By Mahdi Asgari

The British role in Indian policy against Muslims

March 14, 2020 - 14:22

TEHRAN - India’s Muslims have taken to streets these days to protest the citizenship amendment act (CAA), and extremist Hindus who run the government violently have confronted them. What has triggered the Muslims to protest is the law that will deprive a large number of the Indian Muslim minority of citizenship.

There are many assumptions and arguments about the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, which ultimately led to the separation of Pakistan (as an Islamic state) from India in 1947. One of the most important causes of conflicts between Muslims and Hindus were British policy during their colonization in the Indian subcontinent. The consequences of this policy today have effected Muslims and Hindus.

To realize the role of British policies in these events one has to look back at two centuries earlier when India was Britain’s colony.

In 1857 the indigenous people of India (Hindus and Muslims) revolted against British colonialism, a move that was suppressed by the British government. Britain considered Indian Muslims as the main element of the uprising. Therefore, it made every effort to undermine Muslim groups, ranging from dismissing Muslims from administrative positions to obstructing their economic affairs. But the most important plan to weaken Muslims was to cause disagreement between Hindus and Muslims. In this regard, Lord Edward Ellenborough, the governor-general of India at the time said, “It cannot be ignored that the Muslim nation is, due to the nature of its religion, our serious enemy. So our real plan is to please the Hindus”.

Regarding the plan, Mountstuart Elphinstone said, “Divide and rule! This is a slogan we have to rely on in running India”.

According to this British policy, Hindus should have considered themselves superior to Muslims. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that Britain was successful in implementing the plan. In 1876, for example, Hindus waged a language conflict against the Muslims. Initially, Hindus replaced Hindi language with the Urdu language, so the Hindi alphabet was replaced the Arabic alphabet. 

Britain seemed victorious in pursuing its policy, as after a while the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims increased to the point that India authorities were desperate to unite them. 

It should be noted that the policy of causing disunity also affected Mahatma Gandhi. But how?

In 1921, Gandhi launched the civil disobedience movement.  Based on the movement, any cooperation with the British government was forbidden, people should not go to courts and they should not join the army. The first group that joined Gandhi in this movement was the Indian Muslims. After some time the Hindus took part in the movement, everything was ready for a great unity that could help the Indian people to reach their goal, which was India’s independence. 

Following a strange event, Gandhi dropped the movement forever. 

Jawaharlal Nehru, one of India’s great activist, said, “The order to stop the campaign at a time that seemed we had strengthened our positions and progressed in all aspects made us angry. After months of worry and anxiety, the government breathed a sigh of relief and took the initiative”.

Ayatollah Khamenei analyzed the reason of canceling the movement, saying, “Gandhi assumed that the national movement of India would soon be fruitful, and as Muslims had more prominent role in this public movement, they have a greater history of effort and promotion, after the victory, they would maintain their superiority... and this is not something a Hindu (though this person is Gandhi) can easily tolerate. Gandhi would have preferred India to continue to be a British colony, but the Muslims would not govern it".

This is what can be noticed from Gandhi’s remarks as well, “if you dissect me, I will not be separated from my religion. I love Hinduism even more than my life”.

It seems that Hindu Supremacism roots in Britain’s policies and has continued to this day. Extremist Hindus today, with the help of the Hindu government, are trying to deprive Indian Muslims of citizenship under the CAA. The law that has been associated with the silence of human communities. 

Indian Muslims are not “blonde” and “blue-eyed” so the widespread killing has not concerned any human communities, in other case killing 40 and wounding 200 people in one day (February 23, known as Black Sunday), would be a hot button issue for media outlets everywhere in the world.