Inter Religious Unity And Communalism In British India

Inter Religious Unity and Communalism in British India

This country was under the colonial rule of the British and after a long struggle gained freedom in 1947. In 1949, the constituent assembly enacted the new constitution which came into effect in 1950. Thus, the contemporary history of this country can be divided into two stages pre-independence and post-independence. India in these two stages has had different situation. In these two stages, the communities in Indian society have played different roles. In the first stage, Pakistan was still a part of India and a revolutionary situation existed within India which prompted most of the communities to be united against the British for freedom. Eventually, the inner differences gradually increased to an extent that it led to the separation of Pakistan in the days of independence. During the second stage in the absence of the same foreign enemy and separation of large part of Muslim there has been different situation with some change in the function of religion.

The subcontinent of India has included various religions. There have been many religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Christian, Sikh, Buddhism, and so on. In this research, the researcher will focus on the two important religions, i.e. Hinduism and Islam. These two religions, as has been already mentioned, have been important ones and have been practiced by larger numbers of people in the country, in comparison to the other religions. In this chapter and the following one, the roles and functions of these two religions during first stage of contemporary history of India are investigated.

A) Religious Politics of British Government

The British ruled India for more than 100 years around the 19th century. The liberal and the conservative leaders of India in this century perceived religion in terms of politics and politics in terms of religion. The social background, acceptance of the superior political doctrine and economic philosophy of the British rule, class interests and the perception of the social realities of the religious reformers and the liberal leaders made them great defenders of the colonial rule.

The Raj was described as an “act of abundant mercy of Divine Providence” and the rulers were looked upon as protectors and deliverers. The leaders supported free trade, settlement of Europeans and commercialization of agriculture. The Bristish themselves also popularized some pro-British religious terms. It was claimed that the British made an outstanding contribution in making India modern, industrial, democratic and secular. Therefore, it was the duty of every Indian to extend support and to be loyal to this government which was a ‘gift of God’ to their country.

During their reign, the colonial rulers not only insisted on describing India as a land of disparate religious communities, castes, sects and tribes, but also contributed to the consolidation of such primordial identities through the codification of Hindu and Muslim family laws, compilation of ethnographic notes, and enumeration of the ‘peoples of India’ through decennial censuses from 1881 onward. These measures encouraged communalism. So, ‘the British deliberately created communal categories in politics as well as in administration, by encouraging Muslim communalism. A similar approach was adopted in the case of various castes.’ Besides, they followed the politics of ‘divide and rule’ and pitched one community against the other to weaken the freedom struggle. They reinforced a feeling of anxiety among sections of the Muslim community concerning their wellbeing in a country that had a majority Hindu population and emerging Hindu nationalist voices. In the following paragraphs, some cases related to British politics are explained.

1) British and Fear of Some Primary Evidences of Unity

In the 1857 war of independence, Hindus and Muslims fought shoulder to shoulder against the enemy. The Hindus as well as the Muslims had united against the British. Since the beginning of freedom movement, also, in early 20th century, Hindus and Muslims together joined the struggle.

Although Hindus and Muslims were urged to unite in fighting the common threat that the British posed, but they did not fight as one people. On the contrary, rebel rhetoric seemed obsessed at working out a new relationship between Hindus and Muslims in which each was meant to sacrifice their own interest for the other’s religious scruples without sharing these in any way. Instead of being related to one another by loyalty to the King, as had been the case with religious and ethnic groups in times past, Hindus and Muslims had created a new model of interaction, which its origin was in the rebel army. The following passage explains this new relationship from a proclamation attributed to Bahadur Shah (1775 –1862), that proposing a moral agreement between them:

They accordingly now ordered the Brahmans and others of their army to bite cartridges in the making up of which fat had been used. The Mussulman soldiers perceived that by this expedient the religion of the Brahmans and Hindus only was in danger, but nevertheless they also refused to bite them…. The slaughter of kine is regarded by the Hindus as a great insult to their religion. To prevent this, a solemn compact or agreement has been entered into by all the mahommedan chiefs of Hindustan, binding themselves that if the Hindus will come forward to slay the English, the mahommedans will from that very day put a stop to the slaughter of cows, and those of them who will not to do so, will be considered to have abjured the Kuran, and such of them as will eat beef will be regarded as though they had eaten pork: but if the Hindus will not gird their loin to kill the English, but will try to save them, they will be as guilty in the sight of God as though they had committed the sins of killing cows and eating flesh.

These evidences and the fear of unity between two communities prompted the British to use the policy of ‘divide and rule’ from the beginning of their governance. By following this policy, the British began to instigate the Hindus against the Muslim and vice Versa.

2) Policy of ‘Divide and Rule’: Towards Pro-Muslim Policy There is the premise that the British colonial policy in India was based on the policy of “Divide and Rule.” It implied that the policy of English rulers was to uphold in full force the so-called separation which existed between different religions and not to endeavour to amalgamate them. It has been one of the routine politics in British India that power at each level and especially across levels is attained by dividing the opposition, not by oppressing it. So, during British government religion became a handle in the hands of rulers for the application of this policy. In first war of Independence, 1857, the Hindus as well as the Musilm had united to throw the British imperialism out but after the British followed this policy, they began to instigate the Musilms against the Hindus and vice-versa. Thus, in this era, clearly, religion was used in favor of British and had a negative function as a segmenting element for Indian.

In the colonial period, according to some writers, it was the divide-and-rule politics of the colonial state that first created the religious communities and then set them up against each other. By dividing Indian civil society along religious lines, the state had a perfect raison d’etre – to ensure order. Some of the British authors such as Steel, Croker, Philip Mason and Greenberger by their writings revealed a distinctly pro-Muslim bias and a veiled attempt to encourage the Muslims to look down upon the Hindus. They tried to sow the seeds of communal dissension all over India.

The colonial rulers found that religion could be profitably exploited in their approach to the Indian people, although the colonial rulers were not always responsible for all religious or communal feuds. They were not the authors of religious divisions but they utilized the division of religious feelings and the element of race to their advantage. They found Divide and Rule to be a useful motto and division of the Indian people along religious lines the bulwark of British rule in India. The following statement confirms this policy well. As far back as 1821, a British officer writing under the name of “Carnaticus” in the Asiatic Review of May, 1821, declared that “Divide et impera should be the motto of our Indian administration, whether political, civil or military.” In 1862, Charles Wood pointed out to the Viceroy that: “If all India was to unite against at how long could we maintain ourselves.” Thus, the motivation of the colonial rulers was to maintain and to preserve the British Empire, rather than protecting or promoting one community and its interests against another community. Their object was “to check the politicization of the Indian people, to end their consolidation and unification and to disrupt the process of the Indian nation in the Making.”

The British rulers extended support to any movement or agitation, which could drive a wedge among the Indians and weaken their unity. Of such supports Shakir mentiones some instances: ‘Support to the Aligarh movement in the last quarter of the 19th century, encouragement to Hindi and Hindu recruitment in the United Provincial administration in the beginning of the 20th century, deliberate attempt to strengthen anti-Congress Governments in different provinces after 1920, and acceptance of all the demands of the Muslim communal leaders in the Communal Award.’ Willingdon described this approach in 1932, as following: “We cannot afford to be wholly without friends.”

This politics is well shown in the late of 19th century especially after foundation of the Congress Party. The attitude of friendly neutrality, which the Government had assumed towards the Congress at the time of its birth very soon, gave place to one of active hostility. In 1888, during the fourth session of the Congress at Allahabad, the change in the attitude of the Government was quite apparent. For the Government, its future line of action was obvious. If they were to counteract the growing power of the Congress, they must find friends among the Muslims and start the policy of divide and rule. This policy was started through Beck, the principal of the Aligarh College, whom Sir John Strachey described as, “An Englishman, who was engaged in Empire-building activities in a far-off land.” In 1889, Beck sponsored a memorial of Muslims against the Bill introduced by Charles Bradlaugh with the object of introducing representative institutions in India. In 1893, the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental Defense Association was formed with the active help of the Government to counteract the growing popularity of the Congress.

Thus, the government applied the policy of divide and rule. After founding of the Congress, the traditional anti-Muslim policy of the government was gradually reversed and it became antiHindu. When the Extremists, began to make their weight felt in the beginning of the 20th century, the government was exasperated more and they adopted the Machiavellian game, even more blatantly. In 1905, the government partitioned the Bengal Presidency for reasons of administrative efficiency. But it was realized as a clever move to drive a wedge between the two communities and to weaken the forces of the Bengal nationalism by weaning away Muslims from the Congress. The Congress saw in it the imperial design of divide and rule, but Bengali Muslims generally welcomed the measure as a means of escaping Hindu economic domination. The policy of divide and rule was intensified after the entry of the Extremists. It was natural that the British government felt the danger, as the Extremists like Tilak led the Congress to pass in 1906 the resolution asking for self-government like that of the United Kingdom or Colonies. The Extremists had openly challenged the government. For the nationalists, the idea of separate Hindu and Muslim identity had no natural basis and also the two communities were politically separated through the maneuvers of communal forces and imperial divide and rule.

The British officials treated the Muslims as a distinct political group in India. They were nominated to serve on the Imperial Legislative Council and on the Education and Public Service Commissions. Before the introduction of the elective principle into the constitution of rural local governments as a result of Ripon’s Reforms (1883), the Muslims were officially nominated to such bodies. The government of India resolutions of 23 October 1884 (which spoke of it being desirable to give Muslims exceptional assistance in some respects) and of 15 July 1885 (which assumed that the Muslims as such aspired to rival Hindus in State employment) “helped to endow the Muslims with a separate social as well as religious personality, which needed to be recognized in British policy.”

The British government saw clearly that the game of politics could no longer be played in India without helping the Muslims. By then, Punjab, Maharashtra and Bengal had emerged as vibrant regions of nationalism, and the government had no intention to tolerate any further consolidation of national aspirations. For Lord Curzon, it would serve plural objectives. First, the partition would appease loyal Muslims; second, it would effectively break-up integrated and united nationalist forces in Bengal; third, in turn, it would adversely affect Congress objectives of secular, national integration; and, finally, it would pave the way to Muslim unity and organization. It was, thus, the step to culminate the process of institutionalization of separatist, divisive and sub- nationalist forces. He did not hide the major purpose of the scheme of partition: it not only relieved administrative pressures, it also helped create a Muslim province, ‘where Islam would be predominant and its followers in the ascendancy.’ Lord Curzon’s favorite, Bampfylde Fuller, the first Lt. Governor of East Bengal, ‘openly announced a policy of preference for Muslims and prejudice against Hindus and deliberately embarked upon a campaign of repression and humiliation of the Hindus.’

The motives of the partition of Bengal, allegedly administrative, were really communal and religious and a beginning was being made by an imperial Christian power to drive a wedge between the two major communities of India, the Hindus and the Muslims. The reaction against the partition, also, spontaneous and universal, was largely religious—Swadeshi, Boycott, Sankirtan parties, temple worship at Kalighat and Nat Mandir, prayer, fasting, Rakhi Bandhan and so on and so forth.

After the foundation of the Muslim League and Minto’s concessions of separate electorates, weightage and reservation of seats to the Muslims naturally poisoned Hindu-Muslim relations. It was quite on the cards that the thought of Syed Ahmad dominated the Muslim community in spite of occasional opposition by individual Muslims. They were all Muslims first and Indians afterwards. The gulf thus created between two communities was further widened by designing Englishmen interested in the politics of divide and rule. Bampfydle Fuller, Lt. Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam, narrated a parable, “I said that I was like a man who was married to two wives, one a Hindu the other a Muhammedan—both young and charming—but was forced into the arms of one of them by the rudeness of the other.”

The partition of Bengal in 1905, according to Jalal, had provided the main motivation for the orchestration of the Muslim claim to separate political representation and the establishment of the self-professedly communal All-India Muslim League in December 1906. But it was the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 which institutionalized what until then had been a dominant colonial perception of the importance of religious divisions in Indian society by granting Muslims separate electorates in representative bodies at all levels of the electoral system. It gave Muslims the status of an all-India political category but one effectively consigned to being a permanent minority in any scheme of constitutional reforms. It had large consequences for regionally differentiated, economically disparate, and ideologically divided Muslims and, by extension, for Congress’ agendas of an inclusionary and secular nationalism.

The politics of ‘Divide and rule’ had approximately been continued up to early 1940s. For example in 1941 when Cabinet crisis of Bengal came to a head John Herbert a colonial governor of Bengal tried to use of this politics between fazlul Huq as a Muslim leader and Mookrejee as a Hindu leader, and also between Huq and Muslim League Party and sometimes complying with Muslim League in that province. From 1943 onwards, the political situation in India changed. The transfer of power and high politics of partition overwhelmed provincial politics.2 Finally, this politics caused to the religious communalism and that also caused to final partition of Bengalis between Muslim and Hindu (Pakistan and India) in 1947.

3) Demand of Separate Electorates in 1906

In the year 1906 something happened, which colored the whole subsequent national movement in India and had had far-reaching effects on the Hindu-Muslim relations. In 1906, Lord Minto, viceroy of India, had formed a committee to consider the necessity of further reforms for India. This immediately led to a Deputation of Muslims, headed by His Highness the Agha Khan, which met Lord Minto at Simla on October 1, 1906 and claimed separate electorates, i.e., communal representation from the Imperial Legislative Council down to the District Boards and weightage to Muslims as something which was absolutely essential to protect their legitimate Interests. Lord Minto was ready to accept the demands of the Muslims and said:

The pith of your address as I understand it, is a claim that in any system of representation, whether it affects a Municipality, a District Board or a Legislature, … the Mohammedan community would be represented as a body . . . you justly claim that your position should be estimated not merely on your numerical strength but in respect to the political importance of your community and service that it has rendered to the Empire. I am entirely in accord…. I am as firmly convinced, as I believe you to be, that any electoral representation in India would be doomed to mischievous failure, which aimed at granting a personal enfranchisement regardless of the beliefs and traditions of the communities composing the population of this continent.

However, Lord Minto gave them what they came for: an assurance that the administration would recognize them as the voice of India’s Muslims, who made up 20 to 25 percent of the population. The delegation promptly founded the Muslim League. As a British official had said, the meaning of the above meeting was “nothing less than the pulling back of 62 million of people from joining the ranks of the seditious opposition.”

The British willingly granted the Muslim League its main demands: reserved positions for Muslims in government jobs and separate Muslim electorates to choose representatives in any elected councils. This showed ‘an underrepresentation of Muslims in government service, but it was British policy not because Muslims were relatively more backward or oppressed than Hindus.’

Therefore, they showed an eagerness to agree, which almost amounted to an encouragement. And, the principle of separate electorates was accepted. It was introduced in the 1909 Reforms. The Hindus and Muslims were to vote separately for their respective nominees, as a result of which the Hindus and Muslims were never united in a real manner hereafter, except probably during the days of Khilafat for a short time. According to Aggarwala, it was as ‘the poison injected by Lord Minto into the body-politic of India.’ Because of this, some believe that ‘the real father of Pakistan was not Jinnah or Rahimattoola but Lord Minto.’

4) Communal Award

After repeated demands made by Muslim groups at some conferences, the British Prime minister declared a “Communal Award” which conceded to the Muslims almost all they had asked. With Indian representatives unable to agree over representation under the proposed reforms, the British government published its communal award for India in 16th August 1932, a step that both reinforced the notion that Indians identified themselves fundamentally by their religion, and seemed to indicate the continued presence of communal antipathy, something the reforms’ supporters counted on for their strategy’s success. Moreover, the controversy over separate representation for untouchables under the award, and the split between Gandhi and some high-caste Hindus over the question of untouchability, made more credible the idea that caste division would ultimately prevent any real Hindu political unity.

The contents of the Communal Award showed that Willingdon’s views on supporting the Muslim as their friends had finally prevailed. The Award conceded most of the Muslim demands. In the Punjab, Muslims were given 89 seats, an obvious majority of two. In Bengal the Muslims were allotted 119 seats, a majority of the Indian seats. Large weightage was given to Europeans so that they could maintain a balance between the two Indian communities. The Muslim demand for the continuation of separate electorates was also conceded.

The Communal Award, according to Mathur, made matters worse by providing separate electorates to depressed classes, Sikhs, Christians, Anglo- Indians and Europeans also.

5) Pro-Hindu Policy

Some pro-Muslim policies have been mentioned above. Here, the researcher discusses some reasons of the pro-Hindu policy. On the one hand, with the beginning of the World War I and affront of Turky and Britan the Muslims, on whose support the Government was so far relying, began to show signs of disaffection and their further appeasement appeared to be impossible. The Muslim sentiment could no longer be placated for British relations with the Sultan of Turkey, the revered Caliph of the Muslims, were gradually worsening because Turkey was on the side of Germany in the impending war between England and Germany. At the same time Muslim sympathy could not altogether be alienated because Muslim soldiers of the Indian army might be required to fight against the Turks—their co-religionists.

On the other hand, for Britain it was also unsafe to keep the Hindus as the majority community in a state of antagonism forever. Some issues such as; the partition of Bengal, undue favors shown to the Muslim minority, relentless repression of the nationalists and callous indifference to the demand for self-government had all annoyed the Hindus. Crewe and Hardinge therefore, formulated the policies that would soothe the ruffled mind of the Hindus without antagonizing the Muslims, and met the nationalist challenge concerning the transfer of responsibility. So, the British politics reversed to Hindus. The first shift in the pro-Hindu policy of the Viceroy was indicated by the annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911.


Communalism in a broad sense means a strong attachment to one’s own community. The community may refer to a region, religion, language or any other identity.

Communalism in India refers to the attachment of a person to his religious identity. The following points describe the various facets of Communalism in India

  1. The religious identity plays a major role in people who are practising communalism
  2. Communalism also means that people from one group of a religion treat people from other religion with hatred and contempt
  3. The extreme form of communalism leads to violence between two communities. The problem of communal violence is widespread in India. For Example, the violence between Hindus and Muslims

Burden of History

To begin with, the seeds of communal violence were sown by the British implementing the policy of ‘divide and rule’. To achieve the objectives of such policy, they introduced communal historiography, whereby the people were looked through the prism of their religion. Communalism arose due to the politics of Muslim Nawabs, Hindu Zamindars and Rajas and the British policy of divide and rule.

Gradually, the Hindu communalists blamed Muslim kings for temple destruction and forcible conversions, while Muslim communalists claimed that they had been the rulers of the country. This burden of history created an atmosphere of mutual hate amongst Hindus and Muslims.

Simultaneous rise of Nationalism and Communalism

In our country, the rise of nationalism and rise of communalism was almost simultaneous. In the 19thcentury, leaders of various organizations used religious consciousness to inculcate modern nationalism amongst the people. This resulted in not only the arousal of nationalism but also of communalism on the sidelines. By the turn of the century, national and communal identities started taking prominent shapes but still, the communalism was in sharp contrast with nationalism. For example, the terms like nationalist Hindus, nationalist Muslims and nationalist Sikhs used to be contrasted with those like communal Hindus, communal Muslims and communal Sikhs respectively. During the initial decades of 20th century, the communalism was overshadowed by the Nationalism because at that time, British imperialism was the main enemy of Indian masses. Thus, Hindu communalism’s anti-Muslim plank, and Muslim Communalism’s anti-Hindu plank were considered a diversion from the nationalist movement and thus got isolated for the time being.

However, soon afterwards, communal parties, Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha along with other communal formations started creating an atmosphere of mutual hate. The blame is put on British but both Hindu and Muslims also cannot be exonerated for their role in perpetuating violence.

Sectarian Politics and Partition of India

Partition was the final outcome of the British Policy of divide and rule, Muslim communal politics and Hindu communalism. The Muslim League, which was a representative of the interests of the Muslim elite, wanted maximum privileges for the rich Muslims. It stated that Muslims are 25% of the population, but for passing any legislation two-thirds majority is needed, so they should be granted one third representations in legislatures so that they can prevent anti-Muslim legislation. This demand was rejected and Jinnah later emerged as main leader of the Muslim league.  Later, the two nation theory came up and the Muslim league put forward the idea of separate nation for the followers of Islam. The Jinnah’s party never got more than 3.6 per cent of votes in elections, but was promoted by the British and instigated by the Hindu fundamentalists of the day. Thus, Pakistan was created out of western and eastern Muslim majority areas of India. During partition, the Muslims, mostly affluent left for Pakistan but a majority of the Muslims in this region chose to live here in India.

For more than 1000 years, Hindus and Muslims have inhabited this ancient land in somewhat perfect harmony. Their dwellings occupied a common landscape in primordial villages. Their children played and learned together. A chunk of stories are told about the comity of these two, tales of their acceptance of each other abound,  of donation of land to wealthy merchants from Arab who came to reside in what is now called Kerala, of giving daughters in marriage alliance to these wealthy merchants by locals Hindus. Bloody battles have been fought between kings who belonged to these communities but premise was mostly territory, religion the least. No credible evidence exist of religious violence among common masses leave alone riots.

Why then these two communities which were actually never two, which were never different, which embraced each other for so long are hell bent on confronting each other now. Why almost on the daily basis newspapers are replete with stories of violence in the name of religion.

Some 2500 years ago Buddhism and Jainism came to fore as a reaction to Brahminical ritualism that pervade the social milieu and made an indelible mark on Indian society by strengthening existing argumentative traditions (like Shashtratha) on religious discourse, imparting it a tolerant and pacifist character. Religion was discussed, debated and deliberated rather than being decided by swords.

With the invasion of Alexander from northwestern front, gate for further invasions was opened and this ensued attacks by Parthian, Greeks, Scythians, Huns , Shakas and other Central Asian tribes etc. These tribes came and settled in northern western region and got embedded in Hindu Varna System adoption same traditions and sometimes even same Gods and Goddesses. This veritable and disparate stream of tribes which never ceased approaching India gave Indian society a tolerant character.

Continued political invasions made people impervious to political changes that took place at highest level unless it affects their common social life. In this regard Indian villages were certainly little republics. This political tolerance engendered tolerance towards admission of social groups in Indian Society unless this induction creates a substantial turmoil in existing social order. With a certain amount of conviction it can be argued that Indian society was largely tolerant.

Islam that appeared in India was a tolerant, pacifist, and Sufis form of new religion as it came to India through merchants and traders predominantly rather than through Ghaznaviads and spread through Sufi order. It was this reason that it did not create any alteration in existing social order that already lay entrenched. The fairly accommodative contemporary political framework that carried forward the argumentative tradition under able administration diminished any probability of backlash against Islam. It is true in regard to village councils that existed and were inclusive of all caste and religions which rendered fair justice. It is believed that although there might have been no concurrence on certain matters, there was a fair “value consensus” on most matters and it got enforced through village councils, aided by a system of mutual exchange between both communities, which engaged in give and take of ideas and adoption of each other’s practices, rituals, thoughts and beliefs. In the long run, assisted by simple and independent village life, people intermingled, got enmeshed into a single community. There was an inherent sense of tolerance which led to non-interference in each other’s religious chores.

It is evident from revolt of 1857 when Hindus and Muslims fought against British on premise that both of us follow one God while British being Christian have faith in son of God so they are “kafir”. Cow slaughter was voluntarily given up at many places. This was remarkable instant of Hindu-Muslim unity based on their value consensus.

Having suppressed the revolt, the British advertently decided to erode this value consensus by creating fissures. But the major dent that British made was to have done away with the village councils which were carriers of value consensus.  Later both Muslim league and Hindu Mahashabha sided with the British in widening this gulf which eventually led to partition.

After partition Nehru picked up the threads of economic growth, some people were left behind two three generations. Identity politics that ensued, to get greater participation in this growth did indeed benefit some communities but the Muslim community was left behind. This adventure with identity politics led to polarization of society. For the purpose of grabbing power, all avenues of identity politics were exploited, religion was invoked, fear psychosis created and riots engineered.

What is often missed is that there were existing fissures that were exploited. Unplanned urbanization has led to lack of homogenization in Indian cities, or in other terms ghettoization has occurred which have led to alienation of communities. This has replaced tolerance that existed due to intermingling with ignorance due to lack of concern. In villages too, value consensus has eroded due to uneven development and due to lack of an all inclusive village council. What replaced them was exclusionary caste panchayats, which didn’t care about the overall value consensus and preached their own values. New generations lacked respect and concern for other community, which is a side-effect of consumerist culture. Terms like Mullaji, Khan Sahab, Chaudhary Sahab etc are no more in vogue and rightly so, but it shows the lack of comity and respect wielded earlier.

Media and communal politics created certain perceptions like many Hindus believe that Muslims are pro-Pakistan and therefore they reproduce more so that they can create a Pakistan out of India. A part of south Delhi dominated by Muslim population is often called “mini Pakistan”. Indian Muslims have come to believe that Hindus are kafirs and that they are responsible for eroding common composite culture called Ganga Jamuni Tahjeeb. These perceptions and erosion of value consensus have antagonized these communities and fissures flare up whenever someone incites them knowingly using agendas like “love jihad” or “cow or pig slaughter” and “honor of daughters and wives”.

These misperceptions need to be countered as in the face of a belligerent China and a complex world order, India has to create a niche for itself and fulfill dreams of peace and prosperity seen by our forefathers. Every majority community has a responsibility to make the minority communities feel protected and empowered to speak their mind. It is a sin to doubt the loyalty of any community to India but it is a travesty of our nation that minorities are made to prove their loyalty again and again. But those ignorant minds who doubt, should remember that Indian Muslims have proved it time and again. India fought four wars with Pakistan, during these times Pakistan tried to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims by inciting communal passions. But history is witness, Indians fought as one and not as Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs or whatever. Indian Muslims disproved Jinnah’s prophecy when he said that if congress “attempted to exert any pressure on Hyderabad every Muslim throughout whole of India, yes, all the hundred million Muslims would rise as one man to defend the oldest Muslim dynasty in India.” But Indian Muslims did not fight for Hyderabad, but they fought for India. How many Muslim names has one heard of involved in scams and scandals? Think and ask yourself who is the real patriot.

Misconceptions about fertility rate remains. The level of fertility may be higher in Muslims but the reason for this I believe is lack of awareness, non availability of contraception, mullah’s grip over naive people rather than any conspiracy. Evidence to prove my point is the low fertility rates among the educated Muslim families. Further, similar level of fertility was present in Hindus too, two or three generations ago. One can ask him or herself of how many children his or her grandmother had.


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