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Excursus Communalism

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Chapter Summary

There are many arguments on communalism, some seeking its indigenous roots in conflicting eighteenth century activities of Muslim and Hindu groups, which later turned into nationalism. Hindu and Muslim leaders are themselves objects of communalism, and try to mobilise traditional concepts of self-identification which are broad enough to provide the basis for new identities. The Ayodhya issue went back to the eighteenth century when a Hindu sect - the Ramanandis - started re-inventing the cult of Rama (Vaishnavites), and was backed by the Shiʿite Nawwab Safdar Jang against the Shaivites. The reopening of the mosque has been seen as the tribute to the victory of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in the Shah Bano case. In the recent past the Hindu-Muslim communal outbreaks have increased from 240 in 1972 to 525 in 198530 culminating in the riots following the destruction of the Babri Mosque and later in Gujarat in 2002.

Keywords: Ayodhya issue; Babri Mosque; communalism; Hindu groups; India; Muslim; Ramanandis; Shah Bano case



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