The Economics Department of Kamala Nehru College organised its monthly Plural Economics Lecture on 26th September wherein Professor Apoorvanand, a professor of Hindi at Delhi University, was invited to talk on the ‘Politics and Socio-Economics of Communalism’. Equally well-versed in Hindi and English, Prof. Apoorvanand chose the former to illustrate his opinion and ideas.
Communalism, as he said, is an issue of great sensitivity and grave concern in the 21st Century India. After gaining a rough idea of the religious orientation of the audience, he went ahead explaining as to how we are not the possessor of a single identity. Besides being a Hindu/Muslim or a follower of any other religion, we are also Indians. With the latter, we are also people with different ideas and thoughts, and every identity perpetuates itself in more than a single way. Using examples of religious bias in some communities, he elaborated the fact that in India, perhaps the most important identity is anyone’s religious beliefs or orientation.
The bold lines of the newspaper flash these two words almost every single day- Love Jihaad. Professor Apoorvanand talked about how the whole concept of Love Jihaad was not innately present in the Indian subconscious. Here, the adverse repercussions of the communal ideology of some communities become apparent on the surface. The fact that people tend to not acknowledge inter-religion marriages has lead to the whole idea of Love Jihaad magnify into some identity of its own.
On being questioned about the relation of Economics with communalism, Professor Apoorvanand calmed the queries of the audience by giving the example of certain banks who demarcate certain areas as ‘Red Zones’ where they cease to give any credit or loans. These ‘Red Zones’ are generally the areas where the population is largely of Muslims. Inaccurate and Fake convictions of Muslims or people of minority communities cut their access to jobs and other income generating source. Hence, communalism doesn’t only inflict political bias on a larger scale but also economic biases.
One of the examples, which struck the audience by astonishment was of one of the Elementary school course books, where Lord Shiva replacing Lord Ganesha’s head with the head of an Elephant is termed as the first organ transplant in the history of mankind. All we could do was to sit and ponder about the direction of India’s progress with such course books in Elementary Schools.
He summed up the talk with a solution to this entire issue- a change from within. One needs to broaden his/her outlook and not follow the ideals of fundamentalism or religious fanaticism. Plural approach to all situations is the solution to a secular, communalism-free India.