- People in the know would be wondering why Indian society is increasingly yielding to polarization irresponsibly perpetrated by the political class with nary a care for disturbances in social harmony. India is a vastly diverse country vis-à-vis tradition, culture, language, beliefs, religion, caste, and creed widely spread out across geographically challenging terrains. What binds these disparate groups is the overarching acceptance of the supremacy of the democratic form of governance glued to the sacrosanct Constitution. Nonetheless, efforts at dividing social harmony by forces inimical to peaceful coexistence are always tugging along. Luckily, there are equally irresistible forces prepared to thwart nefarious designs by exhibiting admirable intent too.
- Ideally speaking, transforming every society’s economic arrangement time and again is a known phenomenon that helps in binding humanity to a large extent. Thus, finding ways to harmonize the gulf between community-centric traditions and economic arrangements which places strangers in proximity is a work in progress. Remember, independent India’s pursuit of economic modernization had to be achieved in a country of staggering diversity. No wonder, the goal of governance has always been about finding ways of accommodation to pursue its economic and social vision garnering unfettered attention on the issue.
- Note that the Indian Constitution is an instrument to seek modus vivendi as its operationalization needs even-handed governance to deal with India’s diversity. As mentioned above, our society is neither monolithic nor are even subgroups uniform as diversity defines existence. However, the differences between groups have always led to bouts of violence since times immemorial, and sadly, it continues to date. Understandably, the underlying theory guiding the entire apparatus of modern governance should be about allowing different traditions to coexist while checking the tendency of any group to encroach on the rights of others. Such an approach to governance allows strangers to share a common space in the pursuit of a living eliminating conflict thereby.
PC: Nikhil Thakur
- Unfortunately, an even-handed approach to governance has been scarce recently. The country is witness to groups trying to enforce their values on others even without a legal basis leading to violence, spanning public spaces in cities to a university campus. The reason for conflicts emerging sporadically is simply because the apparatus of governance across states has been remiss. There are no winners in this conflict as everyone loses because economic progress cannot be realized in community islands. Given the level of diversity, once the governance apparatus lets one group encroach on the rights of another, it’s a slippery slope. It is inevitable to strive for an environment of coexistence to ensure economic and social progress happens organically.