Q. 234.2( 5 Votes )

Mention any three

Answer :

In the Western economies, communalism is expressed as the form of government in which the autonomous local communities are loosely in the federation. But with reference to India, communalism refers to the tensions, struggles and clashes between the different political and religious groups in different regions. It includes the clashes between the different religious groups and the various castes and communities within the same religion.

Communalism can be expressed in different forms. The major forms in which it is expressed in political situations are:

Everyday beliefs: The most common means of expressing communalism is in everyday beliefs. These comprise of involving religious prejudices, biases, preconceptions, stereotypes of religious communities and the belief in the superiority of one’s religion over other religions. Since this is very common, there will be always a failure in noticing and understanding it.

Political dominance: Communalism can often lead to a pursuit for political dominance of one’s own religious community. For those belonging to the majority community, it can take the form of majoritarian dominance by them. For those belonging to the minority community, it can take the form of a desire to form a separate political unit to express their rights and requirements.

Political mobilisation: Political mobilisation and organisation on religious lines is another important form of communalism. This involves the use of sacred symbols, religious leaders, emotional appeal, entreaty and plain fear to bring the followers of any particular religion together in the political scenario. This often involves making special appeals and requests to the interests or emotions of voters of any particular religion in preference to others.

Communal violence: This is the most disastrous form of expressing communalism. The conflicts and difference of opinions among different religious groups can result in communal violence, riots and massacre. This will endanger the life and property of all the people involved in the issue and can cause mass destruction.

The seed of communalism was planted in the country with the Partition of Bengal in religious terms in 1905. This was followed by serious communal violence in different parts of the country. Both India and Pakistan witnessed worst communal riots after independence at the time of the partition. Still, communalism continues to be one of the major challenges to the democratic functioning of our country. Thus many principles were included in the constitution to meet the challenge. Some of them are:

Secularity: India is a secular state. There is no official religion for the Indian state. The Constitution does not recognise any religion as the official religion of the country. Also, there is no special status for any religion. Every religion is treated as equal. Unlike the official status given to Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Islam in Pakistan and Christianity in England, our Constitution does not give special status to any religion.

Profess, practice and propagate the religion of their choice: The Constitution provides to all individuals and communities freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion of their choice. No individual is bounded by any particular religion. The community is also given freedom not to be part of any religion and remain as an atheist. No one is bounded by any religion.

Prohibits discrimination: The Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion. No individual or community is to be discriminated on the basis of their religion, caste or region in which they belong to. Every individual is given equal access to all the resources, even though the constitution may protect the interests of the minority communities.

Interference by the state: The Constitution gives rights to the state to intervene in the matters of religion in order to ensure equality within religious communities. The constitution can interfere in religious practices if it endangers the livelihood of certain communities or groups. It can legally abolish practices that are considered as violating the rights of individuals.

Even though the constitution protects individuals from such religious misconducts, communal violence is still an unresolved aspect of our country. Thus the political parties, leaders and most importantly the general public is to take steps for the regulation and prevention of such crimes.

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