Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Friday, April 01, 2005

Communalism and The Indian Musalmans...

Fortunately, I got to take a look at "The Indian Musalmans" - an excellent and path-breaking, influential book which has since the time it was published has had an an impact on the minds of people even till today.

A master piece by W W Hunter. If only he had been true to his statement of not generalising a case of Bengal to the whole of India, the idea of partition may not have got so deeply rooted amongst the Muslim elite. Read on...

Key Words/ Names/Phrases: Crusades, Muslims, Christians, Black Hole Tragedy
(It is claimed that it may have/may not have occurred ) and Siraj-ud-dowlah, 1857 Revolt led by Bahadur Shah and other Muslim leaders (NOTE: The war was fought under the Last Mughal Emperor of the then India), Continuation/Increase of the Christian-Muslim Strife, Bengal Muslims' Plight, First Census of India (1871).

The above are various things that happen in the pre-W W Hunter era. Drawing inspiration from all these events with the help of statistical data and inferences drawn from those emerges W W Hunter's "The Indian Musalmans" - wherein W W Hunter presents an argument for the betterment of the living status of the Indian Musalmans.

(Note: All his observations were based on the statistics drawn of Bengali Muslims. He honestly mentions this before he went on write his analysis. But unfortunately he goes on to generalise the observations of Bengal to the whole of India - which leads to a lot of problems).

His argument was - to put it simply - this - The British officials because of their enmity and bitterness towards Muslims which is in continuation of their age-old traditional bitterness in terms of Crusade or in terms of 1857 war etc. etc., have not created opportunities for the betterment of the Muslims in terms of modern education,and in terms of the jobs they held with the administration - (Civil Services) - whereas in contrast - the Hindus have been doing farely well in the area. He points out that the race which was in power not long ago and enjoyed administrative powers was deprived of basic facilities that a dutiful Government of the British should provide them with. He holds in contempt all the activities of the
British which led to impoverishment of the Musalmans (who then constituted about 46.3% of the population in Bengal [both East and West]), which according to him was detrimental and a blot on British Government. To support his argument he presents many a statistics from various corners.

[Note: There are other arguments which are taken up today which show that generalising done by W W Hunter to represent the Indian Muslims using a sample of Bengal is incorrect as the statistics at other places show that the Muslims were not all that backward as was claimed ]

This argument was so powerful that it is still held in respect even today. In fact, this argument was used by many a Muslim leader from then on to extract benefits from the British Administration in their favor. Interestingly, even the Indian National Congress falls for the same argument. This begins the concept of luring the Muslims which continues even today and the "actual" plight is always set aside, by people
including the Muslim leaders. There has been a political exploitation which kept continuing.

Now in order to know the designs of the Muslim elite who exploited the situation to their political favour - one should look at the following:

Though I wouldn't want to start a controversy, please do look at :

a) Formation of Muslim League
b) Muslim League's Opposition to Open Competition based selection of Civil
c) Minto Morley Reforms (Understand the "Nation within a nation"

Once you look at this, a continuing policy of favors "demanded" by Muslim
League continues which ultimately results in what we today know as "Partition of India".

It would be interesting to see the whole thing in the light of Wahhabi Movement, Wahhabi Movement in India,Shah Wali Ullah (1703-1762),Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1823), Dar-ul-Islam (House of Islam), Dar-ul-Harb (House of War), Sir Syed Ahmed Khan - Aligarh Movement, Bankim Chandra's Anand Math.

The development of the theory of communalism has different takes. Currently we are trying to look at the roots. The current status has a lot of other angles to look at. The right wing - RSS/VHP growth and their ideology as opposed to the Muslim League and the politics of the INC first and then Congress (I) later and BJP much much later and the various political parties finally leads to the current complex world of Secularism/Pseudo-secularism which is closely linked with the understanding of "Communalism" (interesting though - this is a very Indian term - coined by Indians)

I shall continue this take after some time too.. I think linking up all the key phrases above shall make another post in itself. For those interested, you may go through the following links:
(I forewarn you that the links are views expressed by the author and I have no special agreement with the same - But it contains things of historical value which can be extracted)

There are other papers too on which can be looked at.


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