Thoughts on Pakistan by Dr Ambedkar

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National Frustration 2      

5.  Causes of Hindu Muslim divide   - while it is necessary to admit that efforts at Hindu Muslim unity have failed and that the Muslim ideology has undergone a complete revolution it is equally necessary to know the precise causes that have produced these effects. The Hindus blame the divide & rule policy of the British. The Hindus have cultivated the Irish mentality to have no other politics except to blame the govt for everything. But the time has come to discard this facile explanation so dear to the Hindus for it fails to take into account two very important circumstances.

One it overlooks the fact that the policy of divide & rule, allowing that the British do resort to it, cannot succeed unless there are elements which make division possible, and further if the policy succeeds for such a long time it means that the elements which divide more or less permanent & irreconcilable. Two it forgets that Mr. Jinnah who represents this ideological transformation can never be suspected to be a tool in the hands of the British. He may be too self-opinionated, egoistic and perhaps a degree of arrogance, which is not compensated by any extraordinary intellect. It may be on that account that Jinnah is unable to reconcile himself to a second place and work with others in that capacity for a public cause.

What is the real explanation for the failure of Hindu Muslim unity? - lies in the failure to realize that what stands between Hindus & Muslims is not a mere matter of difference. It is an antagonism as distinguished from mere difference which is not to be attributed to material causes. It is spiritual in character. It is formed by causes which take their origin in historical, religious, cultural & social antipathy of which political antipathy is only a reflection. So long as this antagonism lasts it is unnatural to expect this antipathy between Hindus & Muslims to give place to unity.

Like the Christians & Muslims in the Turkish Empire Hindus & Muslims have met as enemies on many fields and the result of the struggle has often brought them into the relation of conquerors & conquered. Whichever party has triumphed, a great gulf has remained fixed between the two and their enforced political union, has only accentuated their mutual antipathy. The two faiths are mutually exclusive and at their core and center are irreconcilable.

If Islam and Hinduism keep them apart in the matter of faith they also prevent their social assimilation. That Hinduism prohibits intermarriage between Hindus & Muslims is well known. But Islam is equally narrow in its social code. With these social laws there can be no social assimilation. ‘Friends the number of Hindu girls married into Muslim families today far exceeds the opposite!’

Next it is said that Hinduism is said to divide people & Islam is said to bind them, But this is only a half-truth. For Islam divided as inexorably as it binds. The brotherhood of Islam is not universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. For those who are outside the community there is contempt & enmity only.

Another defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government & is incompatible with local self-government because of the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country of his residence but on the faith to which he belongs. Wherever there is a rule of Islam that is his own country. In other words Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith & kin. That is why probably the reason why Maulana M Ali a great Indian & a true Muslim preferred to be buried in Jerusalem than in India.

The real reason for this ideological transformation of Muslim leaders appears to be the dawn of a new vision pointing to a new destiny symbolized by a new name PAK. The worship is new because the sun of their new destiny which was so far hidden in the clouds has only now made its appearance in full glow. The magnetism of this new destiny cannot but draw the Muslims towards it. Its magnetism is so great that even Jinnah has been violently shaken and has not been able to resist its force. It lies there as though it is deliberately planned by providence as a separate National State for Muslims. It opens up the possibility of realizing the Muslim idea of linking up all the Muslim kindred in one Islamic state. With the separation of PAK from Hindustan there is nothing to prevent PAK from joining other Muslim countries in the Middle East and forming a federation of Muslim countries from Constantinople to Lahore.

IMP - So obvious is the destiny that it is somewhat surprising that Muslims should have taken so long to own it up. There is evidence that some of them knew this to be the ultimate destiny of the Muslims as early as 1923. In support of this reference may be made to the evidence of Khan Saheb Sardar M Gulkhan (who was President, Islamic Anjuman, and Dera Ismail Khan) who appeared as witness before the N.W.F Committee to report upon the administrative relationship between the Settled Area of N.W.F.P. & the Tribal Area & upon the amalgamation of the settled districts with Punjab. The importance of this evidence was not realized by any member of the Committee except Mr N Samarth - extracts from Report illuminates a dark corner in history of the evolution of this new destiny.

“Q – The idea at the back of Anjuman is the Pan-Islamic idea, which is that Islam is a league of nations and as such amalgamating this Province with Punjab will be detrimental. That is the dominant idea at the back of those who think with you? Is it so?

A – It is so, but I have to add something. Their idea is that Hindu Muslim unity will never become a fact and they think that this Province should remain separate and a link between Islam & British Commonwealth. In fact when I am asked what my opinion is – I as a member of the Anjuman, am expressing his opinion – we would rather see the separation of Hindus & the Muslims, 23 crs of Hindus to the south and 8 crs of Muslims to the north. Give the whole portion from Kanyakumari to Agra to the Hindus and from Agra to Peshawar to the Muslims, I mean trans-migration from one place to another. This is an idea of exchange not annihilation. This seems impracticable but if it were practicable we would rather want this than the other.

Q – That is the dominant idea which compels you not have amalgamation with Punjab?

A - Exactly.

Q – I am not referring to you Anjuman but I am referring to the Muslims. I want to know what the Muslims think of this Islamic League of Nations, what have they most prominently in mind, is it the religious or political side?

A – Islam, as you know, is both religious & political.

This evidence shows that the idea underlying the scheme of PAKISTAN has taken birth sometime before 1923.

In 1924 Mahommed Ali is said to have suggested (for reference see Lala Lajpat Rai’s Presidential Address to the Hindu Mahasabha held at Calcutta on 11/4/1925 in the Indian Quarterly Register vol 1 pg 379) that the Muslims of the Frontier Province should have the right of self-determination to choose between an affiliation with India or Kabul. He also quoted a certain Englishman who said that if a straight line be drawn from Constantinople to Delhi, it will disclose a Muslim corridor right upto Saharanpur. It is possible that M Ali knew about the whole scheme of PAK which came out in evidence of the witness referred to by Mr Samarth and in an unguarded movement what the witness had failed to disclose, namely, the ultimate linking of PAK to Afghanistan.

Nothing seems to have been done or said by the Muslims about this scheme between 1924 to 1930. The Muslims appear to have buried it and conducted negotiations with the Hindus for safeguards as distinguished from partition. But in 1930 when the Round Table Conference was going on certain Muslims had formed themselves into a committee with headquarters in London for the purpose of getting the R.T.C. to entertain the project of PAK. Even then nobody took interest in it except Sir Mahommad Iqbal who expressed the view at the third session of the R.T.C. that there should be no Central Govt for India and that the provinces should be autonomous and independent dominions in direct relationship to the Secretary of State in Lndon.

It is possible that the Muslims in the beginning thought that this destiny was just a dream incapable of realization. It is possible that they later on felt that it could be a reality but they did not raise the issue because they were not sufficiently well organized to compel the British & Hindus to agree to it. They did not raise it as the R.T.C. perhaps they knew that the scheme would offend the British whose help they needed for a decision on the 14 points of dispute between them & the Hindus.

There is another explanation of this delay in putting forth the scheme of PAK. It is far more possible that the Muslim leaders did not until recently know about the philosophical justification for PAK. The reason why Muslims had not discovered the philosophical justification for PAK is equally understandable. The Muslim leaders were, hereto, speaking of the Muslims of India as a community or a minority. They never spoke of Muslims as a nation.

A people who notwithstanding their differences accept a common destiny for themselves as well as for their opponents are a community. A people who are not only different from the rest but refuse to accept for themselves the same destiny which others do, are a nation. It is this difference in the acceptance and non-acceptance of a common destiny which alone can explain why the Untouchables, Christians & Parsis are in relation to the Hindus only communities & why the Muslims are a nation. From the point of view of harmony in body politic the difference is of most vital character as the difference is one of ultimate destiny. If the difference persists, it would have the effect of rendering the State in fragments.

If it had struck the Muslims they need not stop acknowledging themselves to be a minority but could proceed further to distinguish a minority, which is a community from a minority, which is a nation they might have been led to the way to discover this philosophical justification for PAK. In that case PAK would have in all probability come much earlier than it has done.

The fact remains that the Muslims have undergone a complete transformation, which is brought about the discovery of what is their true and ultimate destiny. To some it might come as a shock but to those who have studied Hindu Muslims politics for the last 20 years (1920-40) cannot but admit a feeling that this transformation was on the way. The Hindus and Muslims have trodden parallel paths. They went in the same direction but never traveled the same road.

In 1885 the Hindus started the Congress to vindicate the political rights of Indians against the British. The Muslims refused to be lured by the Hindus in the Congress posing for all Indians. Between 1885 to 1906 the Muslims kept out of politics. In 1906 they felt the need for the Muslim community to take part in political activity. (Possibly after the Partition of Bengal in 1905 which was vehemently opposed by the Hindus but supported by the Muslims). Even then they dug their own separate channel for the flow of Muslim political life. They formed the Muslim League whose aims & objects were not always the same as the Congress. They met in 1915 at Lucknow with success, in 1925 without success. In 1928 a section of the Muslims was prepared to meet the Congress but another section refused to meet. It rather preferred to depend upon the British. There was something in the composition of these two, which would compel their separation.


That Muslim politics should have run a parallel course and should have never merged in the Hindu current of politics is a strange fact of Indian History. They seemed to be influenced by a mysterious feeling and guided by a hidden hand, which was directing them to keep apart from the Hindus. This feeling, hidden hand was no other than their pre-appointed destiny, symbolized by PAK, which unknown to them, was working within. Thus viewed; there is nothing new or nothing sudden in the idea of PAK. The only thing that has happened is that, what was indistinct appears now in full glow, and what was nameless has taken a name.

6. Summary - Summing up the whole discussion it seems that an integral India is incompatible with an independent India or even with India as a dominion. There is frustration if the national destiny is conceived in terms of independence, because the Hindus will not follow that path for certain reasons. They fear that that way lies for the establishment of the domination of the Muslims over the Hindus. The Hindus see that the Muslim move for independence is not innocent but is strategy. It is to be used only to bring the Hindus out of the protecting shield of the British Empire in the open and then alliance with the neighboring Muslim countries and by their aid subjugate them.

For the Muslims independence is not the end. It is only a means to establish Muslim Raj. There is frustration in terms of Dominion Status because the Muslims will not agree to abide by it. They fear that under that the Hindus will establish Hindu Raj by taking benefit of the principle of one man one vote and inspite of weightage to Muslims the result cannot fail to be a government of the Hindus, by the Hindus and for the Hindus.

Is an integral India worth fighting for - One even if India were to be country in reality there would be two countries India and PAK joined together by a forced & artificial union. This will specially be so under the stress of the two-nation theory. If by some reason of some superior force the dissolution does not take place this union will go on sapping her vitality, loosening its cohesion etc. India will be an anemic & sickly ineffective state, a living corpse, dead though not buried.

Two disadvantage of this forced union will be the necessity of finding a basis for Hindu Muslim settlement. How difficult it is to reach no one needs to be told. Further if this forced union continues there can be no political advance for India unless Communal Settlement accompanies it.

Third disadvantage of this forced union would be that it cannot eliminate the presence of a third party. In the first place the constitution, if one comes into existence, will be a federation of mutually suspicious & unfriendly states. They will of their own accord want the presence of a third party to appeal to in the cases of dispute. Further the basis of the constitution will be the settlement between the Hindus & Muslims, and for the successful working of such a constitution the presence of a third party with sufficient armed force, will be necessary to see that the settlement is not broken.

Compare this with the vista that opens out if India is divided into PAK & Hindustan. It opens a way to a fulfillment of the destiny each may fix for itself. Hindus & Muslims will be free to choose for themselves independence or dominion status. Muslims will be freed from the nightmare of Hindu Raj and vice versa. Thus the path of political progress becomes smooth for both. With PAK separated from India, Communal Settlement must remain a necessary condition, if India, desires to make any political advance. Both PAK & Hindustan are free from the rigorous trammels of such a condition precedent and if a settlement with minorities remains to be a condition precedent it will not be difficult of fulfillment.

Another advantage of PAK – it is generally admitted that there does exist a kind of antagonism between Hindus & Muslims which if not dissolved will prove ruinous to the peace & progress of India. But it is not realized that the mischief is caused by the existence of a common theatre for its display. Now PAK leaves no theatre for the display of that social antagonism which is the cause of disaffection between Hindus & Muslims.

Last advantage is the elimination of the necessity of a third party to maintain peace.

Those who want an integral India must note what Muhammad Ali as President of the Congress said in 1923. Speaking about the unity of among Indians he said, “Unless some new force other than the misleading unity of the opposition unites this vast continent of India it will remain a geographical misnomer”.

Is there any new force? All other forces having failed the Congress, after it became the government of the day, saw a new force in the plan of mass contact. It was intended to produce political unity between Hindus & Muslim masses by ignoring or circumventing Muslim leaders. The plan was mischievous as it was futile. The Congress forgot that political power is the most precious thing, in the life of a community esp. if its position is being constantly challenged. Political power is the only means by which it can sustain its position. To attempt to make it part with it by false propaganda etc is equivalent to disarming the community and to make it ineffective. It may be a way of producing unity but the way is despicable for it means suppressing the opposition by a false & unfair way. Such a way can only create bitterness, exasperation & hostility. This is precisely what the Mass contact plan of the Congress did.

It might be said that mass contact was conceived & employed as a political lever & it might have been used as a force for social unity with greater success. It is a matter of regret to every Indian that there is no social tie to draw Hindus & Muslims together. Their festivals are different, religions mutually exclusive, cultures different. No common meeting ground exists. Wherever they live, they live apart. Every town, every village has its Hindu & Muslim quarters, which are quite, separate from each other. When there is peace the quarters appears as two alien settlements. The moment war is declared the settlements become armed camps. Periods of peace & war are brief. But the interval is one of continuous tension. What can mass contact do against such barriers?

Epilogue - A large part of the arguments of this book has been addressed to the Hindus. There is an obvious reason. The Hindus are in a majority so their viewpoint must count. But there are special reasons, which have led me to address so large a part to them. I feel that those Hindus who are guiding the destinies of their fellows have lost what Carlyle calls the ‘the Seeing Eye’ and are walking in the glamour of certain vain illusions, the consequences of which must, I fear, be terrible for the Hindus.

The Hindus will not realize that Hindus & Muslims are not one in temperament or spiritual experience etc yet the Hindus will continue to cherish the illusion that notwithstanding past bitter experiences there is still left a possibility of Hindus & Muslims coming together.

The Hindus will not realize that the Jinnah has engaged himself in mobilizing all his forced for battle. Never a man of the masses or religious today one finds a complete change in Jinnah. He has become a man of the masses, has become a believer of Islam and is prepared to die for it. Today he goes to the mosque to hear Khutba. No Muslim meeting in Bombay begins or ends without Allah-ho-Akbar. Inspite of all this the Hindus will not give up the illusion that PAK is only the fancy of Jinnah and that it has no support from the Muslim masses.

When one hears these things from the Hindu camp one wonders what has made the Hindu intellect so weak & dull. They fail to see that both Sir Sikander & Fazlul Haque were opposed to the formation of the branches of the Muslim League in their provinces when Jinnah tried to revive them in 1937. Notwithstanding their opposition branches were formed in Punjab & Bengal and within one year both were compelled to join them. If they were really opposed to the scheme of PAK it is easy for them to denounce it. Still the Hindus keep on saying that Muslim leaders do not support Jinnah. Jinnah’s contact with Muslim masses was strategy – mobilization. But the Hindus will not see it in that light.

Further the Hindus will not care to understand the implications of the European War. To them it is an occasion to put forward their national demand. As their demand has failed to draw any response they have become cynical and have cultivated a particular type of patriotism, which spends itself in chuckling over British reverses and laughing at the European peoples for the mad slaughter. There are two lessons to be noted. One the problem of the domination of a race calling itself superior as compared to others. Two the struggle of a minority seeking its freedom from the yoke of the majority. The former is typified by Germany, Czechoslovakia is the latter. Every Hindu ought to know that these are the very problems, which he will have to face, before India is free and even after India is free. But the Hindus simply will not cease laughing at Europe.

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.

‘Friends hope you found the piece useful & has helped improve your understanding of the sub-continent Muslim mind. I have done my duty in presenting the facts before you, now it is up to you to use your Buddhi – intellect and form your opinions. Parting thought – look at the condition of Pakistan today, how the World views them. Here is a story of 2 Muslim brothers one of whom chose back to stay in India and the other migrated to PAK. Thanks to the software boom in the 1990’s both the families migrated to the U.S. Brother one and son PAKis have been asked to register themselves with the Immigration department, as have residents from other Muslim countries. His brother & neighbor an Indian citizen has not been asked to register, is enjoying World Cup 2003. That says it all!

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