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Factors responsible for the rise of communalism and its culmination into partition

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1. Formation of the Muslim League (1906).

2. The League supported the Bengal Partition, demanded special safeguards for Muslims in government service, and put forward with the help of Lord Minto the demand for separate electorate and got it accepted (1909).

It preached that the interests of the Muslims were different from those of the Hindus and opposed every nationalist and democratic demands of the Congress.

3. The British used the League to counterpoise the rising nationalism. The British also encouraged the League to approach the Muslim masses and assume their leadership.

4. The pro-Turkey sentiment due to the unsympathetic British attitude towards Turkey during the 1st World War and the years preceding it became anti-imperialist in India. It influenced nationalist Muslim young men but was not based on the understanding of modern secular politics.

5. Tremendous increase in the habit of looking at political questions from religious point of view i.e., communalization of politics.

6. The ‘Lucknow Pact’ of 1916 accepted the pernicious principle of separate electorates and brought the educated Hindus and Muslims together (not the Hindu and Muslim masses) as separate political entities.

This left the way open to the future resurgence of Communalism in Indian politics.

7. The Montford Reforms and Government of India Act 1919 extended the communal electorates to include the Sikhs.

8. The frustration resulting from the withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement was taken advantage of by communal elements and this resulted in numerous communal riots. Even Swarajists were split by communalism.

The responsivists’ (Malaviya, Lajpat Rai, N. C. Kelkar) offered cooperation to the government so that so called Hindu interests might be safeguarded.

9. The appointment of the Simon Commission (1927-30) and the Round Table Conferences at London (1930-32) that followed brought the Muslim League into activity. The Communal Award (1932) of the British Government further widened the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims.

10. The provincial elections of Feb. 1937 organized on the basis of restricted franchise and separate electorates further produced separatist sentiments.

The electoral results of the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha were abjectly poor. The landlord and moneylender parties also fared badly.

They began to shift their support to the communal parties. It was now that the Communalism entered the fascist phase and communal parties began to gather strength.

11.Jinnah, now bitterly opposed to Congress spread the cry that the Muslims minority was in danger of being engulfed by Hindu majority, propagated the two nation theory (i.e., Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations and thus never reconcilable), and ultimately demanded (Lahore Session of the League, 1940) partition and creation of Pakistan.

12.In the August Offer (1940), the Viceroy, Linltithgow refused to accede to the war time national demand saying that power could not be transferred to a body whose authority was denied by large and powerful minority (i.e. the Muslim League).

13. The Cripps Mission (1942), proposed the exercise of the discretion by the provinces to negotiate independently and this was highly objectionable to the Congress.

The League, however, rejected the offer as now it was demanding a definite declaration in favour of the creation of a separate Muslim state and seats on a 50:50 basis with the Congress.

14. Jinnah’s stubbornness in sticking to the League’s right to nominate all the Muslim members of the new executive council together with Wavell’s unwillingness to sign any agreement with the Congress alone led to breakdown of the negotiations at the Shimla Conference (1945).

The Viceroy’s action implied not only that of an official recognition of the League monopoly to speak for all Muslims and thereby inflating its stature in the Muslim eyes but also of conceding to the League in substance the power to negate any future negotiations that did not suit its own convenience. The policy of Divide and Rule was at its zenith.