Numbers beyond two make a proposition of majority and minority in a group of odd numbers. Minority is a vital part of or in a whole. Thumbs in hands and feet are a minority in a majority of fingers.
If removed both the majorities lose shape and weaken. Even the hidden minority is an inevitability in a large majority adding to its show and prowess. Ponder upon the case of 12 molars in the group of 32 teeth in human anatomy of mouth.
King of flowers, rose with its predominant reddish colour has a dim white which means peace and innocence. It also symbolises an everlasting love besides enhancement in its complexion.
Side by side majority runs minority as a natural course. Gardens of flowers/fruits have the two communities in one kind and count or the other, else they would be nurseries.
This truth holds good across the globe. There are minorities at sectoral, linguistic, civilisational, ethnic, religious, cultural, colour, economic and at status level. Minorities are native as well as immigrant. No epoch is free from it nor will any escape ever.
All the major civilizations like Mesopotamia (presently known as Iraq and Iran), Babylon, Greece, The Indus Valley (presently known as Pakistan and Afghanistan), China, Maya, Rome, India, etc. had minorities practicing various cultures and different religions.
Religion is mostly the basic factor followed by language & color distinguishing people of one culture from those of other making a majority or minority of that sort.
Governance from majority follows the logic for government set up. Consequently the majority members make great and effective inroads into the corridors of institutions of power and fields for practice to which the minority runs only a tangent.
The onus for protection of minorities lies on majority. Constitutions, legislations, rules & regulations, security apparatus, economic & foreign policy, education system and codes of conduct of various activities etc., come from majority consensus. Majoritarianism is not to/should not build a narrative for despotism, authoritarianism, anarchy, militarism, or imperialism etc.
Majority-minority issue is a relative term. A country may be a minority in one continent but a majority in a region, a community a majority in a country but a minority in a region, a state majority may be a centre minority by way of faith, language, culture or political administration. Where a majority overlooks the genuine concerns of a minority, situation is certain to stoke fire of conflict on proved grounds of truth.
A minority persecuted or mistreated economically, socially, morally, politically etc., is constrained to moan, complain and cry for remedial measures.
Discrimination against one minority in a country invokes feelings of kin groups of their majority brethren in other countries who overtly or covertly commence helping them morally, materially, financially, and diplomatically.
Such support sustains the claimants and infuriates them to intensify the discontentment. This develops a kin-country-syndrome. Reactions follow actions and international peace suffers predicament.
One country supplies weapons-chemical, nuclear, biological, radiological, bacteriological, conventional, non-conventional military warfare and delivery vehicles to help their native emigrant minority else or force their ideology and civilisation & culture there.
This makes a build up versus build up with exponential increase in the manufacture & sale of arms and ammunition everywhere. Ineluctably the vast stores of warfare open with huge stocks of fatal weapons toward one another.
All commence to divide each other territorially, frustrate economically, disturb internally, subvert politically, contain strategically and sequester diplomatically.
It will never skid off the human history that in Cambodia, Rwanda, Uganda, Israel, Russia, Germany etc., millions of people were killed as they belonged just to other community.
Irony is that who did not want to stop their own nuclear proliferation tried to enforce non-proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction upon others who demanded a proliferation of equalizer weapons and had a justification in that.
As the policy of non-proliferation too failed as a logical outcome, the devisors shifted the policy to counter-proliferation which too is no less disastrous than the preceding two.
Now the nuke powers are requested imploringly to abide by no-first-use pledge. It is a paradox that world invests much in health care but spends much more for life hazards.
Religious attachments being sensitive, majority-minority conflicts are generally made to erupt mostly on religious grounds. Religions, however, do not overlook the humongous importance and need for peaceful co-existence of people. Religions have been demonised by their antagonists otherwise no religion in its true shape teaches or believes in violence against others.
It is not a hidden fact that almost all countries are heterogeneous in that they include two or more ethnic, racial and religious groups. The differences in the way of life and beliefs of these groups play an important part in shaping the internal and external politics of the countries.
If the differences remain unrestrained to form divisions and divisions go unchecked to become deep divisions a country can suffer huge violence with the possibility of existential threat.
Exploiting this international reality of majority-minority may benefit a few presently but is disastrous for many in future. Treatment of minorities at one place effects Diaspora at other.
There are large, medium and small minorities loyal to their motherland like the majority. Native minorities have invariably defended and worked for the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of their country when it demanded. Minorities are no aliens from the skies that float in the space. They own & possess home & hearth.
Laws are on every subject in the world as no country can afford lawlessness. However, designing or viewing them through a glass fashioned to suit a particular community convincing them to have a hegemonic approach in favour of those who are not mars the requirement of peaceful coexistence and impartiality necessary for maintaining peace and progress among the majority-minorities of a country as well as world.
A wall or a structure in concrete or steel can never stand if it tilts. A just legal system, the hallmark of which is to uphold principle in all situations and circumstances while pronouncing judgements or interpreting laws and its execution is among the solutions to cool the cauldron of chaos and strife the world is boiling in.
Laws & rules are to satisfy spirit of principle and not class of malicious people who tend to help spread class war. They should objectivise that governance apparatus delivers welfare and wellbeing to all. We versus they attitude should change as othering practiced here begets othering there.
The author is a former Sr. Audit Officer and Consultant in the AG’s Office Srinagar.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.