Thinking Together

Why is the CPI(M) so biased towards Muslims and Islamic fundamentalism, ignoring and criticising the sentiments of Hindus and their thousands year-old culture?

 

Sagarneel Sinha, Kailashahar, Tripura

 

The question itself reveals a biased opinion of how the CPI(M) views Hindus and Muslims and their respective religions.

Let us take the issue step by step. 

Firstly, the CPI(M) is a party which is based on a philosophy which has no religious bearings. Marxism is a philosophy based on the materialist outlook. Therefore, the Party has no preference or bias regarding any particular religion. It has a consistently secular outlook.

Secondly, India is a multi-religious country. Hinduism is the faith practiced by nearly 80 percent of the population.  The Muslims, who follow Islam, constitute 14 percent of the people.  There are other religions like Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism in India.  People of all religious faiths should have the freedom to practice and propagate their religion. The CPI(M) upholds this right.  However, a distinction should be made between religious faith and communalism.  When religious identity is sought to be utilised for mobilising people for political aims and purposes, then it becomes communalism. This goes against the secular principle which requires the separation of religion and State. 

Thirdly, the CPI(M) is opposed to all forms of communalism – whether it be Hindu communalism, or, Muslim communalism. In political terms, the CPI(M) is opposed to the BJP’s communal politics and of parties like the Indian Union Muslim League, the  Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen and other communal organisations.  The CPI(M) had stood firmly against the Khalistani extremists who were motivated by Sikh fundamentalism. 

Fourthly, the CPI(M) has stood for the rights of citizens irrespective of their religious faith.  If there is any religious practice which violates or interferes with the fundamental rights of citizens, or, the rights of women, the CPI(M) has criticised it, irrespective of which religion or community they belong to. The CPI(M) opposes any form of untouchability and caste discrimination in the Hindu social order and other obscurantist customs; so also the Party has criticised practices such as instant triple talaq and denial of basic rights of Muslim women.

Finally, in a situation where majoritarian communalism is on the offensive and efforts are being made to suppress the rights of religious minorities, the CPI(M) has consistently defended the rights of the minorities against the onslaughts of majority communalism.  At the same time, the CPI(M) has been opposing all forms of minority extremism and fundamentalist trends. It will be wrong to construe the Party’s opposition to Hindutva communalism as a criticism of Hindus and their religious beliefs. 

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