Renowned historian and author Prof Ram Puniyani has come up with a novel idea to combat communal hatred. He has launched a unique awareness course in Communal Harmony through a mobile application called ‘Unite India.’
Speaking sot SouthLive, Puniyani said his team aims to wipe off hatred by increasing awareness among the public and this is first step toward it.
Hatred spreads because of misconception. One of the parts of removing misconception is facts. Whatever misconceptions, stereotypes and biases prevalent, we take them one by one and try to give the reality behind it. We feel it is an important step in reducing the social hatredRam Puniyani
“Main focus will be those issues such as people think something bad about Muslims, Christians, topic related to conversion, terrorism, politics of oil, freedom movement partly medieval history and much more,” Puniyani said.
Politics in the name of religion has been on the rise in the subcontinent from last four decades in particular. This communal politics is very apparent in the form of violence in the name of religions. The violence, in turn, is orchestrated due to hate which is prevalent due to misconceptions. ‘Unite India’ is a small attempt to address some of the misconceptions prevalent in the societyRam Puniyani
Speaking after launching the app in Hyderabad, Prof Puniyani said that most of the misconceptions about religion and history were created by vested interests for political gains adding that those completing Diploma in Communal Harmony could easily defeat such hate mongers.
The mobile app, which is currently available for Android platform was designed by a member of the All India Secular Forum Syed Khalid.
“Most of the misconceptions have roots in the medieval period of history while many current social issues are also used to create myths and misconceptions. There are few books which deal with this very comprehensively,” the description of the app reads.
We have selected some popularly prevalent misconceptions and dealt with them with the help of material from historians and social activists whose books are listed at the endRam Puniyani
He added ‘Unite India’ app aims to promote Indian nationalism practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Bhagat Singh, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Subhash Chandra Bose. It will also counter the religion-based nationalism which was practised by people like Mohammed Ali Jinnah and V D Sarvarkar.
The course is primarily divided into 11 chapters such as Communal Violence, Misconceptions About Minorities, Alliances Amongst Kings, Islam In India, India’s Mixed Culture, Colonial Period, Indian Nationalism, Kashmir Issue, Global Terrorism and Communalism Today. The chapters are sub-divided into 68 topics with each giving clear and precise answer to one popular myth.
The candidates will have to write a test after the end of each topic. Each topic is of about 200 words and the candidates need to give correct answers for at least three out of five questions to pass the test.
“After the completion of the entire course, the candidates will be awarded a certificate. On an average, a person will be able to complete the entire course in a span of 10 hours,” Syed Khalid, who developed the app said.
“The topics covered in this course touch upon widely discussed issues like the origin of Islam in India, Babri Masjid, Mumbai riots and Gujarat 2002 carnage, etc., to current topics like RSS concept of nationalism, terrorism in Kashmir, Love Jihad,” he added.
Puniyani feels, much larger steps should be adopted to take on communalism.
“This is not alone enough to counter hatred. There are many more steps required. We require a social awareness movement at a broader level. This is a small step and others can pick up from here and take it forward,” Puniyani added.