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Unfinished Agenda

14. Redrawing Boundaries

Will the Hindus and the Muslims of Puniab and Bengal agree to redraw the boundaries of their provinces to make the creation of Pakistan as flawless as possible?

As for the Muslims, they ought to have no objection to redrawing the boundaries. If they do object, it must be said that they do not understand the nature of their own demand. This is quite possible, since the talk amongst Muslim protagonists of Pakistan, is very loose. Some speak of Pakistan as a Muslim national state, others speakof it as a Muslim national home. None care to know whether there is any difference between a national state and a national home. But there can be no doubt that there is a vital difference between the two. What that difference is was discussed at great length at the time of constituting a Jewish national home in Palestine. It seems that it is necessary that a clear conception of what the difference is, if the likely Muslim opposition to the redrawing of the boundaries is to be overcome.

A National Home connotes a territory in which a people, without receiving the rights of political sovereignty, has nevertheless a recognised legal position and receives the opportunity of developing its moral, social and intellectual ideals. The British Government itself, in its statement on Palestine policy issued in 1922, defined its conception of the national home in the following terms: When it is asked what is meant by the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, it may be answered that it is not the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the in habitants of Palestine as a whole, but the further development of the existing Jewish Community, with the assistance of Jews in other parts of the world, in order that it may become acentre in which the Jewish people as a whole may take, on grounds of religion and race, an interest and a pride. But inorder that this community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should be known that it is in Palestine as of right and not on sufferance. This is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should beformally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection.

From this enunciation it will be clear that there is an essential difference between a national home and a national state. The difference consists of: in the case of a national home, the people who constitute it do not receive the right of political sovereignty over the territory and the right of imposing their nationality on others also living in that territory. All that they get is a recognized legal position guaranteeing them the right to live as citizens and the freedom to maintain their culture. In the case of a national state, people constituting it, receive the rights of political sovereignty with the right of imposing their nationality on the rest.

This difference is very important and it is in the light of this that one must examine the demand for Pakistan.What do the Muslims want Pakistan for? If they want Pakistan to create a national home for Muslims, there is no necessity for Pakistan. In the provinces of Pakistan, they already have their national home with the legal right to live and advance their culture. If they want Pakistan to be a national Muslim state, they are claiming the right of political sovereignty over the territory included in it. This they are entitled to do. But the question is: should they be allowed to retain, within the boundaries of these Muslim states, non-Muslim minorities as their subjects, with a right to impose upon them the nationality of the Muslim states? No doubt, such a right is accepted to be an accompaniment of political sovereignty. But it is equally true that in all mixed states, this right has become a source of mischief in modern times. To ignore the possibilities of such mischief in the creation of Pakistan, is omitting to read the bloody pages of recent history in which have been recorded the atrocities, murders, plunder and arsons committed by the'I`urks, Greeks, Bulgars and Czechs against their minorities. It is not possible to take away from a state the right of imposing its nationality upon its subjects, because it is incidental to political sovereignty. But is it possible to deny any opportunity for the exercise of such a right. This can be done by allowing the Muslims to have such national Muslim states as are strictly homogeneous, strictly ethnic states. Under no circumstances can they be allowed to carve out mixed states composed of Muslims and Hindus, with the former superior in number to the latter.

This probably has not been contemplated by the Muslims who are the authors of Pakistan. It was certainly not contemplated by Sir M.Iqbal, the originator of the proposal. in his presidential address to the Muslim League in 1930, he expressed his willingness to agree to the exclusion of Ambala division and perhaps of some other districts where non-Muslims predominate. On the other hand, it is possible that those who are putting forth the proposal for the creation of Pakistan, do contemplate that it will include Punjab and Bengal with their present boundaries. To them it must be clear. that to insist on the present boundaries is sure to antagonize even those Hindus who have an open mind on the question. The Hindus can never be expected to consent to the inclusion of Hindus in a Muslim state deliberately creased for the preservation and propagation of Muslim fain and culture.

No doubt, Hindus will oppose Muslims must not suppose and it will not take them long to find out. Muslims, if they insist on retaining the present boundaries, will open themselves to the accusation that behind their demand for Pakistan, there is something much more sinister than a mere desire to create a national home or a national state. They will be accused of a design of perfecting the scheme of Hindu hostages in Muslim hands by increasing the balance of Muslim majorities against Hindu minorities in Muslim areas.

There are two alternatives for the Hindus of Punjab and Bengal, and they should be asked to face these fairly and squarely. Muslims in Punjab number l3,332,460 and Hindus, along with Sikhs and the rest, number 11,392,732. The difference is only 1,939,728. This means that Muslim majority in the Punjab is only a majority of 8 percent. Given these facts, which in better: to retain the unity of Punjab and allow the Muslim majority of 54 percent to rule over the Hindu minority of 4 percent or to redraw the boundaries, so that the Muslims and Hindus have separate national states, and thus rescue the whole body of Hindus from the terror of Muslim rule ?

Muslims in Bengal number 27,497,624 and Hindus number 21,570,407. The difference is only of 5,927,217. This means that the Muslim majority in Bengal is only a majority of 12 percent. Given these facts, which is better: to oppose the creation of a national Muslim state out of Eastern Bengal and Sylhet by refusing to redraw the boundaries, and allow the Muslim majority of only 12 percent to rule the Hindu minority of 44 percent; or to consent to redraw the boundaries, so that Muslims and Hindus again have separate national states, thus rescuing the 44 percent of Hindus from the horrors of Muslim rule?

If the Musalmans are bent on having Pakistan then it must be conceded to them. In my judgment there are two governing factors which must determine the issue. First is the defence of India and second is the sentiment of the Muslims.

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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