Scientific Anatomy of Riots

I studied the economic profile of the rioters.  63% of them were below the poverty line.  96.2% of them had no prior criminal record what so ever. As for the victims, 95% the deceased were also below the poverty line.  None of them had criminal history.  I studied the motive behind the killing of 66 persons.  I found that 84% were killed simply because they belonged to the rival religion or community.  It was necessary to find out why otherwise innocent, peace loving, poor persons go to the extent of killing other innocent and poor persons.

For coming to power, it is obligatory for the political parties to win over the people by appeasement.  No party has programs to contain population growth, growing unemployment and slow industrialization.  Even if they had a program, they are not in a position to implement it.  Moreover, it would take a long time before the results of such programs would be evident.  People are not attracted by programs that don’t produce instant results and if they don’t see some instant results, they do not vote for that party.  Hence political parties attract votes using caste, creed & religion as a weapon that fetches immediate dividends.

Rallying people around the religion is always very successful.  Industrialization leads to progress but also creates tensions.  Growing population adds to this tension. Unemployment, inflation, poverty assume dangerous proportions.  There is cutthroat competition for survival.  Some cunning leaders exploit communal feelings for their selfish ends.  They build up organizations to corner the benefits & economic gain for only their cast, religion or community, which inevitably leads to the building up of communal tension.  We have already seen that such communal parties and organizations have started to make big gains in the elections.

Very often the communal leaders seek employment, permits etc only for their community.  In short, communal leaders take up the right social problems, but project them in a perverse manner.  The solutions they propose are based on false promises and soiled by selfishness.  To secure gain for themselves and finish their rivals, they use the trump card of the religion.  This benefits neither the people nor the religion!  On the contrary religion gets maligned.

Lack of employment opportunities makes the middle class insecure.  Communal leaders create the impression that they are suffering because of the disunity within their community.  They convince them that injustice is being meted out to them.  People are brought under the banner of religion to increase their bargaining power.  People are then united on communal lines.  A few get jobs in the name of their religion.  This however is a very short-term gain.  Those who do not get jobs get frustrated.  Communal leaders further channel this frustration on communal lines.  Prima facie it appears to be social movement for the right cause when in fact it is vote bank politics.

Communal leaders convince their followers that unless they get united, they would perish and their religion would be obliterated.  They focus on the differences between religions and propagate distinct Hindu or Muslim identities. Once they are able to convince people that this identity of theirs is in danger, the tendency to attack the religious processions of the rival community or disturbing of communal rites or defiling of idols develops which in turn strengthens the Religious Group Identity.

The traditional, historical prejudices come very handy in building up Religious Group Identities.  Some of the traditional prejudices in Bhiwandi are as follows.

Hindu communal leaders impress on their followers that every Muslim has four wives and twenty-five children and that the Muslims celebrate the victory of the Pakistani cricket team with fireworks and crackers.  They are loyal to Pakistan and want to turn India into Pakistan. Hindu communal leaders further convince their followers that Muslims are being appeased & pampered in India.  All facilities are cornered by them.  They reap all the benefits and leave only unemployment and poverty for Hindus. 

The Muslim Communal leaders propagate the same thing to the followers.  They say that Hindus are very dirty.  They are striving to banish Islam from India.  They ill-treat Muslim workers.  Only Hindus get government jobs & Muslim youth remain unemployed.  Only they are suffering this injustice, and would continue to suffer till they get united.  There is nobody to protect the interests of the Muslims.  They quote figures like, “Though Muslims compromise 11% of India’s population, have only 2% representation in Government jobs. Behold the injustice!”  The common Muslim person believes this to the cause of their misery when in fact the reasons for their poor representation in Government jobs could be their backwardness, lack of education, preoccupation with Urdu language education & denial of education to their women. 

Faulty planning, increasing population, corruption and the lethargic and status quo oriented bureaucracy are among the chief and basic causes of misery and backwardness. The communal leaders never mention these causes.  They never give the true picture and the common man is taken in by their propaganda.  I established in my book with facts and figure, how this propaganda is utterly false & misleading.

The rival communities get estranged due to intolerance, suspicion and hatred.  Communal leaders keep on harping on these prejudices through public meetings.  This further creates mutual suspicion and mistrust.  Once the communal propaganda sells, the ranks of disciples keep swelling.  The virus spreads.  The propaganda is carried out on a massive scale.  The other side of the story is never told. According to me the 96.2 % accused with no criminal record were these indoctrinated persons.  Basically they were poor, peace loving men, but the communal frenzy made them go for the throats of fellow humans in the riots. 

Communally biased persons always came forward to celebrate their communal festivals on a grand scale.  Their enthusiasm hits the roof.  During Eid, Mohorram, Ganpati, Shivjayanti festivals the processions become massive.  There is demonstration of unity of persons of a particular community.  The pomp and show in the procession makes the rival community jealous and insecure.  Processions thus become communal.  In 1984, the entire Bhivandi town was dotted by the saffron flags.  Consequently, during the ‘Shabbe Barat’ festival that followed, the town was equally dotted by green flags!  The Muslims took the saffron flags as a challenge to them and so did the Hindus treat green flags.  Various festival Mandals & Anjumans compete in such celebrations.  The organizers increase their clout in their respective organizations and indirectly widen the rift between the communities.  Such organizers eventually graduate into communal leaders and prosper.

Both communities now start celebrating their festivals on a grand scale.  The big procession of one community is viewed as a challenge by the other community.  If Shivjayanti procession turns out to be massive, efforts are made to make Id-E-Milad procession equally impressive.  The precessions get used to tease the rival community.  Provocative slogans are raised.  They deliberately linger for long periods in front of the religious places of the rival religions.  Provocative gestures are made. These acts increase the tension and lead to outbreak of the riot in the festival itself. 

Communal tension level reaches the peak due to the historical back ground of conflict, provocative speech of the communal leaders, and instigating articles.  Sometimes a small incident immediately after the festival sparks off a riot.  According to me the 96.2% non-criminals who murdered their rivals were in the grip of such communal frenzy. Those who hacked Tulsi’s son to pieces, and those who torched Chandbi’s husband to death, were not hardened criminals.  They were mad with rage.  Vicious communal propaganda had driven them insane.

Intellectuals wonder why people do not vote for politicians who promise development.  That's because these communal leaders create fear and insecurity in the minds of the people.  Whether man or animal, the reaction to fear is the same.  If a hungry deer sees sumptuous greens kept near a lion, what do you think will attract its attention more?  The grass or the lion?  So when the communal leaders tell the starved masses that people from the other religion are plotting against them, and attacking them, who do you think they pay more attention to?  The politician talking about development or the religious fundamentalist?

The rioters remind me of the story of the five blind men and the elephant.  Their opinion is formed by their limited experience and by the propaganda of the communal leaders whose aim is to gain power. The Muslims that hacked Tulsi’s son to death felt that they were protecting Islam.  Similarly the Hindus torching Chandbi’s husband felt that they were doing their pious duty of protecting Hinduism.  The rioters consider it their religious duty to take part in a riot.