Explain how Indian partition was a culmination of communal politics that started developing in the opening decades of the 20th century.
The role and rise of different communal parties was an important factor for India’s partition. The Muslim League was founded in the year 1906 in order to work for the favour and interests of the Muslims. The demand for more political rights by the Muslims made the Hindus aware due to which Hindu Mahasabha was founded in the year 1915. They also demanded more political rights as well as representation in various government organisations for the Hindus.
Further, the Sikh League was founded and the Akali Dal also raised their voice in favour of the Sikh. As a result, such parties enhances communal feelings and brought feelings of separatism between the communities, particularly the Muslims and the Hindus.
Between the years 1920 and 1930, many such incidents took place which formed tensions like frequent riots and formation of many Hindu organisations that carried out Shuddi Karan or purification movement and initiated playing communal cards. Hindu identity was defined against the Muslim identity by the Hindu Mahasabha and music playing before the mosque became quite frequent.
Urdu became the language of the Muslims while Hindi became the language of the Hindus. There were enhanced communal feelings within Muslims and Hindus, whereby the Hindus were angered by the fast spread of propaganda or tabligh, and organization or tanzim, after 1923. Gaps between Muslims and Hindus widened because of such deliberate actions taken by these religious communities.
In the 1937 elections, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League, the communal parties, fared poorly. Apprehensive of their existence, both these parties initiated to use religion for securing the support of the masses. The British intelligently encouraged the Muslim League and when the Congress resigned in the year 1939, they received an invitation to create the government in the Provinces.
The British looking to weaken the National Movement now recognised that the Muslim League was, in fact, the only spokesperson of the Muslims and they were provided with the power to veto any political settlement. The League realised that all communal demands that were conceded by the British would barely give it anything when the nation became free due to which it demanded a distinct state as they feared domination by the Hindu majority when India would set itself free.