- Introduction – concept of communalism.
- Brief account of religious composition & communalism in India.
- Here, briefly state the kind of minorities in India.
- Mention some highlighted instances of communal flares endangering minorities.
- Conclusion – consequences.
Communalism is an ideology which states that society is divided into religious communities whose interest differ and are, at times, even opposed to each other. In western world communalism is referred as the theory or system of government in which virtually autonomous local communities are loosely in federation. Simply, the antagonism practiced by the people of one community against the other community and religion can be termed as communalism.
Communalism in India: Indian society is pluralistic from religious point of view as it consists of various religions like Hindus, Muslims, Sikh etc, and have diverse culture followed by different religious groups. In India, Hindus constitute the largest population i.e. majority and Muslims constitute the largest minority in India. India is composed of many religious groups such as – Hindus (82.41%), Muslims (12.12%), Sikhs (1.94%), Buddhist (0.69%), and so on.
The adjustment between Hindus and Muslims has been a failure several times and this has resulted in violent communal riots. The rising trend of communalism and the accompanying violence have created feeling of insecurity among religious minorities and ethnic groups. Minority population fear discrimination and confrontation but the nation cannot afford to let minority population to fall victim to panic, suspicion and insecurity.
Who are minorities in India ?:
- Linguistic Minority Community: Those, whose first language is different from the language of majority people living in that state. For example, Malayalam speaking people living in Gujarat and Guajarati speaking people living in Maharashtra, these are linguistic minorities as these have different language from the people living in that particular state. These type of minority communities gets special benefits, especially in educational fields.
- Religious Minority Community: The followers of all religion except Hinduism are included in religious minorities on state and national level. The apex body of central government included Muslims, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists as religious communities as notified under section 2(c) of The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.They can establish their own private institutions and can reserve 50% of seats for their own community members and can appoint 100% staff from their own community.
Major instances of Communal violence in India : Communal violence involves people belonging to two different religious communities mobilized against each other and carrying the feelings of hostility, emotional fury, exploitation, social discrimination and social neglect.
- Partition of India, 1947– this led to the creation of new country i.e. Pakistan. During this masses of both religions were killed, women were raped and children lost their families. Hatred led to violence and ultimately bloodshed all over in both the countries.
- Anti-Sikh riots, 1984 – It all started with Operation Blue Star where Indian Military was ordered to establish control over Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar. This increased tension which was followed by action led to assault members of Sikh community.
- Kashmiri Hindu Pundits, 1989– This was an event that occurred where pundit family residing in Kashmir were forced to flee from the valley due to outbreak of Extremist Islamic Terrorism, which led to mass killing.
- Babri Masjid Demolition in Ayodhya, 1992– This all started when Mir Baqi built a mosque after Mughal ruler Babur in Ayodhaya, the birth place of lord Rama and sacred place for Hindu religion. Since then it is a disputed matter which created an atmosphere of protest by Hindu religious groups, supporting demolishing Babri masjid and building Ram temple.
- Muzaffarnagar violence, 2013– This riot has been described as the worst violence in Uttar Pradesh in recent history. In this case the cause of this rioting alternate between a traffic accident and an eve teasing incident, that took religious overtone. In the second version a girl from Hindu Jat community was harassed by a Muslim youth. Then religious sentiments were brought into the picture and this led to a situation of grave communal riots in which curfew was imposed in the violence prone area, around 1000 army troops were deployed.
Consequences of communalism are many. There is killing of human beings on large scale, poor people are the real sufferer, as they lose their homes, their jobs and does not even have the money to maintain themselves. Even children lose their homes and family. It also affects the minorities by creating suspicion.
Even apart from the effects that the society have, it also poses a threat to the Indian constitution as it provides for Secularism and religious tolerance. But due to communalism there is a threat to unity and integrity of the nation and only promotes hatred among the communities and divide the nation on communal lines. These things are set back for the society and hinders the development of the nation. The place where such violence occurs leave a great impact on the minds of the people, which requires a lot of time to overcome the trauma.