ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Foiling the Saffron Design

This is with reference to Asghar Ali Engineer's article ('Communal Riots, 2000', January 27) that I read with great pain and disturbance. My childhood memories which witnessed Hindu-Sikh riots in 1984 were rekindled. Each incident that he narrated, held in itself a horrifying tale of atrocities and acts of barbarism by one human on another in the civilised world.

However, a number of arguments seek to explain or trace the roots of these riots in our society. To some, it is a search for 'identity' which consequently results in the alienation of an individual from another. A leading psychoanalyst states that in the wake of liberalisation and globalisation our 'identities' are now more confused and ambiguous. People, detached from their traditional moorings, desperately cling to some kind of 'identity' so that they can exist with meaning. This is to say that our society is in a transition state. But such a state of transition has existed in the past but became a problematic when negative tendencies, which constitute the inevitable part of any transition, are encouraged in a systematic planned way; for example, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the counter-threats by the Sangh parivar to destroy masjids in India.

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