Writing on the Wall
The Congress tried to take over the Sabha because S decided not to resign from its presidentship in 1942. S said then that he was against self-determination but not provincial re distribution. He said that P would be militarily dangerous and hence it would be suicidal to hand over the frontiers to a hostile group. The Pakistani Muslim would pounce upon neighboring Hindu territory with fire fanaticism. How true was he! He also said that banishing untouchability was to win a major war for the nation.
After the failure of the Quit India Movement, Gandhi was arrested. To secure his release G went on a 21 day fasts. While the Mahasabha prayed for his well being they warned that the fast not be exploited for bringing about constitutional changes to end the deadlock. S correctly senses that if done so it would threaten the integrity of India. It was a historic reading of G’s mind. A year later India was stunned when Rajaji came out his formula and declared that Gandhi had fathered it during his fast. Oh bhagwan what must I do to be blessed with S’s power to read into events, actions. Resignations in the Executive Council did cheer Gandhi a bit but the League!
It was pushing the Pakistan proposal ahead. Its Sind League ministry passed the Pakistan resolution inside the resolution. The writing was on the wall. The Liberals sought S’s help to speak to the Viceroy on Gandhi’s release. However, S could not attend their conference the next day due to a toothache and a previous meeting with William Phillips, President Roosevelt’s personal envoy. The interview was on a wide range of topics from the situation in India to future relations between India and the U.S. Meanwhile the Liberals issued a statement that S had signed an appeal for Gandhi’s release, which S contradicted.
On May 28, 1943 S’s 60th birthday was celebrated with lots of love and enthusiasm. At Pune he was presented with a purse of Rs 1,25,000/. At Mumbai, Amaravati, Nagpur, Ahmedabad S was felicitated too. Except Tilak no leader was similarly honored in Maharashtra and the services of no Indian leader except Gandhi upto that day were publicly appreciated on such a large scale.
About this time Jinnah desired to capture power in the Muslim majority provinces. So he sought the cooperation of the Hindu ministers. While the Congress wanted these ministers to rein the Hindu Mahasabha said do not. So Dr Wadhwani refused to reign from the Sind Cabinet but form Coalitions without committing themselves to anything detrimental to the integrity of India. Jinnah now expressed a desire to meet S. Meanwhile Jinnah had seen the Viceroy and secured his approval for the formation of Coalition govts. He had given up his demand for 50 % representation in Ministries but agreed to form them on population basis as suggested by S. Jinnah kept on delaying meeting S.
S resigned from the Sabha in July 1943 but his resignation was not accepted. In June 1943, the Sind govt had banned Chapter XIV of Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s magna opus Satyarth Prakash. While the Congress kept quiet, S appealed to the Viceroy. Then came the famine of Bengal. The Muslims tried to utilize the time to convert starving women and children. S attacked these nefarious designs of the Muslims. S urged Hindu leaders and organizations to come forward and help. Said the official Vatican Organ around that time “The Christian light shines already in the subcontinent of India. We hope it will blaze someday in great splendor”. S criticized the Vatican.
He attended the celebrations second millenium celebrations of Vikramaditya the great. Come December he was elected the president of the Hindu Mahasabha for the 7th time.
In March 1944, Congressmen fresh out of jail begun to realize the frustration of their boycott of the Central Assembly. They joined the assembly and outvoted the Finance Bill in collaboration with the Muslim League. The League used this to browbeat the Viceroy. Sensing the League game plan, the Sabha MLA’s did not support this unholy alliance. The Congress criticized the Sabha but its stand was vindicated with a vengeance by the disclosure of the Bhulabhai-Liaqat Ali Khan pact which was mooted by this alliance. In June 1944 S again had an interview with the personal representative of the American President Roosevelt on the future of Indo U.S. relations. By now Bose’s I.N.A. had made some progress. Its leaders were grateful to S, their inspirer.