Growth of Communalism, Divide and Rule, Muslim League and Nationalists, Hindu Communalism

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Growth of Communalism

Definition

  • Communalism is the belief that because a group of people follow a particular religion they have, as a result, common secular, that is, social, political and economic interests.

  • Second stage: Secular interests of followers of one religion are dissimilar and divergent from the interests of the followers of another religion

  • Third stage: The interests of the followers of different religions or of different religious communities are seen to be mutually incompatible, antagonistic and hostile.

  • Communalism is not a remnant of the medieval period. It has its roots in the modern colonial socio-economic political structure.

Divide and Rule

  • After 1857, British initially suppressed Indian Muslims. However, after the publishing of Hunter’s book ‘The Indian Mussalman’ they actively followed the policy of divide and rule and hence started supporting the Muslims.

  • They promoted provincialism by talking of Bengal domination

  • Tired to use the caste structure to turn the non-brahmins against Brahmins and the lower caste against the higher castes.

  • It readily accepted communal leaders as authentic representatives of all their co-religionists.

  • Reasons for growth of communal tendencies in Muslims

  • Relative backwardness: educationally and economically.

Muslim League

  • 1906 by Aga Khan, the Nawab of Dhaka, and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk

  • It made no critique of colonialism, supported the partition of Bengal and demanded special safeguards for the Muslims in government services.

  • ML’s political activities were directed not against the foreign rulers but against the Hindus and the INC.

  • Their activities were not supported by all Muslims

  • Arhar movement was founded at this time under the leadership of Maulana Mohamed Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Hasan Imam, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, and Mazhar-ul-Haq. They advocated participation in the militant nationalist movement.

Muslim Nationalists

  • The war between Ottoman Empire and Italy created a wave of sympathy for Turkey

  • During the war between Ottoman empire and Italy, India sent a medical mission headed by MA Ansari to help Turkey.

  • As the British were not sympathetic to Turkey, the pro-Caliph sentiments in India became anti-British

  • However, the militant nationalists among Muslims did not accept an entirely secular approach to politics

  • The most important issue they took up was not political independence but protection of the Turkish empire.

  • This approach did not immediately clash with Indian nationalism. However, in the long run it proved harmful as it encouraged the habit of looking at political questions from a religious viewpoint.

Hindu Communalism

  • Some Hindus accepted the colonial view of Indian history and talked about the tyrannical Muslim rule in the medieval period

  • Over language they said that Hindi was the language of Hindus and Urdu that of Muslims.

  • Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded in 1909. Its leaders attached the INC for trying to unite Indians into a single nation.

  • The first session of the All India Hindu Mahasabha was held in April 1915 under the presidentship of the Maharaja of Kasim Bazar.

  • It however remained a weak organization because the colonial government gave it few concessions and little support.

Chapter 12: World War I and Indian Nationalism

  • Increasing number of Indians from Punjab were emigrating to North America.

  • The British government thought that these emigrants would be affected by the idea of liberty. Hence, they tried to restrict emigration.

  • Tarak Nath Das, an Indian student in Canada, started a paper called Free Hindustan.

  • The Hindi Association was setup in Portland in May 1913.

  • Under the leadership of Lala Har Dayal, a weekly paper, The Ghadar was started and a headquarters called Yugantar Ashram was set up in San Francisco.

  • On November 1, 1913, the first issue of Ghadar was published in Urdu and on December 9, the Gurumukhi edition.

  • In 1914, three events influenced the course of the Ghadar movement:

    • The arrest and escape of Har Dayal

    • The Komagata Maru incident

    • Outbreak of the first world war

  • Gharadites came to India and made several attempts to instill the Indian population to revolt. However, this was of no avail.

  • The Ghadar movement was very secular in nature.

  • Ghadar militants were distinguished by their secular, egalitarian, democratic and non-chauvinistic internationalist outlook.

  • The major weakness of the Ghadar leaders was that they completely under-estimated the extent and amount of preparation at every level – organizational, ideological, strategic, tactical, financial – that was necessary before an attempt at an armed revolt could be organized.

  • It also failed to generate an effective and sustained leadership that was capable of integrating the various aspects of the movement.

  • Another weakness was its almost non-existent organizational structure.

  • Some important leaders: Baba Gurmukh Singh, Kartar Singh Saraba, Sohan Singh Bhakna, Rahmat Ali Shah, Bhai Parmanand and Mohammad Barkatullah.

  • Inspired by the Ghadar Party, 700 soldiers at Singapore revolted under the leadership of Jamadar Chisti Khan and Subedar Dundey Khan. The rebellion was crushed.

  • Other revolutionaries: Jatin Mukherjee, Rash Bihari Bose, Raja Mahendra Pratab, Lala Hardayal, Abdul Rahim, Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi, Champakaraman Pillai, Sardar Singh Rana and Madame Cama

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