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Define communalism as an ideology. Explain the forms of communalism in politics.

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Communalism is a strong sense of belonging to particular community especially a religious community, which often leads to extreme behavior or violence towards others. It cannot tolerate and respect people belonging to different religious communities. 

There are different forms of communalism in politics as follows. 

  • Communalism in everyday beliefs: It is the most common form of communalism and can be in the form of religious prejudices, stereotypes of religious communities and belief that one religion is superior to other religions. 
  • Communalism as Majoritarian Dominance and Political Dominance: A communal mind often leads to quest for political dominance of one’s own religious community. For people belonging to the majority community this comes out as ‘Majoritarian dominance’ for those belonging to the minority community, it can take form of a desire to form a separate political unit. 
  • Communalism as political mobalisation: Political mobalisation on religious lines is another frequent form of communalism. This involves the use of sacred symbols, emotional appeals and plain fear in order to bring the followers of one religion together in political arena. 
  • Communalism in the form of communal violence: Sometimes, communalism takes its most ugly form of communal violence, riots and massacre. For instance, India and Pakistan suffered some of the worst communial riots at the time of the partition. To sum up, it can be said that communalism leads to the belief that people belonging to different religions cannot live as equal citizens within one nation. Either one of them has to dominate the rest or they have to form different nations.

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