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.


Communal Violence Princely State Communal Parti Chief Minister Punjab State 
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Copyright information

© Ian Copland 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Copland
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityAustralia

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