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  • W.B.C.S. Examination Notes On – Communalism – Political Science Notes.

    Communalism, is referred in the western world as a “theory or system of government in which virtually autonomous local communities are loosely in federation”. Communalism is a political philosophy, which proposes that market and money be abolished and that land and enterprises to be placed in the custody of community.Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Examination Notes On – Communalism – Political Science Notes.

    But in the Indian sub-continent context, communalism has come to be associated  with tensions and clashes between different religious communities in various regions.

    Development of communalism as political philosophy, has roots in the ethnic and cultural diversity of Africa. It is characterized as, People from different ethnic groups or community, who do not interact much or at all and this has somewhere acted as hindrance in the economic growth and prosperity of Africa.

    Communalism in South Asia is used to denote the differences between the various religious groups and difference among the people of different community. And generally it is used to catalyse communal violence between those groups.

    Communalism is not unique only to South Asia, but is also found in Africa, America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. But, it is significant socio-economic and political issue in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc.

    What is Communalism

    It is basically an ideology which consists of three elements:-

    • A belief that people who follow the same religion have common secular interests i.e. they have same political, economic and social interests. So, here socio- political communalities arises.
    • A notion that, in a multi-religious society like India, these common secular interests of one religion are dissimilar and divergent from the interests of the follower of another religion.
    • The interests of the follower of the different religion or of different ‘communities’ are seen to be completely incompatible, antagonist and hostile.

    Communalism is political trade in religion. It is an ideology on which communal politics is based. And communal violence are conjectural consequences of communal ideology.

    Evolution of communalism in Indian society

    If we discuss about Indian society, we will find that, ancient India was united and no such communal feelings were there. People lived peacefully together, there was acceptance for each other’s culture and tradition. For example, Ashoka followed religious tolerance and focussed mainly on Dhamma.

    In Medieval period, we have examples such as- Akbar, who was epitome of secular practises and believed in propagating such values by abolishing Jajhiya tax and starting of Din-I- ilahi and Ibadat Khana. Same acceptance for different cultures and tradition was practised in several kingdoms throughout India, because of which there was peace and harmony, barring few sectarian rulers like Aurangzeb, who was least tolerant for other religious practises. But, such motives were guided purely for their personal greed of power and wealth.

    Such rulers and actions by them like- imposing taxes on religious practises of other community, destructing temples, forced conversions, killing of Sikh guru, etc. were instrumental in deepening and establishing the feeling of communal differences in India. But, these incidents were not common as, huge majority of Indians were rural and were aloof from such influences and so people coexisted peacefully. Though, they were very rigid in practising their own rituals and practise, but it never became barrier in the peaceful coexistence. Overall, the Hindus and Muslims in those days, had common economic and political interests.

    Communalism in India is result of the emergence of modern politics, which has its roots in partition of Bengal in 1905 and feature of separate electorate under Government of India Act, 1909.Later, British government also appeased various communities through Communal award in 1932, which faced strong resistance from Gandhi ji and others. All these acts were done by the British government to appease Muslims and other communities, for their own political needs. This feeling of communalism has deepened since then, fragmenting the Indian society and being a cause of unrest.

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