|Different people have thought differently of what has been said
in the foregoing pages on the question of Pakistan. One set of people have
alleged that I have only stated the two sides of the issue and the problems
arising out of it, but have not expressed my personal views on either of
them. This is not correct. Anyone who has read the preceding parts will
have to admit that I have expressed my views in quite positive terms, if
not on all, certainly on many questions. In particular I may refer to two
of the most important ones in the controversy, namely, Are the Muslims
a Nation, and Have they a case for Pakistan. There are others whose line
of criticism is of a different sort. They do not complain that I have failed
to express my personal views. What they complain is that in coming to my
conclusions I have relied on propositions as though they were absolute
in their application and have admitted no exception. I am told, "Have you
not stated your conclusions in too general terms? Is not a general proposition
subject to conditions and limitations? Have you not disposed of certain
complicated problems in a brief and cavalier fashion? Have you shown how
Pakistan can be brought into existence in a just and peaceful manner?"
Even this criticism is not altogether correct. It is not right to say that
I have omitted to deal with these points. It may be that my treatment of
them is brief, and scattered. However, I am prepared to admit that there
is much force in this criticism, and I am in duty bound to make good the
default. This part is therefore intended [for], and is devoted to, the
consideration of the following subjects :—
1. What ate the limiting considerations which affect the Muslim case for Pakistan?
2. What are the problems of Pakistan? and what is their solution?
3. Who has the authority to decide the issue of Pakistan?
MUST THERE BE PAKISTAN?
[The burden of proof on the advocates of Pakistan is a heavy one]
With all that has gone before, the sceptic, the nationalist,
the conservative and the old-world Indian will not fail to ask "Must there
be Pakistan?" No one can make light of such an attitude. For the problem
of Pakistan is indeed very grave, and it must be admitted that the question
is not only a relevant and fair one to be put to the Muslims and to their
protagonists, but it is also important. Its importance lies in the fact
that the limitations on the case for Pakistan are so considerable in their
force that they can never be easily brushed aside. A mere statement of
these limitations should be enough to make one feel the force they have.
It is writ large on the very face of them. That being so, the burden of
proof on the Muslims for establishing an imperative need in favour of Pakistan
is very heavy. Indeed the issue of Pakistan or to put it plainly of partitioning
India, is of such a grave character that the Muslims will not only have
to discharge this burden of proof but they will have to adduce evidence
of such a character as to satisfy the conscience of an international tribunal
before they can win their case. Let us see how the case for Pakistan stands
in the light of these limitations.
[Is it really necessary to divide what has long been a single whole?]
Must there be Pakistan because a good part of the
Muslim population of India happens to be concentrated in certain defined
areas which can be easily severed from the rest of India? Muslim population
is admittedly concentrated in certain well defined areas, and it may be
that these areas are severable. But what of that? In considering this question
one must never lose sight of the fundamental fact that nature has made
India one single geographical unit. Indians are of course quarrelling and
no one can prophesy when they will stop quarrelling. But granting the fact,
what does it establish? Only that Indians are a quarrelsome people. It
does not destroy the fact that India is a single geographical unit. Her
unity is as ancient as Nature. Within this geographic unit and covering
the whole of it there has been a cultural unity from time immemorial. This
cultural unity has defied political and racial divisions. And at any rate
for the last hundred and fifty years all institutions—cultural, political,
economic, legal and administrative—have been working on a single, uniform
spring of action. In any discussion of Pakistan the fact cannot be lost
sight of, namely, that the starting point, if not the governing factor,
is the fundamental unity of India. For it is necessary to grasp the fact
that there are really two cases of partition which must be clearly distinguished.
There is a case in which the starting point is a pre existing state of
separation so that partition is. only a dissolution of parts which were
once separate and which were subsequently joined together. This case is
quite different from another in which the starting point at all times is
a state of unity. Consequently partition in such a case is the severance
of a territory which has been one single whole into separate parts. Where
the starting point is not unity of territory, i.e., where there was disunity
before there was unity, partition—which is only a return to the original—may
not give a mental shock. But in India the starting point is unity. Why
destroy its unity now, simply because some Muslims are dissatisfied? Why
tear it when the unit is one single whole from historical times ?
[Other nations have survived for long periods despite communal antagonisms]
Must there be Pakistan because there is communal antagonism between the Hindus and the Muslims? That the communal antagonism exists nobody can deny. The question however is, is the antagonism such that there is no will to live together in one country and under one constitution? Surely that will to live together was not absent till 1937. During the formulation of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, both Hindus and Musalmans accepted the view that they must live together under one constitution and in one country and participated in the discussions that preceded the passing of the Act. And what was the state of communal feeling in India between—say 1920 and 1935? As has been recorded in the preceding pages, the history of India from 1920 up to 1935 has been one long tale of communal conflict in which the loss of life and loss of property had reached a most shameful limit. Never was the communal situation so acute as it was between this period of 15 years preceding the passing of the Government of India Act, 1935, and yet this long tale of antagonism did not prevent the Hindus and the Musalmans from agreeing to live in a single country and under a single constitution. Why make so much of communal antagonism now?
Is India the only country where there is communal antagonism ? What about Canada ? Consider what Mr. Alexander Brady/1/ has to say on the relations between the English and the French in Canada :—
"Of the four original provinces, three, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario had populations substantially of the same Anglo-Saxon stock and traditions. Originally a by-product of the American Revolution, these colonies were established by the 50,000 United Empire Loyalists who trekked north from persecution and cut their settlements out of the wilderness. Previous to the American Revolution, Nova Scotia had received a goodly number of Scotch and American settlers, and in all the colonies after the Revolution the Loyalist settlements were reinforced by immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland."What about South Africa ? Let those who do not know the relationship between the Boers and the British ponder over what Mr. E. H. Brooks/2/ has to say :—
* * * *
"Very different was the province of Quebec. French Canada in 1867 was a cultural unit by itself, divorced from the British communities, by the barriers of race, language and religion. Its life ran in a different mould. Stirred by a Catholic faith mediaeval in its intensity, it viewed with scant sympathy the mingled Puritanism and other-worldliness of a Protestantism largely Calvinistic. The religious faiths of the two peoples were indeed poles apart. In social, if not always in religious, outlook, English Protestantism tended towards democracy, realism and modernism: the Catholicism of the French leaned to paternalism, idealism and a reverence for the past."
* * * *
"What French Canada was in 1867 it remains substantially today. It still cherishes beliefs, customs, and institutions which have little hold on the English provinces. It has distinctive thought and enthusiasm, and its own important values. Its attitude, for example, on marriage and divorce is in conflict with the dominant view, not merely of the rest of Canada, but of the remainder of Anglo-Saxon-North-America."
* * * *
"The infrequency of intercourse between the two peoples is illustrated in Canada's largest city, Montreal. About 63 per cent. of the population is French and 24 per cent British. Here, if anywhere, is ample scope for association, but in fact they remain apart and distinct except where business and politics force them together. They have their own residential sections; their own shopping centres, and if either is more notable for racial reserve, it is the English."
* * * *
"The English-speaking residents of Montreal, as a whole, have made no effort to know their French-speaking fellow citizens, to learn their language, to understand their traditions and their aspirations, to observe with a keen eye and a sympathetic mind their qualities and their defects. The separation of the two peoples is encouraged by the barrier of language. There is a wealth of significance in the fact revealed by the census of 1921; viz., that about 50 per cent. of the Canadians of French origin were unable to speak English and 95 per cent. of those of British origin were unable to speak French. Even in Montreal, 70 per cent. of the British could not speak French and 34 per cent. of the French could not speak English. The absence of a common language maintains a chasm between the two nationalities and prevents fusion.
"The significance of Confederation is that it provided an instrument of government which enabled the French, while retaining their distinct national life, to become happy partners with the British and attain a Canadian super-nationality, embracing a loyally extending beyond their own group to that of the Dominion as a whole."
* * * *
"While the federal system successfully opened the path for a wider nationality in Canada, the co-operation which it sponsored has at times been subjected to severe strain by the violent clash of opinion between the French and the British. The super-nationality has indeed often been reduced to a shadow."
"How far is South African nationalism common to both the white races of South Africa? There is, of course, a very real and intense Afrikander nationalism ; but it is, generally speaking, a sentiment confined to one of the white races, and characterised, significantly enough, by a love of the Afrikans language, the tongue of the early settlers from Holland, as modified slightly by Huguenot and German influence, and greatly by the passage of time. Afrikander nationalism has a tendency to be exclusive, and has little place for the man who, while in every way a devoted son of South Africa, is wholly or mainly English-speaking."Another witness on the same point may be heard. He is Mr. Manfred Nathan./3/ This is what he has to say on the relations between the Boers and the British in South Africa :—
* * * *
"Is there a South African nation today?
"There are certain factors in South African life which militate against an affirmative answer."
* * * *
"Among English-speaking South Africans there are found many tendencies inclined to hinder the cause of national unity. With all the great virtues of the race they have its one cardinal defect—a lack of imagination, a difficulty in putting one's self in the other man's place. Nowhere does this come out more clearly than in the language question. Until recently comparatively few English-speaking South Africans have studied Africans except as a business proposition or (as in the Civil Service) more or less under compulsion; and fewer still have used it conversationally. Many have treated it with open contempt—a contempt in inverse proportion to their knowledge of it—and the majority with mere tolerance, exasperated or amused according to temperament."
"They are also, in the main, both of them Protestant peoples—although this is not of too great importance nowadays, when differences of religion do not count for much. They engage freely in commercial transactions with each other."Obviously India is not the only place where there is communal antagonism. If communal antagonism does not come in the way of the French in Canada living in political unity with the English, if it does not come in the way of the English in South Africa living in political unity with the Dutch, if it does not come in the way of the French and the Italians in Switzerland living in political unity with the Germans why then should it be impossible for the Hindus and the Muslims to agree to live together under one constitution in India?
* * * *
"Nevertheless it cannot with truth be said that hitherto there has been absolutely free social intercourse between these two great sections of the white population. It has been suggested that this is partly due to the fact that in the large urban centres the population is predominantly English, and that the townsfolk know little of the people in the country and their ways of life. But even in the country towns, though there is, as a rule, much greater friendliness, and much hospitality shown by Boers to visitors, there is not much social intercourse between the two sections apart from necessary business or professional relationship, and such social functions, charitable or public, as require co-operation."
[Cannot legitimate past grievances be redressed in some less drastic way?]
Must there be Pakistan because the Muslims have lost faith in the Congress majority? As reasons for the loss of faith Muslims cite some instances of tyranny and oppression practised by the Hindus and connived at by the Congress Ministries during the two years and three months the Congress was in office. Unfortunately Mr. Jinnah did not persist in his demand for a Royal Commission to inquire into these grievances. If he had done it, we could have known what truth there was in these complaints. A perusal of these instances, as given in the reports/4/ of the Muslim League Committees, leaves upon the reader the impression that although there may be some truth in the allegations there is a great deal which is pure exaggeration. The Congress Ministries concerned have issued statements repudiating the charges. It may be that the Congress during the two years and three months that it was in office did not show statesmanship, did not inspire confidence in the minorities, nay, tried to suppress them. But can it be a reason for partitioning India? Is it not possible to hope that the voters who supported the Congress last time will grow wiser and not support the Congress? Or may it not be that if the Congress returns to office it will profit by the mistakes it has made, revise its mischievous policy, and thereby allay the fear created by its past conduct?
[Cannot the many things shared between the two groups be emphasized?]
Must there be Pakistan because the Musalmans are a nation? It is a pity that Mr. Jinnah should have become a votary and champion of Muslim Nationalism at a time when the whole world is decrying against the evils of nationalism and is seeking refuge in some kind of international organization. Mr. Jinnah is so obsessed with his new-found faith in Muslim Nationalism that he is not prepared to see that there is a distinction between a society, parts of which are disintegrated, and a society parts of which have become only loose, which no sane man can ignore. When a society is disintegrating—and the two-nation theory is a positive disintegration of society and country—it is evidence of the fact that there do not exist what Carlyle calls "organic filaments"—i.e., the vital forces which work to bind together the parts that are cut asunder. In such cases disintegration can only be regretted. It cannot be prevented. Where, however, such organic filaments do exist, it is a crime to overlook them and deliberately force the disintegration of society and country as the Muslims seem to be doing. If the Musalmans want to be a different nation, it is not because they have been, but because they want to be. There is much in the Musalmans which, if they wish, can roll them into a nation. But isn't there enough that is common to both Hindus and Musalmans, which if developed, is capable of moulding them into one people? Nobody can deny that there are many modes, manners, rites and customs which are common to both. Nobody can deny that there are rites, customs and usages based on religion which do divide Hindus and Musalmans. The question is, which of these should be emphasized. If the emphasis is laid on things that are common, there need be no two nations in India. If the emphasis is laid on points of difference, it will no doubt give rise to two nations. The view that seems to guide Mr. Jinnah is that Indians are only a people, and that they can never be a nation. This follows the line of British writers who make it a point of speaking of Indians as the people of India, and avoid speaking of the Indian nation. Granted Indians are not a nation, that they are only a people. What of that? History records that before the rise of nations as great corporate personalities, there were only peoples. There is nothing to be ashamed [of] if Indians are no more than a people. Nor is there any cause for despair that the people of India—if they wish—will not become one nation. For, as Disraeli said, a nation is a work of art and a work of time. If the Hindus and Musalmans agree to emphasize the things that bind them and forget those that separate them, there is no reason why in course of time they should not grow into a nation. It may be that their nationalism may not be quite so integrated as that of the French or the Germans. But they can easily produce a common state of mind on common questions, which is the sum total which the spirit of nationalism helps to produce and for which it is so much prized. Is it right for the Muslim League to emphasize only differences, and ignore altogether the forces that bind? Let it not be forgotten that if two nations come into being it will not be because it is predestined. It will be the result of deliberate design.
The Musalmans of India, as I have said, are not as yet a nation in the de jure or de facto sense of the term, and all that can be said is that they have in them the elements necessary to make them a nation. But granting that the Musalmans of India are a nation, is India the only country where there are going to be two nations? What about Canada? Everybody knows that there are in Canada two nations, the English and the French. Are there not two nations in South Africa, the English and the Dutch? What about Switzerland? Who does not know that there are three nations living in Switzerland, the Germans, the French and the Italians? Have the French in Canada demanded partition because they are a separate nation? Do the English claim partition of South Africa because they are a distinct nation from the Boers? Has anybody ever heard that the Germans, the French and the Italians have ever agitated for the fragmentation of Switzerland because they are all different nations? Have the Germans, the French and the Italians ever felt that they would lose their distinctive cultures if they lived as citizens of one country and under one constitution? On the contrary, all these distinct nations have been content to live together in one country under one constitution, without fear of losing their nationality and their distinctive cultures. Neither have the French in Canada ceased to be French by living with the English, nor have the English ceased to be English by living with the Boers in South Africa. The Germans, the French and the Italians have remained distinct nations, notwithstanding their common allegiance to a common country and a common constitution. The case of Switzerland is worthy of note. It is surrounded by countries, the nationalities of which have a close religious and racial affinity with the nationalities of Switzerland. Notwithstanding these affinities, the nationalities in Switzerland have been Swiss first and Germans, Italians and French afterwards.
Given the experience of the French in Canada, the English in South Africa and the French and the Italians in Switzerland, the questions that arise are, why should it be otherwise in India? Assuming that the Hindus and the Muslims split into two nations, why cannot they live in one country and under one constitution? Why should the emergence of the two-nation theory make partition necessary? Why should the Musalmans be afraid of losing their nationality and national culture by living with the Hindus? If the Muslims insist on separation, the cynic may well conclude that there is so much that is common between the Hindus and the Musalmans that the Muslim leaders are afraid that unless there is partition, whatever little distinctive Islamic culture is left with the Musalmans will eventually vanish by continued social contact with the Hindus, with the result that in the end instead of two nations there will grow up in India one nation. If the Muslim nationalism is so thin, then the motive for partition is artificial and the case for Pakistan loses its very basis.
['Hindu Raj' must be prevented at all costs, but is Pakistan the best means?]
Must there be Pakistan because otherwise Swaraj will be a Hindu Raj? The Musalmans are so easily carried away by this cry that it is necessary to expose the fallacies underlying it.
In the first place, is the Muslim objection to Hindu Raj a conscientious objection, or is it a political objection? If it is a conscientious objection, all one can say is that it is a very strange sort of conscience. There are really millions of Musalmans in India who are living under unbridled and uncontrolled Hindu Raj of Hindu Princes and no objection to it has been raised by the Muslims or the Muslim League. The Muslims had once a conscientious objection to the British Raj. Today not only have they no objection to it, but they are the greatest supporters of it. That there should be no objection to British Raj or to undiluted Hindu Raj of a Hindu Prince, but that there should be objection to Swaraj for British India on the ground that it is Hindu Raj, as though it was not subjected to checks and balances, is an attitude the logic of which it is difficult to follow.
The political objections to Hindu Raj rest on various grounds. The first ground is that Hindu society is not a democratic society. True, it is not. It may not be right to ask whether the Muslims have taken any part in the various movements for reforming Hindu society, as distinguished from proselytising. But it is right to ask if the Musalmans are the only sufferers from the evils that admittedly result from the undemocratic character of Hindu society. Are not the millions of Shudras and non-Brahmins, or millions of the Untouchables, suffering the worst consequences of the undemocratic character of Hindu society? Who benefits from education, from public service and from political reforms, except the Hindu governing class—composed of the higher castes of the Hindus—which form[s] not even 10 per cent. of the total Hindu population? Has not the governing class of the Hindus, which controls Hindu politics, shown more regard for safeguarding the rights and interests of the Musalmans than they have for safeguarding the rights and interests of the Shudras and the Untouchables? Is not Mr. Gandhi, who is determined to oppose any political concession to the Untouchables, ready to sign a blank cheque in favour of the Muslims? Indeed, the Hindu governing class seems to be far more ready to share power with the Muslims than it is to share power with the Shudras and the Untouchables. Surely, the Muslims have the least ground to complain of the undemocratic character of Hindu society.
Another ground on which the Muslim objection to Hindu Raj rests is that the Hindus are a majority community and the Musalmans are a minority community. True. But is India the only country where such a situation exists? Let us compare the conditions in India with the conditions in Canada, South Africa and Switzerland. First, take the distribution of population. In Canada,/5/ out of a total population of 10,376,786, only 2,927,990 are French. In South Africa,/6/ the Dutch number 1,120,770 and the English are only 783,071. In Switzerland,/7/ out of the total population of 4,066,400, the Germans are 2,924,313, the French 831,097, and the Italians 242,034.
This shows that the smaller nationalities have no fear of being placed under the Raj of a major community. Such a notion seems to be quite foreign to them. Why is this so? Is it because there is no possibility of the major nationality establishing its supremacy in those centres of power and authority, namely the Legislature and in the Executive? Quite the contrary. Unfortunately no figures are available to show the actual extent of representation which the different major and minor nationalities have in Switzerland, Canada and South Africa. That is because there is no communal reservation of seats such as is found in India. Each community is left to win in a general contest what number of seats it can. But it is quite easy to work out the probable number of seats which each nationality can obtain on the basis of the ratio of its population to the total seats in the Legislature. Proceeding on this basis, what do we find? In Switzerland the total representatives in the Lower House is 187. Out of them the German population has a possibility of winning 138, French 42 and Italians only 7 seats. In South Africa out of the total of 153, there is a possibility of the English gaining 62, and the Dutch 94 seats. In Canada the total is 245. Of these the French/8/ have only 65. On this basis it is quite clear that in all these countries there is a possibility of the major nationality establishing its supremacy over the minor nationalities. Indeed, one may go so far as to say that speaking de jure and as a mere matter of form, in Canada the French are living under the British Raj, the English in South Africa under the Dutch Raj, and the Italians and French in Switzerland under the German Raj. But what is the position de facto? Have Frenchmen in Canada raised a cry that they will not live under British Raj? Have Englishmen in South Africa raised a cry that they will not live under Dutch Raj? Have the French and Italians in Switzerland any objection to living under the German Raj? Why should then the Muslims raise this cry of Hindu Raj?
Is it proposed that the Hindu Raj should be the rule of a naked communal majority? Are not the Musalmans granted safeguards against the possible tyranny of the Hindu majority? Are not the safeguards given to the Musalmans of India wider and better than the safeguards which have been given to the French in Canada, to the English in South Africa and to the French and the Italians in Switzerland? To take only one item from the list of safeguards, haven't the Musalmans got an enormous degree of weightage in representation in the Legislature? Is weightage known in Canada, South Africa or Switzerland? And what is the effect of this weightage to Muslims? Is it not to reduce the Hindu majority in the Legislature? What is the degree of reduction? Confining ourselves to British India and taking account only of the representation granted to the territorial constituencies, Hindu and Muslim, in the Lower House in the Central Legislature under the Government of India Act, 1935, it is clear that out of a total of 187, the Hindus have 105 seats and the Muslims have 82 seats. Given these figures one is forced to ask, where is [any cause for] the fear of the Hindu Raj?
If [the] Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost. But is Pakistan the true remedy against it? What makes communal Raj possible is a marked disproportion in the relative strength of the various communities living in a country. As pointed out above, this disproportion is not more marked in India than it is in Canada, South Africa and Switzerland. Nonetheless there is no British Raj in Canada, no Dutch Raj in South Africa, and no German Raj in Switzerland. How have the French, the English and the Italians succeeded in preventing the Raj of the majority community being established in their country? Surely not by partition. What is their method? Their method is to put a ban on communal parties in politics. No community in Canada, South Africa or Switzerland ever thinks of starting a separate communal party. What is important to note is that it is the minority nations which have taken the lead in opposing the formation of a communal party. For they know that if they form a communal political party the major community will also form a communal party and the majority community will thereby find it easy to establish its communal Raj. It is a vicious method of self-protection. It is because the minority nations are fully aware how they will be hoisted on their own petard that they have opposed the formation of communal political parties.
Have the Muslims thought of this method of avoiding Hindu Raj? Have they considered how easy it is to avoid it? Have they considered how futile and harmful the present policy of the League is? The Muslims are howling against the Hindu Maha Sabha and its slogan of Hindudom and Hindu Raj. But who is responsible for this? Hindu Maha Sabha and Hindu Raj are the inescapable nemesis which the Musalmans have brought upon themselves by having a Muslim League. It is action and counter-action. One gives rise to the other. Not partition, but the abolition of the Muslim League and the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims is the only effective way of burying the ghost of Hindu Raj. It is, of course, not possible for Muslims and other minority parties to join the Congress or the Hindu Maha Sabha so long as the disagreement on the question of constitutional safeguards continues. But this question will be settled, is bound to be settled, and there is every hope that the settlement will result in securing to the Muslims and other minorities the safeguards they need. Once this consummation, which we so devoutly wish, takes place, nothing can stand in the way of a party re-alignment, of the Congress and the Maha Sabha breaking up, and of Hindus and Musalmans forming mixed political parties based on an agreed programme of social and economic regeneration, and thereby avoid[ing] the danger of both Hindu Raj or Muslim Raj becoming a fact. Nor should the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims be difficult in India. There are many lower orders in the Hindu society whose economic, political and social needs are the same as those of the majority of the Muslims, and they would be far more ready to make a common cause with the Muslims for achieving common ends than they would with the high caste of Hindus who have denied and deprived them of ordinary human rights for centuries. To pursue such a course cannot be called an adventure. The path along that line is a well trodden path. Is it not a fact that under the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms in most Provinces, if not in all, the Muslims, the Non-Brahmins, and the Depressed Classes united together and worked the reforms as members of one team from 1920 to 1937? Herein lay the most fruitful method of achieving communal harmony among Hindus and Muslims, and of destroying the danger of a Hindu Raj. Mr. Jinnah could have easily pursued this line. Nor was it [=would it have been] difficult for Mr. Jinnah to succeed in it. Indeed Mr. Jinnah is the one person who [would have] had all the chances of success on his side if he had tried to form such a united non-communal party. He has the ability to organize. He had the reputation of a nationalist. Even many Hindus who were opposed to the Congress would have flocked to him, if he had only sent out a call for a united party of like-minded Hindus and Muslims. What did Mr. Jinnah do? In 1937 Mr. Jinnah made his entry into Muslim politics, and strangely enough he regenerated the Muslim League, which was dying and decaying ,and of which only a few years ago he would have been glad to witness the funeral. However regrettable the starting of such a communal political party may have been, there was in it one relieving [=reassuring] feature. That was the leadership of Mr. Jinnah. Everybody felt that with the leadership of Mr. Jinnah the League could never become a merely communal party. The resolutions passed by the League during the first two years of its new career indicated that it would develop into a mixed political party of Hindus and Muslims. At the annual session of the Muslim League held at Lucknow in October 1937, altogether 15 resolutions were passed. The following two are of special interest in this connection.
Resolution/9/ No. 7:
"This meeting of the All India Muslim League deprecates and protests against the formation of Ministries in certain Provinces by the Congress parties in flagrant violation of the letter and the spirit of the Government of India Act, 1935, and Instrument of Instructions and condemns the Governors for their failure to enforce the special powers entrusted to them for the safeguards of the interest of the Musalmans and other important minorities."Resolution/9/ No. 8:
"Resolved that the object of the All India Muslim League shall be the establishment in India of Full Independence in the form of federation of free democratic states in which the rights and interests of the Musalmans and other minorities are adequately and effectively safeguarded in the constitution."[An] Equal number of resolutions were passed at the next annual session of the League held at Patna in December 1938. Resolution/9/ No. 10 is noteworthy. It reads as follows :—
"The All India Muslim League reiterates its view that the scheme of Federation embodied in the Government of India Act, 1935, is not acceptable, but in view of the further developments that have taken place or may take place from time to time it hereby authorises the President of the All India Muslim League to adopt such course as may be necessary with a view to explore the possibility of a suitable alternative which will safeguard the interests of the Musalmans and other minorities in India."By these resolutions Mr. Jinnah showed that he was for a common front between the Muslims and other non-Muslim minorities. Unfortunately the catholicity and statesmanship that underlies these resolutions did not last long. In 1939 Mr. Jinnah took a somersault and outlined the dangerous and disastrous policy of isolation of the Musalmans by passing that notorious resolution in favour of Pakistan. What is the reason for this isolation? Nothing but the change of view that the Musalmans were a nation and not a community!! One need not quarrel over the question whether the Muslims are a nation or a community. But one finds it extremely difficult to understand how the mere fact that the Muslims are a nation makes political isolation a safe and sound policy. Unfortunately Muslims do not realize what disservice Mr. Jinnah has done to them by this policy. But let Muslims consider what Mr. Jinnah has achieved by making the Muslim League the only organization for the Musalmans. It may be that it has helped him to avoid the possibility of having to play the second fiddle. For inside the Muslim camp he can always be sure of the first place for himself. But how does the League hope to save, by this plan of isolation, the Muslims from Hindu Raj? Will Pakistan obviate the establishment of Hindu Raj in Provinces in which the Musalmans are in a minority? Obviously it cannot. This is what would happen in the Muslim minority Provinces if Pakistan came. Take an all-India view. Can Pakistan prevent the establishment of Hindu Raj at the centre over Muslim minorities that will remain [in] Hindustan? It is plain that it cannot. What good is Pakistan then? Only to prevent Hindu Raj in Provinces in which the Muslims are in a majority and in which there could never be Hindu Raj!! To put it differently, Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan, they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League? The Muslim League [was] started to help minority Muslims, and has ended by espousing the cause of majority Muslims. What a perversion in[=of] the original aim of the Muslim League! What a fall from the sublime to the ridiculous! Partition as a remedy against Hindu Raj is worse than useless.
[If Muslims truly and deeply desire Pakistan, their choice ought to be accepted]
These are some of the weaknesses in the Muslim case for Pakistan which have occurred to me. There might be others which have not struck me. But the list as it is, is quite a formidable one. How do the Muslims propose to meet them? That is a question for the Muslims and not for me. My duty as a student of the subject extends to setting forth these weaknesses. That I have done. I have nothing more to answer for.
There are, however, two other questions of such importance that this discussion cannot be closed with any sense of completeness without reference to them. The purpose of these questions is to clear the ground between myself and my critics. Of these questions, one I am entitled to ask the critics, the other the critics are entitled to ask me.
Beginning with the first question, what I feel like asking the critics is, what good do they expect from a statement of these weaknesses? Do they expect the Musalmans to give up Pakistan if they are defeated in a controversy over the virtues of Pakistan? That of course depends upon what method is adopted to resolve this controversy. The Hindus and the Musalmans may follow the procedure which Christian missionaries had set up in early times in order to secure converts from amongst the Hindus. According to this procedure a day was appointed for a disputation, which was open to [the] public, between a Christian missionary and a Brahmin, the former representing the Christian religion and the latter holding himself out as the protagonist of the Hindu religion, with the condition that whoever failed to meet the case against his religion was bound to accept the religion of the other. If such a method of resolving the dispute between the Hindus and the Muslims over the issue of Pakistan was [=were] agreed upon, there may [=might] be some use in setting out this string of weaknesses. But let it not be forgotten that there is another method of disposing of a controversy which maybe called Johnsonian, after the manner which Dr. Johnson employed in dealing with [the] arguments of Bishop Berkeley. It is recorded by Boswell that when he told Dr. Johnson that the doctrine of Bishop Berkeley that matter was non-existent and that everything in the universe was merely ideal, was only an ingenious sophistry but that it was impossible to refute it, Dr. Johnson with great alacrity answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone till he rebounded from it, saying, "I refute it thus." It may be that the Musalmans will agree, as most rational people do, to have their case for Pakistan decided by the tests of reason and argument. But I should not be surprised if the Muslims decided to adopt the method of Dr. Johnson and say "Damn your arguments! We want Pakistan." In that event, the critic must realize that any reliance placed upon the limitations for destroying the case for Pakistan will be of no avail. It is therefore no use being jubilant over the logic of these objections to Pakistan.
Let me now turn to the other question which I said the critic is entitled to put to me. What is my position regarding the issue of Pakistan, in the light of the objections which I have set out? I have no doubts as to my position. I hold firmly that, subject to certain conditions detailed in the chapters that follow, if the Musalmans are bent on having Pakistan, then it must be conceded to them. I know my critics will at once accuse me of inconsistency, and will demand reasons for so extraordinary a conclusion— extraordinary because of the view expressed by me in the earlier part of this chapter that the Muslim case for Pakistan has nothing in it which can be said to carry the compelling force which the decree of an inexorable fate may be said to have. I withdraw nothing from what I have said as to the weaknesses in the Muslim case for Pakistan. Yet I hold that if the Muslims must have Pakistan, there is no escape from conceding it to them. As to the reasons which have led me to that conclusion, I shall not hesitate to say that the strength or weakness of the logic of Pakistan is not one of them. In my judgement there are two governing factors which must determine the issue. First is the defence of India, and second is the sentiment of the Muslims. I will state why I regard them as decisive, and how in my opinion they tell in favour of Pakistan.
To begin with the first. One cannot ignore that what is important is not the winning of independence, but the having of the sure means of maintaining it. The ultimate guarantee of the independence of a country is a safe army—an army on which you can rely to fight for the country at all time and in any eventuality. The army in India must necessarily be a mixed army composed of Hindus and Muslims. If India is invaded by a foreign power, can the Muslims in the army be trusted to defend India? Suppose invaders are their co-religionists. Will the Muslims side with the invaders, or will they stand against them and save India? This is a very crucial question. Obviously, the answer to this question must depend upon to what extent the Muslims in the army have caught the infection of the two-nation theory, which is the foundation of Pakistan. If they are infected, then the army in India cannot be safe. Instead of being the guardian of the independence of India, it will continue to be a menace and a potential danger to its independence. I confess I feel aghast when I hear some Britishers argue that it is for the defence of India that they must reject Pakistan. Some Hindus also sing the same tune. I feel certain that either they are unaware as to what the determining factor in the independence of India is, or that they are talking of the defence of India not as an independent country responsible for its own defence but as a British possession to be defended by them against an intruder. This is a hopelessly wrong angle of vision. The question is not whether the British will be able to defend India better if there was no partition of India. The question is whether Indians will be able to defend a free India. To that, I repeat, the only answer is that Indians will be able to defend a free India on one and one condition alone—namely, if the army in India remains non-political, unaffected by the poison of Pakistan. I want to warn Indians against the most stupid habit that has grown up in this country of discussing the question of Swaraj without reference to the question of the army. Nothing can be more fatal than the failure to realize that a political army is the greatest danger to the liberty of India. It is worse than having no army.
Equally important is the fact that the army is the ultimate sanction which sustains Government in the exercise of its authority inside the country, when it is challenged by a rebellious or recalcitrant element. Suppose the Government of the day enunciates a policy which is vehemently opposed by a section of the Muslims. Suppose the Government of the day is required to use its army to enforce its policy. Can the Government of the day depend upon the Muslims in the army to obey its orders and shoot down the Muslim rebels? This again depends upon to what extent the Muslims in the army have caught the infection of the two-nation theory. If they have caught it, India cannot have a safe and secure Government.
Turning to the second governing factor, the Hindus do not seem to attach any value to sentiment as a force in politics. The Hindus seem to rely upon two grounds to win against the Muslims. The first is that even if the Hindus and the Muslims are two nations, they can live under one state. The other is that the Muslim case for Pakistan is founded on strong sentiment rather than upon clear argument. I don't know how long the Hindus are going to fool themselves with such arguments. It is true that the first argument is not without precedent. At the same time it does not call for much intelligence to see that its value is extremely limited. two nations and one state is a pretty plea. It has the same attraction which a sermon has, and may result in the conversion of Muslim leaders. But instead of being uttered as a sermon, if it is intended to issue it as an ordinance for the Muslims to obey, it will be a mad project to which no sane man will agree. It will, I am sure, defeat the very purpose of Swaraj. The second argument is equally silly. That the Muslim case for Pakistan is founded on sentiment is far from being a matter of weakness; it is really its strong point. It does not need deep understanding of politics to know that the workability of a constitution is not a matter of theory. It is a matter of sentiment. A constitution, like clothes, must suit as well as please. If a constitution does not please, then however perfect it may be, it will not work. To have a constitution which runs counter to the strong sentiments of a determined section is to court disaster if not to invite rebellion.
It is not realized by the Hindus that, assuming there is a safe army, rule by armed forces is not the normal method of governing a people. Force, it cannot be denied, is the medicine of the body politic and must be administered when the body politic becomes sick. But just because force is the medicine of the body politic it cannot be allowed to become its daily bread. A body politic must work as a matter of course by springs of action which are natural. This can happen only when the different elements constituting the body politic have the will to work together and to obey the laws and orders passed by a duly constituted authority. Suppose the new constitution for a United India contained in it all the provisions necessary to safeguard the interests of the Muslims. But suppose the Muslims said [=say] "Thank you for your safeguards, we don't want to be ruled by you"; and suppose they boycott the Legislatures, refuse to obey laws, oppose the payment of taxes; what is to happen? Are the Hindus prepared to extract obedience from Muslims by the use of Hindu bayonets? Is Swaraj to be an opportunity to serve the people, or is it to be an opportunity for Hindus to conquer the Musalmans and for the Musalmans to conquer the Hindus? Swaraj must be a Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This is the raison d'etre of Swaraj and the only justification for Swaraj. If Swaraj is to usher in an era in which the Hindus and the Muslims will be engaged in scheming against each other, the one planning to conquer its rival, why should we have Swaraj, and why should the democratic nations allow such a Swaraj to come into existence? It will be a snare, a delusion and a perversion.
The non-Muslims do not seem to be aware that they are presented with a situation in which they are forced to choose between various alternatives. Let me state them. In the first place they have to choose between [the] Freedom of India and the Unity of India. If the non-Muslims will insist on the Unity of India, they put the quick realization of India's freedom into jeopardy. The second choice relates to the surest method of defending India, whether they can depend upon Muslims in a free and united India to develop and sustain along with the non-Muslims the necessary will to defend the common liberties of both; or whether it is better to partition India and thereby ensure the safety of Muslim India by leaving its defence to the Muslims, and of non-Muslim India by leaving its defence to non-Muslims.
As to the first, I prefer [the] Freedom of India to the Unity of India. The Sinn Feinners who were the staunchest of nationalists to be found anywhere in the world and who, like the Indians, were presented with similar alternatives, chose [=preferred] the freedom of Ireland to the unity of Ireland. The non-Muslims who are opposed to partition may well profit by the advice tendered by the Rev. Michael O'Flanagan, at one time Vice-President of the Feinns, to the Irish Nationalists on the issue of the partition of Ireland./10/ Said the Rev. Father :—
"If we reject Home Rule rather than agree to the exclusion of the Unionist parts of Ulster, what case have we to put before the world? We can point out that Ireland is an island with a definite geographical boundary. That argument might be all right if we were appealing to a number of Island nationalities that had themselves definite geographical boundaries. Appealing, as we are, to continental nations with shifting boundaries, that argument will have no force whatever. National and geographical boundaries scarcely ever coincide. Geography would make one nation of Spain and Portugal; history has made two of them. Geography did its best to make one nation of Norway and Sweden ; history has succeeded in making two of them. Geography has scarcely anything to say to the number of nations upon the North American continent; history has done the whole thing. If a man were to try to construct a political map of Europe out of its physical map, he would find himself groping in the dark. Geography has worked hard to make one nation out of Ireland; history has. worked against it. The island of Ireland and the national unit of Ireland simply do not coincide. In the last analysis the test of nationality is the wish of the people."These words have emanated from a profound sense of realism which we in India so lamentably lack.
On the second issue, I prefer the partitioning of India into Muslim India and non-Muslim India as the surest and safest method of providing for the defence of both. It is certainly the safer of the two alternatives. I know it will be contended that my fears [=fear] about the loyalty of the Muslims in the army to a Free and United India, arising from the infection of the two-nation theory, is only an imaginary fear. That is no doubt true. That does not militate against the soundness of the choice I have made. I may be wrong. But I certainly can say without any fear of contradiction that, to use the words of Burke, it is better to be ridiculed for too great a credulity than to be ruined by too confident a sense of security. I don't want to leave things to chance. To leave so important an issue, as the defence of India, to chance is to be guilty of the grossest crime.
Nobody will consent to the Muslim demand for Pakistan unless he is forced to do so. At the same time, it would be a folly not to face what is inevitable and face it with courage and common sense. Equally would it be a folly to lose the part one can retain in the vain attempt of preserving the whole.
These are the reasons why I hold that if the Musalman
will not yield on the issue of Pakistan, then Pakistan must come. So far
as I am concerned, the only important question is: Are the Musalmans determined
to have Pakistan? Or is Pakistan a mere cry? Is it only a passing mood?
Or does it represent their permanent aspiration? On this there may be difference
of opinion. Once it becomes certain that the Muslims want Pakistan there
can be no doubt that the wise course would be to concede the principle
/1/ Canada,Chapter 1.
/2/ The Political Future of South Africa, 1927.
/3/ The South African Commonwealth, p. 365.
/4/ On this point, see Report of the Inquiry Committee appointed by the All-India Muslim League to inquire into Muslim grievances in Congress Provinces, popularly known as Pirpur Report. Also Report of the Bihar Provincial Muslim League to inquire into some grievances of Muslims in Bihar, and the Press Note issued by the Information Officer, Government of Bihar, replying to some of the allegations contained in these reports, published in Amrita Bazar Patrika of 13-3-39.
/5/ Canada Year Book, 1936.
/6/ South Africa Year Book, 1941.
/7/ Statesman's Year Book, 1941.
/8/ That is, for the Province of Quebec.
/9/ Italics not in the original.
/10/ Quoted by Sir James
O'Connor—History of Ireland, Vol. II, p. 257.