Society is a synergistic agreement between different peoples and cultures. In today's modern world any society, it is a conglomeration of people belonging to separate beliefs and cultures. The identity of each culture or group is in fact an indication of the richness and variety in the society and is a pointer of the interaction and civic sense prevalent in them. The success of the society depends on the smoothness with which these sub-groups interact with each other and the levels to which they can adjust with each other. When the balance is upset, there starts the onset of problems, both culturally and in the national level.
The violent incidents that happened in the whole state of Gujarat was unprecedented in the sense that perhaps this was the first time in the history of independent India that human massacre in such a large scale was openly supported by the state. More than support, there was a tacit understanding between the state machinery and the perpetuators of the crime and in many occasions than one, the state officers were directly involved in looting and human massacre. An unofficial report, which has all the reason to be believed than the partisan government's 'official' report, puts the death toll at more than 2000. More than violence and death, the psychological wounds in children who have watched their mothers being burnt alive or of fathers and husbands who had to helplessly watch their daughters and wives being raped in broad daylight adds a dimension to the tragic tale that seems to defy the basic qualities of humanity. The bestial crimes that were perpetuated puts even the barbarians to shame. Murderous mobs did not even oblige the basic decency given to an enemy at war and the callous nature in which a human life and dignity was encroached upon is unspeakable and unimaginable to any right thinking person.
The first impression that we get when we analyze the violent incidents in Gujarat leads us to believe that the crime was as a result of altercations between the majority and the minority community. Hardliners from both the religions: Islam and Hinduism were involved in the fight. A close look would reveal that the fights were not restricted to the communities of the two religions. For example, it was seen by the human rights watch group that in most areas, the number of Muslims and Hindus were equal and in certain areas, the number of Muslims were actually more than that of the Hindus. This makes it very clear that the fight was not between Hindus and Muslims but was essentially between the administration and the Muslims that were living in the areas. Further, a very valid point that must be observed is that most of the Muslims and Hindus took sides with the looters when they found that the looters belonged to their own religion. This shows that the social structure of the affected areas was very weak and prone to change of allegiance provided there is a sufficient amount of initiative from the religious fanatics.
It may be seen that the violence that happened in Gujarat was not just a reaction to the incidents that happened in Godhra a few days before. The train-burning incident was just an excuse, which was used in order to incite the Hindus against the Muslims. The best example that there is strong outside influence in the whole incident lies is the fact that Hindu extremists and anti-social elements were actually transported from other parts of the state to incite the dreadful act of violence in the state. It all goes to show that the administration had planned these actions for two reasons. One was the sagging morale of the people and their confidence in the government. Second was the fact that the elections were just a year ahead and the government needed to do something drastic that would allow the traditional Hindu voters to align once again with the Hindu political forces. The state administration had come to power riding a Hindu wave but could not deliver what the people had wanted in the state. [Human rights watch report, 2003]
The cruelty of the crimes committed against the Muslims shows that the criminals were sufficiently motivated to do the heinous crimes on the hapless victims. How else could one explain the violence that perhaps has no precedents in the whole of the Indian subcontinent in the whole of this decade? A very acceptable explanation for the violence and the methods of the crime that were perpetuated on the Muslims would direct us to the incidents that happened during the partition between India and Pakistan. Hindus and Muslims were subjected to similar or bigger cruelty during those times and the memory is still fresh in everyone's mind. The memory of these incidents is still recalled by the Hindu extremist brigade when they need to score emotional points over their contestants in elections. It must be said that the young Hindu extremists who are trained to carry out the deadly violent agenda of the hind extremist forces are fed on similar stories and hence for them such heinous crimes are an ideal opportunity to payback the Muslims for what they had done during the partition. It must be said that the partition has left behind an indelible wound in the minds of Pakistanis and Indians and that would will take a long time to heal particularly when people are bent upon ensuring that the memories of the incident are kept alive for their own political interests.
It must be said that the hostilities in India between the Muslims and the Hindus are a direct result of the policies that have been adopted by the successive governments over the past fifty plus years after Indian independence. Most of the governments that had come to power have not cared to understand the true meaning of secularism, which is one of the founding principles of the Indian state, and equate secularism with minority appeasement. A careful comparison between Muslims in India and the Hindus in Pakistan will show how much restricted the minorities are in any other country. Most non-Hindu parties because of the potential vote bank the Muslim community has to offer have fervently followed the appeasement of the Muslims and similar minorities and hence the appeasement of the Muslims was a good prospect of winning elections. Unfortunately, this very same policy of most political parties has recently become the most prominent reason why the Muslims are being singled out for violent treatment in India. Many Indian Hindus are worried about their economic prospects because the policies are in favor of the minorities. As far as the Christians are concerned, the Christina missionaries in India have for many years enticed tribals and other members of the lower end of the society to convert them to Christianity, which would increase the number of Christians in India. The conversion spree is another fact that has irritated the Hindu fundamentalists who see their vote banks as well as social security being eroded by the lager number of conversions. All these facts have given the militant organizations, a valid reason to attack the state policies of non-Hindu oriented governments, and they have been able to incite passion in people who for long have felt that their opportunities and social security are being compromised by the respective governments
The issue in Gujarat may be analyzed in a psychological perspective to understand the gravity of the situation. A similar situation exists in India as observed by Fanon (1967) in the black colonies. The increasing westernization of the society, which is associated with loss of traditional Indian values, is considered to be a direct result of the increasing number of Christians in the society. Similarly, an increasing influence of Muslims also instills fear in the Hindus that their influence in their own country is waning. In fact, this feeling that has remained dormant for many years and there is a growing disenchantment in the majority community against the minority appeasement that is happening so blatantly in the country. In fact In Mind, Self and Society (1934), Mead explains this phenomenon when he says that the community can initiate an ideology in individuals that can be destructive to peace. The power of language and the social gestures within a community is so strong that it can elicit similar responses from the members of that community. It must be said that the position of the Gujarat government, which openly supported violence against the Muslims, was a very encouraging fact that helped to unleash the full force of violence on the minorities. The violence that happened in Gujarat can be explained in terms of Mead's theory in a rather catchy way, from a real life example. The cascading effect of violence and the involvement of neighbors who were living peacefully with the minorities can be easily understood by Mead's description.
Dogs approaching each other in hostile attitude carry on such a…