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Unfinished Agenda

12. Armed Forces

The defence of a country does not depend so much upon its scientific frontiers as it does upon its resources. But more than even the resources it depends upon the fighting forces available to it. What are the fighting forces available to Pakistan and to Hindustan?

The Simon Commission in 1930 pointed out, as a special feature of the Indian defence problem, that there were special areas which alone offered recruits to the Indian army and that there were other areas which offered none or, if at all, very few. The facts revealed in the following table, taken from the report of the Commission, undoubtedly will come as a surprise to many Indians, who think and care about the defence of India:

Areas of Recruitment Number of Recruits drawn

1.North West Frontier Province 5,600
2. Kashmir 6,500
3. Punjab 86,000
4. Baluchistan 300
5. Nepal 19,000
6. United Provinces 16,500
7. Rajputana 7,000
8. Central India 200*
9. Bombay 7,000
10. Central Provinces + Berar 100
11. Bihar & Orissa 300
12. Bengal Nil
13. Assam Nil
14. Burma 3,000
15. Hyderabad 700
16. Mysore 100
17. Madras 4,000
18. Miscellaneous 1,900
Total 158,200

* Based on World War I figures
NB: This chapter and the following ones have been reproduced from Ambedkar: Pakistan or the partition of India originally published in 1941 and reprinted by the Government of Maharashtra in 1990.

The Simon Commission found that this state of affairs was natural to India, and in support of it, cited the following figures of recruitment from the different provinces of India during World War I, especially because it cannot be suggested that any discouragement was offered for recruitment in any area:

Provinces Combatant Non-Combatant Recruits Enlisted Total

Madras 51,223 41,117 92,340
Bombay 41,272 30,211 71,483
Bengal 7,117 51,935 59,052
United Provinces 163,578 117,565 281,143
Punjab 349,688 97,288 446,976
North-West Frontier 32,181 13,050 45,231
Baluchistan 1,761 327 2,088
Burma 14,094 4,576 18,673
Bihar & Orissa 8,576 9,631 15,007
Central Provinces 5,376 9,631 15,007
Assam 942 14,182 15,124
Ajmer-Merwana 7,341 1,632 8,973
Nepal 58,904 - 58,904
Total 742.053 414,493 1,156,546

These data reveal that the fighting forces available for the defence of India mostly come from areas which are to be included in Pakistan. From this it may be argued, that without Pakistan, Hindustan cannot defend itself.

The facts brought out by the Simon Commission are beyond question. But they cannot be made the basis of the conclusion that only Pakistan can produce soldiers and that Hindustan cannot. That such a conclusion is quite untenable as will be seen from the following considerations.

In the first place, what is regarded by the Commission as something peculiar to India is not quite so peculiar. What appears to be peculiar is not due to any inherent defect in the people. The peculiarity arises from the policy of recruitment followed by the British government in the years past. The official explanation of the predominance in the Indian army of the men of the North west is that they belong to the martial classes. But Mr. Chaudhari, a military expert, has demonstrated that this explanation is far from being true. He has shown that the predominance in the army of the men from the North- West took place as early as the Mutiny of  1857, some 20 years before the theory of martial and non-martial classes was projected in an indistinct form for the first time in 1879 by the Special Army Committee, and that their predominance had nothing to do with their alleged fighting qualities but was due to the fact, that they helped the British to suppress the Mutiny in which the Bengal army was so completely involved.

Hindustan need, therefore, have no apprehension regarding the supply of an adequate fighting force from among its own people. The separation of Pakistan can not weaken her in that respect.

The Simon Commission drew attention to three features of the Indian army, which struck them as being special and peculiar to India. It pointed out that the duty of the army in India was two-fold; first, to prevent independent tribes on the Indian side of the Afghan frontier from raiding peaceful inhabitants of the plains below. Second, to protect India against invasion by countries lying behind and beyond unorganized territories. The commission took note of the fact that from 1850 to 1922, there were 72 expeditions against independent tribes, on an average of one a year, and also of the fact that in the countries behind and beyond this belt of unorganized territory, lies the direction from which, throughout the ages, danger to India's territorial integrity has come.

The second unique feature of the Indian army, the commission observed:

The Army in India is not only provided and organized to ensure against external dangers of a wholly exceptional character: it is also distributed and habitually used throughout India for the purpose of maintaining or restoring internal peace In all countries the military is not normally employed in this way, and certainly is not organized for this purpose. But the case of India is entirely different. Troops are employed many times a year to prevent internal disorder and if necessary, to quell it. Police forces, admirably organized as they are, cannot be expected in all cases to cope with the sudden and violent outburst of a mob driven frantic by religious frenzy.

The third unique feature of the Indian army, which was pointed out by the Commission, is the preponderance in it of the men from the North-West. The origin of this preponderance and the reasons under lying the official explanation given have already been examined.

But there is one more special feature of the Indian army to which the Commission made no reference at all. The Commission either ignored the fourth special feature or was not aware of it. It is such an important feature that it overshadows all the three features to which the Commission refers, in its importance and in its social and political consequences. It is a feature which, if widely known, will set many people thinking furiously.

It is sure to raise questions which may prove insoluble and which may easily block the path of India's political progress - questions of far greater importance and complexity than those relating to Indianisation of the army.

Yet another feature of the Indian army is the much overlooked question of communal composition. Mr.Chaudhari has highlighted this aspect. The following table shows the proportion of soldiers serving in the Indian infantry, according to the area and the community from which they are drawn:

Changes in the Communal Composition of the Indian Army

Area and Communities %age in 1914 %age in 1918 %age in 1919 %age in 1930

I. The N.W.F.P. Punjab and Kashmir 47 46.5 46 58.5
Sikhs 19.2 17.4 15.4 13.58
Punjabi Musalmans 11.1 11.3 12.4 22.6
Pathans 6.2 5.42 4.54 6.35
II. Nepal, Kumaon, Garhwal 15 18.9 14.9 22.00
Gurkhas 13.1 16.6 12.2 16.4
III. Upper India 22 22.7 25.5 11.0
U.P. Rajputs 6.4 6.8 7.7 2.55
Hindustani Musalmans 4.1 3.42 4.45 Nil
Brahmins 1.8 1.86 2.5 Nil
IV. South India 16 11.9 12 5.5
Mahrattas 4.9 3.85 3.7 5.33
Madrasi Musalmans 3.5 2.71 2.13 NIl
Tamils 2.5 2.00 1.67 Nil

The table brings out in an unmistakable manner the profound changes which have been going on in the communal composition
of the Indian army particularly after 1919. They are (1) a phenomenal rise in the strengths of Punjabi Musalmans and Pathans (2) a substantial reduction in the position of Sikhs from first to third, (3) the degradation of Rajputs to the fourth place, and (4) the shutting out of U.P.Brahmins' Madrasi Musalmans, and Tamilians, both Brahmins and non Brahmins.

Whatever be the explanation, two glaring facts stand out from this survey. The first is that the Indian army is predominantly Muslim in its composition. The other is that Musalmans who predominate are from the Punjab and the N.W.F.P.. Such a composition means that the Musalmans have been made the principal defenders of India from foreign invasion. And they are conscious of this proud position which has been assigned to them by the British. One often hears them say that they are the gate-keepers of India. The Hindus must consider the problem of the defence of India in this light.

How far can the Hindus depend upon these gatekeepers to hold the gate and protect the liberty and freedom of India ? The answer must depend on who comes to force open the gate. It is obvious that there are only two foreign countries which are likely to force this gate from the northwest side of India, Russia or Afghanistan, borders of both of them touch the borders of India. Which of them will invade India and when, no one can say definitely. the invasion comes from Russia, itis hoped that the gate-keepers of India will be staunch and loyal enough to hold the gate and stop the invader. But suppose the Afghans singly or in combination with other Muslim countries march on India, will these gatekeepers stop the invaders or will they open the gates and let them in ? This is a question which no Hindu can afford to ignore.

It is possible to say that Afghanistan will never think of invading India. But theory is best tested by examining its capacity to meet the worst case scenario. The loyalty and dependability of the army of the Punjabi and NorthWest Frontier Provinces Muslims can only be tested by considering how it will behave in the event of an invasion by the Afghans. Will they respond to the call of the land of their birth, or, will they be swayed by the call of theirreligion, is the question which must be faced. It is not safe to try and escape from these annoying and discomfiting questions by believing that we need not worry about a foreign invasion so long as India is under the protection of the British. Such a complacent attitude is unforgivable. The last war has shown that a situation may arise when Great Britain may not be able to protect India, although it is in times of war when India needs the most protection.Second, the efficiency of an institution must be tested under natural, and not artificial conditions. The behaviour of the Indian soldier under British control is artificial.. His behaviour when he is under Indian control would be his natural behaviour. British control does not allow much play to the natural instincts and sympathies of men. That is why the men in the army behave wells.

Some may ask: why assume that the large proportion of Muslims in the army is a settled fact and that it cannot be unsettled? Those who can unsettle it are welcome to make whatever efforts they can. But so liar as one can see, it is not going to be unsettled. On the contrary, it should be no surprise if it was entered in the Constitution, when revised, as a safeguard for the Muslim minority. The Musalmans are sure to make this demand and as against the Hindus, the Muslims somehow always succeed. We must, therefore, proceed on the assumption that the composition of the Indian army will remain what it is at present. Can the Hindus depend on such an army to defend the country against invasion by Afghanistan ? The realist must take note of the fact that Musalmans look upon Hindus as kafirs, who deserve to be exterminated rather than protected. The realist must take note of the fact that while Musalmans accept the European as his superior, he looks upon the Hindu as his inferior. It is doubtful how far a regiment of Musalmans will accept the authority of Hindu officers if it be placed under them. The realist must take note that of all the Musalmans. the ones from the NorthWest are the most disaffected in their relations with Hindus. The realist must take note that the Punjabi Musalman is fully susceptible to the propaganda in favour of pan-Islamism. Even Sir Theodore Morrison, writing in the Imperial Rule in India 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 the Hindus to repel him, would be l drawn by all the ties of kinship and religion to join his flag.

In 1919 Indian Musalmans, who were carrying on Khilafat movement, went as far as inviting the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India, and therefore the view expressed bu Morrison acquires added strength and ceases to be a matter of mere speculation. There is another question which must be pondered by the Hindus. That question is will the Indian government be free to use the army, whatever its loyalties, against the invading Afghans? Attention must be drawn to the stand taken by the Muslim League. It is to the effect that the Indian army shall not be used against Muslim powers. This principle was enunciated by the Khilafat Committee long before the League. Apart from this, the question remains: how far will the Indian Muslims, in future, make it their article of faith? That the League has not succeeded in this behalf against the British regime does not mean that it will not succeed against an Indian government. The chances are that it will, because, however unpatriotic the principle may be from the stand point of Hindus, it is most. agreeable to the Muslim sentiment, and the League may find sanction for it in the general support of its community. If the League succeeds in enforcing this limitation Upon India's right to use her fighting forces, what is going to be position of Hindus ?

If India remains politically whole and the two nation mentality created by Pakistan continues to be fostered, the Hindus will find themselves between the devil and the deep sea, so far as the defence of India is concerned. Having an army, they will not be free to use it because the League objects. Using it will not be possible nor depending on it because its loyalty is doubtful. On account of these military limitations, India will have to remain on subordinate terms while cooperating with Muslim countries on her border, as do Indian states under British paramountcy.

Hindus have a difficult choice to make: to have a safe army or a safe border? Is it in their interest to insist that Muslim India should remain part of India so that they may have a safe border, or is it in their interest to welcome its separation from India so that they may , have a safe army? Which is then better for the Hindus ? Should the Musalmans be without and against or should they be within and against ? If the question is asked of any prudent man, there will be only one answer, namely, that if the Musalmans are to be against the Hindus, it is better that they should be without and Against, rather than within and against. Indeed, it is a consummation devoutly to be wished that the Muslims should be without. That is the only way of getting rid of the Muslim preponderance in the Indian army.

How can it be brought about ? Here again, there is only one way to bring it about and that is to support the scheme for creating Pakistan. Once Pakistan is created, Hindustan, having ample resources of men and money, can have an army which it can call its own and there will be nobody to dictate as to how it should be used and against whom it should be used. The defence of Hindustan, far from being weakened by the creation of Pakistan, will be infinitely improved.

The Pakistan area, which is the main recuitting ground of the present Indian army, contributes very little to the central exchequer as will be seen from the following figures:

Contribution to the Central Exchequer*

Punjab 1,18,01,385
North-West Frontier 9,28,294
Sind 5,86,46,915
Baluchistan Nil
Total 7,13,76,594

As against this, the provinces of Hindustan contribute as follows:

Madras 9,53,26,745
Bombay 22,53,44,247
Bengal* 12,00,00,000
U.P. 4,05,53,00
Bihar 1,54,37,742
C.P. * Berar 31,42,682
Assam 1,87,55,967
Orissa 5,67,346
Total 51,91,27,729

* Pre-World War II figures
Only 50% revenue is shown because nearly 1/2 the population is Hindu.

The Pakistan provinces, it will be senn, contribute very little. 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 Pakistan provinces. The latter are a drain on the former. Not only do they contribute very little to the central government.  instead they receive a great deal from the centre. The revenue of the central government amounts to Rs 121 crores. Of this, about Rs 52 crores are spent annually on the army. In what area is this amount spent ? Who pays the bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crores ? The bulk of this amount of (Rs. 52 crores) is spent on the Muslim army drawn from the Pakistan area. Now the bulk of this amount of (Rs. 52 crores) is contributed by Hindu provinces and is spent on an army which consists mainly of non-Hindus ! How many Hindus are aware of this tragedy ? How many know at whose cost this tragedy is being enacted ? Today the Hindus are not responsible because they cannot prevent it. The question is whether they will allow this tragedy to continue. If they mean to stop it, the surest way of putting an end to it, is to allow a Pakistan to come into being. To oppose it, is to buy a sure weapon for their own destruction.

Unfinished Agenda
Prafull Goradia
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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