Communalism (South Asia)
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Communalism is a term 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 significant social issue in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
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 Mahasabh 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 ideologies 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.
Movements and groups
- Hindu Nationalism/sectarianism
- Indian Muslim nationalism/Islamic Fundamentalism
- All-India Muslim League
- Indian Union Muslim League
- National Development Front
- Fairazi movement
- Wahabist Tabligh-e-Islam and other Muslim extremist groups.
- Tablighi Jamaat (Deobandi)
- Students Islamic Movement of India
- Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham
- Students Islamic Organisation of India
- Popular Front of India
- Dalit self-respect movement
- Christian fundamentalist/Secessionist
- Various Secessionists
Incidents of communal violence
Examples of communalist violence, with strong motivations based on religious identity include:
- the 1809–1811 Hindu-Muslim Lat Bhairo riots
- the 1921 Moplah Rebellion
- the 1931 Hindu-Muslim Benares riot
- the 1931 Cawnpore Riots
- Manzilgah and Sukkur (Sind) Riots, 15th Feb. 1940
- the 1946 Calcutta riots death toll estimated at 6,000.
- the 1947 "population exchanges" at the partition of India, resulting in an estimated 500,000 deaths.
- the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, 3 million victims, 8 million Hindus displaced.
- Hindu areas in Bangladeshi cities suffered particularly heavy blows. Time magazine reported on 2 August 1971, "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Pakistani military hatred."
- the 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
- the 1992 Bombay Riots in Bombay more than 200,000 people (both Hindus and Muslims) fled the city or their homes during the time of the riots, 900–3000 people died.
- the 1992 December 2- Babri masjid demolition by Sangparivar and subsequent communal violence in various parts of India
- the 1998 Wandhama massacre, 25 Hindu victims.
- the 1999 Graham Staines murder.
- the 2000 Chittisinghpura massacre, 35 Sikhs killed.
- the 2002 Godhra Train Burning, 58 Hindus killed.
- the 2002 Gujarat violence, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus killed.
- the 2002 Kaluchak massacre, 31 Hindus killed.
- the 2002 Marad massacre, 14 Hindu deaths – Indian Union Muslim League conspired and executed the massacre.
- the 2006 Kherlanji massacre, lynching of four Dalits.
- the 2008 Indore Riots, 7 people killed, 6 of whom were Muslims
- the 2007–2009 religious violence in Orissa, Christians mostly targeted, Hindu houses burnt.
- the 2010 Deganga riots, Hindus targeted, Hindu businesses, houses and other property destroyed.
- the 2012 Assam violence, between Bodo Hindus and Bengali Muslim settlers
Incidents of "communal violence" cannot clearly be separated by incidents of terrorism. "Communal violence" tends to refer to mob killings, while terrorism describes concerted attacks by small groups of militants (see definition of terrorism). See also Terrorism in India § Chronology of major incidents.
- Caste system
- Persecution of Hindus
- Ayodhya debate
- Terrorism in India
- Indian nationalism
- Pakistani nationalism
- NCERT controversy
- Religion in India
- Persecution of Muslims
- Islamic Terrorism
- Language conflicts in India
- Hate group
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