IAS प्रिलिम्स ऑनलाइन कोर्स (Pendrive)
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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. What do you understand by communalism? Discuss the reasons and impact of communalism on Indian society. (250 words)

    08 Feb, 2019 GS Paper 1 Indian Society

    Answer :


    • Write what you understand by Communalism in the introduction part.
    • Discuss the reasons contributing to Communalism.
    • Lastly discuss the impact of communalism on Indian society.
    • Conclude by writing way forward for eradicating communalism.


    • India is a land of multiple faiths and religions leading often to violence and hatred among the people. Those who fan this religious violence do not consider religion as a moral order but use it as a means and weapon to pursue their political ambitions. Communalism essentially leads to violence as it is based on mutual religious hatred.
    • Communalism is characterised by a strong allegiance to one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole. the basis of allegiance may be varied such as language, ethnicity, region, religion etc. In India, communalism as a social phenomenon is characterized by the religion of two communities, often leading to acrimony, tension and even rioting between them.


    Factors contributing to Communalism:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 use communalistic passions and often lead to riots. Ex. Malegaon and Bhiwandi.
    • 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.

    Impact of communalism on Indian society: Communalism has divided our society for long. It causes belief in orthodox tenets and principles, intolerance, hatred towards other religions and religious group, distortion of historical facts and communal violence.

      • Social fabric:
        • It causes hatred among different religious sections in the society and disrupts the peaceful social fabric of our society.
        • Communal Violence: Communal riots often break out in many parts of the country and
      • Economy fallout :
        • Economic growth can take place only in environment of peace and tranquillity, communalism creates an atmosphere of intolerance and violence which would impede the flow of goods and capital.
        • The flow of labour from productive activities is diverted to unproductive activities; there is massive destruction of public properties to spread the ideology.
        • The investment attitude towards the country from foreign investor would be cautiousness; they tend to avoid the countries with highly communal country, for not take the risk of end up losing their investment.
      • Political scenarios:
        • Voting on Communal Basis: Voters generally vote on communal lines. After getting elected, the representatives try to safeguard the interests of their community and ignore national interests. These conditions hinder the progress of democracy in the country

    • Individual psychology:

      • Due to prevalent communalism in the society individuals are never at peace and a spiritual powerhouse India seems to lose its charm.

    Way forward:

    • Public awareness needs to be raised about the harmful impact of communalism. Our constitution, which labels India as a secular nation makes provisions to protect the interests of all religions and goes beyond the code of any religion. Hence one must learn to put national interests above one’s religious views.

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