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Communalism is basically an ideology which evolved through three broad stages in India:

Communal Nationalism:

  • The notion that since a group or a section of people belong to a particular religious community.
  • Their secular interests are the same, i.e., even those matters which have got nothing to do with religion affect all of them equally.

Liberal Communalism:

  • The notion that since two religious communities have different religious interests, they have different interests in the secular sphere also (i.e., in economic, political and cultural spheres).

Extreme Communalism:

  • The notion that not only different religious communities have different interests, but these interests are also incompatible i.e., two communities cannot co-exist because the interests of one community come into conflict with those of the other.

There was nothing unique about Indian communalism.

  • It was the result of the conditions which have, in other societies, produced similar phenomena and ideologies such as Fascism, anti-Semitism, racism, the Catholic-Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland and the Christian- Muslim conflict in Lebanon.
  • Bypassing basic economic interests, the communalists claim to protect interests which do not exist.
  • Communalism is a modern phenomenon- rooted in modern social, economic and political colonial structure- that emerged out of modern politics based on mass mobilization and popular participation.
  • Its social roots lay in the rising middle classes who propagated imaginary communal interests to further their own economic interests- communalism was a bourgeois question par excellence.
  • Communalists were backed in their communal campaign by the colonial administration. Communalism was the channel through which colonialists expanded their social base.
  • Communalists and colonialists were helped in their sinister motives by the fact that often socio-economic distinctions in Indian society coincided with religious distinctions.
  • The inherent class contradictions were given a post-facto communal coloring by the vested interests. Conservative social reactionary elements gave full support to communalism.
  • Religiosity itself did not amount to communalism but in a country where lack of education and low awareness of the outside world was a sad reality, religion had the potential of becoming, and was used as, a vehicle of communalism.                                        CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF INDIAN COMMUNALISM


Modern History

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