bring his party—the BJP—to rule this State. Yes, that’s it. Travel to Lucknow and its outskirts and beyond and even the man on the roadside will tell you that this is the game-plan of the Right-wing outfits which are out to bring in deep divides. In fact, an old Lucknow resident went to the extent of describing the ongoing situation in these words: ‘It’s that Devil at work!’

It was depressing to see the slow and steady destruction of ‘togetherness’ that Avadh was once known for. What the British could not achieve is today being made to achieve. To rule, rather misrule, these petty politicians are using the hapless citizens to cut each other. In fact, if the Samajwadi Party (ruling in UP) does not counter these communal outfits, there is doom for times to come. Divided we will perish.