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Communalism can Take Various Forms in Politics

An extremely ugly face of communalism is also seen in the ongoing unsavoury controversy centering round what has been described as forced mass religious conversions.

  • The most common expression of communalism is in everyday beliefs. They involve religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief in the superiority of one’s religion over other religions.
  • A communal mind often leads to a quest for political dominance of one’s own religious community. For those belonging to majority community, this takes the form of majoritarian dominance. For those belonging to the minority community, it can take the form of a desire to form a separate political unit.

Political mobilisation

  • on religious lines is another frequent form of communalism. This involves the use of sacred symbols, religious leaders, emotional appeal and plain fear in order to bring the followers of one religion together in the political arena. In electoral politics this often involves special appeal to the interests or emotions of voters of one religion in preference to others. 
  • Sometimes communalism takes its most ugly form of communal violence, riots and massacre. India and Pakistan suffered some of the worst communal riots at the time of the Partition. The post-Independence period has also seen large scale communal violence.

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