How does communualism impact the relationship between Hindus and Muslims?  Give reasons to support your answer

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Simply put, communualism reflects the division of people based on sectarian grounds.  This means the fostering and active participation of divisions of groups of people based on stereotype or rallying the base of a group against the base of another group.  Communualism or sectarian violence has been actively engaged in to widen the divide betwen Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians.  For as long as both groups have lived on the Indian Subcontinent, there had been some level of tension between them.  Much of this comes from religious or spiritual differences.  Their religious expressions share some fundamentally different tenets on the outset.  From polytheism to monotheism, from cultural and religious practices, to the construction of each community, differences are evident.  Fears of loss of political power, land ownership, and majority rule have helped to exacerbate such tension in the subcontinent.  While the British Raj did a fairly good job of bringing together the different groups in hatred of a common foe, the British departure allowed much of this sectarian and multipolarity to emerge.  Best seen in the Partition riots that featured over half a million deaths predicated upon one religious group attacking with shocking savagery the other group, the widening between groups, particularly Hindus and Muslims, was apparent.  At the same time, political leaders who sought to consolidate their own political power and control were able to exacerbate this widening gulf between them.  Communalism impacts the Hindu- Muslim relationship today by exploiting differences and ensuring that common ground is difficult to find.  In the appeal to each of the group's base or zealot wing, there is tension present.  Often manifested through violence, such a destabilizing effect makes peace and harmoniously effective relationships difficult, at best.

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