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Special Report
Nation To Minority
Sep 2008
Frank Moraes wrote

Frank Moraes wrote: The 1931 Round Table Conference was a turning point in Indo-British History, for the failure of the Hindus and the Muslims to reach a settlement marked the final parting of the ways which ended in the creation of Pakistan sixteen years later. Gandhi was oddly enough a poor political negotiator and soon found himself out of his depth at St. James's Palace - his interest had always been more in the purpose than in the mechanics of politics.

The Congress decided that its sole representative should be Gandhi, probably hoping thereby to project him as the sole voice of India; but this proved a disastrous misjudgement. Gandhi made the fatal error of claiming to speak for the Muslims and the so called depressed classes, the spokesmen of both communities repudiated him, and since the Muslims then numbered nearly thirty per cent of the population and the depressed classes about twenty per cent it was difficult for him to sustain his claim that he represented ninety-five per cent of India.

Muslims declare themselves a Nation
The 1937 elections were held on the basis of Communal Award of 1932. The Muslim League did not fare well in the elections. However, Nehru after the results, declared that there were only two players on the political scene of India: the British and the Congress. Jinnah retorted by saying that the Muslim League was the third party and Nehru dare not ignore its importance. In 1939, the Congress governments in the provinces resigned as the party had not been consulted by the British government for committing India to the Second World War. The Muslim League, on the other hand, promised to cooperate with the British in its war efforts.

As a minority, the Muslims could only ask for safeguards. And the Muslim League was not satisfied with the concessions so far given by the British government. Come March 1940 and the Muslim declared themselves as a separate nation and demanded a separate homeland.

Pakistan Resolution
The All India Muslim League held its session in Lahore on 23 March 1940, in which the famous Lahore Resolution (now called the 'Pakistan Resolution') was adopted. The Resolution runs as under:

RESOLVED that it is the considered view of this session of the All India Muslim League that no Constitutional Plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principle, namely, the geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of India, should be grouped to constitute 'independent states', in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.

That adequate, effective, and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units and in these regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political administrative, and other rights and interests in consultation with them. And in other parts of India, where the Musalmaans are in a minority, adequate, effective, and mandatory safeguards shall be specially provided in the constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative, and other rights and interests in consultation with them.

Jinnah's Presidential Address
Jinnah in his famous address on the occasion gave clear expression to the basic concept underlying the resolution. Some of the extracts from his address are reproduced below:

It has always been taken for granted mistakenly that the Musalmaaans are a minority. The Musalmaans are not a minority. The Musalmaans are a nation by any definition. What the military Government of India for 150 years has failed to achieve cannot be realized by the imposition of Central Federal Government except by means of armed force. The problem in India is not of an inter-communal character but manifestly of an international one and it must be treated as such. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.

Nehru again declares Muslims a Minority
It is not widely known that articles 29 and 30 owe their origin to communalism. The Constituent Assembly was elected in January 1946. On 13 December of the same year, Jawaharlal Nehru, as head of the interim government, moved, what was called, an Objective Resolution, whose aim was to appease the Muslim League in the hope that it would not press for partition. Remember, that no final decision had been taken by the British Government on the grant of independence to India till 20 February 1947.

What is extraordinary is that the Objective Resolution and the resulting articles continued to be debated, as if nothing had happened on 15 August 1947. In the words of Jawaharlal Nehru which he spoke in the Assembly on 8 November 1948 :

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. It tried to embody 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. Nevertheless, I hope that it is in that spirit that we have to approach the forming of this Constitution. Always using that Resolution as the yard measure with which to test every clause and phrase of this Constitution.

Articles 29 and 30 were described in the Resolution as safeguards provided for minorities; that they were conceived to protect communalism was never mentioned. In the process, considerable discrimination was introduced in the educational system. A school is either run by the government or is aided by the Syaye. In either casem the government has the final say in the policies of a school. If, however, a school happens to be run by members of a minority, the government does not interfere in its running. In effect, a school run by Hindus either accepts government aid and faces interference, or abstains from getting aid.

Further, matters concerning personal law of the Muslim were included in the Chapter on Fundamental Rights whereas those relating to the Hindus formed part of the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Manmohan Singh Goes Crazy
With the coming into power in 2004, the Congress led government headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh set up a Ministry of Minority Affairs. In addition, it set up a number of high powered Commissions to look into Muslim demands. It is the first time in the history of Independent India that a separate Ministry of Minority Affairs was set up by the Government. It was all forgotten that it is the Muslim minority that had forced the division of India on religious lines in August, 1947. Instead of being asked to leave for their Daral-Islam, they were provided special rights in the Constitution of India.

In the pre-Independence period the Congress Party always pandered to Muslim League's demand so that both Muslims and Hindus could put up a united front against the British. Those concessions failed to enthuse the Muslims and they insisted on the division of India. After Independence, the Muslims have started replaying the politics of Muslim League. The Congress Party, in order to consolidate its Muslim vote bank, is surrendering to Muslim demands. Hence a number of Commission / Committees were set up to report on the demands of the Muslim Community.

Some selected Recommendations of the Sachar Committee Report are given below:
� The non-availability of the SC quota for Muslims while it was available for Mazhabi Sikhs and Neo-Buddhists was a matter of concern.
� In view of a large number of children with Urdu as their mother tongue 'Urdu' should be taught, as an elective subject uptill graduation.
� Steps should be introduced to specifically direct credit to Muslims, create awareness of various credit schemes and bring transparency in reporting of information.
� For the Maulana Azad foundation to be effective the corpus fund needs to be increased to Rs.1000 crores.
� High legislative, administrative and judicial priority should be accorded to Wakfs in order to improve the management of about five lakhs Wakf properties spread across India.
� A National Wakf Development Corporation may be constituted by the central Government with a revolving corpus fund of Rs. 500 crores.
� Failure on the part of the State and statutory bodies entrusted with safeguarding/administering Wakf properties has caused disquiet in the Muslim community.

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