Concept of communalism

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Concept of communalism


The rising trend of communalism and the accompanying violence has created a feeling of insecurity among the religious minorities. Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in particular fear discrimination and confrontation in the coming days. It may be just a fear, but the country cannot afford to let almost one-fifth of the country’s population fall victim to the crippling suspicion and insecurity. The events between 1984 and 1999 in Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi give ample evidence and taste of the devastating consequences of various forms of communal virus. Religious minorities in India are protected by the constitution which provides for justice, tolerance, equality and freedom. But in an era where religious fundamentalism is shifting to religious bigotry, intolerance and narrow-mindedness, the notion of ‘Ram Rajya’ is not misinterpreted by minorities, especially Muslims, as the rule of Lord Ram i.e. Hindu rule. , Police presence (as in Amritsar in 1985 and Kashmir in November 1993 and May 1995) to track and investigate terrorist hideouts in and near religious places is seen as interference with religious faith . Therefore, there is a need to analyze and debate the problem of communalism and communal violence in order to avoid harm to the peace and integrity of the nation. It has become absolutely necessary to define ‘communalism’. Also, it is equally relevant to find out who is ‘communal’.


concept of communalism

Communalism is an ideology which states that the society is divided into religious communities, whose interests are different and sometimes even in conflict with each other. The protest by the people of one community against the people of other community and religion can be called ‘communalism’. This enmity goes to the extent of falsely accusing, harming and deliberately insulting a particular community and extends to looting, burning of houses and shops of the helpless and weak, insulting women and even killing individuals . ‘Communal persons’ are those who do politics through religion. Among leaders, he is like a religious leader.

are ‘communal’, who run business enterprises and institutions like their religious communities and cry “Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism or Christianity are in danger” the moment they find that donations to their pious ‘corporations’ Is finished. or their leadership has been challenged, or their ideology has been questioned. Thus, a ‘communalist’ is not one who is a man of religion but one who preaches


Works by connecting politics with religion. These power politicians are not good Hindus and not good Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis or Buddhists. They can be seen as dangerous political ‘scum’. For him, God and religion are tools used to live luxuriously as a ‘king parasite’ of society and to achieve political goals (After Day, June, 1990: 35-36) .

tk Oommen (1989) has suggested six dimensions of communalism: assimilationist, benevolent, regressive, regressive, isolationist and isolationist. Assimilationist communalism is one in which smaller religious groups are assimilated/integrated into a larger religious group. Such communalism claims that Scheduled Tribes are Hindus, or that Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists are Hindus and should be covered under the Hindu Marriage Act. Welfare communalism aims at the welfare of a particular community, improving the standard of living and providing education and health to Christians by Christian associations, or Zoroastrian associations working for the upliftment of Zoroastrianism. The purpose of such communal mobilization is to work only for the members of one’s own community. Retreatist sectarianism is one in which a small religious community keeps itself away from politics: for example, the Bahá’í community, which forbids its members from participating in political activities. Vengeful sectarianism seeks to harm, hurt and injure members of other religious communities. Separatist communalism is one in which a religious or cultural group; Wants to maintain its cultural distinctiveness and calls for a separate regional state within the country, for example, the Mizos and Nagas in north-east India or the Bodos in Assam, or the Adivasis of Jharkhand in Bihar, or the West Gorkhas demand for Gorkhaland in Bengal, or Pahari people for Uttarakhand in Uttar Pradesh, or Vidarbha in Maharashtra. Finally, separatist communalism is one in which a religious community seeks a separate political identity and demands an independent state. A very small extremist section of the Sikh population demanding Khalistan or some Muslim extremists demanding independent Kashmir were engaged in practicing this type of communalism. Out of these six types of communalism, the last three movements create problems giving rise to communal riots, terrorism and extremism.



communalism in india

India’s pluralistic society is made up of many religious groups; However, these groups are further divided into various sub-groups. Hindus are divided into sects such as Arya Samajists, Shivits, Sanatanis and Vaishnavas, while Muslims are divided into Shias and Sunnis on the one hand, and ashrafs (aristocrats), ajlafs (weavers, butchers, carpenters, oilmen), And Arzal on the other side. Strained relations between Hindus and Muslims have long existed, while some Hindus and Sikhs have begun to view each other with suspicion only during the past fifteen years. Although now in some states, we also hear about some conflicts between Hindus and Christians and Muslims and Christians, yet, by and large, Christians in India do not feel deprived or exploited by other communities. Shias and Sunnis also have a biased attitude towards each other among the Muslims. Here we will mainly analyze Hindu-Muslim and briefly Hindu-Sikh relations.


Hindu-Muslim communalism

Muslim invasions of India began in the tenth century, but the early Muslim conquerors were more interested in plunder than in establishing religious dominance. It was when Qutubuddin became the first Sultan of Delhi that Islam set foot in India. Later, it was the Mughals who consolidated their empire and Islam in the process. Some of the policies of the Mughal rulers, such as conversion efforts, destruction of Hindu temples and construction of mosques on these temples, led to communal strife between the Hindu and Muslim communities. When the British established their dominance in India, they initially adopted a policy of patronizing the Hindus, but after the First War of Independence in 1857, in which Hindus and Muslims fought side by side, the British adopted a policy of ‘divide and rule’. policy, as a result of which they are deliberately promoting communal conflicts to maintain their supremacy. Relations between Hindus and Muslims became more strained during the freedom struggle when power politics came into play. Thus, although animosity between Hindus and Muslims is an old issue, Hindu-Muslim communalism in India can be described as a legacy of British rule during the freedom struggle. This communalism is working today in a much changed social and political environment.

This is the biggest threat to the secular ideals enshrined in our Constitution.

Let us examine the origins and historical roots of Hindu-Muslim communalism after the First World War in order to provide some understanding of the phenomenon in its contemporary context. what were the religious and political ideologies and aspirations of the participating political parties


done in the freedom struggle? The nationalist appeal was to unite various groups by addressing two important factors: first, freedom from exploitation by colonial rulers, and second, democratic rights for all citizens. But major political parties like the Congress, the Muslim League, the Communist Party and the Hindu Mahasabha did not share these sentiments in the thirties and forties of the twentieth century. From the very beginning, the Congress adopted a policy of ‘unity from above’ in which efforts were made to win over the middle class and upper class in its favor. The Muslims, who were accepted as the leaders of the Muslim community, were left with the task of drawing the Muslim masses into the movement. This ‘unity from above’ approach could not promote Hindu-Muslim co-operation in fighting imperialism. All serious attempts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity between 1918 and 1922 were in the nature of negotiations between the top leaders of the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities and the Congress. Often, the Congress acted as an intermediary between the various communal leaders rather than acting as an active organizer of the forces of secular nationalism. Thus, there was an implicit acceptance within the early nationalist leadership that Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were distinct communities sharing only political and economic concerns, but not religious, social and cultural practice. This is how the seeds of communalism were sown in the first and second quarter of the twentieth century. However, till 1936, the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha remained organizationally very weak. In the 1937 elections, the Muslim League won only 22 per cent of the total seats (482) reserved for Muslims in the provincial assemblies. It also did not do well in Muslim-majority provinces. It was only after 1942 that the Muslim League emerged as a strong political party and claimed the right to speak for all Muslims; Jinnah described the Congress party as a ‘Hindu’ organisation, a claim supported by the British. Within the Congress, Madan Mohan Malviya, K.M. Munshi and Sardar Patel took Hindutva positions. Thus, the Congress could not purge its ranks of communal elements.

While the slogan of Pakistan was first articulated by the Muslim League in 1940, Congress leaders accepted the partition of the country in 1946, which led to the displacement of millions of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs amid bloodshed and carnage.

Even after partition, Congress failed to control communalism. Thus, it can be said that Hindu-Muslim communalism in India had political-social origins and religion alone was not the cause of conflict between Hindus and Muslims, economic interests and cultural and social customs (such as festivals, social customs and lifestyle) were factors that further divided the two communities.

Sixteen cities in India have been identified as more vulnerable to Hindu-Muslim communal riots. Five of these (Moradabad, Meerut, Aligarh, Agra and Varanasi) are in Uttar Pradesh; one in Maharashtra (Aurangabad); one (Ahmedabad) in Gujarat; One in Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), two in Bihar (Jamshedpur and Patna), two in Assam (Silchar and Gauhati), one in West Bengal (Calcutta); one (Bhopal) in Madhya Pradesh; one in Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar); and one (Cuttack) in Orissa. Since eleven cities are located in the northern belt, three in the eastern belt and two in the southern belt, can it be assumed that Muslims in South India are culturally better assimilated because of their involvement in trade and commerce, for which Good will is required. Community? Amazingly, this fact applies to five cities in UP. also. Therefore, we have to find another explanation for this phenomenon.

Hindu-Muslim animosity can be attributed to a complex set of factors: these are: (1) Muslim invasions in which invaders looted property and built mosques over/near Hindu temples, (2) Muslim separatism as a result of their British encouragement for their own purposes during their imperial rule, (3) the behavior of some Muslims in India after partition, reflects their pro-Pakistan attitude. Such behavior creates a feeling in the majority community that Muslims are not patriotic. The stereotypical image of an Indian Muslim that pervades the Hindu psyche is that of a bigoted, introverted outcast. A Muslim similarly sees a Hindu as a sly, all-powerful opportunist and feels victimized by him and alienated from the mainstream of society, (4) finding a new aggression on the part of Muslim political parties. A place in the country in an effort to. Attempts by some Muslim extremists to get ‘foreign funds’, turn into foreign agents, indulge in a well-designed scheme to subvert the secular ideals of the country and instigate Indian Muslims and solve their problems about to

There are reports, perhaps out of desperation because they have been affected


From the wave of Islamic fundamentalism in West Asia and Pakistan. Politicians have simply taken advantage of the numerical strength of Muslims (especially in Kerala, Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh) to strike barter deals, secure a share of Muslim seats in parliament and legislatures, and amass power and wealth for themselves and their friends. to seek. (6) The government is also responsible for the neglect of the Muslims, large sections of whom feel alienated and consequently fall prey to selfish politicians. The ruling elite only preach religious harmony and have little understanding of the real problems of Muslims. The Hindu leadership deals only with those Muslim leaders who obey them.

Not surprisingly, Indian Muslims see their future as a question of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. When they make their demands known, as any section of society tends to express their grievances, it often erupts into an orgy of Hindu-Muslim violence, leading to accusations of foreign provocation . Should the Muslim problem be seen only as a communal problem? Is it a fact that the Hindu-Muslim issue is no different from the anti-Brahmin agitation in Tamil Nadu, or the inter-caste conflict in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some other states, or the Bengal-Assam problem in Assam, or the Maharashtrian problem in non-Maharashtra? Maharashtrian struggle? In fact the problem is of social and economic interest and rigidity and change in values.

Extremist Hindus say that Muslims are being pampered in the country. The Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in 1992-93 further affected the delicate balance of communal harmony. Disillusioned with the Congress, Muslims developed faith in the Janata Dal (1990), the Samajwadi Party (1995), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the United Front (1996). The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi (May 1991) followed by the break-up of the Janata Dal (November 1990), the Bharatiya Janata Party coming to power in four states (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh) in November 1993. at the Center in 1998, and Janata Dal in Karnataka and Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh in 1994 elections, and Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra in March 1995 elections and break-up of coalition ministry of BJP, SP and BSP in Gujarat and BJP in Uttar Pradesh and BSP, the failure of the SP and BSP to win a majority in the Uttar Pradesh elections in October 1996, and the failure of the Samajwadi Party to support Sonia Gandhi in forming a ministry at the Center after Vajpayee’s defeat in Parliament in April 1999—these All illusions have been created. Muslims today feel more concerned about their safety and security than ever before.



Hindu-Sikh communalism

Sikhs make up less than 2 percent of India’s population. Although widely spread throughout the country and even abroad, their greatest concentration is in Punjab, where they constitute the majority of the state’s population.

The Sikh movement started in Punjab in the early eighties. The number of killings increased and the Sikh protest became organised, militant and increasingly violent. In 1984, when the army launched Operation Blue Star to seize weapons from the Golden Temple in Amritsar and arrest militants, Sikhs reacted violently. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated in October 1984 and thousands of Sikhs were killed and their property looted, burnt or destroyed in Delhi and other states, some Sikh extremists were so incensed that they killed hundreds of Hindus. killed in trains and buses, destroyed their property and forced many Hindus to leave Punjab. In May 1988, when Operation Black Thunder was once again launched by the army to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which remained under their control for about ten days, Sikhs bombed, killed Hindus and looted banks. robbed the Thus relations between Sikhs and Hindus remained strained for almost a decade and a half. However, the extremist Sikh militancy in Punjab has now been suppressed and relations between the people of the two communities have improved significantly since 1993. There is goodwill and respect among them for each other’s religious beliefs and places of worship.



  racial violence

Apart from Hindu-Muslim conflicts and Hindu-Sikh feuds, how do we view relations between different ethnic groups, between Assamese and non-Assamese? In Assam, for nearly 150 years the state’s economic development was fueled by imported labor and enterprise from outside the state. In this period spanning over a century and a half, Assam has been home to generations of so-called ‘outsiders’ who know no home, no land, except the soil of Assam. Some have become really rich, but most remain extremely poor. The Assamese have now raised the question of nationality. All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Parishad (AAG)

The movement (which gave rise to the AGP as a political party) confused ‘outsiders’ with ‘foreigners’ (including Bengali refugees from Bangladesh). Spectacular figures as to the number of foreigners (Bahiragat) illegally hiding in the state ranged from five million to seven million. This issue of freeing Assam from foreigners led the state for six years from 1979 till the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.

Held for ransom for a year. Hate was incited against Bodos, Bengalis, Marwaris and non-Assamese Muslims. This separatist movement was responsible for thousands of innocent deaths. The massacre of 1,383 women and children and some men in Nellie and its surrounding ten villages in Nowgong district was a part of this ethnic violence. The AGSP, which was in power between 1985 and 1990, could not control ethnic tensions.

The ULFA militants launched a movement which became so strong that President’s rule was imposed in the state in November 1990 instead of holding elections in January 1991. The army and security forces launched a cordon and cordon operation; Recovery of rebels and weapons. However, President’s Rule was revoked in June 1991 when the new Congress government assumed power in the state. But the ULFA militants also shocked the new government by kidnapping some government employees, including some top officials of ONGC, from different parts of the state on its very first day in office. Even the May 1996 elections could not stop the Bodo vendetta. The extremists have not yet realized that Assam is like all other states of India, and it belongs to all legitimate citizens of India, whatever language they speak, whatever religion they follow and whatever rituals and customs they follow. Let’s do rituals. The Bodos—a tribe that comprised about 49 percent of Assam’s population in 1947 and about 29 percent in 1991 and that ruled Assam until about 1825—are now demanding autonomy. Although an accord was signed by the Assam government and the Bodo leadership represented by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and the Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC) in February 1993, the issue still remains unresolved. Bodo leaders and the state government failed to reach an agreement on the boundary issue and transfer about 3,000 villages to the Bodoland Autonomous Council. The Bodos also do not want the Assamese language to be imposed on the indigenous tribals. The Bodo movement took place in fits and starts in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, however, it has now gathered momentum. The Bodos now demand a Union Territory named ‘Udayachal’. Violent activities such as bomb blasts and blowing up of roads and railway bridges by Bodo militants point to the need for strong action by the government to curb insurgent activities, both domestic and ‘foreign’ and aiding and abetting insurgent activities.

communal violence

In communal violence, people belonging to two different religious communities are mobilized against each other and there are feelings of enmity, emotional anger, exploitation, social discrimination and social marginalization. A high degree of cohesion builds around tension and polarization in one community against another. The targets of attack are members of the ‘enemy’ community. Generally, there is no leadership in communal riots which can effectively control and control the riot situation. Thus it can be said that communal violence is mainly based on hatred, enmity and revenge.

Ever since the communalization of politics, communal violence has increased both quantitatively and qualitatively. Gandhi was the first victim after several people were killed in the 1970s and 1980s. Following the destruction of the Babri structure in Ayodhya in December 1992 and the bomb blasts in Bombay in early 1993, communal riots escalated in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. While some political parties tolerate ethno-religious communalism, some others even encourage it. Recent examples of this tolerance, indifference and passive acceptance or tacit acceptance of activities or religious organizations by some political leaders and some political parties are found in attacks on Christian missionaries and violent activities against Christians in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad. , The Emergency in the mid-1970s started a trend of criminal elements entering mainstream politics. This phenomenon has now penetrated Indian politics to such an extent that religious fanaticism, casteism and the mixing of religion and politics have increased in different dimensions. Instead of taking a collective stand against these negative impulses affecting our society, political parties and political leaders adopt a ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards each other.

Hindu organizations have accused Muslims and Christians of forcibly converting Hindus. without getting involved in the controversy of conversion or religion

If the conversion was forced or voluntary, the same can be said that raising the issue today is clearly irrational bigotry. Hinduism has been tolerant and talks of the whole of humanity as one family. Therefore, it has to be acknowledged that Indian political leaders and political parties ignore the principles of Hindutva for political and electoral considerations and condemn and act on religious organizations that disturb peace and stability through statements and Threatens the unity and pluralistic identity of India.



  Features of communal riots

An examination of the major communal riots in the country in the last five decades revealed that: (1) Communal riots are more politically motivated than religious. Even the Madan Commission, which inquired into the communal disturbances in Maharashtra in May 1970, emphasized that “the architects and makers of communal tension are the communal

There are certain class of qatarists and politicians – they are out to seize every opportunity to consolidate their power as all India and local leaders.” By giving communal color to each and every incident and thereby violating the rights of their religion and their community. They enhance their prestige and enrich their public image by projecting themselves in the eyes of the people as saviors.(2) Apart from political interests, economic interests also play a strong role in inciting communal clashes.(3) ) Communal riots seem to be more common in North India than in South and East India. (4) A town which has had communal riots once or twice is more likely to have a recurrence of communal riots as compared to that town. where riots have never happened. (5) Most of the communal riots take place on the occasion of religious festivals. (6) The use of deadly weapons in riots is on the rise

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