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By Sufiya Pathan

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However, it is ‘divide and rule’ that takes centre-stage. 59 There is no clear axis along which claims to ‘nationalist thought’ may be made. The Muslim League in its anti-colonial phase may also be dubbed nationalist. But on the question of ‘communalism’ it would create a great deal of confusion to club the two parties in one category. I hope that the later chapters of this thesis will help clear some of that confusion. For now, I only investigate the position as it emerged in what has been considered the dominant nationalist frame, that of the Congress party.

Smith seems to take on a very novel approach to the problem. However, when one examines his analysis of ‘communalism’ as a problem of ‘religiosity’, irrespective of his strong critique of colonial policy, we confirm that the real emphasis of the critique has not shifted in colonial discourse. Smith explains the religious roots of the problem much more explicitly than the others. Religiously, it [communalism] is a reversion to tribalism: group solidarity is one of the sources of religion and vice versa.

31 See for instance Communal Road to a Secular Kerala by George Mathew (1989). 32 For instance, Khushwant Singh and Bipan Chandra call for a mass educational programme against communalism, that will make people realise they are essentially “secular and healthy” and that communal attitudes do not go with their “personality and ideology” (Singh and Chandra 1985: 62). 33 Amartya Sen in ‘The Threats to a Secular India’ (1993). 28 time. It is a phenomenon peculiar to India34 or one that is particularly visible in a variety of forms and goes by a variety of names from ethnic violence to ‘tribalism’ in South Asia35.

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