What are the major causes of Communalism in India?

The roots of communalism are found in the ‘Divide and Rule ‘ Policy of the British rule in India. The British in order to establish their supremacy in it’s colonies and expand it’s power used divisive tactics of turning Hindu and Muslim rulers against each other. They also encouraged the setting up of communal organisations having extremist religious tendencies.

1. Vested Political Interests

Certain politicians or political parties in order to further their own gains give indirect support or patronage to communal groups or activities. Some of them may have non-secular tendencies themselves and make political decisions partially encouraging communalism.

2. Flexibility in Religion’s Civil Code

There is a lack of a uniform civil code. To assure itself of votes and return to power the government affords special provisions to certain religious communities to follow their own code while other smaller communities are not allowed the freedom to follow their own personal laws and may feel discriminated against.

3. Rise of Communal Organisations

Communal organizations established on the pretext of propagating and promoting religion socially through cultural activities have instead worsened the problem of communal politics. SIMI , RSS, Bajrang Dal etc. have been found to instigate communal violence.

4. Religious Fundamentalism

Some religious leaders followed ardently by herds of devotees use their influence through inflammatory speeches to misguide the masses. Especially the ignorant masses get caught up in religious fervor and are willing to act violently.

5. Conversions

Religious conversions are a sensitive issue in India. It is often undertaken by religious organizations on the promise of food , shelter .etc. to the poor and viewed suspiciously by everyone.

6. Politicization of Local Problems

Local issues or problems involving different communities, which can be resolved by the local authorities, are sometimes magnified and given political dimensions to arouse communalistic passions and often lead to riots. Ex. Malegaon and Bhiwandi.

7. Law and Order

The administration may fail to take care of minor communal disputes that could flare up into a major clash. There may be several anti-social elements who in the name of religion may engage in nefarious activities such as drug-peddling, smuggling , trafficking, robberies, murder and so on. Their activities need to be curbed and they need to be brought to book to maintain social balance.

8. External Threats

There exist many foreign forces which train extremists and supply them with modern weapons to undertake terrorist activities to fuel communal unrest in the nation.

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