Divide et impera (Divide and rule), the policy adopted by the British became one of the supreme tool to give rise to the communalism in India. Executing this policy they used the communities against each other resulting in hatred between different communities. This didn’t only prove to the de-escalation of freedom struggle but also resulted into the partition between India and Pakistan after which the tense situation between India and Pakistan was created. Millions were killed, around 18 million got displaced, women got raped and properties were destroyed and looted.
The communalism at the time of British rule resulted to all the hatred and destruction; the consequences of communalism today are unknown. The basic thing that we need to understand is the cause for the communal hatred and division. The long history of clashes between different communities whether it’s religious or social is even reminded today and the irony is instead of learning from it and stepping towards peace, people get sentimental over the loss of their community people resulting in more violence.
India, a cultural country has dissimilarity in the cultures as well where Hindus treat cow sacred, Muslims can consume beef without any prohibition. Being a Hindu majority country, the intolerance over this issue has led to cases of lynching of Muslims over years. The BJP came into power in 2014 and according to a report by Al Jazeera, dozens have been killed since 2015 and many accused are moving freely. RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Snagh, the people wearing the saffron dhoti kurta play the role of volunteers in many affairs of the country and after the BJP government came into power they have taken possession of a job where they volunteer against the minorities. According to them they are protecting the nation and they are proud of exercising the practice.
One fact about the situation in India is clear; people are obsessed with the religious communalism even in the 21st century. This the reason why the primary issues of the country like unemployment and less economy grew dim in front of the execution of religious communalism by people and leaders.
Kashmir, the state with majority of Muslim population saw the anxious faces of the people over the winning of the BJP party and the fear of upcoming violence in Kashmir due to the mention of abrogation of article 35A and 370 by BJP in their manifesto. Also the possibility of delimitation of the constituencies in Kashmir is an indication of the future violence in Kashmir.
Communalism in India is not the issue of today but of past hundred years and is one of the major reasons for the de-escalation in development of the country. These issues need to be considered and we need to work in harmony while eradicating the hatred between communities.

 

By Sheema Zehra

Persuing Bachelors in Journalism And Mass Communication from University Institute of Media Studies, Chandigarh University.