There are many causes and factors which leads to communalism in India.
1. ‘Divide and Rule’ Policy of the British
The British came in India with the intention of trade and commerce by getting the licence from the Queen of England for their East India Company in 1600 A.D. Though they came for trade and commerce, they studied the multiplicity of the Indian Society. Hence, they set up their settlements and colonies in India and by might of military tactics they became the rulers. Sometimes they favoured muslims and sometimes Hindus against each other. When Hindu and Muslims opposed the status of favours granted to them by the British that resulted into communal riots and violence. Meanwhile, British sowed the seeds of communalism among these two communities. e.g. Partition of Bengal, 1905, Partition of India 1947, nevertheless, Indian society even today facing the fruits of the policy of the British i.e. ‘Divide and Rule’.
2. Communal Politics of British Govt
The British govt always encouraged the communal politics in India. But that disturbed the unity and integrity of the nation It violated the secular principles prevailing in our country. The British Politics of communalism gave rise to communal organisations and communal Socio-political institutions with antagonistic religious approach towards each other.
3. Religious Fundamentalism
The various religious communities started boasting that their religion is the superior to other religions. They believe that the God of their religion has ordained them to follow and even devote their lives for the protection and spread of their religion all over the World. The same belief is observed by the other religious communities. They say that for the sake of religion, destruction of the lives, property, prestige is fair. This religious fundamentalism leads to communalism.
4. Communal Political Parties
The communal political and social organizations exploits the society in the name of religion and political ideology e.g. Jamat-e-Islami, student Islamic movement of India (SIMI), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, RSS, etc. Initially, these organizations are registered for social and cultural promotions but later on they start the communal politics and encourages communalism. They exploits the religious emotions of the people and disrupts the communal peace and harmony. To mention, fall of Babri mosque resulted in series of bomb blast in the year 1993 A. D. This lost the hundreds of lives and thousands of crores of financial losses to the Indian society. The Godhra Killing in Gujarat and subsequent communal riots in many district of Gujarat have maligned the prestige of India in the World. The slogans and war cries like ‘Garva se kaho hum Hindu hai’ and ‘Islam khatre me hai ‘ nurtured the feelings of communalism in India.
5. Existence of Social Elements
The anti-social elements are found in Indian Society. Particularly, underworld is engaged into anti-social activities. They also promote smuggling, thefts, robberies, murders, rapes, trafficking of drugs & human being etc. This leads to the religious faction of the underworld. Sometimes it has happened that Hindus supports the Hindu gangsters against muslims and the Muslims reciprocate the same though it is understood that anti-social elements have no religion or principled philosophy. Therefore, they are divided into communal factions of anti social elements.
6. Politicisation of Local Problems
Sometimes, there are local problems or local issues which can be sorted out there by the local authorities. But many times it is shaped as danger to the whole religious community and that reflects the other cities, towns and peaceful areas. e.g. There is local issue in Malegaon between Hindus and Muslims but the reflection are found in Bhiwandi and Mumbai which is totally not the common issue. Due to that people of other areas also face the problem of riots.
7. Exploitation of Religion for Personal Gains
We also find that the particular person exploits the religious feelings of the people for his personal gains. These people extracts the political, economic religious gains and encourage the communalism.
8. Controversial Role of Media
Most of the time the media does not play its role properly. When they are broadcasting news and views on channels, they should beware of certain occasions and using certains sentences which will lead to the communal riots. They should edit and broadcast those only will pacify the people from communal riots. They broadcast the local news and views as it is the common issue of the particular communities. Recently, when there in Malegaon (Nasik) bomb blast, communal riots were going on, then one of the reporter of the news channel was emphatically repeating that still the Mumbai is silent, Mumbai has till controlled their patience. As he wanted to suggest that now Mumbai also should start rioting for Malegaon.
9. Government Elasticity in Religion’s Code
Government for the vote bank, gives elasticity to some religious communities to follow their own code. e.g. Muslims are allowed to follow their own Personal Laws and also in Hindu community there are unconstitutional body of the punch (five people) or Village Judiciary or community which follow their own communal rules and regulations. This generates the feeling of partial religious patronage for the only purpose of political votebank – among the communities which are not allowed to follows their own personal laws and instead they are suppressed under the pretext of secularism.