By Chris Hayes, Stuka, Majumdar, BonoBashi, Gorki, Shahzad and YLH
A few days ago PTH re-posted an article from “The Liberal” which led to a fascinating exchange between a group of PTH’s regular interactors. Unlike the usual exchange that takes place between Pakistanis and Indians on this very thorny issue, the discussion actually led to a very positive exchange that enriched all concerned. We are re-posting the essential arguments as a dialogue so that it may be available to a larger audience. -PTH Admin
CHRIS HAYES: Maybe Jinnah was somewhat simplistic in his European profiling of Indians (as everyone was back then), looking at the rather flimsy religious constructs rather than the combination of ethnicity, culture and belief that forms peoples identity.Of course its easy now to compare the various parts of the subcontinent and say they would have been better off united, but the various situations they find themselves in aren’t a consequence of their geography (ok, Bangladesh would still be dissappearing into the sea but thats a problem for the future) but rather their interplay. Pakistan no doubt would have been a lot better off if it hadn’t decided to confront a far more powerful nieghbour. India better off if it had ignored Pakistan and instead had a go at poverty reduction. Indeed in some regards the world is lucky India isn’t China – China after all has a stated ambition to rule everything that was ever once a part of China. If India had expressed the same imagine the problems today. The greatest irony is though that today if the subcontinent had remained united the muslim minority would be well on the way to being the largest religious group in India. Oh the benifit of hindsight.
YLH: On the contrary it was Mountbatten who did this when he didn’t grasp Jinnah’s layered argument on why a Punjabi was a Punjabi or a Bengali was a Bengali before he was a Muslim and yet Muslims were a nation. Besides the Pakistan Movement, it is now clear, did not envisage a complete severing of the kind partition brought.
CHRIS HAYES: Still I can see the logic of partition if you are a Hindu fanatic – Punjab and Bengal are two historically dominant states in India and would have been Muslim majority states.
GORKI: In this battle of the constitutional experts, I as novice will venture out of my hole with a little trepidation to make the following points:
1. Reading Bonobashi’s and YLH’s stated positions regarding the league, it appears the ML had in mind something more like the United States; only three rather than the original 13. The US states were indeed a confederation, with equal rights regardless of size, personal legislatures and a right to cede. (In theory, since Mr. Lincoln failed to read this part four score and some years later).
2. The US federal govt. only evolved into a strong center much later; during the war of independence the young nation was plagued with financial and material shortfall and it was the personality of Washington that kept it intact. (Even during the civil war, general Lee always refered only to Virginia as ‘my country’ as opposed to the Confedracy of the South.
3. A cursory reading of Nehru’s history books, speeches gives an impression that while he understood that India was a product of many many layers of humanity; he liked to believe that India was not a mishmash of several individual component nations but already a homogenous finished product of that melting pot, with a new Indian which represented that composite identity. Jinnah on the other hand understood that our people were far more complex still. In other words Nehru fancifully felt the Indian of his day was already like an American of today; with an individual identity subordinated to a larger national identity while Jinnah knew that some day it would happen (independence day speech) he knew we were not there yet and wanted constitutional garantees for the minorites till then.
So, who was right. Before I answer this notice that only patriots with the highest regard for their land and people would debate such questions. Ego played a very small role in this (unlike the bad rap given to them by the lazy\ignorant later day historians). It is immaterial to argue who was right or wrong. We are here and today; in the hands of a new generation. I hope India will someday emerge as a melting pot of a greater national identity that Nehru imagined and at a later day Pakistan and India can mature enough to form somekind of a loose federation that Jinnah had asked.
MAJUMDAR: Chris said: India better off if it had ignored Pakistan and instead had a go at poverty reduction.India’s failure to reduce poverty has nothing to do with Pakistan. It is a consequence of about half a century of bad economic policies of JLN and his daughter.
STUKA: I guess I don’t understand the layered arguement either. If Muslims consitute a nation, then Islam is the primary identity, not Punjabi or Bengali. Does the danger of an over-centralized state apply only to India? After all, Pakistan too became a centralized state from it’s conception. This movie Gandhi popularized a lot of misconceptions – one that said Jinnah alone stood for partition. It should be mentioned that Patel as well as a significant popular section of the Congress did prefer partition to the CMP. When Nehru went against CMP, he was carrying out the wishes of his political constituency. It is a different matter that both countries revised history to suit their respective national agendas. Pakistan’s dominant narrative is that “Hindus” (Congress) were against partition and they do not acknowledge Patel’s support for it. India whitewashes the factional support for Partition from within the Congress as well and “blames” only the Muslim League. Neither side acknowledges that partition was a result of the two sides not having a commonality of vision of the emerging state – therefore, a shared responsibility. Ultimately, partition was a given. The idea of a liberal democracy works only when it is predicated to one man, one vote and no communal identity is given sanctity. If that idea does not work, it is better to go for partition rather than a sanctioned political identity predicated on religion alone. At the end of the day, massacres aside, both India and Pakistan (and Bangladesh) are more cohesive states after partition, relative to what would have been under the CMP.
YLH: The points you raised are essentially valid questions that need to be raised in order to dispel the myths surrounding partition. What I write below is academic only and has no bearing on the present. I think Pakistan has the potential to do well as it stands today … and so we have no regrets. That said… here is my response:On the issue of Muslim nation and Punjabi, Bengali etc… what Jinnah was probably saying (or what he over-stated as a lawyer i.e. “Punjabi was a Punjabi before a Muslim or a Hindu” and a “Bengali was a Bengali before a Muslim or a Hindu”) was that we exist not in one distinct sphere of identity, but rather have several identities … how and where these identities interact with the constitutional questions of a nation state is a separate issue. Implicit in Jinnah’s model was a latent Indian identity sitting atop the two fundamental tiers.
This brings us to your point about unitary state. There were only marginal differences between the Congress and the Muslim League on the issue of center v. provinces. Hear me out. This is not the unitary state that the author above seems to be talking about. The difference between Congress and the League … Nehru and Jinnah … was not on how strong the federal center should be (the differences here were marginal) … but rather how many federal centers should there be.
Now if you keep this in mind, let me try and put Jinnah’s thinking as I understand it:
1. India was the common motherland of many groups -several overlapping ones- inter alia Hindus and Muslims … the two groups which had become more prominent due to i- British emphasis on these groups during the 19th century ii- the rise of Hindu bourgeoisie with active British patronage (the British used the religious question as a final nail in the coffin of the “Muslim” Mughal Empire) and the decline of Muslim nobility iii- Delayed Muslim response in form Sir Syed’s elitist Aligarh Muslim movement with British patronage iv. introduction of separate electorates at the insistence of educated Muslim Ashrafia (a move that Jinnah as a Congress had both denounced and denigrated in 1906).
2. As an Indian Nationalist, Jinnah believed that Hindu-Muslim Unity was key to presenting a joint front against the British. This was the rationale behind the Lucknow Pact, and League’s overtures to the Congress in 1937…. it was here he realized that the biggest stumbling block in the way of League carrying all Muslims in its camp (which was the only camp other than Congress which stood for independence of India in 1937) were the Non-League provincial pro-British Muslim politicians … like Sikandar Hayat and AK Fazlul Haq and with whom League was working cross purposes… (League had – at Jinnah’s insistence- agreed to letting go of Muslim majorities in Punjab and Bengal in 1916 in return for more than proportional representation for them in Hindu Majority provinces and this had not gone well wit Punjabi and Bengali Muslims). Now Jinnah had to come up with a scheme which would meet both the concerns of these politicians at their provinces and give Jinnah and the League the all India mandate to carry Muslims into a second Pact modelled on Lucknow with the Congress.
3. The silhouette that the League came up with became known as the Lahore Resolution… which was vague enough to meet the provincial autonomy impulse of the provincial Muslim politicians and yet give the League an umbrella cover to meet Congress at the center. More significantly the resolution envisaged two centers and had in the original draft a reference to a super-center where these two centers would send their delegates.
4. So the Conglomerate League demand after 1940 was of two centers, two federations but one country. It was as one Leaguer put it not a scheme to create ulsters but rather two nations fused together in shared sovereignty over their homeland. More specifically it envisaged two states – one Muslim majority and one Hindu majority- in one country.
The confusion that some of our friends create on chowk… like the much ado about about one-man one-vote (which is what League had resolved as early as 1936 and Pakistan adopted from the get go) … or the so called “hostage theory” which exists in the over-active imagination of self styled nationalist ideologues in india… is just hogwash when one considers that almost everything was up for negotiation… which is clear from the CMP which did not give League even half of the things mentioned above but which the League was ready to accept. You said Nehru was merely obeying the wishes of his electorate is not historically true. What Nehru was denying was the League’s mandate which elections had given it.
That said… yes partition was an option that the British gave the Congress Party… and Nehru chose it, instead of working with another representative Indian party. What is upsetting is that while Congress and Nehru not only chose but insisted on a partition of provinces, they don’t own up to the consequences, blaming instead Jinnah and the League for asking for Pakistan… which in any event was not the same as partition of 1947.
STUKA: Yasser Thanks for a nuanced reply. The problem as I see it is this: I am educated, I have two master’s degrees. Yet, I had to read through your post twice, and some sections three times, to get a sense of what you are saying. This is not because you are communicating badly; it is because you are making a very nuanced, layered arguement. Now, you tell me, is such an arguement scalable in the form of broad based political acceptability?
Regardless of your views on Gandhi the individual, you will concede that by the end of 1947, Gandhi was considered a Muslim stooge by the Hindu right and by the refugees streaming across from Pakistan. I am talking about perception and not reality. The perception of Gandhi being a Muslim stooge led to his killing.
Now, we are talking hypotheticals – but I believe that even if Nehru had conceded to CMP, he too would have been considered a sell out out and would have lost his political primacy to Patel and other more right of center congressies.
Essentially, there is law and there is politics. The former is rarified and stands for sanctity, the latter is shifty, open to manipulation and dependent only on perception. Jinnah made a legal and constitutional case for Pakistan, but ultimately he succeeded because the masses of Muslims in the majority districs supported him. The legal arguement had political muscle behind it. Flip side, the politics of the other side matters as well. The result therefore was essentially a fair one in the broader sense.
GORKI: YLH, I too read your writeup very carefully and like Stuka, I had to re read it several times; it is rich in texture and substance. I approach it with utmost respect not the least because this is the exact same argument made to me by a very close friend, who I respect very much but I still find it hard to grasp completely. Thus I ask the following question more to try to understand my friend’s argument rather than to undermine yours:
Accepting India of ML’s vision, how would life be different for say a Punjabi Sikh in the federation if he was a part of India vs. Pakistan; How would a Hindu in Pakistan live a different life than that of a Hindu in India; and a Muslim? Personally I feel that if both components of the federation believed in a secular vision, then how would if be any different one side versus the other? Quebec and the rest of Canada is the closest model that comes to my mind but it is a very different model and I can not conceptualize it in an Indian context.
YLH: Gorki, That is the point. I don’t think there would have been any major difference… The issue was not of aspiration but of sharing sovereignty. Quebec is precisely the model…and I think it was only a few years ago that Steven Harper accepted the Canadian Two Nation Theory as a principle of the state.
BONOBASHI: The more I read you on this subject, the easier it becomes, but even now, I must admit that the subtleties need careful navigation, and it is only too easy to over-simplify, and make a complete hash of the matter. Actually, asking you questions or offering alternative views for consideration on a blog-site is self-defeating, because it really deserves a full seminar, and you really need room to expand these arguments (I am aware that you are tracking Ayesha Jalal in some key aspects, but am not knowledgeable to the extent that I can figure out what is hers and what is yours).
Having laid down escape routes with great care, I must share with you my feeling that this is really a question that can never be resolved. It calls for an understanding of the inner workings of the minds of very complex individuals, Jinnah, Nehru, Gandhi and Patel, to name just the top four that force themselves onto one’s consciousness; it calls for a sympathetic but clinical explanation of the motivations of two separate electorates, and their interpretation by two separate political organisations with their own internal dynamics influencing the analysis and interpretation acts; it calls also for retaining at all times the perspective of the times, and an awareness that the British had effectively thrown in the towel and wanted nothing so much as to return home, come what may in their former Empire. There is also the temptation and the genuine opportunity, mingled into one seductive package, of writing history-by-hindsight, interpreting what could have been, should have been, would have been, by looking at what happened subsequently. Unfortunately, however tempting it is to interpret Bangladesh in the light of the Lahore Resolution, as I think you have done in one of these posts, I am sure that your scholarly side will oppose your polemic side and reiterate the complex interplay between East and West Pakistan in those years between 47 and 71 (actually this should include a longer span, from 11 to 71, for a proper perspective on the Eastern side). I don’t think that Indian views had much to do with this interplay (I am referring to the Bangladesh sub-plot), except to be used as a convenient whipping boy by both sides against the other.
In short, I think we can slice, dice and analyse the facts as available till kingdom come; we can speculate about individual motives till the day of judgement that the religious are so fond of; but we can’t really do much about reality, the reality being that three sovereign nations exist today, and why they could or should have come about it is no longer relevant.
Please don’t misunderstand my argument; I am not decrying the scholarly value of the deconstruction of those decisions. This has thrown invaluable light on the internal dynamics of the states concerned, and further research and analysis, especially based on further discovery of facts from documents hitherto unexamined, will undoubtedly bring more into play. But my core misgiving is that this may be misused by opportunists of all kinds to build myths and quasi-historical systems which are only going to hold us back. I can trust, for instance, you with the facts and their interpretation, and of course the great one herself, as well as, for instance, other very subtle analysts who have been writing on this, but it is difficult to trust all your compatriots; needless to add, I would be equally sceptical about our own Indian bunch of myth-makers. Except for a small handful of academically rigorous and scientifically inclined (in the sense of social sciences, I hasten to add) scholars, this is dangerous stuff, especially in today’s explosive atmosphere.
Am I suggesting a suppression of this research? Far from it. The truth must be known; once it is known, it must be published abroad; and it will inevitably, with a sidestep or two, make us free. It is just that I need to point out, in case it has not become abundantly clear to you already, that you (and your senior and junior colleagues) have a responsibility to stay involved and committed to the analysis and interpretation that you have initiated, and to ensure that it does not go into the wrong hands.
These are my arguments against excessive political science being built around the events that overtook our nations. Yes, it has revealed that nationality is not a simple matter; yes, it has revealed that dealing with this multi-faceted concept is not easy for politicians, especially those without a sense of history, or those who are in a hurry to acquire and exercise power; yes, it has revealed that the roles of villain and hero that each nation held up may have been roles with shades of grey rather than the black-and-white that our respective national myths made them out to be. But there is little that we can, or should do beyond that. If we take your arguments to their logical conclusions, we will have to spend the next three to four centuries coping with the consequences; the reason is obvious to you, and I am sure that you have already grasped the matter much earlier and are entirely aware of what I am referring to.
Perhaps the tragedy of Jinnah should remain merely that, the tragedy of Jinnah. His personal role was so wretchedly misunderstood, his motives were so mischievously distorted, his character was subjected to so much assassination, his personal life was so burdened by the world that he had shouldered of his own volition that it is hard not to see him as a Promethean hero, distinct from equally great personalities on the other side of the border that they both unwillingly created because so alone, so bereft of critical friends and allies and loyal foes alike. The great book on this great man is still to be written; I hope it will be soon.
YLH: Well we are on the same page. The reality is what it is… and the “what ifs” are at best academic questions… and trajectories of what a,b,c wanted don’t change the present reality… now what we have to do is to move forward from here. Since all nation states and other entities are products of history, they should be taken as such. My interest is mostly academic… but part of it has to do with explaining why Pakistan- my country- shouldn’t be wedded to any particular ideological utopia/dystopia that a particular section wants to make of it based on the fallacy that “Pakistan should be sharia based because it was created in the name of Islam”… Pakistan in its present form was – like any other country, creation or creature in the world- an accidental product of history and/or conflict… and atleast wasn’t imagined as the theocratic state that it has been on the brink of for the last many decades. This is all that I am concerned about.
I liked Prometheus analogy… Jinnah is a fascinating figure in our combined history… one who proved himself to be a crowd puller even as late as 2005 in India… I await that definitive book as much as you do.
BONOBASHI: What is fascinating about Jinnah is his unalloyed loyalty to the ‘rule of law’. As you will appreciate, more than others, this is a uniquely European concept, at least in contemporary times, excluding any consideration of what is covered by the term ‘dharma’, which governs the gods themselves. Not adhering to this concept is what seems to me to blight most of public affairs in South Asia. With two exceptions, Jinnah’s life was devoted to the upholding of the rule of law.
As I look at the situation in India, where any sect or tribe, the Gujjars most recently, could set fire to the whole country because they wanted what they wanted and would not stay to reason, I believe that this is the vital element missing. I believe that Jinnah as an Indian leader would have taken us much further much faster than we have progressed. And who is to say that Nehru and Patel alike would not have grown in stature in combat with a Titan? Taken together (and that does not imply acting together), I believe that such a leadership would not have been found in any country with perhaps the exception of Communist China. Given the possibilities of democracy, I believe that this leadership would have exceeded any other in grasp and scope.
But as you said, ‘trajectories of what a, b and c wanted don’t change the present reality.’
YLH: Very interesting the way you put it. All these great what ifs…I think in terms of leadership, US was very lucky …it had giants and titans as founding fathers … The fundamental contradictions and conflicts between Jefferson and Hamilton, Jefferson and Adams..and a score of second tier leadership were much greater than the gulf that divided Jinnah and Nehru/Patel..and others. And the Indian leaders Jinnah, Nehru etc were in no way lesser men than any of those founders. There was one fundamental difference ofcourse…there everyone was from the same religious tradition and often religious…here they were from different religious traditions and largely irreligious or non-orthodox in their observance.
STUKA: BONOBASHI said: I believe that Jinnah as an Indian leader would have taken us much further much faster than we have progressed. This is something I had mentioned a few years back. I think Jinnah, without the baggage of leading ML, is actually closer to the aspiration of the Hindu middle class than he is to the Pakitani middle class. Ironically, Gandhi with his faith in religion in politics, is closer to the Nawai Waqt reading Pakistani middle class.
GORKI: Sixty odd years is too early to judge our founding fathers; a couple of hundred years from now, our people will certainly judge them differently. Also certainly the verdict of history will also depend on what kind of states emerge in those intervening years. While the absolute truth will matter to a historian, (I take it, Bonobashi, YLH etc.) in a purist completely objective sort of a way, to us lesser intellects it matters more at to how the lay people see them.
The generation of these freedom fighters was populated by men so tall that we who follow them still can see their shadows. I am not a man of letters; my background being in sciences yet I still choke up with emotions whenever I read the timeless speeches delivered by Mr. Jinnah and by Mr. Nehru respectively on the eve of our independence from Britain. Here, in their own words, is a blueprint of what they hoped their countries would look like, in the days to come. People like Jinnah gave the nation a new start; what happens to that nation or nations (including India) is now the responsibility of our generation. The least we can do is to pass it of to the next one, in the shape we received them in. The mess we find in our two countries today and the confusion of our people makes today me afraid that we may fail in our duty. Jinnah and Gandhi; (and to a lesser extent, Nehru) are now icons of their respective nations and as icons, and are routinely hijacked by the lesser politicians of today, in order to justify their own selfish goals and actions.
It is for this reason I find it important that at the bare minimum, the original positions of these great men and the vision of the nation that they hope to create should be articulated to our peoples.
The absolute, nuanced positions can wait for the judgment time; (YLH and Bonobashi’s point noted) what can not wait is the distillation of their hoped for vision for each nation, which should be actively highlighted and then set in stone; so to speak. It is for this reason, I call upon people like YLH and Bonobashi to find the time to write the biographies or at least propagate the visions of these great men; not so much as historians but as transmitters of a national ideal which sometimes seems at a risk of being forgotten. YLH is right that such a work needs discipline yet so does fighting for freedom from a racist foreign rule and so does nation building. We were preceded by a generation of freedom fighters; they expected of us to be a generation of nation builders.
SHAHZAD: Great article and good arguments folks. Being a Canadian just wanted to address some of the similarities that were drawn between Quebec and it’s status in Canada versus our own Two Nation Theory.
Canada’s current constitution is derived from the Constitution Act of 1982 which consists of the Canada Act 1982. The latter was passed by the British Parliament ceding all legislative and constitutional authority over Canada and was signed by the Queen in the same year as the ceremonial head of state. Prior to 1982, Canada’s constitution was based on the Constitution Act of 1867 which is also known as the British North America Act.
I have dug up and presented this information as it’s important to note that none of these official documents mention Quebec as a separate nation. In fact they are wholly British in origin, and based on Common Law. Also, Quebec does not have any significant special rights compared to any of the other provinces.
What Harper did a few years ago was in response to local politics. The Quebec separatist party The Bloc Quebecois at that time was presenting a motion in the federal parliament which pushed for recognition of Quebec as a separate nation. Harper countered with his motion stating that the Quebecois are indeed a separate nation with their own culture, language etc BUT within Canada. The latter passed, however it should be pointed out that it does not carry any legal weight, namely, it does not confer ANY rights to Quebec.
Our own Two Nation Theory, however, as supported by Jinnah was to have specific Muslim rights enshrined in the constitution of united India. This obviously did not happen leading to partition.
YLH: Shahzad, the constitutional solution that Jinnah asked for did not ask for a documented recognition of the two nation theory. What he wanted was reconstitution of federal centers to create Muslim majorities without naming them as such. The Quebec example is therefore quite accurate. How much Quebec’s leaders managed in getting the leaders of Canada to agree is then a separate issue.
SHAHZAD: Generally though Jinnah did want some specific guarantees for Muslims, they could have been addressed within a written document like the constitution or a reconstitution of federal centers like you mention. Quebec, on the other hand does NOT have any constitutional rights above that of any other province, that are written down, nor does it have any explicit guarantees that are unwritten which allow it any sovereignty of any kind. There are no multiple federal centers in Canada. The country is a federation with all provinces having equal rights. I am afraid the Quebec analogy is not what Jinnah envisioned for Indian Muslims. If we were to continue with your argument then Muslim majority areas in united India would obviously have had the same status as Quebec does within Canada and therefore Partition would not have been necessary. What was it that Jinnah was fighting for and could not get which resulted in him pushing for a separate country ?
BONOBASHI: YLH thinks that the Canadian example is a good fit to the original plan that Jinnah had. He never insisted on explicating a defensive position for the minorities. He believed that the dynamics of the situation would itself sort this out, once his basic concept of three centres was accepted and implemented. Two out of these three were architected (sorry! awful word!!) to have Muslim majorities; one, the largest bloc, was a Hindu majority. If I got Dr. Jalal/YLH/the Jinnah revisionist school right, this in Jinnah’s view would have done the trick, and no special written mention, no special additional provision would have been necessary. The safeguards for the biggest of the minorities, the Muslims, would have been taken care of by two centres being Muslim majority, therefore ensuring that they never fell behind and never were backed into a corner. Artificial boundaries, rather like provincial boundaries in Canada, were created to ensure that the minorities thus became majorities in sections of the country.
The Muslims in the third ‘centre’ would always have the option of voting with their feet. In a single nation, any feeling of deprivation could, in principle, be met by walking across to either of the two alternative ‘centres; let us say, from eastern UP, or Bihar, a disgruntled Mussalman would migrate to the ‘eastern’ centre, from Haryana, Rajasthan, MP, they would perhaps prefer the ‘north-western’ centre.
The Hindus in the two Muslim-majority ‘centres’ would have exactly parallel rights and options.
Other minorities would either have the delightful prospect of flitting from ‘centre’ to ‘centre’ depending on who offered the best facilities, prospects of jobs, law and order, education for their kids, preferably in parochial schools, the companionship of their own kind, freedom to worship, and so on, or the shared doleful fate of being equally miserable everywhere.
In all this, there is no explicit tampering with the laws to give one community or another the advantage, irrespective of which ‘centre’ is involved. It would just be the case that in two centres, the Muslims would have the lead, in the third, they would be in the minority.
If you take Canada, that is the exact same situation. So in Quebec, the Francophone is in the majority, but nothing is legislated to give them an upper hand, except that the language used in public life reflects this, all systems reflect this, and the way of life tacitly admits that this is the French state. Elsewhere, the Francophone is in a minority, and that is not the subject of any legislation either. If I have understood him correctly, this is what YLH is referring to as it being the same situation in Canada as it was envisaged in Jinnah’s India.
The point about Confederation and Federation is not vital to the argument. The real kicker: what was it that Jinnah was fighting for and could not get which resulted in him pressing for a separate country?
If I might enumerate: A protection of minorities which would be done at a very high level, by structuring regional boundaries, and would not damage the structure of the common law, nor vitiate the rule of law which he prized above all things; also, an avoidance of the Gandhian injection of religion into politics, which frankly he abhorred;
A possibility of the Muslim genius and the Muslim ‘way of life’ being preserved without being constantly pressured by an imposing majority with neither understanding nor sympathy for Muslim ways; this too without fiddling with the law of the land; Unity of India, with preservation of the diversity at least at the religious level, which he equated with the cultural level, without damaging the basic fabric of nationhood.