Striving for a single national identity

“No politician can seek vote in the name of caste, creed or religion,” decreed then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur in an order, adding that election process must be a “secular exercise.”

Religion has been used and abused as a vote bank by many political parties to the point of social polarisation and emotional marginalisation, by incepting the idea that they need a political leader belonging to their own caste, religion or tribe to give them the succour. Why can we all not just be Indians?

Fragility of emotions breeding within communities does not augur well; they become prone to existing literally and emotionally clustered together, living by their caste, religion and tribe; insecurity making them establish their ‘ism’ strongly within their domain, which the other communities begin to read as attitudinally closed group of people or neighbourhoods.

Local politicians tend to garner their vote bank by building such segmented groups and neighbourhoods, which grows as they would want their vote bank to, and then this growth begins to play a divisive role socially.

The majority of communities cannot fathom why such marginalisation is pointedly established. It is time that we all think of ourselves as Indians before all other identities.

Singular thoughts on how a caste, religion or tribe, can better themselves by voting for a party that portrays itself as their crusader, is not nationalism or in national interest. Polarisation begins thus. This kind of incepting a sense of insecurity or on the contrary a sense of belligerence and promoting a vote bank, can divide the country dangerously.


Already, there is little religious tolerance. People are getting offended even by the smallest comment in the larger sense, like the nomenclature for India, Hindustan, and an Indian, Hindustani.

This kind of divisive reaction to the word Hindustani has been established by the vote banking tactics of politicians as well as political parties. Certain sections of Indians will not like to address themselves as Hindustani, because the word Hindu prefixes to the word. Here is a little note on the word Hindu and how it has been derived.

The people, who lived around the River Indus or The Sindhu, came to be called Hindus. The word Hindu does not pertain to the religion per se.

A Hindu is more geographically defined than he is by his religion. Paradoxically, Hinduism and its name evolved as the religion defined itself. It is just a way of life. ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara,’ is a very famed and cherished patriotic song, by Muhamad Iqbal.

Caste and religion in politics causes a drift in nationalism and patriotism. Religion and caste must not be dragged into politics and its gimmickry. India must see herself as one entity, promoting and garnering talent growing from plurality.

The Sankalpa day was observed in Kodagu because of rehabilitation of tribal people of the Devamacchi Reserve Forest in Diddalli in the district of Kodagu. Their contention was they are not ethnic tribes of the area.

People’s movement
There is going to be movement of people from state to state and their ethnicity cannot be a point to not rehabilitate them. The Bodo movement is a classic example of an ethnic group demanding its geographic definition as a separate state.
According to the Religion Census of India, benefits given to scheduled caste, tribe and backward classes among Hindus – whose population is 80.5% was 74%, for Muslims (13.4% of population) 40.5%, Christians (2.30 %) 66.70%, Sikhs (1.90%)    53.90%, Buddhists (0.80%) 97.30% Jains (0.40%) 5.7% and Others (0.60%) 91.30%. 

Looking at these figures, it is obvious that Hindus make up the majority percentage of the population and of which 74% — the majority — enjoy special benefit.
The figures tell the story of who gets maximum benefits. Therefore, politicians who claim that they can bring in change among the minority groups are not really speaking the whole truth. They are aiding and abetting separatism.

Benefits given upon caste, religion and tribe should now be done away with and human development index should be the criteria, specialised and localised education and skill training should be the aggressively pursued and not reservation in mainstream education.

Let’s think as one nation irrespective of what caste, creed and religion we belong to, because the truth is we are Indians. That is how the world perceives us, and so should we.

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