• Marzia Casolari Università di Torino


Communal strife is one of the most noteworthy political phenomenon in India at present. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) return to power in 2014 India’s political climate worsened: attacks on religious minorities, in particular Muslims, and low caste members are the order of the day. At the same time, the relations between India and Pakistan are at one of their most critical stages: in February 2019 indeed a fifth Indo-Pakistani war almost broke out and thereafter the relations between the two countries are very tense.

Communalism in India dates back to the colonial times. Subsequent failures to resolve the problem of an increasing enmity between Hindu and Muslim community led to India’s partition and to recurrent riots within the country.

Communalism is often ascribed to religious causes, whereas religion is just a powerful mobilization tool. This essay aims to prove that the causes of apparently religious conflicts are economic, social and political. This applies in particular to India, as a strongly multiethnic country, but to any other multiethnic context as well.

In order to fight communalism, its real causes should be addressed.


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