[Muslim leaders' views, once nationalistic, have grown much less so over time]
Such are the religious beliefs, social attitudes and ultimate destinies of the Hindus and Muslims, and their communal and political manifestations. These religious beliefs, social attitudes, and views regarding ultimate destinies constitute the motive force which determines the lines of their action, whether they will be cooperative or conflicting. Past experience shows that they are too irreconcilable and too incompatible to permit [of] Hindus and Muslims ever forming one single nation or even two harmonious parts of one whole. These differences have the sure effect not only of keeping them asunder, but also of keeping them at war. The differences are permanent and the Hindu-Muslim problem bids fair to be eternal. To attempt to solve it on the footing that Hindus and Muslims are one, or if they are not one now they will be one hereafter, is bound to be a barren occupation—as barren as it proved to be in the case of Czechoslovakia. On the contrary, time has come when certain facts must be admitted as beyond dispute, however unpleasant such admission may be.
In the first place, it should be admitted that every possible attempt to bring about union between Hindus and Muslims has been made and that all of them have failed.
The history of these attempts may be said to begin with the year 1909. The demands of the Muslim deputation, if they were granted by the British, were assented to by the Hindus, prominent amongst whom was Mr. Gokhale. He has been blamed by many Hindus for giving his consent to the principle of separate electorates. His critics forget that withholding consent would not have been a part of wisdom. For, as has been well said by Mr. Mahomed Ali:—
". . .paradoxical as it may seem, the creation of separate electorates was hastening the advent of Hindu-Muslim unity. For the first time a real franchise, however restricted, was being offered to Indians, and if Hindus and Musalmans remained just as divided as they had hitherto been since the commencement of the British rule, and often hostile to one another, mixed electorates would have provided the best battle-ground for inter-communal strifes, and would have still further widened the gulf separating the two communities. Each candidate for election would have appealed to his own community for votes and would have based his claims for preference on the intensity of his ill-will towards the rival community, however disguised this may have been under some such formula as 'the defence of his community's interest'. Bad as this would have been, the results of an election in which the two communities were not equally matched would have been even worse, for the community that failed to get its representative elected would have inevitably borne a yet deeper grudge against its successful rival. Divided as the two communities were, there was no chance for any political principles coming into prominence during the elections. The creation of separate electorates did a great deal to stop this inter-communal warfare, though I am far from oblivious of the fact that when inter-communal jealousies are acute the men that are more likely to be returned even from communal electorates are just those who are noted for the ill-will towards the rival community."But the concession in favour of separate electorates made by the Hindus in 1909 did not result in Hindu-Muslim unity. Then came the Lucknow Pact in 1916. Under it the Hindus gave satisfaction to the Muslims on every count. Yet, it did not produce any accord between the two. Six years later, another attempt was made to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity. The All-India Muslim League at its annual session held at Lucknow in March 1923 passed a resolution/1/ urging the establishment of a national pact to ensure unity and harmony among the various communities and sects in India, and appointed a committee to collaborate with committees to be appointed by other organizations. The Indian National Congress in its special session held in September 1923 at Delhi under the presidentship of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad passed a resolution reciprocating the sentiments expressed by the League. The Congress resolved to appoint two committees (1) to revise the constitution and (2) to prepare a draft of a national pact. The report/2/ of the committee on the Indian National Pact was signed by Dr. Ansari and Lala Lajpat Rai and was presented at the session of the Congress held at Coconada in 1923. Side by side with the making of the terms of the Indian National Pact there was forged the Bengal Pact/3/ by the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee with the Bengal Muslims under the inspiration of Mr. C. R. Das. Both the Indian National Pact and the Bengal Pact came up for discussion/4/ in the Subjects Committee of the Congress. The Bengal Pact was rejected by 678 votes against 458. With regard to the National Pact, the Congress resolved/5/ that the Committee do call for further opinions on the draft of the Pact prepared by them and submit their report by 31st March 1924 to the A. 1. C. C. for its consideration. The Committee, however, did not proceed any further in the matter. This was because the feeling among the Hindus against the Bengal Pact was so strong that according to Lala Lajpat Rai/6/ it was not considered opportune to proceed with the Committee's labours. Moreover, Mr. Gandhi was then released from jail, and it was thought that he would take up the question. Dr. Ansari, therefore, contented himself with handing over to the A. 1. C. C. the material he had collected.
Mr. Gandhi took up the threads as soon as he came out of the gaol. In November 1924 informal discussions were held in Bombay. As a result of these discussions, an All-Parties Conference was constituted and a committee was appointed to deal with the question of bringing about unity. The Conference was truly an All-Parties Conference inasmuch as the representatives were drawn from the Congress, the Hindu Maha Sabha, the Justice Party, Liberal Federation, Indian Christians, Muslim League, etc. On the 23rd January 1925, a meeting of the committee/7/ appointed by the All-Parties Conference was held in Delhi at the Western Hotel. Mr. Gandhi presided. On the 24th January the committee appointed a representative sub-committee consisting of 40 members (a) to frame such recommendations as would enable all parties to join the Congress, (b) to frame a scheme for the representation of all communities, races and sub-divisions on the legislative and other elective bodies under Swaraj, and recommend the best method of securing a just and proper representation of the communities in the services without detriment to efficiency, and (c) to frame a scheme of Swaraj that will meet the present needs of the country. The committee was instructed to report on or before the 15th February. In the interest of expediting the work some members formed themselves into a smaller committee for drawing up a scheme of Swaraj, leaving the work of framing the scheme of communal representation to the main committee.
The Swaraj sub-committee under the chairmanship of Mrs. Besant succeeded in framing its report on the constitution and submitted the same to the general committee of the All-Parties Conference. But the sub-committee appointed to frame a scheme of communal representation met at Delhi on the 1st March and adjourned sine die without coming to any conclusion. This was due to the fact that Lala Lajpat Rai and other representatives of the Hindus would not attend the meeting of the subcommittee. Mr. Gandhi and Pandit Motilal Nehru issued the following statement/8/:—
"Lala Lajpat Rai had asked for a postponement by reason of the inability of Messrs. Jayakar, Srinivas lyengar and Jai Ram Das to attend. We were unable to postpone the meeting on our own responsibility. We, therefore, informed Lala Lajpat Rai that the question of postponement be placed before the meeting. This was consequently done but apart from the absence of Lala Lajpat Rai and of the gentlemen named by him the attendance was otherwise also too meagre for coming to any decision. In our opinion there was moreover no material for coming to any definite conclusions nor is there likelihood of any being reached in the near future. . . ."There is no doubt that this statement truly summed up the state of mind of the parties concerned. The late Lala Lajpat Rai, the spokesman of the Hindus on the committee, had already said in an article in the Leader of Allahabad that there was no immediate hurry for a fresh pact and that he declined to accept the view that a Hindu majority in some provinces and a Muslim majority in others was the only way to Hindu-Muslim unity.
The question of Hindu-Muslim unity was again taken up in 1927. This attempt was made just prior to the Simon Commission inquiry, in the hope that it would be [as] successful as the attempt made prior to the Montagu-Chelmsford inquiry in 1916 and which had fructified in the Lucknow Pact. As a preliminary, a conference of leading Muslims was held in Delhi on the 20th March 1927 at which certain proposals /9/ for safeguarding the interest of the Muslims were considered. These proposals, which were known as the Delhi proposals, were considered by the Congress at its session held in Madras in December 1927. At the same time, the Congress passed a resolution /10/ authorizing its Working Committee to confer with similar committees to be appointed by other organizations to draft a Swaraj constitution for India. The Liberal Federation and the Muslim League passed similar resolutions appointing their representatives to join in the deliberations. Other organizations were also invited by the Congress Working Committee to send their spokesmen. The All-Parties Conference,/11/ as the committee came to be called, met on 12th February 1928 and appointed a sub-committee to frame a constitution. The committee prepared a report with a draft of the constitution—which is known as the Nehru Report. The report was placed before the All-Parties Convention which met under the presidentship of Dr. Ansari on 22nd December 1928 at Calcutta just prior to the Congress session. On the 1st January 1929 the Convention adjourned sine die without coming to any agreement, on any question, not even on the communal question.
This is rather surprising because the points of difference between the Muslim proposals and the proposals made in the Nehru Committee report were not substantial. This is quite obvious from the speech /12/ of Mr. Jinnah in the All-Parties Convention in support of his amendments. Mr. Jinnah wanted four amendments to be made in the report of the Nehru Committee. Speaking on his first amendment relating to the Muslim demand for 33 1/3 per cent. representation in the Central Legislature, Mr. Jinnah said :—
"The Nehru Report has stated that according to the scheme which they propose the Muslims are likely to get one-third in the Central Legislature and perhaps more, and it is argued that the Punjab and Bengal will get much more than their population proportion. What we feel is this. If one-third is going to be obtained by Muslims, then the method which you have adopted is not quite fair to the provinces where the Muslims are in a minority because the Punjab and Bengal will obtain more than their population basis in the Central Legislature. You are going to give to the rich more and keeping the poor according to population. It may be sound reasoning but it is not wisdom. . . .His second amendment related to the reservation of seats on population basis in the Punjab and in the Bengal, i.e., the claim to a statutory majority. On this Mr. Jinnah said :—
"Therefore, if the Muslims are, as the Nehru Report suggest, to get one-third, or more, they cannot give the Punjab or Bengal more, but let six or seven extra seats be distributed among provinces which are already in a very small minority, such as, Madras and Bombay, because, remember, if Sind is separated, the Bombay Province will be reduced to something like 8 per cent. There are other provinces where we have small minorities. This is the reason why we say, fix one-third and let it be distributed among Muslims according to our own adjustment."
"You remember that originally proposals emanated from certain Muslim leaders in March 1927 known as the 'Delhi Proposals.' They were dealt with by the A. I. C. C. in Bombay and at the Madras Congress and the Muslim League in Calcutta last year substantially endorsed at least this part of the proposal. I am not going into the detailed arguments. It really reduces itself into one proposition, that the voting strength of Mahomedans in the Punjab and Bengal, although they are in a majority, is not in proportion to their population. That was one of the reasons. The Nehru Report has now found a substitute and they say that if adult franchise is established then there is no need for reservation, but in the event of its not being established we want to have no doubt that in that case there should be reservation for Muslims in the Punjab and Bengal, according to their population, but they shall not be entitled to additional seals."His third amendment was in regard to residuary powers which the Nehru Committee had vested in the Central Government. In moving his amendment that they should be lodged in the Provincial Government Mr. Jinnah pleaded :—
"Gentlemen, this is purely a constitutional question and has nothing to do with the communal aspect. We strongly hold—I know Hindus will say Muslims are carried away by communal consideration—we strongly hold the view that, if you examine this question carefully, we submit that the residuary powers should rest with the province."His fourth amendment was concerned with the separation of Sind. The Nehru Committee had agreed to the separation of Sind but had subjected it to one proviso, namely, that the separation should come "only on the establishment of the system of government outlined in the report." Mr. Jinnah in moving for the deletion of the proviso said :—
"We feel this difficulty. . . .Suppose the Government choose, within the next six months, or a year or two years, to separate Sind before the establishment of a government under this constitution, are the Mahomedans to say, 'we do not want it'. . . .So long as this clause stands its meaning is that Mahomedans should oppose its separation until simultaneously a government is established under this constitution. We say delete these words and I am supporting my argument by the fact that you do not make such a remark about the N.-W. F. Province. . . .The Committee says it cannot accept it as the resolution records an agreement arrived at by parties who signed at Lucknow. With the utmost deference to the members of the Committee I venture to say that that is not valid ground. . . .Are we bound, in this Convention, bound because a particular resolution was passed by an agreement between certain persons?"These amendments show that the gulf between the Hindus and Muslims was not in any way a wide one. Yet there was no desire to bridge the same. It was left to the British Government to do what the Hindus and the Muslims failed to do and it did it by the Communal Award.
The Poona Pact between the Hindus and the Depressed Classes gave another spurt to the efforts to bring about unity./13/ During the months of November and December 1932 Muslims and Hindus did their best to come to some agreement. Muslims met in their All-Parties Conferences, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs met in Unity Conferences. Proposals and counter-proposals were made but nothing came out of these negotiations to replace the Award by a Pact, and they were in the end abandoned after the Committee had held 23 sittings.
Just as attempts were made to bring about unity on political questions, attempts were also made to bring about unity on social and religious questions, such as (1) cow slaughter, (2) music before the Mosques, and (3) conversions, over which differences existed. The first attempt in this direction was made in 1923 when the Indian National Pact was proposed. It failed. Mr. Gandhi was then in gaol. Mr. Gandhi was released from gaol on the 5th February 1924. Stunned by the destruction of his work for Hindu-Muslim unity, Mr. Gandhi decided to go on a twenty-one days' fast, holding himself morally responsible for the murderous riots that had taken place between Hindus and Muslims. Advantage was taken of the fast to gather leading Indians of all communities at a Unity Conference/14/ which was attended also by the Metropolitan of Calcutta. The Conference held prolonged sittings from September 26th to October 2nd, 1924. The members of the Conference pledged themselves to use their utmost endeavours to enforce the principles of freedom of conscience and religion and condemn any deviation from them even under provocation. A Central National Panchayat was appointed with Mr. Gandhi as the chairman. The Conference laid down certain fundamental rights relating to liberty of holding and expressing religious beliefs and following religious practices, sacredness of places of worship, cow slaughter, and music before mosques, with a statement of the limitations they must be subject to. This Unity Conference did not produce peace between the two communities. It only produced a lull in the rioting which had become the order of the day. Between 1925 and 1926, rioting was renewed with an intensity and malignity unknown before. Shocked by this rioting, Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India, in his address to the Central Legislature on 29th August 1927, made an appeal to the two communities to stop the rioting and establish amity. Lord Irwin's exhortation to establish amity was followed by another Unity Conference which was known as the Simla Unity Conference./15/ This Unity Conference met on the 30th August 1927 and issued an appeal beseeching both the communities to support the leaders in their efforts to arrive at a satisfactory settlement. The Conference appointed a Unity Committee which sat in Simla from 16th to 22nd September under the chairmanship of Mr. Jinnah. No conclusions were reached on any of the principal points involved in the cow and music questions, and others pending before the Committee were not even touched. Some members felt that the Committee might break up. The Hindu members pressed that the Committee should meet again on some future convenient date. The Muslim members of the Committee were first divided in their opinion, but at last agreed to break up the Committee, and the President was requested to summon a meeting if he received a requisition [=request] within six weeks from eleven specified members. Such a requisition never came, and the Committee never met again.
The Simla Conference having failed, Mr. Srinivas Iyengar, the then President of the Congress, called a special conference of Hindus and Muslims which sat in Calcutta on the 27th and 28th October 1927. It came to be known as the Calcutta Unity Conference./16/ The Conference passed certain resolutions on the three burning questions. But the resolution had no support behind them, as neither the Hindu Maha Sabha nor the Muslim League was represented at the Conference.
At one time it was possible to say that Hindu-Muslim unity was an ideal which not only must be realized but could be realized, and leaders were blamed for not making sufficient efforts for its realization. Such was the view expressed in 1911 even by Maulana Mahomed Ali, who had not then made any particular efforts to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity. Writing in the Comrade of 14th January 1911 Mr. Mahomed Ali said/17/:
"We have no faith in the cry that India is united. If India was united where was the need of dragging the venerable President of this year's Congress from a distant home? The bare imagination of a feast will not dull the edge of hunger. We have less faith still in the sanctimoniousness that transmutes in its subtle alchemy a rapacious monopoly into fervent patriotism. . . .the person we love best, fear the most, and trust the least is the impatient idealist. Goethe said of Byron that he was a prodigious poet, but that when he reflected he was a child. Well, we think no better and no worse of the man who combines great ideals and a greater impatience. So many efforts, well meaning as well as ill-begotten, have failed in bringing unity to this distracted land, that we cannot spare even cheap and scentless flowers of sentiment for the grave of another ill-judged endeavour. We shall not make the mistake of gumming together pieces of broken glass, and then cry over the unsuccessful result, or blame the refractory material. In other words, we shall endeavour to face the situation boldly, and respect facts, howsoever ugly and ill-favoured. It is poor statesmanship to slur over inconvenient realities, and not the least important success in achieving unity is the honest and frank recognition of the deep-seated prejudices that hinder it and the yawning differences that divide."Looking back on the history of these 30 years, one can well ask whether Hindu-Muslim unity has been realized? Whether efforts have not been made for its realization? And whether any efforts remain to be made? The history of the last 30 years shows that Hindu-Muslim unity has not been realized. On the contrary, there now exists the greatest disunity between them: that efforts—sincere and persistent—have been made to achieve it, and that nothing now remains to be done to achieve it except surrender by one party to the other. If anyone who is not in the habit of cultivating optimism where there is no justification for it, said that the pursuit of Hindu-Muslim unity is like a mirage and that the idea must now be given up, no one can have the courage to call him a pessimist or an impatient idealist. It is for the Hindus to say whether they will engage themselves in this vain pursuit in spite of the tragic end of all their past endeavours, or give up the pursuit of unity and try for a settlement on another basis.
In the second place, it must be admitted that the Muslim point of view has undergone a complete revolution. How complete the revolution is can be seen by reference to the past pronouncements of some of those who insist on the two-nation theory and believe that Pakistan is the only solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem. Among these Mr. Jinnah, of course, must be accepted as the foremost. The revolution in his views on the Hindu-Muslim question is striking, if not staggering. To realize the nature, character, and vastness of this revolution it is necessary to know his pronouncements in the past relating to the subject so that they may be compared with those he is making now.
A study of his past pronouncement may well begin with the year 1906, when the leaders of the Muslim community waited upon Lord Minto and demanded separate electorates for the Muslim community. It is to be noted that Mr. Jinnah was not a member of the deputation. Whether he was not invited to join the deputation or whether he was invited to join and declined is not known. But the fact remains that he did not lend his support to the Muslim claim to separate representation when it was put forth in 1906.
In 1918 Mr. Jinnah resigned his membership of the Imperial Legislative Council as a protest against the Rowlatt Bill./18/ In tendering his resignation Mr. Jinnah said:
"I feel that under the prevailing conditions, I can be of no use to my people in the Council, nor consistently with one's self-respect is cooperation possible with a Government that shows such utter disregard for the opinion of the representatives of the people at the Council Chamber and the feelings and the sentiments of the people outside."In 1919 Mr. Jinnah gave evidence before the Joint Select Committee appointed by Parliament on the Government of India Reform Bill, then on the anvil. The following views were expressed by him in answer to questions put by members of the Committee on the Hindu-Muslim question.
EXAMINED BY MAJOR ORMSBY-GORE.
Q. 3806.—You appear on behalf of the Moslem League— that is, on behalf of the only widely extended Mohammedan organisation in India ?—Yes.
Q. 3807.—I was very much struck by the fact that neither in your answers to the questions nor in your opening speech this morning did you make any reference to the special interest of the Mohammedans in India: is that because you did not wish to say anything ?—No, but because I take it the Southborough Committee have accepted that, and I left it to the members of the Committee to put any questions they wanted to. I took a very prominent part in the settlement of Lucknow. I was representing the Musalmans on that occasion.
Q. 3809.—On behalf of the All-India Moslem League, you ask this Committee to reject the proposal of the Government of India?—I am authorised to say that—to ask you to reject the proposal of the Government of India with regard to Bengal [i.e., to give the Bengal Muslims more representation than was given them by the Lucknow Pact].
Q. 3810.—You said you spoke from the point of view of India. You speak really as an Indian Nationalist ?—1 do.
Q. 3811.—Holding that view, do you contemplate the early disappearance of separate communal representation of the Mohammedan community ?—I think so.
Q. 3812.—That is to say, at the earliest possible moment you wish to do away in political life with any distinction between Mohammedans and Hindus ?—Yes. Nothing will please me more than when that day comes.
Q. 3813—You do not think it is true to say that the Mohammedans of India have many special political interests not merely in India but outside India, which they are always particularly anxious to press as a distinct Mohammedan community? —There are two things. In India the Mohammedans have very few things really which you can call matters of special interest for them—I mean secular things.
Q. 3814.—I am only referring to them, of course.—And therefore that is why I really hope and expect that the day is not very far distant when these separate electorates will disappear.
Q. 3815.—It is true, at the same time, that the Mohammedans in India take a special interest in the foreign policy of the Government of India ?—They do; a very.—No, because what you propose to do is to frame very keen interest and the large majority of them hold very strong sentiments and very strong views. [[There seems to be a confusion in the text of the reply. --FWP]]
Q. 3816.—Is that one of the reasons why you, speaking on behalf of the Mohammedan community, are so anxious to get the Government of India more responsible to an electorate ?—No.
Q. 3817.—Do you think it is possible, consistently with remaining in the British Empire, for India to have one foreign policy and for His Majesty, as advised by his Ministers in London, to have another ?—Let me make it clear. It is not a question of foreign policy at all. What the Moslems of India feel is that it is a very difficult position for them. Spiritually, the Sultan or the Khalif is their head.
Q. 3818.—Of one community ?—Of the Sunni sect, but that is the largest; it is in an overwhelming majority all over India. The Khalif is the only rightful custodian of the Holy Places according to our view, and nobody else has a right. What the Moslems feel very keenly is this, that the Holy Places should not be severed from the Ottoman Empire— that they should remain with the Ottoman Empire under the Sultan.
Q. 3819.—I do not want to get away from the Reform Bill on to foreign policy.—1 say it has nothing to do with foreign policy. Your point is whether in India the Muslims will adopt a certain attitude with regard to foreign policy in matters concerning Moslems all over the world.
Q. 3820.—My point is, are they seeking for some control over the Central Government in order to impress their views on foreign policy on the Government of India ?—No.
EXAMINED BY MR. BENNETT
Q. 3853.—. . . .Would it not be an advantage in the case of an occurrence of that kind [i.e., a communal riot] if the maintenance of law and order were left with the executive side of the Government ?—1 do not think so, if you ask me, but I do not want to go into unpleasant matters, as you say.
Q. 3854.—It is with no desire to bring up old troubles that I ask the question ; I would like to forget them.—If you ask me, very often these riots are based on some misunderstanding, and it is because the police have taken one side or the other, and that has enraged one side or the other. I know very well that in the Indian States you hardly ever hear of any Hindu-Mohammedan riots, and I do not mind telling the Committee, without mentioning the name, that I happened to ask one of the ruling Princes, "How do you account for this?" and he told me, "As soon as there is some trouble we have invariably traced it to the police, through the police taking one side or the other, and the only remedy we have found is that as soon as we come to know we move that police officer from that place, and there is an end of it."
Q. 3855.—That is [a] useful piece of information, but the fact remains that these riots have been inter-racial, Hindu on the one side and Mohammedan on the other. Would it be an advantage at a time like that [that] the Minister, the representative of one community or the other, should be in charge of the maintenance of law and order ?—Certainly.
Q. 3856.—It would ?—If I thought otherwise I should be casting a reflection on myself. If I was the Minister, I would make bold to say that nothing would weigh with me except justice, and what is right.
Q. 3857.—I can understand that you would do more than justice to the other side; but even then, there is what might be called the subjective side. It is not only that there is impartiality, but there is the view which may be entertained by the public, who may harbour some feeling of suspicion?—With regard to one section or the other, you mean they would feel that an injustice was done to them, or that justice would not be done?
Q. 3858.—Yes; that is quite apart from the objective part of it.—My answer is this: That these difficulties are fast disappearing. Even recently, in the whole district of Thana, Bombay, every officer was an Indian officer from top to bottom, and I do not think there was a single Mohammedan—they were all Hindus—and I never heard any complaint. Recently that has been so. I quite agree with you that ten years ago there was that feeling what you are now suggesting to me, but it is fast disappearing.
EXAMINED BY LORD ISLINGTON
Q. 3892.—. . . .You said just now about the communal representation, I think in answer to Major Ormsby-Gore, that you hope in a very few years you would be able to extinguish communal representation, which was at present proposed to be established and is established in order that Mahommedans may have their representation with Hindus. You said you desired to see that. How soon do you think that happy state of affairs is likely to be realized?—1 can only give you certain facts: I cannot say anything more than that: I can give you this which will give you some idea: that in 1913, at the All-India Moslem League sessions at Agra, we put this matter to the lest whether separate electorates should be insisted upon or not by the Mussalmans, and we got a division, and that division is based upon Provinces; only a certain number of votes represent each Province, and the division came to 40 in favour of doing away with the separate electorate, and 80 odd—1 do not remember the exact number—were for keeping the separate electorate. That was in 1913. Since then I have had many opportunities of discussing this matter with various Mussulman leaders; and they are changing their angle of vision with regard to this matter. I cannot give you the period, but I think it cannot last very long. Perhaps the next inquiry may hear something about it.
Q. 3893.—You think at the next inquiry the Mahommedans will ask to be absorbed into the whole?—Yes, I think the next inquiry will probably hear something about it.
Although Mr. Jinnah appeared as a witness on behalf of the Muslim League, he did not allow his membership of the League to come in the way of his loyalty to other political organizations in the country. Besides being a member of the Muslim League, Mr. Jinnah was a member of the Home Rule League and also of the Congress. As he said in his evidence before the Joint Parliamentary Committee, he was a member of all three bodies although he openly disagreed with the Congress, with the Muslim League, and that there were some views which the Home Rule League held which he did not share. That he was an independent but a nationalist ,is shown by his relationship with the Khilafatist Musalmans. In 1920 the Musalmans organized the Khilafat Conference. It became so powerful an organization that the Muslim League went under and lived in a state of suspended animation till 1924. During these years no Muslim leader could speak to the Muslim masses from a Muslim platform unless he was a member of the Khilafat Conference. That was the only platform for Muslims to meet Muslims. Even then Mr. Jinnah refused to join the Khilafat Conference. This was no doubt due to the fact that then he was only a statutory Musalman with none of the religious fire of the orthodox which he now says is burning within him. But the real reason why he did not join the Khilafat was because he was opposed to the Indian Musalmans engaging themselves in extra-territorial affairs relating to Muslims outside India.
After the Congress accepted non-co-operation, civil disobedience, and boycott of Councils, Mr. Jinnah left the Congress. He became its critic, but never accused it of being a Hindu body. He protested when such a statement was attributed to him by his opponents. There is a letter by Mr. Jinnah to the Editor of the Times of India written about the time which puts in a strange contrast the present opinion of Mr. Jinnah about the Congress and his opinion in the past. The letter/19/ reads as follows :—.
"To the Editor of 'The Times of India':After the Khilafat storm had blown over and the Muslims had shown a desire to return to the internal politics of India, the Muslim League was resuscitated. The session of the League held in Bombay on 30th December 1924 under the presidentship of Mr. Raza Ali was a lively one. Both Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Mahomed Ali took part in it./20/
Sir,—1 wish again to correct the statement which is attributed to me and to which you have given currency more than once and now again repeated by your correspondent 'Banker' in the second column of your issue of the 1st October that I denounced the Congress as 'a Hindu Institution'. I publicly corrected this misleading report of my speech in your columns soon after it appeared; but it did not find a place in the columns of your paper and so may I now request you to publish this and oblige."
In this session of the League, a resolution was moved which affirmed the desirability of representatives of the various Muslim associations of India representing different shades of political thought meeting in a conference at an early date at Delhi or at some other central place with a view to develop "a united and sound practical activity" to supply the needs of the Muslim community. Mr. Jinnah in explaining the resolution said/21/:—
"The object was to organize the Muslim community, not with a view to quarrel with the Hindu community, but with a view to unite and cooperate with it for their motherland. He was sure once they had organized themselves they would join hands with the Hindu Maha Sabha and declare to the world that Hindus and Mahomedans are brothers."The League also passed another resolution in the same session for appointing a committee of 33 prominent Musalmans to formulate the political demands of the Muslim community. The resolution was moved by Mr. Jinnah. In moving the resolution, Mr. Jinnah/22/:—
"Repudiated the charge that he was standing on the platform of the League as a communalist. He assured them that he was, as ever, a nationalist. Personally he had no hesitation. He wanted the best and the fittest men to represent them in the Legislatures of the land (Hear, Hear and Applause). But unfortunately his Muslim compatriots were not prepared to go as far as he. He could not be blind to the situation. The fact was that there was a large number of Muslims who wanted representation separately in Legislatures and in the country's Services. They were talking of communal unity, but where was unity? It had to be achieved by arriving at some suitable settlement. He knew he said amidst deafening cheers, that his fellow-religionists were ready and prepared to fight for Swaraj, but wanted some safeguards. Whatever his view, and they knew that as a practical politician he had to take stock of the situation, the real block to unity was not the communities themselves, but a few mischief makers on both sides."And he did not thus hesitate to arraign mischief makers in the sternest possible language that could only emanate from an earnest nationalist. In his capacity as the President of the session of the League held in Lahore on 24th May 1924 he said/23/:—
"If we wish to be free people, let us unite, but if we wish to continue slaves of Bureaucracy, let us fight among ourselves and gratify petty vanity over petty matters, Englishmen being our arbiters."In the two All-Parties Conferences, one held in 1925 and the other in 1928, Mr. Jinnah was prepared to settle the Hindu-Muslim question on the basis of joint electorates. In 1927 he openly said/24/ from the League platform :—
"I am not wedded to separate electorates, although I must say that the overwhelming majority of the Musalmans firmly and honestly believe that it is the only method by which they can be sure."In 1928, Mr. Jinnah joined the Congress in the boycott of the Simon Commission. He did so even though the Hindus and Muslims had failed to come to a settlement, and he did so at the cost of splitting the League into two.
Even when the ship of the Round Table Conference was about to break on the communal rock, Mr. Jinnah resented being named as a communalist who was responsible for the result and said that he preferred an agreed solution of the communal problem to the arbitration of the British Government. Addressing/25/ the U. P. Muslim Conference held at Allahabad on 8th August 1931 Mr. Jinnah said :—
"The first thing that I wish to tell you is that it is now absolutely essential and vital that Muslims should stand united. For Heaven's sake close all your ranks and files and stop this internecine war. I urged this most vehemently and I pleaded to the best of my ability before Dr. Ansari, Mr. T. A. K. Sherwani, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Dr. Syed Mahmud. I hope that before I leave the shores of India I shall hear the good news that whatever may be our differences ; whatever may be our convictions between ourselves, this is not the moment to quarrel between ourselves.As an additional illustration of the transformation in Muslim ideology, I propose to record the opinions once held by Mr. Barkat Ali who is now a follower of Mr. Jinnah and a staunch supporter of Pakistan.
"Another thing I want to tell you is this. There is a certain section of the press, there is a certain section of the Hindus, who constantly misrepresent me in various ways. I was only reading the speech of Mr. Gandhi this morning and Mr. Gandhi said that he loves Hindus and Muslims alike. I again say standing here on this platform that although I may not put forward that claim but I do put forward this honestly and sincerely that I want fair play between the two communities."
Continuing further Mr. Jinnah said: "As to the most important question, which to my mind is the question of Hindu-Muslim settlement—all I can say to you is that I honestly believe that the Hindus should concede to the Muslims a majority in the Punjab and Bengal and if that is conceded, I think a settlement can be arrived at in a very short time.
"The next question that arises is one of separate vs. joint electorates. As most of you know, if a majority is conceded in the Punjab and Bengal, I would personally prefer a settlement on the basis of joint electorate. (Applause.) But I also know that there is a large body of Muslims—and I believe a majority of Muslims—who are holding on to separate electorate. My position is that I would rather have a settlement even on the footing of separate electorate, hoping and trusting that when we work our new constitution and when both Hindus and Muslims get rid of distrust, suspicion and fears and when they get their freedom we would rise to the occasion and probably separate electorate will go sooner than most of us think.
"Therefore I am for a settlement and peace among the Muslims first; I am for a settlement and peace between the Hindus and Mahommedans. This is not a lime for argument, not a time for propaganda work and not a time for embittering feelings between the two communities, because the enemy is at the door of both of us and I say without hesitation that if the Hindu-Muslim question is not settled, I have no doubt that the British will have to arbitrate and that he who arbitrates will keep to himself the substance of power and authority. Therefore, I hope they will not vilify me. After all, Mr. Gandhi himself says that he is willing to give the Muslims whatever they want, and my only sin is that I say to the Hindus give to the Muslims only 14 points, which is much less than the 'blank cheque ' which Mr. Gandhi is willing to give. I do not want a blank cheque, why not concede the 14 points? When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru says: 'Give us a blank cheque ' when Mr. Patel says : 'Give us a blank cheque and we will sign it with a Swadeshi pen on a Swadeshi paper' they are not communalists and I am a communalist! I say to Hindus not to misrepresent everybody. I hope and trust that we shall be yet in a position to settle the question which will bring peace and happiness to the millions in our country.
"One thing more I want to tell you and I have done. During the lime of the Round Table Conference,—it is now an open book and anybody who cares to read it can learn for himself—I observed the one and the only principle and it was that when I left the shores of Bombay I said to the people that I would hold the interests of India sacred, and believe me—if you care to read the proceedings of the Conference, I am not bragging because I have done my duly—that I have loyally and faithfully fulfilled my promise to the fullest extent and I venture to say that if the Congress or Mr. Gandhi can get anything more than I fought for, I would congratulate them.
"Concluding Mr. Jinnah said that they must come to a settlement, they must become friends eventually and he, therefore, appealed to the Muslims to show moderation, wisdom and conciliation, if possible, in the deliberation that might take place and the resolution that might be passed at the Conference."
When the Muslim League split into two over the question of cooperation with the Simon Commission, one section led by Sir Mahommad Shafi favouring co-operation and another section led by Mr. Jinnah supporting the Congress plan of boycott, Mr. Barkat Ali belonged to the Jinnah section of the League. The two wings of the League held their annual sessions in 1928 at two different places. The Shafi wing met in Lahore and the Jinnah wing met in Calcutta. Mr. Barkat Ali, who was the Secretary of the Punjab Muslim League, attended the Calcutta session of the Jinnah wing of the League and moved the resolution relating to the communal settlement. The basis of the settlement was joint electorates. In moving the resolution Mr. Barkat Ali said/26/:—
"For the first time in the history of the League there was a change in its angle of vision. We are offering by this change a sincere hand of fellowship to those of our Hindu countrymen who have objected to the principle of separate electorates."In 1928 there was formed a Nationalist Party under the leadership of Dr. Ansari./27/ The Nationalist Muslim Party was a step in advance of the Jinnah wing of the Muslim League and was prepared to accept the Nehru Report, as it was, without any amendments—not even those which Mr. Jinnah was insisting upon. Mr. Barkat Ali, who in 1927 was with the Jinnah wing of the League, left the same as not being nationalistic enough and joined the Nationalist Muslim Party of Dr. Ansari. How great a nationalist Mr. Barkat Ali then was can be seen by his trenchant and vehement attack on Sir Muhammad lqbal for his having put forth in his presidential address to the annual session of the All-India Muslim League held at Allahabad in 1930 a scheme/28/ for the division of India which is now taken up by Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Barkat Ali and which goes by the name of Pakistan. In 1931 there was held in Lahore the Punjab Nationalist Muslim Conference and Mr. Barkat Ali was the Chairman of the Reception Committee. The views he then expressed on Pakistan are worth recalling./29/ Reiterating and reaffirming the conviction and the political faith of his party, Malik Barkat Ali, Chairman of the Reception Committee of the Conference, said:
"We believe, first and foremost in the full freedom and honour of India. India, the country of our birth and the place with which all our most valued and dearly cherished associations are knit, must claim its first place in our affection and in our desires. We refuse to be parties to that sinister type of propaganda which would try to appeal to ignorant sentiment by professing to be Muslim first and Indian afterwards. To us a slogan of this kind is not only bare, meaningless cant, but downright mischievous. We cannot conceive of Islam in its best and last interests as in any way inimical to or in conflict with the best and permanent interests of India. India and Islam in India are identical, and whatever is to the detriment of India must, from the nature of it, be detrimental to Islam whether economically, politically, socially or even morally. Those politicians, therefore, are a class of false prophets and at bottom the foes of Islam, who talk of any inherent conflict between Islam and the welfare of India. Further, howsoever much our sympathy with our Muslim brethren outside India, i.e., the Turks and the Egyptians or the Arabs,—and it is a sentiment which is at once noble and healthy,—we can never allow that sympathy to work to the detriment of the essential interests of India. Our sympathy, in fact, with those countries can only be valuable to them, if India as the source, nursery and fountain of that sympathy, is really great. And if ever the lime comes, God forbid, when any Muslim Power from across the Frontier chooses to enslave India and snatch away the liberties of its people, no amount of pan-lslamic feeling, whatever it may mean, can stand in the way of Muslim India fighting shoulder to shoulder with non-Muslim India in defence of its liberties.Such were the views Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Barkat Ali held on nationalism, on separate electorates and on Pakistan. How diametrically opposed are the views now held by them on these very problems?
"Let there be, therefore, no misgivings of any kind in that respect in any non-Muslim quarters. I am conscious that a certain class of narrow-minded Hindu politicians is constantly harping on the bogey of an Islamic danger to India from beyond the N.-W. Frontier passes but I desire to repeat that such statements and such fears are fundamentally wrong and unfounded. Muslim India shall as much defend India's liberties as non-Muslim India, even if the invader happens to be a follower of Islam.
"Next, we not only believe in a free India but we also believe in a united India—not the India of the Muslim, not the India of the Hindu or of the Sikh, not the India of this community or of that community but the India of all. And as this is our abiding faith, we refuse to be parties to any division of the India of the future into a Hindu or a Muslim India. However much the conception of a Hindu and a Muslim India may appeal and send into frenzied ecstasies abnormally orthodox mentalities of their party, we offer our full throated opposition to it, not only because it is singularly unpractical and utterly obnoxious but because it not only sounds the death-knell of all that is noble and lasting in modern political activity in India, but is also contrary to and opposed to India's chief historical tradition.
"India was one in the days of Asoka and Chandragupta and India remained one even when the sceptre and rod of Imperial sway passed from Hindu into Moghul or Muslim hands. And India shall remain one when we shall have attained the object of our desires and reached those uplands of freedom, where all the light illuminating us shall not be reflected glory but shall be light proceeding direct as it were from our very faces.
"The conception of a divided India, which Sir Muhammad lqbal put forward recently in the course of his presidential utterance from the platform of the League at a time when that body had virtually become extinct and ceased to represent free Islam—I am glad to be able to say that Sir Muhammad lqbal has since recanted it—must not therefore delude anybody into thinking that it is Islam's conception of the India to be. Even if Dr. Sir Muhammad lqbal had not recanted it as something which could not be put forward by any sane person, I should have emphatically and unhesitatingly repudiated it as something foreign to the genius and the spirit of the rising generation of Islam, and I really deem it a proud duty to affirm today that not only must there be no division of India in to communal provinces but that both Islam and Hinduism must run coterminously with the boundaries of India and must not be cribbed, cabined and confined within any shorter bounds. To the same category as Dr. lqbal's conception of a Muslim India and a Hindu India, belongs the sinister proposals of some Sikh communalists to partition and divide the Punjab.
"With a creed so expansive, namely a free and united India with its people all enjoying in equal measure and without any kinds of distinctions and disabilities the protection of laws made by the chosen representatives of the people on the widest possible basis of a true democracy, namely, adult franchise, and through the medium of joint electorates—and an administration charged with the duty of an impartial execution of the laws, fully accountable for its actions, not to a distant or remote Parliament of foreigners but to the chosen representatives of the land,—you would not expect me to enter into the details and lay before you, all the colours of my picture. And I should have really liked to conclude my general observations on the aims and objects of the Nationalist Muslim Party here, were it not that the much discussed question of joint or separate electorates, has today assumed proportions where no public man can possibly ignore it.
"Whatever may have been the value or utility of separate electorates at a time when an artificially manipulated high-propertied franchise had the effect of converting a majority of the people in the population of a province into a minority in the electoral roll, and when communal passions and feelings ran particularly high, universal distrust poisoning the whole atmosphere like a general and all-pervading miasma,—we feel that in the circumstances of today and in the India of the future, separate electorates should have no place whatever."
So far I have laboured to point out things, the utter failure of the attempts made to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity and the emergence of a new ideology in the minds of the Muslim leaders. There is also a third thing which I must discuss in the present context for reasons arising both from its relevance as well as from its bearing on the point under consideration, namely whether the Muslim ideology has behind it a justification which political philosophers can accept.
Many Hindus seem to hold that Pakistan has no justification.
If we confine ourselves to the theory of Pakistan there can be no doubt
that this is a greatly mistaken view. The philosophical justification for
Pakistan rests upon the distinction between a community and a nation. In
the first place, it is [=has been] recognized comparatively recently. Political
philosophers for a long time were concerned, mainly, with the controversy
summed up in the two questions, how far should the right of a mere majority
to rule the minority be accepted as a rational basis for government and
how far the legitimacy of a government be said to depend upon the consent
of the governed. Even those who insisted that the legitimacy of a government
depended upon the consent of the governed, remained content with a victory
for their proposition, and did not cane to probe further into the matter.
They did not feel the necessity for making any distinctions within the
category of the "governed." They evidently thought that it was a matter
of no moment whether those who were included in the category of the governed
formed a community or a nation. Force of circumstances has, however, compelled
political philosophers to accept this distinction. In the second place,
it is not a mere distinction without a difference. It is a distinction
which is substantial, and the difference is consequentially [=consequently]
fundamental. That this distinction between a community and a nation is
fundamental, is clear from the difference in the political rights which
political philosophers are prepared to permit to a community and those
they are prepared to allow to a nation against the Government established
by law. To a community they are prepared to allow only the right of insurrection.
But to a nation they are willing to concede the right of disruption. The
distinction between the two is as obvious as it is fundamental.. A right
of insurrection is restricted only to insisting on a change in the mode
and manner of government. The right of disruption is greater than the right
of insurrection arid extends to the secession of a group of the members
of a State with a secession of the portion of the State's territory in
its occupation. One wonders what must be the basis of this difference.
Writers on political philosophy who have discussed this subject have given
their reasons for the justification of a Community's right to insurrection/30/
and of a nation's right to demand disruption./31/
The difference comes to this : a community has a right to safeguards, a
nation has a right to demand separation. The difference is at once clear
and crucial. But they have not given any reasons why the right of one is
limited to insurrection and why that of the other extends to disruption.
They have not even raised such a question. Nor are the reasons apparent
on the face of them. But it is both interesting and instructive to know
why this difference is made. To my mind the reason for this difference
pertains to questions of ultimate destiny. A state either consists of a
series of communities or it consists of a series of nations. In a state
which is composed of a series of communities, one community may be arrayed
against another community and the two may be opposed to each other. But
in the matter of their ultimate destiny they feel they are one. But in
a state which is composed of a series of nations, when one nation rises
against the other, the conflict is one as to differences of ultimate destiny.
This is the distinction between communities and nations, and it is this
distinction which explains the difference in their political rights. There
is nothing new or original in this explanation. It is merely another way
of stating why the community has one kind of right and the nation another
of quite a different kind. A community has a right of insurrection because
it is satisfied with it. All that it wants is a change in the mode and
form of government. Its quarrel is not over any difference of ultimate
destiny. A nation has to be accorded the right of disruption because it
will not be satisfied with mere change in the form of government. Its quarrel
is over the question of ultimate destiny. If it will not be satisfied unless
the unnatural bond that binds them is dissolved, then prudence and even
ethics demands that the bond shall be dissolved and they shall be freed
each to pursue its own destiny.
/1/ For the full text of the resolution of the League, see Indian Annual Register, 1923, Vol. I, pp. 395-96.
/2/ For the terms of the Bengal Pact, see Indian Annual Register, 1923, Vol. I, p. 127.
/3/ For the report and the draft terms of the Pact, see Indian Annual Register, 1923, Vol. II, supplement, pp. 104-108.
/4/ For the debate on these two Pacts, see Indian Annual Register, 1923, Vol. I, , pp. 121-127.
/5/ For the resolution, see Indian Annual Register, 1923, Vol. I, p. 122.
/6/ See his statement on the All-Parties Conference held in 1925 in the Indian Quarterly Register, 1925, Vol. I, p. 70.
/7/ For the proceedings of the committee, see the Indian Quarterly Register, 1925, Vol. I, pp. 66-77.
/8/ For the proceedings of the committee, see the Indian Quarterly Register, 1925, Vol. I, p.77.
/9/ These proposals will be found in the Indian Quarterly Register, 1927, Vol. I, p. 33. These proposals subsequently became the basis of Mr. Jinnah's 14 points.
/10/ For the resolution of the Congress on these proposals, see the Indian Quarterly Register, 1927, Vol. II, pp. 397-98.
/11/ For the origin, history and composition of the All-Parties Convention and for the text of the report: Indian Quarterly Register, 1928. Vol. I, pp. 1-142.
/12/ See the Indian Quarterly Register 1928, Vol. I, pp. 123-24.
/13/ For an account of these efforts, see the Indian Quarterly Register, 1932, Vol. II, p. 296 et seq.
/14/ Pattabhi Sitarammaya, History of the Congress, p. 532.
/15/ For the proceedings of this Conference, see the Indian Quarterly Register, Vol. II, pp. 39-50.
/16/ For the proceedings of the Conference, see Indian Quarterly Register, pp. 50-58.
/17/ Quoted in his presidential address at Coconada session of the Congress, 1923.
/18/ The Bill, notwithstanding the protest of the Indian members of the Council, was passed into law and became Act XI of 1919 as The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act."
/19/ Published in the Times of India of 3-10-25.
/20/ Mr. Mahomed Ali in his presidential address to the Congress at Coconada humorously said: "Mr. Jinnah would soon come back to us (cheers). I may mention that an infidel becomes a Kaffir and a Kaffir becomes an infidel; likewise, when Mr. Jinnah was in the Congress I was not with him in those days, and when I was in the Congress and in the Muslim League he was away from me. I hope some day we would reconcile (laughter)."
/21/ From the report in the Times of India, 1st January 1925.
/22/ The Indian Quarterly Register, 1924, Vol. II. p. 481.
/23/ See the Indian Quarterly Review, 1924, Vol. I, p. 658.
/24/ The Indian Quarterly Register, 1927, Vol. I, p. 37.
/25/ The Indian Annual Register, 1931, Vol. II, pp. 230-231.
/26/ The Indian Quarterly Register, 1927, Vol. II, p. 448.
/27/ The Indian Quarterly Register, 1929. Vol. II, p. 350.
/28/ For his speech see The Indian Annual Register, 1930, Vol. II, pp. 334-345.
/29/ The Indian Annual Register, 1931, Vol. II, pp. 234-235.
/30/ Sidgwick justifies it in these words: ". . . .the evils of insurrection may reasonably be thought to be outweighed by the evils of submission, when the question at issue is of vital importance. . . .an insurrection may sometimes induce redress of grievances, even when the insurgents are clearly weaker in physical force; since it may bring home to the majority the intensity of the sense of injury aroused by their actions. For similar reasons, again a conflict in prospect may be anticipated by a compromise; in short, the fear of provoking disorder may be a salutary check on the persons constitutionally invested with supreme power under a democratic as under other form is of government. . . .I conceive, then that a moral right of insurrection must be held to exist in the most popularly governed community."—Elements of Politics (1929), pp. 646-47.
/31/ This is what Sidgwick
has to say on the right to disruption : ". . . .some of those who hold
that a government to be legitimate, must rest on the consent of the governed,
appear not to shrink from drawing this inference: they appear to qualify
the right of the majority of members of a state to rule by allowing the
claim of a minority that suffers from the exercise of this right to secede
and form a. new state, when it is in a majority in a continuous portion
of its old state's territory. . . .and I conceive that there are cases
in which the true interests of the whole may be promoted by disruption.
For instance, where two portions of a state's territory are separated by
a long interval of sea, or other physical obstacles, from any very active
intercommunication, and when, from differences of race or religion, past
history, or present social conditions, their respective inhabitants have
divergent needs and demands in respect of legislation and other governmental
interference, it may easily be inexpedient that they should have a common
government for internal affairs; while if, at the some time, their external
relations, apart from their union, would be very different, it is quite
possible that each part may lose more through the risk of implication in
the other's quarrels, than it is likely to gain from the aid of its military
force. Under such conditions as these, it is not to be desired that any
sentiment of historical patriotism, or any pride in the national ownership
of an extensive territory, should permanently prevent a peaceful dissolution
of the incoherent whole into its natural parts."—Elements of Politics
(1929), pp. 648-49.