Hindu Alt to PAK
Having stated the Muslim case for PAK and the Hindu case against it, it is necessary to turn to the alternatives to PAK, if there be any. In forming one’s judgment on PAK, one must take into account the alternatives to it. Either there is no alternative to PAK, or there is an alternative but it is worse than PAK. Thirdly one must also consider, if neither option is found acceptable to parties concerned. The relevant data having a bearing on these points is presented under the following heads –
1. Hindu alternative to PAK. Chapter 8
2. Muslim alternative to PAK. Chapter 9
3. Lessons from Abroad. Chapter 10
Hindu Alternative to PAK
1. Thinking of Hindu alternatives the ones that comes to one’s mind is the one put forth by Lala Hardayal in 1925. Excerpts from his statement published in Lahore’s Pratap, “I declare that the future of the Hindu race, of Hindustan and Punjab rests on these four pillars, one Hindu sangathan, two Hindu raj, shuddhi of Muslims and four shuddhi of Afghanistan/its frontiers. So long as the Hindu nation does not accomplish these four things, the safety of our children and great-grand-children will be ever in danger. The Hindu race has but one history, and its institutions are homogeneous. But the Muslims and Christians are far removed from the confines of Hinduism, for their religion is alien and they love Persian, Arabic and European institutions. If Hindus want to protect themselves, they must conquer Afghanistan and frontier and convert all the mountain tribes”.
‘Friends Lalaji is absolutely correct in saying that the safety of India depends on the shuddhi of Muslims and Afghanistan. India has fought 4 wars with the Muslims of PAK followed by a low intensity war for the last twenty years. Ironically this war started after the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets in 1979’.
I do not know how many Hindus would support Lalaji’s scheme. It does not seem feasible for the following reasons. One Hindus are not a proselytizing religion. Two caste is incompatible with the conversion in the sense that if you convert a person which caste would he belong to. Three who can furnish the funds for conversions of the Afghans and frontier tribesmen to Hinduism? Four the scheme is adventurous in character and too fantastic to appeal to any reasonable men except perhaps some fanatical Arya Samajists of Punjab.
2. Veer Savarkar - The stand taken by the Hindu Mahasabha has been defined by Savarkar. According to him the Sabha is against PAK and proposed to resist it by all means (not defined). ‘Friends BRA has taken app 12 pages to expound the theories of Savarkar. In order to make the piece comprehensive will touch on the broader issues only.’
Savarkar put forward positive proposals for which one must grasp some of his basic conceptions. He laid stress on a proper understanding of the terms Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindudom. One is coined from the word Hindu and means the religion that the Hindus follow. Two refers not only to religious aspects of the Hindu people but comprehends even their cultural, linguistic, social and political aspects as well. Three refers to the Hindu people spoken of collectively. Swaraj to the Hindus must mean only that in which their ‘Swatva’, their Hindutva can assert itself without being loaded by any non-Hindu people, Englishmen and Muslims of the type of Aurangzeb/Tipu Sultan/converts are excluded.
As part of Swaraj Savarkar insisted on two things. First the retention of the name Hindustan as the proper name for India. “But if inspite some Muslim sections amongst the countrymen object to this name of our country, that is no reason why we must play cowards to our own conscience”. Second is the retention of Sanskrit as sacred language, Hindi as national language and Nagari as the script of Hindudom. “By Hindi we mean pure Sanskrit Nistha Hindi as we find it for e.g. in the Satyarth Prakash written by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. This has nothing to do with that hybrid, the so-called Hindustani which is being hatched up by the Wardha scheme”.
“The Muslim minority in India well have the right to be treated as equal citizens, enjoying equal protection and civic rights in proportion to their population. In no case will the Hindu majority resign its right, which as a majority it is entitled to exercise under any democratic & legitimate constitution. It would be simply preposterous to endow the Muslim minority with the power of exercising a practical veto on the legitimate rights and privileges of the majority and call it a Swarajya. The Hindus do not want a change of masters, to replace an Edward by an Aurangzeb, they want to be the masters in their own house, in their own land”.
And it is because he wants his Swaraj to bear the stamp of a Hindu raj that Savarkar wants India should have the appellation of Hindustan. This structure has been reared by Savarkar on two proponents that he regards as fundamental. One Hindus are a nation by themselves.
The second proposition on which Savarkar built his scheme relates to the definition of the term Hindu. According to him a Hindu is a person “who regards and owns this Bharat Bhumi, this land from Indus to the Seas, as his father land as well as his Holy Land i.e. the land of the origin of his religion, the cradle of his Faith”. Consequently all the hill-tribes are also Hindus because India is their fatherland as well as their holy land of whatever form of religion or worship they follow.
Such is the alternative of Savakar and the Hindu Mahasabha. It has some important features. One is that the Hindus are a nation by themselves meanings Muslims are a nation too. Savarkar insists that although there are two nations in India, it shall not be divided into two parts, one for Muslims and another for Hindus. It shall live under one constitution that shall be such that the Hindu nation will be enabled to occupy a predominant position that is due to it and the Muslim nation made to live in the position of subordinate cooperation with the Hindu nation. Savarkar prescribes one man one vote. In his scheme the Muslim is to have no advantage that a Hindu does not have. Minority is to have been no justification for privilege and majority is to be no ground for penalty. The state will guarantee Muslim religion & culture but it will not guarantee the Muslims any defined measure of political power in the form of secured seats in the legislature or administration and if the Muslims insist upon such a quota it is not to exceed their proportion to the population.
This alternative of Savarkar to PAK has about it, a frankness, boldness, and definiteness, which distinguish it from the irritating vagueness and indefiniteness, which characterizes the Congress declaration about minority rights.
Savarkar wanted two people Hindu & Muslims who according to him were different nations to live together. Yet he did not want the country to be divided into two. He will not allow the Muslim nation to be coequal in authority with the Hindu nation. Why should Savarkar, after being so frank, sowing this seed of enmity between the Hindu & Muslim nations want that they should live under one constitution and occupy one country is difficult to explain.
3. GANDHI - Savarkar is quite unconcerned about the Muslim reaction to his scheme. He is not perturbed by the Muslim refusal to join in the struggle for Swaraj. He is quite conscious of the strength of the Hindus and believes that Hindus alone will be able to wrest Swaraj. Not so Gandhi. At the beginning of his political career he startled the people of India by his promise to win Swaraj within 6 months if certain conditions were fulfilled. One of these was the achievement of Hindu Muslim unity.
Muslims started the Khilafat Movement in 1919 to preserve the Khilafat and maintain the integrity of the Turkish Empire. Both these objectives were insupportable. One the Turks in whose support this agitation was carried on did not want the Sultan. Two insisting upon the integrity of the Turkish Empire meant perpetual subjection of different nationalities to the Turkish Rule and particularly of the Arabs, when it was agreed upon that the doctrine of self-determination would be the basis of the peace settlement.
The Muslims started by the movement. But it was taken by Gandhi with such a tenacity & faith, which must have surprised the Muslims themselves. Gandhi not only agreed with the Muslims in the Khilafat cause but acted as their guide and friend. For the record the Non-cooperation had its origin in the Khilafat movement and not in the Congress movement for Swaraj, that it was started by the Khilafatists to help Turkey and only adopted by the Congress, that Swaraj was not its primary object, but its primary object was Khilafat and Swaraj was added as a secondary object to induce the Hindus to join it.
The effect of its taking up the Khilafat caused upon the dimensions of the Congress was tremendous. The Congress was made great and powerful not by the Hindus but by the Muslims. Credit must go to Gandhi. Gandhi did not care for those Hindus who were opposed to joining the Muslims in the non-cooperation movement. To those who wanted to give their support on the condition that the Muslims give up cow killing Gandhi said excerpts “Conditional cooperation is like adulterated cement that does not bind. If the Muslims feel themselves bound in honor to spare the Hindus feelings and to stop cow-killing, they may do so, no matter whether the Hindus co-operate with them or not”. To those who feared to join the movement for the reason that Muslims may invite the Afghans to invade India Gandhi said excerpts“ I have no doubts that that if the Muslims remain true to their declared intention and are able to exercise self-restraint and make sacrifices Hindus will play game and join them in the campaign for Non-cooperation.
British forces are too well organized to admit any successful invasion of the Indian frontier. The only way for the Muslims is to carry on an effective struggle in the honor of Islam is to take up Non-cooperation in right earnest. No government can possibly withstand the bloodless opposition of a whole nation”.
Unfortunately the last sentence of Gandhi did not come true. Within a year of starting the Non-cooperation movement, Gandhi had to admit that Muslims had grown impatient and that “Muslims ask for more energetic and prompt action by the Congress. To the Muslims Swaraj means India’s ability to deal effectively with the Khilafat question. The only way to help the afflicted Turks is for India to generate sufficient power to be able to assert herself. If she cannot do so, she must resign herself to the inevitable. Mere ignorant, thoughtless and angry outburst of violence may give vent to pent up rage but can bring no relief to Turkey”.
The Muslims were in no mood to listen to Gandhi’s advice or worship the principle of non-violence. And the Muslims did what the Hindus feared, invited the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India. Said Gandhi “I would, in a sense, certainly assist the Amir if he waged war against the British govt. That is to say I would openly tell my countrymen that it would be a crime to help a government which had lost the confidence of the nation to remain in power”. Can any sane man go so far for the sake of Hindu Muslim unity?
Gandhi never called the Muslims to account even when they have been guilty of gross crimes against Hindus. Prominent Hindu leaders who had offended religious susceptibilities of the Muslims by their writings or by their part in the Shudhi movement were murdered or stabbed by some fanatic Muslim. Swami Shradhanand, a leader of the Shudhi movement was shot dead by Abdul Rashid on 23/12/1926. Lala Nanakchand, a prominent Arya Samaji leader was stabbed by Illamdin on 6/4/1929.
The list can go on. Muslim leaders never condemned such actions nor did Gandhi. He kept quiet inspite of what the Moplas of Malabar did to the Hindus there. The book gives many more instances where Gandhi chose, for the mirage of Hindu Muslim unity to overlook Muslims words on Conversion, Jihad against Hindus and burning of foreign clothes.
The other incident to be noted is the part Gandhi played in the communal settlement. He offered the Muslims a blank cheque. He opposed separate electorates at the Round Table Conference. When they were given to the Muslims by the Communal Award Gandhi/Congress did not approve of it. But when it came to voting upon it they took the strange attitude of neither approving it nor opposing it.
What were the fruits of Gandhi’s efforts to produce Hindu Muslim unity? To be able to answer this? It is necessary to examine the relationship between the two communities between 1920-40. The book has gone into great detail. ‘Friends what I have done is to give you year and place of communal riots.’
• 1920, Moplah Rebellion was essentially a rebellion against the British govt but Hindus were raped, converted and killed, foul outrages upon women. 1
• 1921-22, Muharram celebrations had serious riots in Bengal & Punjab. 2
• 1922-23 was a peaceful year.
• 1923-24, riot in Kohat City – Hindus had to evacuate city, other riots too.3
• 1925-26 antagonisms between Hindus Muslims became widespread. Deplorable rioting in Calcutta. Riots in United Provinces, Bombay Presidency.4
• 1926-27 was one continuous period of Communal riots. Major disorders in Delhi, Punjab, Bengal & United Provinces. 5
• 1927-28 between April & Sept 25 riots were reported. Places occurred United Provinces, Bombay Presidency, Punjab, Central provinces. Most serious report was in Lahore. Also in N.W.F.P. economic boycott was freely advocated in the British frontier districts but the movement met with little success. Hindus were expelled from Khyber Pass.6
• 1928-29 comparatively more peaceful than 1927-28. Although number of riots were fewer casualties were swelled by the Bombay riots.
• 1929-30 riots were less frequent. 7
• 1930-31 there occurred innumerable communal disturbances mostly due to the Muslim opposition to the Civil Disobedience Movement started by the Congress in that year. Bengal, Assam, Madras, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bihar, Orissa were some of the places. 8
• 1931-32, the progress of constitutional discussions had a definite reaction in that it bred certain nervousness among the Muslims as to their position under a constitution functioning on the majority principle. Within 3 weeks of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact perceived by the Muslims to give a privileged position to the Congress occurred the savage communal riots at Cawanpore.9
• 1932-33 was relatively free from communal agitations & disturbances. This was doubtless in some measure due to the suppression of lawlessness generally and removal of uncertainty in regard to the position of Muslims under the new constitution.
• 1933-34 communal tension kept on increasing. Riots occurred at Cawanpore, Benaras, Lahore, Peshawar, Ayodhya, and Cannanore in Madras, Sind, and Delhi.10
• 1934-35 serious trouble arose in Lahore, Karachi, Secunderabad.11
• 1936 there were four communal riots namely Firozabad in Agra district, Poona, Bombay and Jamalpur in Monghyr district.12
• 1937 was full of communal disturbances. Panipat, Central Provinces, Punjab, Sind.14
• 1938 had two riots in Allahabad and Bombay.15
• 1939 saw 6 riots in Asansol, Benaras, Cawanpore amongst others 16
Such was the result of Gandhi’s efforts toward Hindu Muslim unity. There would not be much exaggeration to say that it is a record of 20 years of civil war between Hindus and Muslims of India, interrupted by brief intervals of peace. ‘Friends the book has some five pages on the brutality of the riots which is too much of detail to reproduce’.
The point is can the Hindu Muslims form one nation. Can a Central govt make them live as one nation? Has 100 years of British rule made them one nation? ‘Friends these are some of the questions that the last few pages of this chapter throws up’.
It is an illusion to say that the coming of a Central govt molded the Indian people into one nation. The unity produced by the Roman Empire was only political and not enough to give it permanence & stability. It broke into several smaller kingdoms. But the fact remains that the tottering Empire whose political unity was not enough to bind it for several hundred years became a cohesive unit after it became the Holy Roman Empire.
What made the Holy Empire more stable than the Roman Empire? According to Bryce it was a common religion in the shape of Christianity and common religious organization in the shape of the Christian Church, which supplied the cement to the Holy Empire.
If we accept Bryce’s logic there can be no unity between Hindus and Muslims. The cementing force of a common religion is wanting. From a spiritual point of view Hindus and Muslims are not merely two classes or sects as Protestants & Catholics or Shaivas & Vaishnavas. They are two distinct species. For them Divinity is divided and with the division of Divinity their humanity is divided and with the division of humanity they must remain divided.
Without social unity, political unity is difficult to be achieved. With mere political unity, India may be a state but not a nation, which has small prospects of survival in the struggle for existence in these days when nationalism is the most dynamic force.