India has not realized and is still not realising its potential. The people are wise, intelligentsia is as well educated as any in the world. The country's technocrats, managers and businessmen have proved themselves to be world class. The resource base of the country is sound. Yet the pace of progress is slow. Why? One reason is that the people of the country are unable to move in unison. Mohammed Ali Jinnah and his Muslim Leaguers had foreseen this dichotomy. They were anxious and had therefore made the exchange of population an integral part of their demand for Pakistan to pull together all the Muslims of undivided India. The territorial vivisection was to provide exclusive space for their homeland or a Dar-ul-Islam for the entire Muslim population to flourish under the writ of the sharia.
The demand for the new state was led by men who resided in the provinces of Bihar, Bombay and United Provinces (UP). M.A. Jinnah was a Gujarati whereas Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan hailed from what is now Haryana. To accommodate the expected mohajirs, the Muslim League governments encouraged ethnic cleansing whereby non-Muslims were forced to move to Hindustan. The cleansing was thorough in the western wing of Pakistan and less thorough in east Pakistan. However, not many Muslims migrated or undertook hijrat. Punjab was the only province where there was an exchange of population. For the rest, whether Baluchistan, North West Frontier Province, Sindh or Bengal, the exodus was largely one way into India by the Hindus. There was no exchange. Overwhelmingly, the Muslims resident in the rest of Hindustan stayed put. Some who had migrated even came back. Assurances by Hindu leaders made all the difference. The Constitution of India was also attractive for Muslims. Articles 29 and 30 offered several special privileges to them. As a result, Jinnah's dream remained unfulfilled, which explains why the agenda of partition is still unfinished.
On the other hand, Hindustan’s single biggest obsession since Independence has been its minority which is an euphemism for Muslims. A separate civil code, based on the sharia, continues to be followed for them although it is violative of Article 44, a directive principle of policy in the Constitution.
The ugliest symptom of minority obsession is the frequency of communal riots, which is again an euphemism for Hindu Muslim riots. Or else, occasionally there should be a Hindu Christian riot, at least in Kerala and Tamilnadu, where Christians are in greater numbers than Muslims. Yet there has only been Muslims rioting whether in Coimbatore or in Kochi. Why? The answer came from the Muslim League leaders especially Sir Feroze Khan Noon who rose to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He had threatened that unless Hindu leaders agreed to an exchange or a transfer of population, India would witness a re-enactment of the violent orgies of Chengez Khan and Halaqu Khan. The Muslim League showed that it meant business, first by direct action begun with the Great Calcutta Killings of August 1946 and then with the riots during partition and the subsequent ethnic cleansing. In the absence of a Dar-ul-Islam or a land where the writ of the sharia runs, many Muslims feel they cannot fulfil themselves as momins or faithfuls.
Unfinished Agenda of Partition
In response to the 23 March 1940 resolution of the Muslim League for the creation of Pakistan, a number of questions were raised. One of the most important was: no matter where the line of demarcation was drawn, there would be Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs on either side in a minority. They would overnight become aliens and foreigners in their own homes. Mohammed Ali Jinnah initially evaded this question, but later began to promise protection to the minorities. However, there was no question of Hindus and Sikhs obtaining citizenship or equal status with the nationals of Pakistan. If they could, why divide India was his question? He suggested an exchange of population as the realistic solution.
As if to avoid exploding a bomb or to shock people, Jinnah was slow and gentle in bringing up the question of population transfer. But wise and educated as he was, it is fair to believe that he was familiar with the European experience where, at the beginning of the 20th century, some two and a half million people had undertaken transfer of residence across national frontiers. Muslim Bulgarians were resettled in Turkey and many Christians were transferred to Bulgaria in pursuance of the Turko-Bulgarian Convention of 1913. This was also done officially under the Treaty of Lausanne signed on 30 January 1923 between Turkey and Greece.
Professor M. Mujeeb, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi had an interesting experience. In his words, quoted from his book Islamic Influence on Indian Society, Meenakshi Prakashan, Meerut, 1972:
At a party given during the U.N. General Assembly Session in 1949 I had the pleasure of being placed next to the Turkish representative. He looked at my name card saw that I was a Muslim and at once asked are there still any Muslims in India? The impression then created does not yet seem to have been removed and it is believed that the sub-continent had been divided between Muslims and Hindus, with all Muslims on the one side and all Hindus on the other.
Jinnah must surely have been aware of the philosophical mainspring of Pakistan. Ever since British captured power and the consequent displacement of Muslim rule, there was widespread feeling that a Dar-ul-Islam in India had been replaced by a Dar-ul-Harb or a land of struggle. There is a principle as old as Islam that a jehad has to be fought for acquiring a Dar-ul-Islam. On the other hand, when there is no hope of achieving it, a Dar-ul-Harb can not be tolerated indefinitely. The solution for the Muslims then was hijrat or migration to a land of Islam. Incidentally, devout faithfuls believe that they were fighting a jehad against the British right through the 19th century. A hijrat was also undertaken by several hundred thousand Muslims who migrated to Afghanistan in 1920 on their realisation that the British would not allow the Sultan to continue on the throne of Turkey and thus remaining the khalifa for all Sunnis. Nearly 20,000 Indian Muslims succeeded in entering and settling in Afghanistan.
For the Muslim leaders therefore the idea of a population transfer was neither novel nor surprising. Even Prophet Muhammad had undertaken hijrat from Mecca to Madina while founding Islam. No wonder then that Khan Iftikhar Hussain of Mamdot had said that the exchange of population offered a very practical solution for the problem of the Muslims, reported by Dawn, 3 December 1946. Pir Ilahi Bux, the Sindhi leader, had said that he welcomed an exchange of population for the safety of the minorities, as it would put an end to all communal disturbances as reported by Dawn, on 4 December 1946. So also felt Raja Ghazanfar Ali who later became Pakistan's envoy to New Delhi. Dawn, of 19 December 1946, reported his having asked for the alteration of the population map of India. Sir Ivan Jenkins, the Governor of Punjab, had then observed that by asking for an exchange of population, the Muslim League was planning to forcibly drive away Hindus from Punjab.
It was implicit in these statements that the League objective was to undertake ethnic cleansing soon after partition. That this was not mere conjecture was proved by the fact that almost all Hindus were driven out from West Pakistan in a matter of two to three years. Evidently, the League leadership had fears that ethnic cleansing on their side would invite a similar action in Hindustan, causing untold miseries to their Muslim brethren. In any case, the Dar-ul-Islam that they were pursuing was for all Muslims of the subcontinent. Why should those, who happened to be in Hindustan, be condemned to live indefinitely in a hopeless Dar-ul-Harb?
These were no stray threats either by Mamdot or the Pir. Jinnah, while addressing a press conference at Karachi on 25 November 1946, said that the authorities, both central and provincial, should immediately take up the question of exchange of population, as reported by Dawn, on 26 November, 1946. Sir Feroze Khan Noon, who later rose to be Prime Minister had earlier on 8 April 1946, threatened to re-enact the murderous orgies of Chengez Khan and Halaqu Khan if non-Muslims took up an obstructive attitude against population exchange. Ismail Chundrigar, who also eventually rose to be Prime Minister of Pakistan, had said that the British had no right to hand over Muslims to a subject people over whom they had ruled for 500 years. Mohammad Ismail, a leader from Madras had declared that the Muslims of India were in the midst of a jehad. Shaukat Hayat Khan, son of the Prime Minister of Punjab, Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, had threatened, while the British were still in India, of a rehearsal of what the Muslims would do to the Hindus eventually. The point that came through clearly was that transfer of population was an integral part of the demand for Pakistan.
What the politicians said was confirmed by Professor M. Mujeeb, in his erudite work. He said that the Muslim League demanded the creation of a separate homeland for Indian Muslims. He further stated that in the elections held early in 1946, the League, whose dominant manifesto was the creation of Pakistan, secured 425 seats out of 492 reserved for Muslims. The League insisted that the right to a separate homeland should be conceded first and all other negotiations could be held thereafter. He went on to say:
The decision in regard to exchange of populations applied only to Eastern and Western Punjab. A large proportion of the Hindus in the North West Frontier Province and in Sind would have stayed on if they could. On the other hand, there would have been much less of immigration of the Hindus of East Pakistan into West Bengal and anti-Muslim sentiment in eastern and northern India would not have been constantly revived.
These thoughts were no doubt unsavoury, if not also repulsive to the Hindu, but it has to be admitted that the Muslim League leaders had a clear vision. Their demand for not only partition but also population transfer might have seemed abhorent, but the fact was that the Muslim leadership had thought through the implications of creating Pakistan. If a division was to be made, it had to be thorough and comprehensive. It is the Congress leadership which faltered in thought and floundered in action. It would have seen a different matter, if they had not conceded partition. But having agreed to the division, quite clearly on the basis of the two nation theory propounded by the League, did they have the right of being confused over its consequences? If they could not visualize what was to follow, they had every opportunity to consult the Hindu leaders of east Bengal and Hindu and Sikh leaders of Punjab, Sind and North West Frontier Province. But those who were likely to be affected the most, were ignored. This made the blundering by the Congress leaders quite unforgivable.
Uncannily, once M.A. Jinnah took over leadership of the Muslims, the initiative was held by the League with the Congress being continually on the defensive. Nevertheless, the Congress did not even react. The fact was that Jinnah achieved it on his own terms. The League demand for an exchange of population was loudly voiced and widely debated. Merely to get a flavour of the contemporary reports, read a few clippings (P-13) from the 1946 issues of Dawn. It was a daily then published from Delhi, and now from Karachi. The journal was founded by Jinnah.
Congress Leaders Betrayed the Hindus
The Muslim League demanded an exchange of population especially through 1946. Simultaneously, it carried on Direct Action, resulting in 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. 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
- 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.
- 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 8th December, 1948, Jawaharlal Nehru said:
“Mr. Vice 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. Nevertheless, 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 13th December, 1946 well before the decision had been taken by the British government to partition the country. Even the declaration by the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee that India would be granted independence was not made until 20th February, 1947. The decision to partition the country had to wait till 3rd 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 (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.
Unfortunately, government policies have shown a distinct bias towards the Muslims. For example, the Haj 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 has a Jew if he were to go to Jerusalem.
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. 67 years have passed since the Constitution was adopted, yet there is no sign of the country having a single civil code. 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 Ramakrishna Mission was driven to claim that it is a minority organisation! 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 on the part of the Government of India at some point in time to keep alight the flame of minorityism. If they get integrated into the national mainstream, they might cease to be useful vote banks!
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, A publishing House, New York, 1959).
How were the minorities were dealt with subsequently by Pakistan is well known. Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, in his 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. The same has been happening in the eastern wing, but in a chronic, rather than acute manner. Scheme of Muslim League-Pakistan
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 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. The Congress, by conceding separate electorates for the two communities, only buried its secular credentials.
Whatever hope might have persisted for the practice of secularism in India, was finally dashed 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 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
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 Government did its very 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 at least as many Muslims should go away as was the number of 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 to charge 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.
Until the British began to assume power in India, the Muslim was the ruler and the Hindu, the subject across large tracts of the country. No doubt, there was a phase when the Marathas gained influence in many parts of India, but their domination was neither permanent nor widespread enough to correct the Hindu-Muslim gulf that had grown over the centuries. This imbalance explains why there is no record of communal riots until after 1858 when the British crown directly assumed governance. How can there be a riot between a ruler and his fearful subjects? Riots can only take place when there is a semblance of balance.
The advent of the British signalled the defeat of those princes who were in power. Much more of India was ruled by Muslim nawabs than by Hindu rajas. The Mughal emperor was the titular head of the country; even the Marathas acknowledged him as such. The defeat was complete and formal when the rebellion or Mutiny of 1857 failed. As the British became rulers, Muslims as well as Hindus became subjects. Thus equality between the two communities was established for the first time. For the Hindus, it was a great relief that they had ceased to be either zimmis or jizyah payers. The British rulers were impartial umpires between the two communities.
These are facts. Yet, the myth of "divide and rule" was created. Evidently, neither British scholars nor rulers were able to nip it in the bud. They certainly could not have relished being accused of such an unscrupulous policy. This indicates that there is yet another myth: that our history has been written with bias, only because the British had it written while they ruled the country. They did intervene and favoured positions that served British interests. Our own scholars and politicians played their part in arriving at twisted historical conclusions. And here, the major responsibility must lie with anti-Hindus.
Maulana Muhammad Ali, who was the principal lieutenant of Mahatma Gandhi during his satyagraha campaign of 1920-21, refused to join him in the second campaign in 1930. At a meeting of the All India Muslim Conference in Bombay in April 1930, attended by over 20,000 Muslims, he bluntly stated: We refuse to join Mr. Gandhi because his movement is not a movement for the complete independence of India but for making the seventy millions of Indian Musalmans dependents of the Hindu Mahasabha. The Maulana made no secret of the fact that the Muslims, as a whole, were guided by pan-Islamism. He told members of the Round Table Conference in London that Islam was not confined to India. I belong, said he, to two circles of equal size but which are not concentric. One is India and the other is the Muslim world… We are not nationalists but supra-nationalists. In his address as Congress President in 1923, Maulana Muhammad Ali reminded the audience that extraterritorial sympathies were a part of the quintessence of Islam, as stated by R.C. Majumdar in History of the Freedom Movement in India, Volume III, Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta 1977. As is well known, Muhammad Ali and his brother Shaukat Ali, were followers of Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Khilafat movement to protect the throne of the Sultan of Turkey and the caliphate of all Sunni Muslims in the world. They lost all interest in Gandhi when, in 1924, Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish general, exiled the sultan and abolished the Khilafat.
Now read a few highlights from the “Lal Ishtihar” or the Red Pamphlet written by one Ibrahim Khan of Mymensingh district in East Bengal early in the 20th century; refer to page 108 of Struggle for Freedom by RC.Majumdar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Bombay, 1988.Ye Musalmans! Arise, awake! Do not read in the same schools with Hindus. Do not buy anything from a Hindu shop. Do not touch any article manufactured by Hindu hands. Do not give any employment to a Hindu. Do not accept any degrading office under a Hindu. You are ignorant. But if you acquire knowledge you can at once send all Hindus to jahannum (hell). You form the majority of the population of this province.
Among the cultivators also you form the majority. It is agriculture that is the source of wealth. The Hindu has no wealth of his own and has made himself rich only by despoiling you of your wealth. If you become sufficiently enlightened, then the Hindus will starve and soon become Mohammedans.
Hindus are very selfish. As the progress of Mohammedans is inimical to the self-aggrandizement of Hindus, the latter will always oppose Mohammedan progress for their selfish ends. Be united in boycotting Hindus. What dire mischief have they not done to us! They have robbed us of honour and wealth. They have deprived us of our daily bread. And now they are going to deprive us of our very life.
Evidently, these are not the ravings of a normal person. Yet the depth of emotion is reflective of the deep divide between the two communities. British manipulation to divide Indians could not be compared to such venom, nor could any administration responsible for law and order possibly encourage such emotions. This does not mean that the British did not take tactical advantage of the differences, in order to sustain their rule. The point that is being made is that the divide was old and deep and the British were only the beneficiaries.
Muslim Prefer Identity Over Patriotism
Decades have passed since the British left the sub-continent. Yet the tension between the two communities continues, between India and Pakistan, between India and Bangladesh and between the Hindus and Muslims. Why? Because, as Professor S. Abid Husain has lucidly explained in The National Culture of India, (National Book Trust, 1972):
Like other Indian communities and most Asian peoples, while honour as sacred the values of patriotism and loyalty to the state. Muslims are unanimous in rejecting what Western nations explicitly believe in the priority of country or state over religion.
The Hindu confirmation of these Muslim contentions is given by Nirad C. Chaudhuri in his Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Macmillan & Company Limited, London, 1951.
When I see the gigantic catastrophe of Hindu-Muslim discord of these days I am not surprised because we as children held the tiny mustard seed in our hands and sowed it very diligently. In fact, this conflict was implicit in the very unfolding of our history and could hardly be avoided. Heaven preserve me from dishonesty, so general among Indians of attributing this conflict to British rule, however much the foreign rulers might have profited by it. Indeed they would have been excusable only as gods and not as man the political animal, had they made no use of the weapon so assiduously manufactured by us and by us also put into their hands. But even then they did not make use of it to the extent they might easily have done. This I know is a very controversial thesis but I think it can be easily proved if we do not turn a blind eye to the facts of our history.
A British view of the schism between the two communities is provided by Sir Percival Griffiths, ICS, in his book The British Impact on India, (Macdonald & Company Limited, London; 1952).
India stood sharply divided between Hindus and Muslims. The feelings between them were much what could be expected since one community had been dominant and the other subject and often though not always oppressed. What is today called communal dissension was thus the permanent and inevitable legacy of centuries of Muslim rule.
Much has been made of the separate electorates as an attempt by the British to divide and rule. Here is what Sir Percival had to say: Indian politicians have bitterly reproached Britain for introducing the principle of communal electorates in the Morley-Minto reforms. In reality, there was no practical alternative. If semi-parliamentary bodies such as the Morley-Minto Councils were to mean anything at all, it was essential that all communities should be genuinely represented in them. The gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims at that time was wide and nobody with experience of modern India will doubt that under any system of joint electorates the Hindus would have secured the return of non-representative Muslims. The philosopher might deplore the fact that Hindus and Muslims thought of themselves as separate peoples but the statesman had to accept it. The fears of the Muslims were real and deep-seated. When the Congress leaders some years later formed a temporary alliance with the Muslims they too had to recognize those fears; perhaps the greatest justification of the British establishment of communal electorates lies in the fact that they were recognized in 1916 by the Lucknow Pact between the Congress Party and the Muslim League.
Theological Genesis of Separatism
Partition was consistent with Muslim separatism or rather his inability to coexist with people of other faiths. In the words of M.J. Akbar, in his book The Shade of Swords, Roli Books, New Delhi, 2002, the community did not forget that Prophet Mohammad himself had warned that there should never be two religions in Arabia. In their 1400 year history, Muslims have shown clear preference for being masters or rulers. When and wherever this has not been possible the inclination has been to migrate or undertake hijrat: to another land which they could call Darul Islam or a society where the writ of the sharia runs without any hindrance.
In the absence of a Darul Islam the Muslim feels that he would be unable to blossom as a momin which means a faithful. In India since the sun finally set on the Mughal empire in 1858. Muslims have been uncomfortable. Instead of being rulers they became British subjects like the rest of Indians. When the British were preparing to give up their Indian empire 90 years later. Muslims feared that the Hindu majority would overwhelm them. The only alternative therefore was partition and for those one/third of the ummah who would remain on the Indian side of the dividing border. hyratwas the way. To make space for the mohujirs, the government of Pakistan cleared the western wing of their country of nearly all non-Muslims on the morrow of the vivisection.
The inspiration to separatism is not merely socio-political but is embedded in the theology of Islam. To illustrate, it is useful to quote a contract that was signed between Khalifa Umar and the Jews and Christians of Arabia sometime between 634 and 644 AD. They affirmed:
We shall not build in our cities or in their vicinity any new monasteries, churches, Hermitages, or monks' cells. We shall not restore, by night or by day, any of their that have fallen into ruin or which are located in the Muslims quarters.
We shall keep our gates wide open for the passerby and travellers. We shall provide three days' food and lodging to any Muslim who passes our way.
- We shall not shelter any spy in our churches or in our homes, nor shall we hide him from the Muslims.
- We shall not teach our children the Koran.
- We shall not hold public religious ceremonies. We shall not seek to proselytize anyone. We shall not prevent any of our kin from embracing Islam if they so desire.
- We shall show deference to the Muslims and shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit down.
- We shall not attempt to resemble the Muslims in any way. We shall not ride on saddle.
- We shall not wear swords or bear weapons of any kind, or even carry them with us.
- We shall not sell wines.
- We shall clip the forelocks of our head.
- We shall not display our books anywhere in the Muslims thoroughfares or in their marketplaces. We shall only beat our clappers in our churches very quietly. We shall not raise our voices when reciting the service in our churches, nor when in the presence of Muslims. Neither shall we raise our voices in our funeral processions.
- We shall not build our homes higher than theirs.
Instead of insisting that the kafirs or infidels subject themselves to conversion and become Muslim, or face the blade of the sword, this was a concession made to the Jews and the Christians because they were also ahl-e-kitab or the people of the Book who shared common prophets. Incidentally, this privilege of not being forced to convert, provided one accepted the status of a zimmi or a protected citizen and paidjiziya or the poll tax, was extended to Hindus. This contract of Khalifa Umar II was in tune with the Quran Sharief and the sunna or the practice of the Holy Prophet.
To illustrate, it is best to quote from the Life of Mahomet, a biography by Sir William Muir. Its third edition was published way back in 1894,
The dispensation of Mohammad was distinguished as Islam. that is, Surrender of the soul to God; his followers as Muslimin (those who surrender themselves), or as Believers; his opponents as kaflrin, that is, those who reject the divine message, or as mushrikin, such as associate companions with the Deity. Faith, Repentance.
Heaven, Hell, Prayer, Almsgiving, and many other terms of the religion, soon acquired their stereotyped meaning.
The practice of the Holy Prophet is also best quoted from the same biography:
Mohammad was the Prophet of God, and his word was law. Opposing doctrine must vanish before the divine command. The exclusive and intolerant position finally assumed by Islam is sufficiently manifest in the ban issued at the Farewell pilgrimage against Jews and Christians, who were for ever debarred from the sacred rites and holy precincts of the Ka'ba: and by the divine command to war against them until, in confession of the supremacy of Islam, they should consent to the payment of tribute.
POSITION AND STATUS OF MUSLIMS AT PARTITION:
The Congress Party headed by Gandhi had taken the stand that the basis of partition was territorial whereas the Muslim League had demanded it on the basis of religion. In 1952 while speaking on the question of migration between Pakistan and India in the Lok Sabha, Dr. S.P. Mookerjee had said:
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur will remember the she and I saw Gandhiji a few days before his death. We were discussing this question. He came out with fire in his eyes. He said: we did not agree to the partition of India for this terrible problem of rehabilitation causing misery to millions of people; it was on or certain fundamental basis; the minorities must be protected; no question of their being turned out as beggars. What was his remedy? He said: Let India play her part; you protect the minorities; Let not one man be turned out from here. If Pakistan fails to do so you must take charge of East Bengal.
However, Muslim League was quite conscious of the fate of Muslims who will be left behind in Hindustan after Partition. Various alternatives were considered by the League leaders. Perhaps the only Congress leader who responded to M.A. Jinnah's proposals in this regard was Dr. Rajendra Prasad. His views are part of the Addendum that he had added to the new impression of his book India Divided published in April, 1946. This is what Dr. Prasad wrote:
Another question has been engaging public attention ever since the two nations theory was propounded. All Muslims being one nation by reason of their religion alone irrespective of any other considerations like the territory they inhabit, the language they speak, etc. The question naturally arises what would be the position and status of the Muslims who will be left in Hindustan, which according to the League proposal will be a Hindu State. Mr. Jinnah, on being asked what he proposed for those areas where the Muslims are in a minority replied in the course of the interview (The Dawn 2/4/1946) referred to above: Those areas, like Madras for instance, will have a Hindu Government and the Muslims minority there will have three courses open to them: they may accept citizenship of the state in which they are; they can remain there as foreigners; or they can come to Pakistan. I will welcome them. There is plenty of room. But it is for them to decide. Mr. Jinnah accepts the position that the Muslims who are citizens of India today will, after partition, cease to citizens of Hindustan and therefore they will have three alternatives to choose from. Let us examine these three alternatives.
The first alternative is that they may accept citizenship in the State in which they are. It may be pointed out that citizenship can be acquired by a foreigner in a State only under rules made for that purpose by the State concerned. It is open to any State which is independent to regulate and control its own population and to lay down restrictions on foreigners acquiring citizenship and even to prohibit it altogether. The history of the British Dominions like South Africa, Canada and Australia, which are all members of the British Commonwealth and Empire, to which India also belongs, and which owe allegiance to the same King-Emperor to whom Indians are in law required to owe allegiance, shows how they have successfully and effectively prevented Indians from acquiring the rights of citizenship. The United States of America also regulates immigration and does not permit any and every foreigner to acquire the right of citizenship simply because the wishes to have that right. So if Hindustan is to be really a free and sovereign State, it will have the same right to regulate its citizenship and to lay down rules for and even to prohibit acquisition of the rights of citizenship by foreigners. It will not lie with the Muslims left in Hindustan to become its citizens unless Hindustan permits it. Mr. Jinnah, of course assumes that Hindus must not be allowed to put difficulties in their way.
The second alternative is that they can remain there as foreigners. Here again he makes the same assumption. Hindustan like any other independent State will not be bound to allow foreigners to remain on its territory, particularly when they happen to be in such large numbers as the Muslims will be. It is also worth remembering that an independent State may regulate and even prohibit the acquisition of property, particularly immovable property, by foreigners within its territory. We have the illustration once again of South Africa before our eyes.
The third alternative is that the Muslalmans who will be left in Hindustan can go to Pakistan. This, of course is legally possible. Every foreigner is entitled to leave the foreign State and to go to his own State unless he is accused of a crime for which he is triable in the foreign State/ The Musalmans of Hindustan can leave Hindustan if they so desire but they cannot carry away with them their lands and houses, even if they are allowed and are in a position to take away their movables like cash, jewellery, cattle and furniture. Hindustan will not be bound to give any compensation for what they leave behind. They will have migrated out of Hindustan of their own free will by reason of their having adopted a foreign nationality. It is difficult to believe that the Muslims of Hindustan will choose this alternative of emigration from Hindustan. Their attachment to their lands and homes will make any such break most difficult, if not impracticable. The distance which they will, in many cases, have to travel before they can reach Pakistan will be immense and the consequent suffering will be unbrearable. Last, though not least, the complete dislocation of their finances and economy which emigration will involve will effectively prohibit any such enterprise. They will have, therefore, only the first two alternatives to choose from and there they will not be free to do so as the foreign State of Hindustan will have an effective and determining hand in the matter.
All these considerations which arise out of the two nations theory do not appear to trouble the protagonist of Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah now evidently accepts the position, which indeed cannot be questioned, that the Muslims in Hindustan will have the status of foreigners or aliens and will, therefore, be subject to the same disabilities that a foreigner suffers from. The same consideration might not apply to Hindus and non-Muslims who will be left in Pakistan, as they do not claim to be members of another nation and as such citizens of another State. But in any case even if they are treated as foreigners or aliens, the difference in their position will be that foreign citizenship will have been forced upon them against their will, while in the case of Muslims, it will have been chosen by them of their own free will with their eyes open and indeed against the wishes and in face of the opposition of the Hindus and other non-Muslims.
CONGRESS’S VIEW ABOUT PARTITION
V.P.Menon, constitutional advisor to the last British Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten, says the following about the stand of the Congress Party on the partition of Indi and Gandhi's views about Muslims of India:
The congress had accepted the division of the country on two considerations. In the first place, it was clear from the unyielding attitude of the Muslim League that a united India would either be delayed or could only be won at the cost of a civil war. Secondly, it was hoped that the establishment of a separate Muslim State would finally settle the communal problem which had for so long bedevilled Indian politics and thwarted all progressive aspirations, that India and Pakistan would thereafter live in peaceful relations with each other, and that all men of goodwill on either side would be free to concentrate on improving the economic conditions of the common people.
Pakistan today is an Islamic State. There is no minority problem in West Pakistan, while East Pakistan is being steadily drained of its Hindus. India on the other hand still has a population of about forty million Muslims, besides other minorities, to protect and care for. Gandhiji particularly emphasized that the minorities were a sacred trust in the hands of the majority. It was a cause most dear to heart. He lived for it-indeed he eventually died for it.