Some people think that communalism (religious hatred) in India is because of Muslim invasion into India over a thousand years ago, and will never disappear as inherently Hindus and Muslims are enemies of each other. This article has been written to question this belief.
What will be sought to be proved here is that communalism did not exist before 1857, and it was artificially created by our British rulers after suppressing the Mutiny of 1857.
To explain this we have to delve into history. As explained in my article, “What is India”, in my blog Satyam Bruyat, India (in which I include Pakistan and Bangladesh) is broadly a country of immigrants like North America.
The ancestors of 92 to 93 percent people living today in our subcontinent were not the original inhabitants here, but came from outside, mainly from the northwest (the original inhabitants being the pre-Dravidian tribals). People migrate from uncomfortable areas to comfortable areas, and India was a paradise for agriculture, with level land, fertile soil, plenty of water for irrigation, etc.
Why should anyone living in India migrate to say, Afghanistan, which is cold, mountaineous covered with snow for several months in a year , and very uncomfortable? Hence for thousands of years people have been pouring into India, mainly from the North West. It is for this reason that India has such tremendous diversity – so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, cultures, etc because each group of immigrants brought their own language, religion, culture, and customs.
Also Read: India – Who were the original inhabitants?
Hence, the only policy that can work in our subcontinent is secularism and giving equal respect to all communities and sects. This was the policy of the great Emperor Akbar, whom I regard (along with Ashoka) as the greatest ruler the world has ever seen.
At a time when the Europeans were massacring each other in the name of religion (Catholics massacring Protestants and vice versa, and both massacring the Jews), Akbar, who was far ahead of his times, declared his policy of Suleh-e-Kul, i.e. universal toleration of all religions, and it is because of this wise policy that the Mughal Empire lasted so long.
It was Emperor Akbar who laid the foundation on which the Indian nation is still standing, and I regard him as the Father of the Indian nation (see my judgment in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh vs Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamaat online).
Subsequent Mughal rulers also continued this secular policy (though there is a controversy about Aurangzeb), and it was also continued by the Nawab of Avadh (who used to organise Ramlila and dussehra, and participate in Holi and Diwali ), Nawab of Murshidabad, Tipu Sultan, and other Muslim rulers in India.
Up to 1857, there were no communal problems in India; all communal riots and animosity began after 1857.
No doubt even before 1857, there were differences between Hindus and Muslims, the Hindus going to temples and the Muslims going to mosques, but there was no animosity. In fact, the Hindus and Muslims used to help each other.
Hindus used to participate in Eid celebrations, and Muslims in Holi and Diwali. The Muslim rulers like the Mughals, Nawab of Awadh and Murshidabad, Tipu Sultan, etc were totally secular; they organised Ramlilas, participated in Holi, Diwali, etc. Ghalib’s affectionate letters to his Hindu friends like Munshi Shiv Naraln Aram, Har Gopal Tofta, etc attest to the affection between Hindus and Muslims at that time
In 1857, the ‘Great Mutiny’ broke out in which the Hindus and Muslims jointly fought against the British. This shocked the British government so much that after suppressing the Mutiny, they decided to start the policy of divide and rule (see online “History in the Service of Imperialism” by B.N. Pande).
After the 1857 Mutiny the British rulers decided that to keep India under their control the only way to do it was by ‘divide and rule’, and so this policy was initiated.
A glimpse into official British records will show how this policy of Divide-et-Impera was taking shape. The Secretary of State Wood in a letter to Lord Elgin [Governor General Canada (1847-54) and India (1862-63)] said: ‘We have maintained our power in India by playing off one part against the other and we must continue to do so. Do all you can, therefore to prevent all having a common feeling.’
George Francis Hamilton, Secretary of State of India wrote to Curzon, ‘I think the real danger to our rule in India not now, but say 50 years hence is the gradual adoption and extension of Western ideas of agitation organisation and if we could break educated Indians into two sections holding widely different views, we should, by such a division, strengthen our position against the subtle and continuous attack which the spread of education must make upon our system of government. We should so plan educational text-books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened’ (Hamilton to Curzon, 26th March 1886).
Cross informed the Governor-General, Dufferin, that ‘This division of religious feeling is greatly to our advantage and I look for some good as a result of your Committee of Inquiry on Indian Education and on teaching material’ (Cross to Dufferin, 14 January, 1887).
Thus under a definite policy the Indian history text-books were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subject and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule.
All communal riots began after 1857, artificially engineered by the British authorities. The British collector would secretly call the Hindu Pandit, pay him money, and tell him to speak against Muslims, and similarly he would secretly call the Maulvi, pay him money, and tell him to speak against Hindus.
This communal poison was injected into our body politic year after year and decade after decade. Agent provocateurs were hired by the Britishers who would overnight throw a cow carcass into a Hindu temple, or a pig’s carcass into a mosque, and use other methods of creating Hindu-Muslim animosity.
In 1909, the ‘Minto-Morley Reforms’ introduced separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims. The idea was propagated that Hindi is the language of Hindus, while Urdu of Muslims (although Urdu was the common language of all educated people, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh up to 1947).
All this vicious propaganda, based on the bogus two nation theory (that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations), resulted in the partition of 1947, which created a fake, artificial theocratic nation called Pakistan.
Nation states arose in Europe around the 15th century because of the rise of modern industry. Modern industry, unlike feudal handicraft industry, requires a big market for its goods and a large area from where it can get raw materials.
The creation of a state based on religion considerably weakens a nation, because it cuts off industries from markets and raw materials. British imperialism created India as a big administrative unit. The British policy was to prohibit the growth of heavy industry in India; otherwise, the Indian industry, with its cheap labour, would have become a powerful rival to British industry.
When the British left India, they divided India for two reasons:
(1) So that Hindus and Muslims keep fighting each other and thus our subcontinent remains backward and weak, our people wasting their precious resources on buying armaments and hostility, and ensuring that India does not emerge as a modern powerful industrial giant (for which we have all the potential, with our huge pool of engineers and scientists, and immense natural resources ), and thus become a big rival to the industries of Western nations ( like modern China ), and
(2) India and Pakistan keep buying foreign heavy weapons worth billions of dollars, instead of spending this money on the people’s welfare, thus ensuring huge sales for foreign arms manufacturers. These were the real reasons for creating Pakistan.
I submit that India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are bound to reunite under a secular government, as we are really one nation, sharing the same culture, and were one since Mughal times. Partition of 1947 was a historical British swindle (Western nations did similar fraudulent partitions in Ireland, Palestine, Cyprus, Vietnam, etc) and it must be undone, though that will take time.
Some people think that we should try to bring the two nations closer, instead of challenging the very raison d’etre of Pakistan. I do not believe that there are two nations; we are in fact one nation. Pakistan was created in pursuance of the wicked British policy of divide and rule and the bogus Two Nation Theory, whose whole aim was to make Hindus and Muslims fight with each other.
I am confident that with time people, both in India and Pakistan, will realise the truth in what I am saying, and India and Pakistan will reunite, like West and East Germany, under a strong, secular government that deals with religious extremism, whether Hindu or Muslim, with an iron hand, and rapidly industrialises and modernises our country.
Secularism does not mean that one cannot practice his religion. It means that religion is a private affair, unconnected with the state that will have no religion.
When I meet my Pakistani friends (and I have lots of them), we speak in Hindustani, we look like each other, and feel no difference between ourselves. We were befooled by the Britishers into thinking that we are enemies, but how much longer must we remain befooled? How much longer must blood flow between us ?
Thus we see that communalism is not inherent in our subcontinent. It was artificially created by the British rulers in pursuance of their wicked divide and rule policy, and then continued by certain vested interests after 1947.
In fact, when Indian Hindus go to Pakistan they get tremendous love and affection, and warm hospitality, and the same happens when Pakistani Muslims come to India. The ‘hatred’ is sought to be artificially created by the governments of both countries. In foreign countries Indians and Pakistanis socialise as if there had never been any Partition.
I submit that the very nature of India is that communalism cannot last for long here, though it may temporarily thrive. I am confident that the polarisation created by certain vested interests presently in India will not endure .The very soil of India is such that the poisonous thorn of communalism cannot flourish long here.
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