Social Scientist. v 1, no. 1 (Aug 1972) p. 45.

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Communalism : A Study in its Socio-Historical Perspective

COMMUNALISM as we understand the term in the Indian context, essentially amounts to organising an exclusive religious group on the basis of hostility to one or more of the others at the social level. Such hostility is implicit in the exclusiveness of a group sought to be so organised, even if its express purpose excludes a manifest hostility to other groups. The implicit hostility becomes sharper when two or more of such groups have perforce to live together and share common economic, political and other resources, particularly if the resources happen to be relatively inadequate for the development of the society as a whole ; it can be further advanced and made explicit in organisations like the RSS and the Muslim League. The exterme form of Communalism manifests itself in the outbreak of communal riots, planned or otherwise.

While a certain exclusiveness of religious and sectarian outlook and association has always existed in Indian history as part of the traditional economic and social life, its transformation into Communalism is a phenomenon of modern origins. The basic difference between the two is that unlike the religious and sectarian exclusiveness of the earlier times, Communalism takes the shape of crystallised organisations

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