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They multiply extensively while the central thesis may be distilled into Indian ‘religiosity’. What perhaps becomes the clearest point of contradiction in Smith’s work is his explanation for religious riots. He created two categories of ‘communalism’ – middle and lower class communalism. Smith asserted that class and religion came together in quite arbitrary a fashion in order to create this conflict. That is, conflict generated by the lower class confronting the higher feudal class over matters of economic deprivation turns into communal conflict only because of the confluence of class and community.

They multiply extensively while the central thesis may be distilled into Indian ‘religiosity’. What perhaps becomes the clearest point of contradiction in Smith’s work is his explanation for religious riots. He created two categories of ‘communalism’ – middle and lower class communalism. Smith asserted that class and religion came together in quite arbitrary a fashion in order to create this conflict. That is, conflict generated by the lower class confronting the higher feudal class over matters of economic deprivation turns into communal conflict only because of the confluence of class and community.

However, when one examines his analysis of ‘communalism’ as a problem of ‘religiosity’, irrespective of his strong critique of colonial policy, we confirm that the real emphasis of the critique has not shifted in colonial discourse. Smith explains the religious roots of the problem much more explicitly than the others. Religiously, it [communalism] is a reversion to tribalism: group solidarity is one of the sources of religion and vice versa. Through the centuries, religion has developed to serve many other functions besides that elemental one of expressing the life of a closed fraternity; and the great world religions had thought to outgrow such restrictedness.

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A Historical and Theoretical Investigation into 'Communalism' by Sufiya Pathan


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