Opinion: Unity in diversity versus polarization

By Antony Cony, Karkala/Qatar

Dec 13: India is known to the world as "Land of Diversity" as well as "Epitome of the world". Being a large country with a huge population, India presents endless varieties of physical features and cultural patterns. It is the land of many languages. It is only in India people professes all the major religions of the world. The vast population is composed of people having diverse creeds, customs and colours. However, recently India has been grabbing attention for 'Ghar Wapsi', 'Award Wapsi’, 'Medals Wapsi’….and why ?

It is high time to ask ourselves, where do we stand in this land of diversity? Are we practicing tolerance? Do we stand together to promote peace and harmony between us, between various castes, creeds, religious communities, or are we pitted against each other by vested interests to fight through political ideology called Polarization?

Polarization is a concept that comes from science, and it involves light, radiation, or magnetism moving in specific directions.

Outside science, polarization usually refers to how people think, especially when two views emerge that drive people apart, kind of like two opposing magnets.

As a 'social media user' in the Logical Indian rightly pointed out: "Are we witnessing rising polarization that is gripping our nation? We identify ourselves as Indians, yes. But we are becoming increasingly comfortable with attaching ourselves to ideologies and people who embrace the politics of anything goes. This division has crept into our mind and society.

"People have stopped judging their leaders by facts, and begun judging the facts based on their party loyalty. This is most overtly seen and covertly overrated on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter; nearly any post, actually – will always feature derogatory debates, hate and cursing, just because we have different political preferences. We can blame many factors for this polarization – the political class, the media, ourselves etc," the article states.

But the truth remains that we, the citizens of this country, are behaving LESS like 'we Indians’ and MORE like political spokespersons; stringently alloting ourselves to political blocs.

By polarization, ideals of people are so much blinded that when we became the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit with Mangalyaan, most people chose to debate over who should take the credit - Narendra Modi or Manmohan Singh. Even as the world applauded India for its phenomenal achievement, politcal debates filled the social media in India, almost completing obliterating the efforts and success of the scientists who were responsible for taking India to new heights in space exploration. Political ideologies and party heroes have made us completely bankrupt of our credibility as one citizen or Indians.

Debu C in his article 'Beware of Vote Polarization' observes: "India’s political landscape has always been differentiated along caste and communal lines and these take center stage during the run up to every election. Caste has always been a major factor and all parties exploit the sentiment by picking candidates along caste and communal lines, which can swing votes for them".

Predominantly, our political blocs are made up of our voting patterns, blinding us from being politically aware that electorate is the backbone of any democracy. Thus, the focus is not the well-informed citizen, but a sycophantic bunch of people who defend every word and action of their party or leaders, even if those words and actions happen to be insensible or downright wrong. It is here that we have to teach ourselves to be more tolerant of diversity of ideologies.

Politics of polarization may also be a threat to India's growth prospects as it leads to social conflict and incidents of communal violence.

Recent incidents like lynching in Dadri over rumours of beef, riots at Muzaffarnagar and religious conversions show the level of intolerance in the country of late. But it is not religion alone - social conflict and intolerance in India have other facets too - the way linguistic minorities in places like Maharashtra are threatened, or the ethnic conflicts in north-east, caste-based discrimination faced by Dalits or backward classes, or even gender discrimination that results in crimes against women. One could add to this list the recent attempts to enforce eating habits too, with beef ban in parts of the country especially during Jain festival 'Paryushan' that led to conflicts in various parts of the country, the Ghar Wapsi drive, and the killings of rationalists that led the intelligentsia in the country to raise a strong voice and return their awards, in what was popularly termed as 'Award Wapsi'.

India being an emerging economy has seen sustainable growth since the last few years. Even international organizations like IMF and World Bank have predicted that in future, India’s growth rate may surpass that of China. But rising social conflict not only threatens this optimistic economic growth but also its peace and harmony. Therefore, it is more important that government take pragmatic steps to reduce these intolerance-causing differences by bringing all the stakeholders to the negotiation table so that advanced developmental drives like Smart City Mission, Digital India etc could be given adequate focus.

On December 4, I read news in Daijiworld that during a press meet, MLC Ivan D'Souza gave his 18 suggestions for the Smart City project. First among them, the emphasis laid upon most, was #1 which said: "Making the people of Mangaluru smart before implementing the Smart City project". Motive seems to be really good but can it be practicably achievable? Taking a leaf from the past communal incidents, will the political leaders give up hate speeches? Will moral policing cease? There is so much political clout in each communal violence incident that the first suggestion should have been of self-examination - that politicians need to be smartly reforming themselves before implementing the Smart City project. This should be because people are following their leaders blindly. If leaders are reformed, it is as if people are reformed, and thereby we can achieve sustainable peace and harmony in society.

On another note, people are already smart due to the increasing digitization of information, coupled with the impact of innovations such as the Internet of Things (e-mails and the world wide web) having a profound effect on all aspects of city life. Therefore, arrival of monorails, express roads, Wi-Fi hotspots or smart structure or even smart drone replacing the smart phone in the pocket may increase people's standard of smart living, but it will not allow people to think smart.

SP Dr Sharanappa made a statement on December 5 that "Dakshina Kannada is known to be a communally sensitive district, but in the next three years, we must turn it into a place that would be known for communal harmony. In this direction, public groups and associations, educational institutes, the media and people in general should take special initiative." Dr Sharanappa is right. However, on the contrary, it is politicians who should lead and who are the cornerstone if the society has to achieve and maintain peace and harmony.

The contemporary Indian political scenario is that the parties although having different ideologies, practice opportunism for the sake of reaching the threshold of 272-plus Lok Sabha seats and not for the overall development of the country. It is really frustrating that in India all the political parties are working for their own political ideologies of polarization. Political party resorts to polarization only to serve its political ends. Some political parties divide the county on caste lines and some others divide the people on religious lines for their vote banks. By this, all politicians from any political party become one and the same.

India is a great country in terms of diversity, with so many religions, so many caste, so many languages, so many ethnic groups. The only way to keep them united is secularism, giving respect to everyone, enlarging the horizon of our thinking, keeping no demarcating borders like majority and minority, castism etc, for we all are one and children of the same Mother India.

What we see nowadays is that one party accuses the other party of being 'corrupt', and the latter accuses the former of being 'communal'. Now the question we need to ask is whether politicans can be reformed? If that part is achieved, ambitions of the politicians would change drastically and so would their ideologies compelling them to stop vote banks politics, stop spreading hateredness and stop polarizing and inciting the people to fight each other. This would initiate real development, and whoever takes the opposition's place in the parliament would allow parliament to function during the monsoon session, winter session and budget session which in turn would initiate sound economic policies and projects where the standard of the people keeps on rising. Each citizen of this country is thirsting for real development and not for ugly politics of hate and crime.

As I wind up, I am reminded of what Swami Vivekananda had said: "Give me 100 men of steel and I will and I will change the world". We too are responsible citizens, we should play our role by not allowing the political class to divide us. As the social media user on Logical Indian puts it, "We must understand that we are not cattle to follow a party leader. We do not owe any leader anything; we don’t need to defend anything and everything that they say. We have the right to criticize our politicians when they need it, and defend them when they deserve it. We don’t owe them ourunquestionable loyalty – they owe us their unquestionable loyalty. Our allegiance lies to the Tricolour, the Constitution and the Law". Jai Hind !


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Comment on this article

  • Praveen A. Fernandes, Ganglion.

    Thu, Dec 17 2015

    Dear Anthony D'souza Cony, I like and love to read all your articles.. excellent writer you are.. keep it up.. may almighty lord bless you, your family and FRIENDS.. 👍

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nelson D'sa Neelavar, Udupi /Israel

    Thu, Dec 17 2015

    Good article Mr. Antony Connie, God bless you.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Edmond G. Noronha, Kirem - Sharjah

    Wed, Dec 16 2015

    Yet again a very interesting article. If only we lived to the concluding punch of this write up: Our allegiance lies to the Tricolour, the Constitution and the Law". Jai Hind !
    I firmly believe India would be a better place to live in, a heaven on earth.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Reshma Lobo, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Tue, Dec 15 2015

    "United we are one, divided we will fall"- Of late, our country has been divided into religious syndrome. It is time that we all come together and work towards betterment of our nation.
    One more amazing article Antony Sir.Your article enriches our knowledge in social issues.Keep writing.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Zeitgeist, Mangalore

    Tue, Dec 15 2015

    Those to brag about Unity and diversity and tolerant nature of majority of Indians have to explain to me why interreligious marriages and intercaste marriages are still frowned upon.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vivian P. Tauro, Bangalore

    Tue, Dec 15 2015

    Zeitgeist, Mangalore. Nice and Tks. A Good topic to discuss.

    Generally, every subjects from every nation do agree and get abide by tolerance and unity for their country. However, there could be some isolated causes due to some political agenda for vote banks which is called polarization are fitted to fight against each other. There is nothing special about it. It does happens every part of the world.
    Similarly, inter-caste and inter-religious marriages does takes place in every society. Again, there could be some isolated cases due to political agenda or polarization i.e., ‘Love Jihad’. However, these are the temporary phenomenon. . At the end of the day, only Unity, Tolerance, Peace and Harmony does matters for a Nation to achieve real development lest old will go and new government will replace it. Society always evolves and must evolve for better.

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  • Antony Cony D Souza, Karkala/ Qatar

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Since almost 2 years, interest of my write-ups lie in the soil of appreciation and encouragement received from Daijiworld Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Walter D Souza, Editor Ms. Anisa and Team Daiji.

    No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks to you all. God Bless.

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  • Antony Cony D Souza, Karkala/ Qatar

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    To all Readers and My Friends,

    Gratitude is the most wonderful feeling I want to convey you here. Unable to Thank every one individually.... but Thanks and Thanks.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lolita Crasta , Mangalore, dubai

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Good article uncle. Keep up the good work.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ms. Shanti N. Shetty, Udupi/Perth

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Sir, Your all articles deserves special appreciations. And this article in particular should reserve a place for an AWARD. Best Wises in your future endevors. I too support Mr. Deepak Shetty as this is a well balanced write-up.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    I quote from your article: Swami Vivekananda had said: "Give me 100 men of steel and I will and I will change the world". Unquote.

    He can never change the world with 100 steel Men.

    Of course He can change a State Not a Nation.

    Because the Change comes from each and every individual.

    Do an individual change. Of course if he has determinations. Most of them have over ambition.

    Indians citizens are selfish.
    They crawl like Ants to reach their goal.

    See the ants: It crawls one over the other never minds how many ants fell down in its hurry-bury to climb up.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Rest of the Article is Excellent except the given quote.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Fr.Vincent D'Souza, Bela-Kasargod

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Beautiful article dear Cony. Congratulations. God Bless you.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Eddie Sequeira, Bendore-Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    I am just an artist but I do say Yes...as your article says "we must understand that we are not cattle to follow a party leader. We do not owe any leader anything we don’t need to defend anything and everything that they say. We have the right to criticize our politicians when they need it, and defend them when they deserve it......" and I agree 100% to that. Congratulations Antony for coming out with one more well researched, analytical and well written article.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • sam, world

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Demarcating borders will always exist, because all men and women are not identical. A temporary period of 'peace' may prevail, but it can never sustain because mans nature is not immune to the sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh NK, Edapally

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Good topic,well presented

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santhosh Babu M., Vittla/Mumbai

    Mon, Dec 14 2015

    Well written. Let your tribe increase. It is the need of the hour. It looks our polarization hungry leaders have sworn in to destroy our unity in diversity bartering for vote bank. Let our people read this article as an eye-opener.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kishoo, Barkur

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Well written article Sir. Opinions are formed on the basis of loyalty than the basis of facts, fuelled by the biased media inputs and organised social media brainwashing. Height of the tragedy is statements are quoted out of context and blown out of proportions overnight and even the people who have nothing do with it, reacting to it either positively or negatively. Time to wake up people...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ajith Peter Dsouza, Udupi/Dubai

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Well written article. Thought provoking message from these lines are very much fundamental for harmonious living. Again a wonderful thought by Mr. Antony.Keep it up.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • John D Souza, Mangaluru/Qatar

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Well written article on a crucial subject, Dear Antony baab, it is really a hot pick
    Truly the unity is strength, which overcomes the weakness and drawbacks of diversity.
    Unless all birds fly together, it is not possible to escape from the legs trapped net.
    Narrow mind set of crabs in the basket and stubborn and rigid ego with tortoise style will not allow us to move forward towards achieving our ambitious targets and goals.

    Helicopter visit cannot alter the miserable ground reality and polarization is not a solution to cover false promises and failed performance.

    Think different and implement change approach is essential for the solution of burning issues and several severe problems. With the support and implementation of unique ideas we be a
    Developed Nation much earlier than planned and dreamt of.

    Kids can’t breathe due to severe air pollution, people forced to eat bread of grass and weeds due to hard hit drought, natural calamities due to climate change and global warming which leave people in distress, youth are depressed and directionless due to unemployment crisis, society is pressured and burdened with high costs of living and the general public is desperate and helpless due to the prevailing adverse situation in the society, economy and environment.

    Let us pray and hope to have love, peace, respect and tolerance in the society through wisdom where our leaders can do justice to all. We need protection from God and God needs no protection from weak humans like wind and grass.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    An eye opening article.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • samad kolnad , vitla

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Antony Sir a very nice article on whats happening around in india indeed it gives a solution as well. This is the right time that citizen of india should wake uo. There many things to learn from the recent chennai flood, hope this article will be an eye opener for the fellow indian citizen. Antony sir good writing and keep writing looking for more to read from you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roy Updesh K., Mangalure

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Nicely shared about Mangalure as Smart City. True, politicians can not not bring us onto smart thinking but rather they themselves have to reform themselves as politicians and change their thinking to invite a smart city. If so, there could be no room for polarization in Mangalure.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Engg. Tofique Kabir , Mangalure/Dubai

    Sun, Dec 13 2015


    The last paragraph of the article worth reading thousand times. And if we follow those words, hope politicians will follow us at all seasons and not during election season only. Very dynamic concept is yours. I read before no where.

    Wishing you Best of Everything

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Olivia Moras, Mangalore/Toronto Canada

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Antony Cony, Yet another Brilliant topic and I am your fan. India is a vast country with diverse issues, religion and cultural background, differences are obvious. However when we stand united on common interests and show our solidarity to the world as we have done in the past we undoubtedly are one of the greatest nations in the World. Thank you Cony, appreciate your choice if subject. And keep writing. Jai Hind.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Patriotic, India

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Thought provoking and very admirable article by Antony Cony for the people who LOVE INDIA FIRST AND THEN POLITICS NEXT.Because we are human beings and children of one mother"BHARAT MAATA".If everybody keeps this concept in their mind,every rest of the things will fall on their laps automatically.First of all all the politicians should refine their mind set and stop giving hatred speeches and create communal disturbance and disturb harmony among the people.As Mr.Antony Cony rightly said United we stand,divided we fall.General public and media should play an important role in bringing harmony in the society.Don't listen to rumors and pseudo politicians just for the sake of vote bank.Nothing is lacking in our so called world's largest democratic country.Only we lack is discipline.If all of us mend our mind set,nothing can stop us in making our country INDIA world's leading developing country.No intolerance,no communal disturbance,No disharmony among the people.Main culprits behind all these nonsenses are our politicians.Well written Antony sir.Crystal clear ideas have been put forth in this article.Hats of to you.We need many more people like you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Wilson Saldanha, Shirthady/Kuwait

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Nice article dear Antony Cony. We are to be blamed for believing and supporting the poison poised by our politicians. Due to this poison, we become cruel and started to kill fellow human for a mere reason such as cow, religion etc., We need to grow up to drive away evil within ourselves. Then only we can bring real “Achche Din”.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn Crasta, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    A very touching, meaningful, thought-provoking, practical (yes, in the present day do-or-die situation we are facing) article by Antony Cony

    The foremost thought in our mind should be, if we do not unite and make India shining, our fate could be as bad as, or, worse than that of Pakistan, Syria and numerous other countries across the globe.

    The positive results could truly be worth it, provided we are prepared to sacrifice our selfish, vested interests and think of India first.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • R. Lewis, Mangalore/Bahrain

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Nice article dear Antony Cony, keep writing and all the best.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Zeitgeist, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Unity in diversity is a myth. Religion is the main issue and the cultural differences is another one.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jasmine Mathias, Karkala/Kuwait

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Very well said, we hope people would change gradually by accepting each other by rising above hate, And I also hope politicians would not polarize this weakness in getting their vote bank done which is the scenario every time in India and still doing it without any grip on them.Then We will be strong and in unity towards the possible beautiful future of our mother nation.

    Keep going with your amazing writing.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mathew P. , Mangalure/Madrid

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Few people can create troubles between the communities as we read here. But Indian democracy is a matured democracy. Isolated cases will learn from our democracy as a defeat for polarizing parties. Well Written Antony.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Glany Fernandes, Manglaore / Dubai

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Very well written article and needed for the hour. Unity in diversity is mantra of India, as explained in the article after witnessing few concerning incidents few individuals felt the heat of it and expressed openly. Need to understand that certain section of the society or certain groups does not represent entire India, our country is much larger than their views or thoughts. Let us learn to over come obstacle which causing our unity, same way we did it in our happier days. I feel polarization is dividing our county not the religion or region.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse


    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Dear Mr Coney,

    Well written and we appreciate your concern. Unity in diversity is essence of Indian constitution. India is melting pot of world's major cultures. I think few incidents should not define Indians uniqueness of multi culture society. BJP or RSS can't polarize India as post and pre Independence India remained united.Dadri-Babri-Guj incidences may be black dots in Indian History but by and large India remained MELTING POT FOR ALL CULTURES OF WORLD ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shuhaib Embicheri, kasaragod

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Good food for thought.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • marina, karkala

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Brilliantly written article Connie.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • CGS, Mangaluru

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    "Politics Of Polarisation" very well
    analysed by Antony Cony D'Souza.One more thought provoking article by Antony Cony.Congrats, keep writing.
    All the Best!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gibson D Souza, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Very well written Uncle.... India has to undergo political overhaul and something new should evolve in the minds of people. It's a long way to go...... we will try our best to contribute individual levels.....

    DisAgree [2] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pramodh M. Shetty, Bantwal/Qatar

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Beautiful article with good aptitudes Sir.Really touched but its theme. Please write more on such society building measures for a Greater India to the World.
    Good Luck.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Promenade Road,Fraze Town,B'lore 560005

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    The article with lot of balancing and sense.We need to raise all other disparities and work unitedly for unity and development of our nation.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Deepak Shetty, qatar

    Sun, Dec 13 2015

    Dear Antony.

    Balanced article. If everyone starts thinking about "INDIA COMES FIRST" all other issues can be resolved. We should raise above caste/religion/region/language barrier and work towards unity and peace.

    Antony -like your articles. Keep writing.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [38] Reply Report Abuse

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