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By Sufiya Pathan

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Example text

Let me employ an analogy to express the kind of mistake involved in this reasoning. To explain the idea of ‘mass’ we cannot simply assert that different objects have different weights. Certainly it is to be observed that different objects have different weights. However, that is neither a definition of ‘mass’ nor an explanation for weight. It would be as easy to build a correlation between size and weight for instance. ) This statement is a correct observation but is not an explanation. Similarly, it is correct to say that there is historical evidence for violence in Indian society.

These ‘factors’ became an endless list which could be compounded arbitrarily on either local, national, linguistic, class or caste bases. Thus the cause-effect swapping that we encounter in attempting definition is clearly visible here as well. Given the stable supposition of religious antagonism, differences were both cause and effect of ‘communalism’. For instance, the Hindus and Muslims did not intermarry because of antagonism; because they did not intermarry, the antagonism deepened. While Manshardt’s account seems easy to recognize as inflated by arbitrary factors of all kinds, others seem more convincing.

The slaughter of kine excites the Hindu, and has been the proximate cause of communal rioting in nine cases out of ten. Disturbances of mosque prayers by passing bands of Hindu processionists rouses the darkest passions of Muslim worshippers and has been a frequent preliminary to serious disorder, especially in the larger cities during the last twenty years. Disputes regarding the sites of sacred buildings have been another source of trouble, and a still more fertile cause has 49 Since the thesis takes up a detailed investigation of colonial discourse in coming chapters, we need here only a representative section of mature colonial thought on ‘communalism’.

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