Organising of Hindu-Muslim “riots” became part of the British colonial strategy of “divide and rule”. This was especially the case after the Great Ghadar of 1857, in which people of all religions and castes had united.
The police forces of the British Raj worked in tandem with its spy agencies in spreading rumours to inflame passions and instigate revenge killings. The police officers were provided with manuals on how to deal with communal clashes. There were clear instructions to let the situation burn for a certain number of days, and only then intervene to restore law and order.
The so-called riots which the British rulers secretly organised served to destroy the unity of the Indian people. They provided a pretext for the colonial State to unleash widespread repression in the name of restoring order. It gave the British rulers the opportunity to declare that Indians were full of religious hatred and that maintaining harmony was the “white man’s burden”.
Large-scale killing of Hindus and Muslims took place in Bombay in 1874, in Lahore and Karnal in 1885, Delhi in 1886, Ludhiana and Ambala in 1889, Bombay again in 1893 and Bihar in 1893-94. The 1920s was also a decade when numerous incidents of communal violence took place, including in Multan, Malabar, Delhi, Nagpur, Lahore, Lucknow, Bhagalpur, Gulbarga, Shahjahanpur, Kakinada, Allahabad, Bombay, Calcutta and Aligarh.
The Hindustan Ghadar Party saw through the cunning and criminal methods of rule adopted by the British Raj. Through its regular publications in numerous Indian languages, the Ghadar Party exposed the truth that the so-called riots were not caused by religious hatred among the people. They were deliberately organised by the British as part of their method of rule.
Many examples of the wisdom of the Ghadaris is provided in the book recently published by the Communist Ghadar Party of India, titled “Call of the Ghadaris – Revolution”. One such example is the following article which appeared in October 1926, in a monthly publication of the Hindustan Ghadar Party, called The Independent Hindustan.
Causes of Hindu-Muslim Trouble – Reply to Lord Irwin
The Viceroy Lord Irwin, speaking on Hindu-Muslim disturbances at the Chelmsford Club, Simla, appealed to the leaders of the two communities “to compose their own differences”.
Why cannot the government keep peace and order with the most highly paid services at their beck and call, amidst a people that are disarmed, divided and famished?
The CID can follow the national leaders and report all their movements; can smell the communists and send them safely to jail; on mere suspicion spirit away highest executive officers of city corporations; and can make searches of houses at the dead of night and lock up innocents for many hours! The same CID, the same secret service and Scotland Yard could not trace the “goondas” and mischief mongers of Calcutta and other disturbed areas!
Moreover, though the Indian Princely States do not possess highly paid police or army or secret services, there are no riots worth the name between Hindu and Muslim subjects. Nay, their relations are mostly harmonious. In Hyderabad, there is a preponderant Hindu population under a Muslim ruler; in Kashmir there is a preponderant Muslim population under a Hindu ruler; there are big states like Mysore, Baroda, Gwalior, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Indore, etc., but there are no Muslim-Hindu feuds. What have you to say to this, Lord Irwin?