The West Bengal, a state of eastern India is historically, socially and culturally example of ‘unity in diversity.’ Here, people regardless of their any so-called identity, live together, and all of them participate enthusiastically in the great festival- ‘Durga Puja’ (popularly known as ‘Sharad Utsab’ (Autumn festival). Historically, ‘Shree Chaitnya’ started His movement for social and cultural integration to remove the darkness of extremism in racial dominance. Further, ‘Sri Ramkrishna’ and his great disciple, ‘Swami Vivekanand’ preached and worked for co-ordination and integration of all religion under one umbrella because there is not any difference among various religious faiths. Later on, Sri Rabindranath Tagore worked and warned about dangerous evils of communal disharmony under the banner of religious differences. After independence, left parties ruled for 34 years significantly grounded it through democratic decentralization of power at the grassroots.
But recently, this state is in a crucial stage of communal division and state administration (ruling elected government and its machineries) is sponsoring it for the very purpose of political gain. To go through the details discussion how the chief of the state is involved to promote this evil division, I would share my experience in this connection.
Being a social worker (and attachment to numerous development agencies-NGOs), I regularly use to visit different parts of the state for last two decades. In spite of my vogues identity of a born Hindu(hierarchical ‘Bramhin’ higher caste), I closely attach to the Muslim community in different times at their joys and sorrows. I have cordial acceptance, and they usually share their happiness and sorrows frankly, whatever their genders- male or female. I observe that there is no conflict between the Hindu and the Muslim. They live together with their own belief with a helping attitude. They might have separate political affiliation, opinion, and support. Even four decades ago, when I was a child of 5 years old, I experienced no difference between two religious groups. They had been worked together and used to share food and so on.
Labour statistics remind us that majority of construction workers, dress makers and leather workers are from the Muslim community and Labours from the Hindu community use to work under their supervision. In this state, Muslim population is twice (28%) that of the rest of India(14%) ( Census Report of India, 2011).
During the left rule, there was no special unwanted benefit showered to this Muslim population. They only used to avail the benefits, like other backward classes. There was no religious biasedness of favouritism. Due to poverty, illiteracy and unplanned families, a significant section of this Muslim community uses to involve in different indulgences. It has been observed that Muslim voters have a significant role in elected democracy of this state.
At the end of the left rule in 2011, the right wing formed the government and from the very beginning of the journey of this government it was involved in religious favouritism. Many times it was deliberate with a clear intention to win the mind of the Muslim. The chief of this government (leader of the right-wing party) started to channelize without any opinion of this particular community, whether they need any favour or dole. It gradually starts to promote communal difference and division. A peaceful state witnesses the communal conflict. There are many unnecessary benefits the government opens for the Muslim. Such as Muslim bikers do not need to wear a helmet, while others use to penalize. A special allowance to the ‘Moulabi’ (priest) is another. Politically, the members of this community are abused to organize tension and hooliganism. And police are indifferent to arrest them because they have no order from the higher authority. Therefore, it is very much clear that the chief of the state has taken it as a diplomatic strategy of politico-religious battle.
After the unexpected result in the Poll 2019, the chief of the state, as well as chief of the right-wing party, has become arrogant and adamant to facilitate the communal division among people of this state. She declared, ‘I would participate in “Iftahar” more and more.’ But it is a personal choice of everyone. She reacted and publicized the chant ‘Jay Shree Rama’, and it is an evident of a foolish deed of an administration. It is also enough to cultivate communal difference among others. Recent agitation and movement of the health-care professionals was another incident of bad administration, where there was also a communal division. A patient of about 85 years old of the Muslim community was died during his treatment at the hospital. Then a gang of this community physically assaulted and tortured. But police were again indifferent and no one came forward to save the lives of the health care professionals. Even initially, no one was arrested, and the conspiracy was no permission from the higher authority.
It might be concluded that the situation of this state reminds us the incident of the ‘Great Calcutta Killing’ and it is under connivance of the chief of the state as well as chief of a right-wing party. There is need of joint movement of the Hindu and the Muslim against this considering the history of peace of the state.