[Solved] Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving on example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent Indian ( UPSC GS-1 mains 2017)

[Solved] Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving on example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent Indian ( UPSC GS-1 mains 2017)

Religiousness/religiosity mean lead your life according to the principles and rules enshrined in religious text. This also include practice, profess, preach the religion. Communalism means giving priority to your own religion, hatrate other religions. Promote your religion and don’t tolerate when others do the same.

  • Protect the interest of your own community at the cost of others. Peace, pious, sacred, love, tolerance are the characteristics of the former while hatrate, violence are the characteristics of later.
  • In the independent India this transformation took place because of political reasons. For example the issue of Babri Masjid and Ram Janmabhoomi , there was a dispute since independence ,Hindus believed that the place where masjid was build is birth place of Lord Rama , there was a temple existing there, that was demolished and constructed a new masjid by the governor of Mughal emperor Babur 500 years back
  • After court Intervention doors were opened people from both religions offering the prayers side by side without any hatrate.
  • This is religiousness, here they follow their religion, their beliefs according to their texts. Suddenly some elements started provoking the people by saying, “this is the Hindu Rashtra, Muslim ruler who is foreigner, practised foreign religion and this is the religion destroyed many Hindu temples and converted many Hindus into islam and ruled this country for hundreds of years according to their religious guideline under which hindus were lived like slaves”, this king destroyed our Rama’s temple and built their masjid.
  • We need to destroy that monument revive our own religion, with this provocation they demolished the masjid . After this some groups from other sections started hatrating Hindu groups and involved in killings this has become a riot, and continuing since so many years.
  • Godra roits, Malegao blast, Samjhautha express blast, Mumbai serila blast, Muzaffar nagar roits all are consequences of such hatrate. So for your personal gains, in solving a complex problem if start blame the others then instead of finding a solution they started hatrating others. This is what communalism. Peace loving people now became like a war mongerer.

Religiousness /religiosity:

• The terms religiousness/religiosity are used interchangeably, but often defined as an individual’s

conviction, devotion, and veneration towards a divinity.

• However, in its most comprehensive use, religiosity can encapsulate all dimensions of religion.

• The concept can also be used in a narrow sense to denote an extreme view and over dedication to

religious rituals and traditions. This rigid form of religiosity in essence is often viewed as a negative

side of the religious experience and can be typified by an over involvement in religious practices

which are deemed to be beyond the social norms of one’s faith.


• The word ‘communalism’ refers to aggressive chauvinism based on religious identity. It is an attitude that sees one’s own group as the only legitimate or worthy group, with other groups being seen as inferior, illegitimate and opposed• Communalism is also an aggressive political ideology linked to religion

: One of the characteristic features of communalism is its claim that religious identity overrides everything else. Whether one is poor or rich, whatever one’s occupation, caste or political beliefs, it is religion alone that counts.


• Communalism is mainly a political ideology linked to religion whereas religiosity is about religion


• Rigid form of religiosity in essence is often viewed as a negative side of the religious experience but

there is broader view which shows positive side too, but communalism has a strictly negative


How religiosity got converted into communalism post-independence?

• After independence, despite predominantly Hindu population, scars of partition especially in Northern states, consequences of divide and rule policy of British, political representatives taking advantage of these sensitive attitudes for vote banks converted the religiousness nature of people in to communalism and communal riots.

• With respect to the Ram Mandir issue believing in Ram and following his principles shows the

religiousness of a person, but when the person believes that Ram mandir was where Babri Masjid

was built and mosque has to be demolished leads to communalistic attitude.

• Similarly, Hindus consider cow as a holy animal which is religiousness but trying to punish and

killing the people who make livelihood with the skin of this animal and taking law into own hands

is communalistic tendencies.

• In the later part of post independent India, religiousness is relegated to backseat and communalism

emerged as the main force for electoral gains across many States. Communalism thrives on frenzied

emotions raked up by vested interests for immediate gains.

Religiosity has certainly transformed into communalism in independent India:

  • The communalism before independence was rooted in the ‘divide and rule’ policy of the British. They had fostered communalism to weaken the nationalist movement by forcing religious rather than national allegiance.
  • After partition, the class divisions of our society and the backwardness of our economy resulted in uneven development.
  • As a result, some sections and individuals developed a sense of rivalry vis-à-vis their counterparts in other communities.
  • Such leaders began encouraging communal feelings to strengthen their political support.
  • When ordinary Indians feel insecure because of some adverse circumstances, they often tend to rely on religion, which make them vulnerable to political manipulation to inflame communal passions.
  • With economic problems becoming important, leaders began to convert economic insecurities like poverty unemployment, price rise etc. into caste and communal ones.

Example: secessionist movement & the communalization of Sikhs in Punjab. The demolition of Babri Masjid.


Transformation of religiosity into communalism creates serious obstacles to good governance, economic development and social harmony of our country. Therefore, both the state and the society must prevent any individual, organization or event that encourages such process.

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