What do you understand by term Communalism?
In a simplest terms, the word “communalism” denote to “the social organization on a religious basis.” Or ‘loyalty to a socio-political grouping based on religion or ethic affiliation. In other words, communalism is a belief that all those who have a common religion, it is the base of society and a basic unit of division in the society.
But when we talked about communalism in India prior to the Independence. Then it mainly expressed conflicts between Hindu and Muslims. However, the communalism was not limited till the Hindu-Muslim problem that was a religious problem at all. As the probability of getting independence intensified, the communalism got politicized and also correspondingly, shifted to higher level of propaganda. So, the communal propaganda had three levels, in which the same religious community had common interest but the interest of two different religious communities were different anti conflicting to each other.
But the Indian medieval history proved this argument false as the people of different community were living with harmony with each other and also maintained their religious identity as well.
There are many components of communalism earlier which had same meaning such as, communal politics, communal tension, weapon, value, communal violence, etc. but in 1939, K.B. Krishna made an attempt of differentiate the words communal tension (temporary phenomenon which led to communal violence mainly by the lower classes of people) However, communal politics (continuous phenomenon which involved the landlord and bureaucratic elements.
It can be termed as “weapon” who used it for their self-interest or political interest and “value” for those who had deep faith in it and this could seen in their life style. In short, we can say, communalism is a structure which constructed by all its components.
Myths Regarding Communalism:
It was commonly believed that when religion entered into politics the religious differences led to the communalism. However, it was not correct the religious difference existed from the centuries and pious nature of Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad defined the politics religiously which never led communalism. Then, the communalism was not an ancient phenomenon, it was a modern phenomenon which took place during the colonial rule.