Nastik Nation Desk: ~
The struggle for India’s independence from the colonial rule sometimes started taking fire from religious sentiments, sometimes brutality of the rulers. In some cases it was not against the rulers but the landlords that colluded with the rulers who exploited the lower castes economically, physically and sexually.
One example in favour of this argument is Sipoy mutiny. The provocation to the struggle was some religious feeling, though you cannot label it as a complete religious revolt. It really was a struggle for independence, with such a mass participation and scale of support from the public.
The most popular leader of the time, Gandhi himself had kept his religious sentiment in vivid voice. He always used his religious affinity at the core of everything he did, including the Indian independence. He was enough broad-minded to accommodate and understand the religious sentiments of people from other faiths too, yet he was devoid of keeping a modern secular view on the compartmentalization of religion and politics. In fact he mixed it up conveniently to win independence. This could be one reason Gandhi did nothing to save Bhagat Singh from the death penalty, who was not just secular but against faiths of all colours too. Historians say he could have saved Bhagat Singh from the noose employing his enormous popularity and influence on the British. But he did nothing for the greatest of independence heroes during the struggle. It is worth pointing out that Bhagat Singh was an outspoken atheist.
India has a very long history of religion playing a very good part in wars for power and land. The invaders first came with regiment to win the land, once they did it successfully they used religion to sustain their power at later points in time. Yes, this happened across the world too with differing dimensions. We must say India is not an exception. To make out this point well, let us see the caste system of India juxtaposing the struggle for Independence. The caste system survived across all those supremacy of Muslim and Western rulers, despite it was not the religious aspect of the then ruling classes for the simple reason that it was a great tool for exploiting a majority of the population. And they knew that it had been working well, and it was convenient and advantageous if they supported the system.
Where ever the Muslim rulers established their rule, they imposed Islam on the people forcibly or otherwise; why they had left out on India is not so perplexing if you understand the advantage of caste system in exploiting the masses especially the working class. The Muslim rulers never bother to convert their subjects to Islam as they still do anywhere in the world.
In the time of the new controversy connected with a movie in the making, that is said to be glorifying a leader of Malabar revolution, hiding his so called atrocities against the Hindus, a re-gathering of the historical facts is helpful in understanding that religion was a great player even in our struggle for independence.
Malabar mutiny started off as a struggle for economic freedom, once well-to-do Muslim community of Malabar was pushed to poverty by the landlords seizing their land during the western colonial rule. Muslim rulers such as Tippu were defeated by the colonizers and the people who supported him and belonged to his religion was treated unjustly and their lands were taken away from them. During the course of time they went down in the social system. The Muslims of Malabar fought back with the support of the lower caste Hindus in some cases, who were equally exploited by the then social system. So though Malabar revolution was a struggle for economic freedom, it turned a religious one at some points, as all other political struggle did along the modern history of India. But you should not completely take it either for a religious struggle or a civil one. It could be a mix of both.