Fight for a United India
Rajaji had by now released to the press his correspondence with Jinnah on the offer that was fathered by Gandhi during his jail stay. Rajaji said, “I stand for Pakistan because I do not want that State where Hindus and Muslims are not honored. Let the Muslims have Pakistan. If we agree our country will be saved. Gandhi approved of my proposals and authorized me to approach you (Jinnah) on that basis”. Jinnah said, “Gandhi is offering a shadow, a husk, a maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan and thus trying to pass off as having met the Muslim demand”. All this happened in April 1943. Was not S’s reading of Gandhi’s mind correct?
Rajaji’s new offer had these terms. That the league should endorse the Indian demand for independence and co-operate with the Congress in the formation of a provincial Interim govt and conceded that if the Muslim majority provinces of the West and East decided a plebiscite in favor an independent state the decision should be given effect to, a mutual agreement should be entered into for safeguarding defense, commerce and communication. In the meantime Gandhi asked Jinnah for an interview – 1944.
S disagreed with these proposals; his views were much sought after by the American papers. Meetings supporting Rajaji’s proposals were disrupted. Gandhi was greeted with black flags enroute from Wardha to Mumbai. S warned the people against the impeding danger. Gandhi
Jinnah talks lasted for about three weeks in September 1944, the underlying theme was that the British govt should be ousted first and then the right of self-determination be given to the Muslims. Jinnah wanted the opposite. Gandhi said, “The League will, however, be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress may resort and in which the League may not be willing to participate”. Thus the Muslim participation in the freedom struggle was not guaranteed but the partition of India was.
Gandhi paid 19 visits to Jinnah’s house without success. S’s mind was torn with anxiety, his anguish was imaginable. S organized, as a mark of protest, the Akhand Hindustan Leaders Conference in October 1944. It was attended by Master Tara Singh, Sri Shankaracharya of Puri amongst others. It was the greatest demonstration of the nationalist opposition to the scheme of Pakistan during that period. Owing to a hectic lifestyle, hardships at Andamans was no longer able to withstand the strain of an active political life. Then in May 1945, S’s elder brother, counsel, compatriot and heroic brother Babarao Savarkar passed away. Condolences poured in from across the world.
In early 1945, Bhulabhai Desai with the approval of Gandhi came out with a formula that was worse than Rajaji’s. The Congress agreed to a 50-50 Hindu Muslim representation Muslims. The parity of the Congress and League was now a reality. The Brits welcomed the proposal while S opposed it. Lord Wavell returned from London with a Wavell Plan. The Plan was to form a new Executive Council with him with equal representation of caste-Hindus and Muslims. There was no reference to the Indian states, not to speak of Indian independence. The Plan, however, presupposed full cooperation against Japan by the leaders. Quit India prisoners were released. The Congress leaders were now ready the Japanese and even Bose’s I.N.A. A conference was held at Simla where the Mahasabha was not invited but all other parties were invited. It failed but it increased the stature of Jinnah and the League, political parity got transformed into communal parity.
Countrywide protests by the Mahasabha and others kept growing daily. The Mahasabha intended to launch direct action but unfortunately Dr S.P. Mookerjee was not backed in doing so. Had the Mahasabha done this it would rise in the eyes of the public. It must be admitted that S failed in his promise to resort to direct action at the opportune time. It was here that the ruddership of the Mahasabha broke down and it was swept along with the new captain into the trough of the popular estimation in the election held thereafter.
During this period the Labor won a landslide victory in the Brit elections, around then the Japanese sunk under the atomic bomb attack. The govt announced General Elections in Sept 1945 to test the strength of political parties, to hammer out a constitution. The Congress plunged into the elections head-on; the League said Pakistan or Perish. The Mahasabha campaign was low key due to lack of funds, more importantly it missed the dynamic leadership of S, for he unwell and made no move. There was no organizer to build up and consolidate the party. Nor did he show any anxiety about it. Also the Congress changed its strategy. Patel inspired confidence in the Hindu electorates by his anti-Pakistan outbursts and anti-League speeches. Congress was gaining and the Mahasabha loosing.
The most unfortunate aspect of this election for the Mahasabha was that its President Dr Mookherjee lost his grit and confidence in the nick of time. There was a sudden break down in his health. Patel and Nehru who had never inquired about S’s health, now, rushed to the side of Dr Mookherjee and inquired about his health. He withdrew his candidature and gave up the struggle even before he joined it. When the trials of Bose’s I.N.A. men came up, the Congress which had earlier condemned the I.N.A. as rice soldiers took their side and stole a march over the Hindu Mahasabha to their advantage.
So during the 1945 elections the Congress changed its positioning with the Indian public, echoing the Hindu Mahasabha’s views as its own, it did not want competition for the Hindu vote. The interest by the Congress in the IN.A. Trials too were guided by the forthcoming elections. The Hindu Mahasabha was now wiped out from the political landscape of India; the Congress met its waterloo in the fields held by Muslim candidates. The victory of the Pakistani forces was complete.
During this election the Hindu Mahasabha was the only Hindu organization that stood by its pledges to the Hindu nation. What were the R.S.S. and the Arya Samajis doing? Meanwhile S’s health deteriorated further, he was moved to Walchandnagar on 1/1/1946. He had a heart attack on 20/01/1946.