In your opinion, what global problem or issue deserves more attention than it currently receives? Why should more time and money be invested in this cause?

Religious conflicts or religious wars or holy wars are the wars that occur due to the distrust or conflicting views related to a particular subject between groups of people of different religions. Religious conflicts have always been one of the most crucial global issues of all time. Keeping India under consideration, India has more ethnic and religious groups than most other countries. So, it is obvious that the chances of having religious conflicts in India are more than that of any other country. However, we all are well aware of the fact that India has always been among the top five countries when it comes to the frequency of having religious conflicts. Historically, India touts itself as a secular country that has a vast number of religions wherein, all the religions are treated equally. Well, at least in theory, it is. Unfortunately, in reality, it is much different and worse than ever expected.

India has had a vast number of religious conflicts to date. However, the ethnic conflict in Assam, the Sikh- Hindu conflict in Punjab, and the consistent Hindu- Muslim conflicts have been the most famous ones until today. The state of Assam consisted of four disparate groups, the Bengali Hindus, the Bengali Muslims, the Assamese, and the tribal group. The conflicts among these groups originated due to the superiority of the Bengali Hindus. Because of their educational advantage over Assamese, they were better suited to man the growing administrative and professional machinery, whereas, the Bengali Muslims were peasants. Since the Bengali Hindus were more educated, they were the first priorities in the job sector, whereas the Muslims were pushed under consideration. The Bengali Hindus were granted a lot of powers and authorities and were given access to everything, but the Bengali Muslims did not enjoy this freedom. They were suppressed by the Bengali Hindus. This partiality made the Muslims angry due to which the riots began among the Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims, where the Muslims defended and stood up for themselves, for their rights and freedom. At a time like this, where the Bengali Hindus and Muslims were fighting over their powers, the tribal group was struggling to come to their standards and compete. Due to these differences, the situation worsened. This was one of the biggest and the worst religious conflicts of India which attracted a lot of attention towards the public. However, there was no public or government involvement in such a crisis time as well. As time passed by, the powers were distributed among everyone equally due to the increasing Bengali Muslim population, which is a result balanced the Bengali Hindus and Muslim population. But since these conflicts persisted for a long time, it affected the economy of Assam. But if there would have been any kind of efforts made by the public or the government during this crisis time, then the situation would have come under control and there might have been comparatively a less amount of economic loss.

Coming to the Sikh- Hindu conflicts in Punjab, it was another devastating conflict that left everyone in shock.  There were mounting communal tensions between Hindus and Sikhs in the state. Although religious symbols were used for the mobilization of Sikhs and the secessionist slogan of Khalistan (a sovereign state of Sikhs) had been raised, the Sikh’s charter of demands, drawn from the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, had strong economic and political components, unlike in Assam where the issue of aliens had sidelined economic demands of Punjab which led to violent clashes. In Punjab, Sikhs were a majority and Hindus a minority. The religious demands made by the Sikhs included a greater radio broadcast time and a separate legislative act for the Sikh shrines. These demands were fulfilled and were granted to the Sikhs after the approval of the new Delhi. There were even many economic demands made by the Sikhs which included a greater share in their part. Due to the fulfillment of demands, the Hindus faced a lot of inconveniences and this tempered them. A good bond was shared between the Hindu traders and the Sikhs. However, it is unlikely that these links would have automatically led to political action without the mediation of political parties. This mediation did not simply reflect the emerging socio-economic divisions; it deepened them. Since the political parties, like congress, were involved in this conflict, the situation persisted for a really long time because the Congress party would not sort out and settle the situation until and unless they would have any kind of political or electoral gain. However, Congress could not dominate the entire case for a long time and hence, as time passed by, the situation settled down by itself. Again, in this conflict as well, there was no major role or any kind of effective involvement from the government’s side. Due to this ignorance, Punjab faced a very big amount of economic loss.

Lastly, comes the Hindu- Muslim conflicts, which till today persists. Of all the religious and ethnic issues in contemporary India, history has cast its deepest shadow on Hindu-Muslim relations. The most critical contemporary phase of this history was the partition of 1947. The recent Hindu-Muslim conflicts have been over the new citizenship law of India. The law makes religion a criterion for nationality in India’s citizenship law for the first time. It creates an expedited path to citizenship for migrants from three countries — Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan — who illegally entered India by 2014, provided they belong to six religions. The religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, and Zoroastrianism. However, the Muslims are offended by this law and are completely against it. This law has been controversial and has led to many protests and riots on the streets of Delhi because the law has sparked a backlash on several levels. When India became independent in 1947, its founders sought to create a secular nation where all religions were welcome — in contrast with Pakistan, which was conceived as a home for the subcontinent’s Muslims. By giving preference to certain religions in citizenship law, the government is moving away from that ethos. As a result of this preference, the Muslims feel alienated. However, there has been no major involvement from the government in this controversy as well.

From the above situations, it is clear that religious conflicts take up the evil side which not only results in the economic loss of the government but it also results in individual losses. I believe that more involvement should be there in such conflicts because due to lack of public and government involvement, results in the loss of the entire country as a whole. These conflicts also create barriers between various ethnic groups which sometimes become unbreakable and these barriers will result in distrust among people. This distrust will hence result in even more religious conflicts which will worsen the condition of the country. These things might also go out of hand if they are not taken care of at the initial stages. Some people think that it is better to stay off the hook at all times, assuming that staying off the hook would do more good. In reality, it would cause more harm than good. We as the public, in such situations, should raise our voice against the wrong thing, and together we should unite to educate ourselves and our fellow citizens about what is right and wrong. The public involvement should be peacefully executed. We should encourage our fellow citizens to unite together and support each other instead of going against each other. If we as the public do not get involved in such conflicts, even after being aware of our losses then we are no good to society. We need to stand up for ourselves, for others, and for our country as a whole. Even the government should take up some measures well in advance to avoid such situations.

Shivanshi, 11 A, Ekya ITPL

Posted by itplccacoordinator

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