WHAT IF NOT PAKISTAN?
|Having stated the Muslim case for Pakistan and the Hindu case against
it, it is necessary to turn to the alternatives to Pakistan, if there be
any. In forming one's judgement on Pakistan, one must take into account
the alternatives to it. Either there is no alternative to Pakistan: or
there is an alternative to Pakistan, but it is worse than Pakistan. Thirdly,
one must also take into consideration what would be the consequences, if
neither Pakistan nor its alternative is found acceptable to the parties
concerned. The relevant data having a bearing on these points are presented
in this part under the following heads :—
1 Hindu alternative to Pakistan.
HINDU ALTERNATIVE TO PAKISTAN
[Lala Hardayal's scheme for conversion in the North-West]
Thinking of the Hindu alternative to Pakistan, the scheme that at once comes to one's mind is the one put forth by the late Lala Hardayal in 1925. It was published in the form of a statement which appeared in the Pratap of Lahore. In this statement, which he called his political testament, Lala Hardayal said:—
"I declare that the future of the Hindu race, of Hindustan and of the Punjab, rests on these four pillars: (1) Hindu Sangathan, (2) Hindu Raj, (3) Shuddhi of Moslems, and (4) Conquest and Shuddhi of Afghanistan and the Frontiers. So long as the Hindu nation does not accomplish these four things, the safely of our children and great-grandchildren will be ever in danger, and the safety of the Hindu race will be impossible. The Hindu race has but one history, and its institutions are homogeneous. But the Musalmans and Christians are far removed from the confines of Hindustan, for their religions are alien and they love Persian, Arab and European institutions. Thus, just as one removes foreign matter from the eye, Shuddhi must be made of these two religions. Afghanistan and the hilly regions of the frontier were formerly part of India, but are at present under the domination of Islam. . . .Just as there is Hindu religion in Nepal, so there must be Hindu institutions in Afghanistan and the frontier territory; otherwise it is useless to win Swaraj. For mountain tribes are always warlike and hungry. If they become our enemies, the age of Nadirshah and Zamanshah will begin anew. At present English officers are protecting the frontiers; but it cannot always be. . . .If Hindus want to protect themselves, they must conquer Afghanistan and the frontiers and convert all the mountain tribes."I do not know how many Hindus would come forward to give their support to this scheme of Lala Hardayal as an alternative to Pakistan./1/
In the first place, Hindu religion is not a proselytising religion. Maulana Mahomed Ali was quite right when, in the course of his address as President of the Congress, he said:
"Now, this has been my complaint for a long lime against Hinduism, and on one occasion, lecturing at Allahabad in 1907, I had pointed out the contrast between Musalmans and Hindus, by saying that the worst that can be said of a Muslim was that he had a tasteless mess which he called a dish fit for kings, and wanted all to share it with him, thrusting it down the throats of such as did not relish it and would rather not have it, while his Hindu brother, who prided himself on his cookery, retired into the privacy of his kitchen and greedily devoured all that he had cooked, without permitting even the shadow of his brother to fall on his food, or sparing even a crumb for him. This was said not altogether in levity; and in fact, I once asked Mahatma Gandhi to justify this feature of his faith to me."What answer the Mahatma gave to his question, Mr. Mahmed Ali did not disclose. The fact is that however much the Hindus may wish, Hindu religion cannot become a missionary religion like Islam or Christianity. It is not that the Hindu religion was never a missionary religion. On the contrary, it was once a missionary religion—indeed could not but have been a missionary religion, otherwise it is difficult to explain how it could have spread over an area so vast as the Indian continent./2/ But once a missionary religion, Hinduism perforce ceased to be a missionary religion after the time when the Hindu society developed its system of castes. For caste is incompatible with conversion. To be able to convert a stranger to its religion, it is not enough for a community to offer its creed. It must be in a position to admit the convert to its social life and to absorb and assimilate him among its kindred. It is not possible for the Hindu society to satisfy this prerequisite of effective conversion. There is nothing to prevent a Hindu, with a missionary zeal, to proceed to convert an alien to the Hindu faith. But before he converts the alien, he is bound to be confronted with the question: What is to be the caste of the convert? According to the Hindus, for a person to belong to a caste he must be born in it. A convert is not born in a caste, therefore he belongs to no caste. This is also an important question. More than political or religious, man is a social animal. He may not have, need not have, religion; he may not have, need not have, politics. He must have society; he cannot do without society. For a Hindu to be without caste is to be without society. Where there is no society for the convert, how can there be any conversion? So long as Hindu society is fragmented in autonomous and autogenic castes, Hindu religion cannot be a missionary religion. The conversion of the Afghans and the frontier tribes to Hinduism is, therefore, an idle dream.
In the second place, Lala Hardayal's scheme must call for financial resources the immensity of which it is hardly possible to compute. Who can furnish the funds necessary for the conversion of the Afghans and the Frontier Tribesmen to Hinduism? The Hindus, having ceased to convert others to their faith for a long time, have also lost the zeal for conversion. Want of zeal is bound to affect the question of finances. Further, Hindu society being moulded in the cast of the Chaturvarna, wealth has, from very ancient times, been most unevenly distributed. It is only the Baniya who is the heir to wealth and property among the Hindus. There are, of course, the landlords who are the creation of foreign invaders or native rebels, but they are not as numerous as the Baniya. The Baniya is money-made and his pursuits are solely for private gain. He knows no other use of money except to hold it and to transmit it to his descendants. Spread of religion or acquisition and promotion of culture do not interest him. Even decent living has no place in his budget. This has been his tradition for ages. If money is excepted, he is not much above the brute in the conception and manner of life. Only one new service, on the expenditure side, has found a place in his budget. That service is politics. This happened since the entry of Mr. Gandhi as a political leader. That new service is the support of Gandhian politics. Here again, the reason is not love of politics. The reason is to make private gain out of public affairs. What hope is there that such men will spend money on such a bootless cause as the spread of Hindu religion among the Afghans and Frontier Tribes?
Thirdly, there is the question of facilities for conversion that may be available in Afghanistan. Lala Hardayal evidently thought that it is possible to say in Afghanistan, with the same impunity as in Turkey, that the Koran is wrong or out of date. Only one year before the publication of his political testament by Lala Hardayal, i.e., in 1924; one Niamatulla—a follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahamed of Quadiyan—who claimed to be the messiah and Mahdi and a prophet of a sort—was stoned to death/3/ at Kabul by the order of the highest ecclesiastical tribunal of Afghanistan. The crime of this man was, as reported by a Khilafat paper, that he was professing and preaching ideas and beliefs, inconsistent with Islam and Shariat. This man, says the same paper, was stoned to death according to the agreeing judgements of the first Shariat (canon) Court, the Central Appellate Court and the Ulema and Divines of the final Appellate Committee of the Ministry of Justice. In the light of these difficulties, the scheme must be said to be wild in its conception and is sure to prove ruinous in its execution. It is adventurous in character and is too fantastic to appeal to any reasonable man except perhaps some fanatical Arya Samajists of the Punjab.
[The stand of Mr. V. D. Savarkar and the Hindu Maha Sabha]
The stand taken by Hindu Mahasabha has been defined by Mr. V. D. Savarkar, the President of the Sabha, in his presidential addresses at the annual sessions of the Sabha. As defined by him, the Hindu Maha Sabha is against Pakistan and proposes to resist it by all means. What these means are we do not know. If they are force, coercion and resistance, they are only negative alternatives and Mr. Savarkar and the Hindu Maha Sabha alone can say how far these means will succeed.
It would, however, not be fair to Mr. Savarkar to say that he has only a negative attitude towards the claim put forth by the Muslims of India. He has put forth his positive proposals in reply to them.
To understand his positive proposals, one must grasp some of his basic conceptions. Mr. Savarkar lays great stress on a proper understanding of the terms, Hinduism, Hindutva and Hindudom. He says: /4/
"In expounding the ideology of the Hindu movement, it is absolutely necessary to have a correct grasp of the meaning attached to these three terms. From the word "Hindu" has been coined the word "Hinduism" in English. It means the schools or system of Religion the Hindus follow. The second word "Hindutva" is far more comprehensive and refers not only to the religious aspects of the Hindu people as the word "Hinduism" does but comprehend even their cultural, linguistic, social and political aspects as well. It is more or less akin to "Hindu Polity" and its nearly exact translation would be "Hinduness." The third word "Hindudom" means the Hindu people spoken of collectively. It is a collective name for the Hindu World, just as Islam denotes the Moslem World."Mr. Savarkar takes it as a gross misrepresentation to say that the Hindu Maha Sabha is a religious body. In refutation of this misrepresentation, Mr. Savarkar says:/5/
"It has come to my notice that a very large section of the English educated Hindus hold back from joining the Hindu Maha Sabha. . . .under the erroneous idea that it is an exclusively Religious organization— something like a Christian Mission. Nothing could be far from truth. The Hindu Maha Sabha is not a Hindu Mission. It leaves Religious questions regarding theism, monotheism. Pantheism or even atheism to be discussed and determined by the different Hindu schools of religious persuasions. It is not a Hindu Dharma Maha Sabha, but a Hindu National Maha Sabha. Consequently by its very constitution it is debarred to associate itself exclusively as a partisan with any particular religious school or sect even within the Hindu fold. As a national Hindu body it will of course propagate and defend the National Hindu Church comprising each and all religions of Hindusthani origin against any non-Hindu attack or encroachment. But the sphere of its activity is far more comprehensive than that of an exclusively religious body. The Hindu Maha Sabha identifies itself with the National life of Hindudom in all its entirety, in all its social, economical, cultural and above all political aspects and is pledged to protect and promote all that contributes to the freedom, strength and glory of the Hindu Nation; and as an indispensable means to that end to attain Purna Swarajya, absolute political Independence of Hindusthan by all legitimate and proper means."Mr. Savarkar does not admit that the Hindu Maha Sabha is started to counteract the Muslim League and that as soon as the problems arising out of the Communal Award are solved to the satisfaction of both Hindus and Musalmans, the Hindu Maha Sabha will vanish. Mr. Savarkar insists that the Hindu Maha Sabha must continue to function even after India becomes politically free. He says:/6/
". . . .Many a superficial critic seems to fancy that the Maha Sabha was only contrived to serve as a make-weight, as a reaction checkmating the Moslem League or the anti-Hindu policy of the present leaders of the Congress and will be out of court or cease automatically to function as soon as it is shorne of this spurious excuse to exist. But if the aims and object of the Maha Sabha mean anything it is clear that it was not the outcome of any frothy effusion, any fussy agitation to remove a grievance here or oppose a seasonal party there. The fact is that every organism whether, individual or social which is living and deserves to survive throws out offensive and defensive organs as soon as it is brought to face adversely changing environments. The Hindu Nation too as soon as it recovered and freed itself from the suffocating grip of the pseudo-nationalistic ideology of the Congress brand developed a new organ to battle in the struggle for existence under the changed conditions of modem age. This was the Hindu Maha Sabha. It grew up of a fundamental necessity of the National life and not of any ephemeral incident. The constructive side of its aims and objects make it amply clear that its mission is as abiding as the life of the Nation itself. But that apart, even the day to day necessity of adapting its policy to the ever changing political currents makes it incumbent on Hindudom to have an exclusively Hindu organization independent of any moral or intellectual servility or subservience to any non-Hindu or jointly representative institution, to guard Hindu interests and save them from being jeopardised. It is not so, only under the present political subjection of Hindustan but it will be all the more necessary to have some such exclusively Hindu organization, some such Hindu Maha Sabha in substance whether it is identical with this present organization or otherwise to -serve as a watchtower at the gates of Hindudom for at least a couple of centuries to come, even after Hindustan is partially or wholly free and a National Parliament controls its political destiny.Having stated what is Hindustan, and what is Hindu Maha Sabha, Mr. Savarkar next proceeds to define his conception of Swaraj. According to Mr. Savarkar:/7/
"Because, unless something altogether cataclysmic in nature upsets the whole political order of things in the world which practical politics cannot envisage today, all that can be reasonably expected in immediate future is that we Hindus may prevail over England and compel her to recognise India as a self-governing unit with the status contemplated in the Westminster Statute. Now a National Parliament in such a self-governing India can only reflect the electorate as it is, the Hindus and the Moslems as we find them, their relations a bit bettered, perhaps a bit worsened. No realist can be blind to the probability that the extraterritorial designs and the secret urge goading on the Moslems to transform India into a Moslem stale may at any time confront the Hindustani state even under self-government either with a Civil War or treacherous overtures to alien invaders by the Moslems. Then again there is every likelihood that there will ever continue at least for a century to come a danger of fanatical riots, the scramble for services, legislative seats, weightages out of proportion to their population on the part of the Moslem minority and consequently a constant danger threatening internal peace. To checkmate this probability which if we are wise we must always keep in view even after Hindustan attains the status of a self-governing country, a powerful and exclusive organization of Hindudom like the Hindu Maha Sabha will always prove a sure and devoted source of strength, a reserve force for the Hindus to fall back upon to voice their grievances more effectively than the joint Parliament can do, to scent danger ahead, to warn the Hindus in time against it and to fight out if need be any treacherous design to which the joint state itself may unwittingly fall a victim.
"The History of Canada, of Palestine,of the movement of the Young Turks will show you that in every slate where two or more such conflicting elements as the Hindus and Moslems in India happen to exist as constituents, the wiser of them has to keep its exclusive organization intact, strong and watchful to defeat any attempt at betrayal or capture of the National State by the opposite party; especially so if that party has extra-territorial affinities, religious or cultural, with alien bordering states."
"Swaraj to the Hindus must mean only that in which their "Swaraj," their "Hindutva" can assert itself without being overlorded by any non-Hindu people, whether they be Indian Territorials or extra-Territorials—-some Englishmen are and may continue to be territorially born Indians. Can, therefore, the overlordships of these Anglo-indians be a "Swarajya" to the Hindus? Aurangzeb or Tipu were hereditary Indians, nay, were the sons of converted Hindu mothers. Did that mean that the rule of Aurangzeb or Tipu was a "Swarajya" to the Hindus? No! Although they were territorially Indians they proved to be the worst enemies of Hindudom and therefore, a Shivaji, a Gobindsingh, a Pratap or the Peshwas had to fight against the Moslem domination and establish real Hindu Swarajya."As part of his Swaraj Mr. Savarkar insists upon two things.
Firstly, the retention of the name Hindustan as the proper name for lndia./8/
"The name "Hindustan" must continue to be the appellation of our country. Such other names as India, Hind, etc., being derived from the same original word Sindhu may be used but only to signify the same sense—the land of the Hindus, a country which is the abode of the Hindu Nation. Aryavarta, Bharat-Bhumi and such other names are of course the ancient and the most cherished epithets of our Mother Land and will continue to appeal to the cultured elite. In this insistence that the Mother Land of the Hindus must be called but "Hindustan," no encroachment or humiliation is implied in connection with any of our non-Hindu countrymen. Our Parsee and Christian countrymen are already too akin to us culturally and .arc too patriotic and the Anglo-indians too sensible to refuse to fall in line with us Hindus on so legitimate a ground. So far as our Moslem countrymen are concerned it is useless to conceal the fact that some of them are already inclined to look upon this molehill also as an insuperable mountain in their way to Hindu-Moslem unity. But they should remember that the Moslems do not dwell only in India nor are the Indian Moslems the only heroic remnants of the Faithful in Islam. China has crores of Moslems. Greece, Palestine and even Hungary and Poland have thousands of Moslems amongst their nationals. But being there a minority, only a community, their existence in these countries has never been advanced as a ground to change the ancient names of these countries which indicate the abodes of those races whose overwhelming majority owns the land. The country of the Poles continues to be Poland and of the Grecians as Greece. The Moslems there did not or dared not to distort them but are quite content to distinguish themselves as Polish Moslems or Grecian Moslems or Chinese Moslems when occasion arises, so also our Moslem countrymen may distinguish themselves nationally or territorially whenever they want, as "Hindustance Moslems" without compromising in the least their separateness as Religious or Cultural entity. Nay, the Moslems have been calling themselves as "Hindustanis" ever since their advent in India, of their own accord.The second is the retention of Sanskrit as sacred language, Hindi as national language and Nagari as the script of Hindudom./9/
"But if in spite of it all some irascible Moslem sections amongst our countrymen object even to this name of our Country, that is no reason why we should play cowards to our own conscience. We Hindus must not betray or break up the continuity of our Nation from the Sindhus in Rigvedic days to the Hindus of our own generation which is implied in "Hindustan," the accepted appellation of our Mother Land. Just as the land of the Germans is Germany, of the English England, of the Turks Turkistan, of the Afghans Afghanistan—even so we must have it indelibly impressed on the map of the earth for all times to come a "Hindustan"—the land of the "Hindus."
"The Sanskrit shall be our "devabhasha" (Deva Bhasha)/10/ our sacred language and the "Sanskrit Nishtha"/11/ Hindi, the Hindi which is derived from Sanskrit and draws its nourishment from the latter, is our "rashtrabhasha" (Rashtra Bhasha)/12/ our current national language—-besides being the richest and the most cultured of the ancient languages of the world, to us Hindus the Sanskrit is the holiest tongue of tongues. Our scriptures, history, philosophy and culture have their roots so deeply imbedded in the Sanskrit literature that it forms veritably the brain of our Race. Mother of the majority of our mother tongues, she has suckled the rest of them at her breast. All Hindu languages current today whether derived from Sanskrit or grafted on to it can only grow and flourish on the sap of life they imbibe from Sanskrit. The Sanskrit language therefore must ever be an indispensable constituent of the classical course for Hindu youths.What is to be the position of the Non-Hindu minorities under the Swaraj as contemplated by Mr. Savarkar? On this question, this is what Mr. Savarkar has to say:/13/]
"In adopting the Hindi as the National tongue of Hindudom no humiliation or any invidious distinction is implied as regards other provincial tongues. We are all as attached to our provincial tongues as to Hindi and they will all grow and flourish in their respective spheres. In fact some of them are today more progressive and richer in literature. But nevertheless, taken all in all the Hindi can serve the purpose of a National Pan-Hindu language best. It must also be remembered that the Hindi is not made a National Language to order. The fact is that long before either the English or even the Moslems stepped in India the Hindi in its general form had already come to occupy the position of a National tongue throughout Hindustan. The Hindu pilgrim, the tradesman, the tourist, the soldier, the Pandit travelled up and down from Bengal to Sind and Kashmere to Rameshwar by making himself understood from locality to locality through Hindi. Just as the Sanskrit was the National Language of the Hindu intellectual world even so Hindi has been for at least a thousand years in the past the National Indian Tongue of the Hindu community.....
"By Hindi we of course mean the pure "Sanskrit Nistha" Hindi, as we find it for example in the "Satyartha Prakash" written by Maharsi Dayananda Saraswati. How simple and untainted with a single unnecessary foreign word is that Hindi and how expressive withal! It may be mentioned in passing that Swami Dayanandaji was about the first Hindu leader who gave conscious and definite expression to the view that Hindi should be the Pan-Hindu National language of India. This "Sanskrit Nistha" Hindi has nothing to do with that hybrid, the so-called Hindusthani which is being hatched up by the Wardha scheme. It is nothing short of a linguistic monstrosity and must be ruthlessly suppressed. Not only that but it is our bounden duty to oust as ruthlessly all unnecessary alien words whether Arabian or English, from every Hindu tongue—whether provincial or dialectical. . . .
". . . .Our Sanskrit alphabetical order is phonetically about the most perfect which the world has yet devised and almost all our current Indian scripts already follow it. The Nagari Script too follows this order. Like the Hindi language the Nagari Script too has already been current for centuries all over India amongst the Hindu literary circles for some two thousand years at any rate in the past and was even popularly nick-named as the "Shastri Lipi" the script of our Hindu Scriptures. . . .It is a matter of common knowledge that if Bengali or Gujarathi is printed in Nagari it is more or less understood by readers in several other provinces. To have only one common language throughout Hindustan at a stroke is impracticable and unwise. But to have the Nagari script as the only common script throughout Hindudom is much more feasible. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that the different Hindu scripts current in our different provinces have a future of their own and may flourish side by side with the Nagari. All that is immediately indispensable in the common interest of Hindudom as a whole is that the Nagari Script must be made a compulsory subject along with the Hindi language in every school in the case of Hindu students."
"When once the Hindu Maha Sabha not only accepts but maintains the principles of "one man one vote" and the public services to go by merit alone added to the fundamental rights and obligations to be shared by all citizens alike irrespective of any distinction of Race or Religion. . . .any further mention of minority rights is on the principle not only unnecessary but self-contradictory. Because it again introduces a consciousness of majority and minority on Communal basis. But as practical politics requires it and as the Hindu Sanghatanists want to relieve our non-Hindu countrymen of even a ghost of suspicion, we are prepared to emphasise that the legitimate rights of minorities with regard to their Religion, Culture, and Language will be expressly guaranteed: on one condition only that the equal rights of the majority also must not in any case be encroached upon or abrogated. Every minority may have separate schools to train up their children in their own tongue, their own religious or cultural institutions and can receive Government help also for these,—but always in proportion to the taxes they pay into the common exchequer. The same principle must of course hold good in case of the majority too.That being the position assigned to the minorities, Mr. Savarkar concludes/14/ that under his scheme of Swaraj:
"Over and above this, in case the constitution is not based on joint electorates and on the unalloyed National principle of one man one vote, but is based on the communal basis then those minorities who wish to have separate electorate or reserve seats will be allowed to have them,—but always in proportion to their population and provided that it does not deprive the majority also of an equal right in proportion of its population too."
"The Moslem minority in India will have the right to be treated as equal citizens, enjoying equal protection and civic rights in proportion to their population. The Hindu majority will not encroach on the legitimate rights of any non-Hindu minority. But in no case can the Hindu majority resign its right which as a majority it is entitled to exercise under any democratic and legitimate constitution. The Moslem minority in particular has not obliged the Hindus by remaining in minority and therefore, they must remain satisfied with the status they occupy and with the legitimate share of civic and political rights that is their proportionate due. It would be simply preposterous to endow the Moslem minority with the right of exercising a practical veto on the legitimate rights and privileges of the majority and call it a "Swarajya." The Hindus do not want a change of masters, are not going to struggle and fight and die only to replace an Edward by an Aurangazeb simply because the latter happens to be born within Indian borders, but they want henceforth to be masters themselves in their own house, in their own Land."And it is because he wants his Swaraj to bear the stamp of being a Hindu Raj that Mr. Savarkar wants that India should have the appellation of Hindustan.
This structure has been reared by Mr. Savarkar on two propositions which he regards as fundamental.
The first is that the Hindu are a nation by themselves. He enunciates this proposition with great elaboration and vehemence. Says/15/ Mr. Savarkar:
"In my Presidential speech at Nagpur I had, for the first time in the history of our recent politics pointed out in bold relief that the whole Congress ideology was vitiated ab initio by its unwitted assumption that the territorial unity, a common habitat, was the only factor that constituted and ought to and must constitute a Nation. This conception of a Territorial Nationality has since then received a rude shock in Europe itself from which it was imported wholesale to India and the present War has justified my assertion by exploding the myth altogether. All Nations carved out to order on the Territorial design without any other common bond to mould each of them into a national being have gone to rack and ruin, tumbled down like a house of cards. Poland and Czechoslovakia will ever serve as a stem warning against any such efforts to frame heterogeneous peoples into such hotch-potch Nation, based only on the shifting sands of the conception of Territorial Nationality, not cemented by any cultural, racial or historical affinities and consequently having no common will to incorporate themselves into a Nation. These treaty-Nations broke up at the first opportunity they got: The German part of them went over to Germany, the Russian to Russia, Czechs to Czechs and Poles to Poles. The cultural, linguistic, historical and such other organic affinities proved sponger than the Territorial one. Only those Nations have persisted in maintaining their National unity and identity during the last three to four centuries in Europe which had developed racial, linguistic cultural and such other organic affinities in addition to their Territorial unity or even at times in spite of it and consequently willed to be homogeneous National units—such as England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, etc.The second proposition on which Mr. Savarkar has built up his scheme relates to the definition of the term Hindu. According to Mr. Savarkar a Hindu is a person:
Judged by any and all of these tests which go severally and collectively to form such a homogeneous and organic Nation, in India we Hindus are marked out as an abiding Nation by ourselves. Not only do we own a common Fatherland, a Territorial unity, but what is scarcely found anywhere else in the world, we have a common Holy Land which is identified with our common Fatherland. This Bharat Bhumi, this Hindustan, India is both our pitribhu and punyabhu. Our patriotism therefore is doubly sure. Then, we have common affinities, cultural, religious, historical, linguistic, and racial which through the process of countless centuries of association and assimilation moulded us into a homogeneous and organic nation and above all induced a will to lead a corporate and common national life. The Hindus are no treaty Nation—but an organic National Being.
"One more pertinent point must be met as it often misleads our Congressite Hindu brethren in particular. The homogeneity that wields a people into a National Being does not only imply the total absence of all internal differences, religious, racial or linguistic, of sects and sections amongst themselves. It only means that they differ more from other people as a national unit than they differ amongst themselves. Even the most unitarian nations of today—say the British or the French— cannot be free from any religious, linguistic, cultural, racial or other differences, sects or sections or even some antipathies existing amongst themselves. National homogeneity connotes oneness of a people in relation to the contrast they present to any other people as a whole.
"We Hindus, in spite of thousand and one differences within our fold, are bound by such religious, cultural, historical, racial, linguistic and other affinities in common as to stand out as a definitely homogeneous people as soon as we are placed in contrast with any other non-Hindu people—say the English or Japanese or even the Indian Moslems. That is the reason why today we the Hindus from Cashmere to Madras and Sindh to Assam will have to be a Nation by ourselves. . . ."
". . . .who regards and owns this Bharat Bhumi, this land from the Indus to the Seas, as his Fatherland as well as his Holy Land;—i.e., the land of the origin of his religion, the cradle of his faith.This definition of the term Hindu has been framed with great care and caution. It is designed to serve two purposes which Mr. Savarkar has in view. First, to exclude from it Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews by prescribing the recognition of India as a Holy Land as a qualification for being a Hindu. Secondly, to include Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, etc., by not insisting upon belief in the sanctity of the Vedas as an element in the qualifications.
The followers therefore of Vaidicism, Sanatanism, Jainism, Buddhism, Lingaitism, Sikhism, the Arya Samaj, the Brahmosamaj, the Devasamaj, the Prarthana Samaj and such other religions of Indian origin are Hindus and constitute Hindudom, i.e., Hindu people as a whole.
Consequently the so-called aboriginal or hill-tribes also are Hindus: because India is their Fatherland as well as their Holy Land whatever form of religion or worship they follow. The definition rendered in Sanskrit stands thus:
asindhu sindha panyanta yasma bharata bhumika
pitribhuh punyabhushraiva sa vai hinduritismritah
This definition , therefore, should be recognized by the Government and made the test of 'Hindutva' in enumerating the population of Hindus in the Government census to come."
Such is the scheme of Mr. Savarkar and the Hindu Maha Sabha. As must have been noticed, the scheme has some disturbing features.
One is the categorical assertion that the Hindus are a nation by themselves. This, of course, means that the Muslims are a separate nation by themselves. That this is his view, Mr. Savarkar does not leave to be inferred. He insists upon it in no uncertain terms and with the most absolute emphasis he is capable of. Speaking at the Hindu Maha Sabha Session held at Ahmedabad in 1937, Mr. Savarkar said :—
"Several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. These our well-meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities. That is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations. But the solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of a cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and the Muslims. When the time is ripe you can solve them; but you cannot suppress them by merely refusing recognition of them. It is safer to diagnose and treat deep-seated disease than to ignore it. Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogeneous nation, but on the contrary these are two nations in the main, the Hindus and the Muslims in India."Strange as it may appear, Mr. Savarkar and Mr. Jinnah, instead of being opposed to each other on the one nation versus two nations issue, are in complete agreement about it. Both agree, not only agree but insist, that there are two nations in India—one the Muslim nation and the other the Hindu nation. They differ only as regards the terms and conditions on which the two nations should live. Mr. Jinnah says India should be cut up into two, Pakistan and Hindustan, the Muslim nation to occupy Pakistan and the Hindu nation to occupy Hindustan. Mr. Savarkar on the other hand insists that, although there are two nations in India, India shall not be divided into two parts, one for Muslims and the other for the Hindus; that the two nations shall dwell in one country and shall live under the mantle of one single constitution; that the constitution shall be such that the Hindu nation will be enabled to occupy a predominant position that is due to it and the Muslim nation made to live in the position of subordinate co-operation with the Hindu nation. In the struggle for political power between, the two nations the rule of the game which Mr. Savarkar prescribes is to be one man one vote, be the man Hindu or Muslim. In his scheme a Muslim is to have no advantage which a Hindu does not have. Minority is to be no justification for privilege and majority is to be no ground for penalty. The State will guarantee the Muslims any defined measure of political power in the form of Muslim religion and Muslim culture. But the State will not guarantee secured seats in the Legislature or in the Administration and, if such guarantee is insisted upon by the Muslims,/16/ such guaranteed quota is not to exceed their proportion to the general population. Thus by confiscating its weightages, Mr. Savarkar would even strip the Muslim nation of all the political privileges it has secured so far.
This alternative of Mr. Savarkar to Pakistan has about it a frankness, boldness and definiteness which distinguishes it from the irregularity, vagueness and indefiniteness which characterizes the Congress declarations about minority rights. Mr. Savarkar's scheme has at least the merit of telling the Muslims, thus far and no further. The Muslims know where they are with regard to the Hindu Maha Sabha. On the other hand, with the Congress the Musalmans find themselves nowhere because the Congress has been treating the Muslims and the minority question as a game in diplomacy, if not in duplicity.
At the same time, it must be said that Mr. Savarkar's attitude is illogical, if not queer. Mr. Savarkar admits that the Muslims are a separate nation. He concedes that they have a right to cultural autonomy. He allows them to have a national flag. Yet he opposes the demand of the Muslim nation for a separate national home. If he claims a national home for the Hindu nation, how can he refuse the claim of the Muslim nation for a national home?
It would not have been a matter of much concern if inconsistency was the only fault of Mr. Savarkar. But Mr. Savarkar in advocating his scheme is really creating a most dangerous situation for the safety and security of India. History records two ways as being open to a major nation to deal with a minor nation when they are citizens of the same country and are subject to the same constitution. One way is to destroy the nationality of the minor nation and to assimilate and absorb it into the major nation, so as to make one nation out of two. This is done by denying to the minor nation any right to language, religion or culture and by seeking to enforce upon it the language, religion and culture of the major nation. The other way is to divide the country and to allow the minor nation a separate, autonomous and sovereign existence, independent of the major nation. Both these ways were tried in Austria and Turkey, the second after the failure of the first.
Mr. Savarkar adopts neither of these two ways. He does not propose to suppress the Muslim nation. On the contrary he is nursing and feeding it by allowing it to retain its religion, language and culture, elements which go to sustain the soul of a nation. At the same time he does not consent to divide the country so as to allow the two nations to become separate, autonomous states, each sovereign in its own territory. He wants the Hindus and the Muslims to live as two separate nations in one country, each maintaining its own religion, language and culture. One can understand and even appreciate the wisdom of the theory of suppression of the minor nation by the major nation because the ultimate aim is to bring into being one nation. But one cannot follow what advantage a theory has which says that there must ever be two nations but that there shall be no divorce between them. One can justify this attitude only if the two nations were to live as partners in friendly intercourse with mutual respect and accord. But that is not to be, because Mr. Savarkar will not allow the Muslim nation to be co-equal in authority with the Hindu nation. He wants the Hindu nation to be the dominant nation and the Muslim nation to be the servient nation. Why Mr. Savarkar, after sowing this seed of enmity between the Hindu nation and the Muslim nation, should want that they should live under one constitution and occupy one country, is difficult to explain.
One cannot give Mr. Savarkar credit for having found a new formula. What is difficult to understand is that he should believe that his formula is the right formula. Mr. Savarkar has taken old Austria and old Turkey as his model and pattern for his scheme of Swaraj. He sees that in Austria and Turkey there lived one major nation juxtaposed to other minor nations bound by one constitution with the major nation dominating the minor nations, and argues that if this was possible in Austria and Turkey, why should it not be possible for the Hindus to do the same in India.
That Mr. Savarkar should have taken old Austria and old Turkey as his model to build upon is really very strange. Mr. Savarkar does not seem to be aware of the fact that old Austria and old Turkey are no more. Much less does he seem to know the forces which have blown up old Austria and old Turkey to bits. If Mr. Savarkar instead of studying the past—of which he is very fond—were to devote more attention to the present, he would have learnt that old Austria and old Turkey came to ruination for insisting upon maintaining the very scheme of things which Mr. Savarkar has been advising his "Hindudom" to adopt, namely, to establish a Swaraj in which there will be two nations under the mantle of one single constitution in which the major nation will be allowed to hold the minor nation in subordination to itself.
The history of the disruption of Austria, Czechoslovakia
and Turkey is of the utmost importance to India and the members of the
Hindu Maha Sabha will do well to peruse the same. I need say nothing here
about it because I have drawn attention to lessons from their fateful history
in another chapter. Suffice it to say that the scheme of Swaraj formulated
by Mr. Savarkar will give the Hindus an empire over the Muslims and thereby
satisfy their vanity and their pride in being an imperial race. But it
can never ensure a stable and peaceful future for the Hindus, for the simple
reason that the Muslims will never yield willing obedience to so dreadful
/1/ See Times of India dated 25-7-1925, "Through Indian Eyes."
/2/ On the question whether the Hindu Religion was a missionary Religion and if it was, why it ceased to be so, see my essay on "Caste and Conversion" in the Annual Number of the Telugu Samachar for 1926.
/3/ See report in Times of India 27-11-24, "Through Indian Eyes."
/4/ Speech at the Calcutta Session of the Hindu Maha Sabha held in December 1939, p. 14.
/5/ Speech Ibid., p. 25.
/6/ Ibid., pp. 19-20.
/7/ Speech 1939, Ibid., p. 18.
/8/ Ibid., pp. 19-20.
/9/ Speech 1939, pp. 21, 22, 23.
/10/ Language of Gods.
/11/ Basically Sanskrit.
/12/ National Language.
/13/ Ibid., p. 4.
/14/ Ibid., p. 16.
/15/ Ibid., pp. 14-17.
/16/ See his Manifesto
dated 23rd March 1919.