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Unfinished Agenda


3. Betrayal

The Muslim League demanded an exchange of population especially through 1946. Simultaneously, it carried on Direct Action, following the Great Calcutta Killings of August 1946, especially in the Punjab, were the party felt ethnic cleansing was most necessary. Come 1947, the rioting escalated in order to make sure that the Hindus, including Sikhs, emigrated. The carnage continued after Independence; by 1948, the western wing of Pakistan had been cleansed of Hindus and Sikhs. The eastern wing, or what is now Bangladesh, was emulating the western wing although at a more gradual pace.

In sharp contrast, Congress leaders, whether in government or outside, ignored the League's demand for an exchange of population. Mahatma Gandhi was busy singing Ishwar allah tero nam and repeating that Ram and Rahim were one. Although Jawaharlal Nehru called himself a British prime minister of India, he was actually playing the role of a Muslim although he happened to be a Hindu. He had come to be known as a Fabian or non-revolutionary socialist. A socialist had to be spontaneously secular. Vallabhbhai Patel was about the only top Congressman who warned Muslims that those who did not emigrate to Pakistan had to be loyal to Hindustan.

How far Nehru was impartial between religions and whether he was biased is best verified by what is codified in the Constitution of India whose passing he led and directed as Prime Minister.

Article 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities

1 Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.

2. No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the state or receiving aid out of state funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.

Article 30: Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions

1 All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

1(A) In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, referred to in clause (1), the state shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause.

The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

These articles were based on what was drafted well before partition had been decided. Speaking in the Constituent Assembly on 8 December, 1948, Jawaharlal Nehru said:

MrVice President, Sir, we are on the last lap of our long journey. Nearly two years ago. we met in this hall and on that solemn occasion it was my high privilege to move a Resolution which has come to be known as the Objective Resolution. This is rather a prosaic description of that Resolution because it embodied something more than mere objectives. although objectives are big things in the life of a nation. It tried to embody, in so far as it is possible in cold print, the spirit that lay behind the Indian people at the time. It is difficult to maintain the spirit of a nation or a people at a high level all the time and I do not know if we have succeeded in doing that. Neverthless, I hope that it is in that spirit that we shall consider it in detail. always using that Objective Resolution as the yard measure with which to test every clause and phrase in this Constitution.

The Objective Resolution was introduced in the same Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December,1946 well before the decision had been taken by the British government, the Communist Party, the Muslim League and others, to partition the country. Even the declaration by the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee that India would be granted independence was not made until 20 February, 1947. The decision to partition the country had to wait till 3 June, 1947.

There were eight clauses in the Objective Resolution of which No.6 read: wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes. These quotations are from the Constituent Assembly Debates, Books 1 and 2, published by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, and reprinted in 1999.

Evidently the privileges contemplated for the minorities were an endeavour to avoid partition by dissuading the Muslims, especially the League, from insisting on division of the country. Nevertheless, the League successfully insisted on the implementation of the two nation theory, whereby it was Pakistan for the Muslims and Hindustan for the rest. Even though it may be difficult to accept that in this context even for the Muslims, Jinnah was more reasonable than Nehru. The proof of this contention is the agreement that Jinnah signed with Raja Maheshwar Dayal Seth, General Secretary of the All India Hindu Mahasabha, several years before partition. The essence of the agreement was that in the event of partition, Muslims would not expect any safeguards in Hindustan.

Although secularism to this day remains the signature tune of the Congress party, yet faith in its ideals has never taken root. In fact, what precisely secularism means in India has never been clarified. The 16th century European definition was separation of the church from the state; non-interference of the clergy in affairs of government. The Marxist concept was to abolish religion from the life of the people. Whereas tolerance has been a hallmark of the Hindu ethos since the beginning. And therefore the question of introducing secularism into the affairs of India appears to have been unnecessary. The way secularism has been practiced in India, the spirit of tolerence has been distorted. Hindu Muslim riots are a symptom of this distortion.

It is noteworthy that of the constitutions of 39 countries that the author has seen, only four mention the word secular.They are the Albanian, French, Indian and Namibian constitutions. Incidentally, when our Constitution was adopted in1950 there was  no mention of secularism The term was brought in by Mrs. Indira Gandhi during the Emergency in 1976. Many an opposition member was then in jail. Nevertheless, if the Indian state has remained impartial towards all the religions, the distortion of tolerance might not have been so widespread. Unfortunately, government policies have shown a distinct bias towards the Muslims. For example, the Hajj subsidy; no comparable concession is provided to members of any other faith. If a Roman Catholic proposes to go to the Vatican, he has to pay the full fare for his trip. So would a Jew if he were to go to Jerusalem. The Hindu does not get anything for going on a pilgrimage.

One of the directive principles of policy contained in Article 44 of the Constitution requires the introduction of a common civil code; one law common to all citizens. 52 years have passed since the Constitution was adopted, yet there is no sign of the country having one personal law. If the Muslims were to insist on their own distinctive personal law, why should the state not also demand of them to accept the sharia with regard to criminal law.Minority educational institutions are allowed to be run freely although they are subsidized by the state, whereas, Hindu institutions are denied any subsidy. So discriminatory is this law that the much respected Rama Krishna Mission was driven to claim that it is a minority organization!

Why was the Minorities Commission established?Are not minorities human? Their interests could have been looked after by the National Human Rights Commission.Evidently, there was systematic intention by the Government of India at some point in time to keep alight the flame of minorityism. If they got integrated into the national mainstream, they might cease to be useful vote banks!

It is unlikely that the Muslim community or its leadership initially demanded any of these favours from the Indian state. Who would understand Muslim aspirations better than Qaid e-Azam Jinnah, especially in the years around Independence and partition? It is not widely known that Jinnah entered into a written agreement, several years before partition, with the All India Hindu Mahasabha whose General Secretary at the time was Raja Maheshwar Dayal Seth. According to the agreement, the country was to be partitioned soon after Independence with the help of a plebiscite. There was to be no corridor between the Muslim areas of the northwest and the northeast of India although they could form a single sovereign state. Government machinery was to be provided for facilitating the transfer of population. Above all, it said:

in the event of separation the Muslims shall not demand any safeguard for the Muslim minority in Hindustan.It will be open to the two Indias to arrange on a reciprocal basis safeguards for religious minorities in the respective states

Page 301, Indian Muslim: A Political History by Ram Gopal, Asia Publishing House, New York. 1959.

How were the minorities dealt with subsequently by Pakistan is well known. Dr. Raflq Zakaria, in his recent book The Man Who Divided India, Popular Prakashan, Mumbai, 2001, has described what happened in that country. Some Indian Muslims living in India asked Mr.Jinnah on the eve of partition:

What is to happen to us who are being left behind? He assured them that if any harm came to them, Pakistan would retaliate against the Hindus under its control. But he could not have been serious about that for he must have known that after the hate campaign he had unleashed against the Hindus, few of them would have dared to stay on in his Pakistan and they did not; they fled in the most excruciating circumstances - many died on the way, the rest reached India with nothing.

Although the expression ethnic cleansing was not used, what happened in the western wing of Pakistan was just that. In the eastern wing, something similar has been happening but in a chronic, rather than an acute manner.

In fairness to the Muslim League and the community it represented, it was forthright about its non-secular intentions ever since it was founded in 1906. One of its essential rules was that only a Muslim could become a member of the party The League's demand for separate electorates was conceded by the Lucknow Pact which was signed between the Congress and the Muslim League in 1916. While writing in his 34 journal Al Hilal during 1913, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad had said that no Muslim need join any political party Islam itself is a party whose name is Hizbullah. The Imam and the Sultan are rolled into one and this integrated concept was personified by the Caliph or the representative of the Holy Prophet. But for the Congress Party to concede separate electorates for the two communities was to bury its secular credentials.

Whatever hope might have persisted for the practice of secularism in India, was finally dashed to the ground when the Congress conceded the League's demand for partition. Pakistan for Muslims and Hindustan for the rest was the understanding of the League.

No matter what the ideals of the Congress leaders might have been, to agree to partition, was to endorse the two nation theory. The Muslims of undivided India, it was contended by the League, were a nation separate from the rest of Indians. They therefore needed a separate homeland. Pakistan was not merely a piece of territory vivisected from the rest of India. It was also a home for all the Muslims to gather in, to live in and flourish. The Congress Party let the country's territory be divided, but did not follow through with the transfer of people. Instead, its government enshrined discriminatory temptations Articles 29 and 30, in the Constitution to induce Muslims to stay back.

The failure of Hindustan to fall in line with Islamic separatism was unfortunate, if not also unwarranted. New Delhi appointed as its first High Commissioner to Pakistan a gentleman called Sri Prakasa who proved to be a quisling or ghaddar. Read in his own words as printed in his book called Pakistan: Birth and Early Days. published by Meenakshi Prakashan Delhi, 1965.

Our Goverment did its vely best to make it possible for Muslims to come back to India. Naturally they could not take everyone. The problem of sheer accommodation was exceedingly difficult. We had to find room for many millions of Punjabi and Sindhi Hindus: and we could not possibly have all the Muslims also with us, even though we had no animosity for them and we really desired that they should stay with US.

I had to face three exoduses. I have already spoken of the employees of the Central Government, and then of Sindhi Hindus. The third was of Indian Muslims who had come to Pakistan in a fit of great enthusiasm for a new homeland that they had obtained, and where they have hoped that prosperity would be waiting with open arms to welcome them.

To the Banaras weavers, I said: "Why have you come here? No one wants you here. Do get back home Why do you want to destroy my city? It is you who have made it famous in the world." I immediately used to issue permits to them to go back. This caused some misunderstanding between me and my assistants in my office. They looked at the situation with different eyes. The Government of India also later changed its policy in this behalf. Formerly they encouraged Indian Muslims to remain where they were. Later, when they saw that not a single Hindu was allowed to remain in Pakistan, and that all of them were coming away, they felt it was necessary that atleast as many Muslims should go away as was the numberof Hindus who had come. There was obviously not sufficient room for everyone in India as she now became.

Constitutionally speaking. I was more responsible for them because they were Indians than for the Hindus in Pakistan because these were the primary charge of the government there The situation being what it was at that time, the position was reversed: and the Indian High Commission came to be in a way incharge of the welfare of the Hindus in Pakistan while the Government of Pakistan was supposed to have the duty of looking after migrating Indian Muslims.


Unfinished Agenda
Prafull Goradia
Content
1. Why Transfer Population?
10. Frontiers
11. Financial Resources
12. Armed Forces
13. Pakistan and Communal Peace
14. Redrawing Boundaries
2. Unfinished Agenda of Partition
23. Two Nation Theory
24. Ethnic Cleansing by Pakistan
25. Get Out of Bangladesh
26. Population Transfer Between Greece and Turkey
3. Betrayal
4. Hindu Muslim Gulf
5. Theological Genesis of Separatism
6. Medieval Experience
7. Subcontinental Ummah is One
8. Separate Homeland For All Muslims
9. Ambedhar on Partition

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