India is a unique nation in itself. Since the time of the Harappan Civilization, people of different religions and races came over here, and the great soil of India sleltered them all. The bounteous Indian culture adopted all their customs and festivals to and soon they incorporated here. Thus India used to nourish all kinds of religions and races from the beginning of culture and civilization. Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Christians and many different religious communities resides in India, having businesses with each other. Everything is so simple and satisfactory untill here. But now a problem named “Communalism” occurs and ruined their easy going life. So, now a question comes before us that what is Communalism ? Who gave it birth, and What for ?
Communalism is originated from a French word “Commune”, which stands for a kind of independent state, and the national government a confederation of such states, having only limited powers. In fact, Communalism describes a broad range of social movements and social theories, which are in some way centered upon the community. It can take the form of communal living or communal property, among others. It is sometimes said to put the interests of the community above the interests of the individual, but this is usually only done on the principle that the community exists for the benefit of the individuals who participate in it. Very often, Communalism is associated with Anarchism, Socialism, and Communism, particularly with Primitive or Religious Communism. It is a practice of communal living and common ownership i.e. loyalty and commitment to the interests of one’s own minority or ethnic group rather than to society as a whole. Communalism, in many parts of the world, is a modern term that describes a broad range of social movements and social theories which are in some way centered upon the community. But in South Asia, it is used to denote attempts to promote primarily religious stereotypes between groups of people identified as different communities and to stimulate violence between those groups.
In modern India, the term Communalism is related to the violent activities of religious extremists. Now it designates the conflicts not only between extremist religious communities and the people of the same religion, but also between the people of different religions, regions and states. There are historical evidences of the riots, caused by Communalism. Hindu-Muslim ‘Lat Bhairo’ riots 1809-1811, ‘Hep Hep’ riots 1819, Hindu-Muslim ‘Banaras’ and ‘Kanpur’ riots 1931, ‘Manzilgah’ and ‘Sukkur’ riots 1940, ‘Kolkata’ Hindu-Muslim riots 1946, Hindu,Sikhs-Muslim riots 1947 ( During the partition of India and Pakistan ), Sikh riots 1984, Mumbai riots 1992, ‘Wandhama’ massacre 1998 ( 25 Hindu victims ), Chittisinghpura massacre 2000, Gujarat Hindu-Muslim riots 2002, ‘Kuluchak’ and ‘Marad’ massacres 2002, Kherlangi massacre 2006, Indore Hindu-Muslim riots 2008, are some of the fatal examples of Communalism.
Communalism is a potential threat to the sovereignty, democracy, integrity, and in short the very existence of India. Communalism is a modern day phenomenon – a sectarian, restrictive, and negative response to the process of modern nation building. As Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru wrote, “One must never forget that communalism is a later day phenomenon which has grown up before our eyes.” In a multi-religious society like India the secular interests such as social, cultural, economic and political of one religion are dissimilar with the followers of other religions, and communalism raises its head when the interest of different religions are seen as mutually incompatible, hostile and antagonistic.
It is said that the the foundation of communalism in India was laid by the British think tank, during the British rule over India. Communalism flourished in India and reached monstrous proportions in 1947 under British rule. But British did not create communalism. It only took advantage of socio-economic and cultural differences and amplified those differences to serve their political ends. Hence the British policy of ‘divide and rule’ was planted on an earth made very fertile by those existing differences. Post 1857, British shifted to a policy of ‘concession, counterpoise and coercion’ to accommodate new rising class, to counterbalance strong class and to browbeat recalcitrant class. some of the certain innocuous political trends, though not communal in themselves, obliquely led to its growth. Some tactful reasons as the derision for Congress as Hindu body and fear of majority gobbling up the minority led to the growth of communalism. And the foundation of the communal organizations like All India Muslim League (1906) and Hindu Mahasabha (1915) provided the gory feast of hatred and mistrust from which communal forces drew their sustenance and balancing justification for each other.
And now after India’s independence communal forces are so deeply indexed in our beliefs, that is is hard to recognize them. This particular manifestation of the contradictions set in motion after independence, lays the objective basis on which the present concerted offensive by the communal forces has been mounted. The discontent amongst the Indian people, as a result of the crisis of the system, accumulated over the years, is growing. Discontent is affecting also the expanded and vocal middle class, drawn more from the former exploiting classes rather than from the upward mobility of the exploited classes. The domination of the consciousness of the exploiter classes combined with discontent provides fertile soil for the growth of communal ideology. Exploiting this discontent and on the basis of the perpetuation of backward consciousness, the communal forces are able today to divert this discontent into communal channels in pursuit of their political objective. the communal forces have adopted a two pronged strategy. On the one hand, they seek to generate a sort of a monolithic unity amongst the vast diversity within the community of Indians embracing Hindu religion, and, on the other, they generate hate against enemies outside of the Hindu faith, i.e. the Muslims and the Christians. The entire propaganda mechanism based on fascist techniques unleashed by them is to achieve this dual strategy.
As if we talk about the solution of this monsterous problem of communalism in India, we found no easy solution to it. For we have to put a redical change in mentality, and to respect all other religions. We have to try to create a faith in all minor religious communities, that their feelings, faiths, ways, and places of worship would not be tolerated anyway. Respect of their thoughts and customs would arouse it into them. Political parties should keep themselves away from the communal issues, or the issues that enthreat the communalism. This is the only easy way, we can keep our unity and integrity safe and secure.