Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about whether diversity impeded the growth of social solidarity and critical analysis of the impact of diversity on social solidarity and harmony.
The very idea of India is revolving around ‘unity in diversity’ and ‘diversity in unity’. The Constitution of India binds the citizens of India into a secular, liberal and democratic value system. It guarantees equality, liberty and freedom to every citizen of the country. It should always be remembered that India is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country. However, there are certain forces which are taking advantage of such diversity and pose a threat to the unity of the country.
Diversity and societal solidarity and harmony:
- Western societies and cultures believe that the homogeneity brings eternal peace in the society and common religion, language and race reduces the conflict.
- Differences of religious traditions, conflict upon place of worship, historical tragedies, different type of gastronomic diversity conflicting food choices often turn into disputes which led to violence. Increasing food vigilante on people put adverse impact on social solidarity.
- India being multilingual country where pride and emotional connect to language can be seen in opposition of Hindi in southern states. Regional tendencies and son of soil theories also utilise diversity to create wedge between societal solidarity and harmony.
- Unfortunately, the use of religion, caste and other such factors by the political parties to advance their political interests and capture power can create an atmosphere of hate and division among religious and caste groups.
- Ethnic differences between population of north eastern states and heartland often turn into passing racial slur or misunderstanding of lifestyle traits.
- There are various types of economic and non-economic factors which give rise to fears, anxieties and uncertainties among different communities due to policies or decisions of governance machinery. E.g. clamour for NRC.
There is need to translate the conflict and anger into peace, harmony and happiness. That would require transparency, honesty, probity and truthfulness in public life.
However, unity in diversity, tolerance and mutual respect is India’s strength,
- In a multi-religious society, communal harmony is very important for citizens to lead a life free from fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem, ‘Where the mind is without fear’ from Gitanjali in which he wished to have a truly free country where every person is fearless and has a sense of self dignity.
- Teaching of every religion in the world idealises peace: From Gautama Buddha to Nanak, various religious men propagate message of harmony of human kind.
- Values of Indian freedom struggle: Mahatma Gandhi did not want any division among people based on their caste, creed, colour and religion or baseless superstitions. He firmly believed that communal harmony was essential for the freedom and growth of India. Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that masses do not want to fight, if the leaders do not.
- Constitutional framework, secular state and independent institutions help India to be vibrant democracy despite of huge and rare diversity. Impartial, objective and emancipation of all sections of society is rooted in civil services of India.
- Economic prosperity: Indian society, economy and polity have experienced multidimensional tensions and strains since independence. The country has displayed a remarkable capacity to cope with these strains. The country is still grappling with poverty, inequality, unemployment, illiteracy and malnutrition present serious challenges. Public policy interventions for the empowerment of the people for making them effective partners in development with trickle down of benefits of market driven economy has helped in societal solidarity and harmony.
- Empowering the underprivileged and marginalised people with education, skill and good health is an important means to make the people partners in growth and development.
- Increased education levels and urbanisation has brought cosmopolitan culture to Indian cities, spread of internet and technology driven globalisation has brought universal values to remote rural areas. Diversity is no longer impediment but plus point to harness multiple knowledge sources to build global peaceful human society.
Eventually, it is the responsibility of the political and religious leadership, civil society, intelligentsia and the media to uphold the values of mutual respect and tolerance to stress societal solidarity and tolerance.