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Mahatma Gandhi Versus Quaid-E-Azam Jinnah
It is generally believed in India that Mahatma Gandhi, through adoption of peaceful means brought Independence to India. Whereas, the role of Quaid-e-Azam was limited to the creation of Pakistan by forcing the vivisection of India. This is a myth propagated by the leaders of the Congress Party and the Hindus who have never cared to study how the Indian Muslim League was formed in 1906 at Dacca and how it eventually forced the division of the country in 1947 on the basis of religion. The untimely departure of leaders like Bal, Pal and Lal in the early decades of the 20th century had left the political arena completely open to Gandhi. He changed the course and policies of the Indian National Congress as he thought fit. In the process, Gandhi did an irreparable damage to the Hindus and their ethos. Whereas the much maligned Jinnah had unwittingly helped save the Hindus from complete subjugation. Here are some facts as recorded in history:
Gandhi's Policies And Actions
Khilafat Movement : Turkey was defeated in the First World War. The punishment of Turkey was defined in the Treaty of Severs signed by Turkey in August,1920 with the Allied Powers. It had envisaged the division of the Turkish empire among the victorious powers and reduction in the powers and prestige of the Caliph. The Indian Muslims were indignant against the British rulers for this treatment of their spiritual overlord. The Muslims of India formed a Caliphate Movement to protect their religious rights. Gandhi assumed the role of a champion. Sir Sankaran Nair, a Member of the Viceroy's Executive Council who was a witness to what Gandhi was advocating has observed: The Khilafat movement does not want, and Mr. Gandhi is not for, any reasonable settlement of the Mahomdan grievances�They wish to get rid of the British Government. Such being the objective naturally the Khilafat Indian agitators have put forward demands which the Turks themselves recognize as outside practical politics. �Gandhi and his followers have greatly encouraged the growth of Indian Pan Islamism which will in future be always opposed to other religions and civilizations (Gandhi And Anarchy, Tagore and Company, Madras, 1922). The irony is that in November, 1922 the Sultan - the Shadow of God on Earth - was deposed by Turks themselves and in March, 1924, the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished for ever. However the failure of the movement in India led to communal riots in all parts of the country.
Communal riots : (Moplah Rebellion) During the course of the Khilafat agitation, Gandhi advised the Hindus to submit themselves to Mahomedan dictation: not to insist on the prohibition of the cow slaughter by Mahomedans; study Hindustani as against Hindi, complete submission to the Muslim feelings in all matters in dispute with the Muslims. These and other statements of Gandhi had encouraged Moplahs of Malabar, Kerala to rebellion against the British. In the process they committed untold atrocities on the Hindus. The Viceroy of India observed in a speech: A few Europeans and many Hindus have been murdered, communications have been obstructed, Government offices burnt and looted and records have been destroyed, Hindu temples sacked, houses of Europeans and Hindus burnt, according to reports Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and one of the most fertile tract of South India is faced with certain famine. Dr. Annie Besant, one time President of the Congress, wrote in New India of 6th December, 1921: It would be well if Mr. Gandhi could be taken into Malabar to see with his own eyes the ghastly horrors which have bee created by the preaching of himself and his loved brothers Mohammad and Shaukat Ali. Read what Gandhi wrote about the treatment of Hindus by the Moplahs : It is clear that Moplahs have succeeded in taking half a dozen lives and have given already a few hundred. Malabar is under martial law. �Moplahs are among the bravest in the land. They are God fearing. Whilst I was in Calcutta, I had what seemed definite information that there were only three cases of forced conversions� But I do not think that it seriously interferes with Hindu-Muslim unity�. Can here be anything more shameful than the above comment of Mahatma Gandhi?
(Kohat riots) : Come 1924 and there was a horrible riot in Kohat, Quetta, Baluchistan. The total population of the town was about 15000; mostly Muslims. In the riots in Sept. 1924 several hundred Hindus were butchered. The entire Hindu population sought refuge in Rawalpindi. Gandhi had gone to Rawalpindi along with Maulana Shaukat Ali to meet the Hindu refugees. They gave Gandhi a written statement. The Muslims did not come. It was reported that for years the local Muslims were abducting Hindu women. The Muslims would say that these women had on their own married Muslims and therefore it was unIslamic to return them to Hindus. When the Hindus published these facts, Muslims took it as an insult to Islam. This led to rioting. Writing in 1925 (Collected Works, 1925) Gandhi said, �I can only suggest solution of questions in terms of Swaraj. I would therefore sacrifice present individual gain for future national gain. Even if Musalmans refuse to make approaches, I should still say that Hindus of Kohat must not think of returning to Kohat till there is complete reconciliation�.
Instead of finding these happenings heart rending, Gandhi talks of Swaraj and nationalism to common citizen when he has faced the destruction of his every thing? It is advice? Was this unadulterated nonsense or was it vicarious pleading for the Muslims who had been oppressing the Hindus of Kohat?
(The Sind tragedy) : It was October, 1939 when Gandhi received the following telegram from Dr. Choithram Gidwani : Riots, loot incendiarism, Sukkur district villages, Hindus mercilessly butchered, women and girls raped and kidnapped. Hindu life, property unsafe,�Prey send enquiry committee immediately to see situation personally. Writting in the Harijan of 2 December,1939 Gandhi said : �Now the only effective way in which I can help the Sindhis is to show them the way of nonviolence� If they do not feel safe and are too weak to defend themselves, they should leave the place.� I am not sorry for anything I have done in connection with communal unity� These were Gandhi's views but surely there ought to have been some expression of sympathy for the victims?
Murder of Swami Shraddhananda : On 23 December, 1926 Swami Shraddhananda, a disciple of Swami Dayananda was murdered in Delhi by one Abdul Rashid. The Swami was recovering from an attack of pneumonia and was in bed when Abdul Rashid killed him with a dagger. The students and professors of the theological college at Deoband U.P held prayer : God Almighty may give the marhoom (i.e. Rashid) a place in the ala - e - illeeyeen (the summit of the seventh heaven) Gandhi's reaction was : �I have called Abdul Rashid a brother, and I repeat it, I do not even regard him as guilty of Swami�s murder.� It should be noted by the reader that according to the leaflet brought out by the Postal Department of the Government of India along with a stamp in the memory Swami Shraddhananda, the title of Mahatma on Gandhi had been conferred by Swami Shraddhananda. This is the way Gandhi remembered the Swami.
Indian Round Table Conference, London, 1930-1932
After the failure of the Simon Commission, Lord Reading, the Governer General, asked the Indian leaders to produce their own scheme for a Constitution instead of indulging in much destructive criticism of the Government. As a result, Motilal Nehru Committee was set up to prepare the report. The report submitted by the Committee was considered in December, 1928 at the All Parties Conference held in Calcutta. The failure of the conference led to the final parting of ways between Jinnah and the Congress. It was at the suggestion of Jinnah that Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister, decided to convene the Indian Round Table Conference. Since Gandhi did not attend the first session held in 1930 as he was in jail, Gandhi was the sole representative of the Congress at the Second session held in 1931. There were two Committiees - the Fedral Structure Committee and the Minorities Committee. Gandhi was a member of both the Committees. The first session had revealed that no progress could be made in the Fedral Structure committee till the communal issue was solved. The Conference was attended by representatives of all religions communities including interests representing commerce and industry. The Muslim League was represented by H. H. Aga Khan, the Sikhs by Sardar Ujjal Singh, the Depressed Classes by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Hindu Mahasabha by Dr B.S. Moonje. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Muhammad Shafi and Sir Chimanlal Setalvad, Mr. Zafrullah Khan also attended the Conference. The Christians and Anglo-Indians too were represented. At the meeting Gandhi suggested to the Prime Minister, the Chairman of the Minorities Committee that, he be allowed a week's time to explore the possibility of settlement among different communities. The Prime Minister agreed. After one week, Gandhi reported the following to the committee: Prime Minister and friends, it is with deep sorrow and deeper humiliation that I have to announce utter failure on my part to secure an agreed solution to the communal question through informal conversations among and with the representatives of different groups. I apologies to you, Mr. Prime Minister, and the other colleagues for the waste of a precious week. In short, two vital points had emerged during the course of the Conference: (a) All major religious groups had declared with one voice that Gandhi's Congress did not represent them as was made out by Gandhi at the meeting; (b) the Congress, according to Gandhi recognized only the Muslims and the Sikhs as minorities. The failure of the conference was followed by declaration of Communal Award, (1932) by the British Prime Minister.
Gandhi's Talks and Exchange of Letters with Jinnah, 1944
The Congress leadership led by Gandhi had launched the Quit India Movement in 1942. The British had put all Congress leaders behind bar. The movement failed and Gandhi was despondent. He wrote to Jinnah to have an exchange of views regarding the Pakistan Resolution passed by the Muslim League at its Lahore Session in March, 1940. Jinnah agreed to meet Gandhi at his residence in Bombay. The talks and exchange of letters lasted for 14 days in September, 1944. At the end of the meetings, Gandhi said: Mr. Jinnah is sincere, but I think he is suffering from hallucination when he imagines that an unnatural division of India could bring either happiness or prosperity to the people concerned. (To The Protagonists of Pakistan by Gandhi, Allahabad, 1947). Jinnah observed at that time: �Here is an apostle of and a devotee of nonviolence threatening us with a fight to the knife� for an ordinary mortal like me there is no room in the presence of his inner voice�
(Speeches and writings of M. A. Jinnah, Lahore, 1947, Karachi, 1949)
Elections for the Central and Provincial Assemblies;
After the failure of the Simla Conference called by Lord Wavell at Simla, the Labour Party came to power in England. Regarding India, it announced election to the Central and Provincial Assemblies and convening of a Constitution-making body thereafter based on the results of the elections. The election results were a triumph for Jinnah's demand for Pakistan: The League captured all the Muslim seats in the Central Assembly and 446 out of 495 Muslim seats in the Provincial Assemblies. Jinnah had won hands down whereas Gandhi's aspirations for a united India disappeared in thin air. There was no alternative to Partition.
V.P. Menon�s Observations : V.P. Menon was Reforms Commissioner during the last days of the British Raj in India. He had played a vital role both before partition and thereafter. This is what he wrote in 1957: 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 bedeviled Indian politics (The Transfer of Power in India, Orient Longman,1957).
Jinnah's Policies And Action :
In a speech in 1883, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had said: Now suppose all the English� were to leave India� then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances, two nations the Mohammedan and Hindu could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of these should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desires the impossible and the inconceivable (Makers of Pakistan and Modern Muslim India by A. H. Albirurni, Lahore, 1950)
The average Indian Muslim looked upon himself as a member of a universal religious brotherhood, sojourning in a land in which a neutral Government, with a neutral outlook kept law and order and Justice�While his allegiance to Queen Victoria, his political self respect was satisfied by the existence of the Sultan at Constantinople and Fez, and of the Shah and Khedive at Tehran and Cairo. The fact the British Government was the mainstay and support in the diplomatic arena of the independent Mohammedan States was naturally a source of continued satisfaction to him
(India In Transition by The Aga Khan, Bennet Coleman & Co., London, 1918).
While Jinnah was still in England in the last quarter of the 19th Century, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had created the two beliefs that were to dominate the latter half of Jinnah's life: that the separation of two chief races (Hindus and Mahommedans) was inevitable and that only through education might the Muslims find freedom, peace and reason. �If Mohammaed Ali Jinnah had gone to Aligarh in 1892, instead of venturing across the seas to England, and Lincoln's Inn, his belief in the parting of the Muslims and Hindus might have developed much earlier�.
In this context Sir Percival Griffths.. states in his book (The British Impact on India, Macdonald, London, 1952) that :Whatever may have been the other effects of the foundation of the Muslim League (in 1906), it set the seal upon the Muslim belief that their interests must be regarded as completely separate from those of the Hindus, and that no fusion of the two communities was possible. The philosopher might deplore the fact that Hindus and Muslims thought of themselves as separate peoples, but the statesman had to accept it. With the establishment of the Muslim League, the Muslims of India had began to create their own history.
In Nov. 1909, the Indian Councils Act enlarged the Viceroy's Executive Council into the Imperial Legislative Council. Mohammed Ali Jinnah's ascent to power began with this reform. At the age of thirty-three, Jinnah became an elected member of the Council by the choice of Muslims of Bombay. Almost immediately in the first meeting of the council he crossed swords with Lord Minto on the question of treatment of Indians in South Africa. In the same year 1910, Gandhi then 41 years old, had become leader of Indians settled in South Africa. Jawaharlal Nehru was completing the saga of Harrow, Trinity and the Inner Temple and Prince Louis of Batten berg, the future Earl Mountbatten was a school boy of nine and a half years. In 1913, the Viceroy nominated Jinnah second term to the Imperial Legislative Council. Early in 1913, Jinah achieved another success, with his gift for argument, with the Mussalman Wakf Validating Bill which he had first introduced in March, 1911. In 1913, he was a member of the Imperial Legislative Council, a member of Congress and of the Muslim League.
In 1916, at Ahmedabad, Jinnah said : as for as I understand, the demand for separate electorates is not a matter of policy but a matter of necessity to the Muslims� In December of 1916, Jinnah concluded the Lucknow Act under which the Congress agreed that in certain provinces in which the Muslims were a minority would be guaranteed a proportion of seats in the Legislative Councils in excess of the number they could otherwise hope to have under the separate electorates.
Motilal Nehru Report:
In December, 1928 the Motilal Nehru Report was considered at Calcutta. At this meeting, Jinnah had suggested certain amendments : a minimum of one-third of the elected representatives in both houses of Central Legislative should be Muslims and residual powers should be rested in the Provinces? These were rejected. Jinnah left the meeting and told Jamshed Nusserwanjee: Jamshed, this is the parting of the ways.
1930 - 1934 : Iqbal�s influence on Muslims and on Jinnah was profound and enduring. In 1930 at the Muslim League Session in Allahabad, Iqbal had inter-alia said: To base a constitution in the conception of a homogeneous India, or to apply to India the principles cherished by British democratic sentiments, is unwillingly to prepare her for a civil war. In 1940, Jinnah said �He had finally been led to Iqbal�s conclusions, as a result of careful examinations and study of the constitutional problems facing India.� �On may 28, 1937 Iqbal had written to Jinnah : to make it possible for Muslim India to solve her problems, it would be necessary to redistribute the country and to provide one or more Muslim States with absolute majorities. Don't you think that the time for a such a demand has already arrived?� In a letter addressed to Nehru, on 12th April, 1938, Jinna wrote : It seems to me that you cannot even accurately understand my letter. Your tone and language again display the same arrogance and militant spirit, as if the Congress is the sovereign power� as I have publicly stated so often, that unless the Congress recognizes the Muslim League on a footing of complete equality and is prepared to negotiate for a Hindu-Muslim settlement we shall have to wait and depend upon our inherent strength� Having regard to your mentality, it is really difficult for me to make you understand the position any further.
Pakistan Resolution 1940:
Under Jinnah's Presidentship, the Muslim League asked for a separate homeland at Lahore in 1940. Thereafter there was no meeting ground between the Congress and the League. Finally, Pakistan emerged on the World Map in 1947.