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  • 27 April, 2020

  • 10 Min Read

Rollback the distrust, remember the core values

Societal relations


  • Societal relations are fragile and need constant nursing; social peace is a pre-requisite for progress
  • Sanity(the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner), said a line in an old movie, exists in every contract.
  • Sanity is so in every social contract that precedes the establishment of any society or social grouping.

Foundational values

  • The basic values of India’s Constitution assert the principles of justice, equality and fraternity and are reiterated by all sections of social and political leadership.
  • We have in recent weeks witnessed social debates and contestations, normal in a democracy, derail into aggressive assertions that typecast fellow citizens as enemies or undesirable creatures.
  • A citizen is charged with an offence against the law or found to be guilty of it by the due process of law, he or she does not cease to be a citizen and stands deprived of rights and duties of citizenship. The conclusion is inescapable that the sole purpose of such typecasting is to find an excuse for an administrative failure and instead cast a slur, stigmatise and socially degrade a group of fellow citizens.
  • Impacts of typecasting a group of fellow citizens
  • The trend is so pervasive that it finds expression in sections of our citizens living in foreign lands;
  • It is so aggressive that it offends local sentiments and norms of behaviour;
  • Reaction from otherwise friendly local hosts and compelled our authorities, belatedly, to state the official position at the highest level.
  • This ailment of the mind is being reflected in the discharge of normal duties by officials at different levels .
  • Example: Group of 100 of our most eminent former civil servants to appeal, recently, to State Chief Ministers “to instruct all public functionaries to be particularly vigilant to prevent social boycott of any community in the State and to ensure that all the entitlements including medical and hospital care, rations and financial assistance are available equally to all those in need”.y is this happening? What have we forgotten or diso
  • The plurality of our society and its diversity is an existential reality. The imperative of coexistence and tolerance has been accepted down the ages.
  • Sages and society leaders have reiterated it time and again. We need only to recall Swami Vivekananda’s advocacy of religious pluralism, to his vision of India “being the junction of two great systems — Hinduism and Islam — having a Vedantic brain and Islamic body”.

Approach worth reiterating

This same approach in a more practical sense was reflected in the Inter-communal Unity Appeal made in October 1923 by a group of Indians led by Lala Lajpat Rai, Mufti Kifayatullah, Swami Shraddhanand, Maulana Azad, Kasturba Gandhi and 95 others.

What is Inter-communal Unity Appeal ?

“If any individual or group of individuals belonging to any community commits an act of violence against, or attacks the person, property or honour of women or places of worship (mandir, mosque, church or gurdwara, etc) of his neighbour or townsman or helps those who indulge in such misdeeds, he is, from the religious point of view, guilty of a great sin; and that it is the duty of co-religionists of such offenders to stand up and resist such miscreants and to protect those who are so attacked.”

Way Ahead

  • The present approach of distrust is disquieting, resulting in resentment, and injection of suspicion and viciousness in social relations. It impacts adversely on the promotion of fraternity.
  • History tells us that human relationships are fragile and need constant nursing; the same holds for societal relations. We have in our own times witnessed the fragmentation, even destruction, of societies elsewhere. Social peace is thus a pre-requisite for progress and development.
  • Let sanity prevail. Let this be our motto.

Source: TH

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