Leave mandir-masjid politics

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Polarisation is still an effective vote catcher because we refuse to move beyond mandir-masjid politics. Centuries after scores of temples and mosques have been desecrated repeatedly and with a remarkable continuity, the desecration of a temple or a mosque has become sort of a national obsession.
It is reported not because it is or was a beautiful piece of human creation and a symbol of art and history of an era gone by; the reason this news even makes to national television is because it is a reminder of the threat posed by the enemy within, in other words the “other community”. The recent temple discretion is a case in point.
The incident sparked protests and violence in Jammu and the charge of being a communal move by members of the other community. It is disturbing to see the manner in which this news seems to excite us despite the fact that we are no longer a colony, in fact we are inching closer to clench an NSG entry. Despite progressing forward and becoming the fastest growing economy in the world, it is clear we have not moved an inch forward. We have been unable to shrug off bigotry, even though GDP and pay packets have become a neighbourhood obsession.
The reason why polarisation still seems to be the most attractive and effective vote catcher is because we refuse to move beyond our mandir-masjid politics. Although by conventional standards, it has become a boring topic. The recent violence in Jammu has shown how easily people are ready to mobilise in the name of mandir-masjid, despite our past history having shown us that this has disastrous consequences in the long run.
Not that the mandir-masjid politics belongs to one ideology in this country, other parties including the Congress have raked massive benefits from it in the past.
The presence of Muslims in constituencies with ability to tilt electoral balances ensures that almost all parties have employed this tool to their advantage, the only difference being that they have done this while demonising the right-wing and Muslims convincingly. It’s time we moved forward from this talk. It is unlikely that this will reap any major dividends in 2017 or in 2019. Neither would temple or Masjid
desecration.

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