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Concepts of Fundamentalism and Communalism

Fundamentalism describes an ideology of religious or other social groups which calls for an adherence to literal meanings of sermons or scriptures or doctrines and apply them to all aspects of life.Forces of drastic social change are important for the emergence of fundamentalism and it resist all types of change.It is relatively new phenomenon and emerged in the background of threat of modernity and globalization to tradition.

Fundamentalism and communalism have certain ideological elements in common. Both attack the concept of separation of religion from politics and the state. Both oppose the concept of equal truth in all religions or the unity of different religions. Communalism is often associated with eruption of violence and riots, these conflagrations may not have any particular aim or goal. In a multi religious society a fundamentalist tends to be communal while communalists are quite often not fundamentalists. Fundamentalism stress upon the infallibility of scriptures. Communalism is a strong allegiance to one’s own ethnic group rather than to a society. The allegiance can be based out of religion, race, and ethnicity. In India basis of allegiance had been religion. Fundamentalists tend to separate certain communities from the mainstream. Religion based opposition is ideological and usually becomes active during the phases of social upheaval. Fundamentalism aims to establish a normative order by various means from wars to speeches to peaceful mentions. Communalism aims to establish its supremacy through violence that often involves hatred. This is a situation where religion and religious communities view each other with hostility and antagonism. Fundamentalism is a movement and led by charismatic leaders. Communalists have a mass psyche. Communalism becomes apparent only on certain occasions. It may not be sustained like fundamentalism as a movement. Fundamentalists’ movements are reactive and response to what the persons involved like the leaders and participants consider a crisis. Communalism emerges when are conflicts of interest and a sense of insecurity and suspicion exists in one or both the groups. Antagonism is central in communalism while promotion of the original is central in fundamentalism. The pursuit of political power is very important to fundamentalists. Communalism is more protective of its own rights and beliefs.