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Pak Tea House » History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition » Splitting Errors I

Splitting Errors I

jinnah-and-gandhi1

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

(This article is the first in a series of articles which will address the issues raised by Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed in his eight part series in The Friday Times. This rebuttal series has been written exclusively for the PakTeaHouse. Please credit PTH for any republication.)

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed’s series “Splitting India” was fraught with historical inaccuracies and misconceived straw man fallacies some of which I will attempt to show in a series of articles. To be fair to Dr. Ahmed, he did admit in his Part IV that some of the more glaring errors he made were because he had left his books in Stockholm. However there are others still which make the whole push of Ishtiaq Ahmed’s scholarship quite questionable to say the least.

There are no two opinions about the fact that partition of Punjab and Bengal was not an ideal situation. I do not think any party involved thought it ideal. The British did not. Mr. Jinnah and the Muslim League did not. The Congress certainly did not.  Ishtiaq Ahmed is right again when he states a united India with a democratic dispensation and regional autonomy would have been the best solution. Yet in what seemed like a deliberate exercise in obfuscation Isthiaq Ahmed made no effort to trace out how that democratic dispensation with regional autonomy was repeatedly shot down by the Congress leadership starting with the rejection of the Delhi proposals and onwards. Congress’ idea of a United India throughout the 1930s and 1940s was of a highly centralized state, with residuary powers remaining with the center.  A democratic universal franchise with regional autonomy is exactly the demand Jinnah had put up through the famous Delhi proposals in 1927. These asked for the following:

(i)                  Sind was to be made into separate province.

(ii)                NWFP and Balochistan would be treated on the same level as other provinces of British India.

(iii)               Punjab and Bengal should have representation in accordance with the population.

(iv)              33 percent Muslim reserved seats at the central legislature. This was to be through joint electorate i.e. Hindus and Muslims would vote to elect these 33 percent Muslim seats.

(Ref:  Ian Bryant Wells, Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity; Jinnah’s Early Politics, Page 161)

Jinnah and Bose

We need to understand what necessitated the fourth demand. Jinnah – the only politician in South Asia to be called an Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity – had long played the role of a bridge builder between Indian Nationalists on the one hand and the Muslim elite on the other.  It is often forgotten that Muslim League’s manifesto was changed to include self rule at Jinnah’s behest.  The Muslim elite had gotten the principle of separate electorate accepted under the Minto-Morley Reforms. Amongst the earliest objectors to the separate electorates was Jinnah.   Jinnah had since 1913 acted as the go between and had very successfully brought Congress and the Muslim League on a single platform – a historic triumph that was called the Lucknow Pact.  The Lucknow Pact was not without controversy within the Muslim community. Jinnah was seen by many Muslims of Punjab and Bengal as having sold them out for the interests of the minority Muslims in UP etc because he had agreed to a reduction of Muslim majorities in Bengal and Punjab.  The demand for 33 percent representation at the central legislature therefore was to rope in those Muslim elites who mistrusted the Congress.  To Congress’ credit, and the credit of Pandit Motilal Nehru – one of the greatest statesmen produced by the Indian Subcontinent-  these proposals were initially accepted by the Congress committee. Not only that but Pandit Motilal Nehru went a step forward and introduced the idea of a communal veto i.e. issues affecting a particular community would have to have the support of 75 percent of its legislators.  This was called the Delhi-Bombay Compromise. (Ref: Indian Quarterly Register Vol I 1927 Pages 39-40). Ultimately there were two groups in the broader Congress and the Indian Nationalist movement that led to a defeat of the move. The first group was the Hindu Mahasabha under Pandit Malaviya which was in no mood to give any concessions to the Muslims. The second group was the Indian Nationalists under Jawaharlal Nehru which believed that communal differences could be papered over with a strong centralized Indian state.

Completely contrary to what Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed claimed erroneously, the property qualifications affected voting patterns but not the distribution of proportional representation.  It is precisely because of this reason, that Muslim League had also asked for universal adult franchise- something which Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed denied- in 1936.  The Bombay session of the Muslim League in 1936 under Jinnah’s leadership had asked for the following:

  • A democratic responsible government with adult franchise to take the place of the present system.
  • Repeal of all exceptionally repressive laws and the granting of the right of free speech, freedom of the press and organization.
  • Immediate economic relief to the peasantry, State provision for educated and uneducated employment with fixed minimum wage for workers
  • Introduction of free compulsory primary education.

(Ref:  Page 140 Stanley Wolpert “Jinnah of Pakistan”)

Not only was this a vision that Jinnah the liberal democrat had for India but it also served another purpose:  It would bring Congress and the Muslim League together on one platform of a secular United India based on universal adult franchise.  Durga Das in his book “Curzon to Nehru and after” writes very clearly of pro-Congress Hindu businessmen funding the Muslim League through 1936 and 1937. The election results of 1937 are instructive.  Both Congress and the Muslim League failed to dent the pro-British alliances in Muslim majority provinces.  In UP and Bombay Muslim League won a majority of the Muslim seats.  Congress swept the Hindu majority provinces but failed to grab more than one Muslim seat in UP.  Given the tacit alliance between the Muslim League and the Congress before the elections, a golden opportunity presented itself to the Congress leadership to make a truly inclusive government in provinces such as UP on the basis of Hindu-Muslim Unity.  What India lacked then was a statesman of the mold of Motilal Nehru. Congress – and in particular Jawaharlal Nehru-  having gotten more than a simple majority however could choose to comfortably ignore the Muslims. The Congress put humiliating conditions – Muslim League was asked to merge with it. When Jinnah refused,  the Congress began playing extreme religious groups like Majlis-e-Ahrar and Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind against it.

The events of UP convinced the Muslim salariat to use Hamza Alavi’s phrase that they would not get a fair deal from the Congress and a Hindu majority.  Their fears were confirmed by two other very strange decisions on the part of the Congress.  The first was the decision to adopt Hindi as the national language instead of Hindustani.  Hindustani was a broad name for both Hindi and Urdu. In other words it was one language two scripts idea. Congress’ adoption of Hindi and not Hindustani was seen as a cultural imposition by the Muslims from Barabanki to Lucknow.  The second strange decision was to adopt Bande Mataram as the national anthem.  The main Muslim objection was Bande Mataram was that it was from a novel called Anandmath by Bankim Chandra Chatterji which was decidedly Hindu in character conflating Hinduism with Indian Nationalism. More frighteningly its villains were Muslims and at times the British are seen as liberators from Muslim tyranny.  All of this convinced the Muslim intelligentsia that in a Hindu dominated India, their cultural identity would be at risk and that they needed some sort of device to even the odds and defeat the arithmetic of Hindu Majority v. Muslim Minority.  It is in these circumstances that the Two Nation Theory was to become an instrument of a consociationalist compromise between the two  largest communities of India.

In the coming parts I will write about the Lahore Resolution, Sir Zafrullah Khan’s role and the breakdown of the final constitutional negotiations that led to the creation of Pakistan.

To be continued

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Filed under: History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

78 Responses to "Splitting Errors I"

  1. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    HP Mian,

    Jinnah was a suave, very intelligent and in a short span of 10 years was able to carve out a country while running circles around MKG et al. He played the game to the best of his abilities and there wasn’t a single NC leader who could stand upto him.

    For me the picture symbolizes a sophisticated sahib taking on a Fakir and kinda putting him in his place.

  2. romain United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    … Don’t you admire MJ for it and doesn’t the picture quite illustrate all the we know about how he manipulated the NC idiots?

  3. desi Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The photos show Jinnah as a megalomaniac and hypocrite. Ultimately he used islam for his own aggrandizement. He was an elitist and he used muslim fools, feudals and fatichars for his own agenda. But all that hypocrisy hit back and his creation ended up in the hands of the islamofascists (which was inevitable).

    Jinnah was not really very intelligent, although muslims like to believe he was. And he certainly lacked wisdom and honesty.

  4. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Jinnah was not really very intelligent, although muslims like to believe he was. And he certainly lacked wisdom and honesty

    submit proof or tell me name of husband of radha.

  5. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    Well here is my Take on the Picture
    .
    Look at the HANDS of the two Gentlemen
    .
    Jinnah is saying or rather DEMANDING ( as he always did )
    ” What will the Muslims Get
    First of all we need an Agreement on the MUSLIM SHARE in the Pie ”
    .
    Gandhiji is saying or rather explaining
    ” Please First let us get Freedom and Let us MAKE A CONSTITUTION
    All Muslims Concerns will be taken Care of ”
    .

    Jinnah is saying “Nothing Doing
    It is My way or the Highway ”
    .
    Then the PICTURE is Clicked . Then WHAT HAPPENS after the Picture is Clicked is MORE Important
    .
    Then SARDAR PATEL suddenly appears and says
    ” OK Mr Jinnah ,TAKE Your Pakistan and GET the F**K Out of India ”
    Also You will NOT get the whole of Punjab and Bengal
    .
    The Rest is History .
    .
    The Fashionable and stylish Mr Jinnah KNOWN for His
    SUITS and CIGARS Lost The Biggest Case of His Life

    TILL Today Pakistanis are LAMENTING and Debating
    why was Jinnah SO ADAMANT
    as ALL he could GET was a MOTH EATEN PAKISTAN

  6. Pankaj India Google Chrome Windows says:

    This Picture was taken in 1939 as per the information
    on the Internet
    .
    And just look at the Body language AND the TENSION
    in the room
    .
    And THAT TOO in 1939 .
    .
    And SOME People in Pakistan
    are STILL DREAMING that The Two sides would have agreed
    on the Cabinet Mission Plan
    .
    When there was so much DISTRUST and BITTERNESS in 1939
    AS THIS picture shows
    what would have been the case in 1947
    .
    So Guys STOP DREAMING about Congress and Muslim League AGREEING on the “Cabinet Mission Plan “

  7. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    pankaj dont forget that ghandhi forced cwc to divide india.what muslim wanted as per iqbal,economic freedom for the people of that area.as the economic condition of muslims was very very poor.
    sialkot mein jab tak ladka sasur ko choree kar ke nahi dikhata tha uski shaadi nahi hotee thee.TRANSFER OF POPULATION WAS NOT CLAUSE OF PARTITION.BRHMN KNOWS THAT IF MUSLIMS LEFT REMAINING HINDUS WILL KILL THEM.THEY ARE LIKE FALCON REMAINING ARE PIGEON.

    REGARDING SARDAR PATEL he was munshi of a lawyer.like rajender prasad he was sole creation of ghandhi,whom he insulted on many occasions.he could say any stupid thing.he is respected because he mascared more than 100000 hindus and muslims in hyderabad operation.
    nehru was right when he said that is communal.ghandhi was jain,not hindu in real term that is why his thoughts were not same blood thirsty buthers of nagpur.they always wrote to brits ..please dont disturb us as we are not indian.

    one mr saad1 has sent following,waiting ur comment on it,

  8. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    pankaj i want ur views of following,

    special programm on 5th anniversary of 26/11,

    http://www.zemtv.com/2013/11/26/capital-talk-mumbai-hamlay-ko-5-saalpakistan-dabao-se-kaise-bahir-nikle-26th-november-2013/

    pankaj hindustan kisi ke baap nahi hai.jinnah had never been to moque before creation of pakistan.he was threatening for partion to get some more share in power,thinking that hindus will never agree.i think jinnah was not fully aware of surroundings and internal dynamics of hindu society.PANKAJ I WANT YOUR AWNSER.

  9. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    Tajender, don’t know if this is true or not but these Zionists, Brahmins and Banias need to be tackled fast. They are causing too much havoc in the world-

    http://dawn.com/news/1058902/muslim-world-is-burning

    People like you and I need to redouble our efforts.

  10. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    MUSLIM WORLD IS PASSING LIKE EUROPE PASSED 150 YEARS AGO.they have also curse of oil and gas.with time things will settle down.america is in deep debt is only good news.

  11. Iqbal Ahmed United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Mostly the nonsense young generation,the rough roadsiders who have hardly any attachment with books, reading,history or research work, go on throwing anything but they don’t know that through their baseless foolish writing it can be seen of what animals’ produce they are like some stupid boy ‘romain’(the name itself is whimsical) These masses are just like the idiots who go on speaking but not listening so such rascals go on writing without reading anything so what the senseless stuff will they produce ?
    Such Jaheels should read the comment by some respectable Mr. Afzal Hasan which is the marvellous research work by some learned persons with all the relevant proofs and references that how for the bankrupt minded people like the foolish folks this contry was made in the western laboratory under the actorship the sectarian stooge Jinnah under the directorship of his Guru Sultan Aghakhan. He is NOT AT All Mahatma Gandhiji who is begging but it is the Hypocrite Jinnah that has gone to hell throwing you fools in the position of beggars since for 65 years YOU ARE NO MORE THAN INTERNATIONAL BEGGARS.
    It is on Historical records that Gandhijee once, holding friendly Jinnah’s shoulder , had said “ The blood rivers flow for ever as the result of what you are doing now “ But for Aghanies (Ismailies ), Shias it is just nothing if any number of Sunny muslims die.

  12. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    But Tajender, think about it – who were the people behind all the hatred, violence, and backwardness in Europe? No one needs to wonder. The Protocols of the Elders of Zions is a required read for anyone who values truth, justice and peace.

    Peace came to Europe only after Jews/Zionists were brought under control as Islam brings under control all vice. You and I must not lack in our efforts to bring the Brahmins, Banias, and Zionists of India an Pakistan under a similar control of good people. That will solve most if not all of our problems.

  13. desi Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Why does tajender want answers?
    he already believes he has all the answers.
    that is typical for those brought up in islam.
    that is why the muslims are killing each other so enthusiastically.
    because they believe they know all the answers.

  14. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    But Tajender, think about it – who were the people behind all the hatred, violence, and backwardness in Europe
    I THINK CHURCH WAS RESPONSIBLE.sunni islam has no church.extremists like brotherhood and wahabis were created by west like rss of india.it is they who arm them as well.i am sure with time things will settle with time.main problem is, west cannot survive without loot of weaker countries of africa and asia.they are facing great difficulty after arrival of china on scene.alqaeda is section of cia.any ttp leader who talked of peace with pak goverment was killed.

  15. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    now wars are also fought or helped to be fought,just to create refugees.refugee bussines is highly profitable.war too is a good bussines.

  16. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Why does tajender want answers?
    he already believes he has all the answers.
    that is typical for those brought up in islam.
    that is why the muslims are killing each other so enthusiastically.
    because they believe they know all the answers

    ok i dont want any awnser.just tell how u reach to the conclusion that islam is fascist and barberic.

  17. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Peace came to Europe only after Jews/Zionists were brought under control

    europe failed to control either europe or zoins..throgh banks they kept europe under their thumb virtually enslaved them for centuries.helping zoin in their effort to capture palestine was master stroke.now they shifted problem to middle east.but problem is starting,now jews are seeing and understanding their game.they are brought to be killed.good revenge by followers of cleopatra with follwers of moses.

  18. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    Tajender, that is precisely the argument. If you recall, Allah sent His message to Prophet Christ but Zionists and Jews destroyed that message by introducing the fitnah of Church! Allah taught peace, Jews, like Brahmins and Banias, got into the business of war from which they make money and oppress good Muslims and their fellow co travelers everywhere!

    (Srictly between you and me – Shias are not even Muslims. So I understand why you would speak of Sunnis only.)

  19. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    europe failed to control either europe or zoins

    please read

    europe failed to control either jews or zoins

  20. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    Agreed tajender. THE killing of Jews and the raping of Brahmin women are good. At least not unacceptable if Islamic justice is to ultimately prevail – which all good people must accept it is.

  21. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Srictly between you and me – Shias are not even Muslims. So I understand why you would speak of Sunnis only.)

    shias are muslims.but they have church.every follower is accountable to his moulvi.moulvi will take them to jannat like among hindus.generally shias have good knowledge of islam and they are practising muslim.
    but they are small minority.sunni have no church at all.they have 4 schools of jurisprudence,can be contacted directly.

  22. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    Tajender, of course. That is why we continue to have problems. But you have to agree they made a good effort and got out of the mess of the Jew controlled Church. Unfortunately not so. In India and Pakistan where Zionists, Brahmins and Banias continue to rule.

  23. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome  GT-N8013 Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1650.59 Safari/537.36 says:

    Tajender, if you accept Shias as Muslims, I will go along with you in order not to create discord in the presence of unbelievers. But when we speak of Muslims, we are talking strictly of Sunnis.

  24. tajender Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    kaalchakra says:
    November 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm
    Agreed tajender. THE killing of Jews and the raping of Brahmin women are good. At least not unacceptable if Islamic justice is to ultimately prevail – which all good people must accept it is.

    i disagree with u for mistake of x u cannot punish y.indonesia converted with preaching.killing of jews because of religion is crime
    same rape.though hindu zoinists do this with muslim women during riots.

  25. Satyam United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    http://dawn.com/news/1058902/muslim-world-is-burning

    Kaalchakra,
    its not fire but the light of Islam for which Mullah Qadri was able to convinced Muhamamd to move from paradise and reside in pakistan. Then god rewarded him with canadian visa as reward for good services.

    MAJ did very good and Indians are just jealous of his success and failure of Patel. Its ironic architect of modern India Jinnah is not appreciated by Indians as the architecht of current Pakistan, Patel is hated by Paki.

  26. Satyam United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Janab PMA
    Columnist Attaul Haq Qasmi is plain wrong and insulting the memories of those who lost all in 47. By the grace of Allah,we seprated Non Indians from Indians and now he wish to undo and create fitna.We Indians are proud Kaffir people and Pakistani pure Musalmans. We have nothing in common nor we desire any commonality with Paki. IMHO, if there is any issue left from 47 the that is that of Indians still footing the bill for sustainig Muslim population whose ancestors struggled and made every possible scarifice for the partition of India and making of pakistan.This simple truth should be known and understood by every Paki.

  27. afatqiamat Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    “Jinnah was seen by many Muslims of Punjab and Bengal as having sold them out for the interests of the minority Muslims in UP” ………….. Period.

    Direct Action day Bengal Aug 46 , and its repeat Post March 47 Punjab [precisely from Pindi , after Tara Singh foolishly waved his Kirpan in some sort of arrogance believing Punjab still is a Sikh Country was the pretext... Muslim League Razakars were ready and prepared succeeded to thawrt all attempts between Jinnah and Sikh leadership for a compromise ] …to instill the FEAR of SURVIVAL among Muslims ..

    Later … Jinnah sahb were left stranded in a broken Ambulance on the Drigh Road ….after fait accompli .. a job done … period

    “”Jinnah was seen by many Muslims of Punjab and Bengal as having sold them out for the interests of the minority Muslims in UP” ………….. Period.”

    Later the imposition of Quota System in Sep 48 , Imposition of Urdu ,of Objective Resolution , and treatment of local arrogantly a la Victor mentality … kinda ” Cultural Colonization ” … thickens my suspicions …

  28. someone United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The author is using the same straw-men Muslim League used in 1936-1937 to mislead the public: Hindi-Urdu and Vande Matram. He demonstrates that the roots of Pakistan which lay in pure demagoguery are alive and strong.

    The Hindi controversy was cooked up as an accusation with no basis. Both Gandhi and Nehru favored Hindustani which was to be written in both Nagri and Urdu scripts. Nehru wrote to Jinnah in 1938:

    “About Urdu and Hindi I have previously written to you and have also sent you my pamphlet on the Question of Language. The Congress has declared in favour of guarantees for languages and culture. It wants to encourage all the great provincial languages of India and at the same time to make Hindustani, as written both in the nagri and Urdu scripts, the national language. Both scripts should be officially recognized and the choice should be left to the people concerned. In fact this policy is being pursued by the Congress Ministries.”

    About Vande Matram Nehru wrote to Jinnah in 1938:

    “9. Regarding the Bande Mataram song the Working Committee issued a long statement in October last to which I would invite your attention. First of all it has to be remembered that no formal national anthem has been adopted by the Congress at any time. It is true, however, that the Bande Mataram song has been intimately associated with Indian nationalism for more than thirty years and numerous associations of sentiment and sacrifice have gathered round it. Popular songs are not made to order, nor can they be successfully imposed. They grow out of public sentiment.

    During all these thirty or more years the Bande Mataram song was never considered as having any religious significance and was treated as a national song in praise of India. Nor, to my knowledge, was any objection taken to it except on political grounds by the Government.

    When, however, some objections were raised, the Working Committee carefully considered the matter and ultimately decided to recommend that certain stanzas, which contained certain allegorical references, might not be used on national platforms or occasions. The two stanzas that have been recommended by the Working Committee for use as a national song have not a word or a phrase which can offend anybody from any point of view and I am surprised that anyone can object to them. They may appeal to some more than to others. Some may prefer another national song; they have full freedom to do so. But to compel large numbers of people to give up what they have long valued and grown attached to is to cause needless hurt to them and injure the national movement itself. It would be improper for a national organization to do this.”

    However, given the editorship of this website I doubt this post will be allowed to be posted.

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