Competing Religious Nationalisms and the Partition of India
Pakistan Journal of History and Culture
Vol. 26, No. 2 (July-December 2005), pp 1-11
The competing Hindi-Muslim religious nationalisms played an important role in the partition of British India in 1947. Hindu nationalism and Muslim nationalism reinforced each other in such a way that the rise of the former led to the growth of the latter. The British colonial policy of ‘divide and rule’ might have contributed to sharpening the Hindu-Muslim nationalist divide, especially during a couple of decades preceding the partition. However, its principal cause was the emergence of Hindu revivalism in the late 19th century and Hindu domination of the Indian National Congress at the start of the 20th century, which forewarned the Subcontinent’s moderate Muslim leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah about the impending threat to Muslim survival in a post-colonial India politically dominated by an increasingly chauvinistic Hindu majority. The persecution of Muslims by chauvinistic Hindus in Hindu dominated provinces of British India in the late 1930s particularly strengthened the nationalist feelings of Muslims, which played a critical role in the creation of Pakistan. Full Text