IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 10th March, 2016
TOPIC: General studies 1
Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.
Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
A tale of two communalisms
On February 18, 1983, 2,191 Muslims, mainly women, children and the old, were hacked to death with machetes and daggers in Nellie, Assam.
For a massacre of genocidal proportions, not a single person has been brought to book in 33 years.
Nellie does not even exist in the public memory.
The tragic irony is that a nation threatened by anti-national slogans in not threatened by actual slaughter, whether it is Nellie, Delhi 1984, Gujarat 2002 or Muzaffarnagar 2013.
Majoritarian logic present in India:
The majoritarian logic is based on the premise that the majority religious community can commit any act of mass violence, but that will not be anti-national.
What is anti-national is only minority violence.
This logic was clearly evident in the response to the Malda riot in January, something that acquires criticalness with the looming West Bengal elections.
Emergence of two communalism:
The aftermath of Malda riot, saw the emergence of Hindu majoritarian communalism and Muslim minority communalism and thesecularism was termed as merely pseudo-secularism.
Equalising the unequal:
There is a growing demand within the country to equalise the two communalisms and to stop the communal tensions and riots between the two communities.
However it is precisely this demand for equivalence that is dangerous at the moment, for it ignores some fundamental distinctions between the two types of communalism.
First, it equalises what cannot be equalised, for equality is not the equal treatment of unequal entities.
And second, it participates in the increasing conflation of Hindu communalism with nationalism.
Comparing the two communalisms:
Minority communalism can never be compared with majority communalism, for the former is ghettoised and mainly feeds upon its own people (think the ulemas and Shah Bano), the very people it claims to represent, while the latter thrives by feeding off the society at large, including the minorities.
Other than the brute power that being 80 per cent of the population brings, majority communalism is infinitely more consequential for it determines the socio-political discourse, leaving minority communalism to defend itself and ghettoise further.
Dangerous majority communalism:
Majority communalism, dangerous in itself, becomes deadly when it becomes the official ideology of the Indian state, as the Sangh Parivar would want it to be.
Minority communalism can never dream of state power.
Here Jawaharlal Nehru’s words are valid even now: both Hindu and Muslim communalism are bad.
“But Muslim communalism cannot dominate Indian society and introduce fascism, that only Hindu communalism can.”
Therefore whether it is the communal riots of Gujarat, Moradabad, Bhagalpur, Bombay or Muzaffarnagar, the overwhelming number of those killed are Muslims.
Thus it is counterintuitive for the minority Muslims to provoke riots, for they would be the primary victims, as fatalities and as refugees in camps.
Second class citizens:
The Indian Muslim today feels like a second-class citizen, an emotion which can only be understood by looking at intolerance as discrimination at a quotidian level (for example, the state witch-hunt through draconian anti-terror laws).
No society built on religious discrimination or of caste oppression can be termed as tolerant.
But what is new after 2014 is that this now mixes with the ballast of state-backed Hindutva, which sees the Muslim as well as the politically radical Dalit (RohithVemula, for instance) as dangerous anti-nationals.
The above trend is very dangerous for the political social and economic framework of the country along with its unity in diversity.
Only a coalition of the oppressed castes, classes and gender across religions can overcome communalism.
But that struggle for secularisation has to go along with the resistance to the majoritarian attempt to equate majority and minority communalism.
The scourge and cycle of communal hatred and violence can be stopped only by ending first the history of false equivalences and selective silences.
Connecting the dots:
Explain the difference between communalism and fundamentalism along with measures taken by the government to check communalism in India.
General studies 2:
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
General studies 3:
Relations require strengthening—Energy Benefits to India
The S.-Japan-India trilateral has gained momentum in recent years, with regular meetings and a variety of collective exercises; but much needs to be done on the ground limited to some meetings and naval exercises only)
This quadrilateral relationship is typically depicted in defence terms but what remains insignificant is the fact that a closer relationship between these four key democracies can also boost India’s tenuous energy security in a big way.
The Energy Appetite:
For Indian economic growth to return to double digits, energy supplies must increase by three to four times over the next few decades
Deficits being immense, India is thriving on overseas energy for sustenance—Imports:
80 per cent- Oil
20 per cent-Coal; we have witnessed the coal imports increasing by as much as 56 per cent in a single year
40 per cent: Uranium
As well as increasing imports of Natural Gas
Import-dependent energy policies: Fraught with
Most of India’s hydrocarbon imports come from unstable or faraway regions
Two thirds of its oil comes from West Asia, and distant Venezuela
The gas-rich Central Asia-
Holds the key to India’s security needs as well
Pakistan’s denial to grant India transit rights to Afghanistan- no direct access to the region
Has secured some cooperation with Kazakhstan w.r.t. ‘Uranium’ (9th ranking oil power; much remains undiscovered)
Turkmenistan: World’s fourth largest gas giant-home to Galkynysh gas field
Tajikistan- Asia’s water giant; can generate 500 terawatt hours of electricity every year
Looking forward to developing the Chabahar port in southern Iran for ease of access
The lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with the U.S. opens up energy possibilities
Burdened by history, trapped by Geography:
Regional instability of Afghanistan
Increasing competitive importers to make use of Iran energy supplies
Pakistan’s creating a dent on the TAPI gas pipeline dream
Environment Management: Limiting the emission of harmful pollutants (strict pollution norms issued by MOEF)
Development of Skills: Technological-Managerial-Operational
Improvement of Safety- Proper training
Exploration and cooperation w.r.t Uranium
LNG can be a good commodity to capitalise the relations upon- The top current source of India’s LNG imports-Qatar lies in a geographically volatile region and thus, India seeks a more stable relationship as well as supply from the exporter’s end for smooth functioning of the economy
Provides India more than 60 per cent of its current coal imports
Cultivating deeper relationships with Indonesia will help boost and advance New Delhi’s “Act East” policy; both have committed to reduce carbon emissions by 35% and 29% respectively by 2030
Would also ease the burden on India’s naval forces of protecting energy assets in areas more far-flung than Southeast Asia
For India, it’s very important to not just secure its energy engagement but also enhance and deepen its security cooperation with these countries. This will, strengthen its engagement with U.S and Japan as well.
Both Indonesia and Australia are relatively stable countries and would put to rest some of India’s concerns regarding the security of Indian energy assets and imports originating in these two countries
Clever diplomacy can help India assert its influence in Central Asia and secure greater access to the region’s abundant natural resources i.e., re-invigorating a diplomatic activism with the CARs, Pakistan and Afghanistan and doing away with logistical complexities.
Need to moderate the nationalist rhetoric that antagonizes Pakistan
Play a more constructive role in Afghanistan
Use the unmatched expertise in setting up refineries as well as fertilizer plants
Develop a complementary relationship with Russia though enhanced security cooperation-stabilizing Afghanistan
Connecting the Dots:
Does there exist an opportunity to make inroads into the energy-rich region ‘Central Asia’? Discuss the major impediments as well as a viable solution to it.