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Hindu Masjids

25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu

According to Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhiji was a Hindu and an Indian, the greatest in many generations, and he was proud of being a Hindu and an Indian. He said this in a broadcast on 14th February, 1948. What the Mahatma wrote, said and did is widely known. The track record of Babasaheb Ambedkar as a Hindu is not so well known. His popular image is that of a dalit leader and a constitutional guru. How much he felt, thought and pleaded for the interests of Hindus therefore deserves recounting.

Babasaheb's was one of the few Hindus, if not the only one, who foresaw the consequences of not letting Muslims have their Dar-ul-lslam. He therefore openly and in cold print favoured partition and in precise detail by 1940. He did this almost on the morrow of the resolution demanding Pakistan which was passed by the Muslim League at its Lahore session on 23rd March 1940. He was clear in his view that partition without an exchange of population was worse than partition. His reason was impeccable. To him dividing the subcontinent was to solve its communal conflict. The Communal Award was given in 1932 when Ramsay MacDonald was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The award gave the Muslims what they had demanded. Their weightage as well as their separate electorates were retained and in addition they were given the statutory majority of seats in the provinces in which they were the majority population.

At the time there were five Muslim majority and nine Hindu majority provinces. Since the Hindus had nothing comparable to the Muslim League, the Congress presumed to lead every one including the Hindus It did not believe in separate electorates. In fact it had continually insisted on joint electorates for all communities, and had strongly objected to any community being given a majority of seats guaranteed by the constitution. The privileges which the Muslims had been given had no meaning for the Congress and its followers.

In Ambedkar's perception, in the provinces of Punjab, North West Frontier, Sind, Bengal and Baluchistan, Muslim governments could treat Hindu minorities as they wished, knowing fully well that they need not fear retaliation in the other provinces as they would have secular governments. Hindu minorities in the Muslim provinces also insisted on joint electorates although the Communal Award ignored their feelings. It is interesting to recall what Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had to say as President of the Muslim League session held in Calcutta during 1927. In that speech the Maulana declared:

That by the Lucknow Pact they had sold their interesrs. The Delhi proposals of March last opened the door for the /irst time to the recognition of the real rights of Mussalmans in India. The separate electorates granted by the Pact of 1916 only ensured Muslim representation, but what was vital for the existence of the community recognition of its numerical strength. Delhi opened the way to the creation of such a state of affairs as would guarantee to them in the future of India a proper share. Their existing small majority in Bengal and the Punjab was only a census figure, But the Delhi proposals gave them for the first time five provinces of which no less than three (Sind, the FrontierProvince and Baluchistan) contained a real overwhelnting Muslim majority. If the Muslims did not recognise this great step they were not fit to live. There would now be nine Hindu provinces against five Muslim provinces, and whatever treatment Hindus accorded in the nine provinces, Muslims would accord the same treatment to Hindus in the five provinces. Was  not this a great gain? Was not a new weapon gained for the assertion of Muslim rights?

Babasaheb felt that the Communal Award meant that the Hindu minorities would be hostages and at the mercy of the five Muslin majority provincial governments. This, he felt was a strong enough argument in favour of partition. The scheme for Pakistan had been conceived by one Rehmat Ali in 1933 who had advocated partition. Ambedkar immediately noted that merely the information of Pakistan would not ensure safety for the Hindus in Muslin majority areas. In fact, their condition might worsen, because the hostages could at least appeal to the central government about their grievances whereas in Pakistan, there would be no impartial Central government to turn to. He recalled that the Hindus in Pakistan could then be in the same position as the Armenians under the Turks or the Jews in Czarist Russia or in Nazi Germany.

Babasaheb was perceptive enough to realise that the evil was not partition, but the bouundaries of the provinces which did not reflect, nor were they consistent with the profile of Hindu Muslim populations. The boundaries had to be altered; Punjab and
Bengal had to be bifurcated. Even then, some Hindus would get left behind in Pakistan and many Muslims would be scattered across Hindustan. All these would then have to be moved in a planned manner so that Hindus and Sikhs came away to Hindustan and Muslims moved to the territory of Pakistan. This was the gist of Ambedkar's formula. Nevertheless, it would be useful to quote him: that the tramsfer of minorities is the only lasting remedy for communal peace is beyond doubt. If that is so, there is no reason why Hindus and Muslims should keep on trading in safeguards which have proved so unsafe. That, If small countries with limited resources like Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria were capable of such an undertaking, there is no reason to suppose that what they did cannot be accomplished by Indians. After all, the population involved is inconsiderable and it would be a height of folly to give up sure way to communal peace because some obstacles in it require to be removed.

Babasaheb was convinced that the secret of a happy and successful state lay in homogeneity. That was the lesson also taught by the histories of Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Many of the countries on the map of Europe after World War I were given safeguards for the welfare of minorities. Their experience, however, showed that the safeguards did not save the minorities. The same old policy of exterminating minorities continued. Hence an exchange of minorities was found to be about the only solution.

There was another factor which caused Ambedkar a great deal of anxiety. Basing his conclusions on the facts provided in the Simon Commission Report, he found that more than half the soldiers of the then Indian Army were from the North West Frontier and West Punjab and most of them were Muslim. Although the British Indian government justified the profile of recruitment with their theory of martial and non-martial classes, yet the fact was that during the great rebellion of 1857, the people of these areas remained loyal to the British whereas soldiers recruited by the East India Company from the Indo-Gangetic plains were the ones that actually revolted. This was the conclusion of a Special Arrny Survey in 1879 which observed that the distinction between martial and non-martial classes were indistinct.

The Khilafat committee, in its anxiety to safeguard Pan Islamism had enunciated the principle that the Indian Army should not be used against a Muslim power. The Muslim League had endorsed this principle. In the words of Ambedkar even Theodore Morrison, writing in 1899, was of the opinion that the views held by the Mahomedans (certainly the most aggressive and truculent of the peoples of India) are alone sufficient to prevent the establishment of an independent Indian Government. Were the Afghan to descend from the north upon an autonomous India, the Mahomedans, instead of uniting with the Sikhs and Hindus to repel him, Would be drawn by all the ties of kinship and religion to join his flag. The Hindus, he continued, could find themselves between the devil and the deep sea so far as the defence of India was concerned. If India remains as one whole, what would happen? The issue might sound remote today, but remember that in 1919 the protagonists of the Khilafat movement had actually gone to the extent of inviting the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India.

Even the cost benefit factor did not escape Babasaheb although he was not a financial expert. As he put it: The Pakistan area which is the main recruiting ground of the present Indian Army contributes very little to the central exchequer. The main contribution comes from the provinces of Hindustan. In fact it is the money contributed by the provinces of Hindustan which enables the Government of India to carry out its activities in the Pakistan provinces. The Pakistan provinces are a drain on the provinces of Hindustan. Not only do they contribute very little to the Central Government but they receive a great deal from the Central Government. The revenue of the Central Government amounts to Rs. 121 crore. Of this about Rs. 52 crore are annually spent on the army. In what area is this amount spent? Who pays the bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crore? The bulk of this amount of Rs.52 crore which is spent on the army is spent over the Muslim army drawn from the Pakistan area. Now the bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crore is contributed by the Hindu provinces and is spent on an army from which the Hindus, who pay for it, are excluded! How many Hindus are aware of this tragedy?

It is time now to briefly recall what Mahatma Gandhi did, or said, in the context of Hindu Muslim relations. His insistence on the delivery of Rs 55 crore to Pakistan regardless of its invasion of Jammu & Kashmir in 1947 is well known. What however isuseful to recall are the Moplah riots in the Malabar area of, what is now, Kerala.

Disappointed at the likelihood of not being able to retain the Khalifa on the throne of Turkey, the Moplahs turned on their Hindu neighbours and slaughtered several thousand of them and destroyed hundreds of their houses. Yet, Gandhiji spoke of the attackers as brave God fearing Moplahs who were fighting for, what they considered their religion and in a manner which they considered as religious. Simultaneously, Gandhiji exhorted the Hindus to have courage and faith that they could protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions.

If only Ambedkar had been the first Prime Minister of India, would not the history of the subcontinent been different? With the respective populations transferred, as suggested by Babasaheb and demanded by the Muslim League, would there have been any scope left for communal conflict?

Hindu Masjids
Prafull Goradia
The Challenge
1. The Conflict

Shuddhi in Stone
10. Christian Tears
11. Ataladevi Masjid
12. Four Vandals, One Temple
13. Bhojshala Masjid
14. Seven Temples Kept Buried
15. Adina Masjid
16. Jungle Pirbaba
17. Mandir and Dargah in One Building
18. Shuddhi by Govemment
19. Iconoclasm Continues in pakistan, Bangladesh and in Kashmir
2. Shuddhi by British
20. American Professor on Temple Desecration
3. Incomplete Shuddhi
4. Spontaneous Shuddhi
5. Waterloo of Aryavarta
6. Reclaimed Temple at Mahaban
7. Qutbuddin And 27 Mandirs
8. Instant Vandalism
9. Ghazni to Alamgir

Anti-Hindu Hindus
21. Ghazni and Nehru
22. Is A Communist Always Anti-Hindu?
23. Are Some Intellectuals Perverse?
24. Are Some Eminent Indians Anti-Hindu?
25. Ambedkar, a True Hindu
26. Swaraj Meant Saving the Khalifa
27. Archaeological Surveys
28. Hindu Future after Black Tuesday

1. Annexure I
2. Annexure II
3. Annexure III
4. Annexure IV

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