Thoughts on Pakistan by Dr Ambedkar

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Communal Peace       

PAK & communal peace is the full title of this chapter. Does PAK solve the communal question is a natural question which every Hindu is sure to ask. Before we answer that one must have a clear idea by what is exactly meant, when Hindus & Muslims speak of the Communal Question.

1.  In its lesser intent it relates to the representation of Hindus & Muslims in the Legislatures. This involves the settlement of two distinct problems, one the number of seats allocated to Hindus & Muslims in different legislatures, and two the nature of the electorates through which these seats are to be filled in.

In the Round Table Conference the Muslims claimed that their representatives should be elected by separate electorates in all Provincial & Central Legislatures. Further in those provinces where they were in a majority such as Punjab, Sind, N.W.F.P.and Bengal, a guaranteed statutory majority of seats & where they were a minority they should be allowed to retain the weightage in representation given to Muslim minorities.

The Hindus objected but the Communal Award of His Majesty’s Government gave the Muslims all that they asked for. But is there any sense in the objections of the Hindus? First, as to their objection to the weightage to Muslim minorities in the matter of representation. The Hindus cannot object because similar weightage has been given to Hindus in those provinces in which they are a minority. Second, as to their objection to a statutory majority. Once it is granted that a minority must have a minimum number of seats, that very provision gives rise to a counterpart, to a system of a statutory majority for the majority. Thus there is no great force in the Hindu objections. But there exists a substantial ground of objection to the Communal Award that the Hindus have not attacked.

The Muslim minorities in the Hindu provinces insisted on separate electorates. The Communal Award gives them the right to determine this issue and the majority Hindu community has been made to abide by the Muslim demand. The Hindu minority in Muslim provinces insisted on joint electorates but the Communal Award forced upon them the system of separate electorates to which they objected. Now in the Hindu provinces the Muslim minorities are allowed the right of self-determination in the matter of electorates but in Muslim majority provinces Hindu minority has no such right of self-determination. Point! Why are not the Hindu minorities in Muslim majority provinces given the right of self-determination in the matter of their electorates?

What is the guiding principle that would influence a minority? Is the majority community likely to use its communal majority for communal ends? If the minority feels the answer is yes, it may choose joint electorates, because it may be the only method by which it would hope to take away the communal element of the statutory majority by influencing elections of the majority community.

On the other hand, a majority community may not have the necessary communal element, which alone would enable it to use its communal majority for communal ends, in which a minority having no fear from the resulting statutory majority, may well choose separate electorates for itself.

To put it correctly, the Muslims in choosing separate electorates are not afraid of them and the statutory majority of the Hindus because they feel sure by reason of their deep-seated differences of caste and race, the Hindus will never be able to use their majorities against the Muslims. On the other hand the Hindus know what it is like to live in a Muslim majority province. The situations are not alike.

The Communal Award is iniquitous inasmuch as, it accords unequal treatment to the Hindu and Muslim minorities in the matter of electorates. In Muslim majority provinces it is Muslims who are allowed to choose the kind of electorate they prefer i.e. statutory majority. In Hindu majority provinces it is the Muslims who asked for and were given separate electorates. This is what constitutes the fundamental wrong in the Communal Award.

2.  In its greater intent the Communal Question relates to the deliberate creation of Muslim provinces. At the time of the Lucknow Pact the Muslims raised the communal question in its lesser intent. At the time of the Round Table Conference, the Muslims put forth for the first time, the plan covered by the Communal question in its greater intent. Before the 1935 Act there were a majority of provinces in which the Hindus were in a majority and the Muslims in a minority. Hindus were in a minority only in Punjab, Bengal and N.W.F.P. of which the last was not effective, since there was no responsible government in that province. The Muslims desired that the number of Muslim majority provinces must increase. With this object they demanded and got Sind separated from the Bombay Presidency and N.W.F.P. raised to the status of a self-governing province although neither of them was financially self-supporting.

These provinces were created for the purpose of architectural symmetry – Hindu provinces against Muslim ones. What was the underlying motive behind for this creation of Muslim provinces? The Hindus say the motive for Muslim insistence, both on statutory majority and separate electorates, was to enable the Muslim in the Muslim provinces to mobilize and make effective Muslim power in its exclusive form and to the fullest extent possible. It was done to give in the hands of the Muslims of Muslim provinces an effective means to tyrannize the Hindu minorities in case the Hindus did so to their Muslim minorities. It thus became a system of protection against blast by counter-blast, against terror by terror. It is a system of communal peace through a system of communal hostages.

That the Muslims were aware from the very start that the system of Communal Provinces was capable of being worked in this manner, is clear from the speech made by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as President of the Muslim League Session held at Calcutta in 1927.

Quote excerpts “That by the Lucknow Pact they had sold away their interests. The Delhi proposals of March opened the doors to the recognition of the real rights of Muslims in India. Separate electorates granted by the 1916 pact only ensured Muslim representation, but what was vital for the existence of the community was the recognition of its numerical strength. Their existing small majority in Bengal and Punjab was only a census figure, but the Delhi proposals gave them for the first time five provinces of which no less than three (Sind, N.W.F.P. Baluchistan) are Muslim majority. If the Muslims do not recognize this great step they were not fit to live. There would be nine Hindu provinces against five Muslim ones, and what treatment Hindus accorded in the nine provinces, Muslims would accord the same treatment to the Hindus in the five provinces”.

At present the hostages are atleast within the pale of a central govt which is Hindu in composition and which has the power to interfere for their protection. But when PAK becomes a Muslim state it would be free from Central Govt control to which the Hindu minorities can appeal. So that the position of the Hindus in PAK may easily become the position of the Armenians under the Turks or of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Such a scheme would be intolerable and the Hindus may well say that they cannot agree to PAK and leave their co-religionists as a helpless prey to the fanaticism of a Muslim national state. ‘Friends how true have the reading of BRA proved. Hindus constituted 12 % of PAK’s population in 1947 and I think are under 4% today. Their condition in PAK and Bangladesh (liberated from PAK in 1971) is pitiable”.

3.  The point is, do the evils stated above flow from the creation of PAK or the result of the boundaries accompanying it. A study of the question amply supports the view that the evils of PAK are not inherent in it, but are the results of the boundaries, which accompany it and mixed populations in these states. If PAK is made a single unified ethnic state (meaning no Hindus) the evils will automatically vanish. So can the boundaries be redrawn to make a homogenous Muslim state? The answer is that in a large part of the area affected by the project of the League, a homogenous state can be created by merely shifting the boundaries but in the rest homogeneity can be produced only by shifting the population.        

Based on population figures in the book it is possible to create homogenous Muslim states out of Punjab, Bengal and Assam by drawing boundaries in such a way that the areas, which are predominantly Hindu, are excluded. But in N.W.F.P. & Sind owing to the scattered state of the Hindu population alteration of boundaries cannot suffice for creating a homogenous state. There is only remedy, shifting of population.

How will PAK affect the positions left in Hindustan? - The question was put to Rehmat Ali, the protagonist of PAK and excerpts from his answer “the Muslims of Hindustan are the flesh of our flesh and the soul of our soul. We can never forget them, nor they us. At things stand PAK will not adversely affect their position. On the basis of population (one Muslim to 4 Hindus), they will still be entitled to the same representation in legislature & administrative fields which they posses now. As to the future, the only effective guarantee we can offer is reciprocity, and therefore, solemnly undertake to give all those safeguards to non-Muslim minorities in PAK which will be conceded to our Muslim minority in Hindustan”. ‘Friends conditions of minorities today in PAK & Bangladesh have proved Rehmat Ali wrong’.

The answer given by Muslims of Hindustan is quite clear. They say, “We are not weakened by the separation of Muslims into PAK and Hindustan. We are better protected by the existence of Islamic states on the eastern and western border of Hindustan than we are by their submersion in Hindustan. Who can say they are wrong? Has it not been shown by Germany as an outside state was better able to protect the Sudetan Germans in Czechoslovakia than the Sudetans were able to do themselves”? The leaders of the Muslim League seem to have studied deeply Hitler’s bullying tactics against Czechoslovakia in the interest of the Studeten Germans and also learned the lessons, which those tactics preach. See their threatning speeches in the Karachi session of the League held in 1937.

How does the creation of PAK remove the communal question from Hindustan? - It does not free Hindustan from the communal question with Muslims scattered all over India. While PAK can be made a homogenous state by redrawing its boundaries, Hindustan must remain a composite state. The only way to make Hindustan a composite state is to arrange for exchange of population. Unless that is done the creation of PAK does not solve the majority vs. minority problem, which will continue to produce disharmony in the body politic of Hindustan. ‘Friends how true was BRA’ So based on the above para must Hindus must reject the demand for PAK? - One must consider the effect of PAK on the magnitude of the Communal Problem. Muslims left in British Hindustan would be 18,545,465 and rest 47,897,301 forming a vast majority of the total Muslim population would form PAK i.e. Muslims of Punjab, N.W.F.P., Sind, Baluchistan, Eastern Bengal and Sylhet. To me it seems that if PAK does not solve the Muslim problem in Hindustan it enormously reduces its proportion and makes it of minor significance and much easier for peaceful solution. ‘Friends BRA erred on this one. Subsequent events have proved that Muslims who chose to stay back were not in any way easy to handle then or now for various reasons. One has been Congress appeasement of Muslims since 1947. Two in 2002 Indian Muslims constitute close to 15% of India’s population and exercise far greater influence on the Indian political scene than their numbers indicate. The inability of Hindus to ban cow slaughter and construct the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya support this point. Three Muslims then and now want to rule India. They realize that Partition reduced their numbers. Thus the only way to counter the Hindu majority in a democracy is by increasing their numbers which is why they have so many children / encourage infiltration from Bangladesh. Four is the strengthening of Pan Islamism after the Oil boom of the 1970’s. Indian Muslims have got closer to the Middle East & PAK than ever before! ’.

Two the number of seats available to Hindus in Hindustan would go up with the creation of PAK. To me it appears that it is a great improvement in the position of the Hindus at the Centre, which would never come to them, if they oppose PAK.

These are the material advantages of PAK. There is another, which is psychological. The Muslims, in Southern and Central India draw their inspiration from the Muslims of the North and East. If after PAK there is communal peace in the North and East the Hindus may reasonably expect communal peace in Hindustan.

Thus, taking into consideration these effects of PAK, it cannot be disputed that if PAK does not wholly solve the communal problem within Hindustan it does free the Hindus from the turbulence of the Muslims as predominant partners. It is for the Hindus to say that they will reject such a proposal simply because it does not offer a complete solution. Some gain is better than much harm.

4.  Will the Hindus and Muslims of Punjab & Bengal agree to redraw the boundaries of their provinces to make the scheme of PAK as flawless as it can be made? - The Muslims ought not to have any objection to it, but what is it that they want, a National Home or a National State! In the case of the former the people who constitute it do not receive the right of political sovereignty over the territory and the right of imposing their nationality on others living in that territory. In the case of the latter, the people receive the rights of political sovereignty with the right of imposing their nationality upon the rest. The difference is important and needs to be examined.

What do the Muslims want PAK for? If they want national home they already have it in the Muslim majority provinces. If they want national state then the question that arises is, should they be allowed to retain within the boundaries of the Muslim states non-Muslim minorities as their subjects with a right to impose upon them the nationality of these Muslim states. No doubt such a right is accepted to be an accompaniment of political sovergenity but it is equally true that in all mixed states this right has become a source of mischief in recent times. Under no circumstances can they be allowed to carve out mixed states composed of Muslims opposed to Hindus, with the former superior to the latter.

This is probably not contemplated by the Muslims who were the authors of PAK. It was not certainly contemplated by Sir M Iqbal, the originator of the scheme. In his Presidential address to the League in 1930 he expressed his willingness to agree to “the exclusion of Ambala division and perhaps of some other districts where non-Muslims predominate on the ground that such exclusion will make it less extensive and more Muslim in population”. On the other hand it may be that those who are putting forth the scheme of PAK do contemplate that it will include Punjab & Bengal within their present boundaries.

Now as to the consideration, which ought to weigh with the Hindus of Punjab & Bengal? In this connection it is enough to consider the reaction of high caste Hindus only. For it is they who guide the Hindu masses and form Hindu opinion. They have a monopoly of wealth & education by which they have captured the State. Charged with this selfish idea of class domination they take every move to exclude the lower classes of Hindus from wealth, education, scriptures etc. They want to exclude the Muslims from place and power as they have done the lower class of Hindus. The Bengali Hindu opposed the partition of Bengal because he had the whole of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and even U.P. for his pasture. He had captured the Civil Service in all these provinces. The partition of Bengal meant a diminution in the area of his pasture. These thoughts occur to one’s mind because one fears that the high caste Hindus blinded by their hereditary trait might oppose PAK for no other reason except that it limits the field for their self-seeking careers.

The Muslims majority in Punjab is only a majority of 8 %. Is it better to oppose PAK by refusing to redraw boundaries and allow the Muslim majority of 54% rule over the Hindu minority of 46% or to redraw the boundaries by which Hindus and Muslims live under separate national states, and thus rescue the whole body of Hindus from the terrors of Muslim rule? Same is the case in Bengal.

It seems to me that the moment has come when the high caste Hindus of Bengal and Punjab should be told that they propose to resist PAK, because it cuts off a filed of gainful employment, they are committing the greatest blunder. The determination to live under a Muslim majority and to hope to gain your share may be a very courageous thing. But it is certainly not a wise thing. Because the changes are that you will loose all.

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