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Day 39 – Q 4. Why does communalism remain a potent political tool in 21st century India? Why haven’t forces of development overcome communal factors? Analyse.

4. Why does communalism remain a potent political tool in 21st century India? Why haven’t forces of development overcome communal factors? Analyse.  

21 वीं सदी के भारत में सांप्रदायिकता एक शक्तिशाली राजनीतिक उपकरण क्यों बनी हुई है? विकास की ताकतें सांप्रदायिक कारकों को दूर क्यों नहीं करती हैं? विश्लेषण करें।।


In everyday language, the word ‘communalism’ refers to aggressive chauvinism based on religious identity. Chauvinism itself is an attitude that sees one’s own group as the only legitimate or worthy group, with other groups being seen – by definition – as inferior, illegitimate and opposed. Thus, to simplify further, Communalism is an aggressive political ideology linked to religion.

This is a peculiarly Indian or South Asian, meaning that is different from the sense of the ordinary English word.

In the English language, “communal” means something related to a community or collectively as different from an individual.

Communalism in India

  • Communalism is an especially important issue in India because it has been a recurrent source of tension and violence.
  • India has had a history of communal riots from pre-Independence times, often as a result of the divide-and-rule policy adopted by the colonial rulers.
  • But colonialism did not invent inter-community conflicts – there is also a long history of pre-colonial conflicts – and it certainly cannot be blamed for post-Independence riots and killings.

Communalism remains a political tool

  • Politicians have played a villainous role in creating serious communal situations in India.  There was politics at the root of painful division of India in 1947 in the name of a particular religious’ community.
  • But even after paying a heavy price in the form of partition, in many riots provoked thereafter, we can find the involvement directly or indirectly, of political parties or their supporters.  
  • Along with this for the sake of vote bank, the policy of appeasement, selection of candidates on the basis of community, sect, sub-sect and caste, and flaring up religious sentiments at the time of elections, led to the rise of communalism.

Why haven’t forces of development overcome communal factors?

  • Even though Socio economic conditions of India have improved but still there are many challenges in front of Indian society, which are becoming threat for its diversity.
  • Population, Poverty, illiteracy and unemployment create a lot of compulsions, especially before younger generation.
  • Many from younger generation who are unemployed and are in a state of poverty, get involved in the evil like communalism.
  • External elements (including non-state actors) also have a role in worsening the problem of communalism, and making it serious.


We had instances of religious, cultural, regional or ethnic conflict they can be found in almost every phase of our history. But we should not forget that we also have a long tradition of religious pluralism, ranging from peaceful co-existence to actual inter-mixing or syncretism. This syncretic heritage is clearly evident in the devotional songs and poetry of the Bhakti and Sufi movements.

Best Answer: SID

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