Communalism can be explained as having a very strong attachment to one’s community. That is it is the trail of thought according to which people have a very strong sense of emotion and attachment to their religion, caste, race, etc. Basically, the strong sense of belongingness and extremist views people have towards their community can be termed communalism.

Thus communalism is definitely an evil for a diverse country like India where so many people of different communities exist and flourish together. Therefore communalism is both an issue of the core values of our constitution as well as a security issue. This is because the Preamble of our Constitution has included Secularism as a core value. The concept of secularism has been explained further in the article. The concern of security arises due to communal riots. As the name suggests, communal riots are violent disturbances of peace between people belonging to different communities. A communal riot usually takes place between two separate castes or religions. Such disturbances cause threats to the peace and internal security of the country as such displays of violence usually cause huge losses to life and property.

Some Instances of Communal Riots

Partition of India,1947:

The riots during the partition of India are one of the most well-known examples of communal riots. About 14 million people had to abandon their homes when British administrators of Colonial India began dismantling the South-Asian empire. The estimated number of people killed during the partition period ranges from 200 thousand to 2 million.

Anti-Sikh Riots, 1984:

The 1984 Sikh Massacre, also called the Anti-Sikh riots were multiple planned attacks against the Sikhs. These took place post-assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The assassination was done by her Sikh bodyguards in a form of retaliation towards the order to attack Harmandir Sahib complex, Amritsar that had been given to the Indian Army. In these riots, 3,000 Sikhs had been killed in New Delhi, with approximately 17,000 Sikhs being killed in 40 different cities spread across India. Approximately 50,000 people that were belonging to the Sikh community had to move from their hometowns across different cities.

Communalism as a Political Strategy

Now that it is clear what communalism and how communal riots are a dangerous consequence of it, it is clear that communalism is not a practice that should be promoted and instead should be avoided or even rooted out. It is, however, the unfortunate reality of our democracy that many politicians use communal tactics and strategies in order to get vote bank during elections. Some forms of communalism can be highlighted as:

The organization of Parties:

Many political parties make sure that all the party members belong to only a specific community. This may be done in order to send the message that a party shall favor a specific community and may favor it over other communities.

Selection of Election Candidates:

Political parties, in order to get voters on their side in a particular constituency, may choose a candidate of the community which is in majority in that constituency. This is done in order to get the majority of the votes from that constituency.

Voting on Communal Basis:

Most voters would vote for someone who is a part of their own community. Therefore parties may appeal to the voters of a particular community in order to get votes from them. The voters may feel that the party will work for the welfare of their community.

All of these conditions and strategies hinder the progress of democracy in our country and also go against the core values of our constitution.

What is Secularism?

Secularism has been explained as the separation of the State from religion. This means that no particular religion is followed or favored over the other religions in the country.

The Preamble has declared India as a secular country. The word Secular had been added in the constitution by the 42nd amendment of the constitution of India. The word secular was added to symbolize that the country gives equal opportunities to the people of every religion in the country and also that no one shall face discrimination because they belong to a particular religion.

Secularism in the Constitution

It grants equal treatment by the law of the State and also grants equal protection of laws to everyone irrespective of caste, race, sex, etc. in the territory of India

This article prohibits discrimination against anyone on the basis of sex, race, religion, caste, etc.

Article 16 grants equality in matters that relate to public employment. Clause 1 of this article states that there shall be equal opportunities given to everyone in government offices.

The constitution by virtue of this article has granted everyone the freedom to propagate, practice, and profess any religion freely without any interruptions.

The freedom to manage religious affairs has been granted by this article. This means that all religious communities have the right to establish their own institutions for the purposes of religious activities and charity and also manage their own affairs.

This article has made it clear that no one will have to pay any form of taxes or fees for the maintenance and promotion of their religious denomination or religion.

The contents of this article have stated that any educational institution which is run and maintained through state funds shall not provide any religious instruction. This does not however apply to private educational institutions.

This article has provided that any section of citizens that reside in India shall have the right to conserve their culture and language. It has also been provided that no educational institution which is run out of state funds shall deny admissions on the basis of sex, caste, race, religion, etc.

The minorities of the country have been provided with the right to establish educational institutions of their own choice through this article.

  • Article 51-A(e)[x]:

Clause (e) of Article 51-A which provides the fundamental duties of the citizens states that the people of the country shall strive to promote equality and brotherhood among people of the country irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex, etc.


Although communalism is an evil that still exists in the country and is also used by various politicians to gain votes, the core values of the constitution and the legal framework of the country are constantly striving to make India a secular country.

The author of this article is Om Gupta, a first-year law student pursuing a BBA-LLB from the University School of Law and Legal Studies.

The editor of this article is Shreya Litoria, pursuing B.Com LLB from Banasthali Vidypaith University, Jaipur.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *