“For decades after 1885 communalism served as a second line
of defence of both imperialism and the reactionary forces.
But with the passage of time it became their chief
political and ideological instrument.”
To a certain extent they are right. British could not have been successful in sowing the seed of communal hatred if there would not have been something within the Indian society to provide the fertile soil. But it is also a fact that if there would have been a nationalist government in power than they would certainly had checked its growth. It did not happen so because British were in power and they wanted that Indians should continue to fight among themselves.
It was in the 19th century that the country witnessed a rise in the nationalist movement and also a nation in the making. Britishers were afraid because it produced a serious threat to their rule. Back home in Britain the number of people who questioned the British rule over India were increasing. In the beginning Britishers used to justify by using the terms such as — White man’s burden, civilizing mission etc. With the passage of time these things lost their shine and the Britishers began looking for some other reason so as to justify their rule. So they fanned communal hatred and declared that they must continue to rule for the protection of the minorities.(If this was the reason why they did nothing to provide a safe passage to nearly 14.5 million people who had to migrate to the other side of the border during partition, out of which nearly 1 million died )
If they supported Muslim communalists this doesn’t mean that they were anti-Hindu. They only wanted to divide the Indians.
After creating a wedge between Hindus and Muslims then they tried to bring regional communalism. Punjabis vs Bengali vs Bihari etc.
They did not support Hindu communalism not because they had sympathy with the Muslims because support to the hindu communalism meant uniting nearly 80% of the population. This would have certainly strengthened the Indian National Congress(I.N.C.)
The Britishers created following divisions :
• Agricultural and non-agricultural classes
• Martial and non martial races
• Punjabi, Bengalis, Biharis etc.
• To divide Hindus they invented the term The Depressed classes
• Created divisions between the rural and urban population
When the things went out of control they decided to divide and quit, leaving all the mess to be cleared by the Indians themselves.
I would like to end with a couplet from a poem written on the plight of women during the partition days.
Aj lakhaan Dhiyan rondiyan, Waris Shah noon Kehn…….
(by writing Heer)-Today thousands of them are crying – in vain –for your attention]
Amrita Pritam (One of the best known Punjabi Poetess)