This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by agamdhingra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Is India Rejecting Communal Politics?

More from agamdhingra

By Agam Dhingra:

Over the years, democracy has both strengthened and widened in its scope as people have come to accept this form of governance in its contribution in establishing a moral, just, equal and liberal society.


In India, the democratic system of governance has evolved over the years and continues to be influenced by its rich cultural, social and regional diversities. Class, gender, etc., are some factors that allow people to identify themselves and relate to each other. While it is often believed that political expression of such social differences, divisions or inequalities is detrimental for the society and leads to conflicts among people of different communities, religion, class, etc.; it is not true always. In a democracy, political expression of such divisions is normal and can prove to be healthy. It allows various social groups or communities to express themselves and get the government to resolve their grievances.

Another important factor that has influenced democratic process is religious composition of India. Various political parties have been formed to promote and safeguard the interests of various communities formed on religious lines. Though such communal politics is not dangerous for the country and ideas, ideals and values drawn from different religions can and perhaps should play a role in politics. The problem becomes acute when religion is expressed in exclusive and partisan terms in politics or when one religion and its followers are pitted against each other as witnessed during the communal rights between Muslims and Hindus at the time of partition.

The idea of religion as the principal basis of a community is hollow and non-inclusive. The Bhartiya Janta Party for instance, has been unable to form a government at the Centre post the Babri masjid demolition and the Godhra riots, largely due to its Hindutva politics. On the other hand, BJP’s model of governance has been successful in states like Gujarat among others primarily because of the support of a large Hindu vote base.

The promotion of communal identities and beliefs is constructive and not bad unless and until it does not encroach upon the religious beliefs or demands of another community for their own vested interests. An Indian must be able to exhibit his respect for various communities and different religions. Also, the belief in communalism is fundamentally flawed. Aspirations and interests of people of one religion are not the same in every context. Each and every person has their own identities, positions and different positions of responsibilities. Various opinions inside a community give a collective voice to the community and all these voices have a right to be heard. Therefore, any attempt to bring all followers of one religion together in context other than religion would lead to the suppression of voices within that community. This is perhaps why political parties based on religion are finding it extremely difficult to garner enough votes to form government by their own and thus have to enter into coalition with other political parties. Also, with more and more Indians migrating to towns and cities and adopting modern lifestyles, people have slowly started shedding their prejudices against different communities and religions. However, this attitudinal change is restricted to only a small fraction of the population and the majority of the population is still involved in bickering about religious and lifestyle differences of different communities.

Communalism should not been seen as a threat to some people in India but it threatens the very idea of India. That is why communalism needs to be combatted. People should be able to express in politics their needs, demands and interests as a member of a religious community. Those in authority should sometimes be able to regulate the practise of religion so as to prevent discrimination and oppression. These political acts are not wrong as long as they treat every religion and community equally. Communal prejudices and propaganda need to be countered in everyday life and religion-based mobilisation needs to be countered in the arena of politics.

You must be to comment.
  1. Veer Subhash

    Is it just a COINCIDENCE that you have used Narendra Modi’s photo, worshiping a Goddess in an article, center staging the threats of communalism. ?
    Is it yet another coincidence that you have mentioned only one political party i.e. BJP , and only once political ideology i.e. Hindutva ?
    There is an over whelming number of photos available on Internet where you can see Rahul Gandhi, Mulayam, Laloo wearing a Muslim skull cap ? Why didnt you use those pics here ? Is going to a temple alone communalism ? I remember where Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav specifically said that they will build the Babri Masjid . Owasi statements are now well know where he threats of exterminating Hindus in 15 mins if police is allowed ? Are these not communal statements and reflection of communalisation of politics.

    What BJP is doing may be wrong, but when writers and budding journalists like you singularly pick BJP/ Narendra Modi, ang BJP alone than that itself smacks of communalism.

    If you can not be equal in your criticism of all, if your criticism is selective, if your criticism depends on the religion , than my dear friend, YOUR CRITICISM IS IS ITSELF AN EXPRESSION OF YOUR COMMUNAL MINDSET .

    You are doing what exactly you are condemning others of doing.

    1. Sunny Kumar

      I appreciate the writer’s views. The current ideology that guides politics in India and how religion influences politics is also aptly explained. A few more comparisons could have been drawn to succinctly elaborate upon the issue of communal politics.

      Veer Subhash, I believe the use of the imagery is purely coincidental to reflect the writer’s reference to Narendra Modi. Also, I believe the writer has made use of Narendra Modi’s example so that it helps people relate to what he is trying to explain. I agree with you that numerous political parties such as the Congress, Samajwadi party, etc., have also resorted to communal politics to increase their vote bank. But it is my belief that the Narendra Modi’s record of efficient governance and development and the fact that the Godhra Riots and demolition of the Babri Masjid is an incident in the recent history (to which youth can easily relate to as compared to the events of the past such as the violence in Punjab, etc.,) coupled with Modi’s sudden rise in the political arena as a potential player in the 2014 politics has brought him in the limelight again. Perhaps, that is why a comparison has been made.

      It is not to be denied that no party is free of communalism, Modi’s Sadhbawna mission or Congress’s appeals to Muslims clearly reflects their desire to amend their wrongdoings on the past.

      What the writer is trying to express is that such politics is detrimental for the country and that political parties must rise above and begin to seek good for all rather than serving the followers of one particular religion for personal interests. Instead of blaming the writer for adopting a communal mindset and targeting him for having used Modi as an instance lacks wise thinking and understanding of the situation. Moreover, he establishes the fact religion is one of the factors that influences the democratic process. So , I believe, that the writer has brought to light one of the aspects that has contributed to the evolution of democracy and not that his criticism is not selective nor does it fully depend on religion. Rather, it is constructive criticism is what I would like to say!

  2. Manish

    Agam, you bloody moron, let me repeat what I said to your colleague Ms. Heeba.

    You and your bloody ilk should be doing social service on the streets of the Islamic State. Get out of this country dude!

    As the commentator pointed out earlier, you have the gall you use the image of our beloved Goddess Kali, (peace be upon Her, the destroyer of evil), next to the image of our Prime Minister? If you were in the neighboring Islamo-Jihadist nation of “PUKE”istan, you would be beheaded for it. Just try using the image of your favorite God “ALLAH” …..

    And the following is again from my reply to your colleague Ms. Heeba:

    Why does the theme of polarization work for you against the BJP?

    Allow your humble reader to give you an example of “polarization by guile” being carried out by the “SCAM”GROSS party and its political sidekick in Uttar Pradesh the Samajwadi Party (which is essentially a party of Goondas and Rapists)

    The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh is allotting communal graveyards to the WAQF Board, which is a dastardly act of land grab by the Sunni Muslim community, endorsed by the Goondas and the Rapists of the Samajwadi Party (and by extension, the “SCAM”GROSS party) designed to polarize the electorate.

    Btw, aren’t you going to the Islamic State? They are calling for folks like to to “serve” their “Caliphate” – whatever that means (I guess a 10th century dark ages notion of a Sharia State that brutalizes women and minorities.

    Kashmir, the ancient HINDU land founded by the Kashyapa Rishis, and blessed by the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge (“Namaste Sharade Devi, Kaashmira Pura Vaasini” – I bow to Goddess Shaarada, who resides in Kaashmir) – has been taken away from the ancient land of Bharat, in large parts due to the ineptitude, or should I say, the diplomatic buffoonery of our first Prime Minister, Mr. Nehru (he should have heeded Mahatma’s Gandhi’s advice) and dissolved the “SCAM”GROSS party after independence – ALAS!!

More from agamdhingra

Similar Posts

By Krishna Singh

By Aulina Pandey


Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below