Thoughts on Pakistan by Dr Ambedkar

Thanks to esamskriti I get different types of requests from visitors. A lady from Mumbai wanted a list of Yoga teachers, Lignesh from Pune asked me to suggest names for his newly constructed house while another from California wanted me to suggest Indian names for his friends newly born son. I do not know what impressions people have formed of me during the last four years of emailing but two things are sure, one I consider it a privilege to be of help and two every request has enriched me. The latest request was from Vish New York. He plans to write a play based on the book Krishnaavatara by Shri Kulapati Munshi (freedom fighter and founder of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan) for which he wanted me to speak to people who knew Munshiji well to know his feelings & thoughts while writing the book. This was a difficult request. Not knowing what to do I called Prof Upadhaya, a Bhavan veteran and respected scholar.

He suggested I speak to Shri Girish Munshi, Kulapati’s son. I was thrilled! Called Girishji who gracefully invited me to his house and shared his experiences with me after which he directed me to M/s Kutty / Jani in the Bhavan. While I waited for them I got naturally attracted to the Bhavan’s library. The librarian directed me to a section where the most frequently referred books are kept. I saw a book that I had been longing to read namely ‘Thoughts on Pakistan’ by Dr B R Ambedkar. I was very excited to find it. I asked the librarian if I could take a copy. She said ‘No, we do not allow any one to take the book out of the library or photocopy it’.

Disappointed I jotted the name and address of the publisher and sent my colleague Ajay to that address. Bad luck the publishers Thacker & Co had shut shop some twenty years ago. I had no option but to call Prof Upadhya and plead for help. Inspite of his years with the Bhavan the librarian refused to lend him the book but allowed me to photocopy it.

BRA’s writing is crisp, clear, well researched, forthright and facts are arranged in a logical manner. This book is a must read for those who want to understand the mindset of Muslims residing in the Indian Sub-continent. It clearly brings out the British role in aiding Muslim separatist’s tendencies that was to eventually result in the creation of PAK. BRA has extensively used charts to drive home his point. Good things need to be shared. Since reproducing a 400page book would be too much I have taken relevant excerpts esp. those that have a bearing on current affairs. Spellings are as they appear in the book and could be different from what is used now. Please pardon errors or omissions on my part. Since the book was written in 1941 I have selectively referred to subsequent events to make it current.  While content is verbatim from the book my comments would always start with the word Friends and in inverted commas.

From now on have referred to Dr B R Ambedkar as BRA and Pakistan as PAK. He was in 1941 a M.A., Ph.D, DSc, Barrister-at Law and Ex-principal of the Government Law College Bombay and Fellow, University of Bombay. This piece is dedicated to Lala Lajpat Rai, Veer Savarkar, Sardar Patel, K M Munshi and BRA.

Sr Name of Chapter Contents
1. Prologue Introduction to book, League Resolution, opposition to one Central govt, importance to resolve Pak issue.
2. Muslim Case for PAK Gives you reasons why Muslims want a separate nation state.
3. Nation What is a nation, are Hindus Muslims one nation.
4. Escape from Degradation Why are Muslims angry with Congress, how has Muslims prestige suffered since advent of British rule.
5. Breaking up of Unity Part I of Hindu case for a united India. What were the reasons for Muslims to invade India
6. Weakening of India’s Defence (A must Read) Question of frontier, resources (compares revenue from Pak Indian provinces), armed forces (data on all India army recruitment province wise, examines myth that martial races belonged to Punjab, data on changes in communal composition of army 1914-30.
7. PAK Communal Peace Will creation of PAK solve the Communal question?But what is the Communal? How will this affect the position of Muslims in Hindustan, does the creation of PAK solve the communal problem in India
8. Hindu Alternative to PAK. Outlines the thoughts of Veer Savarkar on Hinduism, Hindutva Hindudom. It analyses Gandhi’s approach, Khilafat Movement andits impact on Hindu-Muslim relations between 1920-40.
9. Muslim Alternative to PAK. BRA does some crystal ball glazing on Muslim demands to avoid PAK.
10. Lessons from Abroad BRA does benchmarking with situations in Turkey Czechoslovakia, lessons in it for India/Hindus.
11. Social Stagnation Position of Hindu/Muslim women,BRA’s views on Purdah system / burkha, reasons for Muslim economic /social stagnation and Hindu reform.
12. Communal Aggression Political aggression of the Muslims,how the British aided Muslim separatism starting 1892, how Muslims exploited Hindu weakness, an excellent analysis of the Muslim minds.
13. National Frustration 1 Understanding Muslim mind on Independence, know Key tenets of Islam, Gandhi Jesus, attempts at Hindu-Muslim unity.
14. National Frustration 2 Causes of Hindu Muslim divide,evidence that PAK was conceived before 1923, summary epilogue.


This has two parts, excerpts from Prologue and Introduction.

Prologue - For the satisfaction of the curious it might be stated that there exists, at any rate, in the Bombay Presidency a political organization called the Independent Labor Party of ILP for the last three years. Compared with other political organizations, the ILP is a young and fairly active body, not subservient to any clique or any interest. Immediately after the passing of the Lahore Resolution on PAK by the Muslim League the Executive Council of the I.L.P. met to consider what attitude it should adopt towards this project of PAK. The Executive Council was attracted to the Scheme of PAK in as much it meant the creation of ethnic states as a solution to the communal problem.  The Council however did not feel competent to pronounce at that stage a decided opinion on the issue of PAK. The Council therefore resolved to appoint a committee to study the question and make a report on it. The Committee consisted of myself as Chairman and Principal M V Done, Shri S C Joshi, Shri R R Bhole, Shri D G Jadhav and Shri A V Chitre. Shri D V Pradhan, Corporator Bombay Municipality acted as Secretary to the Committee. The Committee asked me to prepare a report on PAK, which I did. The same was submitted to the Executive Council of the ILP, which resolved that the report should be published. The treatise now published is that report.

Owing to want of time I have not been able to make it up-to-date in some respects, as I would have liked to do. But I am sure that such omissions are trivial and do not in the least detract from the value of the book such as it is. I would beg the reader to pay more attention to the solution of the issues raised and less to my skill or rather want of it as a literary craftsman.

I would like those who have helped me in the preparation of this report namely Shri M.G. Tipnis and Shri Chagganlal Modi, B R Kadrekar and K V Chitre.

28/12/1940                                                                                                                BRAmbedkar

The League’s Resolution on PAK has called forth different reactions. There are some who look upon it as a case of political measles to which a people in the infancy of their conscious unity and power are very liable. Others have taken it as a permanent frame of the Muslim mind and not merely as a passing phase and have in consequence been greatly disturbed.

My position in this behalf is definite if not singular. I do not think the demand for PAK is the result of mere political distemper, which will pass away with the efflux of time. As I read the situation it seems to me that it is a characteristic in the biological sense of the term, which the Muslim body politic has developed in the same manner as on organism, develops a characteristic. Whether it will survive or not in the process of natural selection must depend upon the forces that may become operative in the struggle for existence between Hindus and Muslims.
Secondly I am not staggered by PAK. I believe that it would be neither wise nor possible to reject summarily a scheme if it has behind the sentiment if not the passionate support of the 90% Muslims of India. I have no doubt that the only proper attitude to PAK is to study it in all its aspects, to understand its implications and to form an intelligent judgment about it.

As to the seasonableness of the book there can be no doubt. The way of looking at Indians themselves must be admitted to have undergone a complete change during the last twenty years. So what is the view of Indians about her? On this question there can be no doubt that those, who have observed India behave in recent years, fell she is strange being quite different from the angelic Princess what she was supposed to be. She is a mad maiden having a dual personality, half human, half animal, always in convulsions because of her two natures in perpetual conflict. If there is any doubt about her dual personality it has now been dispelled by the Resolution of the Muslim League demanding the cutting up of India into two, PAK and Hindustan, so that these convulsions and conflicts due to a dual personality being bound in one crease for ever, and so freed from each other, may dwell in separate homes congenial to their respective Hindu and Muslim cultures.

There is no use blaming the British for insisting upon such a settlement as a precondition to transfer of power. The British cannot consent to settle power upon an aggressive Hindu majority, and make it as its heir, leaving it to deal with the minorities as its sweet pleasure. That would be creating imperialism. The Hindus therefore cannot avoid come to grips with PAK much as they would like to do.

The points to be kept in mind are one that Hindus and Muslims must decide the question themselves without the aid of anyone else. From the point of view of the Empire it matters very little to the British whether India remains one undivided whole, or has two divisions or into 20 linguistic fragments as planned by the Congress so long as all of them are content to live within the Empire. Further if the Hindus are hoping the British would use force to put down PAK that is impossible. ‘Friends from the 1860’s encouraged Muslim separatism through various ways some of which are Aligarh Muslim Movement, Partition of Bengal in 1905 and introduction of separate electorates in 1909. Further World War 2 changed political equations making division of India a necessity for the British’.

The essence of PAK is the opposition to the establishment of one Central Government having supremacy over the whole of India. PAK contemplates two governments one for Pakistan and another for Hindustan. The second important point is that the matter needs to be decided upon before the plans for a new constitution are drawn and foundations laid. The Muslims have openly declared that they do not want to have any Central Government and they have given their reasons in most unambiguous terms. They have succeeded in bringing into being about 5 provinces, which are predominantly Muslim in population. Here they see the possibility of Muslims forming a government and they are anxious to see that the independence of these Muslim governments is preserved.

The Muslims feel that to accept one Central Government for the whole of India is to consent to place the Muslim Provincial governments under a Hindu Central Government and to see the gain, secured by the creation of Muslim Provinces, lost by subjecting them to the Hindu Government at the Centre. The Muslim way to escape from this tyranny of a Hindu Centre is to have no Central Government in India at all. This point of view was put forth by Sir Mohamed Iqbal at the Third Round Table Conference.

I may point out that there are two factors which are dormant for the present but for which some day may become dominant and turn the Hindus away from the idea of a Central Government. First is the antipathy between Hindu provinces. It cannot be pretended that the Sikhs have any tenderness for the Bengalis or the Rajputs for the Madrasis. It is true that the Hindus are getting together and the spirit moving them to become one united nation is working on them. However, before the process is completed there may be a setback, which may destroy the work of a whole century. ‘Friends BRA was right but two things united Hindus, one was the violence unleashed by the Muslim League, two was the underlying common Central Idea/culture across the country’.

Second is the financial factor. The total revenue of British India comes to app Rs 195 crores of which provinces raise app Rs 74 crores and Rs 121 crs by the Central government. When one considers that the Central govt responsibility is only of maintaining peace and does not discharge any functions with relation to the progress of the people, they might ask whether the Central government is necessary. This burden of maintaining the Central Government is unevenly distributed over different provinces for e.g. Bombay province raised Rs 12 crs while revenue raised by Central government from central sources was Rs 22 crs. Corresponding figures for Punjab were Rs 11.35 crs and Rs 1.18 crs, N.W.F. P. Rs 1.80 crs and Rs .09 crs.

Although the Hindus are the strongest supporters of the Central government they could demand its abolition for financial considerations while the Muslims may do so for communal considerations. If this were to happen after the foundation of the new constitution, envisaging one Central government, it would be the greatest disaster.

There can be no doubt that PAK is a scheme which Indians will have to resolve upon at the next revision of the Constitution and if there is no escape from deciding upon it, then it, would be a fatal mistake if the people approached it without a proper understanding of the question. Every Indian must read a book on PAK if not this, then some other if he wants to help his country to steer a clear path.

The reader will find two things in this book, which I am sure, are good. One that the book has material, which may be helpful, and to gain access to which he will have to labor a great deal. Indeed the book contains an epitome of India’s political and social history during the last twenty years (‘1920-1940 i.e. from the Khilafat Movement to date’), which is necessary for every Indian to know.

Two he will find that there is no partisanship. The aim is to expose to the scheme of PAK in all its aspects and not to advocate it. The aim is to explain not convert. Surely I have views on PAK. 2 things may be said about my views. One wherever they have been expressed they have been reasoned out. Two they are thoughts and not views. In other words, I have an open mind, though not an empty mind. In presenting facts I have placed before him both sides of the question and have left him to form his own opinion on it.

The reader may complain that I have been provocative in stating the relevant facts. I apologize freely and gladly for the same. I have no intention to hurt. I had only one purpose that is to force the attention of the indifferent and the casual reader upon the issue dealt with in the book. I ask the reader to put aside any irritation that he may fell with me and concentrate his thoughts on this tremendous issue: Which is to be, PAK or no PAK?

‘Friends here ends the introduction. I reproduce some excerpts from the last three pages of the book.’ Inspite of all this the Hindus will not give up the illusion that PAK is only the fancy of Mr Jinnah and that it has no support from the Muslim masses or leaders.  These are the reasons why I have addressed so a large part of the argument to the Hindus. A thick and impervious wall of false sentiments and illusions has prevented the Hindu from receiving fresh light. It is because of this that I felt the grave necessity of applying my batteries. I do not know how far I have succeeded but I am satisfied that I have done my duty. If the Hindus don’t do theirs they will be plagued by the very consequences for which they are laughing at Europe and they perish in the same way as Europe is perishing.

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