Friday, September 30, 2022

Churchill: On Hindus and Muslims

Sardar Patel

“While the Hindu elaborates his argument, the Moslem sharpens his sword. Between these two races and creeds… the gulf is impassable” ~ Winston Churchill in a speech at Albert Hall on 18 March 1931

Churchill developed his facile impression of the difference between Muslims and Hindus in the 1890s, when he was posted in the North West frontier region of the Indian subcontinent. During this period he developed a close relationship with the warlike Muslim tribes which dominated the North West frontier, and he became convinced that the Muslims were a fighting race. He thought that the warlords and fundamentalist preachers who were the natural leaders of the warlike Muslims could easily be cajoled, by granting them financial and territorial incentives, to fight for the British empire, He did not have any faith in India’s Hindu population because he viewed them as people who were mired in seemingly interminable political and moral arguments, and were led by lawyers and philosophers, who wanted to avoid wars and considered peace a virtue. 

In the 1940s, Churchill not only helped Muhammad Ali Jinnah in establishing Pakistan, he was also in favor of turning the province of Hyderabad, which then covered the entire Deccan plateau, into an independent Islamic nation. Fortunately, he lost the election in 1945. The new prime minister Clement Attlee was not in favor of promoting Islamism in the Indian subcontinent. In September 1948, through the decisive military action ordered by Sardar Patel, Hyderabad became a part of India.

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