Abstract

Communalism is often characterised as a ‘virus’ eating away at society. The metaphor is arresting but inaccurate. Like all social phenomena, communalism is a product of human action and decision. Riots happen because people for a variety of reasons choose to take part in them. Conversely, a riot cannot occur if no one turns up. As we have seen, non-action or reaction undertaken in a spirit of communal compromise was much more the behavioural norm in early twentieth-century princely India than aggressive communal assertion—and perhaps continued to be so, on balance, down to the end of the monarchical period. Nevertheless, there are clear signs from the early 1930s that the established communal consensus in the princely states was starting to wear thin. This chapter looks first at the evidence for this proposition and then goes on to examine the factors and processes that changed irreversibly the communal climate of princely India during the late colonial period.

Keywords

Sugar Migration Propa Income Brittle 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    The Muslims had taken out a chaddar (‘offering’) procession as part of their Mohurrum celebrations. The Hindus were inaugurating a new Shiva temple. Although the rioters included some people from the surrounding villages, Shail Mayaram has proved that Meo participation in, and support for, the May riot was minimal. The majority of the crowd evidently comprised Julahas (weavers). Nor can we follow Pema Ram when he suggests that the urban Muslims were behind the Meo agitation of November 1932. They made use of it (see p. 92–3) but they did not start it. CID reports dated 27 May, 28 December 1932, NAI, Home/Pol. 43/3 of 1933; and Pema Ram, Agrarian Movement in Rajasthan, 1913–1947 (Jaipur, 1986).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Ian Copland 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Copland
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityAustralia

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