PAKISTAN AND COMMUNAL PEACE
Does Pakistan solve the Communal Question, is a natural question which every Hindu is sure to ask. A correct answer to this question calls for a close analysis of what is involved in it.One must have a clear idea as to what is exactly meant, when the Hindus and Muslims speak of the Communal Question. Without it, it will not be possible to say whether Pakistan does or does not solve the Communal Question.
It is not generally known that the Communal Question, like the "Forward Policy" for the Frontier, has a "greater" and a "lesser" intent, and that in its lesser intent it means one thing, and in its greater intent it means quite a different thing.
[The Communal Question in its "lesser intent"]
To begin with the Communal Question in its "lesser intent." In its lesser intent, the Communal Question relates to the representation of the Hindus and the Muslims in the Legislatures. Used in this sense, the question involves the settlement of two distinct problems :—
(1) The number of seats to be allotted to the Hindus and the Muslims in the different legislatures, andThe Muslims at the Round Table Conference claimed :—
(2) The nature of the electorates through which these seats are to be filled in.
(1) That their representatives in all the Provincial as well as in the Central Legislatures should be elected by separate electorates;The Hindus from the beginning objected to both these Muslim demands. They insisted on joint electorates for Hindus and Muslims in all elections to all the Legislatures, Central and Provincial, and on population ratio of representation, for both minorities, Hindus and Muslims, wherever they may be, and raised the strongest objections to a majority of seats being guaranteed to any community by statute.
(2) That they should be allowed to retain the weightage in representation given to Muslim minorities in those Provinces in which they were a minority in the population, and that in addition, they should be given in those Provinces where they were a majority such as the Punjab, Sind, North-West Frontier Province and Bengal, a guaranteed statutory majority of seats.
The Communal Award of His Majesty's Government settled this dispute by the simple, rough and ready method of giving the Muslims all that they wanted, without caring for the Hindu opposition. The Award allowed the Muslims to retain weight-age and separate electorates, and in addition, gave them the statutory majority of seats in those provinces where they were a majority in the population.
What is it in the Award that can be said to constitute a problem? Is there any force in the objections of the Hindus to the Communal Award of His Majesty's Government? This question must be considered carefully to find out whether there is substance in the objections of the Hindus to the Award.
Firstly, as to their objection to the weightage to Muslim minorities in the matter of representation. Whatever may be the correct measure of allotting representation to minorities, the Hindus cannot very well object to the weightage given to Muslim minorities, because similar weightage has been given to the Hindus in those Provinces in which they are a minority and where there is sufficient margin for weightage to be allowed. The treatment of the Hindu minorities in Sind and the North-West Frontier Province is a case in point.
Secondly, as to their objection to a statutory majority. That again does not appear to be well founded. A system of guaranteed representation may be wrong and vicious and quite unjustifiable on theoretical and philosophical grounds. But considered in the light of circumstances, such as those obtaining in India, the system of statutory majority appears to be inevitable. Once it is granted that the representation to be given to a minority must not reduce the majority to minority, that very provision creates, as a mere counterpart, a system of statutory majority to the majority community. For, fixing the seats of the minority involves the fixation of the seats of the majority. There is, therefore, no escape from the system of statutory majority, once it is conceded that the minority is not entitled to representation which would convert a majority into a minority. There is, therefore, no great force in the objections of the Hindus to a statutory majority of the Muslims in the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Bengal. For, even in the Provinces where the Hindus are in a majority and the Muslims are in minority, the Hindus have got a statutory majority over the Muslims. At any rate, there is a parity of position and to that extent there can be said to be no ground for complaint.
This does not mean that because the objections set forth by the Hindus have no substance, there are no realgrounds for opposing the Communal Award. There does exist a substantial ground of objection to the Communal Award, although it does not appear to have been made the basis of attack by the Hindus.
This objection may be formulated in order to bring out its point in the following manner. The Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces insisted on separate electorates. The Communal Award gives them the right to determine that issue. This is really what it comes to when one remembers the usual position taken, viz., that the Muslim minorities could not be deprived of their separate electorates without their consent, and the majority community of the Hindus has been made to abide by their determination. The Hindu minorities in Muslim Provinces insisted that there should be joint electorates. Instead of conceding their claim, the Communal Award forced upon them the system of separate electorates to which they objected. If in the Hindu Provinces, the Muslim minorities are allowed the right of self-determination inthe matter of electorates, the question arises: Why are not the Hindu minorities in the Muslim Provinces given the right of self-determination in the matter of their electorates? What is the answer to this question? And, if there is no answer, there is undoubtedly a deep seated inequity in the Communal Award of His Majesty's Government, which calls for redress.
It is no answer that the Hindus also have a statutory majority based on separate electorates/1/ in those Provinces where the Musalmans are in a minority. A little scrutiny will show that there is no parity of position in these two cases. The separate electorates for the Hindu majorities in the Hindu Provinces are not a matter of their choice. It is a consequence resulting from the determination of the Muslim minorities who claimed to have separate electorates for themselves. A minority in one set of circumstances may think that separate electorates would be a better method of self-protection and may have no fear of creating against itself and by its own action a statutory majority based on separate electorates for the opposing community. Another minority or, for the matter of that, the same minority in a different set of circumstances, would not like to create by its own action and against itself a statutory majority based upon separate electorates and may, therefore, prefer joint electorates to separate electorates as a better method of self-protection. Obviously the guiding principle, which would influence a minority, would be: Is the majority likely to use its majority in a communal manner and purely for communal purposes? If it felt certain that the majority community is likely to use its communal majority for communal ends, it may well choose joint electorates, because it would be the only method by which it would hope to take away the communal cement of the statutory majority by influencing the elections of the representatives of the majority community in the Legislatures. On the other hand, a majority community may not have the necessary communal cement, which alone would enable it to use its communal majority for communal ends, in which case a minority, having no fear from the resulting statutory majority and separate electorates for the majority community, may well choose separate electorates for itself. To put it concretely, the Muslim minorities in choosing separate electorates are not afraid of the separate electorates and the statutory majority of the Hindus, because they feel sure that 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 Hindu minorities in the Muslim Provinces have no doubt that, by reason of their social solidarity, the Muslims will use their statutory majority to set into operation a "Resolute Muslim Government," after the plan proposed by Lord Salisbury for Ireland as a substitute for Home Rule; with this difference, that Salisbury's Resolute Government was to last for twenty years only, while the Muslim Resolute Government was to last as long as the Communal Award stood. "The situations, therefore, are not alike. The statutory majority of the Hindus based on separate electorates is the result of the choice made by the Muslim minority. The statutory majority of the Muslims based on separate electorates is something which is not the result of the choice of the Hindu minority. In one case, the Government of the Muslim minority by a Hindu communal majority is the result of the consent of the Muslim minority, In the other case, the Government of the Hindu minority by the Muslim majority is not the result of the consent of the Hindu minority, but is imposed upon it by the might of the British Government.
To sum up this discussion of the Communal Award, it may be said that, as a solution of the Communal Question in its "lesser intent," there is no inequity in the Award on the ground that it gives weightage to the Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces. For it gives weightage also to Hindu minorities in Muslim Provinces. Similarly, it may be said that there is no inequity in the Award, on the ground that it gives a statutory majority to the Muslims in Muslim Provinces in which they are a majority. If there is any, the statutory limitation put upon the Muslim number of seats, also gives to the Hindus in Hindu Provinces a statutory majority. But the same cannot be said of the Award in the matter of the electorates. The Communal Award is iniquitous inasmuch as it accords unequal treatment to the Hindu and Muslim minorities in the matter of electorates. It grants the Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces the right of self-determination in the matter of electorates, but it does not grant the same right to the Hindu minorities in the Muslim Provinces. In the Hindu Provinces, the Muslim minority is allowed to choose the kind of electorates it wants and the Hindu majority is not permitted to have any say in the matter. But in the Muslim Provinces, it is theMuslim majority which is allowed to choose the kind of electorates it prefers and the Hindu minority is not permitted to have any say in the matter. Thus , the Muslims in the Muslim Provinces having been given both statutory majority and separate electorates, the Communal Award must be said to impose upon the Hindu minorities Muslim rule, which they can neither alter nor influence.
This is what constitutes the fundamental wrong in the Communal Award. That this is a grave wrong must be admitted. For it offends against certain political principles, which have now become axiomatic. First is, not to trust any one with unlimited political power. As has been well said,
"If in any state there is a body of men who possess unlimited political power, those over whom they rule can never be free. For, the one assured result of historical investigation is the lesson that uncontrolled power is invariably poisonous to those who possess it. They are always tempted to impose their canon of good upon others, and in the end, they assume that the good of the community depends upon the continuance of their power. Liberty always demands a limitation of political authority. . . ."The second principle is that, as a King has no Divine Right to rule, so also a majority has no Divine Right to rule. Majority Rule is tolerated only because it is for a limited period and subject to the right to have it changed, and secondly because it is a rule of a political majority, i.e., majority which has submitted itself to the suffrage of a minority and not a communal majority. If such is the limited scope of authority permissible to a political majority over a political minority, how can a minority of one community be placed under the perpetual subjection of a majority of another community? To allow a majority of one community to rule a minority of another community without requiring the majority to submit itself to the suffrage of the minority, especially when the minority demands it, is to enact a perversion of democratic principles and to show a callous disregard for the safety and security of the Hindu minorities.
[The Communal Question in its "greater intent"]
To turn to the Communal Question in its "greater intent." What is it, that the Hindus say is a problem? In its greater intent the Communal Question relates to the deliberate creation of Muslim Provinces. At the time of the Lucknow Pact, the Muslims only raised the Communal Question in its lesser intent. At 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 Act of 1935, there were a majority of Provinces in which the Hindus were in a majority and the Muslims in a minority. There were only three Provinces in which the Muslims were in a majority and the Hindus in a minority. They were the Punjab, Bengal and the North-West Frontier Province. Of these, the Muslim majority in the North-West Frontier Province was not effective, because there was no responsible government in that province, the Montagu-Chemsford Scheme of Political Reforms not being extended to it. So, for all practical purposes, there were only two provinces—the Punjab and Bengal—wherein the Muslims were in majority and the Hindus in minority. The Muslims desired that the number of Muslim Provinces should be increased. With this object in view, they demanded that Sind should be separated from the Bombay Presidency and created into a new self-governing Province, and that the North-West Frontier Province, which was already a separate Province, should be raised to the status of a self-governing Province. Apart from other considerations, from a purely financial point of view, it was not possible to concede this demand. Neither Sind nor the North-West Frontier Province were financially self-supporting. But in order to satisfy the Muslim demand, the British Government went to the length of accepting the responsibility of giving an annual subvention to Sind/2/ and North-West Frontier Province/3/ from the Central Revenues, so as to bring about a budgetary equilibrium in their finances and make them financially self-supporting.
These four Provinces with Muslims in majority and Hindus in minority, now functioning as autonomous and self-governing Provinces, were certainly not created for administrative convenience, nor for purposes of architectural symmetry—the Hindu Provinces poised against the Muslim Provinces. It is also true that the scheme of Muslim Provinces was not a matter of satisfying Muslim pride which demanded Hindu minorities under Muslim majorities to compensate the humiliation of having Muslim minorities under Hindu majorities. What was then, the motive underlying this scheme of Muslim Provinces? The Hindus say that the motive for the Muslim insistence, both on statutory majority and separate electorates, was to enable the Muslims in the Muslim Provinces to mobilize and make effective Muslim power in its exclusive form and to the fullest extent possible. Asked what could be the purpose of having the Muslim political power mobilized in this fashion, the Hindus answer that it was done to place in the hands of the Muslims of the Muslim Provinces an effective weapon to tyrannize their Hindu minorities, in case the Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces were tyrannized by their Hindu majorities. The scheme thus became a system of protection, in which blast was to be met by counter-blast, terror by terror and tyranny by tyranny. The plan is undoubtedly, a dreadful one, involving the maintenance of justice and peace by retaliation, and providing an opportunity for the punishment of an innocent minority, Hindus in Muslim Provinces and Muslims in Hindu Provinces, for the sins of their co-religionists in other Provinces. It is a scheme 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 in Calcutta in 1927. In that speech the Maulana declared:—
"That by theLucknow Pact they had sold away their interests. The Delhi proposals of March last opened the door for the first time to the recognition of the real rights of Musalmans in India. The separate electorates granted by the Pact of 1916 only ensured Muslim representation, but what was vital for the existence of the community was the recognition of its numerical strength. Delhi opened the way to the creation of such a state of affairs as would guarantee to them in the future of India a proper share. Their existing small majority in Bengal and the 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,the Frontier Province and Baluchistan) contained a real overwhelming Muslim majority. If the Muslims did not recognise this great step they were not fit to live. There would now be nine Hindu provinces against five Muslim provinces, and whatever treatment Hindus accorded in the nine provinces, Muslims would accord the same treatment to Hindus in the five Provinces. Was not this a great gain? Was not a new weapon gained for the assertion of Muslim rights?"That those in charge of these Muslim provinces know the advantage of the scheme, and do not hesitate to put it to the use for which it was intended, is clear from the speeches made not long ago by Mr. Fazl-ul-Huq, as Prime Minister of Bengal.
That this scheme of Communal Provinces, which constitutes the Communal Question in its larger intent, can be used as an engine of communal tyranny, there can be no doubt. The system of hostages, which is the essence of the scheme of communal provinces, supported by separate electorates, is indeed insupportable on any ground. If this is the underlying motive of the demand for the creation of more Muslim Provinces, the system resulting from it is undoubtedly a vicious system.
This analysis leaves no doubt that the communal statutory majority based on separate communal electorates and the communal provinces, especially constituted to enable the statutory majority to tyrannize the minority, are the two evils which compose what is called, 'the Communal Problem.'
For the existence of this problem the Hindus hold the Muslims responsible and the Muslims hold the Hindus responsible. The Hindus accuse the Muslims of contumacy. The Muslims accuse Hindus of meanness. Both, however, forget that the communal problem exists not because the Muslims are extravagant and insolent in their demands and the Hindus are mean and grudging in their concessions. It exists and will exist wherever a hostile majority is brought face to face against a hostile minority. Controversies relating to separate vs. joint electorates, controversies relating to population ratio vs.weightage, are all inherent in a situation where a minority is pitted against a majority. The best solution of the communal problem is not to have two communities facing each other, one a majority and the other a minority, welded in the steel-frame of a single government.
How far does Pakistan approximate to the solution of the Communal Question?
The answer to this question is quite obvious. If the scheme of Pakistan is to follow the present boundaries of the Provinces in the North-West and in Bengal, certainly it does not eradicate the evils which lie at the heart of the Communal Question. It retains the very elements which give rise to it, namely, the pitting of a minority against a majority. The rule of the Hindu minorities by the Muslim majorities and the rule of the Muslim Minorities by the Hindu majorities are the crying evils of the present situation. This very evil will reproduce itself in Pakistan, if the provinces marked out for it are incorporated into it as they are, i.e., with boundaries drawn as at present. Besides this, the evil which gives rise to the Communal Question in its larger intent, will not only remain as it is but will assume a new malignity. Under the existing system, the power centered in the Communal Provinces to do mischief to their hostages is limited by the power which the Central Government has over the Provincial Governments. At present, the hostages are at least within the pale of a Central Government which is Hindu in its composition and which has power to interfere for their protection. But, when Pakistan becomes a Muslim State with full sovereignty over internal and external affairs, it would be free from the control of the Central Government. The Hindu minorities will have no recourse to an outside authority with overriding powers, to interfere on their behalf and curb this power of mischief, as under the scheme, no such overriding authority is permitted to exist. So, the position of the Hindus in Pakistan may easily become similar to the position of the Armenians under the Turks or of the Jews in Tsarist Russia or in Nazi Germany. Such a scheme would be intolerable and the Hindus may well say that they cannot agree to Pakistan and leave their co-religionist as a helpless prey to the fanaticism of a Muslim National State.
[The real question is one of demarcation of boundaries]
This, of course, is a very frank statement of the consequences which will flow from giving effect to the scheme of Pakistan. But care must be taken to locate the source of these consequences. Do they flow from the scheme of Pakistan itself or do they flow from particular boundaries that may be fixed for it? If the evils flow from the scheme itself, i.e., if they are inherent in it, it is unnecessary for any Hindu to waste his time in considering it. He will be justified in summarily dismissing it. On the other hand, if the evils are the result of the boundaries, the question of Pakistan reduces itself to a mere question of changing the boundaries.
A study of the question amply supports the view that the evils of Pakistan are not inherent in it. If any evil results follow from it they will have to be attributed to its boundaries. This becomes clear if one studies the distribution of population. The reasons why these evils will be reproduced within Western and Eastern Pakistan is because, with the present boundaries, they do not become single ethnic states. They remain mixed states, composed of a Muslim majority and a Hindu minority as before. The evils are the evils which are inseparable from a mixed state. If Pakistan is made a single unified ethnic state, the evils will automatically vanish. There will be no question of separate electorates within Pakistan, because in such a homogeneous Pakistan, there will be no majorities to rule and no minorities to be protected. Similarly, there will be no majority of one community to hold, in its possession, a minority of an opposing community.
The question, therefore, is one of demarcation of boundaries and reduces itself to this: Is it possible for the boundaries of Pakistan to be so fixed, that instead of producing a mixed state composed of majorities and minorities, with all the evils attendant upon it, Pakistan will be an ethnic state composed of one homogeneous community, namely Muslims? The answer is that in a large part of the area affected by the project of the League, a homogeneous state can be created by shifting merely the boundaries, and in the rest, homogeneity can be produced by shifting only the population.
In this connection, I invite the reader to study carefully the figures given in the @@Appendices V, X, XI showing the distribution of the population in the areas affected, and also the maps showing how new boundaries can create homogeneous Muslim States. Taking the Punjab, two things will be noted :—
(i) There are certain districts in which the Musalmans predominate. There are certain districts in which the Hindus predominate. There are very few in which the two are, more or less, evenly distributed; andFor the formation of the Eastern Pakistan, one has to take into consideration the distribution of population in both
(ii) The districts in which Muslims predominate and the districts in which the Hindus predominate are not interspersed. The two sets of districts form two separate areas.
(i) In Bengal, there are some districts in which the Muslims predominate. In others, the Hindus predominate.Given these facts, it is perfectly possible to create homogeneous Muslim States out of the Punjab, Bengal and Assam by drawing their boundaries in such a way that the areas which are predominantly Hindu shall be excluded. That this is possible is shown by the maps given in the appendix (-- map of India -- map of the Punjab -- map of Bengal and Assam --).
(ii) In Assam also, there are some districts in which the Muslims predominate. In others, the Hindus predominate.
(iii) Districts in which the Muslims predominate and those in which the Hindus predominate are not interspersed. They form separate areas.
(iv) The districts of Bengal and Assam in which the Muslims predominate are contiguous.
In the North-West Frontier Province and Sind, the situation is rather hard. How the matter stands in the North-West Frontier Province and Sind may be seen by an examination of the figures given in the @@appendices VI to IX. As may be seen from the appendices, there are no districts in which the Hindus in the North-West Frontier Province and Sind are concentrated. They are scattered and are to be found in almost every district of the two provinces in small, insignificant numbers. These appendices show quite unmistakably that the Hindus in Sind and the North-West Frontier Province are mostly congregated in urban areas of the districts. In Sind, the Hindus outnumber the Muslims in most of the towns, while the Muslims outnumber the Hindus in villages. In the North-West Frontier Province, the Muslims outnumber the Hindus in towns as well as in villages.
The case of the North-West Frontier Province and Sind, therefore, differs totally from the case of the Punjab and Bengal. In the Punjab and Bengal, owing to the natural segregation of the Hindus and Muslims in different areas, it is possible to create a homogeneous State by merely altering their boundaries, involving the shifting of the population in a very small degree. But in the North-West Frontier Province and Sind, owing to the scattered state of the Hindu population, alteration of boundaries cannot suffice for creating a homogeneous State. There is only one remedy and that is to shift the population.
Some scoff at the idea of the shifting and exchange of population. But those who scoff can hardly be aware of the complications which a minority problem gives rise to, and the failures attendant upon almost all the efforts made to protect them. The constitutions of the post-war states, as well as of the older states in Europe which had a minority problem, proceeded on the assumption that constitutional safeguards for minorities should suffice for their protection and so the constitutions of most of the new states with majorities and minorities were studded with long lists of fundamental rights and safeguards to see that they were not violated by the majorities. What was the experience? Experience showed that safeguards did not save the minorities. Experience showed that even a ruthless war on the minorities did not solve the problem. The states then agreed that the best way to solve it was for each to exchange its alien minorities within its border, for its own which was without its border, with a view to bring about homogeneous States. This is what happened in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Those who scoff at the idea of transfer of population, will do well to study the history of the minority problem, as it arose between Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. If they do, they will find that these countries found that the only effective way of solving the minorities problem lay in exchange of population. The task undertaken by the three countries was by no means a minor operation. It involved the transfer of some 20 million people from one habitat to another. But undaunted, the three shouldered the task and carried it to a successful end because they felt that the considerations of communal peace must outweigh every other consideration.
That the transfer of minorities is the only lasting remedy for communal peace is beyond doubt. If that is so, there is no reason why the Hindus and the Muslims should keep on trading in safeguards which have proved so unsafe. If small countries, with limited resources like Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, were capable of such an undertaking, there is no reason to suppose that what they did cannot be accomplished by Indians. After all, the population involved is inconsiderable and because some obstacles require to be removed, it would be the height of folly to give up so sure a way to communal peace.
There is one point of criticism to which no reference has been made so far. As it is likely to be urged, I propose to deal with it here. It is sure to be asked, how will Pakistan affect the position of the Muslims that will be left in Hindustan? The question is natural because the scheme of Pakistan does seem to concern itself with the Muslim majorities who do not need protection arid abandons the Muslim minorities who do. But the point is: who can raise it? Surely not the Hindus. Only the Muslims of Pakistan or the Muslims of Hindustan can raise it. The question was put to Mr. Rehmat Ali, the protagonist of Pakistan, and this is the answer given by him :—
"How will it affect the position of the forty five million Muslims in Hindustan proper?The answer given by the Muslims of Hindustan is equally clear. They say, "We are not weakened by the separation of Muslims into Pakistan and Hindustan. We are better protected by the existence of separate Islamic States on the Eastern and Western borders of Hindustan than we are by their submersion in Hindustan." Who can say that they are wrong? Has it not been shown that Germany as an outside state was better able to protect the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia than the Sudetens were able to do themselves?/4/
"The truth is that in this struggle their thought has been more than a wrench to me. They are the flesh of our flesh and the soul of our soul. We can never forget them; nor they, us. Their present position and future security is, and shall ever be, a matter of great importance to us. As things are at present, Pakistan will not adversely affect their position in Hindustan. On the basis of population (one Muslim to four Hindus), they will still be entitled to the same representation in legislative as well as administrative fields which they possess now. As to the future, the only effective guarantee we can offer is that of reciprocity, and, therefore, we solemnly undertake to give all those safeguards to non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan which will be conceded to our Muslim minority in Hindustan.
"But what sustains us most is the fact that they know we are proclaiming Pakistan in the highest interest of the 'Millet.' It is as much theirs as it is ours. While for us it is a national citadel, for them it will ever be a moral anchor. So long as the anchor holds, everything is or can be made safe. But once it gives way, all will be lost."
Be that as it may, the question does not concern the Hindus. The question that concerns the Hindus is: How far does the creation of Pakistan remove the communal question from Hindustan? That is a very legitimate question and must be considered. It must be admitted that by the creation of Pakistan, Hindustan is not freed of the communal question. While Pakistan can be made a homogeneous state by redrawing its boundaries, Hindustan must remain a composite state. The Musalmans are scattered all over Hindustan—though they are mostly congregated in towns—and no ingenuity in the matter of redrawing of boundaries can make it homogeneous. The only way to make Hindustan homogeneous is to arrange for exchange of population. Until that is done, it must be admitted that even with the creation of Pakistan, the problem of majority vs. minority will remain in Hindustan as before and will continue to produce disharmony in the body politic of Hindustan.
Admitting that Pakistan is not capable of providing a complete solution of the Communal Problem within Hindustan, does it follow that the Hindus on that account should reject Pakistan? Before the Hindus draw any such hasty conclusion, they should consider the following effects of Pakistan.
First, consider the effect of Pakistan on the magnitude
of the communal Problem. That can be best gauged by reference to the Muslim
population as it will be grouped within Pakistan and Hindustan.
|MUSLIM POPULATION IN PAKISTAN AND HINDUSTAN|
What do these figures indicate? What they indicate is that the Muslims who will be left in British Hindustan will be only 18,545,465 and the rest 47,897,301, forming a vast majority of the total Muslim population, will be out of it and will be the subjects of Pakistan States. This distribution of the Muslim population, in terms of the communal problem, means that while without Pakistan the communal problem in India involves 6 1/2 crores of Muslims, with the creation of Pakistan it will involve only 2 crores of Muslims. Is this to be no consideration for Hindus who want communal peace? To me, it seems that if Pakistan does not solve the communal problem within Hindustan, it substantially reduces its proportion and makes it of minor significance and much easier of peaceful solution.
In the second place, let the Hindus consider the
effect of Pakistan on the communal representation in the Central Legislature.
The following table gives the distribution of seats in the Central Legislature,
as prescribed under the Government of India Act, 1935 and as it would be,
if Pakistan came into being.
|DISTRIBUTION OF SEATS IN THE CENTRAL LEGISLATURE (NUMBERS)|
bring out clearly the quantitative change in the communal distribution
of seats, which must follow the establishment of Pakistan, the above figures
are reduced to percentage in the table that follows:
|DISTRIBUTION OF SEATS IN THE CENTRAL LEGISLATURE (PERCENTAGES)|
From this table one can see what vast changes must follow the establishment of Pakistan. Under the Government of India Act, the ratio of Muslim seats to the total is 33% in both the Chambers, but to the Hindu seats, the ratio is 66% in the Council of State and 80% in the Assembly—almost a position of equality with the Hindus. After Pakistan, the ratio of Muslim seats to the total seats falls from 33 1/3 % to 25% in the Council and to 21% in the Assembly, while the ratio to Hindu seats falls from 66% to 33 1/3 % in the Council and from 80% to 40% in the Assembly. The figures assume that the weightage given to the Muslims will remain the same, even after Hindustan is separated from Pakistan. If the present weightage to Muslims is cancelled or reduced, there would be further improvement in the representation of the Hindus. But assuming that no change in weightage is made, is this a small gain to the Hindus in the matter of representation at the Centre? 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 Pakistan.
These are the material advantages of Pakistan. There is another which is psychological. The Muslims, in Southern and Central India, draw their inspiration from the Muslims of the North and the East. If after Pakistan there is communal peace in the North and the East, as there should be, there being no majorities and minorities therein, the Hindus may reasonably expect communal peace in Hindustan. This severance of the bond between the Muslims of the North and the East and the Muslims of Hindustan is another gain to the Hindus of Hindustan.
Taking into consideration these effects of Pakistan, it cannot be disputed that if Pakistan does not wholly solve the communal problem within Hindustan, it frees the Hindus from the turbulence of the Muslims as predominant partners. It is for the Hindus to say whether they will reject such a proposal, simply because it does not offer a complete solution. Some gain is better than much harm.
[Will Punjabis and Bengalis agree to redraw their boundaries?]
One last question and this discussion of Pakistan in relation to communal peace may be brought to a close. Will the Hindus and the Muslims of the Punjab and Bengal agree to redraw the boundaries of their provinces to make the scheme of Pakistan as flawless as it can be made?
As for the Muslims, they ought to have no objection to redrawing the boundaries. If they do object, it must be said that they do not understand the nature of theirown demand. This is quite possible, since the talk that is going on among Muslim protagonists of Pakistan, is of a very loose character. Some speak of Pakistan as a Muslim National State, others speak of it as a Muslim National Home. Neither care to know whether there is any difference between a National State and a National Home. But there can be no doubt that there is a vital difference between the two. What that difference is was discussed at great length at the time of constituting in Palestine a Jewish National Home. It seems that a clear conception of what this difference is, is necessary, if the likely Muslim opposition to the redrawing of the boundaries is to be overcome.
According to a leading authority :—
"A National Home connotes a territory in which a people, without receiving the rights of political sovereignty, has nevertheless a recognised legal position and receives the opportunity of developing its moral, social and intellectual ideals."The British Government itself, in its statement on Palestine policy issued in 1922, defined its conception of the National Home in the following terms :—
"When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish Community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become a centre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But in order that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should be known that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance. This is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection."From this, it will be clear that there is an essential difference between a National Home and a National State. The difference consists in this: in the case of a National Home, 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 also living in that territory. All that they get, is a recognized legal position guaranteeing them the right to live as citizens and freedom to maintain their culture. In the case of a National State, people constituting it, receive the rights of political sovereignty with the right of imposing their nationality upon the rest.
This difference is very important and it is in the light of this that one must examine their demand for Pakistan. What do the Muslim want Pakistan for? If they want Pakistan to create a National Home for Muslims, there is no necessity for Pakistan. In the Pakistan Provinces, they already have their National Home with the legal right to live and advance their culture. If they want Pakistan to be a National Muslim State, they are claiming the right of political sovereignty over the territory included in it. This they are entitled to do. But the question is: Should they be allowed to retain, within the boundaries of these 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 sovereignty. But it is equally true that in all mixed States, this right has become a source of mischief in modern times. To ignore the possibilities of such mischief in the creation of Pakistan will be to omit to read the bloody pages of recent history on which have been recorded the atrocities, murders, plunders and arsons committed by the Turks, Greeks, Bulgars and the Czechs against their minorities. It is possible to take away from a state this right of imposing its nationality upon its subjects, because it is incidental to political sovereignty. But it is possible not to provide any opportunity for the exercise of such a right. This can be done by allowing the Muslims to have such National Muslim States as are strictly homogeneous, strictly ethnic states. Under no circumstances can they be allowed to carve out mixed states composed of Muslims opposed to Hindus, with the former superior in number to the latter.
This is probably not contemplated by the Muslims who are the authors of Pakistan. It was certainly not contemplated by Sir M. Iqbal, the originator of the scheme. In his Presidential address to the Muslim 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 Pakistan, do contemplate that it will include the Punjab and Bengal with their present boundaries. To them it must become clear, that to insist upon the present boundaries is sure to antagonise even those Hindus who have an open mind on the question. The Hindus can never be expected to consent to the inclusion of the Hindus in a Muslim State deliberately created for the preservation and propagation of Muslim faith and Muslim culture. The Hindus will no doubt oppose. Muslims must not suppose that it will take long to find them out. Muslims, if they insist upon the retention of the present boundaries, will open themselves to the accusation that behind their demand for Pakistan there is something more sinister than a mere desire to create a National Home or a National State. They will be accused of a design to perfect the scheme of Hindu hostages in Muslim hands by increasing the balance of Muslim majorities against Hindu minorities in the Muslim areas.
So much for considerations which ought to weigh with the Muslims in the matter of changing the provincial boundaries to make Pakistan.
Now, as to the considerations which ought to weigh with the Hindus of the Punjab and Bengal. The Hindus are the more difficult of the two parties to the question. In this connection it is enough to consider the reaction of the high-caste Hindus only. For, it is they who guide the Hindu masses and form Hindu opinion. Unfortunately, the high-caste Hindus are bad as leaders. They have a trait of character which often leads the Hindus to disaster. This trait is formed by their acquisitive instinct and aversion to share with others the good things of life. They have a monopoly of education and wealth, and with wealth and education they have captured the State. To keep this monopoly to themselves has been the ambition and goal of their life. Charged with this selfish idea of class domination, they take every move to exclude the lower classes of Hindus from wealth, education and power, the surest and the most effective being the preparation of scriptures, inculcating upon the minds of the lower classes of Hindus the teaching that their duty in life is only to serve the higher classes. In keeping this monopoly in their own hands and excluding the lower classes from any share in it, the high caste Hindus have succeeded for a long time and beyond measure, it is only recently that the lower class Hindus rose in revolt against this monopoly by starting the Non-Brahmin Parties in the Madras and the Bombay Presidencies and the C. P. Still the high caste Hindus have successfully maintained their privileged position. This attitude of. keeping education, wealth and power as a close preserve for themselves and refusing to share it, which the high caste Hindus have developed in their relation with the lower classes of Hindus, is sought to be extended by them to the Muslims. They want to exclude the Muslims from place and power, as they have done to the lower class Hindus. This trait of the high-caste Hindus is the key to the understanding of their politics.
Two illustrations reveal this trait of theirs. The Hindus in 1929 opposed the separation of Sind from the Bombay Presidency before the Simon Commission, strenuously and vehemently. But in 1915, the Hindus of Sind put forth the opposite plea and wanted Sind to be separated from Bombay. The reason in both the cases was the same. In 1915, there was no representative Government in Sind, which, if there was one would have undoubtedly been a Muslim Government. The Hindus advocated separation because in the absence of a Muslim Government, they could obtain jobs in Government in a greater degree. In 1929, they objected to the separation of Sind because they knew that a separate Sind would be under a Muslim Government, and a Muslim Government was sure to disturb their monopoly and displace them to make room for Muslim candidates. The opposition of the Bengali Hindus to the Partition of Bengal is another illustration of this trait of the high-caste Hindus. The Bengali Hindu 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 this pasture. It means that the Bengali Hindu was to be ousted from Eastern Bengal to make room for the Bengali Musalman who had so far no place in the civil service of Bengal. The opposition to the partition of Bengal on the part of the Bengali Hindus, was due principally to their desire not to allow the Bengal Musalmans to take their place in Eastern Bengal. Little did the Bengali Hindus dream that by opposing partition and at the same time demanding Swaraj they were preparing the way for making the Musalmans the rulers of both Eastern as well as Western Bengal.
These thoughts occur to one's mind because one fears that the high-caste Hindus, blinded by their hereditary trait, might oppose Pakistan for no other reason except that it limits the field for their self-seeking careers. Among the many reasons that might come in the way of Pakistan, one need not be surprised, if one of them happens to be the selfishness of the high caste Hindus.
There are two alternatives for the Hindus of the Punjab and Bengal and they may be asked to face them fairly and squarely. The Muslims in the Punjab number 13,332,460 and the Hindus, with Sikhs and the rest, number 11,392,732. The difference is only 1,939,728. This means that the Muslim majority in the Punjab is only a majority of 8 percemt. Given these facts, which is better: To retain the unity of the Punjab and allow the Muslim majority of 54 percent to rule the Hindu minority of 46 percent, or to redraw the boundaries, to allow the Muslims and the Hindus to be under separate national states, and thus rescue the whole body of Hindus from the terrors of the Muslim rule?
The Muslims in Bengal number 27,497,624 and the Hindus number 21,570,407. The difference is only of 5,927,217. This means that the Muslim majority in Bengal is only a majority of 12 percent. Given these facts, which is better: To oppose the creation of a National Muslim State out of Eastern Bengal and Sylhet by refusing to redraw the boundaries and allow the Muslim majority of only 12 percent to rule the Hindu minority of 44 percent; or to consent to redraw the boundaries, to have Muslims and Hindus placed under separate National States, and thus rescue the 44 percent of the Hindus from the horrors of the Muslim rule ?
Let the Hindus of Bengal and the Punjab consider
which alternative they should prefer. It seems to me that the moment has
come when the high-caste Hindus of Bengal and the Punjab should be told
that if they propose to resist Pakistan, because it cuts off a field for
gainful employment, they are committing the greatest blunder. The time
for successfully maintaining in their own hands a monopoly of place and
power is gone. They may cheat the lower orders of the Hindus in the name
of nationalism, but they cannot cheat the Muslim majorities in the Muslim
Provinces and keep their monopoly of place and power. The resolution of
the Hindus—if their cry against Pakistan can be regarded as such— to live
under a Muslim majority and oppose self-determination may be a very courageous
thing. But it will not be a very wise thing if the Hindus believe that
they will be able to maintain their place and power by fooling the Musalmans.
As Lincoln said, it is not possible to fool all people for all times. If
the Hindus choose to live under a Muslim majority, the chances are that
they may lose all. On the other hand, if the Hindus of Bengal and the Punjab
agree to separate, true, they will not get more, but they will certainly
not lose all.
/1/ It is perhaps not quite correct to speak of a Hindu Electorate. The Electorate is a General Electorate consisting of all those who are not included in any separate electorate. But as the majority in the General Electorate consists of Hindus, it is called a Hindu Electorate.
/2/ Sind gets an annual subvention of Rs. 1,05,00,000.
/3/ North-West Frontier Province gets an annual subvention of Rs. 1,00,00,000.
/4/ The leaders of the Muslim
League seem to have studied deeply Hitler's bullying tactics against Czechoslovakia
in the interest of the Sudeten Germans and also learned the lessons which
those tactics teach. See their threatening speeches in the Karachi Session
of the League held in 1937.