Read the Source D carefully. Do you agree with Iqbal’s idea of communalism? Can you define communalism in a different way?

Q.:-  Read the Source D carefully. Do you agree with Iqbal’s idea of communalism? Can you define communalism in a different way?

In 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, as president or the Muslim League, reiterated the importance of separate electorates for the Muslims as an important safeguard for their minority political interests. His statement is supposed to have provided the intellectual justification for the Pakistan demand that came up in subsequent years. This is what he said:
‘I have no hesitation in declaring that if the principle that the Indian Muslim is entitled to full land free development on the lines of his own culture and tradition in his own Indian home-lands is recognized as the basis of a permanent communal settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom of India. The principle that each group is entitled to free development on its own lines is not inspired by any feeling of narrow communalism …
A community which is inspired by feelings of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws, religions and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty according to the teachings of the Quran, even to defend their places of worship, if need be. Yet I love the communal group! which is the source of life and behaviour and which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby its whole past as a living operative factor in my present consciousness …
Communalism in its higher aspect, then, is indispensable to the formation of a harmonious whole in a country like India. The units of Indian society are not territorial as in I European countries … The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to India without recognizing the fact of communal groups.The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified…
‘The Hindu thinks that separate electorates are contrary to the spirit of true nationalism  because he understands the word “nation” to mean a kind of universal amalgamation in  which no communal entity ought to retain its private individuality. Such a state of things, however, does not exist. India is a land of racial and religious variety. Add to this the general economic inferiority of the Muslims, their enormous debt, especially in the Punjab, and their insufficient majorities in some of the provinces, as at present constituted and you will begin to see clearly the meaning of our anxiety to retain separate electorates.’



No, I do not agree with Iqbal’s idea of communalism. He believed that it is a quest for a community to develop on its own lines. He believed that religion is the basis on which thinking and behavior are based. He fell that religion gives persons a common culture and literature. He believed in the concept that Hindus and Muslims should exist as separate entities in India. This line of thinking encouraged separatism and ultimately led to the partition of the country.

We understand communalism now-a-days as having a negative connotation, i.e., it is understood as a conflict between people of different religions, which also can lead to violence between them. It has now become politics under the guise of religious conflict for extracting favors or favorable treatment by the government.

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