Communalism refers to the conflicting interests of followers of different religions or of different religious ‘communities’ that are seen to be mutually incompatible, antagonistic and hostile.
To look upon the communal problems in India simply as the Hindu-Muslim question based on religious antagonism between them is misleading.
The communal problem at its base was more politically motivated than religiously oriented.
Apart from the Hindus and the Muslims British acted as a third party in the communal triangle.
They interposed themselves between the Hindus and the Muslims and thus created a communal triangle of which they remained the base.
They were neither the true friends of the Muslims nor the foes of the Hindus. They were the true friends of British rule in India and their Imperial interest. They acted on the tried and tested maxim of Divide and Rule.