From Parity to Pakistan
The year 1946 opened with the general elections to the Provincial Legislatures all over India. Congressmen used the same old tactics and reiterated the pledge to a united India. On 14/1/1946, Patel said at Ahmedabad, “Granting Pakistan is not the hands of the British govt. if Partition is to be achieved Hindus and Muslims would have to fight. There will be a civil war”. Such fiery speeches of the Congress were similar to those of the Hindu Mahasabha. It overran the Hindu Mahasabha in the elections. Ironically the party Congress which had sowed the seeds of Pakistan starting with the Khilafat Movement and its many one-sided humiliating overtures to Jinnah now talked of a United India. (There are other factors responsible for Partition too, inherent in the nature of Islam and the Aligarh Movement but they are beyond the scope of this article). Public Memory in India is short then and even fifty-five years later we live in an idealistic world.
Meanwhile anti-Brit feelings reached a climax. Even the army was feeling the pangs of freedom. On 15/3/1946, PM Attlee, declared India’s right to full independence within or without the British Commonwealth and said, “We cannot allow a minority to place their veto on the advance of the majority”. The British Cabinet mission reached Delhi on March 24. Nehru thundered on April 5, “The Congress is not going to agree to the Muslim demand for Pakistan under any circumstances, even if the Brits agree to it”. Well the emotional Nehru had to eat his words sooner than later. See how the Congress in the early to mid forties kept on wooing the League with various offers strengthening its demand for partition and now in 1946 talked against Partition. The Muslims like Suhwardy and Firoz Noon warned the country with dire consequences if their demands were not met. It characterizes Muslim attitude even today, they take to violence easily.
S had returned to Pune. Along with Dr Mookherjee submitted a memorandum before the Mission that partition of India would be economically unsound and disastrous, politically unwise and suicidal. Prophetic words if one considers the Money spent on Arms by India and Pakistan and by India on internal security to counter the ISI threat.
The Mission came out with a new proposal known as the State Paper of May 16. It repudiated Jinnah’s claim for the division of India, contemplated a Central Union with powers restricted to external affairs, defence and communication with full autonomy to provinces. It provided for provinces for to form themselves into three groups of which B and C were conceived as a concession to the League. A Constituent Assembly was to be elected for framing the Constitution, an Interim govt was planned and States freed from the crown were to join the Assembly for hammering out a Union of the provinces and states. The electorates were divided into General, Muslims and Sikhs. Look at the mischiefious attitude of the Brits, how they divided India.
The league accepted the paper on May 22 while the Congress too accepted it and declared its willingness to join the Constituent Assembly. Meanwhile Nehru made a faux pass (for details refer to the essay on Sardar Patel in the section Great men of India) by stating that there would be finally be no grouping as the Congress held that the provinces should be free at the initial stage to opt out of the section or the group in which they were placed. Jinnah withdrew acceptance given earlier and resolved to resort to Direct Action. Thereupon the Congress ran to patch up the gulf and said that it accepted the paper fully.
On Aug 24, the Viceroy declared his resolve to form the Interim govt with 5 Congress, league and minorities nominees ie at a time when the League had not even cooperated in the formation of the Interim govt. Direct Action declared by League on Aug 16 even them the League was invited to be part of the govt. The holocaust that followed in Calcutta and Noakali is referred into the essay on Sardar Patel. British imperialism had physically disarmed the Hindus, Gandhism had enfeebled them mentally and the curfew Raj had done the rest. Nehru and Gandhi were passive in denouncing the Muslim role.
Meanwhile the League had joined the Interim govt and made the functioning of the govt virtually impossible. The leaguers refused to join the Constituent Assembly. To resolve the matter Nehru and Jinnah flew to London where the legal acumen of Jinnah carried the day. So it meant that the Constitution could not be valid unless it was approved by the league. Jinnah’s stature rose at rocket like speed.
In February 1947, the Brits announced their desire to transfer power not later than June 1948. With the coming of Mountbatten S wired him to consult the Mahasabha President and Master Tara Singh before any fundamental changes affecting the Hindus were effected. He urged the Bengali Hindus to demand a new Hindu province in West Bengal and expel the Muslim trespassers from Assam at any cost. He also demanded that the contingous Hindu Majority Districts of Sind should be joined to the Bombay Province. S was aware of the Muslim plan to infiltrate Assam and warned CM Bardolia.
Ironically our country has not learnt from the tragedy of partition. Muslim Infiltration in Assam goes on unabated. It is only am a matter of time before Assam becomes a Muslim majority province with most of the North-East being Christian. West Bengal has almost 40 % plus Muslims today with some border districts being dominant Muslim. Some countries never learn, India is one of them we are unable to call a spade a spade.
On 29/5/1047 S urged the Congress not to agree to partition. S suggested that the Congress leaders might have a Plebiscite to decide the issue. But! Nehru said on 29/4/1947. “The Muslim League can have partition if they wish to have it”. On 24/3/1946 Nehru had said that the Congress would never agree to Partition (referred to above). Patel said, “If India should be partitioned, it could be done after mutual discussion amongst ourselves and in a peaceful manner”.
Ironical that even at this stage the Congress did not take on the league. It seems that the Violence of the league had scared the aging Congress leaders to such an extent that they agreed to partition period. Why had the Hindu mind become so weak? Simply put three reasons. We had got softened by Gandhism; forgotten Kshatriya Dharam and the weakening of Dharma led to the weakening of character, confidence. From the advent of the British rule, Hindu society read Indian was under constant attack from the West. A society that was once proud of its progress was made to feel backward notwithstanding the heroic efforts of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. The Hindu had failed to read the Muslim mind. Leaders like Gandhi; Nehru had either not read history or chose to forget it. Let me share with a current analogy. Pakistan said recently i.e. sometime in 2000-01 that it is willing to carry on the fight for liberation of Kashmir for 100 years. When asked to respond to this statement Punjab’s famous, tough cop K.P.S. Gill said that India must reply back by saying that we will fight back for 200 years. Instead successive Indian govts unwilling to take the fight into the enemy camp, going back to the Peace process again and again, be it Simla – Lahore – Agra. What Pakistan desires is the annihilation or domination of Hindu India. But India! Till the day India learns to fight back continuously jawans will continue to be victims of inaction.
Things moved swiftly. The new plan envisaged the creation of one or two Dominions by 15/8/1947, provision of separate Constituent Assemblies, partition of Punjab and Bengal, referendum for Baluchistan and Northwest Frontier province and the Sylhet district of Assam. The Congress agreed to Partition (for details go to the essay on Sardar Patel). Gandhi threatened the AICC either to accept Pakistan or to replace the old tried Congress leaders. To the Congress the prestige of the leaders was more important than the nation. Gandhi’s stand on partition is full of turnarounds (refer to Patel essay).
There were two men who could stop the division of India, Gandhi and S. Due to shattered health, want of direct action, the perfidy and levity of his countrymen who regarded party above country, S failed despite warnings over the last ten years. Gandhi lived up to the prophecy of his Guru Gokhale, who foretold that Gandhi would exercise enormous influence on the common man, but when the history of political parleys would be written disinterestedly, he would go down in history as a total failure.
The Mahasabha declared 03/07/1947 as All India anti-Pakistan Day. There was considerable response throughout India esp in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. The Brits sided with the Muslims and the partition had become a settled fact. Said Nehru afterwards “Had Gandhi told us not to accept Partition, we would have gone down fighting and waiting” – Mosley Leonard, The last Days of the British Raj. I doubt if Nehru meant it because is his autobiography one of the reasons that he gave for accepting Partition was that the Congress leaders were growing old and did not have the energy to keep on fighting the Brits or the league. Turning it around India did not get independence only because of the Congress movement but post World War II; Britain’s financial and political status had detiorated so they realized that it was difficult to hold onto India any longer. (Refer to the essay why has Asceticism led to the Weakening of Bharat for more).
S had lost the battle for a united India but did not give up. Addressing a Hindu convention on 8/8/1947 in Delhi warned the Hindus that if they did not rise to the real danger ahead there would be many Pakistans thereafter. Highly prejudiced against the Congress S supported the Dewan of Travancore in their declaration of independence (suprising though). The R.S.S and the Arya Samajis kept quiet on Partition.
Came 15th August. Now the right wing of the Congress was trying to win the support of S, probably Patel had a hand in this but nothing materialized. What followed freedom was massacre in Punjab, thousands were uprooted. Nehrus appealed to the Hindus and Sikhs not to make mass migration. Nehru criticized with burning hatred everything that had the appearance of Hindu Sanghatan, clearly attacking S. Replying to Nehru S said “What were the thousands of Hindus-Sikhs to do when faced by an imminent danger of being massacred in cold blood prompted by instinct of self-preservation and animated by the spirit of Pan-Hindu consolidation”.
As regards the misrepresentation of Hindu Raj by Nehru and his hatred for everything Hindu S said it was a stunt by the Gandhian ministers to cover their dismal failures in protecting the nation. S proceeded excerpts “The demand for Hindu Raj, they say is communal, stupid, medieval, theocratic state. But they refuse to tell us what they precisely mean by Hindu Raj, before they criticize it. Assume that this demand requires being condemned; was not the demand for a Muslim state atleast equally condemnable on these very counts? Did not the Muslims claim Pakistan on the ground that Muslims constituted the major community there?”
So much was the Congress’s zeal for a secular state made them ashamed to use the term Hindu? Has it not become part of the Govt and Hindu psyche today as beautifully brought by journalist Pritish Nandy in one of his articles? He said that it secular, ok for President Bush to talk about the Bible, Christianity but when Atalji talks about Ram, the protectors of the Gandhian legacy are up in arms. Probably, for this reason, the Indian govt does not lodge protests with the govts of U.K., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji and Pakistan when Hindus are ill-treated, killed there.
As time passed people realized that Gandhism was an illusion. Gandhi himself realized too late that what the nation followed was not non-violence but passive resistance. The blood, tears, sorrow proved that Gandhi was a dreamland. Said noted freedom fighter, K M Munshi, follower of Gandhi in the freedom special of his Social Welfare “Last 25 years, we have been brought up on a slogan, naturalness and inevitableness of Hindu-Muslim unity. That this was wishful thinking has been proved in Noakali, Bihar, Rawalpindi. The Muslim_a hard realist knew and exploited the hollowness of the slogans, the Hindu cherishes it still. Hindus love words and ideals”. A furious mob stoned Gandhi’s residence at Calcutta 24 hours before the dawn of freedom. Gandhi had become a bosom friend of Hindu murderer Suhrawardy. (Refer to Patel essay for Patel’s criticism of Gandhi’s love for Suhrawardy).
Sensing the change in environment and public mood, pickets had to be posted at Gandhi’s residence to protect the symbol of non-violence. Patel had plainly said at meetings in Calcutta and Lucknow that those Muslims who were disloyal to India would have to go to Pakistan. Such a crisis was capped by Gandhi’s famous fast, which he started on 13/01/1948 for the reinstatement of the Muslims in their houses in Delhi, restoration of desecrated mosques to their former use. The fast was also a means to pressurize Nehru and Patel, more Patel to release Rs 55 crs to Pakistan inspite of the fact that it had invaded Jammu and Kashmir on 22/10/1947.
In the midst of an atmosphere of extreme gloom, Godse shot Gandhi on 30/1/1948 five minutes after the talks Gandhi had with Patel for settling the differences between Nehru and Patel on the question of Muslim loyalty to India.