Que. 1. ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation. Argue by giving suitable illustrations. (UPSC - 2018) [150 Words]
Ans.: Communalism in the Indian context refers to the ideology which states that society is divided into different religious communities whose interests differ from, and at times oppose, each other. Historically, Indian society has been regarded as a melting pot of various religions that have been tolerant of each other. However, the British policy of divide and rule laid the foundations of communalism which the Indian state has found hard to tackle post-independence.
Communalism indeed arises due to power struggle and relative deprivation
Power struggle between political parties leading to vote bank politics with each trying to garner votes based on identity markers such as religion. Eg. Congress and BJP both trying to appease Muslims and in turn strengthening the Hindu Muslim divide. Between majority and minority groups. Eg. Sikhs and Hindus.
- Deprivation makes groups to fight for limited resources. For example : Case with Assamese and Non-Assamese.
- Deprivation of the native groups led to movements throughout the state.
- Deprivation makes it easier to influence a group. Rather than self-introspect they blame others for their condition. It causes them to support anyone who can help them marginally move above their misery.
- Vice President Ansari had pointed out the relative deprivation among Muslims to be the biggest causes of communal tension.
There is a need to initiate the process of de-communalization of the people at all levels, say, by exposing communal assumptions, by explaining to them the socio-economic and political roots of communalism, and by letting them know that what the communalists project as problems are not the real problem and what they suggest as remedies are not the real remedies.
Que. 2. What are the causes of communalism in post independent India? Suggest effective measures to combat communalism. [200 Words]
Ans.: Communalism, in a broad sense means a strong attachment to one’s own community. In popular discourse in India, it is understood as unhealthy attachment to one’s own religion. It’s an ideology that, in order to unify the community, suppresses distinctions within the community and emphasizes the essential unity of the community against other communities. In this way it promotes belief in orthodox tenets and principles, intolerance and hatred of other religions and thus, divides the society.
Causes of Communalism in Post Independent India:
- Divisive Politics – Communalism is often defined as a political doctrine that makes use of religious and cultural differences in achieving political gains.
- Economic Causes – Uneven development, class divisions, poverty and unemployment aggravates insecurity in the common men which make them vulnerable to political manipulation.
- History of Communal Riots – Probability of recurrence of communal riots in a town where communal riots have already taken place once or twice is stronger than in a town when such riots have never occurred. All this leads to rise in Communalism
- Politics of Appeasement – Prompted by political considerations, and guided by their vested interests, political parties take decisions which promote communal violence and thus Communalism
- Isolation and Economic Backwardness of Muslim Community – The failure to adopt the scientific and technological education and thus, insufficient representation in the public service, industry and trade etc has led to the feeling of relative deprivation among Muslims.
- The resurgence of Hindu-Muslim economic competition, especially among the lower and middle class strata has fueled the communal ideology.
- Administrative Failure – A weak law and order is one of the causes of communal violence.
- Psychological Factors – The lack of inter-personal trust and mutual understanding between two communities often result in perception of threat, harassment, fear and danger in one community against the members of the other community , which in turn leads to fight, hatred and anger phobia.
- Role of Media – It is often accused of sensationalism and disseminates rumours as "news" which sometimes resulted into further tension and riots between two rival religious groups.
- Social media has also emerged as a powerful medium to spread messages relating to communal tension or riot in any part of the country.
Long-Term Remedy for Communalism
- Communalism of state and of the political elite in power has to be checked because it leads to inaction against communal violence and covert or overt political and ideological support to communalism by the state apparatuses, including the media under state control.
- Communalization of civil society also needs to be checked because it leads to more communal roots and other forms of communal violence. It is here that intellectuals, political parties, and voluntary organizations can be the most effective.
- The role of education, particularly value-oriented education, both in schools and colleges is important in preventing communal feelings.
- The media can prove to be significant in preventing communal feelings. Communal press can be banned and legal action can be taken against communal writers.
The ideology that economic development, industrialization, the growth of capitalism and the growth of the working class would automatically weaken and ultimately eliminate communalism should not be overplayed.