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Initiate Dialogue


There is no doubt that, wherever there is communal conflict, it is stoked by hardliners among the communities, while all of society has to pay the price. This includes not just the immediate loss of life and property, but also the entire fabric of social and economic progress. Considering the fact that India is presently at a crucial stage in its development trajectory, it can ill afford disturbances of the kind that have taken place in Manipur and Haryana. As such, every possible effort needs to be made by all concerned to prevent such incidents, be it the elected governments or the political opposition. It would be grossly irresponsible for anybody to try and keep the fires burning for the sake of political gains.

So, while the government bears down hard on those who have broken the law, irrespective of which side they belong to, civil society should begin to work on initiating a dialogue on the issues that have caused the disturbances. For this, all sides need first to drop the hard line and accept the need to restore lasting peace.

There also needs to be the realisation that, in India, such troubles of this scale are often instigated by foreign elements, which has become easier in the social media age. Senior military analysts have already expressed concern at the ‘foreign hands’ stoking trouble in Manipur. Such influences have also to be managed, if not eliminated, to ensure that cooler and moderate heads can come together for solutions. In the case of Nuh in Haryana, senior religious figures have already spoken in favour of finding a path to peace. This message needs to be magnified and genuine concerns of communities seriously addressed.

This is why the spirit of nationalism needs to be inculcated among all Indians, irrespective of their creed, caste or regional identity. It is good to talk of India’s diversity and the freedom to celebrate it, but it should under no circumstances become the reason for division. It is extremely unseemly to witness the quarrels for petty reasons that take place on the highest forums, particularly Parliament. How can the ordinary people adopt a generous and humanistic stance, when they see on a daily basis their elected leaders going at it hammer and tongs for the silliest of reasons? If the conciliatory approach is not adopted, the people will face even greater troubles in the future, jeopardising all the developmental gains that have been made till now.