The British had good reason to encourage disunity between Hindus and Muslims. A handful of foreign officials were in charge of a population numbering hundreds of millions. The rulers depended in the last resort on an army in which Indians numbered Europeans two to one. In case India presented a united front against them, the British could not have remained in the country for a fortnight. Indeed, they could not have conquered it in the first place. The history of the British in India offers many examples of this strategy of `divide and rule`.
In the twentieth century there was the partition of Bengal. But it is undeniable that the British made use of divisions among Indians to prop up their rule. It is not fair to put the blame for the divisions on them alone. Congress and Khilafat leader Muhammad Ali threw some revealing light on this subject when he remarked to a British official at the first round table conference, `in India we divide and you rule.`