Thoughts on Pakistan by Dr Ambedkar


The full title of this chapter is Weakening of Defences. How will the creation of PAK affect the question of the defence of Hindustan? The question is not a very urgent one, for there is no immediate reason to suppose that PAK will be at war with Hindustan immediately after it is brought into being. ‘Friends BRA had not anticipated British tactical support to the Pakis (read Muslims) in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The two countries went to war soon after attaining independence. Please read an article on the site by Claude Arpi titled ‘who Created the Kashmir Mess’’.

The questions may be answered under three heads, question of frontiers, question of resources and question of armed forces.

Question of Frontiers

Hindus would say that PAK leaves it without a scientific frontier. There are two points, which if taken into account will show that Hindu apprehension is uncalled for. One it is no use insisting that any particular boundary is the safest, for the simple reason that geographical conditions are not decisive in the world today and modern technique has robbed natural frontiers of much of their former importance. Two it is always possible for nations with no natural boundaries to make good this defect. Artificial barriers can always be created. There is no reason to suppose that the Hindus will not be able to accomplish this. ‘Friends the bombing of Afghanistan by the U.S. proves BRA’s point’.

Question of Resources

Moreover if resources are adequate there it is always possible to overcome the difficulties created by an unscientific or a weak frontier.

Resources of Area – sq kms Population - crs Revenues Rs crs
1. PAK (N.W.P, Punjab, Sind,Baluchistan,Bengal) 288,988 8.02 60.56
Hindustan 607,657 17.85 96.24
PAK     36
Hindustan     120

These are gross figures, revenues derived by Central Government from railways, posts etc are not included. Just as some additions will have to be made to these figures, so certain deductions will need to be made, mostly to PAK’s account. The whole of Punjab and Bengal will not go to PAK meaning app 50 % of revenues from these two provinces would go to India, represented by the adjusted numbers shown above. Creation of PAK will not leave Hindustan in a weakened condition.

Question of Armed Forces

The defence of a country depends more on its fighting force than on its scientific frontier or resources. What are the fighting resources available to PAK and Hindustan? The Simon Commission pointed out a special feature of the Indian Defence Problem in the sense that there were special areas, which alone offered recruits to the Indian army. The Commission found this state of affairs natural to India and in support it cited the following figures recruited from different Provinces during the Great War

Sr No Province Combat + Non Combat recruits enlisted.‘000
1. Madras 92
2. Bombay, Ajmer-Merwara 80
3. Bengal Burma, Bihar Orissa, Assam 134
4. Punjab, N.WF.P. Baluchistan 493-43%.
5. United Provinces 24%.
6. Nepal 75
TOTAL 1155

This data reveals that the fighting forces available for the defence of India mostly come from the area, which is PAK. Then how can Hindustan defend itself? The facts brought out by the Commission are beyond question but it cannot be said that only PAK can produce soldiers and Hindustan cannot. Do only people of Northwestern India belong to Martial Classes?

From the above data it appears so. But Mr Chaudhari (see his articles on ‘The martial Races of India’ published in the modern Review of July-September 1930, Jan-Feb 1931) has by his data demonstrated that this far from true. He shows that the predominance of the men of the Northwest took place as early as the Mutiny of 1857 some 20 years before the theory of martial and non-martial classes were projected in a distinct form in 1879. Their predominance had nothing to do with their alleged fighting qualities but was due to the fact that they had helped the British suppress the Mutiny in which the Bengal Army was completely involved. The Mutiny blew up the old Bengal army and brought into existence a Punjabized and barbarized army resembling the Indian army of today in broad lines and general propositions of its composition.

The gap created by the revolt of the Hindustani regiments of the Bengal army was once filled up by the Sikhs and other Punjabis, Hillmen eager for revenge. Said Gen Mansfield, the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army about the Sikhs “It is not because they loved us, but because they hated Hindustan and the Bengal army that Sikhs had flocked to our standard instead of seeking the opportunity to strike again for their freedom. The services rendered by the Sikhs and the Gurkhas during the Mutiny were not forgotten and henceforward Punjab & Nepal had the place of honor in the Indian Army”.

As a result of the above people from Northwest India came to be regularly employed in the army and came to look upon it as an occupation with a security and a career that was denied to men from the rest of India. This was not the case with people in the rest of India. It must be noted that occupation becomes hereditary and that the most difficult for a man to do is to change his occupation. This distinction between martial and non-martial classes is purely arbitrary. But apart from this there is enough fighting material in Hindustan. There are the Sikhs, the Rajputs, Marathas and even the people of Madras as was observed by Sir General F P Haines a one time Commander-in-Chief in India.

‘Friends now there was also a Social Impact of the British decision to recruit the Army mainly from Northwest India. I quote excerpts from an interview with Veena Talwar, historian & author of Dowry Murder that appeared in The Times of India on 31/1/03.

Q:  You blame the British for the accentuation of the dowry problem
A: Excerpts “Prior to the arrival of the British in India land was not a commodity which could be bought & sold. Notionally land belonged to the king and nobody could be evicted from it. Putting landed property exclusively in male hands and holding the latter responsible for payment of revenue had the effect of making the Indian male the dominant legal subject. The British resolve to rationalize and modernize the revenue was particularly hard on women. From being co-partners they found themselves devoid of all economic resources.

Q:  Basically what you are saying that the entire economy became more masculine.
A: Precisely. This as one of the key factors that made male children more desirable. Also, the increasing recruitment of Punjabi peasants into the army saw more & more families practice selective female infanticide. The newly enhanced worth of sons saw families demand cash, jewellery or expensive consumer durables at the time of marriage”.

From the above interview you see the impact on India’s social life of the British hiring policy. Since they hired from Punjab the problem of dowry is more acute there even today as compared to other parts of the country’. 

Hindustan need have no apprehension regarding the supply of an adequate fighting force from among its own people. The Simon Commission drew attention to three features of the Indian army that struck them as special and peculiar to India.

One the duty of the Indian army was two fold – one to protect it from independent tribes on the Indian side of the Afghan border from raiding the peaceful inhabitants of the plains below, two was to protect India against invasion by countries lying behind and beyond organized territories. The second unique feature was the role of the Indian army in maintaining internal piece. It is a striking fact that while in regular units of the army British soldiers are app 1 to 2.5 %, in troops allotted for internal security the preponderance is reversed – the ratio being about 8 British soldiers to 7 Indians.

The Third unique feature is the preponderance in it of the men from the Northwest. This is dealt with above but the Commission ignored an important feature namely, Communal Composition of the Army. Thanks to Mr Chaudhari, the following table shows the proportion of soldiers serving in the Indian infantry –

Changes in the Communal Composition of the Indian Army
Sr No Area Communities % in 1914 % in 1930
1. Punjab, NW.F.P Kashmir 47 58.5
Punjabi Muslims Pathans 17.3 28.95
Sikhs 19.2 13.58
2. Nepal. Kumaon, Garwhal 15 22
3. Upper India 22 11
Hindustani Muslims 4.1 0
4. South India 16 5.5
5. Burma 0 3
MUSLIMS 24.9 28.95

This table shows how the communal composition of the Indian army has been undergoing a profound change. Change is particularly noticeable after 1919. ‘Friends note that the Khilafat movement and worsening of Hindu Muslim relations started around 1920’. The figures show a huge rise in the strength of the Punjabi Muslim and Pathan. The Sikhs are reduced from first to third place.

Communal Composition of Indian Infantry & Cavalry in 1930
Sr Communities % in Infantry excluding Gurkhas % in Cavalry
1. Hindus Sikhs 60.5 61.9
2. Muslims 35.79 30.08
3. Burmans 3.66  

‘Friends please pray for Shri Chaudhari’s soul for providing us with such invaluable data’. After 1930 there is no information available on the communal composition of the Indian Army. The book has 8 pages of Legislative Assembly debates 1938 on the subject but the British refuse to provide any information’. This obstinacy on the part of the Govt of India to provide this vital point has given rise to all sorts of speculation as to the present proportion of Muslims in the Indian army, some day it is between 60-70 %. Obviously it must be high enough to cause alarm to the Hindus.

‘Friends I cannot help but recalling words from Veer Savarkar’s biography by Dhananjay Keer, quote pg 257 “Said in 1940 - Since the days of the First War of Independence in 1857, it has been the policy of the British to keep the army out of politics. Our politics must be to carry politics into the Indian army and once we succeed the battle of freedom would be won. Till the day of Savarkar’s whirlwind propaganda for Hindu militarization, military career was the monopoly of the Muslims, who formed three fourths of the Indian army. The effect of this propaganda was seen everywhere. The Muslim plans for preponderance was effectively checkmated and brought down and the % of the Hindus in the army went up as high as seventy”’.

‘Friends after the Mutiny of 1857 in order to prevent Hindus, Muslims Sikhs from uniting it was decided to divide the army on a provincial basis something that the Indian army follows up to this day.’ This was called the principle of Class Composition the necessity being not giving too much strength or prominence to any particular race ore religious group. These principles have been governing the Indian army policy.

This principle so unanimously upheld and so rigorously applied upto the period of the Great War, should have been thrown to the wind after the Great War, is really beyond comprehension. What is the reason, which has led the British to allow so great a preponderance of Muslims in the Indian Army? Two reasons. One that Muslims proved in the Great War to be better soldiers than Hindus. The second reason why the British have broken the rule because they wanted to counter-act the forces of Hindu agitation for wresting political power from the hands of the British.

Whatever be the explanation, 2 things stand out. One that the Indian army is predominantly Muslim in composition. The other is that Muslims who dominate are the Muslims from Punjab and N.W.F.P. This implies that these Muslims are made the sole defenders of Indian from foreign invasion. How much can the Hindus depend on the Muslim army? Suppose Russia invades it may be hoped that these gatekeepers of India would be loyal to her. But suppose the invaders are Afghans singly or in combination with other states, will these gatekeepers stop the invader. This is a question no Hindu can afford to ignore. A Hindu must be satisfied that this army will behave when British control is withdrawn.

Reality Check - Only the so-called Indian nationalists will say yes to such an army defending the Hindus against an attack from Afghanistan. The realist must take note of the fact that the Muslims look upon as Hindus as kafirs, who deserve to be exterminated than protected. The realist must also note that of all the Muslims, the Muslim of the northwest is the most disaffected Muslim, in his relation with the Hindus. The realist must note that the Punjabi Muslim is fully susceptible to the propaganda in favor of pan-Islamism. It must be recalled that in 1919 the Indian Muslims who were carrying on the Khilafat Movement actually went to the length of inviting the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India is something that the Hindus might not have forgotten.

Question –  Will the Indian govt be free to use this army, whatever its loyalties against the Afghans? The stand of the Muslim league is to the effect that the Indian army shall not be used against Muslim provinces. The principle was enunciated by the Khilafat Committee long before the League.

The Hindus will find themselves between the devil and deep sea so far as the defence of India is considered, if India remains as one whole. Having an army, that will not be free to use because the League objects. If you use it, its loyalty is doubtful. If the army continues to be dominated by the Muslims of Punjab & N.W.F.P. the Hindus will have to pay them but will not be able to use them.

In this difficulty, what must the Hindus do? Is it in their interest to insist that Muslim India should remain part of India so that they have a safe border or is it better to welcome its separation from India so that they may have a safe army? The Muslims of this area are hostile to Hindus. Should these Muslims be without and against or should they be within and against. If the question is asked to any prudent man there will be only one answer, namely let the Muslims of north India separate i.e. PAK. That is the only way of getting rid of the Muslim preponderance in the Indian army. This can be brought about by the creation of PAK.

The Hindus do not seem to realize at what disadvantage they are placed from the point of view of their defence by their exclusion from the army. Much less do they know that they are in fact purchasing this disadvantage at a very heavy price? The PAK area which is the main recruiting ground of the present Indian army contributes very little to the Indian exchequer.

Revenue Contribution to Exchequer – Pakistan area and Hindustan
Sr. No. Province Rs Crs
Pakistan Area 7.13
1 Punjab, N.W.F.P. & Baluchistan 1.27
2 Sind 5.86
Hindustan 51.91
1 Bombay 22.53
2 Madras 9.53
3 Bengal (only ½ revenue shown based on population) 12.00
4 Others 7.85

The PAK provinces contribute very little in fact it is the money contributed by the provinces of Hindustan that enables the Govt of India to carry out its activities in the PAK provinces. ‘Friends just like the Kashmir Valley of today which contributes negligible revenue to the State’s coffers but accounts for bulk of expenditure and whose aggressive people demand public services without contributing/paying for it. So also the Pak provinces contributed negliblely to the Indian exchequer but took a large part of all India revenues. Coincidence! What’s common between them?’

NOTE - As pointed out above the revenue of the Central govt was Rs 121 crs of which Rs 52 crs was spent on the army. In what area is the bulk of this money spent? Indian army where most of the population are Muslims from the Pakistani area. Now the bulk of this Rs 52 crs is contributed by Hindu provinces and is spent on an army from which the Hindus are excluded. How can the Hindus avoid this tragedy and whether they will allow this to continue? If they have to put an end to it the surest way is to allow the scheme of PAK to take effect. A safe army is better than a safe border. ‘Friends even today contributions from most Hindu temples go to the state treasurery but the amount spent on temple upkeep is negligible. The same govt, however, spends crores of rupees on funding Madrassas and Mosques so in effect Hindus are funding madrassas since the contribution from these institutions is negligible. Has anything changed!

Receive Site Updates