Last Updated 13 Jan 2021

Role of British Rule in Rise of Communalism in India

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Indian society has never been homogeneous in nature. It has always been a diversified, multicultural, and multireligious society. But throughout its history, the Indian masses whatever their religion, caste and race was lived without any hostility and enmity. Communalism emerged only during British rule, so one can very easily assume Communalism as a modern phenomenon, not an ancient or a medieval one. Communalism emerged during British rule due to three main reasons. The divide and rule policies of the British.

The emerging competitiveness in the political and social structure of the society and also the conservativeness of the society of that time slowed economic growth. The war of independence of 1857 in which the Muslims and the Hindus fought side by side against the foreign intruders compelled the British to devise a plan to widen the communal difference between the Indian masses. The British intimated the Hindus because they find them less hostile than the Muslims which were the former rulers of the subcontinent.

This widened the gap between the communities and the Muslims felt cornered. This was the basic reason why the Muslim elite considered to found a separate country for their fellow Muslims. (Sociology of Communalism)

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Was Partition Inevitable?

The Indian Muslims and Hindus have been living side by side for centuries. Despite their cultural and religious differences both the communities have prevailed side by side without any notable hostility between them.

The rise of Communalism in the late 19th Century further accelerated by the British rulers and the lack of generosity shown by the Indian nationalists made the Muslim population feel vulnerable. This feeling of vulnerability further led to the demand of separate state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah the strongest voice in the favor of the partition was himself a leader of the Indian National Congress. But the Congress leadership failed to guarantee the Muslims their representation in the post-independence political and social system. This compelled the Muslim leadership to seek for alternatives I. e. partition. Thus one can conclude that partition was not inevitable if the Muslims have given sound guarantees regarding their social, political, and economical future. (How a Continent divided?)

Works Cited

  1. Asghar Ali Engineer, Sociology of Communalism; Retreived from World Wide Web on March 23rd 2007, http://www. countercurrents. org/comm-engineer190503.html
  2. Eqbal Ahmad, How a Continent Divided?; Retrieved from World Wide Web on March 23rd 2007, http://www. geocities. com/CollegePark/Library/9803/eqbal_ahmad/continent.html
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