JPN Trakru

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Division of India

by JPN Trakru

My official tours took me to different parts of India. During the course of my travel I met people from different walks of life. On discussing the partition of India, I found majority of the people held  Nehru responsible for division of India. Recently, I read a book titled ‘The Man Who Divided India’ by Rafiq Zakaria.  He holds Jinnah wholly and solely responsible for the partition of India. I have attempted to give a gist of the details as enumerated in his book in chronological order.

Early years of Jinnah :

He did not have purely conventional Islamic background and therefore had no religious acceptance among the generality of Muslims. Jinnah could neither read the Quran nor did he say his prayers or fast during Ramzan. He did not perform Haj either. He was a bright and smart man having natural aptitude for law, which he studied in England. During his two years stay in London he practiced the art of oratory and specialized in cross examination. He loved to argue and score points.

Political Initiation :

Jinnah returned from England to Bombay where he applied for a job as Presidency Magistrate and got a temporary appointment. Subsequently he practiced law. He did not have any contact with his parents except his younger sister Fatima who came to live with him and served him as his companion for the rest of his life.

While in  Bombay he was drawn into politics and came in contact with Dadabai Nauroji, and later with Sir Ferozsha Mehta. He felt more comfortable with westernized Parsis than orthodox Muslims. He found the Congress more to his liking and not only attended but also took active interest in the deliberation of the 20th Annual Session of the Congress held at Bombay in December 1904. He later went to London as a Congress Member, with a delegation led by Gopal Krishan Gokhale where they pleaded for a larger share in administration for Indians. During this travel, he came in close contact with Gokhale who found Jinnah a young progressive Muslim, free from any communal prejudice. In his early days he was against the division of India favoured by orthodox Muslims like Sir Sayyed Ahmed Khan. Jinnah stood solidly by the agitating Hindu Bengalis during Hindu–Muslim agitations in 1906. Jinnah refused to join the All India Muslim League founded in Dhaka as a counter force to the Congress. By such actions, Jinnah became the darling of the Congress leaders. In 1906, the Viceroy assured Muslim leaders of Dhaka of a separate electorate. Jinnah strongly reacted against it,  fearing that the British policy of divide and rule would eventually harm the Muslims and deprive them of participation in national life. Jinnah collaborated with the Congress and actively worked against the Muslim communists calling them as the enemies of the nation. He deprecated the separatist policy advocated by the Muslim League.

However despite the protest by the Congress, the British made a provision for separate electorate for the Muslims in the Indian Council Act of 1909. At the 25th session of the Congress held at Allahabad in 1910, Jinnah moved a resolution condemning provision of reserving separate seats for Muslims in municipalities and other local bodies. He said it would sow the seeds of division between Hindus and Muslims. Despite this resolution Jinnah did not hesitate to take personal advantage of it and contested the election to the Viceroy’s Executive Council from the reserve Muslim constituency of Bombay and got elected. It was a turning point in his political carrier but he pursued it cautiously. He cleverly managed the contradictions in the two streams of communalism and nationalism. He also took care not to antagonize the Hindus while working for Muslims. 

The generality of Muslims felt alienated from him after he refused to support the Khilafat movement. But Gandhi supported it. Though isolated, Jinnah did not give up his efforts to unite the Hindus and Muslims to obtain constitutional reforms safe guarding the interests of the Muslims. The worst blow that he suffered was the rejection of his amendment to the Nehru Report of 1928. At first, the Hindus distrusted him but later even the Muslims doubted his motives. Consequently he was so disheartened that he decided to give up politics and retire in London. There too he made futile efforts to find new political pastures by trying to enter the House of Commons.

Jinnah however could not rest content for long, his burning desire was to be in the limelight and this drove him to regain his position. He came back to India with a new determination. From an avowed nationalist, he became an arch communalist. He took a aggressive anti-Hindu stand and concentrated all his energies on mobilizing the Muslims. He made it his mission to unite the Muslims and activate the morbid League. He became a born–again Muslim, hoping to rise on the convenient shoulders of communalism. In the process, he discarded Hindus but he could not easily mix with illiterate Muslim masses. He felt comfortable only among the western educated elite. Despite the arrogance in his approach, he managed to become the darling of the Muslims. He exploited their religious leaning and inculcated in them the fear of Hindu domination. He coined the two nation theory, stressing on vital differences between the Hindus and  the Muslims. He convinced the Muslims that Hindus would never share power with them. There sole objective, he told them was to oust the British and establish Hindu raj and subjugate them, so as to avenge the alleged atrocities committed by the medieval Muslim rulers.

His approach was totally changed from that of his earlier days until the last seven or eight years of his life. With this changed approach he made himself politically vulnerable, the British now accepted him as the authentic representative of the Muslims and eventually the Congress too conceded that status to him, even if unwillingly. He felt truly elevated when he was equated with Gandhi. He steadfastly pursued his objective to partition the country. He used every political means and organizational measures to counter his opponents and often had better of them. He did not deviate from armchair politics and still managed to win over the Muslim masses. He missed no opportunity to pour venom on the Congress and the Hindus but always kept the British on his side. Within the League, he was able to have complete sway. Jinnah’s weapon was not logic but debating skills in which few could equal him. Also there are indeed few instances in History were a leader had been able to achieve so much by doing so little except through play of words. He once remarked that he got Pakistan by using the services of his secretary and a typewriter.

It was purely a political move to fulfill his obsessive ambition. He played his game so cleverly that he not only amassed a huge following of the illiterate masses but also gathered around him such lieutenants who obeyed him blindly. He silenced his opponents and thus emerged as the unchallenged leader ‘The Quaid-I-Azam’ (the great leader).  Jinnah had no doubt used Islam to obtain his Pakistan but as soon as it came into existence, he clarified that he would run the newly born state on modern western lines. He believed in concentrating all powers in his hands and made that clear when he appointed himself as the Governor General of Pakistan. He had vowed that he would provide Muslims a separate homeland to free them from Hindu domination. But what has really happened is that they have been permanently enslaved, two thirds of them to the Hindus and remaining one third which constitutes Pakistan to power brokers and drug peddlers. A noted Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid has pointed out Pakistan has become the hotbed of the biggest smuggling racket in the world enmeshed with Pakistani smugglers, transporters, drug barons’ bureaucrats, politicians and army officers.

Source: Milchar

  

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