India is known to be a post-colonial state with a large democracy and has a culture of tolerance and pluralism in a thriving society. Although it has multi-ethnic character and colossal size, there were few conflicts in spite of the multiple groups. Since their independence, the major exception that rose up was the conflict between the Muslims and Hindus (Friedrichs, 2018). Recently the communal rioting has risen linking to the Hindu right-wing politics. In this essay, I will prove that India's religious war is not just caused by the previous religious clashes but the rise of cultural and political context.
The current religious violence in India was known to be associated with the two atrocities; the massacres in Gujarat in 2002 and the destruction of the Ayodhya Babri Masjid Mosque (Bradt, 2012). Both events have sparked retaliations and riots across the country thus playing a vital role in political rivalry. The Babri Masjid mosque was developed on the sacred site of Hindu where the former temple existed by knocking it down in 1992. After seeing this, the BJP activities campaigned on the matter and managed to gather approximately 200,000 willing citizens to destroy the mosque (Bradt, 2012) forcibly. In the event, many people were killed in the war that developed throughout the state. The government was also dismissed for failing to control the battle.
In 2002, there was an attempt to build a temple on the same site the Muslims wanted to make the mosque thus torching a train of activist that ended up killing 58 people (Bradt, 2012). What followed was a long-running campaign in the Gujerat state was the anti-Muslim violence where more than 2,000 Muslims were killed, and more than 100,000 flee away (Bradt, 2012). It is evident that there was no rule to intervene in the protection of the Muslim community but instead helped the attacks. The events are, however, well explained when the cultural differences and the history of the country are analyzed.
Based on the facts derived from the history the cultural differences created a conflict between the two groups. The context also shows that the friction between Hinduism and Islam came into existence in the sixteenth century. The emphasis of the cultural differences between the two religions, the lifestyle and the codes of acceptable behavior created the gulf between the groups. In 1947 for instance, Hindu dominated the Muslim Pakistan and India to demonstrate the extent of the communal spark and tension which made Kashmir struggle (Burns, 2012). The feeling of victimization form the Muslim groups and Hindu fears of the Kashmiri terrorism also facilitated the constant cycle of violence. However, a more enlightened framework in the understanding of the conflict is the tactic used by other organizations including the politicization of the religions thus linking to the BJP and the ideology of the Hindu Identity.
If we accept the facts derived from the communal violence sparked after the existence the nationalist ideology in India, the war causes then lie between BJP and Hinduvita to gain influence. Although the background appears that the success of BJP was derived from the strong Hindu feeling the facts remain in the declining power of the Congress party as well as the competition that came up between the small parties based on politicization (Steiner, 2016). The history also shows how the Christians British and the Islamic Mughals were defeated by to the Hindu due to the evoked feelings of pride. The previous oppression ideas are integral because of lack of tolerance between the groups where the Indians were portrayed as the 'true' citizens while the rest as intruders. When the Babri Masjid's mosque was destroyed, it symbolized the overthrow of the Muslim oppression.
The Hindutva ideology is another fact to show how the minority group threatened the Hindu. This happened when the government protected the rights of the minorities as an erosion of the Hindu culture (Balci, 2011). As a result, the Muslims signed out because the pervasive stereotypes demonized the largest minority group. One aspect is how the Hindu men were portrayed virile, and the women were known to be very fertile. Therefore the representation of the Muslims by the Hindutva pertaining the threat to Hindu's violence and security against the group legitimized as the national defense (Balci, 2011). In other words, politicization was for several years was behind the communal violence and not the historical conflict as claimed by Hindutva.
It is a fact that the current waves of India's religious conflicts spurred because of the rise of Hindutva. Even though the ancient grudges explained it, a specific political context primarily caused the battle. Hindutva, as illustrated tend to promote communalism. This by itself presents the view of politics and history where the Hindu minority are overlooked and oppressed in favor of other groups. The political differences also legitimized violence against the Muslims because it was seen as a threat. As a result, the context of the political fictionalization and the fight for religious structures deliberately politicized violence between the Muslim and Hindu communities.
Balci, T. (2011). The Rise and fall of Nine Lights Ideology. Politics, Religion & Ideology, 12(2), 145-160. doi:10.1080/21567689.2011.591979
Bradt, D. A. (2012). Disaster Health Impacts-the Gujarat Experience. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 17(S2). doi:10.1017/s1049023x00010475
Burns, W. (2010). Hinduism and Islam. Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism. doi:10.1163/1234-5678_beh_com_000364
Friedrichs, J. (2018). Hindu-Muslim Relations. doi:10.4324/9780429459894
Steiner, H. (2016). On the Conflict between Liberty and Equality. Oxford Handbooks Online. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199989423.013.2
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