[We need better statesmanship than Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah have shown]
Here I propose to stop. For I feel that I have said all that I can say about the subject. To use legal language, I have drawn the pleadings. This I may claim to have done at sufficient length. In doing so, I have adopted that prolix style so dear to the Victorian lawyers, under which the two sides plied one another with plea and replication, rejoinder and rebutter [=rebuttal], surrejoinder and surrebutter, and so on. I have done this deliberately, with the object that a full statement of the case for and against Pakistan may be made. The foregoing pages contain the pleadings. The facts contained therein are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I have also given my findings. It is now for Hindus and Muslims to give theirs.
To help them in their task it might be well to set out the issues. On the pleadings the following issues seem to be necessary issues:
(1) Is Hindu-Muslim unity necessary for India's political advancement? If necessary, is it still possible of realization, notwithstanding the new ideology of the Hindus and the Muslims being two different nations?Nothing can come in the way of an Indian getting to grips with these issues and reaching his own conclusions with the help of the material contained in the foregoing pages except three things: (1) A false sentiment of historical patriotism, (2) a false conception of the exclusive ownership of territory, and (3) absence of willingness to think for oneself. Of these obstacles, the last is the most difficult to get over. Unfortunately thought in India is rare, and free thought is rarer still. This is particularly true of Hindus. That is why a large part of the argument of this book has been addressed to them. The reasons for this are obvious. The Hindus are in a majority. Being in a majority, their view point must count! There is not much possibility of [a] peaceful solution if no attempt is made to meet their objections, rational or sentimental. But there are special reasons which have led me to address so large a part of the argument to them, and which may not be quite so obvious to others. I feel that those Hindus who are guiding the destinies of their fellows have lost what Carlyle calls "the Seeing Eye" and are walking in the glamour of certain vain illusions, the consequences of which must, I fear, be terrible for the Hindus. The Hindus are in the grip of the Congress and the Congress is in the grip of Mr. Gandhi. It cannot be said that Mr. Gandhi has given the Congress the right lead. Mr. Gandhi first sought to avoid facing the issue by taking refuge in two things. He started by saying that to partition India is a moral wrong and a sin to which he will never be a party. This is a strange argument. India is not the only country faced with the issue of partition, or shifting of frontiers based on natural and historical factors to those based on the national factors. Poland has been partitioned three time,s and no one can be sure that there will be no more partition of Poland. There are very few countries in Europe which have not undergone partition during the last 150 years. This shows that the partition of a country is neither moral nor immoral. It is unmoral. It is a social, political or military question. Sin has no place in it.
(2) If Hindu-Muslim unity is possible, should it be reached by appeasement or by settlement?
(3) If it is to be achieved by appeasement, what are the new concessions that can be offered to the Muslims to obtain their willing co-operation, without prejudice to other interests?
(4) If it is to be achieved by a settlement, what are the terms of that settlement? If there are only two alternatives, (i) Division of India into Pakistan and Hindustan, or (ii) Fifty-fifty share in Legislature, Executive, and the Services, which alternative is preferable?
(5) Whether India, if she remained [=remains] one integral whole, can rely upon both Hindus and Musalmans to defend her independence, assuming it is won from the British?
(6) Having regard to the prevailing antagonism between Hindus and Musalmans, and having regard to the new ideology demarcating them as two distinct nations and postulating an opposition in their ultimate destinies, whether a single constitution for these two nations can be built, in the hope that they will show an intention to work it and not to stop it.
(7) On the assumption that the two-nation theory has come to stay, will not India as one single unit become an incoherent body without organic unity, incapable of developing into a strong united nation bound by a common faith in a common destiny, and therefore likely to remain a feebler and sickly country, easy to be kept in perpetual subjection either of [=to] the British or of [=to] any other foreign power?
(8) If India cannot be one united country, is it not better that Indians should help India in the peaceful dissolution of this incoherent whole into its natural parts, namely, Pakistan and Hindustan?
(9) Whether it is not better to provide for the growth of two independent and separate nations, a Muslim nation inhabiting Pakistan and a Hindu nation inhabiting Hindustan, than [to] pursue the vain attempt to keep India as one undivided country in the false hope that Hindus and Muslims will some day be one and occupy it as the members of one nation and sons of one motherland?
As a second refuge Mr. Gandhi started by protesting that the Muslim League did not represent the Muslims, and that Pakistan was only a fancy of Mr. Jinnah. It is difficult to understand how Mr. Gandhi could be so blind as not to see how Mr. Jinnah's influence over the Muslim masses has been growing day by day, and how he has engaged himself in mobilizing all his forces for battle. Never before was Mr. Jinnah a man for the masses. He distrusted them./1/ To exclude them from political power he was always for a high franchise. Mr. Jinnah was never known to be a very devout, pious, or a professing Muslim. Besides kissing the Holy Koran as and when he was sworn in as an M.L.A., he does not appear to have bothered much about its contents or its special tenets. It is doubtful if he frequented any mosque either out of curiosity or religious fervour. Mr. Jinnah was never found in the midst of Muslim mass congregations, religious or political.
Today one finds a complete change in Mr. Jinnah. He has become a man of the masses. He is no longer above them. He is among them. Now they have raised him above themselves and call him their Qaid-e-Azam. He has not only become a believer in Islam, but is prepared to die for Islam. Today, he knows more of Islam than mere Kalama. Today, he goes to the mosque to hear Khutba and takes delight in joining the Id congregational prayers. Dongri and Null Bazaar once knew Mr. Jinnah by name. Today they know him by his presence. No Muslim meeting in Bombay begins or ends without Allah-ho-Akbar and Long Live Qaid-e-Azam. In this Mr. Jinnah has merely followed King Henry IV of France—the unhappy father-in-law of the English King Charles I. Henry IV was a Huguenot by faith. But he did not hesitate to attend mass in a Catholic Church in Paris. He believed that to change his Huguenot faith and go to mass was an easy price to pay for the powerful support of Paris. As Paris became worth a mass to Henry IV, so have Dongri and Null Bazaar become worth a mass to Mr. Jinnah, and for similar reason. It is strategy; it is mobilization. But even if it is viewed as the sinking of Mr. Jinnah from reason to superstition, he is sinking with his ideology, which by his very sinking is spreading into all the different strata of Muslim society and is becoming part and parcel of its mental make-up. This is as clear as anything could be. The only basis for Mr. Gandhi's extraordinary view is the existence of what are called Nationalist Musalmans. It is difficult to see any real difference between the communal Muslims who form the Muslim League and the Nationalist Muslims. It is extremely doubtful whether the Nationalist Musalmans have any real community of sentiment, aim, and policy with the Congress which marks them off from the Muslim League. Indeed many Congressmen are alleged to hold the view that there is no different [=difference] between the two, and that the Nationalist Muslim[s] inside the Congress are only an outpost of the communal Muslims. This view does not seem to be quite devoid of truth when one recalls that the late Dr. Ansari, the leader of the Nationalist Musalmans, refused to oppose the Communal Award although it gave the Muslims separate electorates in [the] teeth of the resolution passed by the Congress and the Nationalist Musalmans. Nay, so great has been the increase in the influence of the League among the Musalmans that many Musalmans who were opposed to the League have been compelled to seek for a place in the League or make peace with it. Anyone who takes account of the turns and twists of the late Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan and Mr. Fazlul Huq, the late Premier of Bengal, must admit the truth of this fact. Both Sir Sikandar and Mr. Fazlul Huq were opposed to the formation of branches of the Muslim League in their Provinces when Mr. Jinnah tried to revive it in 1937. Notwithstanding their opposition, when the branches of the League were formed in the Punjab and in Bengal, within one year both were compelled to join them. It is a case of those coming to scoff remaining to pray. No more cogent proof seems to be necessary to prove the victory of the League.
Notwithstanding this Mr. Gandhi, instead of negotiating with Mr. Jinnah and the Muslim League with a view to a settlement, took a different turn. He got the Congress to pass the famous Quit India Resolution on the 8th August 1942. This Quit India Resolution was primarily a challenge to the British Government. But it was also an attempt to do away with the intervention of the British Government in the discussion of the Minority question, and thereby securing [=secure] for the Congress a free hand to settle it on its own terms and according to its own lights. It was in effect, if not in intention, an attempt to win independence by bypassing the Muslims and the other minorities. The Quit India Campaign turned out to be a complete failure.
It was a mad venture and took the most diabolical form. It was a scorch[ed]-earth campaign in which the victims of looting, arson and murder were Indians, and the perpetrators were Congressmen. Beaten, he started a fast for twenty-one days in March 1943 while he was in gaol, with the object of getting out of it. He failed. Thereafter he fell ill. As he was reported to be sinking, the British Government released him for fear that he might die on their hand[s] and bring them ignominy. On coming out of gaol, he found that he and the Congress had not only missed the bus, but had also lost the road. To retrieve the position and win for the Congress the respect of the British Government as a premier party in the country, which it had lost by reason of the failure of the campaign that followed up the Quit India Resolution and the violence which accompanied it, he started negotiating with the Viceroy. Thwarted in that attempt, Mr. Gandhi turned to Mr. Jinnah. On the 17th July 1944 Mr. Gandhi wrote to Mr. Jinnah expressing his desire to meet him and discuss with him the communal question. Mr. Jinnah agreed to receive Mr. Gandhi in his house in Bombay. They met on the 9th September 1944. It was good that at long last wisdom dawned on Mr. Gandhi, and he agreed to see the light which was staring him in the face and which he had so far refused to see.
The basis of their talks was the offer made by Mr. Rajagopalachariar to Mr. Jinnah in April 1944 which, according to the somewhat incredible/2/ story told by Mr. Rajagopalachariar, was discussed by him with Mr. Gandhi in March 1943 when he (Mr. Gandhi) was fasting in gaol, and to which Mr. Gandhi had given his full approval. The following is the text of Mr. Rajagopalachariar's formula, popularly spoken of as the C. R. Formula:—
(1) Subject to the terms set out below as regards the constitution for Free India, the Muslim League endorses the Indian demand for Independence and will co-operate with the Congress in the formation of a provisional interim government for the transitional period.The talks which began on the 9th September were carried on over a period of 18 days till 27th September, when it was announced that the talks had failed. The failure of the talks produced different reactions in the minds of different people. Some were glad, others were sorry. But as both had been, just previous to the talks, worsted by their opponents in their struggle for supremacy, Gandhi by the British and Jinnah by the Unionist Party in the Punjab, and had lost a good deal of their credit, the majority of people expected that they would put forth some constructive effort to bring about a solution. The failure may have been due to the defects of personalities. But it must however be said that failure was inevitable, having regard to certain fundamental faults in the C. R. Formula. In the first place, it tied up the communal question with the political question in an indissoluble knot. No political settlement, no communal settlement, is the strategy on which the formula proceeds. The formula did not offer a solution. It invited Mr. Jinnah to enter into a deal. It was a bargain—"If you help us in getting independence, we shall be glad to consider your proposal for Pakistan." I don't know from where Mr. Rajagopalachariar got the idea that this was the best means of getting independence. It is possible that he borrowed it from the old Hindu kings of India who built up alliance for protecting their independence against foreign enemies by giving their daughters to neighbouring princes. Mr. Rajagopalachariar forgot that such alliances brought neither a good husband nor a permanent ally. To make communal settlement depend upon help rendered in winning freedom is a very unwise way of proceeding in a matter of this kind. It is a way of one party drawing another party into its net by offering communal privileges as a bait. The C. R. Formula made communal settlement an article for sale.
(2) After the termination of the war, a commission shall be appointed for demarcating contiguous districts in the north-west and east of India, wherein the Muslim population is in absolute majority. In the areas thus demarcated, a plebiscite of all the inhabitants held on the basis of adult suffrage or other practicable franchise shall ultimately decide the issue of separation from Hindustan. If the majority decide in favour of forming a sovereign State separate from Hindustan, such decision shall be given effect to, without prejudice to the right of districts on the border to choose to join either State.
(3) It will be open to all parties to advocate their points of view before the plebiscite is held.
(4) In the event of separation, mutual agreements shall be entered into for safeguarding defence, and commerce and communications and for other essential purposes.
(5) Any transfer of population shall only be on an absolutely voluntary basis.
(6) These terms shall be binding only in case of transfer by Britain of full power and responsibility for the governance of India.
The second fault in the C. R. Formula relates to the machinery for giving effect to any agreement that may be arrived at. The agency suggested in the C. R. Formula is the Provisional Government. In suggesting this Mr. Rajagopalachariar obviously overlooked two difficulties. The first thing he overlooked is that once the Provisional Government was established, the promises of the contracting parties, to use legal phraseology, did not [=would not] remain concurrent promises. The case became [=would become] one of the executed promise against an executory [=yet to be executed] promise. By consenting to the establishment of a Provisional Government, the League would have executed its promise to help the Congress to win independence. But the promise of the Congress to bring about Pakistan would remain executory. Mr. Jinnah, who insists, and quite rightly, that the promises should be concurrent, could never be expected to agree to place himself in such a position. The second difficulty which Mr. Rajagopalachariar has overlooked is what would happen if the Provisional Government failed to give effect to the Congress part of the agreement. Who is to enforce it? The Provisional Government is to be a sovereign government, not subject to superior authority. If it was unwilling to give effect to the agreement, the only sanction open to the Muslims would be rebellion. To make the Provisional Government the agency for forging a new Constitution, for bringing about Pakistan, nobody will accept. It is a snare and not a solution.
The only way of bringing about the constitutional changes will be through an Act of Parliament embodying provisions agreed upon by the important elements in the national life of British India. There is no other way.
There is a third fault in the C. R. Formula. It relates to the provision for a treaty between Pakistan and Hindustan to safeguard what are called matters of common interests such as Defence, Foreign Affairs, Customs, etc. Here again Mr. Rajagopalachariar does not seem to be aware of obvious difficulties. How are matters of common interest to be safeguarded? I see only two ways. One is to have a Central Government vested with Executive and Legislative authority in respect of these matters. This means Pakistan and Hindustan will not be sovereign States. Will Mr. Jinnah agree to this? Obviously he does not. The other way is to make Pakistan and Hindustan sovereign States and to bind them by a treaty relating to matters of common interests. But what is there to ensure that the terms of the treaty will be observed? As a sovereign State Pakistan can always repudiate it, even if it was [=were to be] a Dominion. Mr. Rajagopalachariar obviously drew his inspiration in drafting this clause from the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922. But he forgot the fact that the treaty lasted so long as Ireland was not a Dominion, and that as soon as it became a Dominion it repudiated the treaty, and the British Parliament stood silent and grinned, for it knew that it could do nothing.
One does not mind very much that the talks failed. What one feels sorry for is that the talks failed [at] giving us a clear idea of some of the questions about which Mr. Jinnah has been observing discreet silence in his public utterances, though he has been quite outspoken about them in his private talks. These questions are— (1) Is Pakistan to be conceded because of the Resolution of the Muslim League? (2) Are the Muslims, as distinguished from the Muslim League, to have no say in the matter? (3) What will be the boundaries of Pakistan? Whether the boundaries will be the present administrative boundaries of the Punjab and Bengal or whether the boundaries of Pakistan will be ethnological boundaries? (4) What do the words "subject to such territorial adjustments as may be necessary" which occur in the Lahore Resolution mean? What were the territorial adjustments the League had in mind? (5) What does the word "finally" which occurs in the last part of the Lahore Resolution mean? Did the League contemplate a transition period in which Pakistan will not be an independent and sovereign State? (6) If Mr. Jinnah's proposal that the boundaries of Eastern and Western Pakistan are to be the present administrative boundaries, will he allow the Scheduled Castes, or, if I may say so, the non-Muslims in the Punjab and Bengal to determine by a plebiscite whether they wish to be included in Mr. Jinnah's Pakistan, and whether Mr. Jinnah would be prepared to abide by the results of the plebiscite of the non-Muslim elements in the Punjab and Bengal? (7) Does Mr. Jinnah want a corridor running through U. P. and Bihar to connect up Eastern Pakistan to Western Pakistan? It would have been a great gain if straight questions had been put to Mr. Jinnah and unequivocal answers obtained. But instead of coming to grips with Mr. Jinnah on these questions, Mr. Gandhi spent his whole time proving that the C. R. Formula is substantially the same as the League's Lahore Resolution—which was ingenious if not nonsensical, and thereby lost the best opportunity he had of having these questions clarified.
After these talks Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah have retired to their pavilions as players in a cricket match do after their game is over, as though there is nothing further to be done. There is no indication whether they will meet again, and if so when. What next? is not a question which seems to worry them. Yet it is difficult to see how India can make any political advance without a solution of the question which one may refuse to discuss. It does not belong to that class of questions about which people can agree to differ. It is a question for which solution will have to be found. How? It must be by agreement or by arbitration. If it is to be by agreement, it must be the result of negotiations—of give and take, and not of surrender by one side to the other. That [=surrender] is not agreement. It is dictation. Good sense may in the end prevail, and parties may come to an agreement. But agreement may turn out to be a very dilatory way. It may take long before good sense prevails. How long one cannot say. The political freedom of India is a most urgent necessity. It cannot be postponed, and yet without a solution of the communal problem it cannot be hastened. To make it dependent on agreement is to postpone its solution indefinitely. Another expeditious method must be found. It seems to me that arbitration by an International Board is the best way out. The disputed points in the minorities problem, including that of Pakistan, should be remitted to such a Board. The Board should be constituted of persons drawn from countries outside the British Empire. Each statutory minority in India—Muslims, Scheduled Castes, Sikhs, Indian Christians—should be asked to select its nominee to this Board of Arbitration. These minorities, as also the Hindus, should appear before the Board in support of their demands, and should agree to abide by the decision given by the Board. The British should give the following undertakings :—
(1) That they will have nothing to do with the communal settlement. It will be left to agreement or to a Board of Arbitration.The procedure has many advantages. It eliminates the fear of British interference in the communal settlement, which has been offered by the Congress as an excuse for its not being able to settle the communal problem. It is alleged that, as there is always the possibility of the minorities getting from the British something more than what the Congress thinks it proper to give, the minorities do not wish to come to terms with the Congress. The proposal has a second advantage. It removes the objection of the Congress that by making the constitution subject to the consent of the minorities, the British Government has placed a veto in the hands of the minorities over the constitutional progress of India. It is complained that the minorities can unreasonably withhold their consent, or they can be prevailed upon by the British Government to withhold their consent, as the minorities are suspected by the Congress to be mere tools in the hands of the British Government. international arbitration removes completely every ground of complaint on this account. There should be no objection on the part of the minorities. If their demands are fair and just, no minority need have any fear from a Board of International Arbitration. There is nothing unfair in the requirement of a submission to arbitration. It follows the well-known rule of law, namely, that no man should be allowed to be a judge in his own case. There is no reason to make any exception in the case of a minority. Like an individual, it cannot claim to sit in judgement over its own case. What about the British Government? I cannot see any reason why the British Government should object to any part of this scheme. The Communal Award has brought great odium on the British. It has been a thankless task and the British should be glad to be relieved of it. On the question of the discharge of their responsibilities for making adequate provision for the safety and security of certain communities, in respect of which they have regarded themselves as trustees, before they relinquish their sovereignty, what more can such communities ask than the implantation in the constitution of safeguards in terms of the award of an International Board of Arbitration? There is only one contingency which may appear to create some difficulty for the British Government in the matter of enforcing the award of the Board of Arbitration. Such a contingency can arise if any one of the parties to the dispute is not prepared to submit its case to arbitration.
(2) They will implement the decision of the Board of Arbitration on the communal question by embodying it in the Government of India Act.
(3) That the award of the International Board of Arbitration would be regarded by them as a sufficient discharge of their obligations to the minorities in India, and [they] would agree to give India Dominion Status.
In that case the question will be: will the
British Government be justified in enforcing the award against such a party?
I see no difficulty in saying that the British Government can with perfect
justice proceed to enforce the award against such a party. After all, what
is the status of a party which refuses to submit its case to arbitration?
The answer is that such a party is an aggressor. How is an aggressor dealt
with? By subjecting him to sanctions. Implementing the award of the Board
of Arbitration in a constitution against a party which refuses to go to
arbitration is simply another name for the process of applying sanctions
against an aggressor. The British Government need not feel embarrassed
in following this process if the contingency should arise. For it is a
well-recognized process of dealing with such cases and has the imprimatur
of the League of Nations, which evolved this formula when Mussolini refused
to submit to arbitration his dispute with Abyssinia. What I have proposed
may not be the answer to the question: What next? I don't know what else
can be. All I know is that there will be no freedom for India without an
answer. It must be decisive, it must be prompt, and it must be satisfactory
to the parties concerned.
/1/ Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his autobiography says that Mr. Jinnah wanted the Congress to restrict its membership to matriculates.
/2/ The formula was discussed
with Mr. Gandhi in March 1943, but was not communicated to Mr. Jinnah till