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Rise of communalism

Communal ideology consists of three basic elements or stages one following the other.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2004 13:33 IST

Bipan Chandra in his book India's Struggle for Independence says that communalism or communal ideology consists of three basic elements or stages one following the other. First, it is the belief that people who follow the same religion have common secular interests, which is a common political, economic, social and cultural interest. These religious units are seen as the fundamental units of Indian society.

The second element of communal ideology rests on the notion that the secular interests of one community are divergent and dissimilar to the interests of the followers of the another community. The second stage is called liberal communalism. The liberal communalist was basically a believer in and practitioner of communal politics; but he still upheld certain liberal, democratic and nationalist values.

The third stage of communalism is reached when interests of different communities are seen as mutually incompatible, antagonistic and hostile. So communalism is basically an ideology on which communal politics is based.

Extreme communalism is the third or the last stage of communalism. It was based on the theory that fear and hatred has a tendency to use violence of language, deed or behaviour, the language of war and enmity against political opponents. It was at this stage that both the Hindus and Muslim communalists put forward the theory that Muslims and Hindus constitute separate nations whose mutual antagonism was permanent and irresolvable.

First Published: Jan 29, 2004 13:33 IST