Explain four points on how communalism can take various forms in Politics.
Communalism can take various forms in politics:
- The most common expression of communalism is in everyday beliefs. This is so common that we fail to notice it, even when we believe in it. For example; belief in the superiority of one’s religion and inferiority of other religions. As long as people in Northern Ireland saw themselves only as Catholics or Protestants, their differences were difficult to reconcile.
- A communal mind often leads to a quest for political dominance of one’s own religious community. In a majority community this takes the form of majoritarian dominance. For those belonging to the minority community, it can take the form of a desire to form a separate political unit the Catholics, who comprise 44% and were represented by the Nationalist parties, demanded that Northern Ireland be unified with the Republic of Ireland is Catholic country.
The Protestants, who comprise 53% were represented by the Unionists for who wanted to remain with the UK which is predominantly Protestant. There was a fight between the Unionists and Nationalists. It was in 1998 that the UK government and the Nationalists reached a peace treaty.
- Political mobilisation on religious lines is another form of communalism. This involves the use of sacred symbols, religious leaders, to bring the followers of one religion together. Christianity in England and Buddhism in Sri Lanka reflect the interest or emotions of voters in one religion in preference to others.
- Sometimes, communalism takes its most ugly form of communal violence riots and massacre. The post Independence period has seen large scale communal violence in our country. Recently, after independence the same communal violence has been seen in Gujarat and Mumbai.