I know that Emperor Akbar did a lot of hard work to make Hindus and Muslims closer e.g. marrying Hindu women, manufacturing a new religion named "Din-e-ilahi", etc. He also had Hindu generals e.g. Raja Man Singh, et.

Maratha king Shivaji Bhonsale-I had Muslims in his army. Muslim soldiers fought the Durrani army during the 3rd battle of Panipat on behalf of Marathas.

So, when did the Hindu-Muslim split start in India?

I am here to try to identify a point in time (if there is any) when it started to walk in the wrong direction. The Wikipedia article starts its discussion from 1909, which, I don't think, is a correct point in time as the Hindu-Muslim animosity existed long before that. The Diplomat article talks about why we should not blame British Raj. I am not blaming British Raj at all. I am trying to find a point in time.

My theory is that it started after the British takeover of India when Hindus started to be aware of Indian nationalism:

  1. British colonialists consciously created this divide e.g. the Enfield rifle incident.
  2. British colonialists kind of liked Hindus because of their loyalty, and also eagerness to learn Western customs as opposed to Muslims, etc. So, they were favored.
  3. Hindus went to Europe for higher studies and learned about the Napoleonic conquests and the concept of "Nationalism". As a result, they started to visualize themselves as a nation (historically, India was divided into a multitude of princely states who were often not on good terms with each other).

Am I correct?

  • 1
    Please document your preliminary research; at a minimum, every question should address why Wikipedia is insufficient. In this case I'd also like to understand why the results of a google search don't answer the question.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 16:23
  • I'd add the Indian Councils Act of 1909 to your list as well. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 16:31
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    It doesn't make much sense to try to identify one discrete cause of "the split". Over time, the meanings of Hindu and Muslim have continually shifted, concepts of group and individual identity have shifted, and the ways that political actors have tried to use these concepts to gain power have changed again and again. It is likely that British colonialism had a significant impact on Indian concepts of religion, identity and politics, but it's naive to believe there was ever a period of perfect intercommunal harmony. Check out Jim Laine's Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 16:48
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    OK - but that information needs to be in your question. You're asking us to do research on your behalf, and you haven't summarized the research that you've done so far. We're really trying to avoid situations where the OP rejects answers because they'd already considered and discarded that approach.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


I don't want to discount the corrosive influence of British colonialism. But you could point to the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb as ratcheting up tensions between Hindus and Muslims, particularly his reimposition of the jizya tax on non-Muslims. The jizya tax was one of the reasons for the Jat rebellion. All of this was well before British colonialism, so it would partially refute your hypothesis.

There's a tendency to attribute all of the present-day communal conflict in India as a consequence of colonialism. The British exacerbated these conflicts intentionally where it was convenient, and that was true in all of their colonial holdings -- not just India. But these conflicts nonetheless pre-dated colonialism.

  • Your answer doesn't touch all the three points I supplied with. Especially the Hindu nationalism one. Besides, as I already pointed out, Shivaji had Muslim soldiers and possibly commanders in his army. Please, give a comprehensive analysis.
    – user52230
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 16:11
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    @user366312 Your objection seems like a non-sequitur to me. How does participation in one kingdom's army undo the effects of a different kingdom's policies?
    – Spencer
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 17:00
  • @Spencer, I don't know. You tell me.
    – user52230
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 17:02