Communalism is used in South Asia to denote attempts to construct religious or ethnic identity, incite strife between people identified as different communities, and to stimulate communal violence between those groups. It derives from history, differences in beliefs, and tensions between the communities.
The term communalism was constructed by the British colonial authorities as it wrestled to manage violence between religious, ethnic and disparate groups in its colonies, particularly Africa and South Asia, in early 20th century.
Communalism is a term used in South Asia to represent idealogies centred on particular communities, especially religious communities. The term came into use in early 20th century during the British colonial rule, where the rulers saw India divided into several communities and attempted to placate separate "communal" interests. The Hindu Mahasabha and the All-India Muslim League represented such communal interests, whereas Indian National Congress represented an overarching "nationalist" vision. In the run up to independence in 1947, communalism and nationalism came to be competing idealogies and led to the division of British India into the Republics of India and Pakistan. The bloody Partition violence gave a clear sense to every one what communalism leads to, and it has since been frowned upon in India.
Communal conflicts between religious communities, especially Hindus and Muslims, have been a recurring occurrence in independent India, occasionally leading to serious inter-communal violence.
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