Various Facets of Communalism:
Communalism was practiced by the British as a deliberate strategy of their Divide and Rule policy. They promoted the socio-cultural variations among the different communities in India. That ultimately culminated in the political divisions among various religious communities.
Jawaharlal Nehru said, “The greatest danger to India is from communalism, and not from external aggression. When there is external aggression, Indians unite, but communalism divides people. Communalism is the most deadly enemy of India.”
Communalism is also defined as, “It is the political assertiveness of a community to maintain its identity in a plural society undergoing modernization.”
The Primary Reasons That Lead To Communalism:
- It is considered that the economic backwardness amongst the minorities, particularly Muslims, is one of the major reasons. They feel that other communities have been prospering at their cost.
- The existence of communal parties, since the pre-independence days like the Hindu Mahasabha, the Bajrang Dal, the Muslim League, the Akali Dal etc
- The appeasement policies of the Congress like offering internal reservation etc.
- The electoral compulsions like the BJP Shiv Sena merge in Maharashtra and their recurring team of Hindutva, which they exploited to the hilt in the Ram-Janma Bhoomi, Babari Masjid issue.
- The communal media, literature, and texts wherein the textbooks written by various scholars
- Political opportunism, where even secular parties align with communal parties for political reasons, Say for an example, the Congress alignment with the Akali Dal etc
The Various Consequences of Communalism:
- It often results in loss of properties and lives
- People of same community tend to congregate in one place, and they avoid mingling with other communities. Hence, there is ghettoisation.
- Bad blood or bitterness is seen among various communities.
- There is societal division, among various religious groups.
- It leads to subversive of the secularism and democracy of India.
- Due to ghettoisation, there are disturbances in various government-programs which are for the sectors of education, health, demography, housing etc.
- Few opportunist political parties misuse it to garner their vote-banks.
Effective Initiatives to Control Communalism:
The primary reasons that lead to communalism are clear. Hence, few effective initiatives to control those can help in dealing with communalism.
- Organizing regular Mohalla Meetings can enhance the tolerance of different communities among each other. That can help in overcoming bitterness, bad blood, and hatred among each other.
- Creating public awareness is important, and not only the government officials, but even the civil society organizations need to take the responsibility.
- The administration needs to be apolitical and take swift action that can prevent communalism and its practice.
- One of the most effective approaches can be by educating and economically empowering the minorities.
- Legislative measures are equally important, like enacting the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill that has been tabled recently.
- Banning communal organizations is also required.
- Election Commission needs to play active role in monitoring and censoring speeches and other communal activities during elections.
- The communal orientations by various “scholars”, which are depicted in various textbooks needs to be removed
- Media needs to abstain from reporting communal issues
Examples / Incidents of Communalism in India:
There have always been numerous incidents in India, which have clearly depicted the dark-face of communalism. Here are a few contemporary examples of those.
- Recently, in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, there was a huge communal clash between the Hindus and the Muslims. It was reported that the incident was inflamed by the Hindu Chauvinism. This was brought about by one of the major “right-doing” political parties.
- The Muzzafarnagar episode, which is still ongoing in UP, is nothing but an outcome of misunderstanding and misperception between the two leading religious communities.
- Time and again, there occur such incidents in the Mangalore region of Karnataka. Organizations like Sri Rama Sene, the self-proclaimed keepers of the Indian culture, often attack Muslim students, who befriend Hindu females. Besides, these “moral policing” organizations misuse the sentiments of people with their deliberate communal strategies. Like for example, they rake-up the issue of transport of cows as being anti-Hindu or hurting Hindu sentiments.