Read this essay on the various problems of Communalism in India !
Indian society is pluralistic from religious point of view. Here, we have the followers of all the great religious systems. Hindus constitute the bulk of the population and they inhabit in all parts of the country. Muslims constitute the largest religious minority. But the adjustment between the Hindus and Muslims has been a failure several times, resulting in violent communal riots.
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In the communal riots during the period of independence millions of people were rendered homeless while millions of others lost their property. Communalism was responsible for the division of the country into India and Pakistan. The partition was expected to resolve the riddle, but it failed. There is, yet, to develop the neighborhood living pattern between Hindus and Muslims.
Meaning of Communalism:
Communalism, as we understand it in our country is blind loyalty to one’s own religious group. It is described as a tool to mobilize people for or against by raising an appeal on communal lines. Communalism is associated with religious fundamentalism and dogmatism.
Abdul Ahmed says, “Communalism is a social phenomenon characterized by the religion of two communities, often leading to acrimony, tension and even rioting between them”. Prabha Dixit writes, “Communalism is a political doctrine which makes use of religious and cultural differences to achieve political ends.
According to Asqhar Ali Engineer, Moin Shakir and Abdul Ahmed, “it is an instrument in the hands of to upper Cass to concentrate power by dividing people”. The elites strive to maintain a status quo against transformation by dividing people on communal and religious lines. Communalism may be perceived as a total commitment to a set of beliefs and it, s far from rationality.
Characteristics of Communalism:
(i) Communalism is an ideological concept,
(ii) It is a complex process,
(iii) It has a broader base which encompasses social, economic and political aspects for its manifestation.
(iv) It causes rivalry, violence and tension among masses,
(v) It is used by the higher class people and elites as an instrument for division and exploitation of the communal identities of the poorer sections of their co-religionists.
(vi) Communalism is simply engineered by opportunistic political and economic interest of contending groups and factions within a political party or by political parties.
(vii) It strikes at the roots of democracy, secularism and national integration.
(viii) Its effects are disastrous.
Causes of Communalism:
There are a number of causes which are responsible for the prevalence of communalism. Some of two important causes of communalism are discussed below.
1. Tendency of the Minorities:
The Muslims fail to be intermingled in the national mainstream. Most of them do not participate in the secular nationalistic politics and insist on maintaining tor separate identity the elite among the Muslims have failed to generate the appropriate national ethos.
2. Orthodoxy and Obscurantism:
The orthodox members of minorities feel that they have a distinct entity with their own cultural pattern, personal laws and thought. There are strong elements of conservatism and fundamentalism among the Muslims. Such feeling has prevented them from accepting the concept of secularism and religious tolerance.
3. Design of the Leaders:
Communalism has flourished in India because the communalist leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities desire to flourish it in the interest of their communities. The demand for separate electorate and the organization of Muslim league were the practical manifestations of this line of thought. The British rule which produced the divide and rule policy, separate electorate on the basis of religion strengthened the basis of communalism in India Ultimately the partition of the country into India and Pakistan provided further an antagonistic feeling towards each other.
4. Weak Economic Status:
A majority of Muslims in India has failed to adopt the scientific and technological education. Due to their educational backwardness, they have not been represented sufficiently in the public service, industry and trade etc. This causes the feeling of relative deprivation and such feelings contain the seeds of communalism.
5. Geographical Causes:
The territorial settlement of different religious groups especially Hindus Muslims and Christians causes in them wide variation in the mode of life, social standards and belief system. Most of these patterns are contradictory and this may cause communal tension.
6. Historical Causes:
The Muslims, all over the subcontinent, are converts from Hinduism, which was facilitated due to the caste-hate relations and under the compulsions of Muslim rulers. The problems of social segregation, illiteracy and poverty that had set apart the low caste people remain unresolved for them, as the foreign elite that rubbed never shared power with them. Their work ended with the conversion of the Indians and the converts began by imitating the masters in thought, speech and dress. It caused their alienation. Gradually, elements of communalism entered in the Muslim community. The separatist elements in the Muslim community, from the very start of the national resurgence had discouraged others of their community, from associating themselves with it. As a result Muslim league was formed which demanded partition of the country.
7. Social Causes:
Cultural similarity is a powerful factor in fostering amicable relations between any two social groups. But the social institutions, customs and practices of Hindus and Muslims are so divergent that they think themselves to be two distinct communities.
8. Psychological Causes:
Psychological factors play an important role in the development of communalism. The Hindus think that the Muslims are fanatics and fundamentalists. They also believe that Muslims are unpatriotic. On the contrary, the Muslims feel that they are being treated as second rate citizens in India and their religious beliefs and practices are inferior. These feelings lead to communal ill-feeing.
9. Provocation of Enemy Countries:
Some foreign countries try to destabilize our country by setting one community against the other through their agents. Pakistan has played a role in fostering communal feeling among the Muslims of our country. Pakistan has been encouraging and promoting communal riots by instigating the militant sections of Indian Muslim community. Kashmir youths are trained by Pakistan to destabilize India’s internal security by spreading communal venom.
10. Negative Impact of Mass Media:
The messages relating to communal tension or riot in any part of the country spread through the mass media. This results in further tension and riots between two rival religious groups.
Suggestions for the Eradication of Communalism:
The following measures may be taken for the eradication of communalism.
1. Abolition of Communal Parties:
All the political parties which thrive on religious loyalties should be banned or abolished by the government. Even non-political cultural organizations should always be kept under constant vigil so that they cannot preach communalism.
2. Transmission of the Past Heritage:
Feelings of nationalism should be inculcated in the minds of people by reminding them about the glorious moments of history in Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were combined to safeguard the interest of the country.
3. Public Opinion:
Efforts should be made through mass media for changing the attitude of people towards other communities. People must be aware of the evils of the communalism.
4. Inter-religious Marriage:
Youth organizations and other types of associations should be formed in every locality to give opportunity to people of different communities to come closer and know each other. This may help them to practice inter-religious marriages which will lessen the social distance among the members of different religious groups.
Both the Government and people should make efforts for eradication of communal tension and conflict.
India is a land of diverse religions. It has set an example of unity in diversity as people of different castes and religions live in harmony in the country. However, this harmony is disturbed many a times by different religious groups and communities.
India is a multi-religious and multi-lingual land. People belonging to different religions live here in harmony. Different festivals, be it Holi, Diwali, Eid or Christmas, are celebrated with equal zeal. However, communal harmony is disrupted at times due to differences between certain religious groups. Here are essays of varying lengths on communal harmony to help you with the topic.
Essay on Communal Harmony
Communal Harmony Essay 1 (200 words)
India is a secular state. The Constitution of our country gives its citizens the freedom to practise any religion of their choice. They also have the liberty to change their religion, if they wish. The state does not have any official religion. Every religion is treated and respected equally in India and this goes a long way in maintaining the communal harmony in the country.
However, even as the Constitution of India enforces laws to maintain communal harmony and the government of the country takes strong measures to ensure the same. There have been several instances in the past that have disrupted the peace in the name of religion.
Parsee-Muslim riots 1851, Bharuch riots 1857, Parsee-Muslim riots 1874, Salem riots of 1882, Mappila riots 1921, Nagpur riots 1927, Ranchi-Hatia riots 1967, Gujarat riots 1969, Moradabad riots 1980, Bhiwandi riots 1984, anti-Sikh riots 1984, Bhagalpur riots 1989, Hyderabad riots 1990, Anti-Tamil violence of Karnataka 1991, Bombay riots 1992-93, Anti-Urdu riots 1994, Gujarat riots 2002, Vadodara riots 2006, Canning riots 2013 and Muzaffarnagar riots 2013 are some of the instances of communal riots that caused mass destruction in the country and created major panic among the citizens.
It is essential for every individual to understand the importance of communal harmony and contribute towards maintaining the same so that such instances are not repeated in future.
Communal Harmony Essay 2 (300 words)
Communal Harmony is necessary for every nation. Only if there is peace and harmony in the country can it grow. India is known to maintain communal harmony even as people of different religions and castes reside here. It is known for its secular ways. The state does not follow any official religion. It gives its citizens the freedom to choose their religion and change it at any time. Strict action is taken against individuals or groups who try to tamper with the communal harmony of the country.
Disruption of Communal Harmony
Communal Harmony has been disrupted several times in our country. Riots between different religious groups have been common. Mentioned below are some of the instances of communal harmony:
These protests were done against by Muslims against a Parsee-owned publication Chitra Dynan Darpan.
These riots broke out because of the publishing of Prophet Mohammed in Famous Prophets and Communities by Rustomji Hormusji Jalbhoy.
These riots supposedly occurred as the Hindus showed resentment against the construction of a mosque on the path of a Hindu religious procession.
- 1989 Meerut Communal Riots
These Hindu-Muslim riots continued for 3 months and approximately 350 people were killed during these.
These riots took place between the Bengali Muslims and Bengali Hindus in West Bengal in February 2013.
Apart from these, the 1927 Nagpur Riots, 1967 Ranchi-Hatia Riots, 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, 1989 Meerut Communal Riots, 1990 Hyderabad Riots, 1992 Bombay Riots, 2002 Gujarat Riots and 2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots also disrupted communal harmony majorly.
The Constitution of the country has enforced laws to ensure communal harmony in the country and the government is taking all the necessary measures to ensure the same. Unfortunately, there have still been several instances that have hampered the communal harmony in the country.
Communal Harmony Essay 3 (400 words)
India is one of the biggest examples of unity in diversity. People belonging to different religions do not only live here in complete harmony but also rejoice each other’s company. Different festivals are celebrated here with equal enthusiasm and people from different castes, backgrounds and religions work in perfect harmony with each other in offices and elsewhere.
Laws to Maintain Communal Harmony
India is a secular state. The Constitution of the country gives each of its citizens the right to choose his/ her religion and change it at any time. Strict action is taken against any individual, group or community who tries to tamper with this constitutional law.
Communal Harmony Disrupted by Groups
Even though there are laws to protect the peace of the nation, however, communal harmony has still been disrupted many times in the country. Here are some such instances:
- Mappila Riots
These were a series of riots carried out by the Mappila Muslims of Malabar, South India between 1836 and 1921 against the native Hindus in the state.
- Salem Riots 1882
This caused serious Hindu-Muslim disturbances in Salem, Tamil Nadu. It is believed that these riots occurred as the Hindus objected to the construction of a mosque on the path of a Hindu religious procession.
- 1927 Nagpur Riots
These were a series of riots that took place in different cities during 1920s between the Hindu and Muslim groups.
- 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots
It is said that these riots were carried out to avenge the death of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was shot at by her Sikh bodyguards.
- 1989 Meerut Communal Riots
These were a series of violent riots between Hindus and Muslims. The riots that took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut continued for around 3 months from March to June 1987. Around 350 people were killed during these riots.
- 1990 Hyderabad Riots
These riots occurred in Hyderabad in the year 1990 and resulted in the killing of around 200-300 innocent people. It also left thousands of people injured.
- 2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots
The riots took place between Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district. The clashes continued for almost 2 months and resulted in taking lives of around 60 people.
It is essential to ensure communal harmony among people. Communal violence disturbs the normal life of the people of the affected city/state and also creates panic in the rest of the country.
Communal Harmony Essay 4 (500 words)
India is a peace loving country. No wonder people from diverse backgrounds live here in harmony with each other. While the people of the country largely help in maintaining communal harmony in the country. However, the same has been disturbed several times. Here is how communal harmony is maintained and the instances when it has been disrupted in the country.
Maintaining Communal Harmony
India is a secular nation. The country does not have any particular official religion. It gives its citizens the freedom to choose and change their religion as per their will. The state treats all the religions equally. This is a way to promote communal harmony in the country. Strict action is taken against any person or group trying to disturb communal peace in the country.
Disruption of Communal Harmony
While the government takes stern measures to ensure communal harmony in the country, the same has been disturbed several times. Some of these instances are as follows:
- 1980 Moradabad Riots
These riots occurred in the Indian city of Moradabad during August-November 1980. It all began when a group of Muslims threw stones at the police as they refused to remove a pig from the Idgah. The police fired back and it resulted in the killing of several people.
- 1989 Bhagalpur Violence
The 1989 Bhagalpur riots occurred between Hindus and Muslims in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district. These began in October 1989 and continued for two months. Not only Bhagalpur, around 250 nearby villages got affected by the violence caused due to these riots. More than 1,000 people were killed and as many as 50,000 were displaced during these two months.
- 1992-93 Bombay Riots
The riots that took place in December 1992 and January 1993 took the lives of around 900 people. These were said to be a reaction to the 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition in Ayodhya.
- 2002 Gujarat Riots
The burning of train that led to the death of 58 Hindu pilgrims caused these riots. The train returning from Ayodhya that carried karsevaks was burned at Godhra station. These riots led to the deaths of around 254 Hindus and as many as 790 Muslims. Near about 2,500 people were injured and 223 were reported missing.
- 2013 Canning riots
These riots took place between the Bengali Muslims and Bengali Hindus in West Bengal in February 2013. The outbreak happened after the murder of a Muslim clerk by unidentified attackers. Muslims burned down Hindu homes in Goladogra, Gopalpur, Herobhanga and Naliakhali villages in the Canning police station area.
Apart from these, 1857 Bharuch Riots, 1927 Nagpur Riots, 1969 Gujarat Riots, 1984 Sikh Riots, 1984 Bhiwandi Riots, 1985 Gujarat Riots, 1989 Meerut Communal Riots, 1990 Hyderabad Riots, 2002 Gujarat Riots, 2006 Vadodra Riots and 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots also caused mass destruction and disturbed the communal harmony of the country.
India has been appreciated worldwide for its secular ways. People from different religions live here in harmony. However, the peace of the country has been disrupted several times by different religious groups and communities. The need for communal harmony needs to be sensitized among the citizens as maintaining peace and harmony is the first step toward building a nation.
Communal Harmony Essay 5 (600 words)
India is home to people from different religions and castes. People belonging to different ethnic groups and religions live here in harmony with each other. At workplaces, in schools, while doing business dealings people from different backgrounds come together and work/study together. A harmonious atmosphere is maintained at such places. However, there have been times when there have been problems due to religious differences among citizens of our country. Here is how our government binds the citizens in unity and how they have fallen apart at various points.
Secularism Binds People
With the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution enacted back in 1976, the Preamble to the Constitution stated that India is a secular nation. The country does not follow any official state religion. The laws require the state and its institutions to accept and respect all the religions. Each individual in the country is free to choose his religion and change it at any time. Treating all the religions equally and giving freedom to choose one’s religion is a way to ensure communal harmony in the country.
Instances of Communal Riots
While the Constitution of the country is imbued with the spirit to maintain communal harmony, the same has been disrupted many a times. Here are some instances of communal riots in India:
- 1857 Bharuch Riots
These riots occurred between the Bohra Muslims and Parsis in May 1857. The riots broke out as some Muslims accused Bejonji Sheriaiji Bharucha, a Parsi of desecrating a mosque. Five days later as many as 200 Muslims gathered together and attacked Dastur Kamdin Dar-e Mihr, a fire temple and brutally murdered its High Priest.
- 1969 Gujarat Riots
This refers to the riots between Hindus and Muslims during September-October 1969 in Gujarat. This was the first major communal violence in Gujarat that involved looting and massacre on a wide scale. Near about 660 people were killed and 1074 were injured during these riots.
- 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots
Also known as the 1984 Sikh Massacre, these were a series of attacks against the Sikhs in India. These riots were said to be carried out by agitated mobs in reaction to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s murder by her Sikh bodyguards. Around 2800 people across the country were killed during these riots of which approximately 2100 were from Delhi.
- 1984 Bhiwandi Riots
These riots took place in and around Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi town in the year 1984. As many as 278 people were killed and more than 1000 injured during the Bhiwandi riots. The outbreak occurred when a saffron flag was placed on the top of a mosque.
- 1985 Gujarat Riots
These riots started in February 1985 and continued for almost 9 months that is until October. It is believed that this violence was invoked by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an attempt to defame the ruling government. This was initially an intra Hindu caste issue owing to the reservation policy. However, gradually it turned into Hindu-Muslim communal riots.
- 2006 Vadodara Riots
Also referred to as the 2006 Dargah Riots, these occurred in May 2006 in Vadodara, Gujarat. The riots were a result of the municipal council’s decision to remove the Sufi saint Syed Chishti Rashiduddin’s dargah. It is said that the police targeted Muslims during this incident. Incidents of Hindu-Muslim clashes were reported in several areas during these riots.
Religion is a very sensitive issue. India has always followed a policy of secularism. The Constitution of our country gives absolute freedom to every individual to choose his/her religion. However, there are certain groups and individuals that disrupt the peace and harmony in the country by spreading communal violence. But ultimately peace has always triumphed over communal violence.