[The vision of Pakistan is powerful, and has been implicitly present for decades]
While it is necessary to admit that the efforts at Hindu-Muslim unity have failed and that the Muslim ideology has undergone a complete revolution, it is equally necessary to know the precise causes which have produced these effects. The Hindus say that the British policy of divide and rule is the real cause of this failure and of this ideological revolution. There is nothing surprising in this. The Hindus having cultivated the Irish mentality, to have no other politics except that of being always against the Government, are ready to blame the Government for everything including bad weather. But [the] time has come to discard the facile explanation so dear to the Hindus. For it fails to take into account two very important circumstances. In the first place, it overlooks the fact that the policy of divide and rule, allowing that the British do resort to it, cannot succeed unless there are elements which make division possible, and further if the policy succeeds for such a long time, it means that the elements which divide are more or less permanent and irreconcilable and are not transitory or superficial. Secondly, it forgets that Mr. Jinnah, who represents this ideological transformation, can never be suspected of being a tool in the hands of the British even by the worst of his enemies. He may be too self-opinionated, an egotist without the mask, and has perhaps a degree of arrogance which is not compensated by any extraordinary intellect or equipment. It may be on that account he is unable to reconcile himself to a second place and work with others in that capacity for a public cause. He may not be overflowing with ideas although he is not, as his critics make him out to be, an empty-headed dandy living upon the ideas of others. It may be that his fame is built up more upon art and less on substance. At the same time, it is doubtful if there is a politician in India to whom the adjective incorruptible can be more fittingly applied. Anyone who knows what his relations with the British Government have been, will admit that he has always been their critic, if indeed he has not been their adversary. No one can buy him. For it must be said to his credit that he has never been a soldier of fortune. The customary Hindu explanation fails to account for the ideological transformation of Mr. Jinnah.
What is then the real explanation of these tragic phenomena, this failure of the efforts for unity, this transformation in the Muslim ideology?
The real explanation of this failure of Hindu-Muslim unity lies in the failure to realize that what stands between the Hindus and Muslims is not a mere matter of difference, and that this antagonism is not to be attributed to material causes. It is formed by causes which take their origin in historical, religious, cultural and social antipathy, of which political antipathy is only a reflection. These form one deep river of discontent which, being regularly fed by these sources, keeps on mounting to a head and overflowing its ordinary channels. Any current of water flowing from another source, however pure, when it joins it, instead of altering the colour or diluting its strength becomes lost in the main stream. The silt of this antagonism which this current has deposited, has become permanent and deep. So long as this silt keeps on accumulating and so long as this antagonism lasts, it is unnatural to expect this antipathy between Hindus and Muslims to give place to unity.
Like the Christians and Muslims in the Turkish Empire, the Hindus and Muslims of India have met as enemies on many fields, and the result of the struggle has often brought them into the relation of conquerors and conquered. Whichever party has triumphed, a great gulf has remained fixed between the two and their enforced political union either under the Moghuls or the British instead of passing over, as in so many other cases, into organic unity, has only accentuated their mutual antipathy. Neither religion nor social code can bridge this gulf. The two faiths are mutually exclusive and whatever harmonies may be forged in the interest of good social behaviour, at their core and centre they are irreconcilable. There seems to be an inherent antagonism between the two which centuries have not been able to dissolve. Notwithstanding the efforts made to bring the creeds together by reformers like Akbar and Kabir, the ethical realities behind each have still remained, to use a mathematical phrase, which nothing can .alter or make integers capable of having a common denominator. A Hindu can go from Hinduism to Christianity without causing any commotion or shock. But he cannot pass from Hinduism to Islam without causing a communal riot, certainly not without causing qualms. That shows the depth of the antagonism which divides the Hindus from the Musalmans.
If Islam and Hinduism keep Muslims and Hindus apart in the matter of their faith, they also prevent their social assimilation. That Hinduism prohibits intermarriage between Hindus and Muslims is quite well known. This narrow-mindedness is not the vice of Hinduism only. Islam is equally narrow in its social code. It also prohibits intermarriage between Muslims and Hindus. With these social laws there can be no social assimilation and consequently no socialization of ways, modes and outlooks, no blunting of the edges and no modulation of age-old angularities.
There are other defects in Hinduism and in Islam which are responsible for keeping the sore between Hindus and Muslims open and running. Hinduism is said to divide people and in contrast Islam is said to bind people together. This is only a half truth. For Islam divides as inexorably as it binds. Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity, but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-government and is incompatible with local self-government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his but on the faith to which he belongs. To the Muslim ibi bene ibi patria is unthinkable. Wherever there is the rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. That is probably the reason why Maulana Mahomed Ali, a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather than in India.
The real explanation of the ideological transformation of the Muslim leaders is not to be attributed to any dishonest drift in their opinion. It appears to be the dawn of a new vision pointing to a new destiny symbolized by a new name, Pakistan. The Muslims appear to have started a new worship of a new destiny for the first time. This is really not so. The worship is new because the sun of their new destiny which was so far hidden in the clouds has only now made its appearance in full glow. The magnetism of this new destiny cannot but draw the Muslims towards it. The pull is so great that even men like Mr. Jinnah have been violently shaken and have not been able to resist its force. This destiny spreads itself out in a concrete form over the map of India. No one who just [=even] looks at the map can miss it. It lies there as though it is deliberately planned by Providence as a separate National State for Muslims. Not only is this new destiny capable of being easily worked out and put in concrete shape but it is also catching, because it opens up the possibilities of realizing the Muslim idea of linking up all the Muslim kindred in one Islamic State and thus avert[ing] the danger of Muslims in different countries adopting the nationality of the country to which they belong and thereby bring[ing] about the disintegration of the Islamic brotherhood./1/ With the separation of Pakistan from Hindustan, Iran, Iraq, Arabia, Turkey and Egypt are forming a federation of Muslim countries constituting one Islamic State extending from Constantinople down to Lahore. A Musalman must be really very stupid if he is not attracted by the glamour of this new destiny and completely transformed in his view of the place of Muslims in the Indian cosmos.
So obvious is the destiny that it is somewhat surprising that the Muslims should have taken so long to own it up[=adopt it]. There is evidence that some of them knew this to be the ultimate destiny of the Muslims as early as 1923. In support of this, reference may be made to the evidence of Khan Saheb Sardar M. Gul Khan who appeared as a witness before the North-West Frontier Committee appointed in that year by the Government of India under the chairmanship of Sir Dennis Bray, to report upon the administrative relationship between the Settled Districts of the N.-W. F. Province and the Tribal Area and upon the amalgamation of the Settled Districts with the Punjab. The importance of his evidence was not realized by any member of the Committee except Mr. N. M. Samarth, who was the one member who drew pointed attention to it in his Minority Report. The following extracts from his report illuminate a dark comer in the history of the evolution of this new destiny./2/ Says Mr. Samarth :—
"There was not before the Committee another witness who could claim to speak with the authority of personal knowledge and experience of not only the North-West Frontier Province and Independent Territory but Baluchistan, Persia and Afghanistan, which this witness could justly lay claim to. It is noteworthy that he appeared before the Committee as a witness in his capacity as 'President, Islamic Anjuman, Dera Ismail Khan.' This witness (Khan Saheb Sardar Muhammad Gul Khan) was asked by me: 'Now suppose the Civil Government of the Frontier Province is so modelled as to be on the same basis as in Sind, then this Province will be part and parcel of the Punjab as Sind is of the Bombay Presidency. What have you to say to it?' He gave me, in the course of his reply, the following straight answer: 'As far as Islam is concerned and the Mahommedan idea of the League of Nations goes, I am against it.' On this answer, I asked him some further questions to which he gave me frank, outspoken replies without mincing matters. I extract the pertinent portions below :—Mr. Samarth used this evidence for the limited purpose of showing that to perpetuate a separate Pathan Province by refusing to amalgamate the N.-W. F. P. with the Punjab was dangerous in view of the Pathan's affiliations with Afghanistan and with other Muslim countries outside India. But this evidence also shows that the idea underlying the scheme of Pakistan had taken birth sometime before 1923.
'Q.—The idea at the back of your Anjuman is the Pan-lslamic idea which is that Islam is a League of Nations and as such amalgamating this Province with the Punjab will be detrimental, will be prejudicial, to that idea. That is the dominant idea at the back of those who think with you? Is it so?
'A.—It is so, but I have to add something. Their idea is that the Hindu-Muslim unity will never become a fact, it will never become a fait accompli, and they think that this Province should remain separate and a link between Islam and Britannic Commonwealth. In fact, when I am asked what my opinion is—1, as a member of the Anjuman, am expressing this opinion—we would very much rather see the separation of the Hindus and Muhammadans, 23 crores of Hindus to the south and 8 crores of Muslims to the north. Give the whole portion from Raskumarit/3/ to Agra to Hindus and from Agra to Peshawar to Muhammadans, I mean transmigration from one place to the other. This is an idea of exchange. It is not an idea of annihilation. Bolshevism at present does away with the possession of private property. It nationalizes the whole thing and this is an idea which of course appertains to only exchange. This is of course impracticable. But if it were practicable, we would rather want this than the other.
'Q.—That is the dominant idea which compels you not to have amalgamation with the Punjab?'
'Q.—When you referred to the Islamic League of Nations, I believe you had the religious side of it more prominently in your mind than the political side?
'A.—Of course political Anjuman is a political thing. Initially, of course, anything Muhammadan is religious, but of course Anjuman is a political association.
' Q.—1 am not referring to your Anjuman but I am referring to the Musalmans. I want to know what the Musalmans think of this Islamic League of Nations, what have they most prominently in mind, is it the religious side or the political side?' A.—Islam, as you know, is both religious and political.
'Q.—Therefore politics and religion are intermingled?
In 1924 Mr. Mahomed Ali speaking on the resolution on the extension of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms to the N.-W. F. Province, which was moved in the session of the Muslim League held in Bombay in that year is said to have suggested/4/ that the Mahomedans of the Frontier Province should have the right of self-determination to choose between an affiliation with India or with Kabul. He also quoted a certain Englishman who had said that if a straight line be drawn from Constantinople to Delhi, it will disclose a Mahomedan corridor right up to Shaharanpur. It is possible that Mr. Mahomed Ali knew the whole scheme of Pakistan which came out in the evidence of the witness referred to by Mr. Samarth and in an unguarded moment gave out what the witness had failed to disclose, namely, the ultimate linking of Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Nothing seems to have been said or done by the Muslims about this scheme between 1924 and 1930. The Muslims appear to have buried it and conducted negotiations with the Hindus for safeguards, as distinguished from partition, on the basis of the traditional one-nation theory. But in 1930 when the Round Table Conference was going on, certain Muslims had formed themselves into a committee with headquarters in London for the purpose of getting the R. T. C. to entertain the project of Pakistan. Leaflets and circulars were issued by the committee and sent round to members of the R. T. C. in support of Pakistan. Even then nobody took any interest in it, and the Muslim members of the R. T. C. did not countenance it in any way./5/
It is possible that the Muslims in the beginning, thought that this destiny was just a dream incapable of realization. It is possible that later on when they felt that it could be a reality they did not raise any issue about it because they were not sufficiently well organized to compel the British as well as the Hindus to agree to it. It is difficult to explain why the Muslims did not press for Pakistan at the R. T. C. Perhaps they knew that the scheme would offend/6/ the British, and as they had to depend upon the British for a decision on the 14 points of dispute between them and the Hindus, the Musalmans, perfect statesmen as they are and knowing full well that politics, as Bismarck said, was always the game of the possible, preferred to wait and not to show their teeth till they had got a decision from the British in their favour on the 14 points of dispute.
There is another explanation for this delay in putting forth the scheme of Pakistan. It is far more possible that the Muslim leaders did not until very recently know the philosophical justification for Pakistan. After all, Pakistan is no small move on the Indian political chess-board. It is the biggest move ever taken, for it involves the disruption of the state. Any Mahomedan, if he had ventured to come forward to advocate it, was sure to have been asked what moral and philosophical justification he had in support of so violent a project. The reason why they had not so far discovered what the philosophical justification for Pakistan is, [is] equally understandable. The Muslim leaders were, therefore, speaking of the Musalmans of India as a community or a minority. They never spoke of the Muslims as a nation. The distinction between a community and a nation is rather thin, and even if it is otherwise, it is not so striking in all cases. Every state is more or less a composite state and there is, in most of them, a great diversity of populations, with varying languages, religious codes and social traditions, forming a congeries of loosely associated groups. No state is ever a single society, an inclusive and permeating body of thought and action. Such being the case, a group may mistakenly call itself a community even when it has in it the elements of being a nation. Secondly, as has been pointed out earlier, a people may not be possessed of a national consciousness although there may be present all the elements which go to make a nation.
Again from the point of view of minority rights and safeguards this difference is unimportant. Whether the minority is a community or a nation, it is a minority, and the safeguards for the protection of a minor nation cannot be very different from the safeguards necessary for the protection of a minor community. The protection asked for is against the tyranny of the majority, and once the possibility of such a tyranny of the majority over a minority is established, it matters very little whether the minority driven to ask for safeguards is a community or is a nation. Not that there is no distinction between a community and a nation. The difference indeed is very great. It may be summed up by saying that a community, however different from and however opposed to other communities, major or minor, is one with the rest in the matter of the ultimate destiny of all. A nation, on the other hand, is not only different from other components of the state but it believes in and cherishes a different destiny totally antagonistic to the destiny entertained by other component elements in the state. The difference appears to me so profound that speaking for myself I would not hesitate to adopt it as a test to distinguish a community from a nation. A people who, notwithstanding their differences accept a common destiny for themselves as well as for their opponents, are a community. A people who are not only different from the rest but who refuse to accept for themselves the same destiny which others do, are a nation. It is this acceptance or non-acceptance of a common destiny which alone can explain why the Untouchables, the Christians and the Parsis are in relation to the Hindus only communities and why the Muslims are a nation. Thus, from the point of view of harmony in the body politic the difference is in the most vital character, as the difference is one of ultimate destiny. The dynamic character of this difference is undeniable. If it persists, it cannot but have the effect of rending the State in fragments. But so far as safeguards are concerned, there cannot be any difference between a nation and a community. A community is entitled to claim the same rights and safeguards as a nation can.
The delay in discovering the philosophical justification for Pakistan is due to the fact that the Muslim leaders had become habituated to speaking of Muslims as a community and as a minority. The use of this terminology took them in a false direction and brought them to a dead end. As they acknowledged themselves to be a minority community, they felt that there was nothing else open to them except to ask for safeguards, which they did, and with which they concerned themselves for practically half a century. If it had struck them that they need not stop with acknowledging themselves to be a minority, but that they could proceed further to distinguish a minority which is a community from a minority which is a nation, they might have been led on to the way to discover this philosophical justification for Pakistan. In that case, Pakistan would, in all probability, have come much earlier than it has done.
Be that as it may, the fact remains that the Muslims
have undergone a complete transformation and that the transformation is
brought about not by any criminal inducement but by the discovery of what
is their true and ultimate destiny. To some, this suddenness of the transformation
may give a shock. But those who have studied the course of Hindu-Muslim
politics for the last twenty years, cannot but admit feeling that this
transformation, this parting of the two, was on the way. For the course
of Hindu-Muslim politics has been marked by a tragic and ominous parallelism.
The Hindus and Muslims have trodden parallel paths. No doubt, they went
in the same direction. But they never travelled the same road. In 1885,
the Hindus started the Congress to vindicate the political rights of Indians
as against the British. The Muslims refused to be lured by the Hindus into
joining the Congress. Between 1885 and 1906 the Muslims kept out of this
stream of Hindu politics. In 1906 they felt the necessity for the Muslim
community taking part in political activity. Even then they dug their own
separate channel for the flow of Muslim political life. The flow was to
be controlled by a separate political organization called the Muslim League.
Ever since the formation of the Muslim League the waters of Muslim politics
have flown [=flowed] in this separate channel. Except on rare occasions,
the Congress and the League have lived apart and have worked apart. Their
aims and objects have not always been the same. They have even avoided
holding their annual sessions at one and the same place, lest the shadow
of one should fall upon the other. It is not that the League and the Congress
have not met. The two have met, but only for negotiations, a few times
with success and most times without success. They met in 1916 at Lucknow
and their efforts were crowned with success. In 1925 they met but without
success. In 1928 a section of the Muslims were prepared to meet the Congress.
Another section refused to meet. It rather preferred to depend upon the
British. The point is, they have met but have never merged. Only during
the Khilafat agitation did the waters of the two channels leave their appointed
course and flow as one stream in one channel. It was believed that nothing
would separate the waters which God was pleased to join. But that hope
was belied. It was found that there was something in the composition of
the two waters which would compel their separation. Within a few years
of their confluence and as soon as the substance of the Khilafat cause
vanished—the water from the one stream reacted violently to the presence
of the other, as one does to a foreign substance entering one's body. Each
began to show a tendency to throw out and to separate from the other. The
result was that when the waters did separate, they did [so] with such impatient
velocity and determined violence—if one can use such language in speaking
of water—against each other that thereafter they have been flowing in channels
far deeper and far more distant from each other than those existing before.
Indeed, the velocity and violence with which the two waters have burst
out from the pool in which they had temporarily gathered have altered the
direction in which they were flowing. At one time their direction was parallel.
Now they are opposite. One is flowing towards the east as before. The other
has started to flow in the opposite direction, towards the west. Apart
from any possible objection to the particular figure of speech, I am sure
it cannot be said that this is a wrong reading of the history of Hindu-Muslim
politics. If one bears this parallelism in mind, he will know that there
is nothing sudden about the transformation. For if the transformation is
a revolution, the parallelism in Hindu-Muslim politics marks the evolution
of that revolution. That Muslim politics should have run a parallel course
and should never have merged in the Hindu current of politics is a strange
fact of modern Indian history. In so segregating themselves the Muslims
were influenced by some mysterious feeling, the source of which they could
not define, and guided by a hidden hand which they could not see, but which
was all the same directing them to keep apart from Hindus. This mysterious
feeling and this hidden hand was no other than their pre-appointed destiny,
symbolized by Pakistan, which, unknown to them, was working within them.
Thus viewed, there is nothing new or nothing sudden in the idea of Pakistan.
The only thing that has happened is that, what was indistinct appears now
in full glow, and what was nameless has taken a name.
[Mutual antipathies have created a virus of dualism in the body politic]
Summing up the whole discussion, it appears that an integral India is incompatible with an independent India or even with India as a dominion. On the footing that India is to be one integral whole, there is a frustration of all her hopes of freedom writ large on her future. There is frustration, if the national destiny is conceived in terms of independence, because the Hindus will not follow that path. They have reason not to follow it. They fear that that way lies the establishment of the domination of the Muslims over the Hindus. The Hindus see that the Muslim move for independence is not innocent. It is to be used only to bring the Hindus out of the protecting shield of the British Empire in the open and then by alliance with the neighbouring Muslim countries and by their aid subjugate them. For the Muslims independence is not the end. It is only a means to establish Muslim Raj. There is frustration if the national destiny is conceived of in terms of Dominion Status because the Muslims will not agree to abide by it. They fear that under Dominion Status, the Hindus will establish Hindu Raj over them by taking benefit of the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value, and that however much the benefit of the principle is curtailed by weightage to Muslims, the result cannot fail to be a government of the Hindus, by the Hindus and therefore for the Hindus. Complete frustration of her destiny therefore seems to be the fate of India if it is insisted that India shall remain as one integral whole.
It is a question to be considered whether integral India is an ideal worth fighting for. In the first place, even if India remained [=remains] as one integral whole, it will never be an organic whole. India may in name continue to be known as one country, but in reality it will be two separate countries—Pakistan and Hindustan—joined together by a forced and artificial union. This will be specially so under the stress of the two-nation theory. As it is, the idea of unity has had little hold on the Indian world of fact and reality, little charm for the common Indian, Hindu or Muslim, whose vision is bounded by the valley in which he lives. But it did appeal to the imaginative and unsophisticated minds on both sides. The two-nation theory will not leave room even for the growth of that sentimental desire for unity. The spread of that virus of dualism in the body politic must some day create a mentality which is sure to call for a life and death struggle for the dissolution of this forced union. If by reason of some superior force the dissolution does not take place, one thing is sure to happen to India—namely, that this continued union will go on sapping her vitality, loosening its cohesion, weakening its hold on the love and faith of her people and preventing the use, if not retarding the growth, of its moral and -material resources. India will be an anaemic and sickly state, ineffective, a living corpse, dead though not buried.
The second disadvantage of this forced union will be the necessity for finding a basis for Hindu-Muslim settlement. How difficult it is to reach a settlement no one needs to be told. Short of dividing India into Pakistan and Hindustan, what more can be offered—without injury to the other interests in the country,—than what has already been conceded with a view to bring about a settlement, it is difficult to conceive. But whatever the difficulties, it cannot be gainsaid that if this forced union continues, there can be no political advance for India unless it is accompanied by communal settlement. Indeed, a communal settlement—rather, an international settlement, for now and hereafter the Hindus and the Muslims must be treated as two nations—will remain under this scheme of forced union a condition precedent [=precondition] for every inch of political progress.
There will be a third disadvantage of this forced political union. It cannot eliminate the presence of a third party. In the first place the constitution, if one comes in[to] existence, will be a federation of mutually suspicious and unfriendly states. They will of their own accord want the presence of a third party to appeal to in cases of dispute. For their suspicious and unfriendly relationship towards each other will come in the way of the two nations ever reaching satisfaction by the method of negotiation. India will not have in future even that unity of opposition to the British which used to gladden the hearts of so many in the past. For the two nations will be more opposed to each other than before, [too opposed] ever to become united against the British. In the second place, the basis of the constitution will be the settlement between the Hindus and the Muslims, and for the successful working of such a constitution the presence of a third party, and be it noted, with sufficient armed force, will be necessary to see that the settlement is not broken.
All this, of course, means the frustration of the political destiny which both Hindus and Muslims profess to cherish, and the early consummation of which they so devoutly wish. What else, however, can be expected if two warring nations are locked in the bosom of one country and one constitution?
Compare with this dark vista, the vista that opens out if India is divided into Pakistan and Hindustan. The partition opens the way to a fulfilment of the destiny each may fix for itself. Muslims will be free to choose for their Pakistan independence or dominion status, whatever they think good for themselves. Hindus will be free to choose for their Hindustan independence or dominion status, whatever they may think wise for their condition. The Muslims will be freed from the nightmare of Hindu Raj. Thus the path of political progress becomes smooth for both. The fear of the object being frustrated gives place to the hope of fulfilment. Communal settlement must remain a necessary condition precedent [=a necessary precondition], if India, as one integral whole, desires to make any political advance. But Pakistan and Hindustan are free from the rigorous trammels of such a condition precedent, and even if a communal settlement with minorities remained t[=remains] o be a condition precedent, it will not be difficult to fulfil. The path of each is cleared of this obstacle. There is another advantage of Pakistan which must be mentioned. It is generally admitted that there does exist a kind of antagonism between Hindus and Muslims which, if not dissolved, will prove ruinous to the peace and progress of India. But it is not realized that the mischief is caused not so much by the existence of mutual antagonism, as by the existence of a common theatre for its display. It is the common theatre which calls this antagonism into action. It cannot but be so. When the two are called to participate in acts of common concern, what else can happen except a display of that antagonism which is inherent in them. Now the scheme of Pakistan has this advantage, namely, that it leaves no theatre for the play of that social antagonism which is the cause of disaffection among the Hindus and the Muslims. There is no fear of Hindustan and Pakistan suffering from that disturbance of peace and tranquillity which has torn and shattered India for so many years. Last, but by no means least, is the elimination of the necessity of a third party to maintain peace. Freed from the trammels which one imposes upon the other by reason of this forced union, Pakistan and Hindustan can each grow into a strong stable State with no fear of disruption from within. As two separate entities, they can reach their respective destinies, which as parts of one whole they never can.
Those who want an integral India must note what Mr. Mahomed Ali as President of the Congress in 1923 said. Speaking about the unity among Indians, Mr. Mahomed Ali said:—
"Unless some new force other than the misleading unity of opposition unites this vast continent of India, it will remain a geographical misnomer."Is there any new force which remains to be harnessed? All other forces having failed, the Congress, after it became the Government of the day, saw a new force in the plan of mass contact. It was intended to produce political unity between Hindus and Muslim masses by ignoring or circumventing the leaders of the Muslims. In its essence, it was the plan of the British Conservative Party to buy Labour with "Tory gold." The plan was as mischievous as it was futile. The Congress forgot that there are things so precious that no owner who knows their value will part with [them], and any attempt to cheat him [in]to part[ing] with them is sure to cause resentment and bitterness. Political power is the most precious thing in the life of a community, especially if its position is constantly being challenged and the community is required to maintain it by meeting the challenge. Political power is the only means by which it can sustain its position. To attempt to make it part with it by false propaganda, by misrepresentation, or by the lure of office or of gold, is equivalent to disarming the community, to silencing its guns, and to making it ineffective and servile. It may be a way of producing unity. But the way is despicable, for it means suppressing the opposition by a false and unfair method. It cannot produce any unity. It can only create exasperation, bitterness and hostility./7/ This is precisely what the mass contact plan of the Congress did. For there can be no doubt that this mad plan of mass contact has had a great deal to do with the emergence of Pakistan.
It might be said that it was unfortunate that mass
contact was conceived and employed as a political lever and that it might
have been used as a force for social unity with greater success. But could
it have succeeded in breaking the social wall which divides the Hindus
and the Muslims? It cannot but be matter of the deepest regret to every
Indian that there is no social tie to draw them together. There is no inter-dining
and no inter-marriage between the two. Can they be introduced? Their festivals
are different. Can the Hindus be induced to adopt them or join in them?
Their religious notions are not only divergent but repugnant to each other,
so that on a religious platform, the entry of the one means the exit of
the other. Their cultures are different; their literatures and their histories
are different. They are not only different, but so distasteful to each
other that they are sure to cause aversion and nausea. Can anyone make
them drink from the same fount of these perennial sources of life? No common
meeting ground exists. None can be cultivated. There is not even sufficient
physical contact, let alone their sharing a common cultural and emotional
life. They do not live together. Hindus and Muslims live in separate worlds
of their own. Hindus live in villages and Muslims in towns in those provinces
where the Hindus are in a majority. Muslims live in villages and Hindus
in towns in those provinces where the Muslims are in a majority. Wherever
they live, they live apart. Every town, every village has its Hindu quarters
and Muslim quarters, which are quite separate from each other. There is
no common continuous cycle of participation. They meet to trade or they
meet to murder. They do not meet to befriend one another. When there is
no call to trade or when there is no call to murder, they cease to meet.
When there is peace, the Hindu quarters and the Muslim quarters appear
like two alien settlements. The moment war is declared, the settlements
become armed camps. The periods of peace and the periods of war are brief.
But the interval is one of continuous tension. What can mass contact do
against such barriers? It cannot even get over on the other side of the
barrier, much less can it produce organic unity.
/1/ Sir Muhammad lqbal strongly condemned nationalism in Musalmans of any non-Muslim country, including Indian Musalmans, in the sense of an attachment to the mother country.
/2/Report of the North-West Frontier Inquiry Committee, 1924, pp. 122-23.
/3/ This is as in the original. It is probably a misprint for Kanya Kumari.
/4/ For reference see Lala Lajpatrai's Presidential address to the Hindu Maha Sabha session held at Calcutta on 11th April 1925 in the Indian Quarterly Register, 1925, Vol. I, p. 379.
/5/ If opposition to one common central government be taken as a principal feature of the scheme of Pakistan, then the only member of the R. T. C. who may be said to have supported it without mentioning it by name was Sir Muhammad lqbal, who expressed the view at the third session of the R. T. C. that there should be no central government for India, that the provinces should be autonomous and independent dominions in direct relationship to the Secretary of State in London.
/6/ It is said that it was privately discussed with the British authorities who were not in favour of it. It is possible that the Muslims did not insist on it for fear of incurring their displeasure.
/7/ So sober a person as
Sir Abdul Rahim, in his presidential address to the session of the Muslim
League held in Aligarh on 30th December 1925, gave expression to this bitterness
caused by Hindu tactics wherein he "deplored the attacks on the Muslim
community in the form of Shuddhi, Sangalhan and Hindu Maha Sabha movements
and activities led by politicians like Lala Lajpal Rai and Swami Shradhanand"
and said "Some of the Hindu leaders had spoken publicly of driving out
Muslims from India as Spaniards expelled Moors from Spain. Musalmans would
be loo big a mouthful for their Hindu friends to swallow. Thanks to the
artificial conditions under which they lived they had to admit that Hindus
were in a position of great advantage and even the English had learned
to dread their venomous propaganda. Hindus were equally adept in the art
of belittling in every way possible the best Musalmans in public positions
excepting only those who had subscribed to the Hindu political creed. They
had in fact by their provocative and aggressive conduct made it clearer
than ever to Muslims that the latter could not entrust their fate to Hindus
and must adopt every possible measure of self-defence."—All-India Register,
1925, Vol. II, p. 356.