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Partition looking back

By J L Tiku

“Divide et impera was the old Roman motto, and it should be ours”

- Mountstuart Elphininstone

“I have no quarrel with Mr.Jinnah or Pakistan. We are opposed to the principles on which the edifice of Pakistan has been raised. Everyone knows that foundation of Pakistan has been laid on greed, hatred and communalism. The two nation theory was hymen of hate against non-Muslims. This hate was fanned by the British in order to use it as a justification for the division of India.”

“With pillage and murder the structure of Pakistan was built. The bones of thousands of innocent Hindus and Muslims form the bricks of this edifice. The God of Sheikh Abdullah is also the God of Hindus but the God of Pakistan is the exploiter. If any one wants to know what Pakistan is he could see Pakistan with his own eyes. In the beginning innocent Muslims were told that their lot would improve by getting a separate homeland. But now when Pakistan has come into being the lot of Muslims has become worse.”

“We 40 lakh Kashmiris unitedly resisted the aggressors. We shall prefer death rather than join Pakistan. Pakistan is the place where our daughters and sisters were sold for a paltry sum by the raiders. We shall have nothing to do with such a country.”

- Sheikh Abdullah on assuming office as PM of J& K, in a public meeting at Jammu

On 15th of August India became independent and Pakistan was officially born a day earlier There was no rejoicing, no processions, not even by Muslim League. The advent of Pakistan was marred by fires raging in various parts of the country, corpses littering many places and a stench that had come to be known as Pakistani Boo.

Rahmat Ali had coined the word ‘Pakistan’ for a separate nation for Muslims and Jinnah delivered it. Pakistan’s name was composed of letters taken from the names of Punjab, Afganhia, Kashmir, Iran, Sindh, Tukhkaristan, Afganistan and Baloachistan. It meant the land of the spiritually pure and clean - the Paks. Muslims living in some territories were spiritually more pure and clean than other Muslims? Exclusion of Bengal in the East and Hyderabad in the South from what Rahmat Ali called the Paks is perplexing.

The genesis of the Pakistan demand lay in the failure of the Muslim and Hindu elite groups to agree on how to share the fruits of office and independence. British decision to handover the power they had mostly wrested from the Muslims to all the peoples of sub-continent became the bone of contention. It had become amply clear that the authority would vest with the majority. To the Muslims, majority rule meant Hinduisation, or the breakup of all that he held dear. The Muslim elites began to think in terms of a separate state not because the Muslims of India would not survive without it but because in separate state they would be the ruling class. The arrogant assumption of racial superiority by many of the Moslem leaders and tactless speeches of the Hindu revivalists created friction and proved a fundamental source of partition. Muslims elites were harbouring potent fears that an industrialized India would mean a Hindu India. The Hindu was a financer and businessman. Finally the Muslims had most cherished memories of empire and fears of servitude; the Hindus had the reverse. It was not, therefore, surprising that when Hindus stretched out for independent, democratic nation the Muslims cried for Pakistan.

It is usually assumed by Muslims that the majority of them represent the conquerors of India in past ages contrary to fact that the great majority of Muslims in India are Indians of Indian descent. Some of these are no doubt the result of forcible conversion. In general conversion was a sporadic process resorted to in times of capture of a city and the looting of towns during the victory, but there were times when this was done on considerable scale. After the Muslim invasion, the Hindu society unable to assimilate the invaders, that is unable to assign them a place in the hierarchy of castes, placed them outside the pale. Eight hundred years later, it gave the same response to the British occupation. But so long as Muslims were the ruling class they could not feel and therefore did not resent the social exclusiveness of the Hindus. But when they lost their political power, the social insularity of Hindus proved quite galling to the Muslims.

Starting from early 19th century the various milestones can be traced for the development of events that led to the partition.

Genesis of the Partition

Macaulay’s Minutes

In 1813 the John Bull Company was compelled by the charter act to spend £10,000 a year on the promotion of learning in India. Learning meant useful knowledge not the fables of Hindu mythology or the Islam was argued by some. The crisis was resolved in 1835 by Bentick with the help of Macaulay. Henceforth the content of learning was to be European Science and English literature and the medium of instruction to be English. Simultaneously, English instead of Persian as the language of government business and in the higher courts of law was adopted. Macaulay said in his minutes - There would be a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals and in intellect and they would be the interpreters of Western civilization to the Indian masses. If Macalauy’s words meant anything they meant a threat to the whole Hindu and Muslim intellectual structure. Hindus during the many centuries of Muslim rule had learnt Persian and Urdu and served the Muslims. Now the Hindus learned English and joined subordinate services in the British administration. Cultural heritage of Hindus made them receptive to new ideas.

The Muslim elite on the other hand, declared that the learning of English was the high road to infidelity. Muslims had reached India as conquerors. Obedience to the infidels was no part of their faith. In the meantime the British ruled and the Hindus replaced the Muslims as the dominant middle class. A century later when Pakistan woke up to reality with the departure of hated ‘kafirs’ there were no one to run banks, offices,   hospitals,   Macaulay   minutes   are   still continuing to pay the Indian society by wining the out sourcing jobs from West.

Dar-ul-Harb & Wahabi Movement

Since the beginning of the 19th century the Islamic world had been troubled by a puritanical movement of fanatics directed against infidels and corrupt Mohammedan. The wahabis as the fanatics were called, crushed in Arabia by Ibrahim Pasha found a fruitful soil for their agitation in India.

Musalmans had lost their position as a great political power in the country. They attributed their fall from political power to the fall from the ideals of Islam and exhorted people to go back to the early teachings of Islam. One of the early wahabis was Moulvi Shariatullah of Bhadpur (Faridpur in Bengal), having spent twenty years in Arabia he returned in the first decade of nineteenth century started a sect known as Farazi. Some years latter a Wahabi movement was started by Syed Ahmed Brelvi of Rai Bareili with branches all over India in first half of nineteenth century. He initiated Jihad against Sikhs in Punjab, declaring it as Dar-ul-Harb. British were aware of it but did not interfere as it was directed against Sikhs. Syed Ahmed attacked Punjab through the Khyber pass in 1824 and continued his war with varying success until he captured Peshawar in 1830. He was killed in a battle in 1831 and the army dispersed thereafter establishing their head quarter at Sattana in Swat valley.

The whole episode is illustrative of the policy of divide and rule. So long as Sikhs were thorn in the side of British the musalmans were encouraged to carry Jihad against them. Once the Sikhs had been defeated and the Punjab conquered, the jihadis were declared rebels against the British and were convicted and sentenced and their entire organization broken up.

1857 Mutiny

Muslims of Bengal had suffered during permanent settlement of Bengal, and were hardly sympathetic to British cause, so were Muslims of Delhi, Agra and Avadh with the disgruntled Amirs, disillusioned Talukdars. Punjabi Muslims however, were loyal and satisfied. The 1857 mutiny was a realistic last-ditch attempt by the Muslims to prevent the consolidation of British power. It was the final act of a defiant people who ruled India for 800 years. They lost the battle, which could have redeemed them the lost empire and the fortunes of the former rulers of India. The prominence of the last mogul emperor and the Awadh nobility in the revolt resulted in blaming the Muslim community as a whole by British. However, Punjabi Muslims after mutiny became the special favourite of British, a favouritism which they exploited throughout. Later, the Muslims of UP were rescued by the efforts of Sayyid Khan who remained loyal to British throughout the mutiny.

Muslims as a rule had been attached to military careers. Post 1857 the new regime had however no use for them in the army. Deprived of their traditional army careers, it was extremely difficult for the Muslims to transform themselves immediately into civilian Babus. Thus the classes which had been in the forefront of society had to step aside and make room for the new English speaking intelligentsia who could understand and help to work in the new system.

To the Muslims of India defeat became the will of God. Men having failed must turn to God. They did. Hindus had merely changed their masters. The more money the Hindus made the more English education they acquired, built the Muslims more mosques. The Muslims in India built more mosques under British Raj than under the whole of Moghul empire. The leadership of the Indian Muslims passed from powerful emperors and nobility to religious revivalists.

First Pakistani aversion to Democracy

One of the few Muslims who remained loyal to British during the mutiny was Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-98), founder of Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, which later became famous as the Aligarh Muslim University. Sayyid tried to get the former Muslim aristocracy back into mainstream of life in the new India of the 'infidels'.

In the second half of nineteenth century a strong lobby of British opinion emerged, which held that, the raj had been harsh on the Muslims. But before the British could trust the Muslims they had to be assured that there was no likelihood of another mutiny. The way for better understanding between the Muslims and the British was pointed out by Sir Sayyid Ahmed by disapproving Muslim participation in politics. He opined that education of musalmans had not yet reached a stage when they could be trusted to confine themselves to constitutional agitation and that if they were roused they might once again express their discontent the way they had done in 1857 and their participation in political agitation would be to them detrimental,

English education brought with it the ideas of freedom and democracy. Under the inspiring leadership of a number of great Hindu men, the nationalists began to ask 'inconvenient' questions to the British government, (like the demand for holding civil services examination simultaneously in India. The new angle of approach mattered far more than their isolated expression through one grievance or another. To counteract this disturbing tendency, the British now tended to draw the Muslims, so far looked upon with disfavour, under its protecting wings. Government favour turned from the Indian bourgeoisie to the Mohammedan landlords.

Democracy in short was against the best interests of two minorities in India - the British and the Muslims as it would eventually mean majority rule. The British government openly disapproving Congress desire for a democratic form of government, found a useful instrument in Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who basking in the sun of British approval, did his best to direct his Patriotic Association against the Congress. The grateful government rewarded him with KCSI. Sayyid wanted all good things of Europe except democracy.

He believed that if Muslims joined Indian National Congress the second phase of their ruin would begin. In a democratic system the Muslims would become a permanent minority. He earnestly desired the crescent and the cross being united should shed their light over India. Although some Muslims did join the congress, by and large Sir Sayyid’s viewpoint prevailed so long as he lived. Subsequent years saw Sayyid’s followers abandoning political isolation in 1906, when Muslim League was found at Dacca and demanded a state for themselves in 1940.

Not without some justification the Muslim elite viewed the prospect of democratic India with great apprehension. This attitude became so ingrained in the Muslim elite mind that it was carried into post-independence period and prevented the rulers of Pakistan from seeking any kind of mass participation in the government of the new state. The weaning away Sir Syed Ahmed from nationalism was largely attributed to Mr, Beck who was principle of AO College, Aligarh from 1883 to 1899. Beck had lot of bearing on the approach Sir Syed Ahmed adopted.

Status of Favourite Wife

The Government was haunted by the trouble in Bengal. The latter inspired and organized the country for its freedom struggle. It voiced India’s aspirations with unmatched eloquence. The Calcutta Bengalis it would seem were getting too big for the shoes and British found it necessary to create a Muslim counterweight to balance.

Bengal’s wings had to be clipped, its audacity rebuffed. In 1904, Lord Curzon hit upon the idea of partitioning Bengal to weaken it, especially to lessen the importance of Calcutta. In 1905 Bengal was partitioned. On the creation of the new provinces of Eastern Bengal and Assam the British Lt.

Governor opened his speech in the lowest taste in which he said that he had two wives, one Hindu and one Mohammedan, the Mohammedan being the favourite.

The creation of the Muslim majority provinces of Eastern Bengal and Assam marked a political turning point for Sir Sayyid’s followers and the Aligarh movement. Encouraged by this gesture, All India Muslim League was set up on 30th December 1906 by the Muslims in Bengal. The league which was born on the soil of East Bengal was later snatched by the Urdu group of United Province. Muslim League enjoying its position as the favourite wife became openly hostile to the INC, which it denounced as an organization of effete Hindus.

Nevertheless as the Congress moved to seek for Indian dominion status within British empire the Muslim elite remained wedded to the ideal of British raj forever to prevent any democratic development in India.

Abolition of E. Bengal - Congress League Alliance

The abolition of the provinces of East Bengal and Assam with effect from March 1912, embittered the Muslim loyalists, casting doubt on the British government’s faith and integrity and causing reaction against Sir Syed’s policies. The Muslims of Bengal felt deprived of political and economic advantage conceded to them earlier. It convinced the Muslim leadership of the instability of British patronage and these developments paved the way for a working alliance with Congress.

British in order to balance injury caused to the Muslims of Bengal introduced special communal concession for Muslims for admission in educational institution.

This lead to regulation of seats in various services for Muslims. The seeds of Pakistan had been sown.

The Muslim League’s overture for an alliance with the Congress began in 1911 and had matured in the so-called Lucknow pact (1911) drafted by Jinnah and approved by the Congress leaders including Tilak. From 1917 to 1921 Congress and Muslim League held their annual sessions simultaneously and in the same cities.

In 1915 Congress and the League held their sessions simultaneously at Bombay. The Congress-League scheme of 1916 whereby Congress agreed to a scheme for separate Muslim electorates (which it hitherto had strongly condemned) was the outcome of the cooperation and amity.

In 1916 League and Congress met at the same platform.

A.K.Fazlul Haq of Bengal presided over the session of Muslim league. He was general secretary of Indian National Congress. The result was Lucknow Pact. It was agreed that the interests of Hindu and Muslim minorities would be protected by overrepresentation.

Again Bengali Muslims got in the neck. They would yield good part of their representation in protection to Hindu minorities in Bengal. The discontentment of Bengal Muslims continued. Many defected from Bengal branch of Muslim league and repudiated Lucknow pact and met Lord Chemsford in a separate group for proper safeguards. The first blow to Hindu-Muslim unity was accordingly struck of all places in Bengal by the extremist Muslim communalist sections. On 8 to 9th Sept. 1918 All India Muslim conference met out at Calcutta. The meeting was planned to coincide with Durga Puja. The Muslim rally got out of hand and three days of rioting ensued. The very first communal riot in India had taken place.

Mahatma Gandhi & Khilafat Movement Western education had made the educated leaders incapable of having political or social communication with Indian masses.

When they turned around and asked the British to leave, British merely ignored them. British found the sense of patriotism and of nationalism utterly lacking in the east. Religion was the one binding link and nowhere was this so firmly realized and so loyally observed as among Muslims.

The pull of religious orthodoxy within Hindu and Muslim masses alike was better understood by Mahatma Gandhi than any other Indian leader of repute. He solved the problem of political communication with the Indian masses in the most simple and effective manner. The well born found, on hearing his words, voices they had long forgotten, which had lain imprisoned in the twilight chambers of their consciousness.

While securing mass Muslim support through his leadership of Khilafat movement, Gandhi succeeded in isolating the Muslim educated elite from the Muslim masses. He had undone or so he thought most of the work of Sayyid and Aligarh movement.

With the collapse of Khilafat movement and the Moplah outbreak in Malabar in 1921 the honeymoon of Congress-League came to end. In the bargain Muslim League acquired a brilliant new advocate in Jinnah. Jinnah left INC in 1920 formally.

Secular India & the Communal Award

Following the riots of 1918 came the reform act of 1919 which satisfied nobody. The British government in order to meet the demands for greater reforms appointed Simon commission in 1927. INC as well as Jinnah group were opposed to Simon commission because no Indian had been taken as member and hence boycotted the Simon commission. They appointed Motilal Nehru to draft a constitution.

Nehru came to prominence in the Congress in early 1920’s by arguing that political liberation and economic development were the primary objectives of Congress and should be pursued outside a religious framework. The landmark in laying the foundation of a secular state came to be Nehru report in 1928 prepared by Motilal Nehru. It presented a secular state as a solvent of intercommunal tensions and in turn rejected separate electorate for the Muslims in favour of joint electorate. It appeared repudiation of Lucknow pact of 1916 by the Congress.

Jinnah formulated 14 point counter proposals for the demands of sharing of power by Muslim safeguarding their interests. This envisaged a federal structure for the future India with residuary, almost autonomous, power vested in the province; effective representation of minorities in the province without reducing the majority in any province to a minority or even equality; separate electorates with a provision for the revision of this provision; safeguards for the protection of Muslim institutions and personal law.

A number of attempts were made by Congress and Muslim leaders to reach agreement on a constitution for India. Neither side was prepared to make the necessary concessions. Muslims had been politically divided into a number of factions for some time, Nehru report however tended to throw them together. In December 1928, a conclave was held at Delhi under chairmanship of Agha khan which was the most representative meeting of the Muslims held up to that time. The Muslim community however found it difficult to present a united political front. One faction of Muslims led by Abdul Kalam Azad and Dr. M.A.Ansari joined the Congress maintaining that it was a secular all India party. The Nehru report led to dispersal of Jinnah group. Open session of Muslim League held in March ended in pandemonium. While Shaffi group cooperated with Simon commission and found All India Muslim conference, out of the remnant came another party, All India Nationalist Muslim party. In disgust Jinnah left India.

In early 1930’s communal tension spread far and wide. The Simmon commission was discussed through three round table conferences held between 1930- 34. The three parties i.e. British government, INC and ML could not come to any agreed solution and round table conference did little to minimize communal disharmony.

In face of this discord the representatives of British returned to their backrooms and eventually in 1932 British announced communal award, in which practically all the demands of the Muslims were recognized and granted - including separate electorate, statutory safeguards form minority rights, communal weightage in the majority provinces and creation of Sind as a province.

The British government had realized that it was useful to nourish communal feelings among Muslims and even among Hindus.

With a single stroke of genius British made communalism in India permanent by the communal award of 1932.

Pan-Islamism - Rahmat Ali’s Pakistan

Syed Jamaluddin Afghani, born in 1839 born in Afghanistan was one of the inspirer of modern Islamic revival and the pan Islamic doctrine. At 15 years of age, Jamaludin set out on a unique task of reminding the Islamic countries all over world to unite as brothers in defense against the influence working against Islam. It took him to countries -Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, India and Europe. Among the countries in which Jamaluddin’s teaching bore fruits was India which he visited a number of times. This idea was developed by Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey.

It was England herself who magnified Turkey in the eyes of Muslim India. During the 19th century British policy to bolster the Ottoman Empire against Russia, partly because Russia’s expansion in central Asia threatened the safety of India.

Following the First World War, states such as Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Iraq were assuming new dignity and influence in the family of nations. Muslims of subcontinent developed a feeling of self identification with participants in pan-Islamic movement. There had been rediscovery of the greatness of Moguls in Indian history. A new movement was growing up among Muslim masses. At the same time a sense of insecurity was shaping up - communal riots had become common. The minority status was continually hurting the minds of Muslim elite. They were trying all options which could deliver them from the yoke of majority as and when the British would leave for good. Famous Philosopher Iqbal presiding over Allahabad conference of Muslim league in 1930 had put forward the demand for autonomous Muslim state thus giving concrete shape to Muslim hopes and fears.

In January 1933, four Muslim students of Cambridge University, Mohammad Aslam Khan, Ch. Rehmat Ali, Sheikh Mohamed Sadiq and Inayatullah Khan issued a small four page pamphlet, entitled Now or Never, in which it advocated the idea of a partition of the country. Muslims are separate nation, and are therefore entitled to a separate state of their own, was for the first time seriously advocated in this pamphlet. In 1940 Rehmat Ali published another pamphlet Millat of Islam and Menace of Indianism, in which he condemned Indianism and pointed out that the Millat could be saved only by severing of ties with India.

The third pamphlet Millat and its Mission published in 1942 set out a Pakistan very different to the Pakistan conceived in 1933 in which he deplored Minorityism and exhorted to convert India into Dinia. For him the acceptance of Minorityism would mean rejection of Pakistan and not converting the Indian subcontinent into Dinia would mean confirmation of India as country. On August 14,1947 spending his day in loneliness in Cambridge, he was drafting new pamphlet condemning Jinnah for accepting the partition of Punjab and called for continuance of the campaign to regain all the Muslim areas lost to the India.

Muslim league - Sole Representative of Muslims in 1935 the government of India act was passed which contemplated a federation of British India provinces and Indian states. In case of the provinces accession to federation would be automatic, but in case of the Indian states it would be voluntary by executing instrument of accession. It invested the governor general of the future Indian federation and the British governors of Indian provinces with the special responsibility of safeguarding the interests of minorities. Congress and Muslim League condemned its federal provisions, whereas National Liberal Federation and Hindu Mahasabha were the only parties which favoured it.

Ever since the split in 1927 the Muslim league started showing fresh signs of life in 1936 with election of Jinnah as president. The 1937 elections made it clear that Muslim masses were interested in neither the congress or the League. The Muslim masses knew it that the League was a party of nobles and reactionaries. When in 1937 Congress decided to accept office there was a proposal that it should form coalition ministries with Muslim League. The Congress decided to have homogenous ministries of its own and choose Muslim ministers from those who were members of the Congress party. The Congress agreed to include League leaders in provincial cabinets on condition that the League MP accepted the Congress party whip and ceased to function as a separate parliamentary group. It was on this issue that negotiation broke down in the United Provinces and Khaliquzzaman who had been offered a place in the cabinet decided to sit in the opposition. This was the beginning of a serious rift between Congress and League.

After UP episode in 1937 Congress tried a mass contact with Muslims but didn’t meet with success.  Jinnah   took   serious   umbrage.  Jinnah followed a two pronged policy to consolidate the position of League, the first was to win mass support and side by side to bring all Muslims political parties under the banner of League. By 1938 Jinnah had consolidated his position to a considerable extent. When efforts were made by Congress to come to a settlement with Jinnah, he insisted that Muslim league should be recognized as the one and only body that represented the entire Muslim community and the Congress should speak only on behalf of Hindus. The Congress could not accept such a position which tantamounted to denying its past, falsifying its history and betraying its future.

Two Nations

Embittered by the controversy on this issue of coalition ministry, Jinnah and the other leaders of Muslim League now began to play with the idea of separate state. The League had taken no notice of the Pakistan concept during the thirties because its leadership still hoped to secure guaranteed patronage from the Congress as sole representative of Muslims. When Nehru declared soon after the election of 1937, he remarked in good  faith,  there are  only  two  parties  in  the country, the Congress & the British. Jinnah's retort was   immediate   -   ‘No’   there is a third “the Muslims”.  In 1940 when  the hopes had finally disappeared, Jinnah discovered that the Pakistan concept  appealed   to   the   Muslim   masses  who hankered after past glory. Jinnah took it up as if it was his own idea. He then emulated Gandhi and threw away his wardrobe of Savilerow suits and donned the Muslim traditional dress of sherwani, shalwar   and   karakuli   cap.   In   his   tall,   upright handsome  figure  the  Muslim  masses  saw  the shade of Saladin and the glimpse of Caliph. It was Gandhi himself who had honoured Jinnah with the title of Qaid-i-Azam.

Though Indian Muslim realized the efficacy of Pakistan as a political weapon, opinion amongst them was divided. There were some who believed that it could be used as a bargaining power against the Congress and Hindu Mahasabha but didn’t support the idea of separation from India, others believed that separation was the only practicable solution of Hindu-Muslim problem.

Nehru believed that the Hindu-Muslim question in India was confined to a few Muslim intellectual landlords and capitalists who were cooking up a problem which did not in fact exist in the mind of the masses. Nehru was partially right; he was right in thinking that the League was nothing but a few Muslim landlords and capitalists, but he was wrong to assume that no Hindu-Muslim question existed in the minds of the people. The fact was that the Muslim landlords and capitalists and Hindu-Muslim question existed separately.

Final years

It would be tedious to recount the final struggle for Pakistan between 1940 and the holocaust of 1947. In those seven eventful years Jinnah and the Muslim League gave the Muslims of India nothing but slogans, those catchwords that come more easily to right wing reactionary politicians than concrete policies. Jinnah a brilliant politician, tactician and public debater forced the Congress veterans into errors and then exploited them. He was more than a match for the British Viceroys and the Congress leaders including the saintly Gandhi could do little to stop Jinnah leading the people of Allah to the land of the spiritually pure and clean. In 1942, sick of Britain’s procrastinations Gandhi shouted, “ Quit India”. Jinnah at once agreed, merely adding “ Divide and Quit”. Towards the end of Dec ’42 an unfortunate event took place - the death of Sir Sikander Hyat Khan the premier of the Punjab. In any scheme of partition the Punjab was deciding factor and Sir Sikandar Hyat had been consistently opposed to its division. He was the only moderating influence in the League who could have stayed Jinnah’s hand. Hereafter there was no one to thwart Jinnah’s wishes.

Gandhi-Jinnah meeting took place on 9th Sept 1944. The talks continued under a veil of secrecy till 27th. On Sept 24 Gandhiji had made a concrete offer to Jinnah, stating that he was willing to recommend to the Congress and the country the acceptance of the claim for separation contained in the Lahore resolution of 1940 under certain condition that India was referred as two or more nations, but one family, who desired to live in separate from rest of India the area should be demarcated by a commission with the wishes of the inhabitants and the areas should from separate state. Jinnah replied to the effect that since Muslims of India were a nation and it was not possible to reach a solution. Jinnah was a consummate lawyer, extremely difficult to, if not futile, to try to outwit him.

Epilogue

Well versed in the policy of divide et impera, British decided to put themselves between the Hindus and the Muslims to create a communal triangle of which they would remain the base. Self-interest guides both men and nations and there is no such thing as a missionary imperial power. Churchill during the war in 1941, was confronted by Congress who were not only boycotting the war efforts but were presumably trying to create a coalition against British in Asia. He had no option but to cut off India’s head, arms and legs and leave India with nothing but the writhing trunk. Gandhi knew of this, and acted accordingly. The longer the British remained in India, the worse it would be for the country; they had to go, cost what it might. So, in 1942 he created his famous slogan of “Quit India” to unite the country behind him. The British when they found that their global interests were not going to be protected by the majority - the Hindus, they played their cards accordingly.

Jinnah was once asked why he hated the Hindus. His reply was - “How could he, having sprung from the same stock. But how would one like to live in his elder brother’s house on mere sufferance? If there is any manhood in one, he would quit and live, if necessary, in a slum”. Jinnah left the Hindu-Muslim family because he felt it did not give him his due. Gandhi, the chosen head of the vast household, was trying to be fair to everyone, and therein lay his difficulty, Jinnah’s another dislike for Gandhi stemmed from simplicity of life, which he despised. For him Gandhi was trying to usher in an age of dhotis, chapals, and close-cropped heads, as though they were all convicts. The antagonism between the Hindu and the Muslim leader was fundamental, and admitted of no compromise. Nehru could have bridged the differences, having submitted his will to the master he was powerless.

Muslims were scattered all over subcontinent, generally as a small minority. Even in the majority areas the majority was not overwhelming. Dispersion sapped their strength and was indeed cause of the communal problem. If the Muslims had been a compact body in a particular area some sort of division would have been comparatively easy. The partitioning of India involved the partitioning of its Muslim community. The Pakistani and Indian Muslim had the same tradition in the past and each full heir to the same heritage that was Indian Islam. The present Indian Muslim fell heir to more than their share of the institutions of their forefathers.

The new country of Pakistan was to have fulfilled the hopes and aspiration of the Muslims of undivided india. Nothing of the kind happened. Islamic state of Pakistan was to demonstrate to the world how the various ills of humanity could be cured by a state imbibed with Islamic ideology. Far from enjoying any freedom, far from removing the ills of humanity by a pilot project of the Islamic state, the people of Pakistan have continued as passing through hardship and degradation. It may seem odd that Pakistan a country less than half of India’s size would keep on waging a war against India. The reason for this seemingly suicidal policy may be found in history. The ruling elite in Pakistan have always identified themselves with the Muslim invaders who had poured through the western passes to India seeking loot or a hospitable climate, riches and luxury. The Pakistan elite consider themselves as heirs   to   these   invaders   and   so   feel   they   can emulate their feats. What they have failed to understand is that when these invasions occurred, India was not united. They defeated and conquered individual Rajput princes or rulers of Delhi.

Finally, Gandhi’s achievement, considered as a whole, was stupendous. No one, in modern times, had succeeded in pushing the British out of their strongholds. Napoleon tried it, and failed.  Hitler tried it and failed even more miserably; Gandhi alone, without shedding a drop of blood, made the British withdraw. He was a leader without an equal. But the price he was compelled to pay, was colossal: India was cut into two, and tragedy which followed was beyond the imagination. Butchery took place in many parts of the country on a vast scale. Muslims trekked to Pakistan, and Hindus to India. Nearly eleven million people were displaced and became refugees. The whole sub-continent was in the grip of terror. 

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

 

 
 

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