Partition of India: The Dialogue continues

 In continuation of Pak Tea House’s earlier “Partition of India: a Dialogue” we reproduce from The Hindu,  A G Noorani’s famous article “Assessing Jinnah” written in the aftermath of L K Advani’s “Jinnah is secular” scandal. This is a well written piece which praises Jinnah for his contribution to the freedom struggle but also takes him to task for his failings.  It also calls for a balanced assessment of the man, and not the hero-demon dichotomy that exists in scholarship about him in the subcontinent.  For Pakistanis, there are several lessons here which should be driven home and internalized:

1.  Jinnah was essentially a secular liberal who had fought for a United India.  It was when he was spurned by the Congress that he devised an alternative strategy.

2. Pakistan, as it was formed on 14th August, 1947, marked a defeat for Jinnah’s objectives and not their fulfillment.  Jinnah’s idea of Pakistan was envisaged within an India whole.  Yet it was the inherent contradiction in Jinnah’s strategy that weakened his hand at the end.  He over played his hand and was left out in the cold.

 3. Pakistan was not created for any theocratic ideal or millenial dream.  It was – like all nation states- a product of history.   It can only survive if it pays heed to Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan as a secular democratic state committed to the welfare of the masses.

4. Peace with India and reconciliation with our past is the only way Pakistan can lay to rest the demons that have haunted it since its creation.

ASSESSING JINNAH

IGNORANT biographers have made much of the fact that at a reception in his honour on January 12, 1915, Gandhi asked Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who was presiding, to speak in Gujarati; implying that he was embarrassed because he knew only English. But Gujarati and Cutchi were the only two languages Jinnah spoke perfectly; “beautifully”, M.C. Chagla recalled. His devoted follower M.A.H. Ispahani put it delicately: “Even in this language [English] the meticulous don would have found some flaws” (The Jinnah I Knew ; page 107).

But, with the indifference to matters of substance that marks most writings on Jinnah, they overlook a more significant aspect to the relationship. Dr. Ajeet Jawed draws pointed attention to its implications. When Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, Jinnah was a national leader towering above Motilal Nehru, Tej Bahadur Sapru and M.R. Jayakar. He was a colleague of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. He performed a central role in the Congress, the Muslim League and the Home Rule League (HRL). Gandhi’s demand was certainly presumptuous, if not insulting. But it revealed his pronounced tendency to establish his ascendancy. It worked with all others – save Jinnah. In his correspondence, he even advised Jinnah gratuitously about his wife. In October 1916, addressing a conference over which Jinnah presided, Gandhi referred to him as “a learned Muslim gentleman … . an eminent lawyer and not only a member of the Legislature but also president of the biggest Islamic association in India” (Secular and Nationalist Jinnah; page 193).

Gandhi was “cutting Jinnah to size”, as a sectarian leader. Jinnah was neither put out nor deflected from the course he followed. Chimanlal Setalvad and he remained two persons who never subordinated their will and judgment to him. On his part, till the end Jinnah treated Gandhi as a peer. He was not forgiven for this. Jinnah could not be “domesticated” like the Nehrus and Sardar Patel, nor co-opted.

Equally wrong is the impression that Jinnah was embittered because Gandhi, in effect, ousted him from two bodies – from the Home Rule League of which Jinnah was president, and from the Congress. About what happened in the former, we have Jayakar’s detailed account in his memoirs, The Story of My Life (Vol. I, pages 316-318 and 404-5). In December 1919, Jinnah invited Gandhi to join the HRL as its president. So much for his ambition and ego. He overruled Jayakar’s opposition, which was based on Gokhale’s advice: “Be careful that India does not trust him on occasions where delicate negotiations have to be carried on with care and caution… . He has done wonderful work in South Africa… . but I fear that when the history of the negotiations… is written with impartial accuracy, it will be found that his actual achievements were not as meritorious as is popularly imagined.”

Gandhi promised Jayakar that he would not change the HRL’s character. He became its president in March 1920. Gandhi and Jinnah had cooperated at the Amritsar session of the Congress in November 1919. At the Calcutta Congress in September 1920, Gandhi unfolded his programme of non-cooperation. Jinnah said that while he was “fully convinced of non-cooperation” he found Gandhi’s programme unsound. Gandhi was able to win over the doubters. He failed with Jinnah. Maulana Shaukat Ali tried to assault Jinnah, but was stopped by his friends. Gandhi took the battle to the HRL and presiding over its session on October 3, 1920, had its objectives changed in breach of his promises. It was a coup. Nineteen veterans resigned from the HRL, including Jinnah, Jayakar and K.M. Munshi (vide Jayakar, page 405 for the text of the letter). Gandhi flouted his promises to Jayakar, as he recorded.

On October 30, 1920, Jinnah wrote a letter to Gandhi which is of historic importance: “I thank you for your kind suggestion offering me `to take my share in the new life that has opened up before the country’. If by `new life’ you mean your methods and your programme, I am afraid I cannot accept them; for I am fully convinced that it must lead to disaster. But the actual new life that has opened up before the country is that we are faced with a Government that pays no heed to the grievances, feelings and sentiments of the people; that our own countrymen are divided; the Moderate Party is still going wrong; that your methods have already caused split and division in almost every institution that you have approached hitherto, and in the public life of the country not only amongst Hindus and Muslims but between Hindus and Hindus and Muslims and Muslims and even between fathers and sons; people generally are desperate all over the country and your extreme programme has for the moment struck the imagination mostly of the inexperienced youth and the ignorant and the illiterate. All this means complete disorganisation and chaos. What the consequence of this may be, I shudder to contemplate; but I, for one, am convinced that the present policy of the Government is the primary cause of it all and unless that cause is removed, the effects must continue. I have no voice or power to remove the cause; but at the same time I do not wish my countrymen to be dragged to the brink of a precipice in order to be shattered. The only way for the Nationalists is to unite and work for a programme which is universally acceptable for the early attainment of complete responsible government. Such a programme cannot be dictated by any single individual, but must have the approval and support of all the prominent Nationalist leaders in the country; and to achieve this end I am sure my colleagues and myself shall continue to work.”

This was not an intimation of parting of ways but a plea for unity against the British, differences on the methods notwithstanding.

At the Nagpur session in December 1920, Gandhi’s capture of the Congress was complete. Only, it was a victory procured by a Faustian deal with the Ali brothers on Khilafat. Jinnah was in a minority of one. Decades later, Munshi lauded him for his courage. Ian Bryant Wells’ comment is fair: “By taking up the Khilafat issue, he gained substantial support for his own political programme.” Without the Ali brothers’ support, he could not have pushed through his programme.

Before long, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) ordained that Congressmen should give 2,000 yards of hand-spun yarn every month. Jinnah was still not embittered. This is what he said on February 19, 1921: “Undoubtedly Mr. Gandhi was a great man and he had more regard for him than anyone else. But he did not believe in his programme and he could not support it” (The Collected Works of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah; edited by Syed Shatifuddin Pirzada; Vol. I; page 411. Emphasis added throughout). Jinnah attended the Congress’ annual session in Ahmedabad in 1921. The yarn requirement was another matter.

Jinnah knew what was at stake. He accurately predicted that the movement would divide the communities and breed disrespect for law and order. He supported the Khilafat cause, opposed the Ali brothers’ methods, and gave up once Turkey made its own decision. He told the League: “We are not going to rest content until we have attained the fullest political freedom in our own country. Mr. Gandhi has placed his programme of non-cooperation, supported by the authority of the Khilafat Conference, before the country… . The operations of this scheme will strike at the individual in each of you, and therefore it rests with you alone to measure your strength and to weigh the pros and cons of the question before you arrive at a decision. But once you have decided to march, let there be no retreat under any circumstances… . One degrading measure upon another, disappointment upon disappointment, and injury upon injury, can lead a people only to one end. It led Russia to Bolshevism. It has led Ireland to Sinn Feinism. May it lead India to freedom… I would still ask the Government not to drive the people of India to desperation, or else there is no other course left open to the people except to inaugurate the policy of non-cooperation, though not necessarily the programme of Mr. Gandhi.”

He convened a meeting of representative Muslims in Delhi in March 1927, which put forth four major demands. One of these was for a one-third representation in the Central Legislature. A committee of the Congress, set up to examine their import, accepted the demands. Its members were Motilal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Maulana Mohammed Ali and Srinivasa Iyengar. The AICC accepted the committee’s views with minor changes.

The Hindu Mahasabha led by Madan Mohan Malaviya opposed these demands, as did Muslims in some provinces. Opposition to the Simon Commission divided the League, but Jinnah supported the Congress in the campaign to boycott this all-White body. The alternative constitutional proposals adopted in the famous Nehru Report dashed Jinnah’s hopes. The Report did not even refer to Jinnah’s proposals, or to their acceptance by the Congress. Jinnah now put forth his 14-points. Their rejection and his personal humiliation at the All-Parties Convention are chapters in a story told several times over. (For a crisp, documented account vide Uma Kaura’s classic Muslims, and Indian Nationalism; Manohar; 1977.)

Three myths must be laid to rest. First, it did not mark “a parting of ways”. Jinnah said in his speech at the Convention: “We are all sons of the soil. We have to live together… If we cannot agree, let us at any rate agree to differ, but let us part as friends.” The second myth is that soon after this Convention, “Jinnah found himself in the company of the Aga Khan” and other reactionaries. The Aga Khan convened an All-India Muslim Conference in Delhi on December 31, 1928, around the same time as the All-Parties Convention on the Nehru Report in Calcutta. Wolpert `records’ how Jinnah came late, looked around and what he wore. It is a fabrication. While the Ali brothers and even radicals like the Leftist poet Maulana Hasrat Mohani participated, in sheer disgust at the outcome of the Calcutta Convention, Jinnah did not. He had rejected the invitation brusquely.

The third is about Motilal Nehru’s attitude. His letter to Gandhi on August 14, 1929, reported his talks with the Hindu Mahasabha leaders: “We agreed that the Hindu opposition to the Muslim demands was to continue and even be stiffened up by the time the Convention was held.” He concluded: “You will see that the stumbling block in our way is this question of one-third Muslim representatives and on this point even the most advanced Musalmans like Dr. M.A. Ansari, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mr. T.A.K. Sherwani and others are all very strongly in favour of the concession. I would therefore ask you to direct your attention now to the Mahasabha leaving Ali Brothers and Mr. Jinnah to stew in their own juice.” (The Indian Nationalist Movement 1885 – 1947; Select Documents; edited by B.N. Pandey; Macmillan; pages. 63-64). This document establishes that: the convention failed because of the Hindu Mahasabha’s obduracy; Motilal Nehru cooperated with the Mahasabha leaders though he saw no harm in the demand; and the “advanced Musalmans” failed to stand up to the Congress leaders for the community’s rights, which Jinnah did without falling in the Aga Khan’s camp of pro-British reactionaries. This is what made Jinnah truly unique – clarity of thought, moral courage, and sturdy, uncompromising independence. These were the qualities that made him so formidable an adversary later and so tragic in his fall from the ideals he once espoused.

Jinnah continued to cooperate with Gandhi even after Nagpur. In December 1929, he went all the way to Sabarmati Ashram to discuss the Viceroy’s announcement of a Round Table Conference. Documents published recently show Jinnah pleading with the Viceroy on his behalf and that of the Congress in 1929-30. “I am left with the impression that Mr. Gandhi himself is responsible,” he wrote.

His wife Ruttie’s death in her 30th year, on February 20, 1929, shook Jinnah to the core. He withdrew from society and became distant. To think that it changed his political outlook is to underestimate the man’s commitment and to fly in the face of the record. Even in 1937, eight years later, he saw “no difference between the ideals of the Muslim League and of the Congress, the ideal being complete freedom for India”.

On July 21, 1937, Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to Rajendra Prasad: “During the general election in U.P. [United Provinces] there was not any conflict between the Congress and the Muslim League.” With characteristic Nehruvian consistency, he proposed “the winding up of the Muslim League group in the U.P. and its absorption in the Congress”.

In later years, Azad professing, as ever, superior wisdom pinned the blame on Nehru. It was Azad, not Nehru, who gave the surrender terms to Khaliquzzaman: the League’s group “shall cease to function as a separate group” (for the text vide Indian Politics 1936-1942; by R. Coupland; Oxford University Press; page 111). Sapru’s letter to B. Shiva Rao of The Hindu, dated November 16, 1940, referred to his experience of “party dictatorship or Congress Ministries wherever they have existed… . So long as these people were in power they treated everybody else with undisguised contempt”. That experience led him to believe that the “Western type of majority rule in India will not do. And we shall have to come to some arrangement by which we may take along with us the minorities in matters of general interest” (Crusader for Self-Rule; Rima Hooja; Rawat Publishers; page 280). This is precisely what Jinnah came to hold and for the same reason – the Congress’ refusal to share power.

He had received short shrift from Gandhi and the British at the Round table Conference in London and decided in desperation to settle down there. Returning to India, he arrived at a pact with Rajendra Prasad in 1934, in which he abandoned separate electorates. In the light of 1928, he insisted that the Congress secure the Mahasabha’s assent as well (for the text vide Marguerite Dove’s Forfeited Future; page 462). Nehru, however, went so far as to assert: “There are only two parties in the county, the Congress and the government.” Jinnah retorted: “There is a third party in the country and that is the Muslims.” If in 1928 Jayakar questioned Jinnah’s credentials as a representative, in 1937 Nehru did likewise: “May I suggest to Mr. Jinnah that I come into greater touch with the Muslim masses than most of the members of the League.” The Congress, at one remove Nehru himself, represented everybody and would lay down the terms for the future.

Jinnah accepted the challenge and built up through mass politics a representative capacity that stunned all. Nothing in his past should have surprised any. Men like Mohammed Iqbal and Maulana Mohammed Ali had come to regard him as the “only” Muslim leader. At the League’s session in October 1937, Jinnah pleaded: “Let the Congress first bring all principal communities in the country and all principal classes of interest under its leadership.” He had in mind, not merger, but “a pact”, a concept he had “always believed in”. But Nehru had no use for “pacts” between “handfuls of upper-class people”. Jinnah, in his view, represented them alone. There really was no “minority problem”. The people were concerned with bread and butter. Economic issues alone mattered.

Jinnah laid bare his heart in a much neglected speech at Aligarh in February 1938 in which he recalled the past: “At that time there was no pride in me and I used to beg from the Congress.” The first “shock” came at the RTC; the next, in 1937. “The Musalmans were like the No Man’s land. They were led by either the flunkeys of the British government or the camp-followers of the Congress… . The only hope for minorities is to organise themselves and secure a definite share in power to safeguard their rights and interests.”

He had said in October 1937 that “all safeguards and settlements would be a scrap of paper unless they were backed up by power”. In Britain the parties alternate in holding power. “But such is not the case in India. Here we have a permanent Hindu majority… .”

This is where Jinnah’s recipe went disastrously wrong. The solution lay, not in aggravating the communal divide by his two-nation theory; but in the tactics of the Jinnah of old – mobilise both communities, espouse secular values and seek protection for the rights of all minorities as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had urged him to do.

Jinnah refashioned the League and made it a progressive body. He told the students at the AMU: “What the League has done is to set you free from the reactionary elements of Muslims and to create the opinion that those who play their selfish game are traitors. It has certainly freed you from that undesirable element of Maulvis and Maulanas. I am not speaking of Maulvis as a whole class. There are some of them who are as patriotic and sincere as any other but there is a section of them which is undesirable. Having freed ourselves from the clutches of the British government, the Congress, the reactionaries and so-called Maulvis, may I appeal to the youth to emancipate our women.” Later he delivered “a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense” (J. Ahmad; Vol. I; pages 39, 43 and 507).

What was his alternative, the Viceroy asked Jinnah. He replied on October 5, 1939, that “an escape from the impasse … lay in the adoption of Partition”. His article in Time and Tide of London on January 19, 1940, spoke of “two nations who must both share in the governance of their common motherland… so that the present enmities may cease and India may take its part amongst the great nations of the world” – as one nation. An identical contradiction was made in his speech of August 11, 1947: “a nation of 400 million”. The Pakistan Resolution of March 23, 1940, did not refer to the two-nation theory that Jinnah now began to advocate with greater stridency. It envisaged in the last paragraph an interim centre prior to partition, which Ambedkar alone noted. Even 24 hours before its adoption, the draft provided for a limited centre (vide the writer’s article, “The Partition of India”; Frontline; January 4, 2002).

In a real sense our leaders were a profoundly ignorant and arrogant lot. They failed the crucial test which Edmund Burke propounded in his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents written in 1770. He held that “the temper of the people amongst whom he presides ought to be the first duty of a Statesman. And the knowledge of this temper it is by no means impossible for him to attain, if he has not an interest in being ignorant of what it is his duty to learn”.

It is not any “interest” alone which prevents self-education. So does Hubris. Jinnah, Gandhi and Nehru were men of colossal pride and vanity beyond the ordinary. Jinnah should have known that besides the inherent falsity of the poisonous concept, a nationalism based on religion degenerates into violent sectarianism. Gandhi acting as “the supreme leader” never seriously strove for conciliation in a plural society. Nehru denied the validity of the concept itself. Both spurned Jinnah. He painted himself into a corner from which he did not know how to escape.

We know in retrospect how and why things went wrong. Jinnah did not devise a formula for power-sharing in a united India. The Congress was adamant against sharing power with him. Nehru forgot the lessons of 1914 when socialists expected the workers to rise against their governments when they went to war. The workers turned out to be more chauvinistic than the “upper classes”. So it was with communal feeling in a deeply religious society which Nehru least understood. Neither did Jinnah. He espoused the two-nation theory. While its consequences affect India, it holds his own state hostage.

We now find the problem of a “permanent majority” in all plural societies in Europe, Asia and Africa. On December 20, 1986, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s spokesman in Madras (now Chennai) said “two nations… coexist in one country”. The LTTE does not propound sincerely a “viable alternative to Eelam”, though.

Arend Lijphart’s seminal work, Democracy in Plural Societies, published in 1982, propounded the concept of “consociational democracy”. This would have been unthinkable to the Congress. It implied a national pact on power sharing. Safeguards are not enough. Empowerment is crucial.

From 1906 to 1936, the basis for discourse on the minority problem in India was a pact on safeguards for the minorities. What Jinnah said at the RTC in London on September 5, 1931, was conventional wisdom then: “The new Constitution should provide for reasonable guarantees to Muslims and if they are not provided, the new Constitution is sure to break down.” Jawaharlal Nehru had no patience with anything that preceded his arrival on the scene of Indian politics. In a letter to Gandhi on September 11, 1931, he branded Jinnah’s proposition as “narrow communalism”.

Nehru’s was a nationalism that denied the very fundamentals of Indian society, so far removed was he from the realities. Even Jinnah’s moderation in 1931 was of no avail against Nehru’s obdurate refusal to recognise that minorities were entitled to some rights. Nehru’s was an absolutist secularism garnished with a socialism that he could only dimly perceive. A colossal intellectual failure all round produced a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions. Tragedy, it has been said, lies not so much in the conflict between good and evil as between one good force and another.

Like Nehru, Jinnah also shattered the established basis of discourse. Nehru did so on the minorities’ rights, Jinnah on India’s unity; Nehru in arrogant ignorance, Jinnah in arrogant reliance on his tactical skills. Jinnah’s greatness lay in the pre-1940 record when he was a tireless conciliator, a real statesman. Both men were secularists. Therein lies the tragedy. Nehru harmed secularism by denying the legitimacy of minority rights. Jinnah ruined it by the two-nation theory.

The leaders drifted apart not only politically but also in personal estrangement. After 1937, Jinnah’s rhetoric became abusive. Gandhi did not spare comments of a personal nature, either.

In the aftermath of Partition, rhetoric on both sides, Indian and Pakistani, verged on abuse. Pakistanis questioned Nehru’s sincerity as a secularist. On the Indian side, a portrait of Jinnah came to be painted of a man rude, arrogant and bereft of humanity. Sarojini Naidu’s was a portrait of a man of deep sensitivity and refinement: “a naive and eager humanity, an intuition quick and tender as a woman’s, a humour gay and winning as a child’s”.

Unlike Chagla, Jinnah’s other junior, Yusuf Meheralli, went to prison and courageously argued back with him. But he never denigrated Jinnah. He told an American reporter: “After half an hour’s conversation with Jinnah one returns a devotee.” Men as diverse as V.P. Menon, Frank Moraes, P.B. Gajendragadkar, A.S.R. Chari, Mohammed Yunus and M.O. Mathai have testified to Jinnah’s warmth and impeccable good manners. He would argue patiently with the young.

The great short-story writer Sadat Hasan Manto interviewed Jinnah’s chauffeur and wrote an essay, “Mera Saheb” (My Boss), which was published in a collection called Ganje Farishte (Bald Angels). An English translation was published in the Illustrated Weekly of India of February 10, 1985, by Mr. Ghazeli (a pen name, of course). It reveals a man intensely human and in pain. Whenever memories of his dead wife and estranged daughter possessed him, their clothes would be spread out on the carpet for a while. He would then walk to his bedroom, wiping tears. Memoirs of his ADC Ata Rabhani, I was the Quaid’s ADC (Oxford University Press; 1996) reveal a clubbable gentleman.

But the caricature of “whiskey, pork and Savile Row suit” came to stay. No one mentioned two respected Congress presidents who were devotees of Bachus. One, a man of religion, was a notorious alcoholic; the other, a lawyer, was a notorious addict. In a state of inebriation he once kicked a bucket containing food; the guests fled. Jinnah’s neighbour in New Delhi, Sir Sobha Singh, recalled that he always drank in strict moderation.

Remember, Jinnah was eagerly sought after to sit on committees. A good committee man must be a good listener with a talent for compromise. No one cares to ask why it was that while Jinnah got along famously with Tilak, Malaviya and Lajpat Rai, he had problems with Gandhi. “Lalaji had generally not much difficulty in working with M.A. Jinnah.” They would walk into each other’s room with ease “sometimes several times in the course of the same day… and go together to Malaviyaji to continue the discussion” (Lajpat Rai by Feroz Chand; Publications Division; page 499).

That people were surprised when Jinnah’s stout defence of Bhagat Singh in the Assembly was brought to light recently shows how little he was understood. “The man who goes on a hunger strike has a soul. He is moved by that soul” and was prepared to die for the cause, Jinnah thundered. Few had as good a record on civil liberties. “I thoroughly endorse the principle, that while this measure should aim at those undesirable persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attack upon the religion of any particular class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion, we must also secure this very important and fundamental principle that those who are engaged in historical works, those who are engaged in bonafide and honest criticisms of a religion shall be protected” (CW, Vol. III, page 208). (Vide the writer’s essay “Jinnah’s commitment to liberalism”; Economic and Political Weekly; January 13, 1990.)

Yet, it is doubtful if, in the entire history of India’s struggle for freedom, anyone else has been subjected to such a sustained, determined denigration and demonisation as Jinnah has been from 1940 to this day, by almost everyone – from the leaders at the very top to academics and journalists. In his Autobiography Nehru maliciously caricatured him as one who distrusted, if not disliked, the masses and attributed to him a suggestion, he “once privately” made, that “only matriculates should be taken into the Congress”. No authority for this palpable falsehood is cited. Jinnah was not one to make such a remark privately which went against his entire outlook. Nehru wrote thus in 1936. Nearly two decades earlier Jinnah’s strong assertion to the contrary was made publicly and in London on August 13, 1919, in his evidence before the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on the Government of India Bill.

The Secretary of State for India Edwin Montagu was downright rude: “Question 3633: How long have you been in public life Mr. Jinnah? – (Answer) Since I was twenty-one (i.e. 1897). 3634: Have you ever known any proposal come from any government which met with your approval? – Oh, Yes… 3636: You must have felt very uncomfortable?… ”

Major Ormsby “Q 3810: You speak really as an Indian Nationalist? – I do.” Lord Islington asked: “Q 3884: You would say that there are people in India who though they may be not literate, have a sufficient interest in the welfare of the country to entitle them to a vote? – I think so, and I think they have a great deal of common sense… . I was astonished when I attended a meeting of mill hands in Bombay when I heard some of the speeches, and most of them were illiterates.” Could such a man have made the suggestion Nehru attributed to him in 1936? Not surprisingly, in 1937 Jinnah converted the League into a mass organisation, pledged to complete independence.

Interestingly, the next day Jinnah took his wife Ruttie to the theatre. He had as a student performed in plays and even toyed with the idea of becoming an actor. When they returned home, a little after midnight Ruttie gave birth to their daughter Dina. It was on August 14-15, 1919, a devoted friend of both recorded (Ruttie Jinnah: The Story of a Great Friendship; Kanji Dwarkadas; page 18).

Addressing the League in 1924, Jinnah proudly noted that “the ordinary man in the street has found his political consciousness”. He mentioned “Mahatma Gandhi” and threatened that if the British did not respond Indians should “as a last resort make the government by legislature impossible” and resort to “parliamentary obstruction and constitutional deadlocks”. This was the language of a Congressman, not liberals like Sapru.

Most of Jinnah’s friends were non-Muslim and they remembered him affectionately. Kanji Dwarkadas’ two volumes of memoirs, India’s Fight for Freedom and Ten Years to Freedom, are well documented. K.M. Munshi said “Jinnah warned Gandhiji not to encourage the fanaticism of Muslim religious leaders” in the Khilafat movement. He wrote in his Pilgrimage to Freedom (1968): “When Gandhiji forced Jinnah and his followers out of the Home Rule League and later the Congress, we all felt, with Jinnah that a movement of an unconstitutional nature, sponsored by Gandhiji with the tremendous influence he had acquired over the masses, would inevitably result in widespread violence, barring the progressive development of self-governing institutions based on a partnership between educated Hindus and Muslims. To generate coercive power in the masses would only provoke mass conflict between the two communities, as in fact it did. With his keen sense of realities Jinnah firmly set his face against any dialogue with Gandhiji on this point.”

Even so Jinnah did not part company with him. Three other episodes followed – the Nehru Report, the RTC in London, and the Congress’ arrogance of power (1937-39). He appealed to Gandhi in 1937, through B.G. Kher, to tackle the situation. Jinnah drew a blank.

Belatedly, on December 6, 1945, Gandhi confided to the Governor of Bengal, R.G. Casey: “Jinnah had told him that he (Gandhi) had ruined politics in India by dragging up a lot of unwholesome elements in Indian life and giving them political prominence, that it was a crime to mix up politics and religion the way he had done.”

In 1936, even as he set out mobilising Muslim support, Jinnah refused to exploit the Shahidganj Mosque issue in Lahore and doused the fires. Jinnah was no Advani (vide the author’s article “Ayodhya in reverse”; Frontline, February 16, 2000). The Governor of Punjab wrote: “I am greatly indebted to the efforts of Mr. Jinnah for this improvement and I wish to pay an unqualified tribute to the work he has done and is doing.”

Pothan Joseph was handpicked by Jinnah to be Editor of the League’s organ Dawn. He recalled that “there was no trace of pressure or censure and he was anxious to test his views by inviting criticism in the seclusion of his drawing room… the notion of his having been a common bully in argument is fantastic, for the man was a great listener… he was really a man with a heart, but determined never to be duped or see friends let down. He didn’t care a hang about being misrepresented as Mir Jaffer or Judas Iscariot. No one could buy him nor would he allow himself to be betrayed by a kiss.”

Amazingly, Jinnah’s superb record as an MP remains yet to be studied – as a member of the Central Legislative Assembly he spoke on a variety of subjects; the Motor Vehicles and the Post Office Acts included. On March 10, 1930, he denounced the restrictive orders imposed on Vallabhbhai Patel and on January 22, 1935, the detention of Sarat Bose. He emulated the combative style of British MPs. The British, arrogant as ever, resented it. Indians, thin-skinned, took it personally.

Dewan Chaman Lall, a close friend for 30 years and a noted Congress MP, recalled Jinnah’s efforts for settlement before and after 1940 and said in 1950: “He was a lovable, unsophisticated man, whatever may be said to the contrary. And he was unpurchasable.”

Sarojini Naidu did not change her opinion of the man even after he began to advocate partition. She described him at a press conference in Madras on January 18, 1945, as the one incorruptible man in the whole of India. “I may not agree with him, but if there is one who cannot be bought by title, honour or position, it is Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah.” Predictably Nehru was “upset” by her “excessively foolish speech” (SWJN: First Series; Vol. 13, page 546).

Surely, any decent biography, any honest appraisal must reckon with the entire record. No serious effort has been made to explain the change. Why did a man who wrote on March 17, 1938, that “it is the duty of every true nationalist, to whichever party or community he may belong, to help achieve a united front” against the British advocate the partition of India on March 23, 1940? Why, indeed?

The reason is not hard to seek. Jinnah was an Indian nationalist who did not believe that nationalism meant turning one’s back on the rights of one’s community. The Congress stipulated that, virtually. Its shabby record on Muslims in the Congress bears recalling; some day Jinnah lost his balance, abandoned Indian nationalism and inflicted on both his nation and his community harm of lasting consequences. Nehru, in contrast, stood by the secular ideal till his dying day.

Pakistanis, on the other hand, wilfully shut their eyes to Jinnah’s grave mistakes and canonise him. They overlook the damage inflicted on Pakistan itself, let alone the Muslims of India.

Jinnah’s record from 1906 to 1940 does not obliterate the record of 1940-48 any more than Nehru’s brave fight, against all odds, for secularism in India or Gandhi’s conscious choice of martyrdom alters the record prior to 1947. Gandhi knew his life was in peril, but did not compromise and did not flinch one bit.

The record prior to 1940 only deepens the tragedy that befell Jinnah, and because of him, the India he loved and the community whose interests he sought to advance. Responsibility for the partition was not his exclusively; but his share was enormous.

The League’s Resolution of March 23, 1940, brought partition into the realm of the possible. The collapse of the Cabinet Mission’s Plan of May 16, 1946, for a united India dragged it into the abyss of inevitability. For this, Jinnah was not a bit responsible. That phase deserves a closer study than it has received.

Indians and Pakistanis must come to terms with Jinnah’s record in its entirety. He was of a heroic mould but fell prey to bitterness and the poison that bitterness breeds. In the present age, some will be talking of his virtues; others of his failings alone. Posterity alone will do him justice.

Some day, the verdict of history on Jinnah will be written definitively. When it is written, that verdict will be in the terms Gibbon used for Belisarius: “His imperfections flowed from the contagion of the times; his virtues were his own, the free gift of nature or reflection. He raised himself without a master or a rival and so inadequate were the arms committed to his hand, that his sole advantage was derived from the pride and presumption of his adversaries” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; The Modern Library; Vol. II, page 240).

453 Comments

Filed under Jinnah, Pakistan, Partition

453 responses to “Partition of India: The Dialogue continues

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  2. sss

    Jinnah was associated with muslim league throughout his life. Does the author want to say that league was not a communal organisation. Would he consider Hindu Mahasabha also as noncommunal.
    “Jinnah was firm and uncompromising secular nationalist but still he supported twonations theory.”
    What exactely you want to say
    1. whether jinnah was not that firm about his ideals?
    2. or two nations theory is not communal?
    3. or he was the innocent muslim who was decieved by dark, cunning, idol worshipping dhoti ?clad hindus?

  3. Bloody Civilian

    What exactely you want to say
    >>>>>

    That one can be Indian, Muslim, Gujrati, a Lawyer from a family of traders and Muhammad Ali, and whatever else, all at the same time.

    None of these identities need come ‘before’ or ‘after’ another. And you can fight for your right to hold on to each and let go of any, VOLUNTARILY. That one cannot impose any of these identities, let alone what he might think each does or does not entail, on another… under any pretext. That the law must not concern itself with any identity other than that of ‘citizen’. But democracy, on the other hand, must recognise this freedom for a citizen to claim an identity alongside that of a ‘citizen’.

    When it comes to religious identity, freedom and rule of law dictate that religious identity must be recognised but any and all belief systems absolutely and completely ignored. That freedom to religous belief is fully afforded and restricted to the private domain. Now if the Hindu Mahasabah agreed to all of the above, then they might just have had something in common with the AIML.

  4. swapnavasavdutta

    So one day Jinnah is secular (Indian) nationalist, then he becomes (Muslim) communalist, then again he becomes secular (Pakistani) nationalist.

    And all during this process he never utters the word ‘secular’ during any of his speeches or write-ups.

  5. Gorki

    Swapnavasavdutta, you wrote :
    “And all during this process he (Jinnah) never utters the word ’secular’ during any of his speeches or write-ups”.

    Technically you are correct, but consider the following speech in which Jinnah talks about communalism, in his own words:

    “Indeed if you ask me this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free peoples long long ago. No power can hold another nation and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State”

    (Excerpt of Jinnah’s Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan at Karachi, August 11th 1947)

    Regards.

  6. swapnavasavdutta

    Gorki,

    So based on one such speech, he becomes secular but based on all those myriad speeches and write-ups where he explicitly utters word Islam, does he become non-secular/communal/religious?

  7. Bloody Civilian

    Uttering the word Muslim or Islam makes one “non-secular/communal/religious”? So, when speaking up for minority rights, how should a minority, pray tell, refer to itself? ‘the minority whose identity has been declared unspeakable’?

    Read the artcile again and see how the author explains the possibility and legitimacy of concentric, multiple identities. How each one is for the individual, or the community, to give up voluntarily, as anxieties reduce, not denied as part of forced assimilation.

    As you read the artcile again, you will pick up all the secularist words and deeds of Jinnah’s that you missed on the first read. As well as the stand taken for all minorities, in addition to the legitimate representation of one.

    So a consistent record of secularism in word and deed means nothing if you have not uttered or written the word itself. It means nothing to have it as an innate ability to get along with all, coming naturally to you as a minority member of a gujrati trading community.

    Funny that Jinnah, whom you claim was a communalist, married for love, outside his own community/relgion. His progeny live in India. Yet one of Nehru’s progeny has, sadly, failed to make the intellectual journey to his greatgrandfather’s secularism. Thanks to that secularism, he is in prison. The INC always recognised the legitimacy of India’s minorities’ question. Had it not been there, Varun Gandhi would have found that there was no political mileage to gain from his muslim bashing.

  8. swapnavasavdutta

    Bloody Civilian,

    We are talking about polity here.
    How many times did Jinnah say the polity of the new nation will be ‘secular’ (I am not talking about
    implication or interpretation) and how
    many times did he say the polity of new nation will be based on principles of Islam?

    Regarding marrying outside community, his second wife became first Muslim and then he married her.
    He was not too happy about his daughter’s marriage to a person outside Muslim community either, solely because of his religion and him not becoming Muslim before his daughter marries him, why this insisence on becoming Muslim?

  9. Bloody Civilian

    how
    many times did he say the polity of new nation will be based on principles of Islam?
    >>>>>>>>>

    If by “the new nation” you mean Pakistan, then even if Gorki’s excerpt is not enough for you, you can read the whole speech.

    If you mean ‘united India’ instead, then give me a single example where he suggested anything to do with the law or constitution which was non-secular.

    Jinnah – the politician – had to talk of community and identity, religious and other, because India’s politics were communalised, from before Jinnah, Gokhale, Nairoji or indeed the subsequent politicians arrived on the scene. Addressing this problem led to the kind of solution proposed in the CMP. Closing one’s eyes to this fact led to the failure of the CMP. Indeed, the eralier this problem had been acknowledged, the sooner and more effective the solution might have been.

    As for your statements about Jinnah and his immediate family, I gave the example from a communal (religious identity) point of view, while you are talking about matters of religious belief. The inter-communal aspect of the marriage is obvious. As for the views and beliefs of the persons involved, surely, that is their private matter… whether it be the husband-wife or father-daughter relationship. How does that have anything to do with secualrism, modernism or liberalism? Unless you mean to suggest that Jinnah could not be secular, modern or liberal without being an atheist, or even an anti-Islamist.

  10. Bloody Civilian

    Indeed, the eralier this problem had been acknowledged, the sooner and more effective the solution might have been.
    >>>>>>>>

    I should have expanded here that while the INC acknowledged this problem, it believed that only its own solution was acceptable. Indeed, the INC saw itself as the Freedom Movement and not a political party, and any one daring to have any disagreement at all with its political view or politics was seen as a traitor.

  11. Gorki

    This is a very well reasoned and well written article. No south Asian can read the above article and not be moved by the superhuman challenges face by these titans.

    The qualities that separated these giants from ordinary men were courage and conviction; vision and determination to rid their land of foreign rule and injustice. No matter where one lives; India or Pakistan, no one can question their selflessness and integrity.

    That these men had all these qualities and still possessed human failings; anger, ego and personal likes and dislikes does not diminish their greatness; only softens them enough so that we can remove them from the pedestals and study and analyze them.

    It is critical that we, their inheritors, possess the wisdom to research them dispassionately; without either deifying them or demonizing them.

    It is only natural that a genius like Jinnah, who had a long career in public life (and that too during some of the most eventful decades ever in the history of South Asia ;) would have multiple facets to his personality. It is also natural that he would go on evolving as a personality in those critical years, (along with his nation and all his contemporaries). Thus looking for rigid consistency in his speeches or those of such any such personality would be impossible.

    The author of the above article has readily conceded the fact that a change occurred in Jinnah’s attitude sometimes around 1935-1940. It was a change that occurred not in isolation but as a result of his changing dynamics with his contemporaries like Nehru and Gandhi. What did not change, however, was his commitment to the principle of fairness and the rule of law.

    We may question his judgment as a nationalist in insisting on a separate nation, or his methods in using brinkmanship, while opposing Gandhi and the INC, but we can not question his inherent honesty and fairness. He did not ask anything for his party and his followers that he was not willing to concede to his opponents. Thus even when he led his followers into a separate nation, he clearly insisted on protecting the rights of minorities who fell under his side of the divide.

    Even when he appeared to be most inflexible, his position was always mired within the framework of laws and the principle of equitable settlement between the two sides. This comes out loudly through his speech delivered in the Presidential address and through his actions, (as when he authorized British officers leading the police of his newly founded nation to fire on the Muslim mobs attacking the Hindu and Muslim minorities.)

    Whether one likes Jinnah or not; one can not but admire the above uncompromising commitment to the rule of law and the due process. Both his admirers and his detractors would agree that both India and Pakistan would be better places to live in today if only they had more such disciplined and impartial leaders setting the public policy.

  12. sss

    “When it comes to religious identity, freedom and rule of law dictate that religious identity must be recognised but any and all belief systems absolutely and completely ignored. That freedom to religous belief is fully afforded and restricted to the private domain. Now if the Hindu Mahasabah agreed to all of the above, then they might just have had something in common with the AIML”
    So these were the ideals of AIML. Well why i am surprised that final culmination of AIML’s ideals is pakistan.

  13. sss

    Well so now we are being told that though Jinnah steadfastly, firmly, uncompromisingly fought for separate muslim homeland, yet he never believed in it.
    Do you really want to potray this man as a visionary statesman.

  14. SV

    “Funny that Jinnah, whom you claim was a communalist, married for love, outside his own community/relgion. His progeny live in India.”

    @Bloody Civilian, wait a minute. I think you are missing something here. Notwithstanding MAJ’s secular/communal credentials, the fact remains that while he married a non-muslim out of love, he disowned his own daughter for doing the same. The fact that his progeny live in India (one of them going out with Ms. P.Zinta) has more to do with this, than MAJ’s legacy of secularism.

  15. yasserlatifhamdani

    SSS, SV,

    Both of you haven’t bothered to read the article or open your minds (you might be incapable of doing the latter) … Had you read the article you would know that Jinnah-secular claim is not based on one speech but an entire career.

    As for Jinnah disowning his daughter… that lie has been repeated enough time for it to become the truth… but the fact is that Jinnah did not disown his daughter… remained in touch with her and visited her and her children… till the time he left for Pakistan.

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    “so now we are being told that though Jinnah steadfastly, firmly, uncompromisingly fought for separate muslim homeland, yet he never believed in it.”

    Where did you get either of these two statements from? Read the first part of the discussion.

    Jinnah uncompromisingly and steadfastly fought for his constituents and for Pakistan… but his Pakistan was part of the all-India whole and not an antagonistic state.

  17. yasserlatifhamdani

    “solely because of his religion and him not becoming Muslim before his daughter marries him”

    Once again… this is little knowledge. Jinnah was opposed to Neville Wadia was because the latter had a reputation for being a playboy and a man without integrity. Faith was only an incidental additional issue.

    It might be that our Indian friends are confusing Jinnah’s issue with his daughter with that of Nehru’s issue with his daughter Indira who married Feroz (Parsi or Muslim) and Nehru disliked it because of Feroz’s Non-hindu background.

    In any event… given that Gandhi hit the roof when his son converted to Islam… and Nehru’s issue with Indira… this is at best a non-issue and any more posts on this issue will be deleted as it has nothing to do with partition or Jinnah’s credentials as a secularist- who in any event did not disown his daughter as is falsely alleged by our Indian buddies and some Mullahs on Pakistani side.

  18. yasserlatifhamdani

    One more thing… why do some people from across the border argue like they are about to score a point for India everytime they open their mouth. This is the kind of mentality one associates with scoundrels…

    I am frankly done with this nonsense. If you can’t post without metaphorically beating the Indian rod… you will be deleted and put on spam for ideological and nationalist pornography.

  19. SV

    YLH,

    {{EDITED}}

    An earlier post brought up the fact that his progeny lived in India to imply that it was a legacy of is secular credentials. To me, that was a bs argument (there are better reasons to call him secular than that).

    In the future, please try to read an entire conversation before exploding. Thanks.

  20. yasserlatifhamdani

    The issue was brought up by Mr. Dutta.

  21. SV

    No EDITED, the issue was brought up by Bloody Civilian

    “Funny that Jinnah, whom you claim was a communalist, married for love, outside his own community/relgion. His progeny live in India. Yet one of Nehru’s progeny has, sadly, failed to make the intellectual journey to his greatgrandfather’s secularism. Thanks to that secularism, he is in prison. The INC always recognised the legitimacy of India’s minorities’ question. Had it not been there, Varun Gandhi would have found that there was no political mileage to gain from his muslim bashing.”

    EDITED

  22. bonobashi

    @SV, SSS, swapnavasavdutta

    I request an opportunity to re-state the arguments on both sides. This may be of interest to you, as it may make it clear that there are several phases to be considered, that the idea of each country turns out to be different and to some extent, orthogonal to each other, and that current states of being are strangely disconnected from what each nation seems to have set out to try and do. This is the middle of an unfortunately complex period for me personally, so my request is that you hold off making a final evaluation till sometime this evening. Surely that is not an outrageous request.

    Please withhold judgement on the pros and cons until you have read that. It would be a pity if you, any of the three of you, went away with an incomplete picture, or with an impression that a discussion on this issue has to result either in the invalidation of either of the two central ideas of the respective countries involved (conflating Bangladesh with Pakistan for the sake of brevity, without implying that the case is identical), or with a judgement on things as they are today.

    It seems from the comments so far that there is an impression that interpreting Jinnah’s actions and speeches of the time favourably are being equated to a denial of the secular and inclusive nature of India. Far from it. In my view, it vindicates the idea of India a hundred times over, without removing the validity of the arguments for the existence of Pakistan. However, it postulates that the Pakistan that most enlightened Pakistanis have realised they want, as evident from sampling the writings here and elsewhere that you can find references to, is not the Pakistan that was.

    I believe that the results of such an exposition will be of reasonable intellectual interest. It should address all who are interested in a more than superficial investigation of how our neighbouring nations came into existence, and what the drivers of our mutual relations are. The intention being to consider what we may make of these drivers at present and in the future to give us each an opportunity of developing our respective nations in our own desired directions, without mutual interference, without creating periodic interludes of hostility and aggression and massive military expenditure, not to mention loss of life.

    Do consider this.

  23. sss

    Dear Banobashi, Yes i think that if we become favourable to jinnah’s ideals it will seriousely undermine secular and inclusive nature of india.
    The fact remains that jinnah propagated the two nations theory. Whether or not he actually believed in it is another matter and not at all significant from an indian’s point of view.
    If we support jinnah’s two nation theory, what moral right are we left with to oppose hindu mahasabha and rss’s two nation theory.

  24. Chris Hayes

    I can understand the reluctance about placing coercive power in the hands of the states citizens on the part of Jinnah. Today it is an contenous as ever. Ultimately I belive members of a democracy require access to it and that is a great part of Ghandis popular legacy, but of course it is not in isolation otherwise it leads to the repression Jinnah feared. I honestly do not know how I would have felt in that position, given the structural problems in india invlved in introducing moderating factors to it and on the other hand the unstoppable power it held for manking British rule untenable.

  25. yasserlatifhamdani

    SSS,

    It is quite sad that you face such profound lack of clarity on a very simple issue.

    The difference between Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory – which was a minority’s attempt to change the basis of compromise from centralist to consociationalist- and RSS/Mahasabha is that the latter is majoritarian … and majoritarianism is fascist.

    While Jinnah sought to mobilize a smaller number into a united front which would have supplemented and strengthened Indian secularism by virtue of being a check on groups like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha (ironically ally and part and parcel of Indian National Congress during the years mentioned )…. Hindu Mahasabha/RSS wants to create hegemony of the dominant cultural group i.e. Hindu. It is quite sad that people who speak of “secularism” like yourself can equate a minoritarian affirmative action with majoritarian fascism… which the minoritarian affirmative action sought to displace. What next? African American affirmative action is the same as White Supremacists?

    The irony of history is that while Congress courted majoritarian Hindu Mahasabha throughout the independence movement…. it spurned the minoritarian Muslim League which would be its biggest ally for Indian secularism. Even the solutions are different… RSS/BJP/Mahasabha want an end to all safeguards… and on paper the Hindu Nationalists speak of uniform code, unfettered democracy, no special privileges for minorities … a prima facie more secular demand than Congress today… because RSS/BJP/Mahasabha want to practise the tyranny of the majority which in a society informed by religious identity would be utterly non-secular. The demand of minority groups – especially the Muslim nationalists in pre-1947 India- was for safeguards and democracy fettered by a sort of a federalism of communities- which in a society informed by religion would only strengthen secularism. This is the basic difference… and if you insist on equating the two, then one can only marvel at your analytical skills.

    The reason why India is not secular and will never be secular is because much like its more honestly communal sibling Pakistan, it too is not willing to become “favorable to Jinnah’s ideals”.

  26. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Far from it. In my view, it vindicates the idea of India a hundred times over, without removing the validity of the arguments for the existence of Pakistan. ”

    Well said.

  27. Bloody Civilian

    My intention was to point out that what was said or not said between Jinnah and his daughter could be best explained by either of them, and no one else. I tried to point out that it was a ‘private matter’.

    Dina is on record saying she had a close and loving relationship with her father, notwithstanding any arguments that, as we all know, are a natural part of these relationships. His progeny lives in India because he never raised them up to think communally.

    Returning to matters of public record, and politics, as A G Noorani all too briefly points out, what induced Jinnah to accept the CMP? How did the INC come to accept it too? What caused the INC to repudiate it within four days of accepting it?

    If the INC had come to the conclusion that the CMP was so unworkable that partition was preferable to it, why accept it just four days earlier? Everybody knew that there was next to no possibility of any more chances for reconciliation. After the CMP failed, partition was inevitable.

    The examination which the Noorani thinks is yet to be undertaken properly is why the CMP failed: “The collapse of the Cabinet Mission’s Plan of May 16, 1946, for a united India dragged it into the abyss of inevitability. For this, Jinnah was not a bit responsible. That phase deserves a closer study than it has received.”

  28. yasserlatifhamdani

    Bloody civilian,

    When can we at PTH expect an article from you on the issue of Cabinet Mission Plan and its failure?

  29. sss

    yasserlatifhamdani,
    “Hindu Mahasabha/RSS wants to create hegemony of the dominant cultural group i.e. Hindu.”

    Are hindus and muslims cultural groups? O

    Two nations theory means that there were two nations living in all indian villages,cities, mohallas in 1947. And that means that even today there are two nations living as neighbours all over india.
    If we ever accept this, indian secularism will not survive. We want hindus and muslims to see each other as brothers and not alian nationals.
    There was no all india majority and minority community in1947.

  30. sss

    yasserlatifhamdani,
    “Hindu Mahasabha/RSS wants to create hegemony of the dominant cultural group i.e. Hindu.”

    Are hindus and muslims cultural groups? Or you want to say religious. Remember east pakistan?

    Two nations theory means that there were two nations living in all indian villages,cities, mohallas in 1947. And that means that even today there are two nations living as neighbours all over india.
    If we ever accept this, indian secularism will not survive. We want hindus and muslims to see each other as brothers and not alian nationals.This is the reason indians don’t accept jinnah’s vision.

  31. Bloody Civilian

    @YLH

    By June 15 :-)

  32. sss

    There was no all india minority and majority community in 1947 and there is no all india majority and minority even today.
    Different hindu and muslim communities faced different challenges in different areas.

  33. yasserlatifhamdani

    SSS,

    “alian (sic) nationals”

    Pray tell what in two nation theory said that Muslims would become “alian” nationals? Your understanding of two nation theory is as poor as your appreciation of the country you claim to speak for.

    But for what its worth… Hindu Nationalists and RSS etc also want the same thing as you because an India blind to diversity means an India dominated by the majority which is Hindu. It is this logic that then leads to Varun Gandhi fiasco.

    Post 1947 the Congress has more or less deployed Muslim League’s logic to maintain its secular credentials.

    “Or you want to say religious. Remember east pakistan?”

    Cultural groups can be formed around many things… including language and religion etc. The Two Nation Theory was not bothered with theology and religion… it stressed Muslims as a cultural group.

    And what about East Pakistan? The two nation theory never said it was in exclusion to all other ideas. Infact Jinnah told Mountbatten that a Bengali or a Punjabi is a Benglai or a Punjabi before he is a Muslim or Hindu. Doesn’t that switch the issue altogether?

    Jinnah agreed to an independent and United Bengal state in 1947 on the basis of Bengali Nationalism. It was Congress which rejected that plan.

    “There was no all india minority and majority community in 1947 and there is no all india majority and minority even today.”

    How then was AIML able to win more than 80% of the Muslim vote… and more than 90% in areas that form India today? If there was no all-India majority or minority… then there was no all India “nation” as well which the Congress was preaching about.

  34. bonobashi

    @SV

    Are you still there? Please reply if so.

  35. bonobashi

    @SSS

    I am sorry that I was not present to answer your queries, or to clarify some of the issues that you have raised. Two very brief points before we engage in any further serious discussion, on the subject of our standard, ‘normal’ thinking in India on the subject of Partition, and on the way I hope to re-present the matter to you, and any other educated opinion that is listening.

    First, regarding your set of beliefs regarding Partition, and mine, and similar.

    At the outset of this argument, nearly four months ago, soon after the tragedy in Mumbai, I was curious to discover what utterly perverted and sick culture and civilisation, if those terms can be used in this context, could wish to destroy the lives of peaceful civilians of a neighbouring state as an act of state policy.

    During my search of public opinion in Pakistan, I encountered a sane and rational voice that insisted on an insane proposition: that Jinnah was a secular person at core, and that his vision of India and of Pakistan was far more practical an approach to achieving a peaceful collective existence of all the entities clamouring for recognition and protection at the time.

    This came as a shock. This was not what I was taught.

    I have been used to thinking of him as an embittered loser in the political battle within the Congress, which Gandhi, and through him, his heir apparent, Nehru won. Having lost his leadership position, he cast about and found the Two Nation Theory and clutched on to it like a straw.

    In a series of increasingly extremist positions, and actions, and supported by an increasingly radicalised Muslim mass, and with a set of communalists seconding him in every respect, he managed to drown out the voices of reason in the Congress, not only the Mahatma himself, but Nehru, and Patel, and of course the truly secular Muslims, Badshah Khan and Maulana Azad. Finally, brushing aside the attempts of Congress to bring in democracy, he subverted the Congress governments in power under the 35 Act wherever this could be done, and made things impossible for the Congress. With the full and active support of the British, he then proposed a partition of the country, and caused one of the greatest holocausts in South Asian history. Finally, not content with this, he planted the seed of the hatred and violence to follow, by his resort to underhand means and his attack on Kashmir using tribals to get the result that Pakistan wanted but could not get within the rules that had been laid down.

    I have been forced to re-examine this ‘conventional wisdom’ step by step. By no means is the result a complete reversal of what I held as a given fact all these forty years or more. There is, however, growing evidence to show that in fact, his stand was far more nuanced and visionary than we ever gave him credit for, and that engaging with him, instead of constantly refusing to enter into a dialogue, may have led to a hugely more manageable situation than finally ensued, and significantly greater benefits for each country than was finally the case.

    Much of the work is encapsulated in a controversial book by Ayesha Jalal. She is a niece, or great-niece of the great author Manto, and teaches in a US university. YLH is known as an authority on her line of thinking, and is himself a convinced secular Pakistani (no, this is not an oxymoron; I was startled to discover the truth, of which more later). My tutor in these matters, another intensely secular Pakistani, whose views are more extreme than mine, is also a contributor to this blog, and has been writing an occasional post on this thread.

    I believe that we need to review our thinking about what happened then.

    I also believe that there were valid grounds for the Congress to take the stand it took – more or less your arguments, that there was in fact only one ‘nation’ of Indians, some of this religion, some of that, but all living together in a considerable degree of communal harmony, and that therefore there was no reason for a split. These grounds were valid, but were impractical, for which statement please give me leave to speak in detail later.

    Finally, with this background, what Pakistan was visualised to be, and what it turned out to be were far from each other.

    You may be astonished to learn that we may be witnessing an intellectual revolution in the making, whereby a strong and influential section of the Pakistani intelligentsia has set itself the goal of creating a secular nation peopled largely by Muslims, a parallel of India in thought, with a day-to-day reality inevitably dictated by its overwhelming mono-cultural state, considering religion as a determinant of nationality alone, but a diverse country with multiple nations within, such as the Punjabi, the Pathan, the Sindhi and the Baluch, if we take other considerations into account.

    I refuse to extend this further as an Indian, as I disagree with their vision of what will ideally fill out the angles and corners. Their task is hard enough without bringing the Kashmir issue into it.

    Secondly, I shall be very happy to explain to you the logic and thinking behind the statements that are being made which have caused you surprise and astonishment. The question is how to exchange views best. As long as the administrators of this site permit, we can undoubtedly do worse than discuss these in public, so that the greater knowledge and understanding of others can fill in our gaps. However, if this becomes too individual a dialogue, I am happy to continue it off list if you so desire.

    I propose to draft my entire argument in full first, and then release it in segments, to avoid indigestion. This is for your consideration; I hope you will find it satisfactory.

  36. SV

    @ bonobashi

    Sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Yes, I am here – what can i do for you?

  37. bonobashi

    @SV

    It’s rather important for me to carry right-minded secularists such as you and SSS along with what has been emerging. So I do hope you’ll give what is on the way a once-over. It will be very encouraging if you agree.

  38. SV

    I am more than happy to read anything you write comrade, it’s just that my responses may be {EDITED}

    So bring it on, sir.

  39. sss

    yasserlatifhamdani
    “Your understanding of two nation theory is as poor as your appreciation of the country you claim to speak for. ”
    I accept. The reason I am participating in this discussion is because I want to understand the two nations theory and that will help me to understand the country I am living in but have never claimed to speak for.

    “If there was no all-India majority or minority… then there was no all India “nation” as well which the Congress was preaching about.”
    What I wanted to say was H

  40. sss

    @yasserlatifhamdani
    “If there was no all-India majority or minority… then there was no all India “nation” as well which the Congress was preaching about.”

    What I wanted to say was Hindus and muslims were the respective majority and minority in different parts of country and hence faced different challengs. When Jinnah proclaimed that there is a muslim nation, religion became the most important identifier and all other realities like cultural, social, economic were pushed into background. Now whether in the dark alies of his heart he really believed in it or not is not important. What is important is the effect of his policies on the ground.

    @bonobashi
    “I am happy to continue it off list if you so desire. ”

    Please feel free to continue the dialog on or off list.
    My mail id is “saushu81@gmail.com.

  41. bonobashi

    @SSS
    @SV

    As it is getting a bit late, and I am very tired, I’m afraid that it will only be possible to post my response in segments commencing tomorrow. The inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.

  42. Bloody Civilian

    religion became the most important identifier and all other realities like cultural, social, economic were pushed into background
    >>>>>>>

    In whose mind? Is that how the muslims started to see themselves or how the hindus started to see them?

    The muslims had only given Jinnah and the AIML the mandate to represent their interests in the matter of dealing with India’s constitutional question, that too only as late as in the 1946 elections. Indeed, that’s all the AIML had asked for, once it felt the Congress had failed to address muslim concerns adequately. The voters agreed, unlike 1937. But this mandate was rubbished by Congress.

    Had the constitutional question been settled as per the CMP, for example, the electorate would have returned to “other realities like cultural, social, economic” and the ‘different challenges facing them’ as “the respective majority and minority in different parts of country.” Its manadate fulfilled, the AIML would have had to be re-invented, or probably disbanded with the leaders returning to regional parties or to Congress.

  43. YLH

    SSS,

    “Actions”

    And what were those? Because of the questions you asked and some points that Bloody civilian brought up, I spent considerable time reading Jinnah’s statements and thoughts as a legislator around the time 14 points came out …to determine whether I had gotten some point wrong and how, why and when did Jinnah decide that Muslims constituted a minority group…. and I realized that even I have not fully appreciated the commitment Jinnah had to United India in full measure.

    Contrary to what you state… it is not “dark alleys” of his heart, but Jinnah’s actions (after he had left Congress in 1920) – all calculated to make common cause with Congress against the British – some of which have been mentioned in the article above… that forces me to conclude what I do.

    While most of the famous Muslim leaders of the time were looking to the British for the protection of their minority position, Jinnah consistently went to the Congress, pleading with them, “begging” (as Jinnah later described it) them to solve the Hindu-Muslim issue … the Muslims distrusted Jinnah for being Congress, and ironically the Congress spurned Jinnah for asking them for very legitimate Muslim concerns… he even got the pro-British Muslims to drop their cherished “separate electorate” POV provided the Congress would agree to separation of Sindh from Bombay (ironically a resolution that Congress had passed in 1913) and to guaranteed Muslim representation at the center.

    The issue was the Congress which had the all or nothing mentality. Instead of coming to an arrangement with one of their own – Jinnah who stood with them on Hindu-Muslim Unity- they chose to color him in communal colors… and in the process torpedoed his efforts to wean pro-British Muslims from their dependence on the British.

    Congress obviously preferred those Muslims who were yes men to everything they said… like Azad and Ansari… except that even Azad had described Jinnah’s proposals in 1929 to be the most effective and reasonable safeguards for the Muslim minority. And it might also surprise people here to know that AICC had originally accepted Jinnah’s amendments to the Nehru report because more reasonable Congressmen realized that the man was their best chance and best supporter in the Muslim camp.

    Ultimately it was dropped at the insistence of Hindu Mahasabha which warned against “changing even a comma” in the Nehru report. So the Congress went back – on the insistence of Hindu Mahasabha- on what could have been the greatest communal settlement and triumph for secularism in British India.

    Now the real issue I think (and Bloody civilian has tried and succeeded in answering this) is whether Jinnah was justified at all in speaking for the Muslims.. that whether he should have only spoken as an Indian. Evidently from 1906-1924 he only spoke as an Indian but the ground reality was that Hindus only elected Hindus… and Muslims chose people like Sir Fazli Hussain and Sir Muhammad Shafi… Jinnah as a representative parliamentarian politician was thus logically required to speak for his electorate… but what is significant is that he consistently put the greater interest of India above that of his constituents … arguably even till 1946-1947.

    Was it not the responsibility then of Congress to hold the balance between Hindus and Muslims and not sacrifice the interests of its Muslim supporters both inside and outside the Congress for support from Hindu Mahasabha?

    People blame Jawaharlal Nehru for rocking the boat in 1937 and 1946…. but it was actually his father, Motilal Nehru who wrecked all chances of Indian Unity in the late 1920s. Where was Gandhi in all of this? He was busy inventing his inane religious theories.

  44. Bloody Civilian

    @ sss

    Summarising what YLH has said: Congress did not accept a compromise along the lines to Jinnah’s 14 points, while Jinnah was part of Congress. It went back on its word about even minimal accomodation with the AIML in the 1937 Congress ministries. It agreed to the CMP, against Gandhi’s advice, after the AICC deliberated the issue for several weeks. Sadly, Congress reverted to Gandhi’s point of view, a mere four days later. The AIML had given up very substantially more than just the last paragraph of the Lahore Resolution and ditched ‘Pakistan’ (which never formed any part of the Lahore Resolution any way), as part of the compromise.

    Both Gandhi and Nehru considered any compromise between the INC and AIML to be tantamount to compromising ‘India’. Gandhi considered partition, too, to be unholly, and declared it possible only over his dead body.

    My intention here is more to stimulate the raising of questions, than to answer many. I look forward to Bonobashi’s awaited post.

    @ SV

    I only just deciphered “bs”. I agree. Regardless of what the facts may or may not have been, it’s irrelevant. I was making a statement about Jinnah’s personality, not an argument. Sorry! Do I get the benefit of ‘better late than never’? That’ll save me from having to claim rather typical mitigating circumstances and bore you with details thereof. I hope ‘slow’ and ‘stupid’ will suffice. :-)

  45. SV

    @ Bloody Civilian

    We are all guilty of making irrelevant remarks, but only a few of us realize this ourselves.

    Therefore sir, you too are a gentleman and a scholar.

  46. Bloody Civilian

    @ SV: Thanks for the help, when I needed it. And thanks too for the very kind encouragement. :-)

  47. Bloody Civilian

    To quickly add a few lines to what I ended with saying: Gandhi considered partition [..] to be unholly, and declared it possible only over his dead body. Nehru considered it to be the best/only remaining option, AIMLCWC agreed.

    Patel said of partition “The poison had been removed from the body of India.” I wonder what was the poison he was referring to. He obviously did not mean muslims. Not least because as many of them remained part of India as were ‘removed’. If he meant the AIML and its politics, then what about all the muslims remaining in India who had voted for the AIML only a year or so earlier?

    Therein lies a more important, if rather basic, question: How did Partition help the muslims of muslim minority provinces? and, what anxiety or issue could it possibly have addressed for those of muslim majority provinces, or, what could it add to what they already enjoyed? Yet both of them, the former more eagerly than the latter, voted for AIML in 1946. (Btw, this question forms the basis of Ayesha Jalal’s thesis of AIML politics from 1939 onwards.)

  48. bonobashi

    @SV

    I have an outline to show you, to ensure that it addresses your main concerns. Could you mail me at my Googleable mail id? Thanks.

  49. SV

    Just emailed you, BB

  50. saner voice

    i dont know whether partion was good or not. but people, theres hardly any need to waste time on this silly debate becuse we can not reverse it.Instead if you want to go into protracted debate, discuss global warming. we can still reverse it. DONT KILL TIME

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    saner voice,

    You obviously haven’t followed the debate nor do you understand the absolute importance of it to Pakistan’s present and future.

  52. hindu-sikh/saner voice

    sorry bhai jaan. i thought that the discussion was over and nobody would be reading my comment. I gave this comment secretly ,just for the sake of giving my comment(you people have given such sophisticated comments, what can i,an ignorant chap,add to this scholarly “intimidating”(meant as a praise) conversation)… you are good bhai jaan and i really love your name yasserlatifhamdani. If i were muslim and if i were to have a son after my marriage , i would have chosen your name for him.bye

  53. Pingback: Partition of India: The Final Years « Pak Tea House

  54. Sharmishtha

    “Your extreme programme has for the moment struck the imagination mostly of the inexperienced youth and the ignorant and the illiterate” (Jinnah to Gandhi). That to me sums up the difference between the two men. Jinnah was the quintessential gentleman-politician of the old style (Moderates, Extremists, Gokhale, Tilak), for whom politics was the special privilege of the educated classes. He deeply distrusted (it seems from this statement) the broadening of the anticolonial movement under Gandhi to include peasants, workers and ordinary people on *equal* terms as the middle and upper classes. Gandhi on the other hand had led a mass movement in Africa whose composition was diverse, both in religion and class-terms. I think differing attitudes to class were an important component of the clash between Gandhi and Jinnah.

  55. Ganpat Ram

    Partition was cruel, but thanks to it the Hindus at least got free of a large number of perpetually violent and angry Muslims – two-thirds of them, who ended up in Pakistan.

    If the Congress HAD accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan, India would not have known a day’s peace.

    Indian cities would have been permanent war zones, the Muslims would have stalled debate on every question except their endless gripes and demands, the army would have been tied down in
    endless civil wars, etc. India without Partition would have been totally unworkable.

    Despite its horrors – which could have been avoided had the leaders shown more sense – Partition was the only solution for a workable India.

    Nehru himself, who was more against it than anyone, realised Independent India could never survive with such a large and permanently angry Muslim population because of his crushing experience trying to run the Interim Government before Independence with the Muslim League. He could not get them to agree on a single thing; every issue, no matter how petty, became an excuse for vile accusations.

    He once asked Liaquat Ali Khan of the Muslim League to meet him prior to a Cabinet meeting to be presided over by the Viceroy, so Indians could present a united case or at least know where each stood. Liaquat accused him of insulting him by sending his secretary with the invitation instead of coming in person !

    Experiences like this finally convinced Nehru, like Patel, that it was after all better if the Muslims got their separate state and left other Indians alone. We must cut off the poisoned limb, Patel said.

    Nehru’s great mistake was not insisting on a complete transfer of populations, as Ambedkar wisely demanded.

    One final point: if Nehru and Patel had been crazy enough to accept the Cabinet Mission Plan (CMP), they would have had to concede the future of India’s majority to the absolute veto of the Muslim minority. The CMP allowed only for an extremely weak central government, confined to defence, communications for defence and foreign affairs. It had no taxation rights to maintain an army. Moreover, a huge part of British India consisted of Princely States, with the right to claim secession if they wanted. If Hyderabad, big as France with mostly Hindus but a Muslim ruler, chose Independence, as Jinnah was advising, there would have been nothing Nehru could do about it, under the CMP. He would have no army to deply without Pakistani permisssion. In any case, the whole CMP was for 10 years only, after which the whole question of India’s future was up for redeciding. A pretty mess, indeed! Nehru would have been a raving lunatic to accept such a Plan, which gave every possible opportunity to Muslims to push their claims at Hindu expense. How ironic that Muslims demanded an end to any Hindu rule of Muslim-majority areas, yet demanded also Hindu and Sikh majority areas of Punjab and Bengal?

  56. Harish C Menon

    “They ask, ‘What are the sacrifices of Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League?’ It is true I have not been to jail. Never mind. I am a bad person. But I ask you, ‘Who made sacrifices in 1921? Mr Gandhi ascends the gaddi (throne) of leadership on our skulls’.”

    –Mohammed Ali Jinnah at a Muslim League meet in Peshawar on November 24, 1945.

    I guess it has got something to do with being an Indian. The logic behind the subcontinent’s partition in 1947 has always flummoxed me. For anyone who has a reasonable understanding of Pakistan’s founding, the main argument that fuelled it comes across as merely an exercise in rabble rousing. What is more, by now even respected sections of the Pakistani media and civil society have completely trashed the bogus ‘two-nation theory’, and instead are looking for a wholly new basis of nationhood.

    So, it has been my endeavour for a while now to identify that one point in time that marked the fertilisation of the idea of Pakistan. And here it is.

    Simply put, there would have been no Pakistan without Jinnah. But my search for that one vital event that led Pakistan’s founder astray from mainstream India, led me to a slightly different conclusion: Without Pakistan, there would have been no Jinnah.

    Though this was known in an abstract way, a comment that Jinnah made, perhaps in an unguarded moment, condensed the whole issue into that one all-important point.

    Addressing a charged Muslim League crowd, he said: “They ask, ‘What are the sacrifices of Mr Jinnah and the Muslim League?’ It is true I have not been to jail. Never mind. I am a bad person. But I ask you, ‘Who made sacrifices in 1921? Mr. Gandhi ascends the gaddi (throne) of leadership on our skulls’.

    In a nut shell, Jinnah had spelt out his primary grouse.

    The story goes back a long time though, to the 1910s and 20s — an era when the Congress’s most popular leaders, the Bombay triumvirate of Pherozeshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji and Gopalkrishna Gokhle, were fading. The Congress itself was still a party of the elite and with membership largely confined to the urban centres of Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune.

    Gandhi was, of course, reasonably well-known world over by then. Besides he had also maintained working relations with the Congress. But he was not really in the Indian picture, let alone dominating it, till his return from South Africa in 1915.

    Being a trusted lieutenant of Gokhale and heir to the Mehta-Naoroji-Gokhale line of thought, it seemed only a matter of time before the dashing Mohammed Ali Jinnah took over the reins of the Congress’s national leadership. With a thriving legal practice, stunning looks, a sophisticated mind and an inescapable elitist aura, Jinnah was popular among the who’s who of the Congress. Also, he was an ardent believer in his predecessor’s constitutional methods of negotiations and litigation to seek an increased role for Indians in governance.

    In short, he was the next national leader. Or at least Jinnah believed so and was preparing for the formal ascent. Then, December 28, 1920 hit him. And hit him hard.

    On that day, at the Congress’s Nagpur plenary session, Gandhi moved the historic non-cooperation resolution — a new and revolutionary brand of protest. Jinnah, an out and out believer in maintaining the British connection, was loath to do anything unconstitutional or mass-based.

    But he didn’t realise the extent to which Gandhi, in the five years since his arrival, had touched India’s grassroots. His unconventional message, put in simple language, had stirred the masses.

    At Nagpur, when Jinnah arose to speak against the resolution, he began his address with “Mr. Gandhi…” Instantly, the conferences erupted into catcalls, hoots and angry “No. Mahatma Gandhi”! While he stood his ground and continued with “Mr. Gandhi”, an utterly humiliated Jinnah painfully realised that Gandhi had stolen a march over him – ‘stepping on his skull’.

    Unwanted, his dream of national leadership in ruins, Jinnah left Nagpur by the very next train. Soon, the hopeless barrister quit Congress forever. In early 1921 he withdrew completely from the political stage, which till the other day he thought naturally belonged to him, to concentrate on his flourishing legal practice.

    However, he had his pound of flesh 27 years later – in Pakistan.

    It is tragic that despite being an ardent believer in Hindu-Muslim unity, a secular patriot and a brilliant tactician, his ego and ambition led Jinnah, in his desire for revenge and power, to trick an entire people.

    It shows why, till his very end, Jinnah was not sure what exactly Pakistan meant or stood for. He just needed his turf. There is evidence that till as late as April 1947 he was ready to compromise on Pakistan and agree to a united India — as long he was given that turf and acknowledged as a leader of consequence.

    Jinnah was first blinded by his inability to gauge the national mood in 1920 and then, most importantly, by his ambition. For the latter, Pakistan was the sole balm, and posterity’s bane.

  57. YLH

    And now some real history:

    At Nagpur session Jinnah called Gandhi “Mahatma Gandhi”. It was Maulana Muhammad Ali he refused to call Maulana.

    The history given by Memon sb is the popular publicist variety. How Jinnah transformed or did he is probably much better investigated in Ian Bryant Wells’ “Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity”.

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  58. Subcontinental

    Jinnah is truly the savior of India. Indians should give Jinnah just as much credit as we give to JLN or Gandhi.

    In a united India, the Muslims would have ensured that the question of identity and religion dominate affairs of state to an extent, that nothing else w.r.t. development would have been possible.

    Even in Pakistan the first Constitution came about in 1956, even though it was mostly Muslim.

    In a united India, we would still have been debating Constitutional issues with no resolution in sight.

    The whole tussle would have made India into a big Somalia.

    For me, Muhammed Ali Jinnah is Bhagwan ka swaroop. He is the architect of a viable and stable India.

  59. Sol

    “For me, Muhammed Ali Jinnah is Bhagwan ka swaroop. He is the architect of a viable and stable India.”

    ^^
    Quoted for Truth .

  60. Harish C Menon

    @YLH

    Wrong again. The Maulana was present of course. And Jinnah addressed him too as “Mr”. And again the crowd insisted that Jinnah address him as “Maulana”.

    You do not have to go too far to check on this fact. Just a glance through Wolpert’s ‘Jinnah Of Pakistan’ and Rajmohan Gandhi’s ‘Mohandas’ would do.

  61. Subcontinental

    @Sol

    It is too often forgotten that what Jinnah did is akin to what Bhagwan Shiv ji did – he drank vish ka pyaala.

    He took as much waste as he could from India on his frail shoulders, and transported it to Pakistan. He put huge walls around this garbage dump called Pakistan, through an enmity born in Partition riots and Kashmir, so that the garbage does not leak back into Bharat Ma.

    He started the Kashmir War of 48, so that Pakistan gets stuck in its Karma of infinite downward spiral of violence spelling doom to Pakistan, so that Pakistan can never ever really challenge India in any serious way.

    M.A. Jinnah Bhatia was a true Indian patriot. Like Bhagwan Ram ji he was willing to go into banwas into the land of the asuras and live amongst them. He was willing to even become their hero and be worshiped by the asuras, even though deep down he hated every moment of it. That is what makes him a great man. He did everything even though he knew that all those, for whom he did it, will never ever appreciate his sacrifices, but would instead hate him.

    India should pay Pakistan a few million dollars and get the Mazar-e-Quaid. M.A. Jinnah deserves to be buried in the country, in India, which he so adored, and where he can be acknowledged as the architect of a new India, a viable and stable India.

  62. Subcontinental

    @Sol

    My Grandfather, who used to work in the household of Savarkar, has recounted to my father and uncles, how in a secret meeting in August 1939 between Savarkar and Jinnah, Savarkar told Jinnah, he should go for a separate country for Muslims. Jinnah was not happy, but after a 5 hour meeting, he finally obliged. Both Savarkar and Jinnah disliked the methods of Gandhi and they wanted to bring him down.

    My grandfather went in into the room where the gentlemen were speaking and brought them tea and pakoras, and also served them with dinner. Only Savarkar, Jinnah and two other men were in the room. My grandfather did not know the other two men, but he knew Jinnah, who was very famous by then.

  63. Kaalket

    Sooner or latter all wise men agree on truthful things. The one true thing ignored for so long was Jinnah being villain of partition. In fact he was true patriot and saved his motherland from future disastrous course. If there was no Pakistan we would have to invent it to mark the distinction between Indian civilization and the Mlecchic way of living. Indians will always be in the debt of M.A. Jinnha and his wisdom in personally sucking the poison out of indian body. He reamains A Hero.

  64. YLH

    Harish Menon mian I am never wrong about what I claim. The Wolpert claim was disproven by A G Noorani and this was mentioned by M J Akbar as well.

    The problem is that people like you don’t go too far to verify a claim.

  65. hayyer

    sub continental’s story is one of those absurdities that no one can refute because no one knows who subcontinental is, nor have we been informed about his father’s name and other references to enable us to verify his story.
    Gandhi as a Bania could only be a Mahatma because Pandithood was reserved for Brahmins, and he could hardly lay claim to being a Maulana. Mr. was good enough for Jinnah but not for the great soul. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore was the first to address him as such. Poets are allowed license. But for Gandhi to accept the title shows presumption, as well as a certain crassness. We have plenty of crass Doctors in modern India exploiting their honorary Ph.Ds.
    Gandhi usurped the position he came to hold by playing upon Hindu sentiment. He sowed the seed that devastated India.

  66. Samachar

    “There is a remarkable sub-text in this speech, which has never been commented upon, at least to my knowledge. When Jinnah first referred to Gandhi, he called him “Mr Gandhi”. There were instant cries of “Mahatma Gandhi”. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jinnah switched to “Mahatma Gandhi”. Later, he referred to Mr Mohammad Ali, the more flamboyant of the two Ali Brothers, both popularly referred to as Maulana. There were angry cries of “Maulana”. Jinnah ignored them. He referred at least five times more to Ali, but each time called him only Mr Mohammad Ali.”

    MJ Akbar, mjakbar.org, mjvoice16.htm

  67. Sol

    “He sowed the seed that devastated India.”

    No it didn’t. If partition hadn’t happened that would have been the disaster of immeasurable magnitude. Let’s stop feeling sorry about partition. It was a good thing.

  68. Sol

    Before somebody starts heckling me regarding the tragic loss of life during the partition : sometimes there are no perfect solutions. One has to chose from lesser of two evils.

  69. @Sol

    You may be wrong that Hayyer is referring to partition. He is referring to the damage done by Gandhi’s teaching Indians that flouting the law of the land was all right, if you had a just cause, which you yourself were empowered to define. After that, who is to restrain the Mulayam Singh Yadavs from surrounding his political rival at a government guest house, and attempting to murder her?

    These are matters of fact and daily occurrences.

    Fixations and prejudices, on the other hand, are dangerous, and can lead to a situation where everything you view looks uniform to you. To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. It seems that every pronouncement of yours has to buttress your hatred and animosity of a single religion and its followers.

    Try to get over it.

  70. karun

    and you try to get over your anti Gandhi fixation…

    what bullshit have you quoted above….dunce.

  71. @karun

    Nice to hear a familiar bray!

    I haven’t quoted anything, as you typically failed to notice. I was explaining why Hayyer may have said what he did.

    If you disagree, why don’t you explain why, instead of doing your famous imitation of a firecracker going off prematurely?

  72. Subcontinental

    @bonobashi

    “He is referring to the damage done by Gandhi’s teaching Indians that flouting the law of the land was all right, if you had a just cause, which you yourself were empowered to define. After that, who is to restrain the Mulayam Singh Yadavs from surrounding his political rival at a government guest house, and attempting to murder her?”

    Sir,
    Only law of the land, that is laid down by the people themselves, either directly, through their representatives, through consensus, through their common belief system, or any method of gathering the will of the people, can really be considered law of the land.

    A law laid down by some colonial power ruling over your land has no sanctity.

    It troubles me to see, that such a fundamental aspect of political legitimacy is not known to the posters here, and there is such an eagerness to accept subjugation, mental and physical, of the white man.

  73. @Subcontinental

    Please do not be so troubled and please do not be so swift to ascribe motives to posters, such as an eagerness to accept subjugation, mental and physical, of the white man.

    Does no other basis for the law of the land occur to you, which is legitimate? Please think very carefully before you write an answer, because your post itself carried the seeds of its own destruction. :-)

    And lighten up. You aren’t determining constitutional precedents that will hold sway over millions of downtrodden masses, you are just passing time on a Sunday faffing around like us others.

  74. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    “Does no other basis for the law of the land occur to you, which is legitimate? Please think very carefully before you write an answer, because your post itself carried the seeds of its own destruction.”

    No, nothing else occurs to me. Please enlighten me!

  75. @Subcontinental

    We will have to step through this one step at a time.

    Do you believe that the laws and the rule of the British were illegitimate, and not to be obeyed by their subjects?

  76. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    The laws and rule of British were illegitimate.

    Of course one should not construe that to mean, some of them were not right, for simply due to coincidence, they could have been the same laws, that the Indian society too would have chosen, e.g. laws about not taking another Indian’s life. However a law requiring not taking the life of a Britisher, an occupier, would have limited acceptability, as the Indians, were they in a position to make laws, would not have given a free chit to an occupier.

    So it was up to an Indian to assess whether a British Law was conformant with the philosophy and interests of Indian society or not. The philosophy and interests of Indian society not having been formulated as laws by the Indian society itself, India being under occupation, such an assessment would have been on shaky grounds, and it would have been very subjective. Depending on such an assessment, the British Laws could be obeyed by their subjects or not.

    There would have however been no moral or ethical imperative to abide by British Laws.

    The strength of British Laws derived from the ability of the British to enforce them, but not from their legitimacy.

  77. YLH

    And who had this legitimacy? The Mughals? Or the Marhattas?

    This would be a pointless exercise in utter futility.

    The real question is about historical legitimacy. We must raise the question and answer it as well : would the subcontinent’s modes of production be decisively revolutionalized without British rule or not?

    If the answer is yes, then British raj was a distraction. If the answer is no, then British raj was a legitimate intervention as per the logic of history.

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  78. Majumdar

    would the subcontinent’s modes of production be decisively revolutionalized without British rule or not?

    If the answer is yes, then British raj was a distraction. If the answer is no, then British raj was a legitimate intervention as per the logic of history.

    What if there is no answer to the first question?

    Regards

  79. Subcontinental

    @YLH

    “And who had this legitimacy? The Mughals? Or the Marhattas?”

    One can in hindsight claim, that none had legitimacy.

    A society wants to be ruled by laws, the society itself writes.

    “This would be a pointless exercise in utter futility.”

    Not if one asks the right questions.

    “The real question is about historical legitimacy.”

    This question can be construed in many different ways.

    History can justify a people’s rights to land or something else timeless. History however cannot provide legitimacy to a system of laws based on the outcome of evolution under those laws post-factum, simply because the legitimacy of a system of laws is only relevant to those living under that system in that time-frame, to answer the question of whether to follow the laws or not.

    “We must raise the question and answer it as well : would the subcontinent’s modes of production be decisively revolutionalized without British rule or not?”

    During British rule, India’s share of world GDP decreased dramatically. Even if most of the modernization drive, the scientific discoveries, the industrial revolution was initiated in Europe, there is no telling whether an India, not under British rule, had not felt inspired to reform the subcontinent’s own modes of production to a level to successfully compete with Europe, while at the same time remaining cognizant of the welfare and national interests of the people of the subcontinent.

  80. YLH

    How does one argue with such stupidity?

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  81. Gorki

    “He is referring to the damage done by Gandhi’s teaching Indians that flouting the law of the land was all right………”

    In his masterly essays on MAJ and the partition (that are often quoted on the PTH) A.G. Noorani implies that one of Nehru’s faults was that he arrogantly ignored the Indian history from before the time that he and the congress came on the scene.

    By blaming many of the ills that bedevil India (and Pakistan) on Gandhi we tend to make the same mistake. Violence and lawlessness in the Indian society did not start with Gandhi and it naturally has not ceased though all other aspects of Gandhianism are practically dead today.

    Long before Gandhi India and Indians lived as a brutal warring mass of multiple semi tribal societies for centuries. The entire Mughal period was marked by periodic outbursts of medieval anachronisms; even the laws of royal succession were nothing but institutionalized bloody fratricidal battles. The victors of these bloody contests would then become the rulers of our land. This was the stable era, to be followed by worse; the century of Mughal decline which was one of the most lawless in our history.
    All popular Indian role models of that era were tribal (and if I may say selfish) rebels. The Marathas under Shivaji, and the Sikhs under Gobind Singh and Banda Bahadur; the Jats in central India and the Afghans in the North remain popular heroes to this or that group in a romantic sort of way but were law breakers; some of them even followed the law of the jungle, plundering and looting as a way of life.

    The British rule did provide a measure of political stability but still there is no evidence that the society had suddenly become docile. The Sepoy mutiny, when it erupted, was an especially brutal affair; the average Indian rebel never shirked from lawlessness and violence when and if the opportunity arose. These too are our role models.
    This was the people who made up British India in the early 1900s. The British rule was able to provide a semblance of order using brute force but theirs was a colonial occupation and the government was a racist government, based on brutal discrimination.

    India did not exist in a vacuum and events and ideas from around the world were affecting the Indians. If there was a universal defining idea of the late 19th and the early 20th century, it was nationalism and revolution with the Italian, Irish, French revolutionaries celebrated as heroes and patriots. All these were ‘lawbreakers’ too.

    A century and a half earlier; another group of ‘lawbreakers’ had flouted the ‘laws’ of the same colonial rulers in the new world and set up a new nation admired by many.
    Now around the time that Gandhi showed up, the Russians were just done rebelling and unprecedented millions had just fought and died in a great patriotic war that was justified in the name of nationalism.
    Thus the Indians were becoming politically conscious and nationalistic too and many were beginning to question and very legitimacy of this ‘law of the land’. There were violent movements taking shape among the Indian nationalists both at home and abroad. Viceregal trains were being attacked and the army was being asked to mutiny.

    In such circumstances it is laughable to say that it was Gandhi who first advocated the ‘flouting’ of the ‘law of the land’. Gandhi did not invent rebellion; rebellion is a natural response of the subjects whenever the ruler is considered illegitimate.
    What Gandhi did was to be the first to argue for a rebellion of a different kind using methods of mass movement. He did not invent the forces opposing the ‘law of the land’ he merely channelized them. The congress before he came on the scene was but an upper class debating forum, isolated from the masses. Gandhi made it a party of the mass movement. Neither was he the first to emphasize the Hindu culture in public life; it was already there among the politically conscious; national leaders such as Tilak and Lajpat Rai were already using the appeal of Hindu culture rather aggressively before Gandhi.

    One legitimate criticism that is leveled against Gandhi is that once he took over the congress he sometimes functioned as an autocrat; it is true and many including Bipin Pal vehemently attacked him very early for this. Yet his autocracy was not enforced by the force of any party cadres; it rested on his genuine hold on the masses. His critics always had the right to found their own parties and take their cases to the masses; MAJ did. Others were either not successful or chose not to; somehow I personally find it hard to blame only Gandhi for this.

    My problem with the notion that Gandhi somehow was responsible for introducing the violence and lawlessness in the Indian society that one sees today arises from comparative history of other countries that underwent political upheavals around the same time in other parts of the world. Take for example; Russia; without a Gandhi in sight it first went through a bloody revolution and then a very bloody purges of millions of undesirables. Still later on (and even after living several generations under the godless communists), the state broke up and the religious and bloody ethnic conflicts are back in all there fury.

    China is another country that underwent a revolution. Indian critics of Gandhi and Nehru love to compare our ‘lawlessness’ with the orderliness and prosperity of China. China is orderly and peaceful today but not because of any moral superiority of its own revolutionaries but because of their utter ruthlessness in the first place and the repressive regime that they left behind that still exists.

    Though no two situations are alike, a look at two different contemporary struggles, one Gandhian and one not, illustrate the relevance of Gandhi in world history.

    The first one is the Black civil rights movement in the US; that adopted the Gandhi style civil disobedience; incidentally against the ‘law of the land.’ Inspired by Gandhi, MLK similarly invoked religious symbolism to inspire his followers when he could. MLK is today hailed as a hero by all and only a very extreme fringe in the US will ever attack him the way Gandhi is routinely attacked by the Indians.

    The other example is that of the Palestinians, where even in the absence of any Gandhian the struggle has remained as hopeless, as divisive as violent and as lawless as ever and again without any Gandhian Machiavelli around it has now been hijacked by the religious extremists. Ironically it is now being argued by some that perhaps the Palestinians need a Gandhian personality to break the impasse and deliver them from misery.

    There is no evidence from the above two examples that either the US has become any more violent, lawless or less secular due to MLK or that the Palestine is less so without a Gandhi poisoning its political struggle.
    The fact is that the US is a well governed country with a long tradition of laws, with strong and trusted institutions; its people find little reason to indulge in lawlessness. Palestine is poorly governed occupied land with weak institutions; and lawlessness is the way of life. India is somewhere in between and its society is a reflection of that.

    In short, societies produce people not the other way around; Gandhi did not create the India we see today; it was India that could produce a Gandhi.

    Today, as I mentioned earlier, Gandhianism is dead in all but the name.
    The name itself is revered and vilified in equal measure.
    In that, we Indians are truly unique, because whether it is Washington in the US, Mao in China, MAJ in Pakistan or even Stalin in Russia, in no other country is its premier leader as detested and abuse heaped on him by the educated classes as Gandhi is in ours.

    Sometimes it appears there is a lot more longing in our country for other 20th century world figures from elsewhere. May be it is not too late; perhaps if the Maoists have their way we too will get our own ‘Great Helmsman’ to love and to cherish; for ever.
    It may or may not cost us a few tens of million of lives, a famine or two and maybe a few decades of social experimenting etc. but what the heck; it will purge us of the ‘devastation’ caused by that vile Bania….

  82. Subcontinental

    @YLH

    Sir,
    You may try by pointing it out!

  83. Subcontinental

    @Gorki

    “Today, as I mentioned earlier, Gandhianism is dead in all but the name.”

    Sir,
    If I may ask, which aspects of Gandhianism would you suggest, ought to be alive and kicking.

    1) He showed Indians how to get rid of a foreign power. Well India is independent today, so there is no need of non-cooperation, etc.

    2) He was a symbol for Hindu-Muslim unity, even though he did not succeed in keeping India united. That aspect retains relevance though this time the unity is not for throwing out an occupier, but rather to sustain peace and harmony for joint development of India. Indian Government and Indian society have retained this anchor of Gandhianism.

    3) He spoke up against “untouchability” in Hindu society and thanks to him and many others the Dalits of India are getting their rights back and moving up in the class ladder. Indian State has promoted getting rid of this inequality.

    So in your opinion what relevant aspects of Gandhianism are not adhered to?

    “The name itself is revered and vilified in equal measure.
    In that, we Indians are truly unique, because whether it is Washington in the US, Mao in China, MAJ in Pakistan or even Stalin in Russia, in no other country is its premier leader as detested and abuse heaped on him by the educated classes as Gandhi is in ours.”

    What kind of vilification do you speak of?

  84. Gorki

    What kind of vilification do you speak of?

    @ Dear subcontinental,

    I see that you are new to the PTH, just wait and watch. People are only getting warmed up ;-)

    What part of Gandhianism is dead?
    well, for one thing, the Babri Masjid is no more and the people who brought it down seem to be proud of what they did. For another, if you may have noticed, people before you seem to be implying Gandhi introduced lawlessness in the previously peaceful and law abiding India. Not a resounding endorsement for someone who wanted to be known above all for a non violent creed…

    @everyone else:

    I did not put him up to these questions, honest ;-)

    Regards

  85. @Gorki

    No, but you fanned the flames, a la Raju the Dachshund. Strike 2, buddy.

    @Subcontinental [September 5, 2010 at 12:40 pm]

    The laws and rule of British were illegitimate.

    In that case, we live in an illegitimate country, both as regards India and as regards Pakistan.

    Take India first. We live under a constitution that was created by a Constituent Assembly which was not a spontaneous gathering; it was a body constituted by the government of the Dominion of India, under the King of England, represented by his Governor General, Lord Mountbatten, subsequently by his Governor General, Chakravarty Rajagopalachariar. These were positions created by laws passed in the British Parliament, and these positions were filled by appointees of the British Crown.

    The situation of Pakistan is similar. It is successor to formal treaties which were entered into by the British Indian authorities with a number of sovereign political entities: Afghanistan, for one, Czarist Russia, for another, Imperial China, through its dominion Tibet, and independently, for a third; one could go on.

    If British rule is illegitimate, all these are illegitimate. If British rule is illegitimate, then the Maharaja of Jaipur is an independent and sovereign prince, because when British rule was handed over, by act of British Parliament, to a constituted Dominion in India and in Pakistan, British suzerainty over these states ceased.

    Of course one should not construe that to mean, some of them were not right, for simply due to coincidence, they could have been the same laws, that the Indian society too would have chosen, e.g. laws about not taking another Indian’s life.

    Are you sure? The behaviour of Indian society and Indian social entities does not show this to be true.

    Again, please think carefully before you write.

    However a law requiring not taking the life of a Britisher, an occupier, would have limited acceptability, as the Indians, were they in a position to make laws, would not have given a free chit to an occupier.

    When, in your opinion, and where were Indians in a position to make such laws?

    So it was up to an Indian to assess whether a British Law was conformant with the philosophy and interests of Indian society or not. The philosophy and interests of Indian society not having been formulated as laws by the Indian society itself, India being under occupation, such an assessment would have been on shaky grounds, and it would have been very subjective. Depending on such an assessment, the British Laws could be obeyed by their subjects or not.

    That logically applies to every law passed by every regime or government or state which was not elected by Indians enjoying universal franchise. Therefore there has been no legitimacy of authority in India at any time.

    There would have however been no moral or ethical imperative to abide by British Laws.

    The strength of British Laws derived from the ability of the British to enforce them, but not from their legitimacy.

    As opposed to? Mughal Laws? Sikh Laws? Maratha Laws? The laws of the Sultans of Delhi under the pre-Mughal Sultans? The laws of the princes in their sovereign principalities? The laws of the 600-year old Ahom Kingdom in the Brahmaputra Valley?

    Other than race, and that too is a dubious distinction, what is there about British rule and British laws that permits them to be flouted or breached?

  86. @YLH [September 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm]

    You are giving opponents of today’s states far too much oxygen, and far too much credit for capability of historical interpretation.

    In my opinion, simply tracing the line of succession of sovereign authority is good enough. If British rule was not legitimate, neither was its preceding legal system, in all the shapes, sizes and varieties that were to be found prior to their consolidation of Indian politics.

    Your idea is another level altogether of enquiry, not as yet appropriate considering the questions that are being asked.

  87. Subcontinental

    @Gorki

    Regarding vilification of Gandhi, I understood, you meant vilification of Gandhi in the Indian society, and not on a Pakistani Forum. Even on this forum, the ‘vilification’ is based on very flimsy grounds, where no distinction is made between breaking laws having legitimacy of people’s vote and those enforced by some occupation power with no legitimacy.

    In the Indian Society, there is no vilification of Gandhi, and if at all, then by a very small fringe.

    Secondly you cite the case of destruction of Babri Structure as a sign of decline of Gandhian influence. The problem with such a view is that it only considers the cases where Gandhianism has not been adhered to but conveniently overlooks the very broad-based consensus in India of being wary of communal issues. Why does nobody speak of some ‘3000’ mosques that are still mosques and have not been ‘returned’ to their temple form. Is that not Gandhianism? Why focus on only cases where Gandhianism is broken down?

  88. Why does nobody speak of some ’3000′ mosques that are still mosques and have not been ‘returned’ to their temple form. Is that not Gandhianism?

    OK, it is clear now where you are coming from.

    Gorki, see what I mean? Please stop your well-meaning but frankly disastrous interventions. These are far less harmless than you imagine.

  89. Gorki

    ‘In my opinion, simply tracing the line of succession of sovereign authority is good enough. If British rule was not legitimate, neither was its preceding legal system, in all the shapes, sizes and varieties that were to be found prior to their consolidation of Indian politics…’

    I now believe I am trapped in a parallel universe with an Orwellian world, for how else could I be reading good and fair people justifying an openly racist colonial rule based on exploitation of the ruled…
    I wanted to use MKG’s own words as rebuttal but on second thought felt it would be better to use words from another ‘rebel’ who I may add, has a little more credibility with his own countrymen. It is edited for brevity, full text is easily available. Enjoy:
    My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
    Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas…but since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.
    I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
    You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.
    In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.
    You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation.
    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. We have waited for years for our constitutional and God given rights. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait” but when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
    There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
    I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law that would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.
    I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods

    In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn’t this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn’t this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God’s will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion?
    Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice.
    The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent….”
    MLK (Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963)

  90. Gorki

    And while we are connecting dots and tracing lines through history one must not forget the following words (and the intent behind those words):

    ‘It is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population…’
    (Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay in Minute on Indian Education, delivered in 1835)

    Unfortunately for the British, this below is what Macaulay’s Children started reading using there new found education: ;-)

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
    –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

    AND:

    “They that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (Ben Franklin)

    Still think Gandhi was the only agent provocateur around? ;-)

    Regards.

  91. Gorki

    @ subcontinental

    ‘Why does nobody speak of some ’3000′ mosques that are still mosques and have not been ‘returned’ to their temple form…’

    because it is the same defense given by a rapist at his trial that look all the other women he had met and not raped….

  92. @Gorki

    The question is about the legitimacy of a particular regime’s rule. By what criteria do the Mughals, some of whose unsuccessful claimants to the throne you were supporting so strongly on another thread, fail to qualify for your charges – an openly racist colonial rule based on exploitation of the ruled…

    Was Mughal favour of Turks, later of Afghans and Persians, before they favoured Rajputs, not racist? Was the conquest of Delhi by the claimant of the throne of Samarqand not colonial? Was any regime until today’s democracy not based on exploitation of the ruled?

    Is it your point that any Asian exploiter, for that matter, any Indian exploiter was welcome, and could be accepted, but any European exploiter was racist and colonial? If so, it sounds awfully like a racist point of view to me.

    @Outsider

    “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,
    Drink deep, or drink not of the Peirian spring.”

    From 1919 onwards, from the time of the Montagu-Morley reforms, there was an increasing degree of representation allowed to Indians under British rule. There was originally a system of dyarchy, rule by two bodies in parallel, and increasing power was given to elected ministers. It is interesting to see how much of the 1935 Government of India Act has been fused into the 1950 Constitution of India.

    There was not much difference between the representative nature of the Constituent Assembly and the composition of the legislature elected under elections held under the 1935 act.

  93. @Gorki [September 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm]

    Good try, but no cigar.

    If it was not for Macaulay, would you have been able to read those two stirring passages?

  94. YLH

    Karl Marx’s article on British colonialism in New York Tribune from 1853 might be instructive.

    And I think Gorki sb has missed the irony in his condemnation of British racism and yet extolling Thomas Jefferson and the revolution by equally racist British colonialists against the mother country.

  95. Gorki

    Is it your point that any Asian exploiter, for that matter, any Indian exploiter was welcome, and could be accepted, but any European exploiter was racist and colonial?

    Of course not. What gave you that idea?
    In fact I am not even passing a moral judgement on any regime, including the British in India, in the US or even the Jim Crow South.

    I am only pointing out that once the European ideas of liberty and equality premeated the Indian conciousness, nationalism and discontent followed. Gandhi or not Indians became opposed to the colonial British rule.

    Neither have I ever supported or opposed any other regime, Mughal or otherwise. Even the question of ever considering a medieval absolutism as legitimate does not arise in my mind.

    I was only trying to point out the obvious liberties the people were taking with facts in the name of
    objectivity.
    You may want to check it out….

    ‘If it was not for Macaulay, would you have been able to read those two stirring passages?’

    That is exactly my point; and note that it has nothing to do with the Gandhi ‘breaking the law of the land’ and ‘devastating’ India. ;-)

    Regards.

  96. @Gorki

    I now believe I am trapped in a parallel universe with an Orwellian world, for how else could I be reading good and fair people justifying an openly racist colonial rule based on exploitation of the ruled…

    Didn’t you write that?

    Is it your point that any Asian exploiter, for that matter, any Indian exploiter was welcome, and could be accepted, but any European exploiter was racist and colonial?

    Reasonable enough? But not to you apparently!

    Of course not. What gave you that idea?
    In fact I am not even passing a moral judgement on any regime, including the British in India, in the US or even the Jim Crow South.

    In that case, whom were you referring to, in your first cited passage?

    I am only pointing out that once the European ideas of liberty and equality premeated the Indian conciousness, nationalism and discontent followed. Gandhi or not Indians became opposed to the colonial British rule.

    Honestly, I didn’t get that sequence at all.

    First, your withers are wrung at the spectacle of an openly racist colonial rule based on the exploitation of the ruled; sorry, Doc, for a moment, I made the mistake of thinking you were talking about the Brits. Of course it warn’t; what a silly thing and a half to say! The clue is right in there; it’s Orwellian. Got it! You were talking about the Burmese kings – openly racist colonial rule based on the exploitation of the ruled – yup, fits perfectly.

    Silly me, thinking that openly racist, colonial, expoitation of the ruled, such stuff was moral; OF COURSE it wasn’t, it was just rhetoric and such-like, all that classical education they pumped you full of in St. Macaulays Convent for the Racially Privileged. Ah, we’ll take ages to catch up, Bwana. All you had to do was quote Jefferson and Franklin, and we should have got it immediately – that’s what was upsetting the natives, not someone saying disobey the laws, and we’ll get them out of here. Right, got it! Pass the word for Custer and the 7th Cavalry to come up front. Time to kick some ass!

    No, really, if what you said makes sense, why wouldn’t this previous para?

  97. Gorki

    Dear YLH

    I am fully aware of the hypocrisy of a white man writing those words even as he personally held slaves!!

    Without exception, all human leaders, founders, movers, shakers, etc. are flawed men yet progress occurs even as these otherwise small men, in so many ways, manage to open new pathways for us.
    The point I am trying to make is that in almost all other countries people have a generally favorable opinion of their leaders and judge their historic role globally and in the context of their times.

    Mythmaking about these leaders takes place in the lay media all the time in all the places; India is no better or worse.
    I mentioned Washington and Mao as examples earlier.
    One can add Jefferson, Lincoln, Churchill, Ataturk and a host of others to the list. What strikes me is that nowhere else are these personalities labeled ‘disasters’ ‘law-breakers’ ‘devastators’ ‘Gandoos’ etc. the way Gandhi is by otherwise serious intellectuals.

    Only in India have the liberals have been unable to develop the kind of objectivity needed to see the role of our founding fathers in the historic context and referring to them without displaying their own strong personal prejudices.

    I find that very interesting and that is my entire point.

    Regards.

  98. Gorki

    Dear Vajra:

    I am sorry for making those remarks about the British rule and then contending I was not being judgemental. You are right.

    Consider the disclaimer withdrawn.

  99. YLH

    Well herein lies the rub… Thomas Jefferson told Alexander Hamilton that black people were probably mentally inferior to white people (Hamilton disagreed).

    Macaulay believed that Indians were as good as anyone else and if educated could be English in taste and refinement. One may question the belief in the superiority of English civilization as it were but in my book that makes Macaulay less racist than Thomas Jefferson.

    I am more inclined to believe what H M Seervai wrote in his extraordinary book on Constitution of India when he said that 1950’s constitution was the culmination of Macaulay’s fondest aspirations.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  100. no-communal

    “I now believe I am trapped in a parallel universe with an Orwellian world, for how else could I be reading good and fair people justifying an openly racist colonial rule based on exploitation of the ruled…”

    A very apt statement brilliantly made by Gorki (irrespective of if he has or has not retracted it).

    The British rule in India was illegitimate because it looked, behaved, and ruled like one. Is there really any disagreement there? This is a separate question than whether that rule was good or bad for India. It is important not to confuse between the two.

    About the mode of production, it is a documented fact that Indian economy contributed quite substantially to the world GDP before the annexation of Bengal by Robert Clive, something hard to believe today. According to BBC’s “British History in depth”,

    “The East India Company’s trade was built on a sophisticated Indian economy. India offered foreign traders the skills of its artisans in weaving cloth and winding raw silk, agricultural products for export, such as sugar, the indigo dye or opium, and the services of substantial merchants and rich bankers. During the 17th century at least, the effective rule maintained by the Mughal emperors throughout much of the subcontinent provided a secure framework for trade.”

    Indeed as M.J. Akbar puts it, no country wants to occupy another for a long term if not for profit.

    Let’s face it, the British merchants and soldiers posted in India, barring a notable few, absolutely hated it. What with the white-only quarters, white-only markets, trains, absolute derision to ‘natives’ and ‘niggers’ in their own lands in Calcutta and elsewhere, deep down they longed to return to idyllic Yorkshires, Hampshires, and London. So why were they in India in the first place? Because they wanted to make a profit. They meant ‘business’, quite literally. But that is no way to ‘rule’ a country, and that’s why the British rule in India was illegitimate.

    So what happened to Indians and Indian economy? As Bipan Chandra puts it,

    “In 1770, Bengal suffered from a famine in which its effects proved one of the most terrible famines known in human history. People died in lakhs and nearly one-third of Bengal’s population fell victim to its ravages. Though the famine was due to failure of the rains, its effects were heightened by the Company’s policies. What happened in Bengal soon extended to other parts of the country spreading poverty and hardship.”

    And as William Bentinck himself wrote,

    “The misery hardly finds a parallel in the history of commerce. The bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.”

    One may say that that was Company rule, not really British, but almost all the discriminatory laws persisted even when British rule became official. The repeated famines (especially during second world war despite a reasonable crop), forced indigo plantations, and a host of others attest to that.

    Mughal rule, especially starting with Akbar, was different in every aspect. We consider Muhammad Ghori or Sultan Mahmud as invaders, but not the Mughals. And there is a reason for that which we all understand.

  101. YLH

    What would be legitimate for my information? Mughal Rule?

    Ironically 1950’s constitution by which Indian government claims its current legitimacy has its legal force from a constituent assembly elected under that “illegitimate” rule.

    So the grand irony is that in that quest for legitimacy, people here are now questioning the legitimacy of the present structure of India.

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  102. Hayyer

    Let us stick to Gandhi. If Gandhi had never been what difference would it have made to India? In my view, a very great advantage would have accrued. Gandhian influence was wholly adverse to modern Indian development, historical, social and economic.

  103. Hayyer

    Nocommunal.
    You need a different pair of specs. Your perspective is stuck around 1880. This mid colonial discourse coincident with early economic nationalism, and redolent of late BJP learning is long past it’s sell by date

  104. no-communal

    “In such circumstances it is laughable to say that it was Gandhi who first advocated the ‘flouting’ of the ‘law of the land’. Gandhi did not invent rebellion; rebellion is a natural response of the subjects whenever the ruler is considered illegitimate.What Gandhi did was to be the first to argue for a rebellion of a different kind using methods of mass movement.”

    Another brilliant observation from Gorki. As an aside, Gorki, would you please consider placing gems such as these separately, and not hidden in otherwise brilliant but elaborative long passages?

    Let’s see who disliked Gandhi and his methods in pre-partition India. The Tagore school of thought and the early nationalist leaders (S. N. Bannerjea et al.), who believed in the ‘constitutional’ means to civil rights, disliked the civil disobedience movement. To them his methods were too extreme. Subhas Bose, Bhagat Singh, and others, on the other hand, criticised his methods as too soft, too passive. Communists did not like him for Quit India movement. Ambedkar did not like him for his opposition to separate electorate (what a disaster that would have been, with a nation inside a nation). Ambedkar at one point directly accused Gandhi for ‘perpetuating untouchability’. And yet, upper caste Hindus didn’t like him for his heroic efforts for the untouchables. The latter Jinnah and Muslim League didn’t like him for his opposition to a separate nation. And yet, Savarkar and Shyamaprasad didn’t him for his pandering to Muslims. And finally, he was killed by a Hindu extremist.

    If you are pounded by all extremes of the spectrum, you are probably doing something right. And, right he did, as the world knows now. He probably wouldn’t have minded his present vilification either.

  105. no-communal

    @Hayyer,
    I knew intelligent observers would come up with that argument. This is why I added, “One may say that that was Company rule, not really British, but almost all the discriminatory laws…” etc.

  106. Gorki

    Hayyer wrote:
    “Your perspective is stuck around 1880. This mid colonial discourse……”
    I think we are in for the long haul.
    OK, then how about this quote about the British rule, by MAJ himself, (taken from the first part of the Noorani article posted above:
    On September 16, 1924, he asked: “Why do these educated young men, bright youths who have drunk at your own literature and who have imbibed those principles of liberty and freedom, come together in secret organisations in order to assassinate you, the very people who have taught those fine principles? Why? Because they feel that this government do not respond to their aspirations, to their ideals and to their ambition to secure complete political freedom for their country … . Sir, can you point me out a single country in the world … that claims the name of a civilised government, which has got a statute of this kind because there are a few bombs thrown. Which country is free, where bombs are not thrown? Is this the way you are going to prevent bombs being thrown? No. The way to prevent bombs being thrown is to meet the people, to respond to their feelings, their sentiments and their legitimate and proper aspirations …. I say that it is opposed to every principle of the Constitution that in normal times the Executive should have such a power. Even if the Executive were responsible to the Legislature I should be the last person to give this power. Why have at all any judicial tribunals in this country? Why not leave everything to the Executive? The very object, the very fundamental principle of law which says that no man’s property or life is to be taken away without a judicial trial and without giving him the right to defend himself you take away by this Act.” He resigned from the Legislative Council in protest against the Rowlatt Act in a stinging letter to the Viceroy. He consistently opposed preventive detention….

  107. Gorki

    And this one:

    Jinnah constantly took a principled stand on terrorism. He denounced the crime but pleaded for redress of the wrongs that drove people to it. He told the Viceroy on September 23, 1918: “It was said by the Honourable Home Member that these are not political matters, but crimes. With the utmost respect, I beg to differ from him. These are political matters and very much so. You must remember that in India before 1906 there was no such thing as criminal conspiracies of revolutionary characters … . The cause of this, My Lord, is that there is discontent, there is dissatisfaction, there is unrest. Might I say, My Lord, that it is partly, if not wholly due to your policy …. ”

    I have plenty more… ;-)

  108. Gorki

    He probably wouldn’t have minded his present vilification either…

    It was happening during his lifetime too.
    in 1946 Suhrawadi called him a charlatan and worse. A year later the same Suhrawadi made a desperate appeal to him to help calm the communal fever in Bengal.

    Gandhi gladly agreed…..

  109. no-communal

    @Hayyer,
    Where, precisely, do you see BJP influence in my comment? I made a statement that the British rule was illegitimate because it ruled as an ‘occupier’, not because they came from Europe (and not from Asia). In this respect, Mughal rule was very different.

    It’s not good for a healthy discourse to discard something by a sweeping comment such as BJP influence etc. The last time I checked it was Congress who opposed the British.

  110. no-communal

    @YLH
    “Ironically 1950′s constitution by which Indian government claims its current legitimacy has its legal force from a constituent assembly elected under that “illegitimate” rule.

    So the grand irony is that in that quest for legitimacy, people here are now questioning the legitimacy of the present structure of India.”

    YLH, you are making a correct but symantic, ligalistic, argument. My argument is a moral one, so they cannot be compared.

  111. Amit Kumar

    I think two leaders are of great importance to India. One is MAJ..for succeeding in partition of India. and another is PV Narshima Rao..whose economic and foreign policy is still followed.

    I am thankful to these two gentleman.

  112. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    “Let’s see who disliked Gandhi and his methods in pre-partition India. ”

    If you do a survey of people who have a visceral hatred for Gandhi, most of them would fall under the rubric of arm-chair activists or drawing room “intellectuals” who cannot even get the vote of their family members for love or money.

    Btw, welcome to this never ending debate. Most people, as I have found out, have really silly underlying reasons for criticizing Gandhi. Gandhi, of course, goof-upped quite a few times, but who hasn’t.

  113. Gorki

    Dear Hayyer:

    “Let us stick to Gandhi. If Gandhi had never been what difference would it have made to India? In my view, a very great advantage would have accrued. Gandhian influence was wholly adverse to modern Indian development, historical, social and economic”

    This is a little trickier, but fine. Elsewhere on the PTH it has even been argued that without Gandhi India would have achieved Independence sooner. How does one test such hypothesis?

    Regarding his economic Impact, there was none, his economic pronouncements were never taken seriously by anyone including JLN.

    The social and historical impact is more difficult to access but first a few points need to be kept in mind. Out of a nearly a century of nationalistic challenge to the British rule Gandhi was active only between 1918 (Champaran onwards) and his role was effectively over before even before 1948 but let us still call it 1948. So he had a grand total of 30 years to mess up a civilization that spans five millennia and notice that he has been dead for 63 years now.

    On a macro level, the only half way decent method that I can think of is to compare the colonial experience of the other Asian and African countries (We were not alone; in 1922 a quarter of the globe was under the British)
    Some of the large prominent former British colonies are Malaysia, Burma, Sri Lanka in Asia and Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania etc. Iraq Egypt and Palestine were briefly protectorates after WWI. There were also the small Mid East Gulf states. Ireland is not in Asia but was struggling simultaneously.

    First of all I must point out that, none of these obtained either a complete or partial Independence before WWII; so much for we would have had independence sooner.
    Second while none of them had a Gandhi (except South Africa) most of these were rebelling against the British anyway. Third most of them in Asia anyway had a religious discourse to the Independence movement. Forth most of these countries fell under some sort of dictatorship often brutal and sometimes bloody, in the post colonial era. The record of the French and the Dutch colonies were no different and in many cases was even worse.
    Finally (and I hate to do this one as a matter of principle) on a micro level, the cultural milieu that most closely resembles India is that of Pakistan, BD and Afghanistan.

    Now Hayyer Sahib,
    1. Out of all these nations states of the World, (that makes up more than a quarter of the globe), I want you to point out to us which one of the countries you admire for a more enlightened leadership than us and which one of these would you have us grow into today and why?
    2. Also on a micro-level, since no other South Asian country besides ours carried on with the charade of Gandhianism in its post independence (or had a Gandhian like JP or Bhave etc.) which country do you think has solved the age old problems of caste, class, religion etc. or has a better form of local government etc. ?
    Both of these are serious questions in an attempt to re evaluate ourselves.

    Regards.

  114. Gorki

    First of all I must point out that, none of these obtained either a complete or partial Independence before WWII… (Non White colonies in Asia and Africa)

  115. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    “”The laws and rule of British were illegitimate.””

    “In that case, we live in an illegitimate country, both as regards India and as regards Pakistan.

    Take India first. We live under a constitution that was created by a Constituent Assembly which was not a spontaneous gathering; it was a body constituted by the government of the Dominion of India, under the King of England, represented by his Governor General, Lord Mountbatten, subsequently by his Governor General, Chakravarty Rajagopalachariar. These were positions created by laws passed in the British Parliament, and these positions were filled by appointees of the British Crown.

    The situation of Pakistan is similar. It is successor to formal treaties which were entered into by the British Indian authorities with a number of sovereign political entities: Afghanistan, for one, Czarist Russia, for another, Imperial China, through its dominion Tibet, and independently, for a third; one could go on.

    If British rule is illegitimate, all these are illegitimate. If British rule is illegitimate, then the Maharaja of Jaipur is an independent and sovereign prince, because when British rule was handed over, by act of British Parliament, to a constituted Dominion in India and in Pakistan, British suzerainty over these states ceased.”

    You’re postulating that legitimate states can be based only on preceding legitimate states. This does not hold.

    There can be transitions too from an illegitimate state to a legitimate state with several intermediate states of questionable legitimacy.

    The level of legitimacy of a law is determined not by the historical context of its emergence, but rather by the level of representation of the affected stakeholders in its formulation. Most importantly, legitimacy can be claimed only if there is a perception amongst the stakeholders that an optimal consensus was found after considering all of their concerns.

    One must also consider that there are two questions here:
    a) pertaining to the laws internal to a system, e.g. political system of a country (intra-systemic)
    b) pertaining to contracts between two systems, e.g. treaties between two countries (inter-systemic)

    Whenever there is a revolutionary change, a purge within a system, within a country, e.g. Independence of India, break up of Soviet Union, French Revolution, the question always comes up whether the succeeding political system would respect the treaties entered to by the preceding political system with another system, e.g. another country.

    Retreating from a treaty signed by a previous regime would probably cause that the other countries too would retreat from the treaty and there can be a clash between the two countries. At an initial stage of the evolution of a political system, it is averse to taking these chances, so usually the treaties are adhered to. Secondly if the succeeding system wants to inherit all the assets of the preceding system, then it has to accept all the liabilities as well. So most contracts hold, but it is not self-evident. The position of the new political regime has to be clarified.

    “Therefore there has been no legitimacy of authority in India at any time.”

    Legitimacy is not a binary variable. It is a matter of gradation. Secondly it is determined by the society itself whether society’s voice is being considered in the formulation and application of the law or not.

    It has been part and parcel of human society, that the family allows the family head to speak for the family, a clan has its own leader, often an elder, that speaks for the clan, a tribe has its own ways of determining who would speak for it. Representative parliamentary form of government is nothing but an extrapolation of this thinking, with universal suffrage an objective means to determine the representatives. Due to a better and more transparent mechanism, a democracy enjoys a higher level of legitimacy.

    So a Sikh empire or a Maratha empire would certainly have had more legitimacy amongst Sikhs/Punjabis and Marathas respectively. Even other people over whom they ruled, who did not identify themselves closely with the rulers, could have perceived these empires as more legitimate than the previous ones, depending on the policies. This has to do with how nations perceive themselves.

    The British rule cannot be considered legitimate simply because the affected stakeholders did not have the last say in the formulation of the laws. Those who made the laws for India were enjoying different laws in their own mother land. They were not the affected stakeholders. They were simply the profiteers.

    The legitimacy of the Indian Parliament is based not on how Britishers granted India her Independence, but rather because they are the representatives of the Indian people.

    Pakistan has to work on its own legitimacy issues with their democracy.

  116. Subcontinental

    @Gorki

    “‘Why does nobody speak of some ’3000′ mosques that are still mosques and have not been ‘returned’ to their temple form…’”

    “because it is the same defense given by a rapist at his trial that look all the other women he had met and not raped….”

    So many assumptions. If a temple was converted into a mosque in the past forcefully, and the Hindus demand the return of the land and building, then it is the same thing as rape!!!!

    The fact that so many temples who had been converted forcefully into mosques have not been demanded back by the Hindu community is a remaining influence of Gandhianism.

    If somebody comes around, takes away your wife, rapes her, and if you demand that he return your wife, then your appeal would be considered equivalent of rape!

    I am sorry for the above example. Please do not take it personally. But I am indeed shocked that even if the Hindus hesitate to demand, relinquish claims on what is theirs out of concern for communal harmony as per Gandhi, it is not appreciated. If there is no appreciation for positive behavior, some would come to the notion that there is no need to show positive behavior. And it would be funny that ‘Indian liberals’ would be considered guilty for promoting such a review of behavior by the Hindus.

  117. @Subcontinental

    You’re postulating that legitimate states can be based only on preceding legitimate states. This does not hold.

    There can be transitions too from an illegitimate state to a legitimate state with several intermediate states of questionable legitimacy.

    The level of legitimacy of a law is determined not by the historical context of its emergence, but rather by the level of representation of the affected stakeholders in its formulation. Most importantly, legitimacy can be claimed only if there is a perception amongst the stakeholders that an optimal consensus was found after considering all of their concerns.

    I agree with you that there can be more than one method of transition, and that these can have gradations of legitimacy, that legitimacy is not, in short, an indivisible factor.

    However, that conceals the fact that every regime is likely to have its opponents, overt or covert, and it is impossible to achieve a status where a particular authority to govern is representative of all opinion. While I note your introduction of consensus, and your apparent preference for this over majority, it still does not legitimise in any way the authoritarian and autocratic regimes that appear to have prevailed from the days of the oligarchic Janapadas. This was a new departure for India, and there is both benefit and cost to linking this new India to a legitimate inheritance from the earlier British authority to rule.

    Perhaps it would be well to remind ourselves that it is in the best interests of India herself to accept the heritage of legitimacy conferred by the British, rather than any other, for reasons that should be very obvious other than to an upper-caste Hindu male.

    You may wish to consider this as a factor, before introducing the consensual method of legitimising a government as a desirable method over the other.

    One must also consider that there are two questions here:
    a) pertaining to the laws internal to a system, e.g. political system of a country (intra-systemic)
    b) pertaining to contracts between two systems, e.g. treaties between two countries (inter-systemic)

    Whenever there is a revolutionary change, a purge within a system, within a country, e.g. Independence of India, break up of Soviet Union, French Revolution, the question always comes up whether the succeeding political system would respect the treaties entered to by the preceding political system with another system, e.g. another country.

    Retreating from a treaty signed by a previous regime would probably cause that the other countries too would retreat from the treaty and there can be a clash between the two countries. At an initial stage of the evolution of a political system, it is averse to taking these chances, so usually the treaties are adhered to. Secondly if the succeeding system wants to inherit all the assets of the preceding system, then it has to accept all the liabilities as well. So most contracts hold, but it is not self-evident. The position of the new political regime has to be clarified.

    “Therefore there has been no legitimacy of authority in India at any time.”

    Legitimacy is not a binary variable. It is a matter of gradation. Secondly it is determined by the society itself whether society’s voice is being considered in the formulation and application of the law or not.

    It has been part and parcel of human society, that the family allows the family head to speak for the family, a clan has its own leader, often an elder, that speaks for the clan, a tribe has its own ways of determining who would speak for it.

    Representative parliamentary form of government is nothing but an extrapolation of this thinking, with universal suffrage an objective means to determine the representatives. Due to a better and more transparent mechanism, a democracy enjoys a higher level of legitimacy.

    So a Sikh empire or a Maratha empire would certainly have had more legitimacy amongst Sikhs/Punjabis and Marathas respectively. Even other people over whom they ruled, who did not identify themselves closely with the rulers, could have perceived these empires as more legitimate than the previous ones, depending on the policies. This has to do with how nations perceive themselves.

    Is this not a convenient extrapolation of what one school of thought wishes should have happened? There is sufficient evidence that Sikh rule was hated, even abhorred, and this evidence has gone into folk-lore on the frontier. Folk-lore that is quoted approvingly by Sikh jingoists. Similarly, the memories of Maratha oppression in other parts of the country are alive to this day, embalmed in folk-lore, in the form of lullabies that sing children to sleep.

    While you are justified in concluding that Sikh rule and Maratha rule were acceptable to Sikhs and to Marathas respectively, it is stretching things too far to reach out and claim that these had some unseen, unwritten but nevertheless nebulous presence as legitimate in the minds of others. That is rationalisation from our own sectarian point of view, for the selection seems to be sectarian. And that is about as accurate as claiming any other regime, the Nizam’s, for instance, to be similarly considered a somewhat more legitimate rule than the Marathas.

    When you make a statement of the sort you did, surely it is fair to consider the resistance to Ranjit Singh himself that was embodied in the shape of defiant Sikh principalities which held out against Lahore, and found British rule preferable? That is emphatically not to justify British rule, or to denigrate the rule of the Lahore Durbar, it merely points to the ultimate hollowness of the graded legitimacy line of thinking, convenient though it may be for us. So, too, the recorded hatred of the subjugated Rajput principalities, and their readiness to treat with the British in preference to the Marathas, should have a weight in your considerations.

    The British rule cannot be considered legitimate simply because the affected stakeholders did not have the last say in the formulation of the laws.

    Nor was it so in the Sikh or the Maratha regimes.

    Those who made the laws for India were enjoying different laws in their own mother land. They were not the affected stakeholders. They were simply the profiteers.

    On the contrary, when they brought in their own laws, cf., the judgement on Nand Kumar, there was a justifiable hue and cry.

    There is every reason to believe that the modification of British laws to provide for the customary law of the land in certain matters was fair and just, when seen in the context of the freedom of the individual, and the protection of the individual from personal injury through deviation from laws other than English.

    In clear terms, the British retained customary laws of inheritance and personal relations, but tried their best to suppress ‘Sati'; they allowed Mohammedan personal law to govern personal relations likewise, but banned the operation of sharia law. In matters of personal family relations, they allowed much; in matters of contract, public or private, and of the human rights of the individual, they legislated a great deal that was positive, and amended these to the great scandal of liberal opinion in deference to their own racists and autocrats.

    There was no dual system of law, as you seem to infer; the same laws operated on the ‘master race’ and the subjects.

    The legitimacy of the Indian Parliament is based not on how Britishers granted India her Independence, but rather because they are the representatives of the Indian people.

    Only under conditions of legitimacy conferred by the British Parliament through statutory provision. There was no other basis for the constituent assembly, however much we try to derive it direct from the laws of Manu.

    Pakistan has to work on its own legitimacy issues with their democracy.

    Of course, she has, though where this thought popped up is difficult to understand.

  118. Majumdar

    Outsider,

    And that f***ing Gandhi, he gave them a leg to stand on – now these Hindus will be around for another millenium.

    Not at all, sir. He cut off their legs.

    Btw, Gandhianism isn’t dead as much as we imagine. It is flourishing in many places- for eg. the Frontier and South Punjab (Pak Punjab that is).

    Regards

  119. Hayyer

    Dear Dr. Gorki,
    I can answer only for what I have said, not for others. Gandhi was an externality to the orderly progression of India towards self rule. He was an external disruption. He obscured the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Gandhi is no part of our constitution and the ethos we live by, thank God.

  120. no-communal

    @Subcontinental

    “If somebody comes around, takes away your wife, rapes her, and if you demand that he return your wife, then your appeal would be considered equivalent of rape!”

    Your question and logic have fundamental flaws. The real question has to be posed as follows:

    Suppose X’s grandmother was raped by Y’s grandfather. Since then many years have gone by, memory has faded, no definite proof exists any more. But the alleged incident has somehow lived in folklores, fanned and fuelled by a lingering animosity between the families. It’s not even clear anymore if the incident actually took place, or just a fabrication to keep the animosity alive. All ancestors of both X and Y are now long dead.

    Would you recommend X to rape Y’s wife Now as a revenge? Would it be right for X to rape Y’s wife to redress his ancient family grivances? For a crime committed not by Y, but allegedly by his grandfather? Despite the fact that even that is unclear, so much so that if the crime actually took place has to be decided by a court?

  121. Gorki

    “He was an external disruption….”
    Hayyer Sahib,

    I think there are many on the Hindu right who will agree with you, though not for the same reasons. For example I think Majumdar Dada has different reasons for saying Gandhi cut the legs from under the Hindus. I will come back to it later.

    1. I am not sure what you base your faith of an orderly transformation of the British India to self rule but based on the experience of other colonies that seems to be overly optimistic. As I mentioned before, the rise of aggressive nationalism in non White colonies was a world wide phenomena, and end of WWI accelerated it. Why do you think India would have been different?

    2. The politics of confrontation and violent anti colonial movements preceded MKG. There were armed Bengali nationalists and the Gaddar Movement which developed independently of MKG. There were other reasons for confrontation. This below is from a scholarly paper from an American University on Colonial struggle in Asia.
    “The Swadeshi movement of 1905-08 began as a local initiative against the partition of Bengal but soon progressed to question the entire colonial edifice. Activists boycotted British goods and schools while developing plans for economic self-reliance and national education. The British responded with repression, but ultimately withdrew partition in 1911. Despite the victory of the Swadeshi movement, colonial strategies of divide-and-rule met with some success, especially in terms of Hindu-Muslim relations. Communal riots and religious-based mobilisations existed alongside instances of united, Hindu-Muslim opposition to partition. British claims that a divided East Bengal would benefit Muslims was convincing to some Muslim elites, who were under-represented in the class of English-educated men that constituted the Congress party’s initial base. Under these circumstances, and with the support of the colonial government, the Muslim League was founded in 1906…”

    Contd.

  122. Gorki

    Contd.

    3. You assume (I hope) that even without Gandhi India would still have developed a secular nation it is today. However there are others who are equally disappointed that MKG ‘disrupted’ their vision of India’s progression but for other reasons. Read below an alternative viewpoint:

    “The “glorious” beginning of this unique “secular” mindset in India, which we must not brush under the carpet any more, may be attributed to M.K. Gandhi’s Khilafat movement, which sought to strengthen the primordial and extraterritorial concerns of Indian Muslims to restore the Turkish Ottoman Emperor, also the Khalifa (Caliph) of Sunni Muslims. He was expected to rid the world of polytheists!
    Henceforth, everything anti-Hindu was okay, provided the interests of the Ummah were advanced. Given this background, it was no surprise that the Muslims of Kerala (Moplahs) raped hundreds of Hindu women, killed about 600 Hindus, destroyed and desecrated 100 temples and converted by force about 2500 Hindus to Islam, besides looting and destroying Hindu property. It was an inevitable fallout Gandhi’s first major political experiment – violent, inhuman, fanatical, and a “success” – all in the name of anti-colonial non- cooperation movement. Since the majority of the leaders of that time had little problem with such savagery, the Indian National Congress went on to become stronger and stronger. Congress had realized it could take the Hindus for granted, even after inflicting horrific trauma on them. Its only concern was to ensure that Muslims gain from every strategic move made by them. And they succeeded.

    This is the foundation stone of contemporary “Secularism”, and sanctification of bloody Jihad.

    The India of the 1920s is not totally dead. Occasional checks or reprimands were not unknown at that time, as has become accepted practice now. When Gandhiji rationalized, if not so much justified, the dastardly assassination of Swami Shraddhanand in Delhi in 1926, it was Tagore who refused to accept the Gandhian line and severely condemned it without hiding his reverence for the venerable Swami. There were people of the stature of Veer Savarkar, and subsequently people like Syama Prasad Mookerji, Nirmal Chatterjee, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash Narayan, who could speak the truth on such matters.
    Hence it was never a surprise that the Indian National Congress would always inflict irreparable damage on Hindus while promoting and favoring the Islamic cause and the Muslims….

    …..As long as Hindus who are still the majority do not shake off this mental lethargy and wake up to the life-and-death question confronting them, they have no future. Having already lost political power, after having fought for it for thousand years, within 60 years of independence, they must decide on which side of the civilisational divide they stand. They cannot meekly submit to everything that goes against them, and this happens almost every day” .

    Perhaps that can also explain Majumdar Dada’s cryptic remark about MKG ‘cutting the Hindu legs’…

    Regards.

  123. Gorki

    Dear Hayyer Sahib:

    Here below is one last post of an excerpt from another paper on anti colonial struggle in Asia; this time on a rare country that progressed to Independence using constitutional means. You can be the judge if this outcome was more desirable:

    “Sri Lanka’s path to independence from Britain in 1948 can be linked to that of India and Pakistan in several ways. On one level, patterns of Sri Lankan resistance were structured by the general material and ideological conditions of colonial South Asia. Colonial exploitation of the economy and the land (highlighted during the world wars and the Depression), the cultural impact of English and Christian education, and undemocratic restrictions in government and employment spurred nationalist and anti-colonial consciousness among various sections of the populace. Further, Sri Lanka (called Ceylon until 1972) had to grapple with the classic problems of anti-colonial nationalism: the gap between the Westernised elite and the majority of the people, the inherent tensions of cross-class alliances, the urban/rural divide, and the clash of ethnic/regional/religious identities.

    As in the Indian case, the early decades of the century witnessed the emergence of diverse forms of political expression, ranging from Sinhala-Buddhist revivalism, as expressed in the temperance movements of 1903-5 and 1911-14, to the creation of the Ceylon National Congress in 1919, to rising class consciousness in urban areas, leading to the general strike of 1923. However, whereas some left-leaning labour leaders, such as A.E. Goonesinha drew inspiration from the mass actions and boycotts of the Indian anti-colonial struggle, mainstream Sri Lankan nationalism as embodied by the Ceylon National Congress did not develop a mass base or an agitational politics. Wedded to the ‘constitutionalist’ tactics that had been thoroughly rejected by the Indian National Congress by the 1920s, various leaders of the Ceylon National Congress – from P. Arunachalam to D.S. Senanayake – looked to gradual reform in cooperation with the colonial government. As a result, instead of the “Compromise-Pressure-Compromise” dynamic that characterized Indian politics from the 1920s to the 1940s, the same period in Sri Lanka witnessed the inauguration of administrative reforms from above. Ironically, as exemplified by the Donoughmore Commission’s recommendation for universal suffrage and rejection of communal electorates in 1927, Sri Lankan reforms sometimes went beyond their Indian counterparts.

    The implications of the nationalists’ non-confrontational, ‘constitutionalist’ outlook became apparent in the communalisation of Sri Lankan politics through the 1930s and 1940s. During this period, although the Ceylon National Congress attempted to build a more cohesive political and economic program, it ultimately did not articulate a secular-nationalist vision that might bridge the growing divide between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Tamil Hindu/Muslim minority. Communalist organizations formed and flourished, from S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s Sinhala Maha Sabha (1937), the Ceylon Indian Congress (1939), and the All-Ceylon Tamil Congress (1944). The Ceylon National Congress retained an ambiguous relationship to communalism: by the early 1940s, joint membership with both Congress and communal organizations was specifically banned, but the Sinhala Maha Sabha remained within Congress and gained influence.

    As independence approached, any political formation challenging the ‘constitutionalist’ strategy or the logic of mass-based, Sinhala nationalism had been marginalized – a process avidly encouraged by British officials. Left critics like the Lanka Sama Samaj Party, though leading important strikes and local struggles through the 1930s and 1940s, had a small base and could not organize an ideological alternative to Sinhala communalism; in the postcolonial period, they actually capitulated to it. Tamil nationalist leaders like G.G. Ponnambalam now became more isolationist, either casting their lot with the British as sole protectors of minority rights, only to be sorely disappointed, or retreating into the closed universe of Tamil communalism. Meanwhile, in sharp contrast to the Indian nationalists at this time, Sri Lankan leaders continued their moderate course, committing themselves to and reaping benefits from the British effort in World War II, and finally – via the Soulbury Commission of 1944 – gaining Dominion Status in 1948.

    In this context, the relatively peaceful nature of the ‘transfer of power’ in Sri Lanka compared to that in India and Pakistan served as a smokescreen for the actual weakness of that transformation in terms of secularism and democracy, one that was to be viciously revealed in the communal violence of the postcolonial period…”
    (Anti colonial Struggle in South Asia: Pranav Jani and Myethli Srinivas: Draft from forthcoming book, Ohio State University)

  124. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    Read below an alternative viewpoint:

    “The “glorious” beginning of this unique “secular” mindset in India, which we must not brush under the carpet any more, may be attributed to M.K. Gandhi’s Khilafat movement, which sought to strengthen the primordial and extraterritorial concerns of Indian Muslims to restore the Turkish Ottoman Emperor, also the Khalifa (Caliph) of Sunni Muslims. Given this background, it was no surprise that the Muslims of Kerala (Moplahs) raped hundreds of Hindu women, killed about 600 Hindus, destroyed and desecrated 100 temples and converted by force about 2500 Hindus to Islam, besides looting and destroying Hindu property. It was an inevitable fallout Gandhi’s first major political experiment – violent, inhuman, fanatical, and a “success” – all in the name of anti-colonial non- cooperation movement.

    This episode has been duly noted by Hindoo right wingers like Majumdar dada. You may be interested in knowing the names of some other famous “Hindoo fanatics” who similarly condemned this noble experiment of Gandhi- Achyut Patwardhan (veteran socialist and the uncle of Anand Patwardhan), Annie Besant and last but not least our own dear Yasser Pai.

    Regards

  125. Subcontinental

    @no-communal

    Two aspects here for consideration:

    There is a fragile consensus not to rock the boat in India on the question of undoing perceived past wrongs.

    Hindus in India have the numbers to undo any perceived past wrong.

    That they despite their numbers choose not to do it through force or through parliamentary majoritarianism is a sign of this awareness of the imperatives of harmony, of Gandhianism. Gorki does not concede that despite having the power, not to use that power, is being responsible, and this needs to be appreciated.

    Your contentions that all the perceived wrongs, e.g. conversion of Hindu temples into Muslim mosques, is based on simply animosity and lack evidence is humbug. If Hindus wanted to show animosity towards Muslims, India would have been a very different country. Evidence which would have more than sufficed coming from a different source, is paid almost no heed by the appeaser-seculars of India if it comes from a Hindu, a Hindu group which carries historical memory.

    Muslims built their mosques over temples of the conquered is a world-wide phenomenon. Al Aqsa Mosque is a prime example. I do not want to drift here from the topic.

    It suffices to say, that if any of the controversial 3000 mosques in India are still standing, it is because of Hindus innate Gandhianism, and not because of just Indian Law or Lack of Historical Memory.

    And should the Hindus ever force the issue, then regardless of how appeaser-seculars and Muslims portray it, whether as rape or something else, it would just be one narrative; the Hindus would only consider it as correction of an historical wrong, and it would not really matter what others say. I personally do not want the Hindus to force the issue.

  126. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    it still does not legitimise in any way the authoritarian and autocratic regimes that appear to have prevailed from the days of the oligarchic Janapadas. This was a new departure for India, and there is both benefit and cost to linking this new India to a legitimate inheritance from the earlier British authority to rule.

    Perhaps it would be well to remind ourselves that it is in the best interests of India herself to accept the heritage of legitimacy conferred by the British, rather than any other, for reasons that should be very obvious other than to an upper-caste Hindu male.

    You may wish to consider this as a factor, before introducing the consensual method of legitimising a government as a desirable method over the other.

    Indian State already accepts the basis of its creation as being rooted in the British dispensation in India. That is a matter of fact. Indian parliamentary form of democracy enjoys legitimacy, because of its structure and nature, and conferring any legitimacy on British rule in India is simply unnecessary as well as unjustifiable as they were occupiers.

    Consensus method in a parliamentary form of government is often an necessity. The consensus is often required to get a majority. For questions of Constitutional changes one requires even more consensus as a bigger majority is required. But there is often a consensus in society regarding the principles of the society even before they are set in writing in the Constitution.

    There is sufficient evidence that Sikh rule was hated, even abhorred, and this evidence has gone into folk-lore on the frontier. Folk-lore that is quoted approvingly by Sikh jingoists. Similarly, the memories of Maratha oppression in other parts of the country are alive to this day, embalmed in folk-lore, in the form of lullabies that sing children to sleep.

    While you are justified in concluding that Sikh rule and Maratha rule were acceptable to Sikhs and to Marathas respectively, it is stretching things too far to reach out and claim that these had some unseen, unwritten but nevertheless nebulous presence as legitimate in the minds of others. That is rationalisation from our own sectarian point of view, for the selection seems to be sectarian. And that is about as accurate as claiming any other regime, the Nizam’s, for instance, to be similarly considered a somewhat more legitimate rule than the Marathas.

    When you make a statement of the sort you did, surely it is fair to consider the resistance to Ranjit Singh himself that was embodied in the shape of defiant Sikh principalities which held out against Lahore, and found British rule preferable? That is emphatically not to justify British rule, or to denigrate the rule of the Lahore Durbar, it merely points to the ultimate hollowness of the graded legitimacy line of thinking, convenient though it may be for us. So, too, the recorded hatred of the subjugated Rajput principalities, and their readiness to treat with the British in preference to the Marathas, should have a weight in your considerations.

    Nation-building in the pre-modern times often came about through one tribe native to a geography to extend the umbrella of its identity to the neighboring tribes through domination of the others through military means, through help and patronage, through trade, through marriage, etc. The racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious similarity between two adjoining tribes makes this process all the more easier. Whenever one tribe becomes dominating, in the beginning there are usually protests and animosity. However as the domination stabilizes, there is an accompanied process of integration and assimilation under the same banner, and the new tribe is made to feel at home under the new banner, through participation. This process however takes some time. Until it is not complete, there will be protests, especially from the earlier power elite of the dominated tribe.

    Nation-building takes place on the principle of ink-spot expansion and consolidation. Geographic, linguistic, ethnic, religious adjacency of the dominating and the dominated are however key to a credible and legitimate nation-building. The British were outsiders having no such adjacency and were willing to impose an outside order on the land, and their order would lack legitimacy for there was none of the above-mentioned adjacency. Some do still exhibit slavery to the outsider, that is their prerogative, but such display of a cultural inferiority complex need not be shared by all.

    “The legitimacy of the Indian Parliament is based not on how Britishers granted India her Independence, but rather because they are the representatives of the Indian people.”

    Only under conditions of legitimacy conferred by the British Parliament through statutory provision. There was no other basis for the constituent assembly, however much we try to derive it direct from the laws of Manu.

    The Constituent Assembly was assembled by nominations from the various provincial legislative assemblies active in India at that time and representatives of princely states. The legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly derives from its broad-based representation of 300 members, as well as the acceptance of its dealings by the later elected Indian Parliaments.

    If the British had put up some committee of their own to write a Constitution for India, would it have been considered legitimate?! No. The legitimacy lies in not how the British brought about the process of the constitution of the Constituent Assembly, but rather in the broad-based representation.

    “Pakistan has to work on its own legitimacy issues with their democracy.”

    Of course, she has, though where this thought popped up is difficult to understand.

    You mentioned Pakistan:
    The situation of Pakistan is similar. It is successor to formal treaties which were entered into by the British Indian authorities with a number of sovereign political entities

    So I responded with a one liner for the sake of completion.

  127. karun1

    So all of you ‘legitimate’ jerks support the aparthied regime in South Africa and think poorly of Martin Luther King Jr. Movement.

  128. YLH

    karun mian… you mean like Gandhiji supported White Supremacists in South Africa ?

    No no… I am afraid you’ve failed to understand the whole argument.

    And no one has a low opinion of Dr. King I assure you.

  129. karun1

    I think some of who are legitimising the British colonial rule perhaps deserve in some sense:

    ‘Indians and dogs are not allowed’.

    The west lost its moral authority to rule over ‘natives’ in Gandhis Satyagraha and peaceful non-cooperation. Or may be even Tilak was a jerk when he talked about ‘swaraj’. was he?

    What ungrateful and useless produce of the nation are these.Must be shipped to communist China to bad mouth Mao.

  130. YLH

    Legitimacy and moral superiority are not the same.

    Let us see you argue that American government from 1789 to 1960s was illegitimate because of its treatment of black people.

    Legitimacy is an issue divorced from morality.

    And when it comes to it…. British rule in South Asia was much more moral than American treatment of Africans and Red Indians…

  131. karun1

    Its a matter of the ‘staus of identity’ rather the ‘economic and moral’ conditions of any rule(mughals /maratha/ mahajanapads/british).

    Any ruler including aurangzeb who considers himself of the land is to be considered legitimate and anyone who rules you with an alleigiance somewhere(as an agent) is to be considered foreign. (slavery).

    In No other rule would have this been applicable except british.

    Indians and dogs are not allowed’.

    First you assign an identity to the natives and then treat them as lesser human beings.

  132. karun1

    From my standpoint:

    British rule over Ireland was illegal and illegitimate.

  133. YLH

    My question stands… given American genocide of the red Indians …. would you say that American government from 1789 onwards was illegitimate?

  134. karun1

    Complexities:

    1) Why does Australia feel the need to apologize to its Aborigines

    2) why does New-Zealand Protect/promote/showcase the Maori culture.

    3) w.r.t America there is famous speech of Arundhati Roy with reference to Santa Fe, where indeed she says it not so many words.

  135. YLH

    Please answer the question.

  136. @subcontinental

    it still does not legitimise in any way the authoritarian and autocratic regimes that appear to have prevailed from the days of the oligarchic Janapadas. This was a new departure for India, and there is both benefit and cost to linking this new India to a legitimate inheritance from the earlier British authority to rule.

    Perhaps it would be well to remind ourselves that it is in the best interests of India herself to accept the heritage of legitimacy conferred by the British, rather than any other, for reasons that should be very obvious other than to an upper-caste Hindu male.

    You may wish to consider this as a factor, before introducing the consensual method of legitimising a government as a desirable method over the other.

    Indian State already accepts the basis of its creation as being rooted in the British dispensation in India. That is a matter of fact. Indian parliamentary form of democracy enjoys legitimacy, because of its structure and nature, and conferring any legitimacy on British rule in India is simply unnecessary as well as unjustifiable as they were occupiers.

    Consensus method in a parliamentary form of government is often an necessity. The consensus is often required to get a majority. For questions of Constitutional changes one requires even more consensus as a bigger majority is required. But there is often a consensus in society regarding the principles of the society even before they are set in writing in the Constitution.

    First, regarding the accepted legitimacy of the present Indian State, due to its formal connection with the preceding state and that state’s formal authority, I am merely pointing out that it is this formal connection that makes a deliberate subversion of that previous regime anomalous. We cannot in the same breath denounce as impostor and usurper a power from whom we then proceed to seek our legacy in constitutional terms.

    This was at the heart of my contention that Gandhian condemnation of the legitimacy of British rule hurts the legitimacy of the successor Indian state.

    It then directly supports the legitimacy of the Naga, for that matter, the Mizo demand for independence, in terms of their claim that the Indian state was not in fact a constitutional or legal successor to the power that ruled over the Naga or Mizo tribes. It then directly supports the Kashmiri contention that an inheritance from the British state is in no way superior to the consensual wishes of the people of the Vale of Kashmir.

    You will see that this is a genuine dilemma. If we confer upon ourselves in a certain configuration the legitimacy of consensual assumption of sovereign power, what then is our attitude when a smaller group within this larger configuration then demands that its different voice be heard? At what level of differentiation is a group to be acknowledged as legitimately entitled to voice its own consensus? Do we then acquiesce in the consensus in Bastar that they do not belong to the Indian nation-state, that in fact, the Indian nation-state is a hostile power in occupation of its territories, being a power with no ethnic, linguistic or religious congruence with the tribal?

    How, and in what manner, have we differentiated ourselves from the British?

    Please note that this is the basis for my continuing argument, stating that your theory of proximate validation of culture is an agreeable one, but breaks down and needs strengthening before it can serve as a constitutional or sovereign touchstone.

    (To be continued.)

  137. @Subcontinental – II

    There is sufficient evidence that Sikh rule was hated, even abhorred, and this evidence has gone into folk-lore on the frontier. Folk-lore that is quoted approvingly by Sikh jingoists. Similarly, the memories of Maratha oppression in other parts of the country are alive to this day, embalmed in folk-lore, in the form of lullabies that sing children to sleep.

    While you are justified in concluding that Sikh rule and Maratha rule were acceptable to Sikhs and to Marathas respectively, it is stretching things too far to reach out and claim that these had some unseen, unwritten but nevertheless nebulous presence as legitimate in the minds of others. That is rationalisation from our own sectarian point of view, for the selection seems to be sectarian. And that is about as accurate as claiming any other regime, the Nizam’s, for instance, to be similarly considered a somewhat more legitimate rule than the Marathas.

    When you make a statement of the sort you did, surely it is fair to consider the resistance to Ranjit Singh himself that was embodied in the shape of defiant Sikh principalities which held out against Lahore, and found British rule preferable? That is emphatically not to justify British rule, or to denigrate the rule of the Lahore Durbar, it merely points to the ultimate hollowness of the graded legitimacy line of thinking, convenient though it may be for us. So, too, the recorded hatred of the subjugated Rajput principalities, and their readiness to treat with the British in preference to the Marathas, should have a weight in your considerations.

    Nation-building in the pre-modern times often came about of the dominated tribe.

    Nation-building takes place on the principle of ink-spot expansion a credible and legitimate nation-building. The British were outsiders having no such adjacency and were willing to impose an outside order on the land, and their order would lack legitimacy for there was none of the above-mentioned adjacency. Some do still exhibit slavery to the outsider, that is their prerogative, but such display of a cultural inferiority complex need not be shared by all.

    You have already argued that the British lacked legitimacy, but nevertheless, the Indian state has the legitimacy conferred on it by the British predecessor state.

    This is a strong argument; if the legitimacy of the Indian state is not to be based on a non-existing consensus among its components – all its components, if the word ‘consensus’ is to have any meaning – it can then fall back upon that conferred on it by the British state and the British Parliament statute. It has, however, weaknesses which we shall go into separately, perhaps in a separate note.

    In the interests of objectivity, we shall ignore your footling jibe about exhibition of slavery to the outsider, or a display of a cultural inferiority complex; as if it is in some way a worthier notion to exhibit slavery to native khap panchayats, or to the dictates of an agraharam, or that display of a rollicking superiority complex, based on as little substance as an inferiority complex that is implied. But for the time being. Be sure that it will be brought up at an appropriate moment.

    The element in your argument that is of immediate interest is your adaptation of Felix Leiter’s wry acknowledgement of his friend James Bond’s extraordinary appeal to women, “Nothing propinks like propinquity.” I admit that this adaptation is a breath of fresh air within the dusty tomes and venerable documents that we sometimes feel condemned to espouse (in a purely professional context; bibliophilia need not be distorted to mean what it should never be brought to mean). However, discarding its irreverent appeal to the book-burdened and desk-bound, we have problems.

    How proximate is proximate, the size of the ink-blot, and how soon is soon enough? Let us examine your statements in greater detail.

    Nation-building in the pre-modern times often came about through one tribe native to a geography to extend the umbrella of its identity to the neighboring tribes through domination of the others through military means, through help and patronage, through trade, through marriage, etc. The racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious similarity between two adjoining tribes makes this process all the more easier. Whenever one tribe becomes dominating, in the beginning there are usually protests and animosity. However as the domination stabilizes, there is an accompanied process of integration and assimilation under the same banner, and the new tribe is made to feel at home under the new banner, through participation. This process however takes some time. Until it is not complete, there will be protests, especially from the earlier power elite of the dominated tribe.

    This is, regrettably, purely a paper tiger, a dream of a desk-bound scholar, not a practical explanation of conquest and subjugation. Indeed, it is a pathetic trope, considering that none of the great conquests of history would be legitimate conquests by this criterion.

    Conquests are a contradiction of legal process; they are the arrogation of power by force. Unless this arrogation of power is totally outlawed, there will be a skein of consequences in trying to ignore conquest as a method – a legitimate method – of acquiring power.

    In a sense, that is the sense in which PRC controls Tibet. There was no visible desire on the part of the Tibetan people to enjoy the benefits of Communism, and the prosperity of Chairman Mao’s administration and rule. They were conquered, and subjugated, and are still ruled by brute force. It is the Government of India which has acknowledged continuously that Tibet is a legal and acknowledged constituent of China. So, too, British conquest of India. It was brutal; it was also illegitimate, just as legitimate as Babur was, or Humayun.

    Would you care to explain the racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious compatibility between the Marathas and the Bengalis? Or the Marathas and the Tamilians of Tanjore?

    For that matter, one wonders if this theory of proximity does not over-reach when considering the relationship of Ranjit Singh’s Durbar with the tribes beyond Attock. Or, Zorawar Singh’s expedition into Baltistan. Or his successful attack and subjugation of Ladakh, on which the legitimacy of our present presence there is based.

    Nation-building takes place on the principle of ink-spot expansion and consolidation. Geographic, linguistic, ethnic, religious adjacency of the dominating and the dominated are however key to a credible and legitimate nation-building. The British were outsiders having no such adjacency and were willing to impose an outside order on the land, and their order would lack legitimacy for there was none of the above-mentioned adjacency.

    Much of what you have said has been taken up and dealt with earlier, but you might like to deal with the little problem of Arunachal Pradesh.

    There has never been any legitimate or traditional inclusion of these areas within any known Indic (to use the favourite word of the Parivar) kingdom, principality or power. It was conquered by the British, as an extension of their imperial expansion to the east, during the course of which they destroyed one of the longest lasting Indian states, the Ahom Kingdom (yes, I am well aware of the Cholas and their successor states, also of the half-myth, half-propaganda tales of some of the Rajput principalities).

    Let us assume that British rule has no legitimacy, and let us assume that the rules of proximity, race, ethnicity , language alone shall prevail. Other than the fact that the Tibetan Empire on more than one occasion held extensive properties in the plain floodlands of the east, there is no other justification for our claiming ownership or dominion over that land.

    Of course, the immediate response will be that the people of Arunachal wish to stay with us.

    That will surely not overwhelm your reason, especially when you consider the case of Kashmir.

    Some do still exhibit slavery to the outsider, that is their prerogative, but such display of a cultural inferiority complex need not be shared by all.

    Of which more anon.

  138. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    This is, regrettably, purely a paper tiger, a dream of a desk-bound scholar, not a practical explanation of conquest and subjugation. Indeed, it is a pathetic trope, considering that none of the great conquests of history would be legitimate conquests by this criterion.

    Conquests are a contradiction of legal process; they are the arrogation of power by force. Unless this arrogation of power is totally outlawed, there will be a skein of consequences in trying to ignore conquest as a method – a legitimate method – of acquiring power.

    If you did not notice, I said in pre-modern times.

    First, regarding the accepted legitimacy of the present Indian State, due to its formal connection with the preceding state and that state’s formal authority, I am merely pointing out that it is this formal connection that makes a deliberate subversion of that previous regime anomalous. We cannot in the same breath denounce as impostor and usurper a power from whom we then proceed to seek our legacy in constitutional terms.

    This was at the heart of my contention that Gandhian condemnation of the legitimacy of British rule hurts the legitimacy of the successor Indian state.

    That is what I’m trying to tell you – the heart of your contention has no basis.

    For India there are always ways and means to explain the legitimacy of our claims on some piece of land.

    1) Kashmir – Core Part of Indian Civilization
    2) Arunachal Pradesh – Wish of People, Sanction by Tibetan Leadership, Safe-Keeping till Tibet is free.
    3) Nagas – India only State far and wide having instituted the protection and preservation of tribal culture.
    etc.

    Would you care to explain the racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious compatibility between the Marathas and the Bengalis? Or the Marathas and the Tamilians of Tanjore?

    For that matter, one wonders if this theory of proximity does not over-reach when considering the relationship of Ranjit Singh’s Durbar with the tribes beyond Attock. Or, Zorawar Singh’s expedition into Baltistan. Or his successful attack and subjugation of Ladakh, on which the legitimacy of our present presence there is based.

    Often conquering other areas, had little to doing nation-building but simply to deny others a platform to attack one’s own tribe. In some cases, the areas brought in into the above-mentioned empires, were not under the control of the native tribes anyway, so it was just getting rid of external forces.

    You seem to build your case that the British rule was legitimate and we should derive our legitimacy from it. The British however conquered India, and how was their conquering legitimate. Their legitimacy is derived from conquering other countries. At the same time you want to banish this basis of legitimacy from the modern world, with which I don’t have a big problem. This is a case of having one’s cake and eating it too.

    If legitimacy is based not on a maximum possible consensus of the affected stakeholders, but on control of the area, as was the case in British rule, then India does control its area. Why do we need British legitimacy for?

  139. Gorki

    Dear sub continental, Karun,

    Vajra and YLH are formidable debaters and are creating a thick smokescreen behind words They are use the word legitimacy in the legalistic but cynic sort of a way.
    Please don’t let yourself get trapped behind it. Understand three things.

    1. Without exception, every oppressive government throughout the ages, have used the words ‘legal’ for themselves and ‘rebels’ for those who questioned their oppression. That still does not make oppression right.
    2. Even oppressive governments can make some laws that are moral and reasonable and must be followed because they make sense. It still does not justify their oppressive laws.
    3. Similarly, people (and governments) are error prone and will make mistakes. It happens all the time. Their moral failings at one or the other time do not make them wrong forever.

    To help you I am going to reproduce a couple of paragraphs from MLK.s letter posted by me earlier:

    ‘…One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

    We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws…’

    I will give you a list of some famous ‘rebels’ against legitimate authority or ‘legal’ governments. I am sure you can add thousands of more names on your own:
    Spartacus, Socrates, Jesus Christ, Simon Bolivar, George Washington, Guru Teg Bahadur, Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela…., and of course MLK and Gandhi.

    Also please note that people (and governments) evolve; that is almost a given; and human. The belief system that holds at one point in life does not forever condemn him to irrelevance or diminish the importance of other ideas.
    That Jefferson held slaves and Lincoln believed Blacks were inferior does not mean that their ideas on morality and political freedoms must be rubbished. MKG’s words about the Blacks of Africa do not diminish the nobility of his non-violent struggle or his death for the cause of secularism.

    One last tip.
    Don’t let Vajra snare you on an irrelevant points; back off (and accept error) if you have to but stick to the topic.
    Just like fascism, colonialism of Asian and African lands was racism at its worst, exploitive; unethical and morally wrong.
    No amount of verbal gymnastics can rationalize it.

    Best of luck.

  140. YLH

    Gorki sb,

    Was American government b/w 1789 and 1858 illegal, illegitimate and oppressive?

    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  141. Subcontinental

    @Gorki

    Vajra and YLH are formidable debaters and are creating a thick smokescreen behind words They are use the word legitimacy in the legalistic but cynic sort of a way.

    Pardon, but I am still to be convinced of their formidable debating powers.

    But thanks for warning.

  142. no-communal

    @Subcontinental
    “That they despite their numbers choose not to do it through force or through parliamentary majoritarianism is a sign of this awareness of the imperatives of harmony, of Gandhianism.”

    I would add that there are also many muslims living in India who believe, subconsciously or otherwise, in the innate values of tolerance and harmony of Gandhi. But in the substance I agree with you. Even though many seem to think Gandhian ethos has nothing to do with present-day India.

    People sometimes fail to recognize that religion was bound to seep in, regardless of Gandhi. In the essay, “Religion and Revolt: Bengal under the Raj” P. Heehs says,

    “Active opposition to British rule in India may best be dated from the Partition of Bengal in 1905. It was at this time that tepid political protest first changed to aggressive boycott and, within two years, to the use of bombs. Not that there had been no earlier resistance to the foreign encroachment. Some of these disturbances took the form of religious crusades, such as the Sannyasi Rebellion of the early 1770s and the Muslim-revival Faraizi and Wahabi movements”.

    Then there were the Chapekars, Savarkars, a host of others from Bengal deriving motivation from Vivekananda, using Goddess Kali, Durga, Bharat Mata, etc. for inspiration. Muslims, for obvious reasons, didn’t identify with these, and had their own rebellions out of religious revivalism. Religious divide, therefore, was bound to be a factor in pre- and post- independence India, regardless of Gandhi.

    It is infinitely better that we first had Mohandas Gandhi and then Babu Bajrangi, and not the other way around.

  143. Gorki

    @ YLH
    As I mentioned in my post, the legality of govts. is a smokescreen. Govts. make some laws that are immoral and others not so.
    From ancient Rome to Nazi germany even the worst ones made good rules, just as just govts. Made some immoral ones.
    The treatment of the Blacks, the Amerindians (and even the Asian punjabis in California) by the US govt. Was till recently indefensibly immoral yet the govt. Was and remains, legal.

    @no communal, excellent post, will respond fully later.

  144. @Subcontinental

    At the outset, I urge you to ignore Gorki and his diversionary tactics totally. Gorki is known within the ranks of regular correspondents within PTH as a loose cannon; with every pitch or roll or yaw of the argument, he slides off irresistibly to a new corner of the deck, sweeping all resistance ruthlessly before himself. His movements are as unpredictable to himself as to others, and are determined by the strange laws that govern waves in the sea. My earnest recommendation is that you should stop wasting time in these activities which are so clearly not your favourite activities, and instead study the waves very, very deeply. Some good may come of that, at least.

    This is, regrettably, purely a paper tiger, a dream of a desk-bound scholar, not a practical explanation of conquest and subjugation. Indeed, it is a pathetic trope, considering that none of the great conquests of history would be legitimate conquests by this criterion.

    Conquests are a contradiction of legal process; they are the arrogation of power by force. Unless this arrogation of power is totally outlawed, there will be a skein of consequences in trying to ignore conquest as a method – a legitimate method – of acquiring power.

    If you did not notice, I said in pre-modern times.

    I did notice your qualification, and thought it completely pointless: it had no relevance. Let me explain, since you have so hopefully raised the matter again.

    You sought to justify conquest in terms of the conquests of proximate territories, tribes, cultures, countries.

    I sought to explain, fairly patiently, I thought, that this was not valid, that it covered only a few special cases, and added evidence – from pre-modern times, in case you didn’t notice – that conquest and empire-building took place in circumstances where your conditions did not apply.

    The handful of examples from modern times merely extends this cycle into modern times, and does not affect the refutation of your surmise.

    First, regarding the accepted legitimacy of the present Indian State, due to its formal connection with the preceding state and that state’s formal authority, I am merely pointing out that it is this formal connection that makes a deliberate subversion of that previous regime anomalous. We cannot in the same breath denounce as impostor and usurper a power from whom we then proceed to seek our legacy in constitutional terms.

    This was at the heart of my contention that Gandhian condemnation of the legitimacy of British rule hurts the legitimacy of the successor Indian state.

    That is what I’m trying to tell you – the heart of your contention has no basis.

    For India there are always ways and means to explain the legitimacy of our claims on some piece of land.

    1) Kashmir – Core Part of Indian Civilization

    First, the basics: no portion of the Indian state today was rendered part of India due to its being a Core Part of Indian Civilization. India as she is today, for that matter, Pakistan as she is today and Bangladesh as she is today, were constituted in their present geographical contours by the terms and conditions of the understanding that went into the granting of independence: that British India was to be divided into three portions, by a British representative, who was found by the British in the person of Mr. Cyril Radcliffe; that princely India would become free and independent powers from the date of British power ceasing in British India, as suzerainty would also cease, and that they would be free to join either India or Pakistan.

    Despite whatever the shamans of the Sangh Parivar teach, there was no other criterion for the apportionment of territories to the two successor states.

    Despite what you seem to believe, there was no consensus among the Indian people at the time regarding which were the Core Parts of Indian Civilization.

    If at all the unheard of idea, the nebulous and completely impractical concept of Core Part of Indian Civilization that you have quoted had come up, there would have been powerful arguments against it.

    It can easily be argued that Kashmir, part of the Kushan Empire, part of the Shahi Empire, part of the Sultanate consisting of Turks and Afghans, part of the Mughal Empire along with Balkh, Kandahar and Kabul, part of the Lahore Durbar centred around the Indus, was always part of the subsidiary civilisation around the Indus, which is now largely located in Pakistan.

    It could just as easily have been argued that it was never a core part of Indian civilisation, except for your delicacy and tact in omitting to define core part of Indian civilisation.

    2) Arunachal Pradesh – Wish of People, Sanction by Tibetan Leadership, Safe-Keeping till Tibet is free.

    If the wish of the people were supreme, neither Kashmir nor Nagaland nor Bastar would belong to India.

    If the sanction of the Tibetan leadership is a factor, it is a leadership not accepted by the Government of India as a political entity; the Tibetan Government-in-exile is forbidden by the Government of India to indulge in political activity.

    The question of safe-keeping till Tibet is free is ludicrous, considering that the Indian state acknowledges that Tibet is an integral part of China.

    Which section of the Indian people, or which nation-state independent of India do you represent, to support these claims? These are certainly not the claims of the properly-constituted government, nor of its duly-elected representative. Surely you are not about to claim some sort of mystic consensus of the faithful, which can only be sensed, not assessed or quantified in physical terms, or a transcendent Indian reality which need not be translated into mundane, day-to-day terms? You need to explain whose views are represented by these startling claims.

    3) Nagas – India only State far and wide having instituted the protection and preservation of tribal culture.
    etc.

    You are getting desperate, aren’t you? You claim a distinction for the Indian state that is denied by the very people who are supposedly being protected.

    Regarding the protection of tribal culture in general, it is a travesty that you should mention it. The track record of the respective governments, especially the BJP governments, but including the Congress as well, has been singularly criminal, in selling tribal lands and tribal legacies in order to exploit natural resources, very often in collusion with major companies, and very often illegally.

    This is neither true, nor is it a matter in which India or decent Indians can take pride.

    Would you care to explain the racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious compatibility between the Marathas and the Bengalis? Or the Marathas and the Tamilians of Tanjore?

    For that matter, one wonders if this theory of proximity does not over-reach when considering the relationship of Ranjit Singh’s Durbar with the tribes beyond Attock. Or, Zorawar Singh’s expedition into Baltistan. Or his successful attack and subjugation of Ladakh, on which the legitimacy of our present presence there is based.

    Often conquering other areas, had little to doing nation-building but simply to deny others a platform to attack one’s own tribe. In some cases, the areas brought in into the above-mentioned empires, were not under the control of the native tribes anyway, so it was just getting rid of external forces.

    Yes, quite. Before being challenged, you thought it fit to argue that conquests were proximate and due to – what was that phrase? – the ink-blot theory. On being challenged, and running out of arguments, it is now a situation where you must take refuge in the law of necessity (this, incidentally, is quite well known in Pakistan, as being the justification for military dictatorship; you are in good company).

    Now it is no longer a question of nation-building, now it is national interest. In that case, what exactly was the difference between Maratha military aggression in the national interest of the Maratha nation, and British – or French, or Portuguese, or Dutch – military aggression in the national interest of their respective nations.

    Apparently, some of these difficulties that you face are due to a lack of knowledge of history. You have mentioned Often conquering other areas, had little to doing nation-building but simply to deny others a platform to attack one’s own tribe. Strangely, as it happens, both during the Seven Years’ War and the earlier war of Austrian Succession, it was precisely this reason that impelled French and British manoeuvres against each other all over the world, not just in India.

    Since you have mentioned that this happened, and perhaps by implication that this is a reality, you will presumably have no objection to the British having thought so just as much as you did, and acted on it.

    You seem to build your case that the British rule was legitimate and we should derive our legitimacy from it.

    No, incorrect.

    I am saying that this is the case, not that we should or should not. It is no longer up to us to select our legitimacy from a menu.

    The British however conquered India, and how was their conquering legitimate. Their legitimacy is derived from conquering other countries.

    Fascinating.

    You have a fine, well-honed mind.

    I must now wonder what you mean by these statements above. Which conquests do you know where the legitimacy of the conquest is not due to conquering other countries?

    At the same time you want to banish this basis of legitimacy from the modern world, with which I don’t have a big problem. This is a case of having one’s cake and eating it too.

    No, this is entirely your case, and nothing to do with me or with my views.

    If legitimacy is based not on a maximum possible consensus of the affected stakeholders, but on control of the area, as was the case in British rule, then India does control its area. Why do we need British legitimacy for?

    Because when it was a question of handing over legitimacy of control, it was not done based on consensus, but on legitimacy of the right to hand over control. Our control of the area was possible only because the British controlled the area. As you have seen from several examples dealt with above, without British control existing, there are parts of India that would not be part of India.

  145. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    Next time you address me, cut out the snide and abusive remarks.

  146. Sol

    @Subcontinental

    Do not be dissuaded by Vajra’s snide remarks. He is an East Pakistani. Since he had been abused so much in his home country, he can’t help but abuse those from his host country. :)

  147. @Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    Next time you address me, cut out the snide and abusive remarks.

    Oh?

    I take it that you are claiming a legal monopoly of some sort?

    Some do still exhibit slavery to the outsider, that is their prerogative, but such display of a cultural inferiority complex need not be shared by all.

    I draw your attention to the legal maxim that a litigant should approach the court with clean hands.

  148. no-communal

    @Subcontinental
    When I first entered PTH, I was similarly perturbed. However, as you may have understood from Gorki’s comment and Vajra’s reaction, he has a unique modus operandi. If you get used to it, like we have, you will, in time, even enjoy it. Otherwise, there is no point in discussing with Vajra. I am enjoying the little squabbling you are having, so thought to mention it lest it gets derailed. Please do not take it otherwise.

    Vajra is easily one of the sharpest minds around.

  149. sai aravindh

    @Vajra/Subcontinental
    hey! I have been following your arguments on the legitimacy of the British rule with some interest. But can one of you please explain to me what the final objective of the argument is – British rule was legitimate/illgetimate, therefore ….?

    I have read the previous two dozen posts or so, but I have been unable to figure out what the underlying argument is.

  150. Gorki

    Dear Vajra:

    The language skills and prose are masterly, as always. Enjoyed the ride.
    But the issue is much more serious.

    Sai Aravindh has a valid question; do you have a point?

    Anti colonialism was a world wide phenomena.
    Like all other Black and Brown people elsewhere, Gandhi and the INC was demanding a representative government.

    He decided to wage his struggle non violently.
    What do you find distateful, the demand for representation or the non violence?

  151. no-communal

    @Hayyer

    Hayyer Sb,
    My last post (September 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm), although directed to only Subcontinental, was also meant for you. Any comment? In particular, why do you feel Gandhi obscured the light at the end of the tunnel? Are you confident it would have shown if there were no Mohandas Gandhi?

  152. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    “Some do still exhibit slavery to the outsider, that is their prerogative, but such display of a cultural inferiority complex need not be shared by all.”

    I draw your attention to the legal maxim that a litigant should approach the court with clean hands.

    It was a general comment, but it is interesting that you felt addressed by that.

    One often comes across people who still feel a certain rapture of the occupier, and as such they plead for the occupier’s supremacy and right of rule. I don’t know whether you’ve succumbed to such thinking, or are simply pursuing an intellectual exercise.

    Coming back to the arguments on the table:
    LEGITIMACY OF LAWS
    1) legitimacy of laws is based on a perception of the affected stakeholders that their interests and views are being given due consideration in the formulation of such laws. These laws are for intra-systemic consumption.
    2) There is a gradation of legitimacy depending on the confidence in the means used to ascertain the views of the affected stakeholders, and to the extent consensus could be maximized while formulating these laws.
    3) Legitimacy is subjective. What can be quite legitimate for one party would be illegitimate in the eyes of the others. That is the reason why the effort is to bring about a maximal consensus amongst the stakeholders to maximize legitimacy.

    LEGITIMACY OF RULE (INTRA-SYSTEMIC)
    4) It was contended that expansionary nation-building is natural on the principles of ink-blot expansion; geographic, linguistic and ethnic adjacency of dominating and dominated tribes; and consolidation of legitimacy through participation of the conquered tribes. That is how a bigger demographic identity is created.
    5) Another way to claim legitimacy of rule is through the expression 0f intention and resolve to do nation-building, creating a bigger common identity, and integrating each geographical area and the people living in it by offering equality and a voice (e.g. through universal suffrage), into the bigger whole, into the nation.
    6) Merely conquest, occupation or possession of land does not confer legitimacy of rule.
    7) The right over land by some people can be determined on several basis, current possession being only one of them.
    8) A state can claim legitimacy over some geographical area and perhaps even over its people on the basis of some historical association, some identity overlap, some intention of introducing social advancement (prosperity, education, modernization, rational thinking, conservation of tradition, democracy, freedom, etc).
    9) Rival claims on land based on above considerations makes it indeterminable to ascertain the legitimacy of these claims.
    10) In case of disputed claims, the legitimacy of these claims over land become issues for consideration by all parties, directly or indirectly involved, and each party develops a PoV, often filtered by their own interests, compulsions and fears.
    11) The most relevant aspect of legitimacy over land is possession.

    LEGITIMACY OF RULE (INTER-SYSTEMIC)
    12) Legitimacy of rule is decided usually on the basis of suzerainty. Suzerainty of some land suffices as the basis of treaties.
    13) Some may choose to recognize other bodies as legitimate rulers of a country, e.g. governments in exile. Treaties with them would be of dubious character as they would not be able to be enforced right away.
    14) Through the change of political systems, sometimes even of leaderships, the validity of all existing treaties needs to be reconfirmed.

    CHANGE OF RULE
    15) A political system of a geographical area, a state, can change through conquest, through partition, through revolution, through decree, through break-down, through decolonization, etc.
    16) All the above means are means of transfer of rule, transfer of responsibility of governance, transfer of power.
    17) Legitimacy does not get transferred. The legitimacy within the several constituencies have to be determined again.
    18) Legitimacy is however transferred from one political dispensation to another if the political system is thereby not changed, and if the transfer takes place according to guidelines agreed beforehand. This is the case with elections, crowning of a crown prince, cabinet reshuffle, etc.

    In case of the British Raj and Indian Independence, according to point 17, it is a transfer of power and not transfer of legitimacy. India agreed to a protocol of transfer of power. India agreed to respect previous treaties signed by the British Raj with other neighbors.

    The questions of legitimacy of rule over India’s geography would continue to dodge India, and will not be solved by claiming legitimacy of British Raj. India has already done this, but it has not made secessionists in Nagaland, Kashmir or Assam accept legitimacy of India’s rule there. So British Raj in itself does not endow India with some magical legitimacy over the lands under India’s rule.

    Of course India and Indians would propose several basis of the legitimacy of claims over these lands. It is up to each and every constituent of India to determine his own sense of legitimacy of these claims. It is up to different countries to concede India’s claims or not. Everybody has his PoV, his interests. There is no magical formula for absolute legitimacy.

    In modern times a system of international treaties and United Nations Organization has been put into place to deal with these issues, which has led to a decreased level of conflict.

    In the eyes of the Indians, British Raj was illegitimate. It was an occupation. All reasons they gave for their legitimacy were found to be inadequate by the people of India. Also their laws lacked legitimacy. MK Gandhi only made the British more aware of the hollowness of their claims over India, other than through threat of force.

    There is no need for India to confer legitimacy to British Rule over India, or to confer legitimacy to laws formulated by the British for India. They could not have transferred legitimacy of laws and rule when they transferred power. That would have to fought for by the Indian State and Indian people continuously.

  153. Let us get rid of the civilities first. I can do worse than borrow the words of the gratefully dead, and juxtapose them with my pack of – may I attempt hyperbole? – admirers:

    @no-communal
    [September 6, 2010 at 9:57 pm]

    “Damn with faint praise”….

    When I first entered PTH, I was similarly perturbed. However, as you may have understood from Gorki’s comment and Vajra’s reaction, he has a unique modus operandi. If you get used to it, like we have, you will, in time, even enjoy it.

    @Gorki
    [September 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm]

    “…assent with civil leer”….

    The language skills and prose are masterly, as always. Enjoyed the ride.

    @Subcontinental
    [September 7, 2010 at 1:58 am]

    “…and without sneering teach the rest to sneer.”

    It was a general comment, but it is interesting that you felt addressed by that.

    One often comes across people who still feel a certain rapture of the occupier, and as such they plead for the occupier’s supremacy and right of rule. I don’t know whether you’ve succumbed to such thinking, or are simply pursuing an intellectual exercise.

    This primer may prove useful to all three of you:

    http://recycledknowledge. blogspot. com/2005 /05 /seven-degrees-of-lie. html

    Remove the spaces.

  154. For Sai Aravindh, Gorki and no-communal.

    Please go through my points at the end, and I will try to answer your questions specifically, sometime later.

    @sai aravindh [September 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm]

    @Vajra/Subcontinental
    hey! I have been following your arguments on the legitimacy of the British rule with some interest. But can one of you please explain to me what the final objective of the argument is – British rule was legitimate/illgetimate, therefore ….?

    I have read the previous two dozen posts or so, but I have been unable to figure out what the underlying argument is.

    @Gorki [September 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm]

    Dear Vajra:

    The language skills and prose are masterly, as always. Enjoyed the ride.
    But the issue is much more serious.

    Sai Aravindh has a valid question; do you have a point?

    Anti colonialism was a world wide phenomena.
    Like all other Black and Brown people elsewhere, Gandhi and the INC was demanding a representative government.

    He decided to wage his struggle non violently.
    What do you find distateful, the demand for representation or the non violence?

    @no-communal [September 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm]

    @Hayyer

    Hayyer Sb,
    My last post (September 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm), although directed to only Subcontinental, was also meant for you. Any comment? In particular, why do you feel Gandhi obscured the light at the end of the tunnel? Are you confident it would have shown if there were no Mohandas Gandhi?

    There have been an assortment of remarks along with the responses that I have received, largely remarks of a snide and abusive sort, if I am to accept the overblown sensitivity and the twee delicacy of some of my interlocutors, which have sought to reduce my objections to the dismal influence of Gandhi on subcontinental affairs to an envious carping about the magnificent achievements of a giant among men.

    Some of you reading this will recall that in an earlier, gentler persona, I had sought to be known as ‘bonobashi’. Over time, it became clear that this persona, and its representation was too detached and too clinical in its approach to be of use in a political struggle, even as a peripheral supporter from the sidelines of the struggle. It has become clearer every month that not only our neighbours, those who are native to this blog-site, but we too are children of the same damaged DNA, and unless and until it is rectified at the equivalent of the genetic level in politics, we will not know peaceful growth.

    Only an active role, even as a humble agitprop specialist, is acceptable at this stage of the struggle.

    Putting out anything other than the barest outline of the case for a multi-national subcontinent is impossible on a blog. Here, then, is the barest outline. While I am deliberately restricting myself to the effects of our errors in the body of the Indian state, Pakistani readers can easily connect the dots.

    # The concept of India as a homogeneous bloc, uniform with respect to language, ethnicity, culture and religion is obviously invalid even to a transit passenger trapped in one of our airports. India is at any given time an agglomeration of states formed from a different combination of ‘nations’.

    # What was wrested from the British and crushed on our amazed brows was a collection of states that had underlying them a philosophy of state-hood which was woefully inadequate. The wholly incomplete Two Nation Theory jarred against an instinctive shrinking away from a wholly imaginary vivisection, one never intended other than for political consumption and for establishment of an extreme negotiating boundary.

    # Our leaders have a huge attainder to answer to at the bar of history. It was they who failed to articulate our needs and our desires, to build a consensus. It was the selfish desire of some very old men to see a resolution in their lifetimes which quickened the pace of our struggle and obscured the necessary analysis of our objective conditions, and prevented us from evolving and adopting a political philosophy which would have fitted us better.

    # Instead, considering the Indian side only, we were forced to accept, purely in competitive response to an inadequate theory, a position which prevented any identity from seeking its place in the Sun, either then, at that time, or in future.

    # This “One Nation Theory”, about the complete identity of all Indians, except those who so obviously didn’t agree, and thereby got themselves out of the theory, now colours our views of the past, vide the articulation by “Subcontinental” of the nature of Indian rule prior to the British, of the present, of foreign policy relating to our neighbouring countries, of a host of retrogressive mental structures.

    Mingled with it is a distorted version of stewardship of the ‘lesser races’, which to my ill-educated ears sounds as racist as it gets. The British were straightforward about it; we manage our racism under a cloak of mealy-mouthed hypocrisy.

    # Forget about the Muslims and their Two Nation Theory. We obscured the quest for identity of the Sikhs; the Tamilians; the tribals of central India, centring around the distinctive tribal culture of Bastar; the tribals of the north-east and above all, the permanent acid scar, the condition of the untouchables.

    # All these issues of identity were being worked out. All this was proceeding in parallel with the independence movement and with no added attention or publicity.

    # It was when the independence movement was wrested away by a combination of force and chicanery that dissent was beaten down, democracy within the Congress was crushed, the party constitution turned into a scrap of paper, operating only at the whims and fancies of a single, autocratic individual, who had no faith in the democratic process if it did not tally with his wishes.

    # The Indian branch of the independence movement inherited a leadership imposed from the top, not one which had been freely elected; it inherited a food-processor concept of India which goaded many smaller identity-groups, fearing for their existence, into armed revolt; and it inherited a Parliament and a Constitution which dealt with the matter in a half-hearted manner. Curiously so, considering the identity of the architect.

    # Instead, we were misdirected. We were led to battle the symptoms, not the causes. We fought British laws like the Salt Act, and laid ourselves wide open to the tribal population insisting, with complete validity, that they should not be prevented from exploiting their natural resources as they thought fit. We fought British regulations on the grounds of political disagreement, forgetting that we had the embryos of a dozen different nationalities within our state, nationalities that would adopt the same tactics, with the same justification, as we did against the British.

    # Gandhi obscured the nature of the Muslim issue, in his idiosyncratic refusal to consider any other point of view but his own.

    What we forget very often is that he obscured every other identity issue. He would not allow any special relief for the untouchables, again in pursuit of his foibles. His faulty vision of an India constituted of a myriad of village republics saw to it that no other model but Sanskritisation was available to the tribals.

    # In the absence of an enlightened settlement between brute majority and the minorities within British India, the only viable model of power and statehood was the British model, of power acquired by force, of statehood achieved by conquest.

    It was again Gandhi who undermined it by questioning the validity of British rule in India. Once that was woven into the pattern of our struggle for independence, it was almost official sanction to identity groups struggling for self-expression.

    # Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism. At the same time, his idiosyncratic vision of state did not permit any sensible effort at creating an effective internal settlement. We are left to contemplate the mess.

  155. Bade Miya

    I guess the only thing left now is to compare Gandhi to Hitler and this off-the-shelf thesis about Gandhi would be complete. I must say that when I massage my baser instincts, I marvel at this caricature of Gandhi. A diminutive, “half-naked faqir” is being blamed for problems ranging from the plight of untouchables to the mad dance of neanderthals of NWFP. Forget Hitler. This guy kept a bulk of humanity lapping up his charade for close to a quarter of a century. Wow! To those of us who contemplate a more sinister career, Gandhi is a model.

    To some starry eyed Raj worshipers, it would be necessary to remind them of the infamous Bengal famine of 1942 and how the benevolence of that rule left millions dead and starving. There is a new book titled, “Churchill’s famine” by Madhushree Mukerjee. I read the review on outlook. It would come as a rude shock to those who are still singing paeans about the Raj.

  156. Some few posts back, I had quoted,”A little learning is a dangerous thing…”

    Apparently, I was wrong. A little quotation is a dangerous thing.

    To explain the matter, I offer a larger extract, in the admittedly vain hope that the message will carry. I am pessimistic; writing this is the last resort, speaking was never an option. It is known that sound does not travel through a vacuum.

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.
    Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
    In fearless youth we tempt the heights of arts,
    While from the bounded level of our mind,
    Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;

  157. no-communal

    @Vajra

    Some of your comments are statements of facts, nothing to argue about. I disagree with the rest, the more subjective ones. Let me just voice my dissent, to use your terminology.

    1) “The concept of India as a homogeneous bloc, uniform with respect to language, ethnicity, culture and religion is obviously invalid even to a transit passenger trapped in one of our airports. India is at any given time an agglomeration of states formed from a different combination of ‘nations’.”

    A fact. Nothing to argue about. I must point out, however, that the transit passenger has to be from the subcontinent itself. To a foreigner to the subcontinent, the differences are much less clear. One must also not underestimate the effects of popular entertainment, sport, and the existence of by and large only two major religious identities. Even if the language structures are vastly different, vocabulary has some remarkable commonalities.

    2)”What was wrested from the British and crushed on our amazed brows was a collection of states that had underlying them a philosophy of state-hood which was woefully inadequate. The wholly incomplete Two Nation Theory jarred against an instinctive shrinking away from a wholly imaginary vivisection, one never intended other than for political consumption and for establishment of an extreme negotiating boundary.”

    Who can argue with that?

    3) “Instead, considering the Indian side only, we were forced to accept, purely in competitive response to an inadequate theory, a position which prevented any identity from seeking its place in the Sun, either then, at that time, or in future”

    Can’t see what you mean.

    4) “This “One Nation Theory”, about the complete identity of all Indians, except those who so obviously didn’t agree, and thereby got themselves out of the theory, now colours our views of the past, vide the articulation by “Subcontinental” of the nature of Indian rule prior to the British, of the present, of foreign policy relating to our neighbouring countries, of a host of retrogressive mental structures.

    Mingled with it is a distorted version of stewardship of the ‘lesser races’, which to my ill-educated ears sounds as racist as it gets. The British were straightforward about it; we manage our racism under a cloak of mealy-mouthed hypocrisy”

    I would argue many would not define our identity exclusively in terms of the Vedic period, although about half our population will. I think the other half will gladly accept the Mughals, the nun-kababs, the ghazals as part of our identity as well.

    What you are suggesting is similar to about half of US population viewing their country in terms of white Judeo Christian identity. That’s partly a natural, but uneducated, response, to look at your surroundings in your own image. I agree that in our case the existence of Pakistan has also contributed to this distorted perspective, although the distortion in Pakistan is much more severe.

    Your point about Kashmir made to Subcontinental
    is well taken.

    About stewardship of lesser races, you brought up the issue of tribal protection. You cannot castigate others for inadequate reservation and protection of the tribals and at the same time mock them for stewardshipping.

    5) “Forget about the Muslims and their Two Nation Theory. We obscured the quest for identity of the Sikhs; the Tamilians; the tribals of central India, centring around the distinctive tribal culture of Bastar; the tribals of the north-east and above all, the permanent acid scar, the condition of the untouchables.”

    This I disagree with, on all counts. The Sikhs, the Tamils, the Bengalis are doing just fine. They have their identity secured. Whatever they are loosing, they are gladly not complaining about it.

    It’s not the tribals you are talking about; you are talking about a specific political party, loosely organized and with a radical agenda, which are, more or less, killing other tribals. And they are not looking for a cultural, but an absolute political, identity. None of the non-tribals, i.e., us, have any intention to destroy the tribal culture and identity. Exploitation of tribal land is a serious issue, which is being discussed and negotiated within the framework of the constitution.

    Untouchables are doing fine politically. They are also doing not too bad with a strong affirmative action policy. It was Gandhi’s genius to oppose their separation from the mainstream, a separation which could have resulted in a perpetual state of grievance and animosity (not unlike Pakistan). His vision was to gradually have them integrated and he struggled for it. The integration has already happened or is happening, depending on regions, in our urban centers. With urbanization, economic improvement, and education, it will spread more to the rural areas.

    6)”It was when the independence movement was wrested away by a combination of force and chicanery that dissent was beaten down, democracy within the Congress was crushed, the party constitution turned into a scrap of paper, operating only at the whims and fancies of a single, autocratic individual, who had no faith in the democratic process if it did not tally with his wishes”

    One of the dissent was Subhas Bose’s. He was elected the President of INC in 1939 over Gandhi’s prefered candidate, P. Sitaramayya. He called for violent agitation, to which Gandhi objected. Bose resigned and formed his own party.

    I cited this example to illustrate how democracy was beaten down and the consequent ill effects.

    7) ” Instead, we were misdirected. We were led to battle the symptoms, not the causes. We fought British laws like the Salt Act, and laid ourselves wide open to the tribal population insisting, with complete validity, that they should not be prevented from exploiting their natural resources as they thought fit. We fought British regulations on the grounds of political disagreement, forgetting that we had the embryos of a dozen different nationalities within our state, nationalities that would adopt the same tactics, with the same justification, as we did against the British.”

    So you are saying that the exploitation of the natural resources, an issue which Gandhi has nothing to do with and which can have a negotiated settlement, is not really the main issue with the tribals. The real reason they are unhappy or have revolted is because our leaders have laid themselves open by protesting acts like the Salt Act.

    8) “Gandhi obscured the nature of the Muslim issue, in his idiosyncratic refusal to consider any other point of view but his own.

    What we forget very often is that he obscured every other identity issue. He would not allow any special relief for the untouchables, again in pursuit of his foibles. His faulty vision of an India constituted of a myriad of village republics saw to it that no other model but Sanskritisation was available to the tribals”

    Startling, to say the least. So there were nobody in the name of Patel or Nehru or anybody else who also rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan. And, in retrospect, a glaring example of what could have been, is FATA of Pakistan. The idea of a reasonably strong center, with accepted ethnic and linguistic identities, was and still is the best plan for India.

    I have already commented on the untouchables issue.

    I don’t know what you mean by Sanskritisation of the tribals and who is interested in it in today’s India.

    9)”In the absence of an enlightened settlement between brute majority and the minorities within British India, the only viable model of power and statehood was the British model, of power acquired by force, of statehood achieved by conquest.

    It was again Gandhi who undermined it by questioning the validity of British rule in India. Once that was woven into the pattern of our struggle for independence, it was almost official sanction to identity groups struggling for self-expression”

    Okay, so the identity groups are “struggling for self-expression” because Gandhi did it. If only Gandhi had not broken the Salt Act!

    BTW, which “identity groups” are we worrying about here? Other than J&K, who else is struggling for its own country, making demands that can or will not be settled under Indian constitution. And please don’t give me the examples of the Naxals, ULFA and suchlike. A few thousand or so hurling bombs and killing others, even if for tens of years, do not speak for an entire “identity group”. Many of these groups, such as the Gorkhas, are happy if they get a state of their own, which is a continuous process the Indian government is addressing anyways.

    10) “Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism. At the same time, his idiosyncratic vision of state did not permit any sensible effort at creating an effective internal settlement. We are left to contemplate the mess.”

    Now, with 20-20 hindsight vision, what would have been your solution for an “effective internal settlement”?

  158. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    I admire your patience and your lucidity–it’s entirely wasted though. A bulk of the arguments floated before your own to-the-point post are made by people who are still living in a different century. Before it was peddled here time and again, I didn’t know Tamils were fighting to forge their own identity and were at war with the Indian Union; at least, having lived in Madras for close to 2 years, I didn’t get that impression.

    Actually, one can even argue that 1857 was a wasted effort. Just another hitch in the “effective internal settlement,” whatever that means.

    Of course, don’t be surprised if you are deluged with some random quotes that have nothing to do with what is being discussed or argued.

  159. @no-communal

    I am hugely relieved to see that you have passed two points, and we need to begin only with the third. :-P

    The third is answered fully by your citation of the fourth point. With your permission, we shall commence the discussion with the fourth point, each point at a time. And since there is one Krishna with many gopis, others may indulge me in letting me finish the discussion with you before straying away.

  160. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    # Forget about the Muslims and their Two Nation Theory. We obscured the quest for identity of the Sikhs; the Tamilians; the tribals of central India, centring around the distinctive tribal culture of Bastar; the tribals of the north-east and above all, the permanent acid scar, the condition of the untouchables.

    # All these issues of identity were being worked out. All this was proceeding in parallel with the independence movement and with no added attention or publicity.

    The work on these issues of identities has continued within the framework of India. That is the reason so many new states were carved out of the old, and even within the states, autonomy was demanded and given to minorities. The empowerment to political structures was devolved to the level of villages and settlements.

    What was not deemed necessary was to carry out this dialog outside the structure of a nation state.

    You’re complaining about a non-issue. The issues of legitimacy of the Indian Republic have been resolved with ~98% of the Indian people. Our nation-building agenda would take care of the rest with time.

    Your whole premise of de-constructing and demonizing the contributions of Gandhi are based on some imaginary problems, that were not even problems in the first place, but rather challenges. Indian state has dealt with many of those challenges successfully and will continue to deal with the challenges.

    Regards

  161. @no-communal

    “This “One Nation Theory”, about the complete identity of all Indians, except those who so obviously didn’t agree, and thereby got themselves out of the theory, now colours our views of the past, vide the articulation by “Subcontinental” of the nature of Indian rule prior to the British, of the present, of foreign policy relating to our neighbouring countries, of a host of retrogressive mental structures.

    Mingled with it is a distorted version of stewardship of the ‘lesser races’, which to my ill-educated ears sounds as racist as it gets. The British were straightforward about it; we manage our racism under a cloak of mealy-mouthed hypocrisy”

    It may be easier to discuss each section of your response in turn.

    I would argue many would not define our identity exclusively in terms of the Vedic period, although about half our population will. I think the other half will gladly accept the Mughals, the nun-kababs, the ghazals as part of our identity as well.

    Of course you are right. And so am I.

    I am speaking exclusively about the plank on which Congress claimed to speak for all Indians, without exception, and denied the Two Nation Theory in a forthright, blunt fashion, not about today’s far more harmonious, though still less than ideal situation.

    What you are suggesting is similar to about half of US population viewing their country in terms of white Judeo Christian identity. That’s partly a natural, but uneducated, response, to look at your surroundings in your own image. I agree that in our case the existence of Pakistan has also contributed to this distorted perspective, although the distortion in Pakistan is much more severe.

    Again, I reiterate, this is about the ideology that Gandhi enforced on the Indian independence movement, not about today’s circumstances.

    Your point about Kashmir made to Subcontinental
    is well taken.

    This is a distasteful concept, this business about the irreducible minimum Core. In this context, it was all the more distasteful because it forced me to cite the Indus Man theory, which has already been stroked away elegantly to the boundary line by a far more thoughtful contributor.

    About stewardship of lesser races, you brought up the issue of tribal protection. You cannot castigate others for inadequate reservation and protection of the tribals and at the same time mock them for stewardshipping.

    Oh, and why not?

    My contention is that stewardship was assumed, when it was not required, when the tribal population was perfectly happy leading life as it did. Why were they then considered to be less than responsible people, as under-developed Hindus, rather than fully-developed tribals, and taken in directions that they never wished to be taken in?

    This stewardship was a refusal to accept the separate identity of the Gond, the Santhal, the Oraon, the Maria, the Bhil, the autochthones who inhabited most of India before other, pushy cultural models were brought in and used to subjugate them.

    Is there anything contradictory in decrying ‘stewardship’ and saying that it was not sufficiently protective? No, I don’t think so; the stewardship that was imposed was misused, not to protect their wards, but to exploit them and grab their land, destroy their natural resources and create massive imbalances in their eco-system.

    This stewardship should never have been there; having been imposed, it should have protected its wards, not exposed them to exploitation.

    If you want a more detailed understanding of my remarks, read about the destruction of Bastar and its people’s culture, and read about what is going on at present. URLs available on demand.

  162. @Subcontinental

    Rather than divide my time between two discussants, I would like to finish the points raised by no-communal. I will get back to you once that is done. Kindly bear with me, if you will.

  163. @no-communal [September 7, 2010 at 10:38 am]

    5) “Forget about the Muslims and their Two Nation Theory. We obscured the quest for identity of the Sikhs; the Tamilians; the tribals of central India, centring around the distinctive tribal culture of Bastar; the tribals of the north-east and above all, the permanent acid scar, the condition of the untouchables.”

    Again, in separate sections, for your convenience.

    This I disagree with, on all counts. The Sikhs, the Tamils, the Bengalis are doing just fine. They have their identity secured. Whatever they are loosing, they are gladly not complaining about it.

    Do feel free to disagree, but do also keep track of what you are agreeing with, or disagreeing with.

    Where did you get Bengalis in my response? Or was it a pre-conditioned reflex? (unfortunately, my understanding of smilies does not extend to the combination signifying ‘evil grin’).

    About Sikhs, I reproduce what I was hit with a very little while ago, by one of the Gurus of these columns:

    >>SGPC screws up the Sikhs in Punjab,
    >>At the hieght of Khalistani terror they were yelling ‘dhoti topi Yamuna paar..’

    You do recall a struggle for Sikh identity, first under the Punjabi Suba agitation, then under Bhindranwale, finally back with the Akalis, with Simranjit Singh Mann and other lunatics?

    As for the Tamils, for those of us here who have two whole years of experience in that state, let me direct their attention to the Dravidian movement; to the formation of the Justice Party in opposition to the Brahmin-heavy Congress; its manifesto seeking the creation of Dravidastan; the several governments formed by the Justice Party; the formation of the Dravida Kazhagam; the formation of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam; the language agitation of the late 50s; and Annadurai’s first speech in Parliament and its contents. There is too much material to do more than report bullet-points.

    It’s not the tribals you are talking about; you are talking about a specific political party, loosely organized and with a radical agenda, which are, more or less, killing other tribals.

    No, it is the tribals that I am talking about. I have been there and seen for myself. Dantewada, Kanked, Jagdalpur, all formed parts of the old Bastar state, now a significant part of Chhatisgarh. Look at the composition of the ministry, look at their policies, look at the implications for the tribal ecology and you will get your answers. This is so major a struggle that I am truly astonished at some of the statements that you have made.

    And they are not looking for a cultural, but an absolute political, identity. None of the non-tribals, i.e., us, have any intention to destroy the tribal culture and identity. Exploitation of tribal land is a serious issue, which is being discussed and negotiated within the framework of the constitution.

    Again, grossly incorrect. There is an overlap between the Maoists, who exploit tribals as much as do non-tribals, through extraction of funds from commercial and industrial entities operating in tribal areas, and the authentic tribal movement. You need to be aware of this major struggle going on.

    Secondly, your personal altruism has nothing to do with the case, as has my engagement nothing to do with it; both are superficial influences. It is the greed and drive for access to resources of the industrial houses that drives the destruction of tribal culture and identity.

    For lack of space, I can only suggest you look up a piece I am putting up specifically in the context of this discussion on my own blog-site; it may answer some of your questions (it is up now and is entitled “Bastar Rally of BSKSS….”).

    I am not sure what you mean by your reference to the constitution when the state itself acts as pimp for the industrialist.

    Untouchables are doing fine politically. They are also doing not too bad with a strong affirmative action policy. It was Gandhi’s genius to oppose their separation from the mainstream, a separation which could have resulted in a perpetual state of grievance and animosity (not unlike Pakistan). His vision was to gradually have them integrated and he struggled for it. The integration has already happened or is happening, depending on regions, in our urban centers. With urbanization, economic improvement, and education, it will spread more to the rural areas.

    If you sincerely believe that, I have nothing to say. But for those of us who have observed, even today, the culture of separate drinking glasses for caste Hindus and others, different wells, different locations within villages, in parts of Bengal (to my personal knowledge in Purulia, in Bankura, in Birbhum and in Cooch Behar) as well as less reputedly backward parts of India, through most of rural Tamil Nadu and Andhra, through most of rural Bihar, this will come as an unwelcome reminder that most of us are completely unaware of what is going on.

    I am truly sad at reading your optimistic and totally unrealistic statement.

  164. @no-communal

    May I continue?

  165. @no-communal [September 7, 2010 at 10:38 am]

    6)”It was when the independence movement was wrested away by a combination of force and chicanery that dissent was beaten down, democracy within the Congress was crushed, the party constitution turned into a scrap of paper, operating only at the whims and fancies of a single, autocratic individual, who had no faith in the democratic process if it did not tally with his wishes”

    One of the dissent was Subhas Bose’s. He was elected the President of INC in 1939 over Gandhi’s prefered candidate, P. Sitaramayya. He called for violent agitation, to which Gandhi objected. Bose resigned and formed his own party.

    I cited this example to illustrate how democracy was beaten down and the consequent ill effects.

    True enough. We have agreed on three points out of ten so far. That is far more than is usually the case. I am astonished.

    7) ” Instead, we were misdirected. We were led to battle the symptoms, not the causes. We fought British laws like the Salt Act, and laid ourselves wide open to the tribal population insisting, with complete validity, that they should not be prevented from exploiting their natural resources as they thought fit. We fought British regulations on the grounds of political disagreement, forgetting that we had the embryos of a dozen different nationalities within our state, nationalities that would adopt the same tactics, with the same justification, as we did against the British.”

    So you are saying that the exploitation of the natural resources, an issue which Gandhi has nothing to do with and which can have a negotiated settlement, is not really the main issue with the tribals. The real reason they are unhappy or have revolted is because our leaders have laid themselves open by protesting acts like the Salt Act.

    Let me put the argument in linear and atomic fashion for your greater viewing convenience.

    Gandhi demanded that the common people should have the right to exploit natural resources, and that no government should restrict it, or keep the benefits of this exploitation away from the people living there.

    The government of India however insists that the natural resources are completely in its control or the control of the state governments, and may be distributed as these governments please, without further reference to the people.

    There is a contradiction here. Gandhi having set a precedent of breaking a law restricting local people’s access to natural resources, it becomes impossible to maintain the opposite stand.

    In pointing out a contradiction, I am not myself subscribing to either point of view. Gandhi should not have taken direct action and set a precedent for proceeding to set things right without the pause for due process. The government has no business to restrict the benefits of natural resources development from the citizens whose ecology is most affected by this development. That is as far as our discussion on the effects of Gandhi’s actions on free India go. The rest is totally off-topic, and considers the ethics of development.

    We find that we are in the middle of a major human dilemma of great antiquity. Is development preferable to the old way of life? There is a considerable body of opinion that believes that in ecological terms, there is much to be said to avoid mineral resources based, or other depleting asset based development. This decision is also completely different from the decision on whether or not to bring in education, health-care and communications. Examples abound to the effect that even a conservative tribal population would find better and easier communications a boon, would welcome health-care and would absorb education like a sponge. Whether this has to be exchanged for mineral development where 90% of the benefits go to industrial corporations is another matter.

  166. sai aravindh

    @Vajra
    A minor intervention is in order as regards your point of tamil separatism. The fact of the matter the the call for a separate Dravidastan never really gained traction with the tamils themselves. Prior to 1962 (which was when the DMK officially dropped its demand for a separate nation), the vote share of the party did not cross even the mid-teens. Also note that even those voted for the party where not necessarily supporters of an independent nation – because unlike the Kashmir and Punjab movements, separatism was not the central agenda of DMK, it was one among many (which included empowering the middle castes, promotion of tamil, anti-hinduism/brahminism). For DMK itself, the demand was most likley mere rhetoric, for it never really followed it it up with sustained mass agitation of the kind one saw in Punjab/kashmir.

  167. @sai aravindh

    If you feel so strongly about it, let it remain what you believe it to be. The degree and extent of Tamil sentiment in this direction is not germane to the discussion, nor is this a forum for the defence of Tamil loyalty to India.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  168. YLH

    Arun Gupta… You have no clue what you are talking about.

    As for terrorist Fakir of Ipi’s contacts with Bacha Khan… There is more evidence of that then ISI’s contacts with Fakir of Ipi’s grandson who leads Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan.

  169. YLH

    Erratum than.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  170. @YLH

    What’s that ***** doing back again? I thought you’d banned him?

  171. YLH

    He or she is obsessed.

  172. Amit Kumar

    Hi All,
    I found B.R. Ambedkar’s view on Partition quite interesting. Here is one..

    “Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan, they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League?” (Pakistan or The Partition of India, 1946, page 358).

  173. no-communal

    @Vajra

    “In pointing out a contradiction, I am not myself subscribing to either point of view. Gandhi should not have taken direct action and set a precedent for proceeding to set things right without the pause for due process. The government has no business to restrict the benefits of natural resources development from the citizens whose ecology is most affected by this development. That is as far as our discussion on the effects of Gandhi’s actions on free India go. The rest is totally off-topic, and considers the ethics of development.

    We find that we are in the middle of a major human dilemma of great antiquity. Is development preferable to the old way of life? There is a considerable body of opinion that believes that in ecological terms, there is much to be said to avoid mineral resources based, or other depleting asset based development. This decision is also completely different from the decision on whether or not to bring in education, health-care and communications. Examples abound to the effect that even a conservative tribal population would find better and easier communications a boon, would welcome health-care and would absorb education like a sponge. Whether this has to be exchanged for mineral development where 90% of the benefits go to industrial corporations is another matte.”

    In just pointing out the contradiction, and not subscribing to either view, you are being clever, or to use Amartya Sen’s terminology, “argumentative”.

    If you say that Gandhi should not have broken the Salt Act, and then Indian Govt. would have had moral authority to use the natural resources as they please, then you are being plainly anti-liberal, anti-Arundhati Roy.

    If you, on the other hand, oppose the extraction of resources, on the basis of ecology, culture, and identity, you are not being realistic or rational. To use the idiom of another great politico-religious leader of the first millenium, if you have one penny, you use it for food. If you have a second penny, you use it for flower. Many many in India do not yet have the first penny. We will be deluding ourselves and them if we insist on giving them flowers.

    With untouchables, note that I mentioned “urban centers”. There is work to be done in the rural areas, no doubt. Also, I was not referring to social divisions. I was referring to economic and political empowerment. Finally, Gandhi’s idea is far more preferable than a formal separation between the untouchables and the mainstream, which could easily result in a perpetual state of grievance and animosity, as I said, not much unlike our relations with Pakistan.

    Finally, even with 20-20 hindsight, I cannot see any other solution working for India other than a reasonably strong center coupled with absolute freedom to religion, language and ethinically based identities, exactly what our leaders achieved. In any other plan, you run the risk of perpetually warring states working with cross purposes for a long long time before some sort of equilibrium is achieved, not unlike the history of Europe. The level of stability India has achieved within just 60 years of its founding (although work remains to be done) attests to the judiciousness of the original plan. But yes, it is also a work in progress.

    Please continue, if you will.

  174. YLH

    Read the whole book instead of picking and choosing a sentence.

    It may interest you to know that Jinnah recommended Ambedkar’s book to Gandhi for a read.

  175. Amit Kumar

    @YLH,
    What ever i understand and see the surroundings I am happy that Partition happened. My many thanks to MAJ. I do not know about two nation Theory but what is happening in Kashmir is an eye opening. 4 districts want to become a separate country and they have 40 leaders. No leadership to put forward any rational demand.

    We had a similar or even worse situation in Punjab but their leadership made a rational decision and now a happy community in the Indian union.

  176. Amit Kumar

    All,
    Can you guys please give me some gyan on this..

    Islam puts so much emphasis on islamic brotherhood and the whole concept of Umah. Then why there are so many Muslim countries, particualry in Arab? Why Bangaldesh?

    On the contrary, there is such concept in Hindu.. still i see that India is one country even though its not formally declared a Hindu country. Still a hindu from Jammu is ready to share political space with Tamil from TN.

  177. YLH

    The problem with people like you is that you guys have no stomach or appreciation for an alternative point of view that questions your myths.

  178. Amit Kumar

    @YLH
    Which myths? Can you please list few of them?

  179. Gorki

    I am amazed so much is considered wrong with India; and even more so that it seems Gandhi alone is responsible for all that.
    If I understand right,
    1. Gandhi hastened the departure of the British prematurely from India
    2. He made sure that no other identity besides a one nation theory survived
    3. He by breaking the laws of an autocratic foreign government, made sure that even under a representative democracy there is no other solution left but to follow his example.
    4.Because of his influence, we now have no recourse to fix problems of region, identity etc.
    5.He imposed a leadership from the top so even after his death his influence has haunted us.

    Am I misunderstanding something? If so please write a corrected version as specifically as possible.

    If the response to the above questions is affirmative, we can discuss them one by one.

    The part I did not quite get was how Gandhi was responsible for messing up the Sikhs.
    Please be as specific as possible. I find it hard to understand general statements.

    Last for each of those specific problems can you please provide an alternative solution, (in as few specific words as possible) even in hindsight?

    Thank you.

  180. YLH

    Amit,

    Open your eyes. I have already listed them.

  181. @no-communal [September 7, 2010 at 7:48 pm]

    I am responding here only to your latest reply, and not to points 8, 9 and 10, which I believe still remain.

    In just pointing out the contradiction, and not subscribing to either view, you are being clever, or to use Amartya Sen’s terminology, “argumentative”.

    It is interesting to wonder if you have read Amartya Sen’s book and have grasped in what context he uses the word ‘argumentative’. From your use of the word, it does not seem so, hence my curiousity. If you recall, or even if you do not recall, his connotation, unless I completely misread the book, was that Indians do talk things over a lot, being distinct from other, more decisive, perhaps more taciturn races, who turn to action fairly soon. I find it interesting that you find the process uninspiring. There is, of course, always the matter of one’s personal taste, which must be a consideration in such matters.

    If you say that Gandhi should not have broken the Salt Act, and then Indian Govt. would have had moral authority to use the natural resources as they please, then you are being plainly anti-liberal, anti-Arundhati Roy.

    If you, on the other hand, oppose the extraction of resources, on the basis of ecology, culture, and identity, you are not being realistic or rational. To use the idiom of another great politico-religious leader of the first millenium, if you have one penny, you use it for food. If you have a second penny, you use it for flower. Many many in India do not yet have the first penny. We will be deluding ourselves and them if we insist on giving them flowers.

    Yes, indeed, your summary is perfectly correct, and that is precisely the reason why I chose to point out the contradiction and state that there is no clear solution. I strongly disagree that realism or rationality demand the extraction of resources, regardless of the bans of ecology, culture and identity. That primitive day and age is gone, one hopes, for ever. There is increasingly an urgency about the need to protect threatened communities with unique ways of life, and to protect their environment, not merely for their sakes, but for our general well-being. To posit bluntly that growth and development comes first will be to choose the course that western countries chose earlier, to their own current misgivings, or to choose what China has chosen today, with all the attendant ecological and sociologica disasters that it entails.

    The prescription of exploitation of resources above all is also a snare and a delusion, for the simple reason that the different, remotely-located people whose natural habitat is to be irrevocably ruined are never the beneficiaries, even fragmentary beneficiaries. Not only do they lose their land and their way of life, they are not even compensated economically. I trust that by now, you would have read the ‘Sanhati’ article that was referred to you. It speaks for itself.

    With untouchables, note that I mentioned “urban centers”.

    You did.

    As you have been frank and forthright, you will not mind my reciprocating. It was a charming conceit to point to the example of the approximate 28% who live in urban centres, and to dismiss the 72% with an airy ‘There is work to be done in the rural areas, no doubt.’ Were you not being ingenuous?

    There is work to be done in the rural areas, no doubt. Also, I was not referring to social divisions. I was referring to economic and political empowerment.

    Again, somewhat tendentious. Do you think a Scheduled Caste man or woman is really impressed on it being pointed out that he is given food and a vote, and therefore being treated on par with a street dog should not upset him too much? that he need not worry himself unduly, considering what a brief amount of time we have had to work on the problem, and great minds were grappling with the problem even as he hunted for some respect?

    It sounds to me like Seneca writing about poverty at his golden desk.

    Finally, Gandhi’s idea is far more preferable than a formal separation between the untouchables and the mainstream, which could easily result in a perpetual state of grievance and animosity, as I said, not much unlike our relations with Pakistan.

    Of course.

    But, just to satisfy my curiousity, where did this business of a formal separation between the untouchables and the mainstream come into the discussion? Was that the original quest of the Muslims? Or have you not read the discussions here at all, including the earlier discussions on this very thread?

    Was anything like a formal separation stipulated by me anywhere as a solution for the quest for scheduled caste identity, or was that your own extrapolation from your mistaken understanding that the earlier Muslim quest had similarly been based on a tangible separation? mistaking the fact that such a tangible separation was never on the cards until the July 46 rejection of the CMP by the Congress?

    Just to place things on record, since a great deal of assumption and surmise seems to be rife, my contention from the beginning of this argument has been that the question of identity has to be addressed long before it comes to either violence, or the associated step, sometimes preceding the violence, sometimes succeeding it, of one party’s resolve, usually the minority party’s resolve to separate itself.

    It is surprising that my position could have suffered such deformation with no visible provocation.

    Finally, even with 20-20 hindsight, I cannot see any other solution working for India other than a reasonably strong center coupled with absolute freedom to religion, language and ethinically based identities, exactly what our leaders achieved. In any other plan, you run the risk of perpetually warring states working with cross purposes for a long long time before some sort of equilibrium is achieved, not unlike the history of Europe.

    In other words, any possibility other than what exists in fact today must necessarily have been ruinous. While you repeatedly mention 20/20 hindsight, you have no reasoning, no argument for this conclusion except the somewhat pallid proposition that you ‘cannot see any other solution working for India’.

    That is a lot of space covered by one person’s aberrant vision.

    The level of stability India has achieved within just 60 years of its founding (although work remains to be done) attests to the judiciousness of the original plan. But yes, it is also a work in progress.

    Since you have mentioned the question of subjective conclusions with a slight lift of the lip, I should have imagined that you would yourself avoid this perilous state yourself, with almost religious faithfulness. Apparently in your recipe book, what is sauce for the goose is not, after all, sauce for the gander.

  182. I am informed that I have five more minutes allotted to me. Unfortunately, this means that I can finish my detailed response, covering points 8, 9 and 10, only tomorrow. My sincere apologies.

  183. Gorki

    Dear Vajra:

    ‘In other words, any possibility other than what exists in fact today must necessarily have been ruinous. While you repeatedly mention 20/20 hindsight, you have no reasoning, no argument for this conclusion except the somewhat pallid proposition that you ‘cannot see any other solution working for India’….’

    1. First an apology. My last post was addressed to you. In haste I forgot to address it properly.

    2. The constitution of India (based on which we operate politically) was written after great deliberation and by an assembly of noted leaders and scholars, from all political backgrounds.
    I believe Gandhi was not a part of it.

    Are you suggesting that was the wrong?
    Do you have an alternate suggestion?

    Do you propose any solutions now?

    Please be specific, thank you.

  184. I have some terrible bad news to share with all who anticipate my posts.

    My broadband service has been restored a few minutes ago; this message is being sent through it.

    I deeply regret the depression and bleak thoughts that this may have aroused, especially among Miyas in assorted shapes and sizes, but also among the flotsam and jetsam that has displayed a comically frenzied attachment to this site, the kind that leads, in movies, to large pieces of furniture being clutched in a death-grip in order to delay the moment of one’s expulsion to the latest possible.

    Excelsior!

  185. Hayyer

    Gorki and No communal:

    I apologize for not responding earlier. I have not had net access long enough these past few days.
    Tomorrow morning if I think I can supplement Vajra’s effective cannonade I will.

  186. no-communal

    @Vajra

    I will let you respond to points 8, 9, 10 and Subcontinental’s and Gorki’s comments. However, let me also place my dissents to your latest musings on the table.

    “To posit bluntly that growth and development comes first will be to choose the course that western countries chose earlier, to their own current misgivings,..”

    Which misgivings, as far as the western countries are concerned, do you have in mind?

    “The prescription of exploitation of resources above all is also a snare and a delusion, for the simple reason that the different, remotely-located people whose natural habitat is to be irrevocably ruined are never the beneficiaries, even fragmentary beneficiaries. Not only do they lose their land and their way of life, they are not even compensated economically”

    The use of the word “natural habitat” is interesting.

    With every job that is created, even though the very local people may not be directly employed, there are plenty whose quality of life improves. This is through services this newly employed requires, which he/she usually derives from the locality. Slightly unrelated to the point, but I believe that Singur incident should not have happened. A political compromise should have been made to allow that factory to be set up. This would have been for the greater good for Singur itself.

    Most, even from the tribal areas, aspire for the fruits of progress in the modern world. That can only come through new jobs, not through government action as you seem to imply. Building schools, health care facilities etc., without being able to create new jobs, is simply an unsustainable proposition.

    It is arrogant on the part of people like Arundhati Roy and others to suggest that the tribals and others would much rather stay in their “natural habitat”.

    “It was a charming conceit to point to the example of the approximate 28% who live in urban centres, and to dismiss the 72% with an airy ‘There is work to be done in the rural areas, no doubt.’ Were you not being ingenuous?”

    I believe I was not being ingenuous. You make a valid point about the rural areas, but Gandhi can hardly be held responsible for that. In fact, he was the one, more than any others (apart from of course Ambedkar himself), who fought against the social evil under discussion.

    ” Do you think a Scheduled Caste man or woman is really impressed on it being pointed out that he is given food and a vote, and therefore being treated on par with a street dog should not upset him too much? that he need not worry himself unduly, considering what a brief amount of time we have had to work on the problem, and great minds were grappling with the problem even as he hunted for some respect?”

    That’s again a comment on upper caste Hindus, not Gandhi. Gandhi can hardly be held responsible for this. Again, he was the one who fought against it.

    “But, just to satisfy my curiousity, where did this business of a formal separation between the untouchables and the mainstream come into the discussion? Was that the original quest of the Muslims? Or have you not read the discussions here at all, including the earlier discussions on this very thread?”

    First, about the original quest of the Muslims. As I said, a glaring example of what could have happened with weak federal control, is the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    About formal separation between untouchables and the mainstream, I meant separate electorate. A system where in reserved constituencies not only the seat is reserved for the Dalits (which is in use today and which Gandhi accepted), but it’s only the Dalits who would vote. This I meant as a permanent separation, which would have been untenable, because the others are disenfranchised, a nation inside a nation.

    “..my contention from the beginning of this argument has been that the question of identity has to be addressed long before it comes to either violence,”

    Gandhi’s legacy in fact teaches us to think along these lines. I don’t think Gandhi ever objected to this natural quest for identity as long as it was within one nation.

    “In other words, any possibility other than what exists in fact today must necessarily have been ruinous. While you repeatedly mention 20/20 hindsight, you have no reasoning, no argument for this conclusion except the somewhat pallid proposition that you ‘cannot see any other solution working for India’.

    No, I gave the reasoning in the passage itself:
    –In any other plan, you run the risk of perpetually warring states working with cross purposes for a long long time before some sort of equilibrium is achieved, not unlike the history of Europe–.

    “Since you have mentioned the question of subjective conclusions with a slight lift of the lip, I should have imagined that you would yourself avoid this perilous state yourself, with almost religious faithfulness. Apparently in your recipe book, what is sauce for the goose is not, after all, sauce for the gander.”

    The “slight lift of the lip” you mention was unintended. By that if you mean the “evil grin”, I don’t know how it got there.

  187. @Gorki

    Think nothing of it, dear Sir. Into the breach soon.

  188. Bade Miya

    Gorki,
    “I am amazed so much is considered wrong with India; and even more so that it seems Gandhi alone is responsible for all that.
    If I understand right,”

    In my humble view, a proper question to ask is: What are the problems for which Gandhi is not responsible?

    That may lead to more concise answers, I guess.

  189. Chote Miya

    Vajra,
    We do miss your quotations, even if you don’t remember how many times you have recycled them.

  190. @no-communal [September 8, 2010 at 12:18 am]

    I will let you respond to points 8, 9, 10 and Subcontinental’s and Gorki’s comments. However, let me also place my dissents to your latest musings on the table.

    Kind of you, I’m sure.

    However, a cursory knowledge of military history, like what has been observed by you and others to be a cursory knowledge of much else, and an intimate 33 year knowledge of the fate of written exchanges in the corporate world has instilled an innate dislike of flanks or rear areas being left open to enemy action.

    Therefore a few very brief remarks as we lurch towards Golgotha.

    “To posit bluntly that growth and development comes first will be to choose the course that western countries chose earlier, to their own current misgivings,..”

    Which misgivings, as far as the western countries are concerned, do you have in mind?

    The Green Movement in Germany and France, and general government policy in every aspect, just for starters.

    Your question does seek like, “You mentioned the alphabet. Which precise letter did you have in mind?”

    “The prescription of exploitation of resources above all is also a snare and a delusion, for the simple reason that the different, remotely-located people whose natural habitat is to be irrevocably ruined are never the beneficiaries, even fragmentary beneficiaries. Not only do they lose their land and their way of life, they are not even compensated economically”

    The use of the word “natural habitat” is interesting.

    With every job that is created, even though the very local people may not be directly employed, there are plenty whose quality of life improves. This is through services this newly employed requires, which he/she usually derives from the locality.

    This is totally false with regard to the forest area developments in the Sanhati note, where it is not merely misleading, as it is in its general textbook sense.

    The replacement of a livelihood by a service job as a watchman or a cleaning woman, on industrial wages and industrial terms, is by no means a fair exchange. You are perhaps thinking of a mall and its impact on its neighbourhood; an aluminium plant has a wholly different staffing pattern.

    Slightly unrelated to the point, but I believe that Singur incident should not have happened. A political compromise should have been made to allow that factory to be set up. This would have been for the greater good for Singur itself.

    It is clear that you have not travelled the very small distance outside Calcutta to Singur. It was a mistake of the local government ever to have promised such prime agricultural land for industrial development, and it was a political crime of Mamata to have capitalised on this mistake. Having said that, the point that land to be handed over for industrial development should not be prime land is valid for Singur as for thermal plants in AP.

    Most, even from the tribal areas, aspire for the fruits of progress in the modern world. That can only come through new jobs, not through government action as you seem to imply. Building schools, health care facilities etc., without being able to create new jobs, is simply an unsustainable proposition.

    Never, nowhere have schools and hospitals, primary health care facilities, and the like been linked to the paying power of the local customer. I don’t know what you imagine you are articulating. If you have even an elementary knowledge of the arithmetic, this discussion should not have been happening.

    In a recent micro-health insurance scheme with which I was associated, it was found that the ailments which bankrupted a family – by which I mean literally that, ailments, single person afflictions, which bankrupted an entire family – numbered approximately 35. They included fractures, for which the cost of treatment came to a few thousands. These costs were enough to bankrupt families. Are you seriously telling me that in a country where 40% of the people are below the poverty line, you will advocate that they get jobs before health-care is provided?

    Were you in your senses when you wrote that?

    It is arrogant on the part of people like Arundhati Roy and others to suggest that the tribals and others would much rather stay in their “natural habitat”.

    It is far more arrogant on your part to pluck out text book maxims and oppose them to reality, to facts on the ground. You should consult B. D. Sharma, Collector of Bastar District, for a direct input on what tribals and others would much rather do, instead of sitting in a city and theorising.

    Most of my health-care knowledge comes from Jharkhand, from the Jasidih and Giridih region, from Chhatisgarh, from Dantewada and Kanked, to some limited extent from Jagdalpur, and from up-country AP, including places in and around Warangal. There was another completely different experience in Kerala, but that is qualitatively different.

    In those parts of the country, employment is part-time, and is absent in parts of the year. People live in isolated places, and a stipend had to be paid to them along with their insurance to allow them to pay for their costs of travel to the nearest clinic. Several of the fatalities reported in one hospital were due to a desperately ill patient taking six hours by bus, from near the Grand Trunk Road and the Locomotive works at Chittaranjan to get to a hospital near Jasidih. The entire area between the GT Road and Jasidih, bounded by Dhanbad in the west and Dumka in the east, contains a total of less than 20 hospitals – I am deliberately exaggerating wildly, because the real figure will sound fictional.

    For you to say that this state of affairs, so close to the former industrial belt of Asansol/Burnpur/Durgapur and the coalmines, not to mention the public sector CLW, is to wait for job-creation before hospitals, schools and communications facilities are built is breathtaking audacity.

    The same applies for the forest belt in Chhatisgarh which we were discussing. Dantewada, Kanked and Jagdalpur, in case you are unaware, are in or near the old Bastar. This is the ground that we are discussing. Things are worse there. It takes two and a half days to reach a primary health clinic from a village. The clinics are needed out where the patients are. No amount of development of bauxite mines, where the output is immediately shipped overseas to feed China’s growth, is going to generate enough jobs to pay for the development that is required.

    “It was a charming conceit to point to the example of the approximate 28% who live in urban centres, and to dismiss the 72% with an airy ‘There is work to be done in the rural areas, no doubt.’ Were you not being ingenuous?”

    I believe I was not being ingenuous. You make a valid point about the rural areas, but Gandhi can hardly be held responsible for that. In fact, he was the one, more than any others (apart from of course Ambedkar himself), who fought against the social evil under discussion.

    Ah, you are aware of Gandhi’s efforts in that direction. You are also aware then of his opposition to Ambedkar, when the latter sought an increased profile for his constituency, for reserved electorates. You are already aware that the logic behind this was that a sufficient body of legislators would be created who would have an interest in serving their own electorate and would move laws and budgetary provisions in those directions.

    Would you like to share with us in public what Gandhi proposed as a substitute? I shall let you do the honours, as it may remind you that mere wishful thinking and pious hopes are no substitute for practical action. Remember during your answer that in the final act, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death to stop the provision of separate electorates. You say that is because he wanted to prevent a split. The logic is not clearly obvious. The comparison with the Muslim community is bizarre. On the other hand, it is arguable that his action was consistent with his autocratic, dictatorial attitude which allowed no dissent, no discussion once his own mind was made up.

    ” Do you think a Scheduled Caste man or woman is really impressed on it being pointed out that he is given food and a vote, and therefore being treated on par with a street dog should not upset him too much? that he need not worry himself unduly, considering what a brief amount of time we have had to work on the problem, and great minds were grappling with the problem even as he hunted for some respect?”

    That’s again a comment on upper caste Hindus, not Gandhi. Gandhi can hardly be held responsible for this. Again, he was the one who fought against it.

    Fought against it to the last Harijan. When it came to practical steps, such as those proposed by Ambedkar, he fought Ambedkar.

    “But, just to satisfy my curiousity, where did this business of a formal separation between the untouchables and the mainstream come into the discussion? Was that the original quest of the Muslims? Or have you not read the discussions here at all, including the earlier discussions on this very thread?”

    First, about the original quest of the Muslims. As I said, a glaring example of what could have happened with weak federal control, is the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    Horse feathers. If you had even bothered to read the preliminaries of this same thread and its associated threads, you would have found out that no formal separation, no physical partition was envisaged.

    About your example – more horse feathers. You must be out of your mind to equate the policy adopted in FATA with a weak federal control policy. Nobody advocated inaction by the constituent federated states, indeed those were to have full powers other than the centre’s three reserved subjects. This is a piece of nonsense, as apart from FATA (you forgot Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh) there were no tribal areas reserved for rule by traditional chiefs. None; not even Baluchistan.

    About formal separation between untouchables and the mainstream, I meant separate electorate. A system where in reserved constituencies not only the seat is reserved for the Dalits (which is in use today and which Gandhi accepted), but it’s only the Dalits who would vote. This I meant as a permanent separation, which would have been untenable, because the others are disenfranchised, a nation inside a nation.

    “..my contention from the beginning of this argument has been that the question of identity has to be addressed long before it comes to either violence,”

    Gandhi’s legacy in fact teaches us to think along these lines. I don’t think Gandhi ever objected to this natural quest for identity as long as it was within one nation.

    Are you aware that ‘nation’ used in this context is not a state but a community?

    The INC One Nation concept insisted that all Indians were one community. Gandhi’s agreeing to this quest for identity would have been nonsense if he had indeed articulated it so; instead at every step, he fought minorities. He opposed the Muslims; you are well aware of that. He opposed the Sikhs and would not have them have their own say in the matter of partition, but through Nehru, influenced Mountbatten to suppress every effort made by them to raise the matter; he was hostile to the Dravidastan demands, in contrast to Jinnah, who pledged support but backed out when it became clear that the AIML could do nothing practical, more important nothing that would not divert attention from their own ends. He had nothing, no thinking about the Nagas, none about the central Indian tribes. He was not even aware that a problem existed.

    “In other words, any possibility other than what exists in fact today must necessarily have been ruinous. While you repeatedly mention 20/20 hindsight, you have no reasoning, no argument for this conclusion except the somewhat pallid proposition that you ‘cannot see any other solution working for India’.

    No, I gave the reasoning in the passage itself:
    –In any other plan, you run the risk of perpetually warring states working with cross purposes for a long long time before some sort of equilibrium is achieved, not unlike the history of Europe–.

    How can you assume that all possible alternative plans would have this outcome, even before a single alternative has been proposed?

    “Since you have mentioned the question of subjective conclusions with a slight lift of the lip, I should have imagined that you would yourself avoid this perilous state yourself, with almost religious faithfulness. Apparently in your recipe book, what is sauce for the goose is not, after all, sauce for the gander.”

    The “slight lift of the lip” you mention was unintended. By that if you mean the “evil grin”, I don’t know how it got there.

    I am sure it was unintended. Just as much as Gandhi’s autocratic grip on the Congress had bad effects that were unintended.

  191. Bade Miya

    ““Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism. At the same time, his idiosyncratic vision of state did not permit any sensible effort at creating an effective internal settlement. We are left to contemplate the mess.””

    I have been a regular on this site for more than a year now. When I read this novel piece of fiction, I had a feeling that I had read this argument somewhere, not here. Sure enough, the source of this “knowledge” turned out to be another self-styled “contrarian” philosopher from west, Slavoj Zizek, whose interview in the Times of India turned out to be the source from where the above reason is extracted verbatim, almost.

    Please do a Google search on Adam Kirsch+Zizek to read this fantastic piece of fiction.

  192. @no-communal

    8) “Gandhi obscured the nature of the Muslim issue, in his idiosyncratic refusal to consider any other point of view but his own.

    What we forget very often is that he obscured every other identity issue. He would not allow any special relief for the untouchables, again in pursuit of his foibles. His faulty vision of an India constituted of a myriad of village republics saw to it that no other model but Sanskritisation was available to the tribals”

    Startling, to say the least. So there were nobody in the name of Patel or Nehru or anybody else who also rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan.

    Do not be startled; it is a little late in the day.

    The whole point is about Gandhi’s dictatorial control. Do you think Patel or Nehru or anybody else could have even stayed in the Congress, forget about functioning independently, without Gandhi’s active support?

    And, in retrospect, a glaring example of what could have been, is FATA of Pakistan. The idea of a reasonably strong center, with accepted ethnic and linguistic identities, was and still is the best plan for India.

    And, in retrospect, this has already been dealt with. It is a singularly bad example, being a tribal area where the British allowed the maliks to manage the place in return for a subvention, and to operate as a border zone between British India and Afghanistant.

    To imply that the Punjab and Sindh would have been managed in this way is sheer effrontery. I have wondered about the word ingenuous before and my suspicions are slowly hardening.

    I have already commented on the untouchables issue.

    It is not clear which passage you were referring to, but I shall treasure your gem of analysis about separate electorates.

    You had, if you remember, stated that Gandhi had agreed to reserved seats, but not to separate electorates. You had found this concept of separate electorates to be absurd because not only were the seats reserved, the electors were also restricted to the restricted category. You felt that this would have produced a nation within a nation.

    Again it is clear that your understanding of the word nation in this context, the nationalities issue, its equation to a community, is not clear. You apparently think that this is equivalent not to a community but to a civic state. This is a common error, and one is uncertain whether to state either that one is astonished, implying that you should have had the background to know better before entering this discussion, or to state that one is not astonished, implying that while you should have known better, the fact that you don’t speaks for itself.

    Let us leave this aside until further evidence is accrued.

    Touching upon the question of separate electorates, which Gandhi found possible in the case of Muslims and also of Sikhs, it is clear that he resisted it in the case of the Scheduled Castes because he feared loss of political power. He fought Ambedkar on this tooth and nail, and finally, when electorates were granted on the basis of Ambedkar’s detailed reasoning, that was not good enough for him; as ever, detailed reasoning was to be subordinated to his personal will, and he got the separate electorates abrogated through his fast unto death.

    Ambedkar’s incurable bitterness on this is on record.

    I don’t know what you mean by Sanskritisation of the tribals and who is interested in it in today’s India.

    http : // www. vanavasikalyan. org / vanavasi. html

    I will refrain from comment.

    9)”In the absence of an enlightened settlement between brute majority and the minorities within British India, the only viable model of power and statehood was the British model, of power acquired by force, of statehood achieved by conquest.

    It was again Gandhi who undermined it by questioning the validity of British rule in India. Once that was woven into the pattern of our struggle for independence, it was almost official sanction to identity groups struggling for self-expression”

    Okay, so the identity groups are “struggling for self-expression” because Gandhi did it. If only Gandhi had not broken the Salt Act!

    BTW, which “identity groups” are we worrying about here? Other than J&K, who else is struggling for its own country, making demands that can or will not be settled under Indian constitution. And please don’t give me the examples of the Naxals, ULFA and suchlike. A few thousand or so hurling bombs and killing others, even if for tens of years, do not speak for an entire “identity group”. Many of these groups, such as the Gorkhas, are happy if they get a state of their own, which is a continuous process the Indian government is addressing anyways.

    [sigh]

    It is precisely the fact that the government and the constitution of India have no mechanism for addressing minority grievances until those grievances reach a position of impasse, and the aggrieved grow violent, that is under question. There is no continuous process, only responses to emergencies and crises.

    Do not be cheeky. Ignorance is not a good foundation for insolence.

    Have you heard of Art. 370 of the Constitution? Good. Now consult Art. 371. And pipe down after that.

    10) “Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism. At the same time, his idiosyncratic vision of state did not permit any sensible effort at creating an effective internal settlement. We are left to contemplate the mess.”

    Now, with 20-20 hindsight vision, what would have been your solution for an “effective internal settlement”?

    So you want an outline Constitution, and an outline administrative programme.

    That is available and has been suggested already in a note in private circulation. Every member who has received the note, including one who is making hostile enquiries on the forum, is a regular participator in the forum. I will publish it soon, but not as a part of this note.

  193. @Bade Miya [September 8, 2010 at 3:25 am]

    I regret to have to inform you that this is the first I have heard of Slavoj Zizek, or of his interview in the Times of India. The origin of my comment was another in private circulation, which is on record. It is rather better written than what I have submitted here, but recognisably the same.

    My regrets for having deflated your apparent discovery.

  194. no-communal

    @Vajra

    I respect your experience and opinion on these issues. Therefore I could have simply retreated, were it not for the fact that you assume I am just theorizing from my drawing room. Just so this impression doesn’t persist, let me write a brief rebuttal.

    “The Green Movement in Germany and France, and general government policy in every aspect, just for starters.

    Your question does seek like, “You mentioned the alphabet. Which precise letter did you have in mind?”

    This question was raised with respect to protection of ecology, environment etc..
    With respect to these matters, let me just say that I would any day take the “Green Movement in Germany and France and general government policy in every aspect” AFTER we have become 1/10 th of Germany and France.

    “This is totally false with regard to the forest area developments in the Sanhati note, where it is not merely misleading, as it is in its general textbook sense.

    The replacement of a livelihood by a service job as a watchman or a cleaning woman, on industrial wages and industrial terms, is by no means a fair exchange. You are perhaps thinking of a mall and its impact on its neighbourhood; an aluminium plant has a wholly different staffing pattern.

    It is clear that you have not travelled the very small distance outside Calcutta to Singur. It was a mistake of the local government ever to have promised such prime agricultural land for industrial development, and it was a political crime of Mamata to have capitalised on this mistake. Having said that, the point that land to be handed over for industrial development should not be prime land is valid for Singur as for thermal plants in AP.”

    Contrary to what you seem to think, I have travelled many times via Singur, because I am not from Calcutta. I am from the other industrial town in W.B., the one you refer as “former industrial” area, Durgapur, which, by the way, is flourishing right now, in case you have not paid attention.

    I am not at all thinking of a mall when I say development. Since you brought so much personal experience to bear, let me also use some of mine. Let me just say that we have a tract of ancestral land in a nearby village. Most anybody in that village would give up their land in exchange for a government-decided price for industry (such as Aluminium plants;-)) and – hold your breath – for the job of a nightwatchman. The reason is very simple. Agriculture, with unpredictable weather patterns and shortage of labor help (which has moved to the nearby cities), leaves little profit to sustain a family for a full year. Most of the village boys would give anything for the job of a watchman, let me assure you, simply because that would mean a fixed, guaranteed, income, however meagre, throughout the year. Of course there are political interests who will oppose any such move, if ever an industry goes to set up shop there. And this is in West Bengal with one of the highest quality of land in the country. I can only imagine the situation in Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.

    “It is arrogant on the part of people like Arundhati Roy and others to suggest that the tribals and others would much rather stay in their “natural habitat”.

    “It is far more arrogant on your part to pluck out text book maxims and oppose them to reality, to facts on the ground.”

    I have a Santal friend in Durgapur. His father works in a factory (fourth-class staff, in case you are thinking clerk or officer) and he drives our car. They are originally from Jharkhand. I have heard them converse in Santali among themselves, and he makes us listen to Santali music (produced in Ranchi) whenever we are in the car. So obviously they identify themselves as Santal and have preserved their culture. But go tell him to go back to Jharkhand to their “natural habitat”!

    I will not comment on health care facilities in Bastar, since you obviously have much more experience on the ground.

    “Nobody advocated inaction by the constituent federated states, indeed those were to have full powers other than the centre’s three reserved subjects.”

    You and I are entitled to have our own opinions. When I say FATA, I do not mean goverment by traditional chiefs, I mean these quasi-independent entities can easily work on cross purposes. Especially since the division is based on something as divisive as religion.

    “Remember during your answer that in the final act, Gandhi undertook a fast unto death to stop the provision of separate electorates. You say that is because he wanted to prevent a split.”

    The split is due to permanent disenfranchisement of a section of society from a piece of a land they call their own country. As I said earlier, Gandhi accepted reserved representation for the Dalits and scheduled castes (as is the norm today), but not a complete separate electorate. Indeed what purpose the disenfranchisement would have served is not clear to me. If the seat is reserved for the Dalits, why is that not adequate?

    I am not going to comment on your other musings not to aggravate the situation further;-) I must say however that it looks like you are not in favor of a collection of linguistic and ethnically identified states under one country (didn’t use the word “nation” to avoid confusion;-)

    Would be interested to hear your alternative scenario for an”effective internal solution” when you respond to Gorki.

  195. Bade Miya

    Vajra,
    In that case, you are in a august company. Congrats!

    Btw, could you clarify what do you mean by a “brute majority”? What is the nature/characteristic of this beast, especially in context of the present Indian set up. As always, I plead for a concise reply.
    Thanks.

  196. Outsider

    As far as I know, Gandhi really wanted India to be a confederation of villages. Unrealistic; but different.

  197. Bade Miya

    Vajra,
    “I don’t know what you mean by Sanskritisation of the tribals and who is interested in it in today’s India.

    http : // www. vanavasikalyan. org / vanavasi. html”

    I presume, therefore, that you also condemn the conversion of tribals to Christianity.

    Btw, what did you find objectionable on the site you have referenced. From the appearance, it seems that they are doing good work.

  198. Arun Gupta

    “The wholly incomplete Two Nation Theory jarred against an instinctive shrinking away from a wholly imaginary vivisection, one never intended other than for political consumption and for establishment of an extreme negotiating boundary.”

    — Anyone who believes this will believe anything.

  199. YLH

    Arun,

    Too bad for you most independent historians have already started “believing” what is so self evidently a historical truth.

    But small minded fanatics like you probably have a hard time negotiating the truth.

  200. Chote Miyan

    “Gandhi’s conscious choice of martyrdom …”

    Hmmm..Quite nice, I must say. I wonder if he died due to Godse’s bullets or irregular bowel movements.

  201. no-communal

    @Chote Miyan

    Where did you get that line?

  202. YLH

    Vajra,

    An aside: It turns out that about 60 percent of all Hindu Indian interactors on PTH are sockpuppets of one person : Arun Gupta.

    He is NSA, NAS, NotVajra, Outsider, Samachar and a host of other names ….

  203. Majumdar

    Perhaps Gandhi was a greater genius than I have ever given him credit for. 62 years after his death he exerts greater influence not only on his own nation and Pakistan as well (particularly South Punjab + Frontier) than MAJ, JLN, BRA and SVP put together. Maybe we shud call him the Sole Spokesman henceforth.

    Regards

  204. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    That line is in this very “thought provoking” article by Noorani. Just do a search in this page, and you will find it.

  205. Bade Miya

    Majum..
    He also exerts influence on various peace activists as well as personalities like Mandela, King, etc. Curiously, they were all fooled by his charade.

  206. Subcontinental

    There is only one path truly possible for the tribal societies available in the new world:

    1) Preserve their language.
    2) Preserve their historical records
    3) Preserve their historical artifacts
    4) Preserve their culture – those customs that go against modern norms and laws, let go of them (cannibalism, head-hunting should be passé), the rest of rituals and customs should be preserved.
    5) Resist proselytization (Islamic, Hindu, Christian, etc) – which often means complete death to their culture.
    6) Protect the core of their lands – their burial grounds, their ceremonial grounds, heritage villages, etc.
    7) Use their ‘natural habitats’ either for Nature Conservation Reserves, or allow them to be developed and profit from that.
    8) Demand protection and promotion for the above from the state
    9) Integrate fully with the modern world, and avail of state support for that, where necessary.
    10) Pass on their identity and culture to their kids, but also embrace the bigger identity of the state.
    11) Expect no discrimination from others

    If all that is possible for the tribals within the Indian State, then they have no reason to have hard feelings. If not, then Indian Law needs to be strengthened.

    These adjustments can however be found within the Indian State. Any highlighting of their grievances and their rights, and asking for their redressal within the Constitution is most welcome. Using their grievances as a ploy to demand separatism is deplorable.

  207. Subcontinental

    correction:

    There is only one path truly available to the tribals to save their identity

  208. bciv

    @Bade/Chote Mian

    “[…] is extracted verbatim, almost” !!!

    you are a liar and you know it. Any one, including yourself, who has read the TOI interview you have kindly given the reference for can confirm that much about you.

  209. AZW

    An aside: It turns out that about 60 percent of all Hindu Indian interactors on PTH are sockpuppets of one person : Arun Gupta.
    He is NSA, NAS, NotVajra, Outsider, Samachar and a host of other names.

    It is one thing to disagree vehemently with others because one’s interpretation of history is radically different. I have no problem with fierce, yet gracious debaters who articulate their arguments with passion, yet remain within the bounds of decency.

    Mr. (or is it Mrs.) Gupta on the other hand has shown himself to be none other than a low-level arguer, who resorts to any means possible to denigrate his opponents. When he tries to spam the board by using various handles, putting on cloaks of an reporting samachar, or trying to become a thoughtful outsider, or his typical emptily vicious Gupta, he removes any doubts about his real worth.

    I would delete all of these handles’ comments without prejudice and would ask all the moderators to not give this character any room whatsoever on PTH from now on.

  210. AZW

    Mr. Bade Miyan:

    Plagiarism is serious business. No one should be allowed to do that. But accusing someone falsely is as grave of an offense as plagiarism itself is.

    Following Vajra for two years, I was surprised by your accusation as it was contrary to everything that I know about Vajra. And since you have shown to go off wild tangents in discussions frequently, I have a feeling that you have crossed one too many boundaries with this accusation.

    Below, I reproduce Vajra’s comment that you accused of being a plagiarized one. After that, I reproduce the whole relevant section from the Time of India blog interview of this certain Mr. Slavoj Zizek that was published on Jan 12,2010.

    After reading both of them, it is clear to me that unless there is another interview hanging around somewhere on the internet, your accusation at Vajra is patently false and smacks of ill-intent. Unless you have anything to say regarding your lies, I believe it is prudent that you take your malice somewhere else and go on accusing other unsuspecting people of anything you may want to conceive of. But not here at PTH.

    Vajra’s comment:

    In the absence of an enlightened settlement between brute majority and the minorities within British India, the only viable model of power and statehood was the British model, of power acquired by force, of statehood achieved by conquest.

    It was again Gandhi who undermined it by questioning the validity of British rule in India. Once that was woven into the pattern of our struggle for independence, it was almost official sanction to identity groups struggling for self-expression.

    # Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism. At the same time, his idiosyncratic vision of state did not permit any sensible effort at creating an effective internal settlement. We are left to contemplate the mess.

    Below, I am reproducing the interview by Mr. Zizek for comparison. Can someone tell me that apart from their critique of Gandhi, where is this supposed plagiarism happening?

    Q: What’s your point?

    A: My point is what people perceive as violence is the direct subjective violence. It’s crucial to see violence which has to be done repeatedly to keep the things the way they are. I am not just talking about structural violence, symbolic violence, violence in language, etc. In that sense Gandhi was more violent than Hitler. Hitler killed millions of people. It was more reactive killing. Hitler was active all the time not to change things but to prevent change.

    Q: A lot of people will find it ridiculous to even imagine that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler? Are you serious when you say that…

    A: Yes he was, although Gandhi didn’t support killing. With his actions — boycott and all that — he helped the British imperialists to stay in India longer. This is something Hitler never wanted. Gandhi didn’t do anything to stop the functioning of the British empire or the way it functioned here. You have to think why was India called the jewel of the empire? That for me is a problem. Let us locate violence properly.

    Q: I guess you have no respect for Gandhi who is a tall figure in this country…

    A: I respect him. I don’t respect him for his peaceful ways, vegetarianism etc. I don’t care about that. But Gandhi somehow succeeded in carrying on his principled attitude with pragmatic spirit. It’s very difficult to maintain this balance. But again I feel Ambedkar was much better than Gandhi. My favourite oneliner from Ambedkar is when he said that “there is no caste without outcastes”. Ambedkar saw that the Gandhian solution for untouchables was wrong. This attitude doesn’t work. I am for Ambedkar’s radical approach.

    Q: You haven’t answered my question about your stand on political violence…

    A: In an abstract sense I am opposed to violence. But nobody is actually against violence. Look at the Buddhist text. They say you shouldn’t kill, but then they have all the exceptions. During the 40s, a great Zen philosopher was writing articles not only justifying Japanese invasion of China but also giving advice on how Buddhist enlightenment allows you to kill without guilt. It says you are in a void, you are an observer, your hand moves in the air

    http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Main-Street/entry/was-gandhi-more-violent-than

  211. @no-communal [September 8, 2010 at 4:37 am]

    I am sorry for the delay in replying, which was due to personal reasons. Your replies will be with you commencing from an hour from now.

  212. no-communal

    Knowing Calcutta, I think Vajra’s broadband connection is giving problems again. I am sure he will be online soon. We all should probably cool down a little.

    Vajra’s view of Gandhi as expressed in the lines,
    “Gandhi ripped apart the fabric of British rule in India, and left nothing in its place, except the claim to be the heirs to that iron despotism..”
    and phrases such as “whims and fancies of a single autocratic individual who had no faith in democracy..” etc. is so radically different from others not just in India but perhaps all over the world, that the reasoning offered by Mr. Slavoj Zizek is probably the only parallel to be found. I think this is what BM means when he says, “Sure enough, the source of this “knowledge” turned out to be another self-styled “contrarian” philosopher from west, Slavoj Zizek, whose interview in the Times of India turned out to be the source from where the above REASON is extracted verbatim, almost.” (capitalized by n-c) . Note the word “REASON”, which is being implied to be borrowed, although “verbatim” is a poor choice of word.

    Anyway, after his broadband is fixed, I am sure Vajra will be online soon.

  213. no-communal

    Reading BM’s lines many times, I am positive he is not accusing Vajra of plagiarism. He has repeatedly mentioned “this argument”, “knowledge” “reason” etc. being extracted from Zizek. “Verbatim”, though, is a poor choice of word.

    Anyway, I didn’t see Vajra’s comment above before I posted mine. So he will be back. Let’s cool down, because he will likely be burning hot!;-).

  214. lal

    @ azw
    bm may be referring to zizeks article in the new republic…

    “In this precise sense of violence, Gandhi was more violent than Hitler: Gandhi’s movement effectively endeavored to interrupt the basic functioning of the British colonial state. ..”

    google ” Disputations: Who Are You Calling Anti-Semitic?”

  215. bciv

    @lal

    “bm may be referring to zizeks article in the new republic…”

    that means he may have been mistaken about the article he wished to use as a basis for his lie. the lie was, nevertheless, deliberate. your citation adds another to azw’s to show once again that the accusation was false and the one who made it a liar.

  216. bciv

    … as for the ‘knowledge’ of gandhi vs gokhale and constitutionalism, it can only be a ‘discovery’ for a high school student of history (or some – not all – non-indian observers). the important part of the discussion is what preceeded and followed that almost trivial observation about gandhi’s choice of tactics… even in the short passage quoted by azw from vajra’s posts. that, indeed, has been the main focus of the discussion. that is the part that is interesting, perhaps even a revelation, for not just high school students.

  217. no-communal

    @bciv
    September 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    bciv, I didn’t get what exactly you meant in the above comment. However, if it was in response to what I wrote earlier (I wish BM came out of hiding and wrote in his own defence as AZW suggested), then let me just say that discussing Gandhi’s disagreement with Gokhale or others regarding constitutionalism etc. is one thing and using words such as “iron despotism”, “disruptive violence”, “fancy of autocratic individual” is quite another. The latter are more appropriate descriptors of Hitler. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find many people worldwide (not just in India) taking offense to such terms being used for Gandhi.

    The “knowledge” itself is not new; however how you express it can be startling. Two words may mean the same thing in the substance, but can be appropriate in very different contexts.

    In any case, we are not talking Gandhi here. My simple point is that telling someone his/her “knowledge” or “reason” is extracted from someplace is not the same as “lying” or “accusing plagiarism”. I hope you will see my point.

  218. Subcontinental

    There is a difference between accusing somebody of plagiarism and telling somebody, he is not original.

  219. Subcontinental

    Someday somebody would start accusing others of plagiarizing Prophet Mohammed.

  220. @no-communal
    @Subcontinental

    There was a blunt and unpleasant personal accusation made, with no justification or foundation, that my views on this subject were derived ‘almost verbatim’ from a printed newspaper article. The words used do not permit of any ambiguity. It is painful to see the efforts made to find extenuations, when not even a fraction of such efforts were made to address the slur in the first place.

    If it is your belief that the words used can be interpreted differently, or if it is your belief that the accusation was made, but should be ignored, if it is your opinion that the moderators, neither of them a discussant, are mistaken in their assessment, that puts a certain constraint on the situation. There are five separate posts from the two of you on the subject. They seem to justify the original insult. At this moment, they lie between us.

    Please make your positions clear, to enable me to decide my own next course of action.

  221. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    I am just pointing out that BM could have simply meant that your thinking on the topic was not original and that there was somebody else, who had made similar arguments, rather than accusing you of plagiarism.

    What he meant exactly, I don’t know!

  222. TNRDude

    Zizek Strikes Again
    The most despicable philosopher in the West finds a new reason to put down Gandhi.

    * Adam Kirsch
    * July 26, 2010 | 12:00 am

    Pity is not one of the qualities one associates with Slavoj Zizek, whose radicalism runs more towards fantasies of purgative violence. But in a recent interview with The Times of India, he indulged in at least a little pity for himself, complaining that “now they say I am the most dangerous philosopher in the West. But I don’t care.” He was referring, I presume, to an article I wrote in The New Republic in the fall of 2008—though, to be a stickler about it, the cover line for that article called him the most despicable philosopher in the West.

    Comparing what Zizek says in the interview with what he said last year, when he wrote in to TNR to complain about the review of his books Violence and In Defense of Lost Causes, may help the reader decide whether that adjective is justified. In his reply to TNR, Zizek argued that I had quoted his amazing judgment on Hitler—“the problem with Hitler was that he was not violent enough”—without understanding just what he meant by violence. Violence, Zizek said in his letter, was using force “to really change things,” and Hitler did not really change things (because, as the old Communist interpretation runs, fascism was really just capitalism unmasked). As an example of what he meant by true violence, Zizek rather surprisingly adduced Gandhi: “In this precise sense of violence, Gandhi was more violent than Hitler: Gandhi’s movement effectively endeavored to interrupt the basic functioning of the British colonial state.”

    At the time, I objected to Zizek’s using the great apostle of nonviolence as an exemplar of violence, suggesting that it was proof of a mind “fatally attracted to violence.” I also wondered why Zizek, in his letter, seemed to repudiate the praise of (traditional, non-Gandhian) violence which is so conspicuous in his books. Light may be shed on this question by his new interview with The Times of India, where the subject of Gandhi not unnaturally comes up:

    You have also been critical of Gandhi. You have called him violent. Why?

    It’s crucial to see violence which is done repeatedly to keep the things the way they are. In that sense, Gandhi was more violent than Hitler.

    A lot of people will find it ridiculous to even imagine that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler? Are you serious when you say that?

    Yes. Though Gandhi didn’t support killing, his actions helped the British imperialists to stay in India longer. This is something Hitler never wanted. Gandhi didn’t do anything to stop the way the British empire functioned here. For me, that is a problem.

    I guess you have no respect for Gandhi who is a tall figure in this country.

    I respect him. But I don’t respect him for his peaceful ways, vegetarianism, etc. I don’t care about that.

    To recap: Writing to TNR, Zizek suggested that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler because his peaceful protest movement “effectively endeavored to interrupt” British imperialism. Now, speaking in an Indian newspaper which most of his American readers will never see, Zizek says the precise opposite: Gandhi was more violent than Hitler because he failed to disrupt British imperialism, and so was objectively responsible for continuing the violence of the Raj. (If Gandhi had taken up arms, presumably, Zizek would consider him less violent, because anything that ended British rule would have been a net gain for peace.) He then adds a grace note—that Hitler was a better anti-imperialist than Gandhi, because he “never wanted” the British Empire to be preserved!

    In fact, this is historically incorrect: in the early stages of World War II, Hitler wanted to strike a deal with the British, which would preserve the Empire in exchange for German superiority on the Continent. But that is not the main point. What matters is that Zizek now explicitly denies what he tried to imply in TNR, that he has any kind of admiration for Gandhian nonviolence: “I don’t respect him for his peaceful ways.” I am not surprised by this; Zizek is, after all, the author of a book called Violence in which violence is quite openly defended. What does surprise me is the pure hypocrisy that his interview exposes, and the total absence of consistency in his thought and public speech. In the same interview, Zizek also complains that “In the last two years, the tone has changed” in the West regarding him and his work. Let’s hope so.

    Adam Kirsch is a senior editor of The New Republic.

  223. no-communal

    @Vajra

    I am trying to view this as dispassionately as possible. I request you to do the same, if at all possible.

    I completely agree with you that an accusation, which later turned out to be false, was made to you. However, despite the good efforts of the moderators, many accusations and personal innuendos fly across PTH every day. That is one reason none of us paid much attention. Moreover, I was busy crafting my own arguments, which was an overwhelming task in itself in the face of your forceful attack on Gandhi. To tell you the truth, I was expecting Hayyer to respond to Gorki and me on Gandhi. If you recall, you were, at the time, discussing the legalities of the British rule. Finally, whatever attention I gave to BM’s comment, I knew, like everybody else here, that Vajra of all people didn’t need anybody’s help to deflect a volley, however strong. I am sure some variations of these same reasons were operative for Subcontinental too.

    To deal with the issue, the moderators bring in a specific term. They are not saying, “do not make false personal accusations”, because despite their best efforts, such incidents (personal accusations) happen here. They are using a specific term “plagiarism”, to protect the sanctity and dignity of PTH on a different level. It is this specific term that I do not agree with. Although the dictionary definition of plagiarism includes use of another’s ideas as well, in academic circles other than literature (for instance when I am writing a research paper), it means identical copy of the same text, sentence by sentence. The reason for this departure is quite simple: It is because all of us have to use a similar set of ideas anyway to make our points, so there will be instances of plagiarism everyday, unless it is defined in a much stricter sense. I believe it is this context which is most pertinent here, so I objected to the use of the word plagiarism.

    In fact, judging by the verbal volleys you have been hurling at each other of late and your own off-the-cuff rebuttal — “My regrets for having deflated your apparent discovery” — and BM’s ready acquiescence — “In that case, you are in a august company. Congrats! Btw, could you clarify…” –, I think you didn’t pay much attention to BM’s remark yourself before the moderators intervened, which, perhaps, was prompted by your slightly prolonged absence. Many of us, BM included, were eagerly anticipating your response last night (US time). Now that you are back, I request let’s get back to what we do best, which is, in your own inimitable words, “passing time on a Sunday faffing around..”;-). Therefore,
    I sincerely urge you to forget the matter if possible.

  224. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    I was away and so didn’t have time to go over this storm-in-a-teacup episode. Thank you for your extremely cogent arguments on my behalf. I entirely agree with your assessment and request the still pouting parties to go over it.

    Subcontinental,
    Thank you to you too and to TNR for reproducing the article I was referring to.

    More later..

  225. @no-communal
    @subcontinental

    I have read both of your very reasoned posts. Carefully.

    My conclusion is very simple. Nothing that I said in the last two paragraphs of my post of 12:50 has been dealt with in a reasonable manner, either by the offending person or by you, his advocates. Instead, I have got a wealth of reasoning of a diversionary sort. Be aware that this is said in sorrow, not in anger. It is a sorry thing that you have done.

    A couple of things are not allowed, by convention, in these specialised conditions: deliberately misleading others on identity, and lifting others’ ideas and representing them. For your information, for the first, when I first used a different nickname from the one people are accustomed to see me using, I have in the past as a matter of protocol written and informed the moderators. They were amused and said they had no objections.

    You appear to have construed various things from non-verbal cues in the sequence of our communications. It may help your efforts at reconstructing events if I mention that I was shocked, utterly appalled at the wholly gratuitous insult, insulting at several levels. However, I confined myself merely to a restrained statement making my position clear. In response, I got nothing by way of a decent response, but a jibe instead.

    At that point, it was necessary to ask myself if setting out to clear things up and supporting conclusions I had come to from poring over the evidence literally for months and discussing half-formed conclusions in private circles was in any way sufficiently important tasks to expose myself to these betisses. The answer was that they were not.

    Please make no mistake about it. There is a sense of obligation that I have about these exchanges. It is not that there are not better, more congenial platforms than this. As this has been conducted, elsewhere, on another forum, a parallel discussion has gone on, and it has been at a truly enriching level. The same essential positions have been used; the exchanges are such that there I felt humble and in the position of a rank amateur watching his masters casually deal with what he had struggled to master.

    To repeat the point, this series of painstaking and laborious clarifications have been undertaken with a sense that genuine doubts, positions taken in error but not in wilful error, misunderstandings of authorities read and the like deserve a full and unstinting explication.

    If you, no-communal, feel, or if sub-continental feels that this is done in a spirit of one-upmanship or for a bravura display of talent, as some of your remarks quite inaccurately imply, disabuse yourselves of that notion. It happens that I have a particular writing style, a somewhat old-fashioned one. If this seems demonstrative to you, that is because mannerisms and expressions change over the generations. No doubt with some effort I could emulate a bland, matter-of-fact type of writing, but why, frankly, should I bother? Why should you bother so much about my style, and why should I bother so much about your responses to it? Nobody forces these discussions upon you; if you find them tedious, walk away. You will be doing me a favour and saving me the hard labour of ploughing much harvested ground once again. I would rather discuss this same matter with those who are my masters.

    It was for that reason that I hesitated for some hours. Your remarks have confirmed my doubts. You have both spent a lot of effort in defending the indefensible. An insult was intended and offered; it is there on record. For your information, I used the term plagiarism; short of using that precise word, every other insinuation had been made earlier. The implication was not of lifting words; it was of lifting ideas. Whatever spin is put on things now, this cannot be wished away.

    It was a charge that no forum like PTH can see levelled, without damage to its sanctity and dignity, to use the phrase you have used. I am also concerned, in my personal capacity, by the way.

    That charge was clearly mischievous; reference to the originals that you have cited show no signs at all of the process where by my arguments were built up and concluded, and then presented. Connections, leave alone direct use of words, phrases and constructions, are tenuous; if you notice, I had presented the sequence of logical construction in its entirety before you. For your information, that itself was a paraphrase from the parallel dialogue going on, then and now, elsewhere, and I am reproducing it elsewhere so that it can be read and compared to my submission to this forum.

    A charge of plagiarism was made, and it was made apparently with no conviction about its validity, merely to damage my reputation, humble as it is, and to cause offence.

    It has been defended again and again on the grounds that it was unintended, and in a less worthy manner, on the grounds that it was not an accusation of actually using the same words and phrases. I made my position clear in my post of 12:50; the responses I have received compel me to draw your attention, once again, by which I hope that my reaction is made clear to you, to the last two paragraphs of that post. I wish to say nothing further on this until, in my personal judgement, these issues have been cleared up. It does not matter, just to set the record straight, whether it is a satisfactory conclusion or an unsatisfactory conclusion.

    In all this, I believe that the moderators have reacted as any sensible person would have wished them to have reacted, and, on my part, I am more than satisfied at their conclusions and their response. Your sustained campaigns on that subject are a different sub-text.

  226. Bade Miya

    AZW,
    I apologize for my late reply. Let’s get to the main points. As ‘No communal’ explained quite well about the plagiarism business, I don’t think it’s necessary for me to repeat it. Only the most casual observer would conclude that I meant that V’s points were lifted word-by-word from that article. Nevertheless, as No communal said, there is a close parallel between the two ideas. I agree, however, that my use of “verbatim” was lazy. Vajra in his reply sarcastically asserted that his views were his own and I accepted it. I thought the matter was closed there and then. I am actually surprised that so much brouhaha is created on a seemingly trivial issue and not a word came out when this same gentleman went on his deeply offensive provincially motivated bigoted rant a few weeks ago. That, I find quite interesting.

    Here I have to say that I have no clue on what basis Mr. V enjoys his “formidable” reputation, because I have almost gone berserk pleading for references from him when he goes on one of his speculative jaunts. All I hear is some random mixture of contradictory theories that can only inhabit the realms of fantasy. Actually, I should take back my statement about close parallels between V and Zidek’s theories. That is a needless compliment.

    Your other accusation about me spreading lies about V is rather unfortunate. I hardly know enough about him to spread lies. All I know about him is that when he is not trolling wikipedia, he is(by his own admission) lying on his back staring at the ceiling and constructing fantastic theories.

    You can accuse me of imputing him with a wrong remark but the lie thing is a little too much. You can also accuse me of indulging in remarks of personal nature. Here too, Mr. V isn’t exactly a shrinking violet. He rushes in needlessly with ill conceived abuses and patent half-truths, and when the going gets tough, accuses others of ill manners, etc. If you jump in a gunfight at Ok Corral armed with a bluderbuss, who is to blame.

    “And since you have shown to go off wild tangents in discussions frequently,”

    That, I admit, is a fair point. That happens in two cases:
    (1) When I am trying to explain things with an analogy, which is quite rare.
    (2) And when this gentleman wades into a discussion with ill prepared theories and I feel duty bound to respond out of sheer surprise. I can give you examples but then you would accuse me of going off on a tangent.

    Well, enough of this. Thank you for this very entertaining exchange.

  227. Bade Miya

    Vajra,
    As No communal said, plagiarism has a different meaning when referred to in the academic circles versus its use in the common parlance. Of course, if you still want to carry on with your melodramatic and turgid prose, I wish you all the best.

  228. Bade Miya

    bciv,
    “you are a liar and you know it. Any one, including yourself, who has read the TOI interview you have kindly given the reference for can confirm that much about you.”

    I also wrote this, in case you missed it:

    “Please do a Google search on Adam Kirsch+Zizek to read this fantastic piece of fiction.”

    As they say, make haste slowly.

  229. Bade Miya

    “and it was made apparently with no conviction about its validity, merely to damage my reputation”

    God! Give me a break! Even my ex was less dramatic, even though she was a theater major.

  230. no-communal

    Those of us too concerned about British rule in India being unfairly criticized, should take a look at today’s Times of India, online edition: “Winston Churchill to Blame for Bengal Famine: Book”. Just google Winston Churchill, Madhushree, Times of India. I believe BM mentioned the same book earlier.

    It was already known that as many as 3 million people died of starvation in Bengal in 1942 because of a “man-made” famine. Primary reasons were effects of second world war, but more importantly, large-scale hoarding of food for the war. Previously unused papers have now apparently revealed that Churchill was directly responsible. Partly motivated by his racial hatred, he thwarted every effort for emergency relief from nearby huge stockpiles for war.

    The book has also been reviewed in other respected venues such as Independent in UK and Outlook in India.

    Talk about legitimacy of British rule in India!

  231. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    Thank you. When I had mentioned it, I was honored with the snide remark, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

    Actually, Outlook had a great review of that book.

  232. Bade Miya

    Oops sorry, I missed that you had mentioned Outlook.

  233. @no-communal

    This response is an attempt to set right, at the outset, before a set of self-referential propositions is built up, an idea which can cause mischief.

    It seems from your post that there is some confusion between what you have described as ‘concern about British rule in India being unfairly criticised’ and the ‘legitimacy of British rule in India’. Please look back at the discussion with a dispassionate eye. The two matters are not the same. If you go back and check, you will find that there has never been a suggestion that British rule was desirable compared to rule by the sovereign people of India. Rather, there has been an exclusive focus on the legitimacy of British rule. This is not the rhetorical use of the word legitimacy, which holds that a bad regime is an illegitimate regime. This is the literal use, that British rule was in fact the only legal, constitutional rule.

    My arguments are not in the least weakened by British racism, violence against the helpless and weak, brutality in daily life, ruthless and barbaric behaviour like that of Churchill in the examples and the misbehaviour of individuals and social sets alike.

    It is a distinction worth drawing between fascist, liberal and anarchist. Perhaps some attempts at putting down what these might mean would help us to focus.

    A fascist believes in the use of brute force and violence in government and administration of a nation, and the necessity for eliminating all political and social views contrary to the accepted truth governing the nation. The nation is above all. Sometimes, religion has been rejected in a fascist manifesto or a fascist state’s actual practices, contrary to its theory (Italy, Germany); sometimes it has been co-opted as an ally (Hungary, Austria). Religion’s demand that a supreme being be acknowledged other than the Supreme Leader is considered a source of tension between the fascist movement and religious belief. A supreme individual, a leader, is usually the embodiment of the aspirations of a nation, and his thoughts and ideals are imposed as the thoughts and ideals of the nation.

    A liberal believes in the use of legislation and constitutional instruments to define, govern and develop a state, and (I am adding this gloss for the sake of the present context only) accepts that a state may be constituted of many nations. A liberal is comfortable with the thought of many identities contained within a single state, and is confident that due process of law will harmonise and reconcile differences among these identities, or the question of the recognition of such identities.

    An anarchist believes that any attempt to create a state and a state apparatus is an infringement of individual liberty. A state is not necessary, and should not exist, and the anarchist would prefer that the benefits of a state apparatus should be substituted by suitable equivalents which do not require state sanctions.

    From this point of view, the entire question of British rule has been dealt with from a single point of view, which has not suggested that British rule was beneficial in any way.

  234. no-communal

    @Vajra

    Agreed.

    Could we please now go back to the many valid points made by Gorki and Subcontinental about your thesis? And in your ‘particular writing style’, if you will?;-)

    How you confront those questions, as well as defend your thesis, is something I have been itching to know from last night.

  235. @no-communal

    Please re-read my post of 7:53.

    It seems better that those points made by Gorki, Subcontinental and your own self are dealt with by others on this forum. My own responses will be posted elsewhere, and you and Subcontinental will be informed of the location; whether you read them thereafter or not thereafter is entirely up to you.

  236. bonobashi

    @no-communal
    @subcontinental

    Could you kindly remind me what is still due to be addressed?

  237. no-communal

    @bonobashi

    I believe those are,

    Gorki: Sep. 7, 8:52 pm and Sep. 7, 9:58 pm

    Subcontinental: Sep. 7, 11:59 am

  238. Subcontinental

    @bonobashi

    Subcontinental: Sep. 7, 11:59 am
    Subcontinental: Sep 8, 11:22 am

    Thanks

  239. I am still composing a reply to Gorki’s first statement. Perhaps it is better to commence after I have done so. Meanwhile, I am recording the four passages mentioned by you both as ‘Pages’, for ready reference.

  240. bciv

    @Bade/Chote Mian

    see my post of September 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm. i have read both the interview and the article and i am yet to see anything that would be capable of lending your claims any credibility whatsoever.

    so where is your evidence? where is this “verbatim, almost” article? where and why are you hiding it?

  241. @no-communal
    @subcontinental

    I am told that you should look for a group called ‘off-list’ in Google groups.

  242. Subcontinental

    @Vajra

    A little mix up here. I would be interested in your post on

    Subcontinental
    September 7, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Thanks

  243. @subcontinental

    I did not get that from your earlier message, but have rectified it now. I will come to the statement in question after responding to Gorki’s second statement. However, meanwhile, if either of you have any comments on the response to Gorki, why not deal with those?

  244. no-communal

    @Vajra

    Mr. Nag is a resident editor of TOI in Hyderabad. Hardly known for right-wing views, he has intimate knowledge of the Maoist movement in AP. Now, from the article below, does it look like the Govt. ever had a chance to address genuine concerns of the tribals before the Maoists took over? I am not talking about in the last 63 years, I am talking about the period starting from mid 90’s when economic upturn and demand for land started. The tribals where peaceful in the first 50 years after independence.

    This is what I meant earlier when I wrote the following lines about Bastar,
    “you are talking about a specific political party, loosely organized…” etc.

    How Maoism became a tribal movement in Chattisgarh

    Kingshuk Nag

    09 September 2010, 05:54 PM IST

    When Chandrababu Naidu deposed his father in law N T Rama Rao in a coup in 1995 and occupied his gaddi, the public labeled him traitor. To get back into favour with the public at large, Naidu decided to bring in a paradigm shift in government policies that would refurbish his image besides doing good for the people. Little did Naidu know that he was about to change the course of the Maoist movement in the country and the nurseries from where they recruited their men. At that time Andhra Pradesh was the only state that was plagued by the left ultras who had a free run in places not more than 50 miles away from the capital Hyderabad. Not surprising, considering that Andhra Pradesh was a highly feudal state with little land reforms..The red movement was a reaction to landlordism especially in the Telangana region. Naidu wanted to change all this by making the state leapfrog into the era of globalisation. The process of liberalisation initiated by the central government in 1991 that effectively decentralised decision making power to the states, came in handy.. The new age chief minister decided to showcase Hyderabad and attract investors to the city by offering land at throwaway prices. Investors looking for incentives to reduce their project costs fell for the bait making a beeline to Hyderabad in droves and singing peans for Naidu. But one problem remained: Hyderabad could never be sold as an international destination with rampaging left ultras so close to the city. Thus began a policy of strongly countering Maoists including using encounters as a weapon.. The process continued -after a gap – in the regime of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

    Maoists realised that they would have to set up an alternate command centre to insulate themselves from the heat of the Andhra police. It was at this time that thickly forested Bastar in then Madhya Pradesh was chosen as the alternative. “The tribal areas in the Dandakaranya area of Bastar that was geographically contiguous to Telangana offered an option. Here the Maoists could plan and plot without disturbance. The place was peaceful and the tribals in close proximity offered no resistance,” says a Maoist expert. On their part, the Maoists had little to do with the tribals except for offering them some expertise to improve their life. The area of operations for the Maoists would however remain to be the same: the plains of Andhra Pradesh.

    In the meanwhile liberalisation in the campuses of universities of India was changing the world view of students, Andhra Pradesh being no exception. Fired by left ideologies, the campuses had long been recruitment grounds for ultras. Most of those enlisted were highly educated motivated by the desire to change the world. “How to become a techie and migrate to the US became the governing principle of their life,” says V Venkataramana, dean school of management, University of Hyderabad. With more reservations for OBCs, students from socially advantaged groups were also beginning to see opportunities in the expanding economic system. This changed the nature of politics in universities. The net result was that quality recruits could no longer be tapped by the left ultras. School drop outs and those with lower intellectual capabilities became the mainstay of the Maoists, but their leaders all from the old school were highly educated.

    Competition when pursued to the extreme can lead to negative results and in the process of vying with each other for investments, states began to open up areas which were hitherto closed to the private sector. A new state like Chattisgarh or a perpetually backward state like Orissa was under great pressure to join the rat race and develop fast. A record number of MOUs were signed with companies waiting to tap the mineral wealth of the states whether be it iron ore, bauxite or anything else. Alarm bells started to ring in the Maoist circles: implementation of these MOUs would lead to cutting of forests and open up areas they had set up their command centres in the last few years. This would put them at risk. But opportunity came knocking for the ultras when they realised that more affected than their party were the tribals themselves. In the new scenario, they would lose their livelihood, land, jungles and lifestyle with nothing in return. So began an informal alliance between the Maoists and the tribals. The alliance was not easy because the two groups were not really familiar with each other. “It took the Reds to live for ten years in tribal lands to learn their languages like Kui and gain insight into their culture,” says a police officer familiar with the state of affairs. This alliance has now intensified and the two have become so intermingled that Maoism has effectively become a tribal movement. The tribals provide the fighting force and the Andhra Moaists, the leaders. How long this will continue remains to be seen.

  245. @no-communal

    Please re-read my posts of 7:53 and 11:24. Please do not address me here again and again until matters are sorted out, as I will not respond to any future posts, not even to make a clarification of this sort.

  246. no-communal

    Searching for “off-list” in Google groups is a blind alley. There is nothing there. But, please take your time.

  247. Subcontinental

    groups . google . com / group / off-list

  248. Vajra

    @Subcontinental

    Thanks.

    Do you at all want a response to your September 8 @ 11:22 mail?

  249. Bade Miyan

    bciv,
    “i have read both the interview and the article and i am yet to see anything that would be capable of lending your claims any credibility whatsoever.”

    In that case, we can agree to disagree. Some other people have seen parallel between the two ideas. I have already explained my use of verbatim/plagiarism/copying etc. The article I was referring to was by Adam Kirsch. I have heard this argument about the whole anarchist/liberal/fascist thing umpteen times. I am going to wait for the full thesis before I explain my objections.

    I read your post. There was nothing new and you repeated your assertion that I was liar, etc, which, in fact, surprises me. I can understand misinterpretation, but lying?

  250. bciv

    @Bade Mian

    “I can understand misinterpretation, but lying?”

    consider: I can understand lack of originality, but plagiarism?

    it’s all about being a bit more careful in future with what word you use when the misinterpretation can lead to a serious accusation, unless to make a serious accusation was your considered intention. you lead and i shall follow, humbly and happily.

  251. no-communal

    @Vajra

    When we are granting each its own identity in India, we will have to give it to the Khap Panchayats too. Or are they not eligible for their own amended marriage laws and right to honor killing because you do not like it?

  252. Chote Miyan

    bciv,
    I think I have granted a greater blame on myself by accepting that my post could be considered as misinterpretation and not just accusation about lack of originality from Vajra. I stayed away from using plagiarism for a reason, and when I used verbatim, I also added a qualifier “almost”. Nevertheless, I accept that my choice of word was careless, though, as I said before, I am rather amused that it has raised such a kerfuffle when more egregious comments are freely tolerated, even encouraged. Even the offended party didn’t notice the slight till you and AZW raised a stinker.
    As I said, I shall wait for a day or two for Vajra to explain his stance before laying out my objections. Rest assure, I won’t be shooting in the dark nor veering from the main points.
    Btw, it hasn’t escaped my notice of your admirable chivalry in coming to rescue of a harried friend. I admire such selfless acts.

  253. Chote Miyan

    No communal,
    Just to add a little bit of mustard to your post, I hope people do remember 1975, when another Gandhian, JP, used the same reviled Gandhian “populist” methods to break the back of IG’s threat to our democracy.

  254. bciv

    @no-communal

    1. “marriage laws and right to honor killing”

    what has that got to do with identity?

    2. “When we are granting each its own identity in India”

    is it the (perhaps) misused word granting that caused the confusion that is apparent in no.1 above?

    why not first decide how this identity could or may be recognised before going into specifics of laws and civil rights. answering the first question first might render the second question redundant and, therefore, remove the need to answer it.

  255. bciv

    @BM

    as far as the definition of plagiarism in the sense of law, copyright law – the relevant form of intellectual property – is concerned, verbatim, almost verbatim, substantially verbatim and even wholly paraphrased and substantially paraphrased without acknowledgement are all a breach of copyright law. plagiarism in the academic world has a purview further expanded, albeit slightly.

    if i came to “rescue” anyone or anything, it was not the wrongfully accused since a false accusation of this nature cannot stick for long, with or without help given to the one who made the accusation, intentionally or unintentionally. i think the rescuing of the truth, situation and whatever else is now done and i am happy to humbly follow your magnanimous lead.

  256. Chote Miyan

    bciv,
    “1. “marriage laws and right to honor killing”

    what has that got to do with identity?”

    The Jats and other groups in Haryana have linked those issues to their identity.

  257. bciv

    …so has no-communal. i cannot ask the jats and other groups right now, but i hope n-c will like to explain how.

  258. bciv

    …ie i presume he is not suggesting that india recognise the identity of male jats and others, but not females… ie some kind of a selective acknowledgement of identity. also, acknowledging any human as human comes before acknowledging any other identity. that is why, it would be better to discuss the forms, means and mechanism through which identities could see greater acknowledgement before jumping to secondary questions which otherwise can only seem absurd.

  259. bciv

    i don’t know if a definition of identity as a concept has been attempted in this discussion, at any point.

  260. LokSabha

    Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, introducing the draft Constitution, November 4, 1948 – extracts –

    I will now turn to what the critics have had to say about it.

    It is said that there is nothing new in the Draft Constitution, that about half of it has been copied from the Government of India Act of 1935 and that the rest of it has been borrowed from the Constitutions of other countries. Very little of it can claim originality.

    One likes to ask whether there can be anything new in a Constitution framed at this hour in the history of the world. More than hundred years have rolled over when the first written Constitution was drafted. It has been followed by many countries reducing their Constitutions to writing. What the scope of a Constitution should be has long been settled. Similarly what are the fundamentals of a Constitution are recognized all over the world. Given these facts, all Constitutions in their main provisions must look similar. The only new things, if there can be any, in a Constitution framed so late in the day are the variations made to remove the faults and to accommodate it to the needs of the country. The charge of producing a blind copy of the Constitutions of other countries is based, I am sure, on an inadequate study of the Constitution. I have shown what is new in the Draft Constitution and I am sure that those who have studied other Constitutions and who are prepared to consider the matter dispassionately will agree that the Drafting Committee in performing its duty has not been guilty of such blind and slavish imitation as it is represented to be.

    As to the accusation that the Draft Constitution has produced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution. What I am sorry about is that the provisions taken from the Government of India Act, 1935, relate mostly to the details of administration. I agree that administrative details should have no place in the Constitution. I wish very much that the Drafting Committee could see its way to avoid their inclusion in the Constitution. But this is to be said on the necessity which justifies their inclusion. Grote. the historian of Greece, has said that:

    “The diffusion of constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community but throughout the whole, is the indispensable condition of a government at once free and peaceable; since even any powerful and obstinate minority may render the working of a free institution impracticable, without being strong enough to conquer ascendency for themselves.”

    By constitutional morality Grote meant “a paramount reverence for the forms of the Constitution, enforcing obedience to authority acting under and within these forms yet combined with the habit of open speech, of action subject only to definite legal control, and unrestrained censure of those very authorities as to all their public acts combined too with a perfect confidence in the bosom of every citizen amidst the bitterness of party contest that the forms of the Constitution will not be less sacred in the eyes of his opponents than in his own.” (Hear, hear.)

    While everybody recognizes the necessity of the diffusion of Constitutional morality for the peaceful working of a democratic Constitution, there are two things interconnected with it which are not, unfortunately, generally recognized. One is that the form of administration has a close connection with the form of the Constitution. The form of the administration must be appropriate to and in the same sense as the form of the Constitution. The other is that it is perfectly possible to pervert the Constitution, without changing its form by merely changing the form of the administration and to make it inconsistent and opposed to the spirit of the Constitution. It follows that it is only where people are saturated with Constitutional morality such as the one described by Grote the historian that one can take the risk of omitting from the Constitution details of administration and leaving it for the Legislature to prescribe them. The question is, can we presume such a diffusion of Constitutional morality? Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.

    In these circumstances it is wiser not to trust the Legislature to prescribe forms of administration. This is the justification for incorporating them in the Constitution.

  261. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    Another criticism against the Draft Constitution is that no part of it represents the ancient polity of India. It is said that the new Constitution should have been drafted on the ancient Hindu model of a State and that instead of incorporating Western theories the new Constitution should have been raised and built upon village Panchayats and District Panchayats. There are others who have taken a more extreme view. They do not want any Central or Provincial Governments. They just want India to contain so many village Governments. The love of the intellectual Indians for the village community is of course infinite if not pathetic (laughter). It is largely due to the fulsome praise bestowed upon it by Metcalfe who described them as little republics having nearly everything that they want within themselves, and almost independent of any foreign relations. The existence of these village communities each one forming a separate little State in itself has according to Metcalfe contributed more than any other cause to the preservation of the people of India, through all the revolutions and changes which they have suffered, and is in a high degree conducive to their happiness and to the enjoyment of a great portion of the freedom and independence. No doubt the village communities have lasted where nothing else lasts. But those who take pride in the village communities do not care to consider what little part they have played in the affairs and the destiny of the country; and why? Their part in the destiny of the country has been well described by Metcalfe himself who says:

    “Dynasty after dynasty tumbles down. Revolution succeeds to revolution. Hindoo, Pathan, Mogul, Maratha, Sikh, English are all masters in turn but the village communities remain the same. In times of trouble they arm and fortify themselves. A hostile army passes through the country. The village communities collect their little cattle within their walls, and let the enemy pass unprovoked.”

    Such is the part the village communities have played in the history of their country. Knowing this, what pride can one feel in them? That they have survived through all vicissitudes may be a fact. But mere survival has no value. The question is on what plane they have survived. Surely on a low, on a selfish level. I hold that these village republics have been the ruination of India. I am therefore surprised that those who condemn Provincialism and communalism should come forward as champions of the village. What is the village but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness and communalism? I am glad that the Draft Constitution has discarded the village and adopted the individual as its unit.

  262. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    The Draft Constitution is also criticised because of the safeguards it provides for minorities. In this, the Drafting Committee has no responsibility. It follows the decisions of the Constituent Assembly. Speaking for myself, I have no doubt that the Constituent Assembly has done wisely in providing such safeguards for minorities as it has done. In this country both the minorities and the majorities have followed a wrong path. It is wrong for the majority to deny the existence of minorities. It is equally wrong for the minorities to perpetuate themselves. A solution must be found which will serve a double purpose. It must recognize the existence of the minorities to start with. It must also be such that it will enable majorities and minorities to merge someday into one. The solution proposed by the Constituent Assembly is to be welcomed because it is a solution which serves this twofold purpose. To diehards who have developed a kind of fanaticism against minority protection I would like to say two things. One is that minorities are an explosive force which, if it erupts, can blow up the whole fabric of the State. The history of Europe bears ample and appalling testimony to this fact. The other is that the minorities in India have agreed to place their existence in the hands of the majority. In the history of negotiations for preventing the partition of Ireland, Redmond said to Carson “ask for any safeguard you like for the Protestant minority but let us have a United Ireland. “Carson’s reply was “Damn your safeguards, we don’t want to be ruled by you.” No minority in India has taken this stand. They have loyally accepted the rule of the majority which is basically a communal majority and not a political majority. It is for the majority to realize its duty not to discriminate against minorities. Whether the minorities will continue or will vanish must depend upon this habit of the majority. The moment the majority loses the habit of discriminating against the minority, the minorities can have no ground to exist. They will vanish.

  263. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    The most criticized part of the Draft Constitution is that which relates to Fundamental Rights. It is said that Article 13 which defines fundamental rights is riddled with so many exceptions that the exceptions have eaten up the rights altogether. It is condemned as a kind of deception. In the opinion of the critics fundamental rights are not fundamental rights unless they are also absolute rights. The critics rely on the Constitution of the United States and to the Bill of Rights embodied in the first ten Amendments to that Constitution in support of their contention. It is said that the fundamental rights in the American Bill of Rights are real because they are not subjected to limitations or exceptions.

    I am sorry to say that the whole of the criticism about fundamental rights is based upon a misconception. In the first place, the criticism in so far as it seeks to distinguish fundamental rights from non-fundamental rights is not sound. It is incorrect to say that fundamental rights are absolute while non-fundamental rights are not absolute. The real distinction between the two is that non-fundamental rights are created by agreement between parties while fundamental rights are the gift of the law. Because fundamental rights are the gift of the State it does not follow that the State cannot qualify them.

    In the second place, it is wrong to say that fundamental rights in America are absolute. The difference between the position under the American Constitution and the Draft Constitution is one of form and not of substance. That the fundamental rights in America are not absolute rights is beyond dispute. In support of every exception to the fundamental rights set out in the Draft Constitution one can refer to at least one judgment of the United States Supreme Court. It would be sufficient to quote one such judgment of the Supreme Court in justification of the limitation on the right of free speech contained in Article 13 of the Draft Constitution. In Gitlow Vs. New York in which the issue was the constitutionality of a New York “criminal anarchy” law which purported to punish utterances calculated to bring about violent change, the Supreme Court said:

    “It is a fundamental principle, long established, that the freedom of speech and of the press, which is secured by the Constitution, does not confer an absolute right to speak or publish, without responsibility, whatever one may choose, or an unrestricted and unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom.”

    It is therefore wrong to say that the fundamental rights in America are absolute, while those in the Draft Constitution are not.

    It is argued that if any fundamental rights require qualification, it is for the Constitution itself to qualify them as is done in the Constitution of the United States and where it does not do so it should be left to be determined by the Judiciary upon a consideration of all the relevant considerations. All this, I am sorry to say, is a complete misrepresentation if not a misunderstanding of the American Constitution. The American Constitution does nothing of the kind. Except in one matter, namely, the right of assembly, the American Constitution does not itself impose any limitations upon the fundamental rights guaranteed to the American citizens. Nor is it correct to say that the American Constitution leaves it to the judiciary to impose limitations on fundamental rights. The right to impose limitations belongs to the Congress. The real position is different from what is assumed by the critics. In America, the fundamental rights as enacted by the Constitution were no doubt absolute. Congress, however, soon found that it was absolutely essential to qualify these fundamental rights by limitations. When the question arose as to the constitutionality of these limitations before the Supreme Court, it was contended that the Constitution gave no power to the United States Congress to impose such limitation, the Supreme Court invented the doctrine of police power and refuted the advocates of absolute fundamental rights by the argument that every state has inherent in it police power which is not required to be conferred on it expressly by the Constitution. To use the language of the Supreme Court in the case I have already referred to, it said:

    “That a State in exercise of its police power may punish those who abuse this freedom by utterances inimical to the public welfare, tending to corrupt public morals, incite to crime or disturb the public peace, is not open to question. . . . . ”

    What the Draft Constitution has done is that instead of formulating fundamental rights in absolute terms and depending upon our Supreme Court to come to the rescue of Parliament by inventing the doctrine of police power, it permits the State directly to impose limitations upon the fundamental rights. There is really no difference in the result. What one does directly the other does indirectly. In both cases, the fundamental rights are not absolute.

  264. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    In the Draft Constitution the Fundamental Rights are followed by what are called “Directive Principles”. It is a novel feature in a Constitution framed for Parliamentary Democracy. The only other constitution framed for Parliamentary Democracy which embodies such principles is that of the Irish Free State. These Directive Principles have also come up for criticism. It is said that they are only pious declarations. They have no binding force. This criticism is of course superfluous. The Constitution itself says so in so many words.

    If it is said that the Directive Principle have no legal force behind them, I am prepared to admit it. But I am not prepared to admit that they have no sort of binding force at all. Nor am I prepared to concede that they are useless because they have no binding force in law.

    The Directive Principles are like the Instrument of Instructions which were issued to the Governor-General and to the Governors of the Colonies and to those of India by the British Government under the 1935 Act. Under the Draft Constitution it is proposed to issue such instruments to the President and to the Governors. The texts of these Instruments of Instructions will be found in Schedule IV of the Constitution. What are called Directive Principles is merely another name for Instrument of Instructions. The only difference is that they are instructions to the Legislature and the Executive. Such a thing is to my mind to be welcomed. Wherever there is a grant of power in general terms for peace, order and good government, it is necessary that it should be accompanied by instructions regulating its exercise.

    The inclusion of such instructions in a Constitution such as is proposed in the Draft becomes justifiable for another reason. The Draft Constitution as framed only provides a machinery for the government of the country. It is not a contrivance to install any particular party in power as has been done in some countries. Who should be in power is left to be determined by the people, as it must be, if the system is to satisfy the tests of democracy. But whoever captures power will not be free to do what he likes with it. In the exercise of it, he will have to respect these instruments of instructions which are called Directive Principles. He cannot ignore them. He may not have to answer for their breach in a Court of Law. But he will certainly have to answer for them before the electorate at election time. What great value these directive principles possess will be realized better when the forces of right contrive to capture power.

    That it has no binding force is no argument against their inclusion in the Constitution. There may be a difference of opinion as to the exact place they should be given in the Constitution. I agree that it is somewhat odd that provisions which do not carry positive obligations should be placed in the midst of provisions which do carry positive obligations. In my judgment their proper place is in Schedules III A & IV which contain Instrument of Instructions to the President and the Governors. For, as I have said, they are really Instruments of Instructions to the Executive and the Legislatures as to how they should exercise their powers. But that is only a matter of arrangement.

  265. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    Some critics have taken objection to the description of India in Article 1 of the Draft Constitution as a Union of States. It is said that the correct phraseology should be a Federation of States. It is true that South Africa which is a unitary State is described as a Union. But Canada which is a Federation is also called a Union. Thus the description of India as a Union, though its constitution is Federal, does no violence to usage. But what is important is that the use of the word Union is deliberate. I do not know why the word ‘Union’ was used in the Canadian Constitution. But I can tell you why the Drafting Committee has used it. The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, the Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join in a Federation and that the Federation not being the result of an agreement no State has the right to secede from it. The Federation is a Union because it is indestructible. Though the country and the people may be divided into different States for convenience of administration the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source. The Americans had to wage a civil war to establish that the States have no right of secession and that their Federation was indestructible. The Drafting Committee thought that it was better to make it clear at the outset rather than to leave it to speculation or to dispute.

  266. LokSabha

    Ambedkar:

    The provisions relating to amendment of the Constitution have come in for a virulent attack at the hands of the critics of the Draft Constitution. It is said that the provisions contained in the Draft make amendment difficult. It is proposed that the Constitution should be amendable by a simple majority at least for some years. The argument is subtle and ingenious. It is said that this Constituent Assembly is not elected on adult suffrage while the future Parliament will be elected on adult suffrage and yet the former has been given the right to pass the Constitution by a simple majority while the latter has been denied the same right. It is paraded as one of the absurdities of the Draft Constitution. I must repudiate the charge because it is without foundation. (To know how simple are the provisions of the Draft Constitution in respect of amending the Constitution one has only to study the provisions for amendment contained in the American and Australian Constitutions. Compared to them those contained in the Draft Constitution will be found to be the simplest. The Draft Constitution has eliminated the elaborate and difficult procedures such as a decision by a convention or a referendum. The Powers of amendment are left with the Legislature Central and Provincial. It is only for amendments of specific matters – and they are only few – that the ratification of the State legislatures is required. All other Articles of the Constitution are left to be amended by Parliament. The only limitation is that it shall be done by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting and a majority of the total membership of each House. It is difficult to conceive a simpler method of amending the Constitution.

  267. LokSabha

    Ambedkar (not all his points have been presented here)

    What is said to be the absurdity of the amending provisions is founded upon a misconception of the position of the Constituent Assembly and of the future Parliament elected under the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly in making a Constitution has no partisan motive. Beyond securing a good and workable constitution it has no axe to grind. In considering the Articles of the Constitution it has no eye on getting through a particular measure. The future Parliament if it met as a Constituent Assembly, its members will be acting as partisans seeking to carry amendments to the Constitution to facilitate the passing of party measures which they have failed to get through Parliament by reason of some Article of the Constitution which has acted as an obstacle in their way Parliament will have an axe to grind while the Constituent Assembly has none. That is the difference between the Constituent Assembly and the future Parliament. That explains why the Constituent Assembly though elected on limited franchise can be trusted to pass the Constitution by simple majority and why the Parliament though elected on adult suffrage cannot be trusted with the same power to amend it.

    I believe I have dealt with all the adverse criticisms that have been levelled against the Draft Constitution as settled by the Drafting Committee. I don’t think that I have left out any important comment or criticism that has been made during the last eight months during which the Constitution has been before the public. It is for the Constituent Assembly to decide whether they will accept the constitution as settled by the Drafting Committee or whether they shall alter it before passing it.

  268. LokSabha

    No Gandhi in any of this.

  269. LokSabha

    Repeat 100 times : ” Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.

    In these circumstances it is wiser not to trust the Legislature to prescribe forms of administration. This is the justification for incorporating them in the Constitution.” (Ambedkar, Nov 4, 1948)

  270. no-communal

    bciv

    “plagiarism in the academic world has a purview further expanded, albeit slightly.”

    I thought we had already gone through this. bciv, the simple difference is, to be very specific, if I used someone’s idea in my paper without citing him/her, he/she would first send me an email. If I still did’nt care to cite him/her, he/she would go public, telling others I was using his/her idea, would go to conferences and publicize it. He/she would do everything possible to take the credit away from me. This is accusation that I was not giving the proper credit to where it belonged.

    If I copied his/her text line by line in my paper (plagiarism), he/she wouldn’t have to do anything at all. Because I would be fired.

  271. Bade Miya

    Loksabha,
    Many thanks for your very welcome addition to this post. Amberdkar’s comments, apart from the sheer fluidity of its prose, shows the inner workings of a remarkable human being. I would, however, like to tender my objection to the following lines:

    “We must realize that our people have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.”

    That, unfortunately, smacks of autocratic tendencies, iron despotism, etc.

  272. Bade Miya

    bciv,
    I think No communal has explained things thoroughly, much better than I possibly could. I find it slightly irritating that I should be defending usage of a word(plagiarism) which I never wrote in the first place! If you, however, want to indulge in further hair splitting, I cannot restrain you. As always, you will have my sympathetic attention.

  273. Bade Miya

    Kindly sample a morsel:

    “The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, the Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join in a Federation and that the Federation not being the result of an agreement no State has the right to secede from it. The Federation is a Union because it is indestructible. Though the country and the people may be divided into different States for convenience of administration the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source. The Americans had to wage a civil war to establish that the States have no right of secession and that their Federation was indestructible. The Drafting Committee thought that it was better to make it clear at the outset rather than to leave it to speculation or to dispute.”

    Influence of Gandhi, I presume.

  274. LokSabha

    Bade Miya:

    62 years ago Ambedkar’s statement had more force than today and don’t lose the specific context in which he said it.

    The Constituent Assembly proceedings used to be online at the Indian Parliament website. They help illuminate the reasoning behind certain features of the Indian Constitution. The debates behind the rejected amendments are often worth reading.

    Notice how Ambedkar elides over Gandhi’s village-centric ideas, attributes Indian interest in villages to Metcalfe, not to Gandhi, and then demolishes the idea. In the debates, some object, invoking Gandhi, but Ambedkar carries the day.

  275. Bade Miya

    Loksabha,
    I agree with you. In fact, I read a long time ago that a part of the reason why he was so vehemently opposed against village “governments” was his own experience growing up in a village as a member of Mahar(?) caste. Sadly, he has also been appropriated as a fuel for identity politics. His statues are more common than his writings.

  276. AZW

    Bade/Chote Miyan:

    This is what you said:

    Sure enough, the source of this “knowledge” turned out to be another self-styled “contrarian” philosopher from west, Slavoj Zizek, whose interview in the Times of India turned out to be the source from where the above reason is extracted verbatim, almost.

    An almost verbatim copy from another source is still called plagiarism.

    I do not claim to know what you mean, other than from what you write. If one accuses someone of quoting “verbatim” from a published article somewhere else, one better back his claim up when he is called out. Simply saying that verbatim was an unfortunate choice of word is not enough.

    Of course I have interacted on this forum with Vajra for two years. And for two years, this gentleman has done nothing but enriched this forum with his thoughtful comments. He is an integral part of this forum for so long and has provided his honest and at times truthfully scathing analysis on our nation’s state of affairs. Therefore when this unfortunate-choice-of-words accusation was made against him, we all took notice. However, to malign someone even with an unintentional accusation tells a lot about the accuser than the wrongly accused.

    I enjoy reading all of you here at PTH. You all are as much part of this forum as any one of us are. But please no below the belt attacks from now on.

    On that note, a happy Eid to all of you every where across this globe.

  277. no-communal

    bciv

    “ie i presume he is not suggesting that india recognise the identity of male jats and others, but not females… ie some kind of a selective acknowledgement of identity. also, acknowledging any human as human comes before acknowledging any other identity. that is why, it would be better to discuss the forms, means and mechanism through which identities could see greater acknowledgement before jumping to secondary questions which otherwise can only seem absurd.”

    bciv, it seems absurd to you because of your so-called modern education, humanistic values, misguided perception that males and females are equal, and absolute lack of belief in caste, clan, gotra and assorted forms of social structure which have existed in this ancient land since time immemorial. The Sarv Khap, which is a complex form of social administration in rural swaths of Haryana, Rajasthan, and UP, was even mentioned in the Rig Veda. According to these ancient traditions, which have been serving people well for thousands of years, marriage in the same village (clan), within same gotra, and between two castes (I said it’s complex) is punishable, sometimes by death. Now, don’t tell me you know better than us. Our values are ours, and we have broad support in our areas.

    The document people call constitution, what is it after all? Shouldn’t it be just a reflection of the values of the people? In that case, how can some so-called mass leaders and politicians sitting in Delhi impose their values on us? Why should we be bound by the constitution that THEY wrote for us all in their so-called one-nation theory? Why should we not punish and sometimes by death young couples from the same gotra who are in love? Why should we care about love, I can’t understand for the life of me, more than our age-old belief that people from the same gotra are like brothers and sisters, and marriage between brothers and sisters is incest. Why is love more important than incest?

    So, please, no top down despotic imposition of that scrap of paper some call constitution. People who wrote that document and us in Khaps are not in one nation, period.

  278. no-communal

    And while we are at it, a tribal girl from Birbhum district in West Bengal was paraded naked as punishment for an undesirable affair. Now don’t be shocked. “Paraded naked” may come as a shock to your urban, crooked, so-called sophisticated mind, but to us, rustic tribals, “undesirable affair” is much much more shocking! This is our age-old law, parading naked for undesirable affair. Shock to you, big deal! Please don’t be bothered about bringing us into what you call your way of life, which we know is nothing but a sinister ploy called “Sanskritisation”. We won’t tolerate it any more. The local police arrested two of us for this minor incident (there was a crowd watching and jeering). In protest, we have threatened agitation.

    It’s beyond us how some of you romanticize about our rustic village tribal life in our natural habitat, and then some others arrest us for something as basic as maintaining law and order. We’ve had enough of this. We will revolt against Sanscritisation, whatever that means, and this sinister-sounding “one-nation theory”. Which, our non-tribal Maoist leaders have told us, is nothing but a ploy for perpetuating despotic Hindu fascist rule.

  279. Bade Miya

    no communal,
    Thanks. I know what you mean and I am glad to hear more voices from the heartland.

    AZW,
    I shall address your post later. Eid Mubarak to you too!

  280. due

    Why do important poeple die too early?
    Are the gods mad or jealous?

  281. bciv

    @Bade Mian

    just because you and your loose mouth started it does not mean that any of it is about you. so any attention at all from you, sympathetic or not, would be quite redundant to my interest and purpose which is no more than to unambiguously expose an untruth.

    however, you can continue to try and seek attention by pretending any of this was about you. others might even grant you what you seek. speaking for myself, i have nothing to say to you.

  282. bciv

    @no-communal

    with due respect, i find much of your argument to make no sense at all.

    my argument, if i had to make one, would be about not ignoring identity – whatever it happens to be at a given point in history, for whatever reasons – altogether or running roughshod over it. it would be better to negotiate it. negotiation is not about one side capitulating to the other. just because someone says a morality is part of their identity does not mean that i must jettison my own morality as part of recognising their identity. that would make no sense. especially, when i know, from first principles, that values and identity are two very distinct things. i share my parents’ or even my siblings’ identity, but not necessarily any of their values.

    but yet again, you first discuss and decide how identity would be negotiated as far as the structure of the state and form of democracy is concerned. then we can move to the next stage, instead of you insisting on putting the cart before the horse.

  283. hayyer

    Nocommunal:
    I regret not replying to you. After being off net I am dumped with a mother board defect on my laptop. This note is on borrowed time. But I expect to be back as much as I can borrow time on this computer.

  284. no-communal

    bciv

    In India, your identity is guaranteed by the govt.. I, for example, don’t have to learn the national language in school (and, sure enough, I don’t know it). My basic education, if I so chose, can be entirely in my mother tongue, Bengali. Yes, the same is not possible in some tribal languages, but that’s a statement about the language, not the govt. policies. Already Santali is an official language despite obvious operational difficulties (e.g., lack of scientific and economic terminology), alongside English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri etc., meaning the respective state govts. recognise them. Even the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology tests can now be taken in as many as 14 languages. The tribals and scheduled castes from each state have a number of seats reserved for them in the parliament. So there is an effective mechanism for expressing identity discontent. In fact, the Khap panchayats demanded their ridiculous amendment proposals for marriage laws through their elected representatives, who actually support them. The tribals and scheduled castes get affirmative treatement in all educational institutes (including IIT’s), and all govt. jobs. Now there are talks to extend these benefits to even the private sector and to lower caste (converted) Christians and Muslims, even though there is no caste in these religions. There are established village councils and village governments throughout the country. This is despite a lot of resouces wasted in local level inefficiency and corruption. I am not aware of any other country in the world which has bent over backwards so much to recognize diversity and identity. In fact this has created a form of identity-driven politics which is actually turning out to be harmful for the overall development of the country. Still, it’s a continuous process, some smaller identity groups want their own states (Telengana, Gorkhaland), and their elected representatives demand it in the parliament. It’s the respective states with which they are currently attached that have a problem with these demands, NOT the central govt. In time, everybody knows, there will be negotiated settlements even for these.

    Vajra is probably the only one around who thinks otherwise. BTW, he is not the only liberal-minded Indian here in PTH; have you seen anybody else even faintly supporting him on this issue? Criticizing Gandhi itself is a different question. That is a favorite pastime in India. Hayyer, for example, would probably criticize Gandhi on the basis of his departure from the so-called constitutional method. But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.

    The recent problems with Maoists are not very unlike what you have with the Taliban. Only, ours is left wing extremism and much less serious. Extreme left-inspired Maoist movement started among educated Bengalis in the 60’s (no identity inspiration here). Due to large scale land reform in the subsequent decades, and thus lack of supply of poor cadres, it died a gradual death in Bengal. It, however, lived as an undercurrent among some fringe educated sections in Andhra Pradesh, a state with less successful land reform. The long term goal of these educated left-wing Maoist philosophers is to replace the democratic central govt. with the dictatorship of the proletariat. A section of the Tribals in some of the poorer states are just a pawn in this deluded dream. The fact is, with rapid economic progress starting in the early 90’s in the rest of the country, some economically backward states focused on their abundant natural resources for ecomomic upliftment. Maoists, who by now was almost an extinct species, found a gold mine in the short term discontent accumulating among the tribals affected by these natural resource development projects. In the beginning, the local state govts. (NOT the central govt.) were lazy and callous, as always, to respond to the tribal discontent. However, it’s not a problem now and a negotiated settlement about land use between the tribals and the govts. is achievable, were it not for the Maoists’ vicious hold on the tribals, resulting in many incidents of unspeakable terrorism in the near past. Sure, the state and central government’s efficiency can be questioned, but despotic imposition of Gandhian principles from a faraway center? That’s plain ludicrous!

  285. hayyer

    Gorki, and no-communal:

    I have just managed to actually read, rather than skim through your pieces of the sixth of September. Water under the bridge no doubt and no longer such a hot item, but, and maybe I am dense, but I don’t see your point. Those quotes from Jinnah and on Ceylonese progress do not refute what I said.
    Dr. Sahib assumes rather than proves that Indian secularism is a product of Gandhian praxis. As for the experience of other countries, didn’t they become free without Gandhi?
    As for the mid colonial economic discourse; well, it was framed by RC Dutt in a western framework of discussion using western statistical tools. It was early evidence of the Macaulay effect. We keep reading about the two largest economies of the 16th and 17th centuries, China and India. Again an entirely western mythology, considering that India did not exist, but much beloved of neo nationalists of the Times of India school of journalism, and of course of the India Shining school of the BJP.

    Which reminds me that Dr. Gorki’s comment below is an anachronism.

    “India did not exist in a vacuum.” 5/9 at 1:41 pm.
    India did not exist at all.

    Also from no-communal as below;

    “The British rule was illegitimate because it looked behaved and ruled like one.”

    So were the Mughals when they first arrived here, and the Afghans and the Huns, Kushans, Sakas, Greeks and Aryans. The British did last long enough to spread their seed and become indigenous. The Anglo Indians were the precursor of what was in store for legitimization. Anglo Indian patois is what most Indians with a missionary school education have. Chi Chi is common to India Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    Gorki
    ” Gandhi was active only between 1918 (Champaran onwards) and his role was effectively over before even before 1948 but let us still call it 1948. So he had a grand total of 30 years to mess up a civilization that spans five millennia and notice that he has been dead for 63 years now.”

    I only accused him of messing up the freedom movement.

    “Now Hayyer Sahib,
    1. Out of all these nations states of the World, (that makes up more than a quarter of the globe), I want you to point out to us which one of the countries you admire for a more enlightened leadership than us and which one of these would you have us grow into today and why?
    2. Also on a micro-level, since no other South Asian country besides ours carried on with the charade of Gandhianism in its post independence (or had a Gandhian like JP or Bhave etc.) which country do you think has solved the age old problems of caste, class, religion etc. or has a better form of local government etc. ?
    Both of these are serious questions in an attempt to re evaluate ourselves.”

    You have me foxed there. I don’t see how your examples answer my charge. Even if you are assuming views that I have not expressed your examples still beg the question entirely. I asked earlier and I ask again. Why do you ascribe to Gandhi these post independence virtues of India? And, why do you think our comparative superiority is an outcome of the Gandhian way?

    My borrowed time is up and I shall resume tomorrow on reading the rest of the posts; if there is any interest left by then, that is in flogging this dead horse.

  286. hayyer

    no-communal:
    While signing off I read your piece. More when I have time but you ought to know that Bengali is a national language. It is an official language too, of West Bengal. Hindi is the official language of the Union Government and is one of a number of national languages.
    As for Gandhi, my objections to him are many, quite often coincidental with one Vajra.

  287. no-communal

    Hayyer Sb,

    “it was framed by RC Dutt in a western framework of discussion using western statistical tools. It was early evidence of the Macaulay effect. We keep reading about the two largest economies of the 16th and 17th centuries, China and India. Again an entirely western mythology, considering that India did not exist”

    You are using symantics. When I say India had an established economic system during the Mughal era, you and I both know what that means. And you say “there was no India”.

    “The British did last long enough to spread their seed and become indigenous. The Anglo Indians were the precursor of what was in store for legitimization. Anglo Indian patois is what most Indians with a missionary school education have. Chi Chi is common to India Pakistan and Bangladesh.”

    Now I am completely flummoxed. The British became indigenous? By spawning a tiny almost non-existent Anglo Indian community in a land of 300 million? And the evidence is “Indians with a missionary school education”, which is probably less than 1-2% in a country of more than a billion (more including Pakistan and Bangladesh).

    “So were the Mughals when they first arrived here, and the Afghans and the Huns, Kushans, Sakas, Greeks and Aryans. ”

    You need to read the latter posts. In 1942, not near when the British arrived, 3 million Bengalis died for war time hoarding of food. I would call that govt. legitimate which would save its own people before thinking about emergencies of soldiers. It now appears Churchill repeatedly thwarted emergency food shipment despite desperate pleas from the provinicial government.

    “Bengali is a national language. It is an official language too, of West Bengal.”

    Number of official languages is 18. Individual states are free to decide on their official languages for education and administration. Hindi and English are the primary official languages of the country. Again, we are discussing symantics.

    “As for Gandhi, my objections to him are many, quite often coincidental with one Vajra”

    Hayyer on Sep. 10, 2010, 11:09 PM (preceding post):

    I only accused him of messing up the freedom movement.

    By the way, do read the other posts, the one on Sep. 10, 2010, 8:49 PM, for secularism.

  288. Vajra

    @no-communal

    In India, your identity is guaranteed by the govt..

    How can the government, in administrative or executive terms, possibly guarantee, for instance, the identity of Telengana or of the Darjeeling Gorkha, examples that you have quoted, with no idea that the demands will crop up? Or anticipate that the legislature concerned, whether state or central, will take some future action of a type yet unknown?

    I, for example, don’t have to learn the national language in school (and, sure enough, I don’t know it).

    There is no such thing as the national language.

    As far back as 1962, due to the demands of a minority movement that, according to members of that ethnicity writing in these columns in opposition to my statements, did not exist, it was made clear by the central government that the following would remain the policy of the government, and nothing more:

    Hindi in Devanagari script is the official language of the Union. The form of numerals to be used for official purposes of the Union is the international form of Indian numerals {Article 343 (1) of the Constitution}.In addition to Hindi language English language may also be used for official purposes. (Section 3 of the Official Languages Act)

    Business in Parliament may be transacted in English or in Hindi. However, the Hon’ble Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha may permit any Member to address the House in his / her mother tongue under special circumstances (Article 120 of the Constitution).

    The purposes for which Hindi alone is to be used, the purposes for which both Hindi and English are to be used and the purposes for which English language is to be used, have been specified in the Official Languages Act, 1963, the Official Language Rules, 1976 and the directions issued under them from time to time by the Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs.

    My basic education, if I so chose, can be entirely in my mother tongue, Bengali. Yes, the same is not possible in some tribal languages, but that’s a statement about the language, not the govt. policies. Already Santali is an official language despite obvious operational difficulties (e.g., lack of scientific and economic terminology), alongside English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri etc., meaning the respective state govts. recognise them. Even the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology tests can now be taken in as many as 14 languages.

    The point being made all along is that language is one of the identifiers, not that it is the only identifier. And recognition of the language does not necessarily amount to satisfaction of the minority grievances of the linguistic group who have had their language ‘recognised’. Very often, it is the tip of the iceberg, and a huge amount of additional work is thereafter needed.

    The tribals and scheduled castes from each state have a number of seats reserved for them in the parliament. So there is an effective mechanism for expressing identity discontent.

    Was it successful in redressing the wrongs of either the tribals or the scheduled castes? The answer lies in one part in the issues around the tribal areas of central India, and perhaps a more detailed reply to the article by Kingshuk Nag, accurate in its way, but quoted out of context and in inapt manner, will throw greater light on those issues.

    As the Muslims found to their cost after the Morley-Minto reforms as far back as 1909, obtaining a number of seats in the legislature does not amount to addressing the needs of a minority. If it had been as facile a solution as that, then neither the Two Nation Theory, incomplete as it was, nor the subsequent, even more extreme demand for partition would have been necessary.

    In fact, the Khap panchayats demanded their ridiculous amendment proposals for marriage laws through their elected representatives, who actually support them.

    Not at all. These ridiculous amendments arose first internally through the panchayats and maha panchayats, which have no recognition whatsoever other than as social mechanisms, and the homogeneity of the social groups in question caused the elected representatives in those areas to fall in line and retrospectively support the demands made.

    Isn’t it clear yet after all these examples that setting aside a few seats in the legislature does not amount to acknowledgement of or dealing with minority aspirations? Isn’t that what the entire question of failure to cope with these aspirations is all about?

    The tribals and scheduled castes get affirmative treatement in all educational institutes (including IIT’s), and all govt. jobs. Now there are talks to extend these benefits to even the private sector and to lower caste (converted) Christians and Muslims, even though there is no caste in these religions. There are established village councils and village governments throughout the country. This is despite a lot of resouces wasted in local level inefficiency and corruption.

    What a wonderful example of confusion between identity aspirations and initial attempts at local self-government! Therefore, if there is a panchayat or a district committee, and it happens that my minority gets representation on that, that minority’s neglect measured across various parameters is met? Those local self-government bodies are not able to address shortfalls in basic infrastructure, in health-care, in education, in communications; where and when are they expected to address others, like livelihood, like a fair share of jobs, like ownership of local natural resources, like freedom from imposition of totally destructive ‘development’ projects like a massive dam dislocating hundreds, if not thousands of families, or a power station around which for hundreds of kilometres there is no rural power, because the local self-government groups have absolutely no say in the matter?

    I am not aware of any other country in the world which has bent over backwards so much to recognize diversity and identity.

    Unfortunately, life is unfair. It is output that matters, not input.

    In fact this has created a form of identity-driven politics which is actually turning out to be harmful for the overall development of the country.

    I should have imagined that the situation is mirthfully the reverse.

    I should have imagined that the thrust of my statements, that in India, after independence, we have achieved some bumbling, late, reactive accommodation with minorities after all, and can thank our stars for having been better at coping with this than others have, would have registered somewhere. Apparently not.

    Again, to reiterate those arguments that should have been clear by now, on the one hand, there is no mechanism that we have for recognising a minority aspiration and dealing with it early enough to stem bloodshed or cut short the kind of crippling paralysis due to civil disobedience that is triggered due to inaction, or insufficiently alert and advanced action; on the other hand, we have the entire apparatus of action against the state that is our Gandhian legacy.

    Still, it’s a continuous process, some smaller identity groups want their own states (Telengana, Gorkhaland), and their elected representatives demand it in the parliament.
    Well, of course it is a continuous process. What else have I been arguing? That these could not have been recognised in 47?

    It’s the respective states with which they are currently attached that have a problem with these demands, NOT the central govt.

    True; very true. So how does that help the situation, to state the obvious? The problem is to resolve demands, not all demands, but those that are legitimate, and congruent with the constitution as it is. Even amendments to the constitution are possible, in case of dire necessity or in order to keep up with developments that could not have been foreseen earlier.

    The point is elsewhere. The respective states are very often the sources of these problems, and not the solutions. These are quasi-sovereign bodies set up entirely by the centre; the centre can, if required, configure the states in completely different ways, theoretically, the states obviously cannot make of themselves, other than in their individual cases, anything other than has been decided for them. Two states cannot, for instance, get together and decide that tracts of territory should be exchanged among themselves; this has to be legislated centrally, in terms of the constitution.

    This is a complex subject and not one that can be broken out in the limited space available. Simply put, a linguistic state tends to behave like a linguistic state; it does not have either the inspiration or the initiative or the vision to do otherwise. Examples: Maharashtra vs. Karnataka (Belgaum), Karnataka vs. Kerala (Kasargod). I could name cases right around the country, including ones in the north brought to my notice by far more informed friends. These states also do not have what is required to divide themselves even using their scheduled powers to satisfy, for instance, a portion of the Telengana demand, which would allow a partial meeting of the Telengana minority aspiration.

    In time, everybody knows, there will be negotiated settlements even for these.

    Of course.

    The whole point is that these will happen not due to pro-active action by the state, by which I mean the state of India, but because a state of affairs will be reached which is total deadlock, where something has to be done.

    Vajra is probably the only one around who thinks otherwise.

    Not at all.

    My point, in summary, since after all these exchanges, you still appear not to have understood it, is that
    1. The Two Nation Theory was a partial articulation of what needed to be said, and it has harmed both successor nations;
    2. It has harmed Pakistan by not allowing other aspirations, even broad and deep aspirations like linguistic and ethnic aspirations, to be addressed, due to the undue and protracted misuse of the original identifier;
    3. It is not enough, however, even to acknowledge language and ethnicity, because in the case of India, that has been tried and found to be insufficient;
    4. In the case of India, as will inevitably happen to Pakistan once linguistic and ethnic aspirations are met, other, hitherto subordinate considerations will float to the top, and will demand solutions.

    I think that we have not done enough to recognise that these aspirations will well up in a constant stream. In fact, I would like to point out that some of these have already been spotted by PTH in an indirect way. In the Indian context, these will take the form of other minority aspirations, beyond religion, ethnicity and linguistic affiliation. We are not ready for it, as we were not ready for the earlier phases. We are doing things to face these, but these are retarded by every regressive force in the country. And Pakistan will face the same, once it gets past the initial barrier that is so well-known and well-discussed, and deals with ethnicity and language.

    BTW, he is not the only liberal-minded Indian here in PTH; have you seen anybody else even faintly supporting him on this issue?

    Am I some kind of migratory bird?

    Do I sound like I care what support I get, so long as I am convinced by exercise of reason and logic that the conclusions I have come to are correct? Do my arguments depend on numbers supporting them?

    How utterly ridiculous!

    Criticizing Gandhi itself is a different question. That is a favorite pastime in India. Hayyer, for example, would probably criticize Gandhi on the basis of his departure from the so-called constitutional method.

    That, if I may point out, was my starting point. It is startling to see that it has walked away while I was not looking.

    But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.

    Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this?

    The recent problems with Maoists are not very unlike what you have with the Taliban. Only, ours is left wing extremism and much less serious. Extreme left-inspired Maoist movement started among educated Bengalis in the 60′s (no identity inspiration here). Due to large scale land reform in the subsequent decades, and thus lack of supply of poor cadres, it died a gradual death in Bengal. It, however, lived as an undercurrent among some fringe educated sections in Andhra Pradesh, a state with less successful land reform. The long term goal of these educated left-wing Maoist philosophers is to replace the democratic central govt. with the dictatorship of the proletariat. A section of the Tribals in some of the poorer states are just a pawn in this deluded dream. The fact is, with rapid economic progress starting in the early 90′s in the rest of the country, some economically backward states focused on their abundant natural resources for ecomomic upliftment. Maoists, who by now was almost an extinct species, found a gold mine in the short term discontent accumulating among the tribals affected by these natural resource development projects. In the beginning, the local state govts. (NOT the central govt.) were lazy and callous, as always, to respond to the tribal discontent. However, it’s not a problem now and a negotiated settlement about land use between the tribals and the govts. is achievable, were it not for the Maoists’ vicious hold on the tribals, resulting in many incidents of unspeakable terrorism in the near past. Sure, the state and central government’s efficiency can be questioned, but despotic imposition of Gandhian principles from a faraway center? That’s plain ludicrous!

    This last is quite a sad commentary on what impressions people have about vital problems in our country, and what little information they have on the basics.

    As this particular problem has, in fact, nothing to do with Pakistan, in spite of the very fanciful reference to the Taliban, in my opinion, supported by myself and in the absence of all liberal Indian support, this can be held over for separate treatment.

    In dealing with these problems, it has been my concern that some, many of our Pakistani readers might wonder what this has to do with them. Given the kind of challenges that Pakistan is facing today, considering the fine details of challenges, or, if we are to go by the remarks of the poster I am responding to, considering the fine details of what are after all not even challenges of the neighbouring state might seem to be of very faint relevance.

    In my (again, unsupported and solitary) opinion, it is vitally important. There has been a derailment; no, wrong simile. There has been a series of diversions; instead of proceeding along a highway, and encountering decisions at some stage of which forks or turns to take, there has been diversions on to increasingly rough and underprepared roads. That is not to say that this will be a permanent state of affairs. The whole reason why people participate in liberal fora like these is that they hope and have confidence in the right courses emerging. When they do, these are the identical problems that will be faced. Even at the existing level, the variety of religious demands for recognition, or even of existential rights,

    Once Baluch, Sindhi and Pakhtun demands are met, there will be others; there will be Hindko and Saraiki which will demand greater attention. Southern Punjab will want an accounting of the benefits and the expenditures on it and on other parts of the country. A Brahui group may come up and demand its place in the sun. There are others which are best not mentioned; it may not be taken well coming from the present source.

    India has been relatively successful in dealing with these; my basic argument is that we have been successful, so far, in spite of being less than prepared, thanks to the Gandhian legacy of the One Nation Theory. When Pakistan too is in the happy position of facing these pulls and pressures, a happy position because then the previous ones may safely be thought to have been put behind, she too will face the question of how to deal with these.

    That, in short, is why I think this discussion was relevant for these columns.

    Eid Mubarak.

  289. Vajra

    @no-communal

    In India, your identity is guaranteed by the govt..

    How can the government, in administrative or executive terms, possibly guarantee, for instance, the identity of Telengana or of the Darjeeling Gorkha, examples that you have quoted, with no idea that the demands will crop up? Or anticipate that the legislature concerned, whether state or central, will take some future action of a type yet unknown?

    I, for example, don’t have to learn the national language in school (and, sure enough, I don’t know it).

    There is no such thing as the national language.

    As far back as 1962, due to the demands of a minority movement that, according to members of that ethnicity writing in these columns in opposition to my statements, did not exist, it was made clear by the central government that the following would remain the policy of the government, and nothing more:

    Hindi in Devanagari script is the official language of the Union. The form of numerals to be used for official purposes of the Union is the international form of Indian numerals {Article 343 (1) of the Constitution}.In addition to Hindi language English language may also be used for official purposes. (Section 3 of the Official Languages Act)

    Business in Parliament may be transacted in English or in Hindi. However, the Hon’ble Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha may permit any Member to address the House in his / her mother tongue under special circumstances (Article 120 of the Constitution).

    The purposes for which Hindi alone is to be used, the purposes for which both Hindi and English are to be used and the purposes for which English language is to be used, have been specified in the Official Languages Act, 1963, the Official Language Rules, 1976 and the directions issued under them from time to time by the Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs.

    My basic education, if I so chose, can be entirely in my mother tongue, Bengali. Yes, the same is not possible in some tribal languages, but that’s a statement about the language, not the govt. policies. Already Santali is an official language despite obvious operational difficulties (e.g., lack of scientific and economic terminology), alongside English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kashmiri etc., meaning the respective state govts. recognise them. Even the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology tests can now be taken in as many as 14 languages.

    The point being made all along is that language is one of the identifiers, not that it is the only identifier. And recognition of the language does not necessarily amount to satisfaction of the minority grievances of the linguistic group who have had their language ‘recognised’. Very often, it is the tip of the iceberg, and a huge amount of additional work is thereafter needed.

    The tribals and scheduled castes from each state have a number of seats reserved for them in the parliament. So there is an effective mechanism for expressing identity discontent.

    Was it successful in redressing the wrongs of either the tribals or the scheduled castes? The answer lies in one part in the issues around the tribal areas of central India, and perhaps a more detailed reply to the article by Kingshuk Nag, accurate in its way, but quoted out of context and in inapt manner, will throw greater light on those issues.

    As the Muslims found to their cost after the Morley-Minto reforms as far back as 1909, obtaining a number of seats in the legislature does not amount to addressing the needs of a minority. If it had been as facile a solution as that, then neither the Two Nation Theory, incomplete as it was, nor the subsequent, even more extreme demand for partition would have been necessary.

    In fact, the Khap panchayats demanded their ridiculous amendment proposals for marriage laws through their elected representatives, who actually support them.

    Not at all. These ridiculous amendments arose first internally through the panchayats and maha panchayats, which have no recognition whatsoever other than as social mechanisms, and the homogeneity of the social groups in question caused the elected representatives in those areas to fall in line and retrospectively support the demands made.

    Isn’t it clear yet after all these examples that setting aside a few seats in the legislature does not amount to acknowledgement of or dealing with minority aspirations? Isn’t that what the entire question of failure to cope with these aspirations is all about?

    The tribals and scheduled castes get affirmative treatement in all educational institutes (including IIT’s), and all govt. jobs. Now there are talks to extend these benefits to even the private sector and to lower caste (converted) Christians and Muslims, even though there is no caste in these religions. There are established village councils and village governments throughout the country. This is despite a lot of resouces wasted in local level inefficiency and corruption.

    What a wonderful example of confusion between identity aspirations and initial attempts at local self-government! Therefore, if there is a panchayat or a district committee, and it happens that my minority gets representation on that, that minority’s neglect measured across various parameters is met? Those local self-government bodies are not able to address shortfalls in basic infrastructure, in health-care, in education, in communications; where and when are they expected to address others, like livelihood, like a fair share of jobs, like ownership of local natural resources, like freedom from imposition of totally destructive ‘development’ projects like a massive dam dislocating hundreds, if not thousands of families, or a power station around which for hundreds of kilometres there is no rural power, because the local self-government groups have absolutely no say in the matter?

    I am not aware of any other country in the world which has bent over backwards so much to recognize diversity and identity.

    Unfortunately, life is unfair. It is output that matters, not input.

    In fact this has created a form of identity-driven politics which is actually turning out to be harmful for the overall development of the country.

    I should have imagined that the situation is mirthfully the reverse.

    I should have imagined that the thrust of my statements, that in India, after independence, we have achieved some bumbling, late, reactive accommodation with minorities after all, and can thank our stars for having been better at coping with this than others have, would have registered somewhere. Apparently not.

    Again, to reiterate those arguments that should have been clear by now, on the one hand, there is no mechanism that we have for recognising a minority aspiration and dealing with it early enough to stem bloodshed or cut short the kind of crippling paralysis due to civil disobedience that is triggered due to inaction, or insufficiently alert and advanced action; on the other hand, we have the entire apparatus of action against the state that is our Gandhian legacy.

    Still, it’s a continuous process, some smaller identity groups want their own states (Telengana, Gorkhaland), and their elected representatives demand it in the parliament.
    Well, of course it is a continuous process. What else have I been arguing? That these could not have been recognised in 47?

    It’s the respective states with which they are currently attached that have a problem with these demands, NOT the central govt.

    True; very true. So how does that help the situation, to state the obvious? The problem is to resolve demands, not all demands, but those that are legitimate, and congruent with the constitution as it is. Even amendments to the constitution are possible, in case of dire necessity or in order to keep up with developments that could not have been foreseen earlier.

    The point is elsewhere. The respective states are very often the sources of these problems, and not the solutions. These are quasi-sovereign bodies set up entirely by the centre; the centre can, if required, configure the states in completely different ways, theoretically, the states obviously cannot make of themselves, other than in their individual cases, anything other than has been decided for them. Two states cannot, for instance, get together and decide that tracts of territory should be exchanged among themselves; this has to be legislated centrally, in terms of the constitution.

    This is a complex subject and not one that can be broken out in the limited space available. Simply put, a linguistic state tends to behave like a linguistic state; it does not have either the inspiration or the initiative or the vision to do otherwise. Examples: Maharashtra vs. Karnataka (Belgaum), Karnataka vs. Kerala (Kasargod). I could name cases right around the country, including ones in the north brought to my notice by far more informed friends. These states also do not have what is required to divide themselves even using their scheduled powers to satisfy, for instance, a portion of the Telengana demand, which would allow a partial meeting of the Telengana minority aspiration.

    In time, everybody knows, there will be negotiated settlements even for these.

    Of course.

    The whole point is that these will happen not due to pro-active action by the state, by which I mean the state of India, but because a state of affairs will be reached which is total deadlock, where something has to be done.

    Vajra is probably the only one around who thinks otherwise.

    Not at all.

    My point, in summary, since after all these exchanges, you still appear not to have understood it, is that
    1. The Two Nation Theory was a partial articulation of what needed to be said, and it has harmed both successor nations;
    2. It has harmed Pakistan by not allowing other aspirations, even broad and deep aspirations like linguistic and ethnic aspirations, to be addressed, due to the undue and protracted misuse of the original identifier;
    3. It is not enough, however, even to acknowledge language and ethnicity, because in the case of India, that has been tried and found to be insufficient;
    4. In the case of India, as will inevitably happen to Pakistan once linguistic and ethnic aspirations are met, other, hitherto subordinate considerations will float to the top, and will demand solutions.

    I think that we have not done enough to recognise that these aspirations will well up in a constant stream. In fact, I would like to point out that some of these have already been spotted by PTH in an indirect way. In the Indian context, these will take the form of other minority aspirations, beyond religion, ethnicity and linguistic affiliation. We are not ready for it, as we were not ready for the earlier phases. We are doing things to face these, but these are retarded by every regressive force in the country. And Pakistan will face the same, once it gets past the initial barrier that is so well-known and well-discussed, and deals with ethnicity and language.

    BTW, he is not the only liberal-minded Indian here in PTH; have you seen anybody else even faintly supporting him on this issue?

    Am I some kind of migratory bird?

    Do I sound like I care what support I get, so long as I am convinced by exercise of reason and logic that the conclusions I have come to are correct? Do my arguments depend on numbers supporting them?

    How utterly ridiculous!

    Criticizing Gandhi itself is a different question. That is a favorite pastime in India. Hayyer, for example, would probably criticize Gandhi on the basis of his departure from the so-called constitutional method.

    That, if I may point out, was my starting point. It is startling to see that it has walked away while I was not looking.

    But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.

    Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this?

    The recent problems with Maoists are not very unlike what you have with the Taliban. Only, ours is left wing extremism and much less serious. Extreme left-inspired Maoist movement started among educated Bengalis in the 60′s (no identity inspiration here). Due to large scale land reform in the subsequent decades, and thus lack of supply of poor cadres, it died a gradual death in Bengal. It, however, lived as an undercurrent among some fringe educated sections in Andhra Pradesh, a state with less successful land reform. The long term goal of these educated left-wing Maoist philosophers is to replace the democratic central govt. with the dictatorship of the proletariat. A section of the Tribals in some of the poorer states are just a pawn in this deluded dream. The fact is, with rapid economic progress starting in the early 90′s in the rest of the country, some economically backward states focused on their abundant natural resources for ecomomic upliftment. Maoists, who by now was almost an extinct species, found a gold mine in the short term discontent accumulating among the tribals affected by these natural resource development projects. In the beginning, the local state govts. (NOT the central govt.) were lazy and callous, as always, to respond to the tribal discontent. However, it’s not a problem now and a negotiated settlement about land use between the tribals and the govts. is achievable, were it not for the Maoists’ vicious hold on the tribals, resulting in many incidents of unspeakable terrorism in the near past. Sure, the state and central government’s efficiency can be questioned, but despotic imposition of Gandhian principles from a faraway center? That’s plain ludicrous!

    This last is quite a sad commentary on what impressions people have about vital problems in our country, and what little information they have on the basics.

    As this particular problem has, in fact, nothing to do with Pakistan, in spite of the very fanciful reference to the Taliban, in my opinion, supported by myself and in the absence of all liberal Indian support, this can be held over for separate treatment.

    In dealing with these problems, it has been my concern that some, many of our Pakistani readers might wonder what this has to do with them. Given the kind of challenges that Pakistan is facing today, considering the fine details of challenges, or, if we are to go by the remarks of the poster I am responding to, considering the fine details of what are after all not even challenges of the neighbouring state might seem to be of very faint relevance.

    In my (again, unsupported and solitary) opinion, it is vitally important. There has been a derailment; no, wrong simile. There has been a series of diversions; instead of proceeding along a highway, and encountering decisions at some stage of which forks or turns to take, there has been diversions on to increasingly rough and underprepared roads. That is not to say that this will be a permanent state of affairs. The whole reason why people participate in liberal fora like these is that they hope and have confidence in the right courses emerging. When they do, these are the identical problems that will be faced. Even at the existing level, the variety of religious demands for recognition, or even of existential rights,

    Once Baluch, Sindhi and Pakhtun demands are met, there will be others; there will be Hindko and Saraiki which will demand greater attention. Southern Punjab will want an accounting of the benefits and the expenditures on it and on other parts of the country. A Brahui group may come up and demand its place in the sun. There are others which are best not mentioned; it may not be taken well coming from the present source.

    India has been relatively successful in dealing with these; my basic argument is that we have been successful, so far, in spite of being less than prepared, thanks to the Gandhian legacy of the One Nation Theory. When Pakistan too is in the happy position of facing these pulls and pressures, a happy position because then the previous ones may safely be thought to have been put behind, she too will face the question of how to deal with these.

    That, in short, is why I think this discussion was relevant for these columns.

    Eid Mubarak.

  290. no-communal

    Vajra,
    I haven’t been able to read all your detailed comments. But whatever I read, they read like statements on the efficiency of the govt., not on its intentions. And I simply do not see how the sinister-sounding one-nation theory is responsible for anything. Surely, all remaining identity aspirations can be met within the contours of one country (here, by nation, I mean country)? I find it unbelievable that one-nation theory could mean that Santals would gradually become Gujrati, Tamils would become Bengalis, and yet it seems that’s how you are interpreting it when you are criticizing it. Or are you really saying that the problem lies with India constituted as one country, and in 1947 it should been broken into smaller ones instead? Would that have made you happy? If not, then if I ignore the line “thanks to the Gandhian legacy of the One Nation Theory”, there is no disagreement.

  291. bciv

    @no-communal

    i could do worse than refer you to vajra’s post but i shall not. do read it in full, when you can, before presuming you should dispute or try and refute it.

  292. Vajra

    @no-communal

    I haven’t been able to read all your detailed comments.
    Then why comment? What is your hurry? Is there a train to catch? Does the Election Commission restrict your campaign speeches beyond a point of time?

    On what basis are you reacting? And why?

    But whatever I read, they read like statements on the efficiency of the govt., not on its intentions.

    We may tentatively conclude, then, that you have not read the right bits?

    1. The entire argument is based on the government not possessing a mechanism to identify minority aspirations.
    2. It was not built with one.
    3. It was built that way because the inspiring ideology, the ideology that was enforced on the constitution makers by the preceding goings on, the sharp divide between the Congress One Nation Theory and the League Two Nation Theory.
    4. The Congress depended on the One Nation Theory to win its elections through the 50s and 60s, actually, partially even today.
    5. Anything which hinted at this not being infallible doctrine was ruthlessly suppressed.

    And I simply do not see how the sinister-sounding one-nation theory is responsible for anything. Surely, all remaining identity aspirations can be met within the contours of one country (here, by nation, I mean country)? I find it unbelievable that one-nation theory could mean that Santals would gradually become Gujrati, Tamils would become Bengalis, and yet it seems that’s how you are interpreting it when you are criticizing it.

    So what am I supposed to do about your failure to comprehend, based on incomplete reading? You simply do not see; you find it unbelievable; it seems that ‘s how I am interpreting it, and so? Am I supposed to spell it out even beyond the granularity to which I have taken it? To what level? Where will your maidenly confusion stop?

    A comment to the effect that a state does not have a mechanism for coping with minority aspirations, but keeps lurching from crisis to crisis hardly equates to saying that all existing identities, including those recognised and protected in linguistic states, will be rendered into Farex and served to – oh, never mind.

    Or are you really saying that the problem lies with India constituted as one country, and in 1947 it should been broken into smaller ones instead?

    No.

    Here come the straw men, marching bravely in step to the tune of the brass band.

    Would that have made you happy?

    What would make me happy would be to have us work out how to cope with minorities of the future, minorities whose nature and origins we do not know yet.

    If not, then if I ignore the line “thanks to the Gandhian legacy of the One Nation Theory”, there is no disagreement.

    Why should that be an important factor?

  293. no-communal

    bciv
    “i could do worse than refer you to vajra’s post but i shall not. do read it in full, when you can, before presuming you should dispute or try and refute it.”

    If there’s a post, then of course I will read it. But why this unsolicited advice?

  294. LokSabha

    In India, possible minority aspirations regarding language, religion, educational institutions, charitable trusts, pilgrimmage and even civil law are met to the extent that prevailing organizational technology can accommodate them.

    Aspirations of the kind “I want to have my cake and eat it too” are impossible to handle and are at the root of much of the unrest. Majorities are not free from being unrealistic either (e.g., Ayodhya).

    {Most identities of most people fluctuate between being majority and minority. E.g., at the national level, if I am Hindu I am majority, but as BJPite I’m minority, Tamil-speaker, I’m minority, as Muslim I’m minority, but as Congress-supporter I’m in the majority, and so on. That is why I say “majorities” above.}

  295. LokSabha

    After reading Vajra, it appears he wants a people-proof system – a system that will work regardless of the lack of competence and integrity of the people who run the system. Such a system has not yet existed in human history. There is no reason to believe that design alone can solve such a problem. Minimum levels of integrity and competence have to be there.

    All that the “one nation” theory says is that India is one political and economic unit. Unless you get to Savarkar-type thinking, it does not impose a lot on people; except that it says that if your brahmin identity is predicated on stomping on shudras, that is not supported; or if you want your religious law to be the law of the land, that is not supported. If you want the power to declare only Amritdhari Sikhs own the Golden Temple, that too is not supported. If those are your minority aspirations, sorry, there is no room for them.

  296. no-communal

    Vajra
    “Or are you really saying that the problem lies with India constituted as one country, and in 1947 it should been broken into smaller ones instead?

    No.”

    As always, I am ignoring your snides;-)

    Since your answer is No, we have at least one point of agreement, a major one at that.

    If you recall, You and I already agreed on three counts earlier. One of them was a rebuttal to your claim that there was no democracy in INC. I gave you the example of Bose being elected President despite Gandhi offering his own candidate. Only later when Bose called for violent agitation, Gandhi (and others, such as JLN) objected and Bose resigned. You agreed. I am hoping (though faint hope) that you will not backtrack now. In fact, it is a fact that all major decisions in INC used to be taken (as now) by the working committee after long and tortured discussions. Assuming you have not already backtracked on our earlier concurrence, where does that leave Gandhi’s singular culpability?

    Finally, you can find fault with Gandhi’s methods, one nation theory, and all that, but they were tailored for a specific purpose, which was wresting freedom from autocratic rulers who, for e.g., didn’t think much about letting 30 lakh citizens die of hunger. On the other hand, the constitution writing and the running of the subsequent democratically elected governments were others’ jobs. Even if I believe in your argument of Gandhi’s sinister-sounding one nation theory being the evil (which I do not), if these latter people, being constitutional legal and political stalwarts they were, could not come out of the influence of a theory which had its utility in your own words in the “preceding goings on”, why is that Gandhi’s fault?

  297. no-communal

    Or if the later leaders being adults themselves, while forming a sacred document called constitution and governing a nation of 300 millions, could not come out of the influence of a theory which was devised to keep the country one whole, an entirely different task, why do you ascribe the blame to Gandhi?

  298. no-communal

    n-c “But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.”

    Vajra “Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this”

    If you didn’t argue this, then you presumably know that Ambedkar stood firm AGAINST the Gandhians in the assembly while drafting the constitution. And yet, you blame the supposed identity-related inadequacies and inefficiencies of our constitution and subsequent governments on Gandhi.

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?

  299. Chote Miyan

    No communal,
    Excellent posts. Keep it up! By the way, I was entangled in the same debate a few months earlier. If you take the non essentials out, there are two broad themes here:
    (1) Hayyer argues that Gandhi wrecked the freedom movement but is thankful for the infinite wisdom of the leaders post ’47 who ignored Gandhi’s objection due to which he does not have to suffer Gandhi’s BS.
    (2) The other gentleman believes we are still suffering from the “evil” effects of Gandhi.

    Now, how these two veterans reconcile their apparent contradictory stances remains to be seen. It has all the makings of a spectacular spectator sport.

    Bciv,
    No need to get all worked up. Mine was more of a tongue-in-cheek type comment.

  300. Vajra

    @Lok Sabha [September 11, 2010 at 2:15 am]

    I wish you would change your nick. It feels like addressing a public meeting to address any post to your attention.

    In India, possible minority aspirations regarding language, religion, educational institutions, charitable trusts, pilgrimmage and even civil law are met to the extent that prevailing organizational technology can accommodate them.

    Indeed.

    It seems more fitting not to use ‘oganisational technology’ but to use ‘constitutional flexibility’ and ‘administrative adaptability'; the two are to be taken as separate components of the same engine, one operated by the legislature, one by the administration, both yoked together to achieve the same purpose.

    Aspirations of the kind “I want to have my cake and eat it too” are impossible to handle and are at the root of much of the unrest. Majorities are not free from being unrealistic either (e.g., Ayodhya).

    A point that needs frequent reiteration, a point which must be addressed by the panoply of state, in the ultimate analysis, if all else fails. There are issues and situations where a minority deserves not sympathy and favourable interest but strict and harsh administrative measures. Fanatics and their factions are among such minorities; the sooner they are driven into civilised ways, the better.

    {Most identities of most people fluctuate between being majority and minority. E.g., at the national level, if I am Hindu I am majority, but as BJPite I’m minority, Tamil-speaker, I’m minority, as Muslim I’m minority, but as Congress-supporter I’m in the majority, and so on. That is why I say “majorities” above.}

    There is a spirit here which I approve, but to adopt it wholly as my own, some changes are needed. Something like this:

    “Most people have multiple identities, and these therefore depending on the context determine whether an individual is at that time a member of a majority or a minority.” And the appropriate illustrations.

    Quite separately, on the subject of the BJP, I differ from your characterisation in some respects. Briefly, they acted as a majority at Ayodhya, consciously and brutally; however, their effort before and after has been to seek some sort of ‘artificial minority’ status. It is difficult to interpret their myth of increasing relative Muslim numbers in the Indian population as anything else; thereby they seek to project themselves as a minority in the making.

    @LokSabha [September 11, 2010 at 2:36 am]

    After reading Vajra, it appears he wants a people-proof system – a system that will work regardless of the lack of competence and integrity of the people who run the system. Such a system has not yet existed in human history. There is no reason to believe that design alone can solve such a problem. Minimum levels of integrity and competence have to be there.

    Yes, you are absolutely correct.

    I am aware that this is not possible in reality. All that I wish to see happen is a constant effort at fine-tuning systems to cope with whatever can be predicted, with a full understanding that nevertheless, the unpredicted will happen, and additional coping mechanisms, quick-response mechanisms, need to be in place.

    A certain amount of hydraulic management ought to eliminate 80% of floods; there will still be need to cope with 20% which cannot be designed out of the system.

    And the point about minimum levels of integrity and competence, alas, needs frequent repetition.

    But yes, my hope is more to seek to strive than to achieve. This constant striving must keep us fresh and committed to these tasks, and keep our republic young and vigorous.

    Please tell me, is there any law against wishing to have the best possible systems to address a situation, or working towards that?

    All that the “one nation” theory says is that India is one political and economic unit. Unless you get to Savarkar-type thinking, it does not impose a lot on people; except that it says that if your brahmin identity is predicated on stomping on shudras, that is not supported; or if you want your religious law to be the law of the land, that is not supported. If you want the power to declare only Amritdhari Sikhs own the Golden Temple, that too is not supported. If those are your minority aspirations, sorry, there is no room for them.

    Sadly, it seems that the ‘feast of reason and the flow of soul’ was not to last long; I don’t agree with the glib characterisation of the One Nation Theory outlined above, and have explained my own interpretation of its ramifications and workings in sufficient detail not to wish to do so again.

    However, with the elimination of part of your second paragraph, and with respect to the portion in bold alone, which is very well put and apt for the context, I find myself in complete harmony.

  301. Vajra

    @no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 2:41 am]

    On the question of Gandhi’s overpowering influence over the Congress party, there is sufficient evidence not to require any further dredging.

    On the matter of Gandhi having done what he did to achieve independence, you have couched it in terms of the ends justifying the means. Is that consistent with Gandhian thought?

    no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 2:52 am]

    Very simple. He insisted on the One Nation Theory, drove a wedge between two political parties, identified the one he led irreversibly with this theory, and left them with no recourse but to support it horse, foot and artillery, if they were to survive politically after independence, when the ennoblement of the independence struggle was not there, and politicians needed to win elections to stay in power.

    @no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 3:10 am]

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?

    You might try a temporary sojourn into insanity and read what I have written at such length about the Congress Party and its electoral compulsions, its need to identify itself with the One Nation Theory.

  302. no-communal

    @Bade Miya

    “Now, how these two veterans reconcile their apparent contradictory stances remains to be seen. It has all the makings of a spectacular spectator sport”

    Bade Miya, since you mentioned contradiction, a few posts earlier, while talking about the diversity acknowledged in India, I made a comment as follows:

    n-c: Sep. 10, 2010, 9:50 pm:

    “I, for example, don’t have to learn the national language in school (and, sure enough, I don’t know it).”

    Now, as you said, both gentlemen are veterans, and both want to correct me to my last utterances. So, sure enough, pat came the reply that I was wrong.

    Hayyer, Sep. 10, 2010, 11:16 pm:

    “…you ought to know that Bengali is a national language.”

    Vajra, Sep. 11, 2010, 12:40 am:

    “There is no such thing as the national language.”

    I bowed my head in reverence. Such are the contradictions in life…

  303. no-communal

    @Vajra

    “You might try a temporary sojourn into insanity and read what I have written at such length about the Congress Party and its electoral compulsions, its need to identify itself with the One Nation Theory”

    Vajra Babu,
    If you don’t have the answers to my three questions, please just say so. For the first time you have conveniently forgotten to copy my questions before writing your “answers”. Please, no general statements about one-nation theory, this, that, and all. I asked three very specific questions. Everyone can see if you have answered them.

    And what about the statement in the end (quoted above)? I thought we were discussing Gandhi and his myriad faults. Why, oh why, it is suddenly the Congress Party?

    There is no harm in acknowledging that you don’t have the answers.

  304. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    Well, I suggest you sit back and enjoy. Put off the Sunday Night Football this weekend. The idea behind the contradictions is to cover all bases, so that you can blame Gandhi, Nehru, etc., no matter what.

    Btw, I don’t know why but this statement just made me laugh. The capabilities that are expected require a clairvoyance and wisdom that would defeat the inhabitants of other world, forget about this one. I mean, how can a system that can’t fix leaking roofs of a games auditorium be expected to recognize minorities of future! I thought the idea was to have a system in which minorities cease to be minorities. Isn’t that what Ambedkar said?

    “Would that have made you happy?

    What would make me happy would be to have us work out how to cope with minorities of the future, minorities whose nature and origins we do not know yet.”

  305. Vajra

    @no-communal

    I omitted the presentation of the questions being answered as it became progressively more trivial – my single, unsupported view of course. Yours might be that your arguments were growing in weight or in import.

    Incidentally, I have almost always used this method for greater accuracy, but seldom have had the courtesy reciprocated. It is strange that you now hold the precision of my approach against me, while neglecting to do anything similar yourself. A simple examination of your posts will reveal the difference.

    So be it. My last post is reproduced in italics, your original questions to which I produced answers are interpolated, in bold:

    @no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 2:41 am]

    One of them was a rebuttal to your claim that there was no democracy in INC. I gave you the example of Bose being elected President despite Gandhi offering his own candidate. Only later when Bose called for violent agitation, Gandhi (and others, such as JLN) objected and Bose resigned. You agreed.

    You are re-introducing a matter already decided with the insinuation that I should have changed my stand. There was nothing to indicate that I have changed my stand, although you seem to be hoping that some such thing will happen, to give you some sort of feeble opportunity for claiming a discrepancy in what I said then and now.

    This has not happened, and you have just wasted everyone’s time in stating a groundless possibility for reasons best known to you.

    One of the dissent was Subhas Bose’s. He was elected the President of INC in 1939 over Gandhi’s prefered candidate, P. Sitaramayya. He called for violent agitation, to which Gandhi objected. Bose resigned and formed his own party.

    I agreed, in good faith, in hindsight, a mistake.

    I will still agree to this, as it was the closest that Gandhi came to democratic process.

    Two mis-statements on your part:

    1. There was no gap between the election and Gandhi’s counter-measures;
    2. Subhas Bose’s call for violent action came long after both his election and the counter-attack by Gandhi.

    Please read the passage below.

    At the end of his first term, the presidential election to the Tripuri Congress session took place early in 1939. Subhas was re-elected. defeating Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayaa who had been backed by the Mahatma. Soon after the election, the members of the Congress Working Committee resigned, and the Congress met at Tripuri under the shadow of a crisis within the Party as well as internationally.

    Hostile action by the Gandhi-packed CWC took place even before the Congress was held.

    Subhas Babu was a sick man at Tripuri, but even so, with amazing, almost prophetic foresight, he warned that an imperialist war would break out in Europe within six months, demanded that the Congress should deliver a six-months’ ultimatum to Britain and in the event of its rejection a country-wide struggle for ‘Poorna Swaraj’ should be launched. His warning and advice, however, went unheeded, and what was worse, his powers as President were sought to be curtailed. He, therefore, resigned in April 1939, and announced, in May 1939, the formation of the Forward Bloc within the Congress. In August Subhas was removed from the Presidentship of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee, and further debarred from holding any elective office in the Congress for a period of three years.

    As you can see, your representation of Bose’s resigning and forming his own party is a partial and self-serving account. He sought to form his own group within Congress, on the lines of several other groups then operating officially, but was driven out by hostile action.

    The correct sequence was indirect opposition to his Presidentship, his speech calling for pre-emptive action, the direct attack on his Presidential powers, his resignation, formation of the Forward Bloc within Congress, his expulsion from the Congress, formation of the Forward Bloc as a party outside Congress.

    Although I was well aware of this, I let it pass, as it is arguably one of the very instances, when, through a momentary loss of attention, Gandhi allowed himself to behave in a democratic manner. It is another matter that he repented bitterly and took quick corrective action so that this slur should not lie against him for too long.

    I am hoping (though faint hope) that you will not backtrack now.

    You keep hoping, at great length, for something not to happen that never happened, and has not happened now. What was the purpose, except to create a confused atmosphere and to get people wondering – wrongly – if there had been such instances, leading to your vehement protests?

    In fact, it is a fact that all major decisions in INC used to be taken (as now) by the working committee after long and tortured discussions. Assuming you have not already backtracked on our earlier concurrence, where does that leave Gandhi’s singular culpability?

    I do not deny Gandhi this feeble simulation of democratic procedure, vitiated though it was by so much manoeuvring and chicanery.

    Your point about the CWC then and now is as valid about it then as it is about its functioning now: it met for long sessions and emerged with precisely those conclusions that were sought by the leadership. There was never any question of any deviation.

    As the example of the Tripuri Congress itself shows, it was merely a tool of Gandhi’s, and would resign when asked to, withdraw support or extend support as asked to and so on.

    It leaves Gandhi’s singular culpability exactly as it was – culpable.

    On the question of Gandhi’s overpowering influence over the Congress party, there is sufficient evidence not to require any further dredging.

    On the matter of Gandhi having done what he did to achieve independence, you have couched it in terms of the ends justifying the means. Is that consistent with Gandhian thought?

    no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 2:52 am]

    Or if the later leaders being adults themselves, while forming a sacred document called constitution and governing a nation of 300 millions, could not come out of the influence of a theory which was devised to keep the country one whole, an entirely different task, why do you ascribe the blame to Gandhi?

    Very simple. He insisted on the One Nation Theory, drove a wedge between two political parties, identified the one he led irreversibly with this theory, and left them with no recourse but to support it horse, foot and artillery, if they were to survive politically after independence, when the ennoblement of the independence struggle was not there, and politicians needed to win elections to stay in power.

    Your exact question, answered exactly, contrary to your insinuations.

    I have not introduced a single word in your original question, I have not introduced a single word in my original response. So much for your dramatic and tearful discovery that contrary to usual practice, I had not reproduced your point in full before replying to it.

    @no-communal [September 11, 2010 at 3:10 am]

    If you didn’t argue this, then you presumably know that Ambedkar stood firm AGAINST the Gandhians in the assembly while drafting the constitution. And yet, you blame the supposed identity-related inadequacies and inefficiencies of our constitution and subsequent governments on Gandhi.

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?

    You might try a temporary sojourn into insanity and read what I have written at such length about the Congress Party and its electoral compulsions, its need to identify itself with the One Nation Theory.

    Again, your original quoted with no additions, next to my response with no additions. Which answer was it that is not in place?

  306. hayyer

    Bade Miyan:

    There is no contradiction about language. The constitution does not speak of ‘national language’-neither Hindi nor any other. It recognizes a certain number of languages officially, the common list of I think now touching 22.
    Hindi and English are the official languages of the Union of India. States have either Hindi, the majority or their own. Hindi is mistakenly referred to as the national language of India. Actually all the officially recognized languages are national languages. It is all a matter of semantics as no-communal succinctly put it.

    no-communal:

    I shall get to the rest of the posts in good time but I thought I should respond to the latest one before it adds to the arrears list.

    The concept of India itself is a semantic issue, solved by calling it Bharat, but the land of the Bharats was northerly confined so I am not sure it solved anything.
    Semantics is indispensable to the human condition. We live by what we mean, or at least claim to, not always successfully, and if we are not sure what we mean we don’t live as we intend.

    What percentage of the Muslim population in India do you think belong to the so called Ashraf, the Syeds, Afghans and Mughals? Islam has been in India for nearly a thousand years.
    After 4000 years what percentage of Indians do you think are Aryan high born? And what ever became of the Yavanas, Sakas, Kushans, Hunas and such like. Were they indiginized do you think? The process was well under way for the British too in a mere 50 years after Plassey and would have continued the way of all flesh had the import of Mems not started in mid 19th century.
    Like Urdu the Anglo Indian patois with its chi chi accent became the lingua franca of the ruling classes, except those like Nehru who went to Harrow and Cambridge. Why, even today Englishmen who have spent an extended period of time in India develop the Indian accent. You can hear it most clearly in the travel writer Bill Aitken but even Mark Tully, once of the BBC has not escaped it. The Arabs, the Turks, the Mughals, all fair skinned and foreign with a strange religion, indiginezed, why deny the possibility to the British.
    I referred once to the BJP aspect. Don’t they deny the Muslims legitimacy on precisely the grounds that you deny the possibility to the British?

  307. Vajra

    @no-communal

    Only a truly slip-shod and half-baked approach such as yours, eager to get into print and proclaim your own newest discovery, would make such an elementary error.

    Hayyer, Sep. 10, 2010, 11:16 pm:

    “…you ought to know that Bengali is a national language.”

    Vajra, Sep. 11, 2010, 12:40 am:

    “There is no such thing as the national language.”

    I bowed my head in reverence. Such are the contradictions in life…

    You should indeed bow your head, in shame, not in reverence, at not being sufficiently careful or particular to notice the significant difference between a national language among others, and the national language with no other peers. You should also remember that some of those that you are disagreeing with do not use words with quite your own brand of blithe insouciance; they use words in a precise manner, with some thought behind the choices they make.

  308. Vajra

    @no-communal

    As it happens, I was unaware – naturally – of Hayyer’s reply in the pipeline when I wrote to you about your grotesque and unseemly response to what you mistakenly thought was a contradiction between Hayyer and myself.

    His reply is with you, indeed, with the rest of the forum now.

    Judge for yourself if there is the slightest gap in our respective positions.

  309. hayyer

    Identity crops up on PTH mostly in the Pakistani context. I am glad to see some discussion on Indian identity for a change. It is not of topic I trust for PTH, or irrelevant to the subject.

    A semantic question, as my friend no-communal would no doubt put it. Some time ago, at a meeting in a certain North Indian state presided over by its Chief Minister, a BJP MLA, a Brahmin protested that there were no Brahmins in the administration. Top officials of the state administration were present and they were immediately pointed out to him. His response was that they were none from his district.

    India that is Bharat and sometimes conflated with Bharat Mata assumes different forms as time goes by. The current model, founded in insecurity and determined to be one from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is a consensual entity for the most part, except in the extreme north and east. It thrives on a very wide semantics, losing something of its coherence when attempts are made to reify the abstract. For some in India a thing exists only if it can be worshipped, rather like the Chinese attitude to food.

  310. no-communal

    Vajra

    Here’s your exact statement about national language:

    Vajra: “There is no such thing as the national language.

    As far back as 1962, due to the demands of a minority movement that, according to members of that ethnicity writing in these columns in opposition to my statements, did not exist, it was made clear by the central government that the following would remain the policy of the government, and nothing more:

    Hindi in Devanagari script is the official language of the Union. The form of numerals to be used for official purposes of the Union is the international form of Indian numerals {Article 343 (1) of the Constitution}.In addition to Hindi language English language may also be used for official purposes. (Section 3 of the Official Languages Act)

    Business in Parliament may be transacted in English or in Hindi. However, the Hon’ble Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha may permit any Member to address the House in his / her mother tongue under special circumstances (Article 120 of the Constitution).

    The purposes for which Hindi alone is to be used, the purposes for which both Hindi and English are to be used and the purposes for which English language is to be used, have been specified in the Official Languages Act, 1963, the Official Language Rules, 1976 and the directions issued under them from time to time by the Department of Official Language, Ministry of Home Affairs.”

    If you meant there was no such thing as “the” national language (thus implying there were many), then any reasonable person would suspect that the term national language would arise at least once in your subsequent exposition. It never did. However, the term official language came up a number of times. On the other hand, if Hayyer meant Bengali was a national language as good as Hindi, which he did, that directly contradicted with what you said. I know you would come back to me with all sorts of jugglery of words. But the statements remain for all to see.

    Look, I know this is not a big deal. I know national language, official language, it’s semantics. Therefore I didn’t mention the discrepancy, even though I noticed it immediately. Only when BM mentioned something about contradiction, I just thought of bringing it back, in a funny sort of way.

    So, what’s the point now? The point is, we know it’s a matter of semantics, as Hayyer now agrees (I don’t know about you). And yet both of you jumped out of your respective seats to immediately “correct” me. Correct me about something that you are now claiming as mere semantics. Odd, isn’t it?

    Vajra: “Although I was well aware of this, I let it pass, as it is arguably one of the very instances, when, through a momentary loss of attention, Gandhi allowed himself to behave in a democratic manner. It is another matter that he repented bitterly and took quick corrective action so that this slur should not lie against him for too long. ”

    This I call backtracking on our earlier concurrence. I actually knew this would happen. Now you have gone back and found some errors, which do not contradict the basic events, to justify the backtracking.

    n-c: “Or if the later leaders being adults themselves, while forming a sacred document called constitution and governing a nation of 300 millions, could not come out of the influence of a theory which was devised to keep the country one whole, an entirely different task, why do you ascribe the blame to Gandhi?”

    Vajra: “Very simple. He insisted on the One Nation Theory, drove a wedge between two political parties, identified the one he led irreversibly with this theory, and left them with no recourse but to support it horse, foot and artillery, if they were to survive politically after independence, when the ennoblement of the independence struggle was not there, and politicians needed to win elections to stay in power.”

    You have very conveniently left out the part about the constitution writing which was also in my question. But let’s ignore it anyway. So now it’s the Congress Party and “politicians” using sinister ploys “to win elections” even after Gandhi is long dead. And that’s still Gandhi’s fault.

    Vajra, your response is for everyone to see and judge. Your desperate attempts now to connect every thing supposedly wrong with the Congress Party with Gandhi, even after he is long dead, is ludicrous. If you remember, we were talking about Gandhi and Gandhi alone not very long ago.

    Now, the best part:

    n-c “But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.”

    Vajra “Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this”

    n-c: “If you didn’t argue this, then you presumably know that Ambedkar stood firm AGAINST the Gandhians in the assembly while drafting the constitution. And yet, you blame the supposed identity-related inadequacies and inefficiencies of our constitution and subsequent governments on Gandhi.

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?”

    Vajra: “You might try a temporary sojourn into insanity and read what I have written at such length about the Congress Party and its electoral compulsions, its need to identify itself with the One Nation Theory”

    Again the thurst of my question was Ambedkar and the drafting of the constitution. And you have again talked about “electoral compulsions” of the Congress Party.

    Vajra, your “answer” is an open book. And I rest my case.

    To be honest, I don’t want to argue with you about this any more. I have seen what you have to offer in response to these questions. I think the glaring contradictions are as clear as daylight.

    I look forward to discuss with you something else in the future.

  311. Vajra

    @no-communal

    It is difficult to argue with someone who changes his stance easily and flexibly, and once answers are presented to his sets of questions, glibly and without any pause for self-correction, generates another set.

    1. On the national language, versus national languages: you are in confusion, once again, because you don’t bother to read or to even make sense of what you are reading.

    This is what I wrote.

    “There is no such thing as the national language.

    As far back as 1962, due to the demands of a minority movement that, according to members of that ethnicity writing in these columns in opposition to my statements, did not exist, it was made clear by the central government that the following would remain the policy of the government, and nothing more

    To make it plain, and ensure that you do not muddle things and create controversies out of thin air, you can see clearly that the reference was to a singular national language not being there, because the Tamils had been made a commitment that it would not be imposed.

    The use of the definite article was not an accident; the full picture was in front of you, but in your careless, slipshod way, you did not bother to read back, to comprehend, or to respond with informed comprehension; just with your immediate off-the-cuff response. Why should anyone take the trouble of putting together an entire argument with painstaking care when people like you make superficial errors and then spend pages and pages justifying them?

    You made a song and dance about my ‘subsequent exposition'; was it not clear to you that what followed was not mine but an extract from the Government of India policy on official languages? Therefore, not knowing that you were hanging on their words for a reply to my denial of a single, monopolistic national language, they unfortunately did not mention ‘national language’ even a single time.

    Next time, I shall write to them informing them about your expectations.

    And finally, while Hayyer was generous enough to represent it as semantics, being both older and more mature than I, I did not. To me, ‘a’ national language and ‘the’ national language make a huge difference, and that is all that my stand was. He corroborated that stand, so why are you hanging on to his use of the word ‘semantic’ for dear life, esepecially as his specific use was clear:Hindi is mistakenly referred to as the national language of India. Actually all the officially recognized languages are national languages. It is all a matter of semantics as no-communal succinctly put it.

    Which part of this do you fail to understand? And which part of it was it wrong to set right in your garbled version?

    2. You were looking for a reversal of my agreement that that sorry episode was the best, the closest that Gandhi’s leadership of the Congress got to democracy. When I refused to oblige, you now mention my pointing out errors in your original formulation as a reversal. Have you failed to see my careful statement that while I held on to my original opinion, yours was incorrectly phrased? I fail to understand how pointing out your error is a reversal in my stand. You may call it backtracking; when I have not reversed my position, how does it become so? Merely because you need such a thing to happen to justify your arguments?

    3. You asked simply, how was it Gandhi’s fault? I answered, succintly and to the point. Immediately, what was once the critical point without which my arguments would not stand disappeared into oblivion, and now it is a question of answering an entirely different question about constitution-making. Make up your mind; if you insist on a specific answer, and if you get a specific answer, and then start casting around for an alternative defence, it tells its own story.

    To return to the stream of the argument, it is a direct connection to Gandhi and nothing else. It is a legacy of his insistence on an ideology which compelled the Congress to keep up the pretence; they had no choice. In Pakistan, they had a choice; the League was dissolved. In India, we had no choice; the Congress stayed on as a political party and contested elections. It is this party, which sought to arrogate all credit for the independence struggle, which also sought to project the independence struggle from a favourable point of view. This is practical politics; where do you find sinister ploys? And once the Congress donned, voluntarily, the mantle of the successors to Gandhi’s legacy, what else but the recorde of the long-dead Gandhi would they be saddled with?

    If you want to be reassured on the constitution writing point, please recall that a constitution is like a blueprint; it gives a static picture, and at best lays down the process whereby changes to the structure may be made. In the case of our constitution, it also laid down some administrative procedures, as in terms of the evocative extracts from Ambedkar’s speech quoted by Lok Sabha, in Ambedkar’s view, the country lacked the necessary constitutional morality necessary to operate as a liberal democracy willingly following the rule of law and due process of law.

    What it did not do was to lay down what was to be done if a minority raised its demands in future, as might well have been expected to happen. That reaction was left to the political leadership, who had at their service a constitution that would be more than sufficiently responsive to demands for change that might be made. But such demands had to be made; such demands could be made only by the political leadership.

    That is why, again and again, not through a lack of comprehension of your question, but through a clear model of what might have been happening in practice, it was argued that the thinking, the ideology of the Congress Party, and its stubborn insistence on the One Nation Theory, kept minorities at bay until bloodshed occurred. The constitution, as it was made and modified, was always available as a tool for change; the people supposed to wield the tool were not ready to do so.

    3a. This is unconnected with the main theme, but deserves passing mention.

    Vajra, your response is for everyone to see and judge. Your desperate attempts now to connect every thing supposedly wrong with the Congress Party with Gandhi, even after he is long dead, is ludicrous. If you remember, we were talking about Gandhi and Gandhi alone not very long ago.

    Indeed it is. Where you detected desperation is not clear. My arguments have moved in the same clear channels from the beginning. You have sought a dozen different points of view from which to mount a new assault. Whether my responses have met your doubts or not is up to you entirely.

    It would appear from your frequent and pathetic last ditch defences that my words are there for all to see are intended to curry favour and get you some support from jingos. Unfortunately, as I have already indicated earlier, I do not in any case need any other person’s approval to present my arguments, if I am convinced about their integrity, as in this case I am, but getting their support is a bonus. Now whether you get such support or not is a matter of the most supreme indifference to me. However, I would recommend that you depend on your own reasoning, and stop clinging on to a claque.

    4. The best part is truly the best part. You start with assigning a position to me, a position I never took. First, the position:

    n-c “But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? Gandhi for imposing a foreign inspired mode of government on Indian villages? All because he talked about Ram Rajya? That’s as ludicrous as anything I have heard in my life. If anything, Ambedkar had to constantly fight other Gandhian members of the assembly to AVOID making the constitution local village-centric. His reason was his own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.”

    This was never my position, and I said as much:
    “Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this”

    Your astounding response follows: if I did not argue this, I should have known something else….

    “If you didn’t argue this, then you presumably know

    Amazing, don’t you think? Let us argue likewise.

    V: n-c, to insist that Calcutta is painted green throughout is quite foolish.
    n-c: Really, V, where did I say this?
    V: Oh, if you hadn’t said this, you should have known that Calcutta was built of cheese.

    As you said, all that we have argued is right in front of all to judge.

    Let us finish this sorry mishmash by examining your trail of logic in more detail:

    A. [n-c]“But Gandhi against local village level identities, village governments? ……
    own traumatic experience as a Dalit growing up in his own native village culture.”

    B. [V] “Really? Just to satisfy my curiousity, where have I argued this?”
    C. [n-c]“If you didn’t argue this, then you presumably know that Ambedkar stood firm AGAINST the Gandhians in the assembly while drafting the constitution. And yet, you blame the supposed identity-related inadequacies and inefficiencies of our constitution and subsequent governments on Gandhi.

    How does any sane person reconcile these contradictions?”

    Instead of admitting that I said nothing of the kind that I was supposed to have said, the response is a long slide away into what Ambedkar did and therefore to the wrong conclusion that my position is that the identity-related inadequacies and inefficiencies of our constitution and subsequent governments are due to Gandhi.

    Again, as I did earlier, separately, in a number of places , I made it clear that it was not a question of the constitutional weaknesses, inadequacies or inefficiencies, it was a question of the set-in-cement thinking of the Congress Party, determined to exploit its legacy as Gandhi’s party during the independence movement, and therefore handcuffed to the One Nation Theory.

    Want a reminder?

    “You might try a temporary sojourn into insanity and read what I have written at such length about the Congress Party and its electoral compulsions, its need to identify itself with the One Nation Theory”

    It was not Ambedkar’s constitution at fault; it was the use or lack of use of this constitution by the ideologically committed Congress Party.

    5. As far as your wish to argue this or not is concerned, I had offered you an opportunity to take this off the columns of PTH, as a courtesy to the members to whom this could not be of interest. Not once, but three times, twice because of your questionable ethics in associating yourself with personal attacks, I had suggested that we take it away, or drop it. It was you, on every occasion, who felt it imperative to revive the topic.

    Can it be that you have no more defences to offer? Can it be that you are aware that your glaring contradictions are only figments of your own imagination and those of your claque?

    Finally, be sure that while I will attempt to settle whatever questions arise that I feel equipped to settle, it is not always a pleasant exercise. One assumes a certain minimum standard of competence in framing and presenting arguments. Without that, the matter becomes a nightmare tutorial.

    It is difficult to emulate the magnanimity of Gorki, Khalid or Bin Ismail. I cannot say with any truth that I look forward to discuss with you anything else in future.

  312. LokSabha

    “Did Mahatma Gandhi recommend dissolution of the Indian National Congress?

    “This is a million Dollar question, the answer of which is simply “Yes”.

    “Immediately after the liberation of India from the British occupation, Mahatma Gandhi put forth a suggestion that let the Congress be dissolved; and let the people reorganize themselves into different groups suitable for their own personal visions and missions. As this was only a suggestion, nobody important of the Congress party leadership did heed any attention to it.”

  313. LokSabha

    “According to Mahatma Gandhi—The Last Phase, Vol. II, after the meeting of the A. I. C. C. Gandhiji said: “I am convinced that no patchwork treatment can save the Congress. It will only prolong the agony. The best thing for the Congress would be to dissolve itself before the rot sets in further. Its voluntary liquidation will brace up and purify the political climate of the country. But I can see that I can carry nobody with me in this.”

    November 15, 1947. Earlier he had said: “The second point I wish to talk to you about is the Hindu-Muslim relations to which I have already made a reference. I am ashamed of what is happening today; such things should never happen in India. We have to recognize that India does not belong to Hindus alone, nor does Pakistan to Muslims. I have always held that if Pakistan belongs to Muslims alone, then it is a sin which will destroy Islam. Islam has never taught this. It will never work if Hindus as Hindus claim to be a separate nation in India and Muslims in Pakistan. The Sikhs too have now and again talked of a Sikhistan. If we indulge in these claims, both India and Pakistan will be destroyed, the Congress will be destroyed and we shall all be destroyed.”

  314. LokSabha

    He also said: “I claim to be an orthodox sanatanist. I know that my religion does not advocate untouchability. The mission of the Hindu Mahasabha is to reform Hindu society, to raise the moral level of the people. How then can the Sabha advocate the compulsory evacuation of all Muslims from India, as I am told it does? I know what some people are saying. ‘The Congress has surrendered its soul to the Muslims. Gandhi? Let him rave as he will. He is a wash out. Jawaharlal is no better. As regards Sardar Patel there is something in him. A portion of him is sound Hindu, but he too is after all a Congressman.’ Such talk will not help us. Where is an alternative leadership? Who is there in the Hindu Mahasabha who can replace Congress leadership? Violent rowdyism will not save either Hinduism or Sikhism. Such is not the teaching of Guru Granthsaheb. Christianity does not teach these ways. Nor has Islam been saved by the sword. I hear many things about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. I have heard it said that the Sangh is at the root of all this mischief. Let us not forget that public opinion is a far more potent force than a thousand swords. Hinduism cannot be saved by orgies of murder. You are now a free people. You have to preserve this freedom. You can do so if you are humane and brave and ever-vigilant, or else a day will come when you will rue the folly which made this lovely prize slip from your hands. I hope such a day will never come.

    You will forgive me for taking so much of your time. There is yet another point. “Control” is a vicious thing. It is responsible for much of the corruption that is rampant today. I am receiving innumerable letters and telegrams that confirm what I say. If you do not abolish control immediately, you will one day regret it. It makes people lazy and helpless. Do away with it. But before you proceed to other business, accept your President’s resignation. [Acharya J.B. Kripalani]”

  315. hayyer

    Gandhi of course never realized that he was a control freak himself.

    no-communal:
    Briefly, on language once again. People believe that Hindi is the national language of India and that the others are regional languages of sorts. Incorrect.
    There is no hierarchy in languages. States like Bengal or Tamil Nadu which do not use Hindi in their official work are under no obligation to genuflect to Hindi. The centre may not correspond with them in Hindi. Vajpayee’s speech in the UN in Hindi, or its much pursued acceptance by the UN as an official language swells some chests with pride no doubt but these are northerly confined.
    GOI itself has never claimed that Hindi is anything but an official language of the Union. They even have a Department of Official Language for the placement of some poor babus not connected sufficiently for more rewarding positions.
    By the way, taking a semantic position can sometimes be a search for accuracy. A lot of muddled writing is actually a result of muddled thinking. Cogent arguments flow from clear thinking. Semantics helps clear thinking by clarifying our fuzzy perceptions.

  316. LokSabha

    no-communal,

    Alas, I have fallen prey to the common disease. The truest statement Vajra has written so far is “It is output that matters, not input.” It doesn’t matter whether one arrives at a set of ideas of how India should work from Gandhiphilia, Gandhiphobia or from a position of ignorance of Gandhi. The questions ought to be – what are these ideas? are they workable? if they are better than what we have, how do we go about adopting them?

    Instead we go about in an essentially sterile discussion of whether Gandhi was a control freak or not, and whether he did or did not set in stone the form that governance in India would take in the sixty-two years after his demise.

    Neither the lineage of ideas nor how they were arrived at matters; all that matters is the quality of the ideas. If Vajra cannot assert their quality without trashing Gandhi, then we know the ideas are contingent on the existence of Gandhi, and a particular historical view of him, and cannot stand on their own.

    The same thing holds for secularism for Pakistan. If the main argument for secularism is that Jinnah wanted it, then secularism in Pakistan will always fail (i.e., secularism in Pakistan is contingent on a particular historical view of Jinnah and interpretation of his speeches and writings). If “secularism is a good idea” is argued, and oh, by the way, Jinnah wanted it too is a parenthetical comment, then secularism will have some legs to stand on. Or parallel to Vajra’s stand on Gandhi, if secularism in Pakistan argued on its merits and is only incidentally opposed to Maududi, secularism might have some strength.

    Likewise, if all that unites a bunch of folks is that they oppose Gandhi, nothing much will ever come of it, and we should not waste our time with it.

  317. hayyer

    And so back to traducing poor Gandhi.

    no-communal:

    I have now gone through your post of 6/9 at 8:49 to which you requested a response.
    Much argumentation has flown by us these last few days and I don’t know that I can add anything to Vajra’s stout defence of the fort.
    My views on Gandhi remain the same. Many blessing enjoyed by the Indian state were credited to Gandhi’s account. I have already asked Gandhi for evidence. Weariness has set in and I have no doubt that there is little interest in pursuing the subject for the present. No doubt we shall joust again on PTH on some other thread. Just a brief aside on your P. Hees quote in that post.

    Active opposition to the British always existed before 1905. The Kooka rebellion in Punjab of circa 1873, the mutiny, the Sikh wars and even the second Afghan war and the skirmishes on the frontier can all legitimately claim to be anti British movements.

  318. hayyer

    Lok Sabha:

    Please provide some evidence that communal harmony was born with Gandhi.

    You said,
    “That they despite their numbers choose not to do it through force or through parliamentary majoritarianism is a sign of this awareness of the imperatives of harmony, of Gandhianism.”

    I would add that there are also many muslims living in India who believe, subconsciously or otherwise, in the innate values of tolerance and harmony of Gandhi. But in the substance I agree with you. Even though many seem to think Gandhian ethos has nothing to do with present-day India.”

    Tolerance and Harmony? Did Gandhi invent the concepts? Did you by any chance hear of others preaching the same values?

  319. no-communal

    LokSabha

    “Likewise, if all that unites a bunch of folks is that they oppose Gandhi, nothing much will ever come of it, and we should not waste our time with it.”

    That’s exactly right. In fact there is not much to debate anymore as far as the question of Gandhi’s legacy wrecking our present-day conditions is concerned. It’s immature to continue to find scapegoat in people whose methods were tailored to their stated objectives. It’s immature to blame others, whose methods were suitable for their times, for all our present shortcomings.

    In Bengal, Tagore introduced a very specific verse writing style. Because of his enormous body of work and towering abstract influence, any other style, the so-called modern style without rythmic sequences, would not be considered verse at all. Then a new generation of poets came in the 30’s and 40’s. Despite the lukewarm response they received, they pledged to break away from Tagore’s somewhat old-fashioned style. Initially, of course, people mocked and sneered but these guys persisted.In the end, they were successful to usher in the modern era in Bengali poetry. Even Tagore followed their style in some of his last writings.

    Now, suppose for a moment that these younger guys were scared to break free. Or they were not successful even if they were brave.And Bengali poetry was still old-fashioned, somewhat stale, and in the style of 1910. Who would you ascribe the blame to? Well, of course, you could always ascribe it to Tagore himself. You could say because he was (and still is) so popular, it was impossible to break away from his style. So it could not have been the faults of the latter guys and the fault
    squarely belongs to Tagore.

    But, the problem is, if you continue saying that,
    nobody will take you seriously.

  320. no-communal

    hayyer

    “Just a brief aside on your P. Hees quote in that post.

    Active opposition to the British always existed before 1905. The Kooka rebellion in Punjab of circa 1873, the mutiny, the Sikh wars and even the second Afghan war and the skirmishes on the frontier can all legitimately claim to be anti British movements”

    So you think I am (or for that matter Hees is) not aware of our history at all.

    “Tolerance and Harmony? Did Gandhi invent the concepts? Did you by any chance hear of others preaching the same values?”

    Who else, in modern times, and with so much mass connection and influence? And even if there were, how does that diminish Gandhi’s contribution?

  321. YLH

    Just so that we are clear here Gandhi is the same dude who was British Empire’s recruiter in chief in WW-I and won the title of “Qaiser e Hind” (Caesar of India) from the British Empire.

  322. Vajra

    YLH [September 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm]

    Just so that we are clear here Gandhi is the same dude who was British Empire’s recruiter in chief in WW-I and won the title of “Qaiser e Hind” (Caesar of India) from the British Empire.

    Your reality check is in the mail. :-P

  323. no-communal

    hayyer

    “There is no hierarchy in languages. States like Bengal or Tamil Nadu which do not use Hindi in their official work are under no obligation to genuflect to Hindi.”

    Correct. Isn’t that the whole point I am making?

  324. Bade Miya

    Ylh,
    What are your views on Lawyers’ movement in Pakistan?

  325. YLH

    A negative reactionary movement which could have turned into an Islamic revolution had the great Aitzaz Ahsan not had the good sense of calling it off at the right time… in the final analysis the movement did more harm than good.

    I was at the time part of it.

  326. Bade Miya

    Ylh,
    Thanks for that insight. I guess, it would be fair to conclude that you had a different view point at the time you were participating. Hindsight, of course, is always 20-20

  327. YLH

    Yes not everyone is Jinnah clearly. But it is not my involvement with the lawyers’ movement in question here.

  328. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    Good analogy. The following line is, in my view, more revealing:
    “Even Tagore followed their style in some of his last writings.”

    The lazy turrets who spew similar blather about Nehru’s socialism fail to see that had Nehru been alive, he would have made a quicker course correction. As Hayyer would confirm, he had no illusions about the Chinese intentions. One can only blame the early leaders for the imbecility of the followers.

  329. Bade Miya

    Ylh,
    “But it is not my involvement with the lawyers’ movement in question here.”

    Of course, I was just making a point. As a sharp lawyer, you would have seen what I am trying to say.

  330. Bade Miya

    One can only blame *so much*

  331. Bade Miya

    Hayyer,
    The contradiction that I was referring to was this one:
    (1) Hayyer argues that Gandhi wrecked the freedom movement but is thankful for the infinite wisdom of the leaders post ’47 who ignored Gandhi’s objection due to which he does not have to suffer Gandhi’s BS.
    (2) The other gentleman believes we are still suffering from the “evil” effects of Gandhi.

    Thanks for your patience and polite replies.

  332. YLH

    Gandhi was like a vaccine that the British applied to Indian body politic. He fulfilled a two fold purpose: 1. To take the wind out of the revolutionaries 2. To create enough chaos for the British to delay constitutional advance.

  333. no-communal

    @YLH

    “Yes not everyone is Jinnah clearly”

    YLH, why is this unnecessary football match?

  334. no-communal

    Bade Miya

    “The lazy turrets who spew similar blather about Nehru’s socialism fail to see that had Nehru been alive, he would have made a quicker course correction.”

    I completely agree.

  335. Bade Miya

    “1. To take the wind out of the revolutionaries 2. To create enough chaos for the British to delay constitutional advance.” :)

    That was nice. I beg to ask, if I may, that should Gandhi not taken the wind out of the revolutionaries, as you claim, would that have speed ed the “constitutional” advance? I guess, I don’t understand these nuances. My sincere apologies.

  336. Bade Miya

    *had Gandhi* Sorry for the error.

  337. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    Thanks.

  338. Bade Miya

    @LokSabha
    September 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Very well written post. It’s worth saving.
    Thanks.

  339. LokSabha

    Bade Miya,
    Thank you!

  340. hayyer

    Because Nehru was aware of China’s threat it is surprising that he embarked on hostile manoeuvres on the border with Tibet in the late 50s, while denying the Army a required modernization, and starving it of equipment. Chinese intentions were suspected in the mid fifties even in the Hindi Chini bhai bhai days and patrols were sent up to study Chinese deployment on the border in UP as well as Ladakh. After the Hot Springs attack in 1959 following the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India Nehru should have brought India’s Army up to par before provoking and confronting the PLA. Instead he spoke soulfully of ‘this perfidy and calumny’ after the Chinese attack. Why didn’t he know it was coming, and why didn’t he prepare for it?

    My other comment is about the following quote,

    “The lazy turrets who spew similar blather about Nehru’s socialism fail to see that had Nehru been alive, he would have made a quicker course correction.”

    Au contraire, Nehru’s last major political initiative at the Bhubhaneshwar session of the Congress in January 64 was a furious attempt to restore its focus to socialism. He suffered a heart attack there following his efforts. Having had to dump Krishna Menon after the China war and faced with the strengthening anti socialists like S K Patil and Morarji Desai Nehru had launced his Kamraj plan. All this was directed towards shoring up the left which included proto communists within the Congress like HD Malaviyya.
    After Patel died in 1950 Nehru pursued his socialism with a vengeance till death. On Nehru’s motivations a good read is Deepak Lal. Lal who left the Indian Foreign Service to pursue an academic career is a professor of economics. He talks rather scathingly of India’s literary castes that would not brook the empowerment of the commercial classes. I think he means the Brahmins and Kayasths against the Banias.
    Francine Frankel is also good for a study of Indian politics during Nehru’s time. I forget the name of the book. It can be googled.
    Nehru believed that the only cure for socialism was more socialism.

  341. Gorki

    “And then Franklin smote the ground and up rose George Washington, fully dressed and astride a horse! Then the three of them, Franklin, Washington and the HORSE, proceeded to win the entire revolution single handley!”
    — John Adams

    Dear Lok Sabha:

    Thank you for researching and posting the actual words of the great men under discussion. I think it is very effective way to make any point to let them speak for themselves and keep the commentary to a minimum.

    I especially liked the Ambedkar passages.

    I think this vigorous intra Indian discussion is finally winding down and I have a few observations to make.

    1. Many years ago a favorite school teacher once remarked that the first half of the 20th century was India’s golden period for never had so many people of such great intellect, patriotism and integrity lived in it all at one time. I agree. In addition to the usual giants like MAJ, MKG, JLN and Patel, many others existed who would make any country proud. For example till recently Ambedkar’s towering intellect and his patriotism and contributions have been overlooked. Fortunately it is beginning to change (in fact the pendulum is swinging too far now, thanks to Mayawati et. al.) and it is a credit to PTH that he has been given a pride of place among the pantheon here.

    2. I believe patriotism comes in many flavors and true patriots don’t flinch at discussing inconvenient facts for that is the only way to make any progress. The generation before ours left us with a solid foundation but nation building can never be expected to be completed in a generation or two; it takes centuries; each generation will accomplish a little and pass the baton to the next one along with unfinished tasks, and so it is with us.

    3. While serious historians frown on popular mythmaking; no society (without exception) is immune to it as the above quote demonstrates. I believe even mythmaking can be useful in nation building by transmitting the overall philosophy of the past leadership to the next generation provided it is not inherently biased for propaganda purposes; it is not consciously dishonest and does not deviates from the broad brush strokes of history. For further intellectual honesty reading the actual words of the historical figures (Lok Sabha style) and contemporary accounts are very useful for more rigorous minds.

    4. Mythmaking does not mean historical narrative should not be challenged and debated; for only though such debating can we remain faithful to the overall purpose of the founding fathers.

    5. While there were a lot of mistakes made by the generations before us, there was enough merit in what they did for what we have today cannot be easily dismissed.

    Regardless of who gets the credit for India’s freedom, MKG, BRA, MAJ or Jomo Kenyatta, or Julius Nyerere or even Simon Bolivar; it does not matter. The fact remains that the demise of European colonialism of other races was a world wide phenomena, and that it was accomplished by popular anti government movements. For better or worse, most people consider the Indian independence movement a more responsible movement on one hand and a role model for others on the other.

    6. Our Independence was marred by partition and untold misery but our post independence period course has surprised many. For one thing, a dictatorship free democracy (baring 18 months) in India is an exception rather than a rule as is evident from the experience of so many other former colonies. Even as late as 1967 a Yankee reporter was confidently predicting to his newspaper in New York that it would be India’s last free general election and would be replaced by a dictatorship.

    7. Not only have we successfully defended our democracy, we have overcome a few national problems on the way. After some initial hesitation, we abandoned the quest for one national language and reorganized ourselves on the basis of linguistic states; strengthening our Republic.

    8. Nehru in his role as a historian-chronicler wrote the DOI and articulated an idea of a plural India seeing the country as an “ancient palimpsest” on which successive rulers and subjects had inscribed their visions without erasing what had been asserted previously. For better or worse; our generation of nationalist Indians has embraced that idea making “unity in diversity” the most hallowed of our self-defining slogans.

    9. Again while a lot still needs to be done, we have had minor victories too. Kashmir still festers but we did resolve the Punjab tangle.
    The same rebel who was once arrested for burning the constitution is now the Chief Minster of Indian Punjab, governing in partnership with a self described Hindu party suggesting that our constitution has the elasticity to accommodate dissent and still survive, provided there are men and women with enough wisdom to allow it to do so.

    Sadly the two men who accomplished the famous ‘Rajiv Longowal’ accord both fell to terrorist bullets (the later as a direct result of his courageous act).

    10. In summary, the discussion above is a typical ‘glass half empty half full’ argument; both sides are correct. More importantly, both sides are needed to make our country strong. One reason why we are all arguing on the behalf of our favorite heroes is that we are convinced that they were men of action; they acted in good faith, and they were patriots. Above all we believe that they acted selflessly and regardless of any concern of how we, the future generations, would judge them. That in itself; should be enough.

    Nehru was ones asked by a foreign journalist looking for a sound bite as to what he would like his legacy to be.
    He thought for a moment and replied ‘A nation of four hundred million capable of governing itself’.

    I think we can all agree on that.

    On this sad day when my country of residence was attacked, I close with a wish for peace and freedom for all and a hope that we here in the US too can collectively summon enough wisdom and morality to uphold the very principles on which this nation was founded.

    Regards.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    John Adams

  342. YLH

    Lok sabha is yet another avatar of Arun Gupta.

  343. @YLH

    Although he is such a nuisance of a troll, you will agree that his citation of Dr. Ambedkar lifted the tone of what was becoming an ugly and sordid piece of discord.

    Every line of that speech was inspiring! To read the whole of it, rather than the excerpts that one is used to do, and at that point of the discussion, was very healing.

    When your scoundrelly friend is finally judged, I hope that this invocation of the spirit of Ambedkar will be taken to his credit.

  344. @YLH

    He has also raised an interesting point: wrong, but interesting. And a corollary as well.

    He postulates that ideas exist in a vacuum, that they may be judged by themselves standing alone, that their merit may be determinable without considering their historical and objective context. Regardless of where it has come from, it can be judged, he implies, and goes on to say explicitly that it should be so judged.

    So ideas can stand on their own.

    Similarly, to him, secularism in Pakistan has to have a basis of its own, regardless of Jinnah or Maudoodi. This may be genuine misunderstanding or deliberate mischief-making. It is possible to assume genuine misunderstanding before it is disproved, and deliberate mischief-making is proven.

    My understanding is that your advocacy of secularism in Pakistan, for Pakistan, was based on the ideals of liberalism, on the due process of law, on the determination of the exercise of individual liberty based on the laws of the land, rather than on asymmetric religious empowerment.

    Please correct me if this is incorrect.

    I think that he has confused your enthusiasm for Jinnah’s character with your support for secularism, and thinks that this support is solely due either to blind worship of whatever Jinnah stood for, or blind rejection of whatever Maudoodi stood for. There is no harm in putting your correct views on record, to prevent loose talk of this type.

    However, at least the first theorem was interesting, if not the corollary.

  345. LokSabha

    Vajra: the point simply is that neither Gandhi nor Jinnah is like the Prophet of Islam; they are merely respected and sometimes disrespected elders. We are not bound by the particulars they gave us. If there is a better way, even if not blessed by them, we should take it.

    Ideas don’t arise in a vacuum – there is a historical context and they arise from some experience and some study and some creativity. But the idea stands on its own. Or else, e.g., some might reject those of Ramanujam’s theorems that were inspired in his dreams of his goddess, Namadevi, as kaffir theorems!

    The main reason to examine history with regard to constitutional ideas is to see whether they were thought of before? What reasons may have made them inconceivable in the past? For what reasons were they accepted/rejected? Are those reasons still valid today? Are the pro- or opposing forces still in the same configuration today as they were in the past? and so on. This is where reading what the authors of previous constitutions wrote and said is enlightening.

    Finally, the idea for constitutional reform, or legal or administrative reform have to be compared to what we have today, and that too will bring in historical context. Here is a trivial example, from Arundhati Roy:

    “Between 2008 and 2009 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj commissioned two researchers to write a chapter for a report on the progress of Panchayati Raj in the country. The chapter is called “PESA, Left Wing Extremism and Governance: Concerns and Challenges in India’s Tribal Districts”, its authors, are Ajay Dandekar and Chitrangada Choudhury. Here are some extracts:

    “The central Land Acquisition Act of 1894 has till date not been amended to bring it in line with the provisions of PESA ….At the moment, this colonial-era law is being widely misused on the ground to forcibly acquire individual and community land for private industry. In several cases, the practice of the state government is to sign high profile MOUs with corporate houses and then proceed to deploy the Acquisition Act to ostensibly acquire the land for the state industrial corporation. This body then simply leases the land to the private corporation – a complete travesty of the term ‘acquisition for a public purpose’, as sanctioned by the act.”
    —-
    IMO, it is important to know that the law is from 1894 and not something anyone today can really defined.

  346. LokSabha

    Two other reasons why the provenance of an idea might concern us –

    1. the purveyor of the idea might be trying to sell us idea Y in the guise of idea X.

    2. since we have limited time and attention, we will tend to ignore ideas of known crackpots – even though they may come up with good ideas.

  347. @Lok Sabha

    This seems to me different from your original post. As you have put it here, it reflects any reasonable point of view.

    the point simply is that neither Gandhi nor Jinnah is like the Prophet of Islam; they are merely respected and sometimes disrespected elders. We are not bound by the particulars they gave us. If there is a better way, even if not blessed by them, we should take it.

    Well, obviously, I should imagine. I thought you were saying that solutions generated by the shortcomings of Gandhi were not valid; solutions derived by the effulgence of Jinnah’s character, or the less attractive features of Maudoodi’s nature were not valid. Whether right or wrong, this is what it seemed to be, and it did not seem reasonable.

    It would have been reasonable to say instead that solutions validated by Gandhi’s shortcomings, Jinnah’s goodness of character or Maudoodi’s defective nature were topical and incapable of general application.

    As it happens, if what you have written in your last post, what is there to object to? I am slightly suspicious, but given the unambiguous wording of your last post, forced to agree that this is very fairly said.

    I must agree very reluctantly to your second point as well. The reluctance lies in the need to assume a sufficient body of human experience in constitution-making to find sufficient examples and enough scope of comparison of functionality. Given changes in human society, it is questionable whether the Athenian constitution, for instance, carefully designed though it was, would be fit for a multi-civic democracy. Nor is it likely that the constitution of the unitary people, the Gauls, after their several revolutions and their empires and restored kingdoms, would have any meaning for Bharat that is India. As it happens, perhaps it was inevitable that the draft committee took the lessons that it did.

    Your final point is a deserved mockery of our system, since there are not one or two but many laws ranging back scores of years, or more. I hope you realise that the police act on the basis of the Indian Police Act, 1861.

  348. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra (September 12, 2010 at 4:17 pm)

    “…@YLH…..he has confused your enthusiasm for Jinnah’s character with your support for secularism, and thinks that this support is solely due either to blind worship of whatever Jinnah stood for, or blind rejection of whatever Maudoodi stood for…..”

    I too, am looking forward to YLH’s own response. However, if I may submit, I believe most proponents of secularism in Pakistan, are quite convinced, and very much due to logical arguments, that secular statecraft is inherently good and just, irrespective of the fact that it is precisely this goodness and justice, that Jinnah stood for. It is also equally evident that theocratic statecraft is inherently bad and unjust, irrespective of the fact that it is precisely this concept that Maudoodi stood for.

  349. YLH

    My views have been summed up by Bin Ismail.

    The problem with this Arun Gupta fellow is that he and his sister are threatened by any appropriation of secularism by the evil “other” like me… Since they assume everything about the “islamicate” other to be inherently negative (and by association Jinnah and everything Jinnah stood for as evil), a self proclaimed Jinnah-admirer’s intense advocacy of secularism bothers them so much that they try and seek all different interpretations for my behavior. It just doesn’t occur to them that the evil other can be earnest because in reality they are not earnest… The fire of Hindu fanaticism burns brightly…

    The fact is – and this is what bothers the New Jersey Guptas- that I refuse to toe the usual earn brownie points line while genuinely holding the view that secularism is a necessity for Pakistan and I am talking in the very western sense of the word.

    Doesn’t bother me. Kashifiat and the New Jersey Guptas are all cut from the same cloth… Gandhi or Maududi who cares… They should consider this – the entire motley crew- …have they been able to stop me?

  350. YLH

    To answer Vajra’s question… Jinnah’s importance to the secularism question broadly has to do with this.

    We (the secularists) say Pakistan should be secular. Islamists say but Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam. We point out that the same Islamists opposed Pakistan and that Jinnah favored a liberal democratic polity where religion would be a personal matter (hence secularism).

    Secularism can’t be built on Jinnah alone but it can’t be built without him either. That is the only point I have.

  351. @Lok Sabha

    Wouldn’t you agree that Yasser has a strong case? In that

    1. The Pakistani liberal believes that a secular Pakistan is inherently desirable.

    2. The Pakistani Islamicist rejects that, not on merit, but on the grounds that the basis of formation of Pakistan was Islam, meaning Islamicism, not a formation designed to create a Muslim majority.

    3. The Pakistani liberal demolishes that ab initio argument by pointing out that the person who should know, having represented the community, and having negotiated through tortuous sessions with the British, was not an Islamicist, therefore he could not logically have been striving for an Islamicist state without contradicting everything that he stood for.

    Secularism can’t be built on Jinnah alone but it can’t be built without him either.

    What I understand Yasser to mean is that secularism as a policy has its own merit, but Jinnah’s testimony is needed to thwart attempts at pleading a basis for the policy of the foundation to be other than merit.

  352. @Bin Ismail

    I have adopted your argument and Yasser’s own argument to this effect.

  353. no-communal

    @hayyer
    “Nehru believed that the only cure for socialism was more socialism”

    Hayyer Sb,

    As Aravind Adiga writes in Time,

    “Some Indians were never happy with Nehru. A Hindu-nationalist leader once accused him of being “English by education, Muslim by culture and Hindu by accident.” …Gandhi’s example transformed a mediocre Anglophile lawyer into a nationalist hero, but the two men’s visions were hardly alike: Gandhi believed India’s future lay in self-sufficient villages, but Nehru, influenced by Soviet socialism, wanted to urbanize and industrialize, filling India with steel mills, hydroelectric dams and engineering colleges. And Nehru’s vision won out.

    One belief, though, was common to both men: a conviction that India would be no home for bigots.”

    A recent article in Hindu summarizes Nehru’s vision for India as below:

    “The elements of Nehru model are: Planning, dominant public sector, full utilisation of all productive forces, full utilisation of science and technology as instruments of change and growth, radical land reforms, modernisation of agriculture and reduction of disparities. His contribution in making India a secular democratic republic is of paramount significance.

    “But a majority which ignores the minority is not functioning in the true spirit of the Parliamentary democracy” according to Pandit Nehru.”

    Now, which other model other than the above you think would have been suitable for India in its first formative 50 years? Which other model wouldn’t have created a tiny tiny sliver of rich followed by hundreds of millions of poor (not that it’s not happening now, but thankfully to a much lesser degree), which could have resulted in instability and civil war not unseen in many other countries in its formative years. In short, based on your own experience, what would you recommend for a large poor country: first trying to be a public sector and welfare state and then unleash capitalism, or the other way round?

    May be you guys have already discussed this earlier. But I genuinely wanted to know your opinion to further my own understanding.

  354. LokSabha

    What I understand Yasser to mean is that secularism as a policy has its own merit, but Jinnah’s testimony is needed to thwart attempts at pleading a basis for the policy of the foundation to be other than merit.

    Fair enough.

  355. Gorki

    @ NC
    India would have done better if we had adopted the free market economy early on but this is hindsight. Unlike the communist ideologists Nehru’s belief in socialist economic policies had less to do with ideology and more with common wisdom at the time. His embraced the socialist model because it was the current wisdom at the time and upon the recommendations of his economic and scientific advisors among whom was Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, a Cambridge educated scientist and statistician who was a member of the planning commission.
    In the sixties the Soviet model was admired by many; it had won a great industrial age war, educated its people and had transformed from a backward nation to a super power in a couple of generations. The currently admired Chinese too were then mired in their own disastrous socialist economic experiments of the Cultural Revolution. Nehru is on the record as having said that to him socialism was not an end in itself but a means to an end; of removing poverty.
    Our problems were made worse during the long innings of his daughter who failed to correct course even when it became evident that we were on a wrong path.

    @Vajra
    Sept 12, 9.07 pm post is an exceptionally clear reason why we should leave the discussion about MAJ to the Pakistanis alone and it highlights the handicap we Indians place on people like YLH when we interfere with it by bringing our own take on their founding father. I will try to keep it in mind myself even more so in future.
    Thank you.

  356. no-communal

    Gorki

    Thanks for your response. I broadly agree with you.

    The following lines are from someone who is not known for his distaste of free market economy:

    “While a small section of urban India might be growing at twenty percent or even more; the majority of India is still stuck at low digits, if it is even growing at all. The ‘trickle down’ theory is an iniquitous response to this dilemma, and unsustainable in a democracy, since the ‘have-nots’ who are waiting for the trickle are seeing, plainly, that there is a waterfall among the ‘haves’. This is generating serious levels of conflict across the country. Clearly, the time has come to take a hard re-look at our economic policy. We must, in all honesty, ask ourselves: Why has it not delivered to India’s poor what it has delivered to India’s rich?”

    L. K. Advani

    Since the lines appeared in his memoir “My Country, My Life”, and not in a political speech, there may not be a political motive in them.

    It may be worth re-emphasizing the part,

    “…since the ‘have-nots’ who are waiting for the trickle are seeing, plainly, that there is a waterfall among the ‘haves’. This is generating serious levels of conflict across the country.”

    This is a serious problem in any free economy, and has led to many civil wars and revolutions, unless there is a reasonable base level for the poor. That’s what Nehru wanted to achieve by his planning commissions and model of a welfare state, modelled after USSR. It was even more important for India because it started as a large country of mostly uneducated and unnourished millions, to whom the survival of the fittest principle of a free market economy could very well have been a disaster. If it succeeded or not, and how far it should have been stretched, are obviously matters of debate and, as you say, can only be viewed in hindsight.

    In China, the rich-poor discord (especially in the non-coastal areas), land-related grievances etc. are suppressed with an iron hand. They could do a course correction pretty much when they wanted.

  357. @Gorki

    Personally, I thought the 9:05 was almost as good; a little gassy, perhaps, but good.

    There’s a saying in Bengali about there being no Hindu more zealous than a recently converted Hindu. It’s good to note your enthusiasm to leave people alone. Welcome to the club. At times we thought you’d never finally reach!
    :-D

  358. Gorki

    @ Vajra.

    I actually meant 9:05 pm.
    Sorry for the confusion and thanks for the correction.

  359. hayyer

    NC:
    “Clearly, the time has come to take a hard re-look at our economic policy. We must, in all honesty, ask ourselves: Why has it not delivered to India’s poor what it has delivered to India’s rich?”
    When did we switch course. About 1991? So what did you find Socialism delivering to the poor in 40 years that you cannot grant to Trickle down theory in 19. Orissa Jharkand, Chattisgarh and Bihar are not the whole story of India. In Haryana and Punjab the daily wage is 200 rupees. Farm labourers have cell phones and TVs. The only people interested in socialism are those jholawalas with vested interests concealed in them.

    “but Nehru, influenced by Soviet socialism, wanted to urbanize and industrialize, filling India with steel mills, hydroelectric dams and engineering colleges. And Nehru’s vision won out.”

    Do you think that those steel mills, dams and colleges were only possible through Nehru’s vision. Tata set up his steel plant in 1906 when Nehru was probably freshly out of short pants.
    The British set up universities and engineering colleges a near century before him as well as medical colleges. Nehru did not want anyone else but the state doing these things. I mentioned his aversion to the commercial classes. Why did he not accept the Bombay plan of 1942 which was as ambitious if not more than his vision.

    This vision of Nehru that you mention, …”Planning, dominant public sector, full utilisation of all productive forces, full utilisation of science and technology as instruments of change and growth, radical land reforms, modernisation of agriculture and reduction of disparities.” was not a vision, it was a delusion because it achieved the very opposite of what he intended.

    “His contribution in making India a secular democratic republic is of paramount significance.”

    No one disputes that and it is not under discussion.
    …” sliver of rich followed by hundreds of millions of poor (not that it’s not happening now, but thankfully to a much lesser degree), which could have resulted in instability and civil war not unseen in many other countries in its formative years.”

    Under Nehru the poor remained poor, it was the crooks, blackmarketeers and smugglers who got rich because of his license permit raj.

    “In short, based on your own experience, what would you recommend for a large poor country: first trying to be a public sector and welfare state and then unleash capitalism, or the other way round?”

    Based on my experience not just theory, NC, I would advise a large poor country to abandon hope whenever the government if the government takes up development through its control freaks. If there is anything in the economy of modern India that you would credit to the government with please say so. Even the Rural Employment guarantee scheme is a vast vote gathering exercise and not all that its cracked up to be.

    Gorki:

    Nehru embraced what you call his socialist model well before Mahalonobis appeared on the scene. And it wasn’t received wisdom quite. True, after the great depression Keynesian intervention had become acceptable and with the Marshall Plan and the Labour victory a government role had come to be accepted, but that was not what Nehru was about. He pursued the Soviet model of the late 20s because that is what he saw on his visit and believed that it was the way to grow India. Mahalonobis was drafted on the recommendation of CD Deshmukh the Education Minister who knew him from Cambridge. The Mahalanobis two sector and later four sector model became the basis for the Second Five Year plan with its focus on heavy industry and neglect of agriculture which led India to become dependent upon PL 480 as a result of persistent food insecurity. Nehru pushed created the Planning Commission by administrative order and made himself the Chairman. He thus became the Economic Supremo overriding the constitutional mandated Finance Commissions through administrative fiat and disturbing the federal structure of the constitution.
    Deepak Lal ascribes it to Nehru’s feeling of class snobbishness that would not permit him to kowtow to capitalist barons of India. The Industrial Policy Act is a masterpiece of confused thinking.

    Of course it was all about removing poverty but that was precisely what Nehru failed to achieve.

  360. hayyer

    Sorry for the two typos above. Unlike Two balled (Sy)Ed, I can see two only for now.

  361. YLH

    I’d like to say also that people should read my article Direct Action Day part 2 lessons learnt… They will realize that my admiration for Jinnah is neither blind nor an act of worship.

  362. @YLH

    What?

    Are you telling me I missed it? :-o Surely not?

  363. @YLH

    I don’t remember what had happened, whether other circumstances intervened, or what, but this short piece by you brings out a number of interesting questions. These are ripe with portent and meaning, and I shan’t apologise for dwelling on them again.

  364. The questions raised by Direct Action Day are as vital as any others asked at any other stage of the independence struggle.

    The truth is that the Muslim League could not afford mass-scale Hindu-Muslim violence in Calcutta or in India. Suhrawardy was in power through a cross-communal ministry, which depended as much on Hindu support as it did on Muslim support.

    Against this, we have to juxtapose the perception, like it or not, that, in Calcutta, Muslims started the killing, had an almost free hand for two days, and then faced a massive retaliation. This may not apply to other locations.

    The question is: assuming that this perception is correct, why would the Muslims invite such massive retaliation? If the leadership did not want this, and there is enough evidence you have adduced that the central leadership wanted an expression of iron resolve, not of killing and bloodshed, why did it happen?

    First, the role of the leadership. It has been pointed out that the regime in Bengal at the time was not undiluted Muslim League. Suhrawardy was in other respects and on other occasions had been a responsible statesman. However, it is arguable that his ground level control of votes in the street was through a network of workers whose profiles shaded off into very gray areas. Neither he, nor any other political leadership at that time, nor any in present-day Pakistan, India or Bangladesh, has the luxury of selecting field level workers of their choice.

    It is possible that his instructions were interpreted by his field level workers in their own fashion. It is possible that what was possible to achieve in terms of top level control while calling out the vote, an essentially peaceful exercise, started deteriorating and at some point, completely caved in as matters on the street took on their own momentum.

    In short, in ordering protests and demonstrations of strength, the leadership started something that they couldn’t control and their leadership was taken over by the mob.

    Those of us in India who have been looking at their TV screens over the last few days surely will not find this a completely unfamiliar sight.

    A thought before we go to other observations: this was due to the loose nature of Indian political organisation, where, outside the Communists and the Sangh Parivar, there was never any cadre-based party, which would come to heel rather than running amok under stress. If we can surmise that this happened in the case of the League, we are compelled to hand over the same defense to the INC, and to agree that there may have been occasions when imperfect, malfunctioning command and control systems led to serious debacles.

    This then is a condemnation of leaders who took up the responsibility for leading an independence movement, without creating the infrastructure or the cadres necessary to lead that movement at extreme moments, at moments of stress. The organisations performed well at other times.

    At the national level, after the collapse of the Cabinet Mission Plan, Jinnah’s strategy was to hold out from the interim government by pitching extreme demands.

    Was this absolutely necessary? Even after the decision of partition was known? Could working together have led to some degree of joint planning to avoid the miseries of partition? Or was it already too late for any kind of mutual deliberation to take place? Was it also completely beyond the imagination of all concerned what tidal waves they were setting in motion?

    After being tainted with the same brush as Congress, Jinnah could no longer hold onto his earlier demand of Congress-League parity in the interim government or that, having swept Muslim seats, League alone had the right to nominate Muslims to the interim cabinet.

    The reciprocal question arises: why could Congress not have reacted and come at least half-way?

    What is not clear is this: what was the desperation due to? Why was the Congress completely closed to the idea of acknowledging minority sentiment? Why was it insistent on hegemonic control of the independence movement?

    Wavell — who absolved the League privately of the blame for Calcutta killings — used the killings as an excuse to go ahead with the transfer of power to a Congress-only cabinet.

    This particular proposition is a chicken or egg dilemma: was it the deliberate difficulties posed by the AIML that put off the Congress, or was it the difficulties created by the Congress that enraged the AIML? Nobody will know any longer.

    What we do know is that it became a fell disease, moving from the 1905 mild mutual dissent among the communities to the ethnic cleansing of the late 40S.

  365. Majumdar

    Dada,

    why would the Muslims invite such massive retaliation?

    The answer is that they didn’t expect to invite such massive retaliation. One Momin= 10 kaffir and all that stuff.

    Regards

  366. bciv

    Was this absolutely necessary?

    jinnah was trying, rather sullenly, to make a point to the british about what he saw as their uneven and unfair treatment, contrary to their own rules under which they had made the cmp proposals. we know that jinnah couldn’t have known about cripps’ less than honourable behaviour, but he would have noticed that things were not right.

    the ‘protest’ about ‘lack of fair play’ didn’t go beyond the decision about partition. jinnah had to relent within three months of DAD.

    in pakistan, the only two parties capable of a very high level of control and discipline right down to the cadres are JI and MQM. the latter has inherited much of its organisational structure from the JI, of course.

  367. bciv

    …the above posted is meant to be addressed to Vajra.

  368. bonobashi

    @Majumdar

    That is simplistic. Both positive and negative propaganda is propaganda, a statement with a thin connection to truth, if at all the connection exists.

    It is possible that Suhrawardy expected the kind of riot that is endemic in Bengal, in Calcutta even now, a riot against property. That is perfectly consistent with his inhibiting of action by the police by his turning up at the Control Room in Lalbazar (there was no wireless among police personnel, hence all information reached through telephone from a nearby telephone, or through motorcycle messenger). It is possible further that the situation turned ugly and went out of control, and he found he was unable to influence events any longer. It is sure that the massive retaliation was not expected, and that it took a toll of Muslim lives which was murderously higher.

    This is not to say that a larger or a lesser number made a difference, it is merely pointing out the facts and presenting possible interpretations.

  369. bciv

    why would the Muslims invite such massive retaliation?

    a large number of those doing the killing on either side probably wouldn’t have had to do the getting killed.

  370. no-communal

    The real question is why the killings continued after the first day, or even the first 12 hours.

    If we must discuss these contentious issues, it’s best to go back to whatever original document is available. Below is the manifesto for that day published in the muslim newspapers. The jehad angle is quite clear.

    Direct Action Day Manifesto, Calcutta

    The Secretary of the Calcutta District Muslim League notifies:-

    The All-India Direct Action Day, declared by the All-India Muslim League, will be jointly observed in Calcutta, Howrah, Hooghly, Matiaburz, 24-Parganas mill areas under the direction of the Calcutta District Muslim League. The programme for the Day is as under:-

    (1) Complete hartal and general strike in all
    spheres of civic, commercial and industrial life save and except the essential services of water works, hospitals, physicians’ clinics, maternity centres, light, electricity, gas and postal services.

    (2) Processions, “Kafelas” and “Akharas” with
    music bands and Tabaljungs will start from all
    mohallas in Calcutta, Howrah, Hooghly, Matiaburz
    and 24-Parganas and converge at the foot of the
    Ochterlony Monument between 3 and 6-30 p.m.

    (3) Joint mass rally and meeting of Calcutta,
    Howrah, Hooghly, Matiaburz and 24-Parganas will
    be held at foot of Ochterlony Monument from 3 p.m. on Friday the 16th August. Hon’ble Mr. H. S.
    Suhrawardy, leader Bengal Muslim League
    Parliamentary Party and Prime Minister Bengal has consented to preside.

    (4) Representatives of minorities, suppressed and
    oppressed people and anti-Fascist parties who have
    been unjustly bypassed by the British Government
    and who are ready to make common cause with the
    League in its fight for the equal freedom of the
    Muslims, the Hindus, the Scheduled Castes, the
    Adibasis, the tribals, the Christians and other
    peoples are welcome in the meeting.

    (5) Every ward and branch league must prepare a
    complete list of mosques in its areas, depute three
    workers in every mosque on Friday, the 16th August to explain the new policy and action plan of the League before JUMA prayers and to report to the District League about this arrangement. A manifesto on the subject has been specially published and is available from 8, Zakaria Street, Calcutta.

    (6) Special Munajat (Prayer) should be offered in
    every mosque on Friday after Juma prayers for the
    freedom of Muslim India, the Islamic world and the peoples of India and the East in general. The
    “Munajat” has been printed and published and is
    available from 8, Zakaria Street, Calcutta.
    I appeal to the Musalmans of Calcutta, Howrah,
    Hooghly, Matiaburz and 24-Parganas to rise to the
    occasion and make the rally a unique success. We
    are in the midst of the rainy season and the month
    of Ramazan fasting. But this is a month of real Jehad of God’s grace and blessings, spiritual armament, and the moral and physical purge of the nation. It is a supreme occasion of our trial. Let Muslims brave the rains and all difficulties and make the Direct Action Day meeting a historic mass mobilization of the Millat. Muslims must remember that it was in Ramazan that the Quran was revealed. It was in Ramazan that the permission for Jehad was granted by Allah. It was in Ramazan that the Battle of Badr the first open
    conflict between Islam and Heathenism was fought and won by 313 Muslims and again it was in
    Ramazan that 10,000 Muslims under the Holy
    Prophet conquered Mecca and established the
    kingdom of Heaven and the commonwealth of Islam in Arabia. The Muslim League is fortunate that it is starting its actions in this holy month.

  371. hayyer

    Margaret Bourke White may have excoriated Jinnah but he had an admirer in Beverly Nichols. Jinnah is a tragic figure because ultimately he failed where Nehru succeeded, but that is only because he was a Muslim I think. As a Hindu no one could have gotten close.
    Before I get jumped upon by my Indian friends let me clarify that in the numbers game a Muslim party was bound to fail when faced with the dismissive attitude of a party that was Hindu at its core even when it aspired to be inclusive.

  372. YLH

    The point is that it was the Muslims who were killed by the Hindus. Saying that Muslims were planning jehad (while armed with sticks) and that is why the Congress armed to the teeth busloads of Sikhs and Hindus and sent them into Calcutta is not a good argument.
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  373. YLH

    Nor is the argument that Punjabi and Pathan Muslims left the responsibility of Jehad to Bengali Muslims is a good one.

    Having reviewed the document for a millionth time, I don’t see the jehad angle as clearly as people making it out to be.
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  374. no-communal

    We should condemn the Babri Masjid demolition, the Gujarat riots and the great Calcutta killings with equal clarity and force. All were extreme forms of religiously motivated partisan politics and one should condemn ALL of them. I would.

  375. YLH

    Hayyer mentioned Bourkewhite. Bourkewhite lied about her presence at the League meeting. I showed that by analysing her account a while back. Her description of the event with “fezzes flying” seems just outrageously idiotic not to mention that her accounts completely mess up the dates. This is what is called masala journalism. Americans invented it.

  376. YLH

    Dear communal bigot …

    The Calcutta killings were carried out by the Hindus as was Gujurat and Babri Masjid.

    So you might have to find another Muslim attrocity.

  377. no-communal

    There were hardly any Bengali muslims in Calcutta. Calcutta muslims were mostly urdu speaking and from up north or west. So were the rich Hindus.

  378. no-communal

    YLH

    I don’t want to demean myself by indulging in a name calling match. Please feel free to not address me at all. Or do not bring up such issues if you lack the temperament.

  379. YLH

    Right ! Suhrawardy was Urdu speaking Muslim.

    Communal bigot …please try and speak some sense.

    In any event … Do read what Patrick French has to say. If I am not forgetting he claimed that 75 to 80 percent of all casualties in Calcutta were Muslim.

    I am sick of little crooked communalists trying to pose as secular.

  380. no-communal

    The key words here are retaliation, and administration inaction for two days.

    “I am sick of little crooked communalists trying to pose as secular.”

    Why doesn’t that apply bothways?

    Look, I don’t want to fight with you about who did what. I want Hindus and Muslims forget dredging up their sordid past and live in peace.

  381. YLH

    Well then stop lying about history.

  382. no-communal

    “Right ! Suhrawardy was Urdu speaking Muslim.”

    That doesn’t pass for an argument for anything.

  383. no-communal

    Bengali muslims were in the east, the part that became East Pakistan. To know Bengal I don’t have to read Patrick French. You can ask your Bengali friends here for corroboration.

  384. bciv

    hayyer

    nehru, as a member of the majority, could afford the ‘brinkmanship’ of not standing up to gandhi yet going on and doing what he believed in once he had the office he wanted and not just the opportunity.

    jinnah deciding to use congress’ gandhianism against congress, no matter how late in the day, could also have been successful ‘brinkmanship’ despite jinnah being a muslim, on an accordingly truncated scale. he showed that on august 11 ’47. but he would have had to be 20 years younger too, like nehru.

    would it have been better to quit if you thought the rules of the game were harmful to all and you were getting nowhere about appealing to reason and decency? sometimes, the quitter is not the loser. but it all depends whether someone sees it as loss or gain, for united india, bharat, pakistan, or hindus or for muslims.

  385. YLH

    And your point is precisely what …that all of those Muslims Calcutta spoke Urdu and hence it was ok to kill them?

    The argument is that 75 to 80 percent of all casualties were Muslims. That is the key word.

    Your arguments don’t make sense especially as these are dependent on a bankrupt distortion of history.

    What Suhrawardy did do was ensure that Hindu policemen are stopped from further tipping the balance. I suppose communal bigots like you would have preferred 100 Muslim casualty count.

    There is no way in hell any honest person will look at Calcutta killings and not see the Hindu culpability in it.

  386. YLH

    Erratum: That is a 100 percent Muslim death count.

  387. no-communal

    YLH

    In your post the following is the only part that makes any sense and so I am responding to it:

    “And your point is precisely what …that all of those Muslims Calcutta spoke Urdu..”

    This was in response to your earlier question

    “Nor is the argument that Punjabi and Pathan Muslims left the responsibility of Jehad to Bengali Muslims is a good one.”

    However, except pointing out that the majority Calcutta Muslims were not Bengali, my post does not illuminate anything either.

    The rest of your post has degenerated into something else, to which please don’t expect a response.

    BTW, I admire your essays in Daily Times and your passionate stand for secularism in Pakistan.

  388. no-communal

    Correction: “earlier question” should be “earlier argument”

  389. YLH

    Dear communal bigot … The issue of what language Muslims in Calcutta is irrelevant (though you are wrong only a handful of upperclasses spoke Urdu)…the point I made was that Punjabis and Pushtun Leaguers would have resorted to Jehad if that had been the policy.

    The Calcutta Muslim League call for hartal that you quoted is a big stretch of an argument given the facts of the actual events.

  390. no-communal

    “….. and the moral and physical purge of the nation. It is a supreme occasion of our trial. Let Muslims brave the rains and all difficulties and make the Direct Action Day meeting a historic mass mobilization of the Millat. Muslims must remember that it was in Ramazan that the Quran was revealed. It was in Ramazan that the permission for Jehad was granted by Allah. It was in Ramazan that the Battle of Badr the first open
    conflict between Islam and Heathenism was fought and won by 313 Muslims and again it was in
    Ramazan that 10,000 Muslims under the Holy
    Prophet conquered Mecca and established the
    kingdom of Heaven and the commonwealth of Islam in Arabia.”

    Isn’t it precisely this type of language you are opposing in Pakistan today? I would oppose similar language, which can easily incite a mob to violence (as indeed happened during Babari demolition), if it came from Hindus, or Muslims alike.

    Take a stand and stick with it.

  391. YLH

    Wow so now you are reduced to quoting out of context the one measly Calcutta resolution …

    I absolutely do not oppose this language below:

    “(4) Representatives of minorities, suppressed and oppressed people and anti-Fascist parties who have been unjustly bypassed by the British Government and who are ready to make common cause with the League in its fight for the equal freedom of the Muslims, the Hindus, the Scheduled Castes, the Adibasis, the tribals, the Christians and other peoples are welcome in the meeting.”

    I am yet to see any Jehadis I oppose use this language.

    So I am taking a stand. I am taking a stand against your lies.

  392. YLH

    PS if someone is wondering that which I quoted above is also from the same call for “jehad”.

  393. YLH

    Ie the same call of “jehad” by Calcutta district Muslim League that partisan commentators unsuccessfully present as some sort of smoking gun.

  394. sai aravindh

    @YLH

    Is there any evidence to suggest that Congress was behind the retaliatory actions of the Hindus (and Sikhs too, right?) in Calcutta. Would needle of suspicion logically point towards the Hindu Mahasabha?

  395. YLH

    You mean firing guns in retaliation for sticks …

    People forget that Hindu Mahasabha and Congress were not as far apart as people make them out to be. Many Hindu Mahasabhaites were members of the Congress as well.

  396. LokSabha

    Until the late 1930s, people were members of the Congress and the Muslim League as well. My guess would be that Jinnah overall addressed more Muslim League annual conference meetings as member of Congress and ML, than member of ML alone. Likewise Sikhs were members of Akali/Panthic party and of Congress as well. The Congress was an umbrella organization, something we do not understand well today.

  397. YLH

    That is correct. It was an umbrella organisation but one which did not always hold the balance between Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League evenly 1920 onwards …

    Read the article above on this.

  398. no-communal

    @sai aravind

    Jinnah had no interest in violence. He called for a peaceful strike (hartal). In Bengal it was given a religious color.The retaliatory strike from the Hindu side also had a religious tinge. An important part was played by Bharat Sevashram Sangha, which grew into prominence. It was closely associated with the Hindu Mahasabha. So in part it did become a mini-religious war.

    Hindu Mahasabha and Congress supporters both took part in it. Also there was an underworld (goonda) connection from both sides.

    As always, mostly poor died. Very few elite Hindu or Muslims were affected. Although there was no definitive count, the final deathcount for the Muslims was probably more than the Hindus. This was due to there being more poor muslims than Hindus.

  399. Bade Miya

    No communal,
    “….. and the moral and physical purge of the nation. It is a supreme occasion of our trial. Let Muslims brave the rains and..”

    Actually, if you are looking for that sort of statements, you would find a plethora of such examples and even worse. What I have understood from interacting with some of the divines here is that such language is permissible because it was used by minorities(who, let’s not forget, formed more than 40% of the whole population). Apparently, that was also necessary to shore up the minority support. Don’t ask me to explain the logic behind it. My puny brain can’t get it. Ambedkar talked something about a paralyzing minority in one of his speeches referred in the posts above.

  400. sai aravindh

    @YLH
    I have read a few accounts of the tragedy and the consensus appears to be that while muslim suffered much more than Hindus, the rioting itself was started by the muslim mobsters. So i am not sure where your benign portrayal of muslims being just armed with sticks come from. The narrative of Francis Tuker that you have referenced itself points to increasing numbers of muslim goondas congregating at the league rally. Surely, these guys would have been armed with weapons more lethal than sticks?
    Be that as it may, I think it is highly unfair to blame the congress leadership for the activities of the Hindu Mahasabha or other fanatic groups just because just because some of their members were also congressmen. You are essentially claiming two things A) congress as a political party had the resources to mobilize such a large scale massacre B) it had a strong covert anti-muslim ideology. If that is the case, then it begs the question as to why during the closing months of partition and years following that, we did not see any instances of large scale ethnic cleansing in various provinces ruled by the Congress, given that the party held power at the centre too? Remember, the provocations were much much greater – starting with the Noakhali killings in late 1946, followed by the ethnic cleansing which started in West Punjab in early 1947 followed by a similar cleansing in Sindh (incidentally, all provinces ruled by ML).

    The secularism of the Congress was again tested in 1950 due massive riots in East Pakistan resulting in huge influx of millions of refugees into West bengal One can imagine that passions on thsi side of the border, and especially in Bengal, would have highly inflamed. It was the Congress’ commitment to its secular principles (and the allegedly anti-muslim party strongman Patel was still alive then) which ensured that neither were there riots in West Bengal on a similar scale, nor was there an enforced migration of the muslim minority to Bangladesh. I think the numbers tell a story in itself – about 22% of East pakistan were Hindus in 1947 which has come down to about 10% by the turn of the century. OTOH, the WB muslim population has increased from 20% to 25% during the same time period.

    Contd.

  401. Tilsim

    @ no-communal

    “I want Hindus and Muslims forget dredging up their sordid past and live in peace.”

    Amen.

  402. sai aravindh

    All the above is not to deny that the Congress had an influential section which was pro-Hindu and even anti-Muslim. But that the staunch commitment of Gandhiji to inter-faith harmony was succesful in keeping the communalism of this section within limits; one should also mention, ably supported by the likes of Nehru, Azad and C Rajagopalachari.

    Which brings me to my last point – Jinnah’s secular and liberal outlook upto the 1930s is nothing less than inspiring. There are various versions of Jinnah’s dramatic change in approach since the 1940s. Honestly, I have not read enough about this phase of his life to conclude one way or the other. But whatever his personal principles, the path that he adopted starting 1940 inevitably meant that secularism would have to be put in the backburner. You cannot at the same time tell your followers to fight for a separate muslim nation (they do not know that its only a bargaining ploy) and at at the same time impress on them the greatness of secularism. At the grassroot level, the Pakistani movement necessarily meant using highly inflammatory communal slogans and hatred for Hindus. It is only to be expected that increasing sections of the muslim community would have turned as the Pakistan movement gathered steam. extreme. Consequently, the commitment to secularism at the institutional level was quite weak within the Muslim League. Quite surprisingly, Jinnah’s closest associate, LAK, himself did not clearly comprehend Jinnah’s secular vision. So is it any surprise that Jinnah completely lost control of the movement post the DAD disaster when it took a completely violent turn?

  403. YLH

    Sai,

    Once again the difference you try to draw between Congress and Hindu Mahasabha is historically untenable. Mahasabha actually was not organizationally involved …the rioters were Congress Hindu workers.

    If you had bothered to read to Tuker’s account more carefully you would realize where my description of Muslims being armed with sticks only comes from.

    The Calcutta underworld was involved and was largely Hindu. The financiers of the massacre were the same people who financed the Congress.

    People don’t understand that Bengal politics was completely different. In Bengal Hindus were clearly apprehensive of Muslim majority because of an increasingly populist League campaign. Consequently Congress had to take a communal approach as well…which is why when Sarat Bose and Suhrwardy came together for united Bengal a year later …it was the Central Congress leadership that vetoed it.

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  404. YLH

    If the argument is that the League erred gravely in calling for direct action day I completely agree …but if the argument is that Muslims planned and carried out Calcutta bloodshed in cold blood then that is historically inaccurate.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  405. no-communal

    There are two or three different views on the direct action day. Since the actual inquiry commission report by Sir Patrick spens was never made public by the Govt. of India for fear of disturbing communal harmony, most of what we have are biased in one way or another. Since the event is not very old, many Bengali families have anecdotal accounts of their own. These also vary, depending on if you are a Hindu or a Muslim. Nobody made a serious effort to collect and analyze these accounts because of the fear of disturbing peace and a general apathy in Bengal to communal discourse.

    People interested in a brief account on the various views can read the analysis by the UK Govt. (just google direct action day manifesto). Also, one can google direct action day Time to read a Time magazine report from Aug. 26, 1946.

  406. Bin Ismail

    I do not at all mean to suggest that the “Direct Action Day” was a good idea, but one does need to acknowledge the following facts:

    1. The original plan was of a general strike and corner meetings. The leadership’s intentions had nothing to do with things getting out of hand.

    2. The history of riots in South Asia reveals that we are certainly not a people for whom mass street protests is a recommended political remedy.

    3. Our levels of poverty, illiteracy and despondency contribute to our volatile mob mentality in a very negative way.

    4. If there is any benefit that can be drawn from this unfortunate event, it is to learn a lasting lesson and never to allow such an incidence to recur.

    The tragedy happened 64 years ago and is now part of history. The people of South Asia have to learn to raise their heads and look ahead.

  407. Bade Miya

    “The history of riots in South Asia reveals that we are certainly not a people for whom mass street protests is a recommended political remedy.”

    What methods would you recommend?

  408. sai aravindh

    @YLH

    But as I pointed out earlier, it is precisely the divergence of ideology between congress and HM that saved the Muslim minorities in large parts of India from large scale riots and ethnic cleansing during the time of partition.

  409. YLH

    Again Hindu Mahasabha’s subsequent break doesn’t wash away the fact that Congress and HM were overlapping bodies and Congress shamelessly pandered to it during the pre-1947 period.

  410. Bin Ismail

    @ Bade Miya (September 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm)

    “…..What methods would you recommend?…..”

    To emphasize my point, what I would certainly not recommend, is the course of street protests by the public. You, Sir, I believe would know the alternatives available, better than myself. I however, would be of the opinion that the U.S. style political rallies are just not the appropriate thing for South Asians – not yet. Yes, when we would have attained that level of literacy and a mature democratic tradition as a legacy to build upon, things would emerge differently. In my opinion, prematurely adopting the ways of street politics and street protests will only give birth to violence and riots.

  411. no-communal

    BM

    “What methods would you recommend?”

    BI will have his own opinion.
    IMHO the key is not giving it an explicit religious color as happened in Bengal, constraining the movement within secular goals, and being able to call it off as necessary. After all, there were many large scale mass movements in our freedom struggle. Except Chauri Chaura, which was called off, there weren’t many untoward incidents. In Pakistan’s recent history, there were movements such as lawyers’ movement, long march, and so on. Riots and bloodshed happen only when religion is involved, unwittingly or otherwise.

  412. Amit Kumar

    One Mr. Anoop has quoted about Pakistan. i liked it.

    First, they came for the Hindus. But I was not a Hindu, so I did not speak up.

    Then they came for the Sikhs.
    But I was not a Sikh, so I did not speak up.

    Then they came for the Christians.
    But I was not a Christian, so I did not speak up.

    Then they came for the Ahmedis.
    But I was not a Ahmedi, so I did not speak up.

    Then they came for the Shias.
    But I was not a Shia, so I did not speak up.

    And when they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out for me.

  413. no-communal

    BM
    “What methods would you recommend?”

    Just to pick up from earlier, I can guess what you are possibly implying. If people feel they are long oppressed, sooner or later there will be armed rebellion, overt or covert. Mass movements are the only way out to vent anger and frustration peacefully. In India, mass protests have been regularly used for issues ranging from acquittal of murderers to price rise to actual change in the government. Some of these have produced remarkable results.

    Violent acts of rebellion only harden the oppressor. Soft talk assumes a goodness of heart of who oppresses. Only sustained mass protests have a decent chance in Palestine, even Kashmir, but Tibet is bound to fail.

  414. Samachar

    From the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence:

    In fact, there may have been very rational calculations at work on the side of the instigators and perpetrators of the killings. It was actually a fight over who was to be master of Calcutta. By organizing huge demonstrations, occupying the Maidan and using whatever State power it had at its disposal, the Bengal Provincial Muslim League was trying to stake its claim to Calcutta as the capital of a Muslim Bengal, which would be part of Pakistan, whose shape was still hazy at the time. A massacre was probably not the League’s goal (although one pamphlet circulating amongst Muslims warned of a general massacre of Kafirs, infidels, i.e. Hindus), but the League’s supporters did not shrink from using violence on a significant scale to advance their objectives. Although the use of violence by a minority against the majority could appear irrational to us, in the mindset of many Muslims at the time it was not so, because they considered the Hindus cowardly and effeminate, and thought they were no match for Muslims in an open fight. As for the Hindu political parties, both Congress and the Mahasabha were bent on making a counter-demonstration of their superior muscle power. Therefore, they were not adverse to large-scale killings to decisively defeat the Muslim League’s attempts to impose its dominance. The massacre was the result of the clash of two wills, between which no compromise was possible.

  415. no-communal

    @Amit Kumar

    What’s the purpose of your last post? Except needlessly taunting one side? Please post constructively if possible.

  416. YLH

    As a non-believing agnostic child of an Ahmadi-Shia mixed marriage, I’ll request our Indian friends of Hindu fundamentalist persuasion such as Amit Kumar to refrain from appropriating Shia and Ahmadi issues because the Shias and Ahmadis made Pakistan.

  417. Amit Kumar

    @YLH
    My apologies. I do not call myself religious. I can be best be spiritual. You may not believe that but my house ( in a small town in Munger, Bihar, India) share a wall with a mosque. mosque was like a extended place to play. so i can say i have been more to mosque than a temple.

    I never thought this was any big deal,, unless i came to US. I did not know much about Pakistan or partition. Just trying to understand.

    My point is that hate breads hate. I think Pakistan was created based on hatered for Hindus and not for muslims. So, its not surprise its in this Situation. Bangladesh can and will succede i see a bleak future for Pakistan. Even if Billions are paid by US, Saudi or China

    Pakistan has to or i can say Pak Army.. has to get rid of this enmity with ‘Hindu’ india and divorce religion from state. Then it can succeed.

    Any country that is suffering and will suffer if Pakistan continue its current course is India.I wish best of luck.

  418. Amit Kumar

    @YLH
    One more point about on Shia thing. Some of my relatives in Muzzafarpur Bihar also participate in Muharaam procession. They say some of their ancestors were in involve in the battle with Hussain. i do not know details you may find with google.

    Point is .. if my dislike (or haterd) against Pakistan does make me Hindu fundamentalist. don’t assume that muslims does not have similar views.

  419. YLH

    You don’t know jackshit about why Pakistan was created.

  420. bciv

    @no-communal

    “After all, there were many large scale mass movements in our freedom struggle. Except Chauri Chaura, which was called off, there weren’t many untoward incidents. In Pakistan’s recent history, there were movements such as lawyers’ movement, long march, and so on. Riots and bloodshed happen only when religion is involved, unwittingly or otherwise.”

    religious tone is only an issue if two different religious communities are involved on opposing sides of the issue. after that, it’s a numbers game.

    unlike the lawyers’ movement, the opposition movement against ZAB in ’77 was completely religious. but that was no issue. the state coming down a bit hard on the movement had nothing to do with its religious tone.

    the ram rath to babri mosque was entirely religious, but there couldn’t have been any mass retaliation to it. even if the bombay bombings were in retaliation, they were no ‘mass movement’.

    similarly, godhra was hardly any kind of ‘mass movement’. that the retaliation was on a different scale altogether was simply a reflection of demographical facts.

    the low intensity war sunni groups have declared on shias in pakistan may be seen as another example. no matter how difficult it is to restrain the youth, the shias understand that they must not retaliate.

  421. no-communal

    @bciv
    “religious tone is only an issue if two different religious communities are involved on opposing sides of the issue. after that, it’s a numbers game.

    unlike the lawyers’ movement, the opposition movement against ZAB in ’77 was completely religious. but that was no issue.”

    Yes, I agree with you. In the case of India, which had and still has large number of people from both communities, religion based mass movements should be categorically avoided. I find the Ayodhya movement etc. reprehensible (that’s where most modern day tension started in India), because they can and did lead to a large scale loss of life. For Pakistan, to an outsider it appears that religious movement is not a problem. However, Shia and Sunni differences exist, not to mention the Ahmadis, and religious movement should still be avoided at all cost.

  422. Amit Kumar

    @YLH
    you said.. “You don’t know jackshit about why Pakistan was created.”
    what is this jackshit.? Shit of Jack?? While I am trying to understand why its created.. One thing is clear to me. even though Nehru’s economic, foreign and Kashmir policy has done a great damage to India. I thank him for agreeing to partition. I do not hate anyone all i want good for my country.

    As per JN Dixit.. 3 events that lead to partition of India along communal lines..

    Auranzeb defeating crown Price Dara Shikoh
    Ahmed Sha Abdali defeating combined forces of Maratha and Moguls in 3rd battle of Paniphat.
    Mahatma Gandhi agreeing to let Nehru become president of congress at young age at 40 and marginalizing MA Jinah in national politics.

  423. Tilsim

    @ Amit Kumar

    There are certainly many reasons why Pakistan came to be. Some of JN Dixit’s observations may also be valid. It’s amusing to see that people push one line or the other.

    I have my favourite horse too. In my view the overarching factor was fear and a breakdown in trust over Muslim’s social, political and economic future in United India. It was not just about what the constitution would be – it was also a fear about the day to day. How these attitudes came about is the daily grind of historians and analysts.

    I sense that the attitudes, outlook and biases on display on PTH today by Indians and Pakistan may reflect a reality similar to those faced by decision makers at the time. The difference was that we were one country and there was the ticking clock of the British departure from India looming over us like a pregnant cloud.

    Some Pakistanis like Indians still debate whether the AIML supporters made the right decision. It’s an impossible thing to know with certainty. We have our our biases. We have to look to the future and make that a better one than the past. We are only in control of that, in a small way.

  424. Amit Kumar

    @Tilsim Bhai.. totally agree.. Now Pakistan and Bangladesh are a reality. and.no one dispute that..lets move on. try to give our people better life. Zardari wins election on promise for peace with India.. makes great statements.. Mubmbai is attacked and process is reversed.
    Even in this flood crisis we know whats going on..

    I know Zardari is the villan of the day.. But, i guess every right thinking Pakistani should back the democratic process and let the civilians rule. civilian rule with foreign and security policy with Army is not a civilian rule. Its even more dangerous. Why hate Zardari/Gilani.. if his govt is hostage to Army?

  425. Amit Kumar

    @Tilsim Bhai.
    You said.
    “In my view the overarching factor was fear and a breakdown in trust over Muslim’s social, political and economic future in United India. It was not just about what the constitution would be it was also a fear about the day to day”

    Here is what Ambedkar said..

    “Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan, they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League?” (Pakistan or The Partition of India, 1946, page 358).

    .all along my view was based on my grand father. a nehurvian and congressman freedom fighter. but recently i think Ambedkar was best in his analysis of Pakistan and India. Nehru did a great damage by alienating this man.

  426. bciv

    @Amit Kumar

    that 1946 date on the Ambedkar quote is actually January 1946. As YLH pointed out, Jinnah had recommended ambedkar’s book to congress leadership.

    nehru did alienate ambedkar but did not betray him as far as ambedkar’s vision, shared by nehru, for a secular india was concerned. it was gandhi who blackmailed and used ambedkar.

  427. no-communal

    @bciv
    “nehru did alienate ambedkar but did not betray him as far as ambedkar’s vision, shared by nehru, for a secular india was concerned. it was gandhi who blackmailed and used ambedkar.”

    Nehru did exactly what Gandhi agreed to do with Ambedkar, which is a reserved number of seats for the Harijans without a complete separate electorate (by which only the Harijans will be able to vote). There is a lot of confusion about this point.

    Please let’s not get back to Gandhi and separate electorate again. I (and I think many common folks) wouldn’t like the idea of a separate electorate even today, even in hindsight. That system would mean a permanent disenfranchisement of a group of people in their own country. This can only lead to division and discord.

    With a significant number of seats reserved for the scheduled castes in India today, they are doing just fine (some would say unjustly). In fact, if anything, there are occasional public flare ups and agitation against the massive scale of reservation in all spheres of public life.

    The division that still remains in private life in the rural areas can not be wiped away by creating laws; only education, time, and urbanization can have an effect here. In fact, in hindsight, a separate electorate would have been worse for the scheduled castes because it would have only perpetuated the social division, which is now actually gradually going down.

  428. bciv

    @no-communal

    ambedkar came to similar conclusions about separate electorates, but late in life.. somewhat after january 1946 when his book was published, for example. he wanted to set up a federalist party.

    but that does not change the fact that he was blackmailed into pune. jinnah had publicly declared his opposition to separate electorates even much earlier, in 1927.

    >Nehru did exactly what Gandhi agreed to do with Ambedkar

    my point was about nehru and ambedkar being in agreement on secularism, despite the falling out. their secularism was not gandhi’s secularism.

  429. no-communal

    I think the alienation of Ambedkar by Nehru Amit talks about is about the Hindu code bill. Ambedkar chaired the committe that wrote that massive draft. It didn’t pass because of pressure from the Hindu traditionalists and religious groups, as always (Muslim personal laws weren’t touched). Ambedkar resigned because of the failure of the Congress Govt. to pass the bill.

    Only after the next election, the same bill was passed but as various separate laws for the Hindu community.

  430. bciv

    … gandhi’s opposition to or liking for separate electorates was based purely on cold electoral calculations.

  431. Amit Kumar

    @no-communal, @YLH and @bciv
    Thanks all for your views that you share. I wonder why indians do not have the same passion for Bangladesh? @no-communal do you see that in Bengal? They were also part of this partition. I do not see any discussion on the role of muslim Bengali leaders.

    For Dalits (former untouchables). the current mid day meal program run by govt. requires that atleast one cook should be Dalit. Now every village children who goes to govt school have to eat food prepared by Dalit. Initially there were some reports of dissents.That’s a master stroke. i loved this idea.

    Now i think every important temple should have atleast one Dalit pujari.. One very famous Hanuman temple in Patna (1998 not sure about now) had a Dalit as head priest. and i observed several devotees touching his feet for blessings.

    Ambedkar says several times..the problem is not only about economic but also about stigma. I think this needs to be removed at all costs.

  432. no-communal

    “but that does not change the fact that he was blackmailed into pune”

    Gandhi did a great service to India by stopping the separate electorate. And he used fasting on many other times as well, for e.g., to stop the Bengal riots during partition period, which could have been massive. So would these be considered blackmail too?

    “my point was about nehru and ambedkar being in agreement on secularism, despite the falling out. their secularism was not gandhi’s secularism”

    That may very well be so. But, how does this new statement of yours corrrelate with your earlier one (in respone to which I wrote),

    “it was gandhi who blackmailed and used ambedkar.”

  433. no-communal

    “… gandhi’s opposition to or liking for separate electorates was based purely on cold electoral calculations.”

    And you think this deserves a response!

  434. bciv

    >how does this new statement of yours

    there is no difference between the two statements.

    your decisions about what to respond to and how is irrelevant to me.

  435. Tilsim

    @ Amit Kumar
    Here is what Ambedkar said..

    “Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan, they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League?” (Pakistan or The Partition of India, 1946, page 358).

    Dr Ambedkar’s quote above sounds logical. Yet it was not all about logic. Fear is an emotion. The desire for freedom also has an emotional aspect. Then there is the day to day experience – the slights and taunts, the jobs not won, the sirens that teach otherness, the cruelty of hate speech, the my way or the high way arrogance, the invisibility in the power centres, the non-invitation to discourses over dinner, the lack of a stake, the violence and ridicule that follows a protest, the denial of rights, the lack of control.

    Napoleon said: “nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

    But, as Pakistanis realised:

    “Freedom is not enough. ~Lyndon B. Johnson”

  436. no-communal

    bciv

    “there is no difference between the two statements.”

    I agree with this statement.

    “my point was about nehru and ambedkar being in agreement on secularism, despite the falling out. their secularism was not gandhi’s secularism”

    But I do not agree with this one.

    “it was gandhi who blackmailed and used ambedkar.”

    So there must be a difference between the two, unless I am completely misunderstanding both.

    If you wrote just the first one in response to Amit’s comment, I wouldn’t have responded. That’s because I would have been in agreement with you about the difference in forms of secularism as far as the private life of Gandhi on one side and the private lives of Jinnah, Nehru, and Ambedkar on the other are concerned.

    “your decisions about what to respond to and how is irrelevant to me.”

    No hard feelings. The statement was a bit startling, because according to Gandhi’s extensive written work, he wanted to bring the lower castes back to the main fold. He thought the Harijans were inhumanely treated through centuries, and didn’t want to further institualize it by creating a permanent division. His view was that he would far rather that Hinduism died than that untouchability lived. You are interpreting this as electoral politics, but I don’t think he was already dreaming of being the prime minister in 1932.

  437. Amit Kumar

    Tilsim Bhai.. there is a limit to everything. how far one should take this.. ? Pakistan is now a sovergion country..only a mad govt in India think of taking it over.

    Sorry to say..but in illusion of fighthing and taking pride in standing up against ‘Hindu’ india.. Pakistan is doing nothing but fighting other’s war(s).. US, Saudi, Chinese etc..

    This is the root of all problem.

  438. Tilsim

    @ Amit Kumar

    The root of all problem is the lack of people to people contact. The root of all problem is to limit the relationship between Pakistanis and Indians to the narrow narrow limits set by our respective establishments.

    We can get far if we don’t stay stuck in groove like a broken record: see the message of Aisam and Rohan at the US Open men’s doubles competition. Aisam just returned to Lahore and got a hero’s welcome. Take heart from what many Pakistanis want.

  439. YLH

    Amit mian… Read the whole book. You are clueless indeed.

  440. GandhisFault

    From February 1947, a proof that it was all Gandhi’s fault.

    Governor Jenkins to Lord Pethick Lawrence

    It is quite impossible for one community to rule the Punjab with its present boundaries. Long-term alternatives are therefore reversion to Unionist principles with Muslim domination or partition which would create intolerable minority problems. Effect of agitation is to force second alternative on non-Muslims and to impair seriously long-term prospects of Muslim League and Muslims generally. Muslim League are in fact wantonly throwing away certainty of Muslim Leadership in a United Punjab for uncertain advantages of a partition which Sikhs will gradually now demand. But nobody has brains to understand this.

    Jenkins to Wavell

    The failure of the Muslim League to take office after the General Election was due more to their uncompromising communal outlook than to any other cause. I believe that the local Congress broke with them on the old question of the inclusion of a nationalist Muslim in the Cabinet, but the underlying suspicion was there. A Sikh, who says he was present in the negotiations between the League and the Akalis, has told me that the immediate terms offered by the League were acceptable, but that the League leaders bluntly refused to discuss the future of the Sikhs or to give any assurances to them. The Sikhs felt that they could hardly maintain in power a party whose avowed policy was to treat them as inferiors in a Muslim country.

  441. bciv

    “I don’t think he was already dreaming of being the prime minister in 1932″

    he was already the mahatma, had long been one. becoming a measly pm or something would have been a step down for him. he was thinking of ‘congress’, not himself.

    “His view was that he would far rather that Hinduism died than that untouchability lived.”

    we know his views on varnas and ambedkar’s view of his way of replacing untouchability with harijanism. in any case, my comment was about his tactic as a politician, in this regard, not his stance as a religious reformer.

  442. no-communal

    bciv

    If you continue to think that separate electorate for the scheduled castes (Dalits) would have weakened the Congress, and that’s why Gandhi opposed it, that’s your prerogative. Although the logic evades me. In India the scheduled castes have had a reserved representation for a long time. But they can join any political party and contest in elections. How the reservation, even with a separate electorate, would have tipped the balance between the parties, I don’t know.

    All I can say is that opposing the separate electorate was a move of great foresight. Growing up, I have had many scheduled caste friends who were richer than me, still got prefered treatment in school admission etc., and are now very well established in society. Not that I am resenting that (although these resentments do sometimes erupt in India), but the point is, at least in the urban areas, the castes are integrated in public life. This almost surely wouldn’t have happened if the separate electorate initiative of Ambedkar were successful.

  443. Bade Miya

    Bin Ismail,
    “You, Sir, I believe would know the alternatives available, better than myself.”

    That would be an exaggerated assumption.

    “Yes, when we would have attained that level of literacy and a mature democratic tradition as a legacy to build upon, things would emerge differently.”

    On the contrary, one can argue that a mature democracy would not give grounds for such a protest. As for literacy, etc., people argued similarly when the right to universal suffrage(?) was debated in the early days of formation of constitution of India.

    Would you have argued differently had the lawyer’s movement in Pakistan led to formation of a more enlightened democratic government? Let’s not forget, the present government in Pakistan is still new. What are your views about the protest in Kashmir?

    No Communal,
    I agree with your statement. Unfortunately, giving a mass protest a religious color is a sure fire way to boost its numbers and its ‘success’.

  444. due

    Some have a passionate hatred towards M K Gandhi and a passionate love for Jinnah.

    Some have a passionate hatred towards Jinnah and a passionate love for M K Gandhi.

    Then we have Ambedkar, Nehru etc.

    No use discussing with such people.

    Come live in the 21st century and let the dead be dead and gone.

  445. bciv

    But they can join any political party and contest in elections.

    huh? post-partition and pre-partition india present two entirely different contexts, priorities and political realities. please don’t confuse the two; unlike you, congress never did.

    the SCF of bengal did not vote for congress. but that made little difference. in the special context, separate electorates and the so-called ‘constitutional question’ of pre-partition india, the congress could still (implicitly but simply) claim them as its own thanks to gandhi’s calculations and hunger strike in the prison in pune. this is just a small example to illustrate the larger point.

    why didn’t gandhi show (exactly) the same level of concern and kindness – patronising as it was – for the similarly ‘misguided’ muslims? (he even had an ally in jinnah who had come out against sep electorates 5 years before gandhi’s troubles and suffering in pune.) instead, to the muslims gandhi offered sep electorates during the only round table conference he attended if only they will agree not to support the dalits in their demand. were dalits his only concern or all minorities of india? was he not an all-india leader?

    How the reservation, even with a separate electorate, would have tipped the balance between the parties, I don’t know.

    pune ‘pact’ happened within the context that separate electorates were already there and had been for some time. the ‘pact’ took place during the british govt’s round table initiative. the balance could and would have shifted significantly. i hope you are not confusing things with post-partition india and congress vs bjp etc again.

    All I can say is that opposing the separate electorate was a move of great foresight.

    the issue is not the right to have the pov but the method used to impose it.

    Growing up, I have had many scheduled caste friends who were richer than me, still got prefered treatment in school admission etc.,

    electoral quotas were the subject of the ‘agreement’ at pune. the last clause said something not very substantial about education… about sums of money being made available. ambedkar claims these sums were pathetically puny and didn’t even meet the committee expenses. he reports similar findings about much of the on-the-ground ‘efforts’ by congress/gandhi towards ‘uplift’ of his people.

    but the point is, at least in the urban areas, the castes are integrated in public life. This almost surely wouldn’t have happened if the separate electorate initiative of Ambedkar were successful.

    as a friend of mine pointed out: what is the rural-urban population ratio in india? what exactly is the state of progress in this respect in rural india? what are the consequences of lack of progress?

    the point is not that no progress has been made but whether more, much more, might have been possible. quotas – electoral and in other fields – and even separate electorates are a legitimate part of affirmative action. the important principle is that all affirmative action is supposed to be for a finite period of time during which honest and untiring effort is made to address the socioeconomic inequities. otherwise, yes, there is the danger of apartheid like ‘separate development’, resentment and the common detriments of protectionism.

    you can either have separate electorates as a strictly temporary measure, or as part of a federal arrangement, or just a federal arrangement with no separate electorates or reservations at all. you seem to have ignored or not read when i wrote about ambedkar’s own views about not just separate electorates but even reservations in post-partition india. he was more convinced of the benefits of the federal model.

    the important fact here is that the leadership of the oppressed or suppressed group – esp when it is of the calibre of ambedkar – should be making the decisions, at least as equal partners, about what is best for their people and when.

    (i’m afraid, i shall have to let this be the last post from me in this present discussion. i look forward to learning more from you on other threads.)

  446. no-communal

    bciv

    “the SCF of bengal did not vote for congress. but that made little difference. in the special context, separate electorates and the so-called ‘constitutional question’ of pre-partition india, the congress could still (implicitly but simply) claim them as its own thanks to gandhi’s calculations and hunger strike in the prison in pune. this is just a small example to illustrate the larger point.”

    Yeah, this is the last post on this from my side too. May be I am not understanding something that you are, but how does “claim them as its own” translate into actual shift in political balance is the question. I mean in terms of forming a Govt.
    I give today’s example because I understand better today’s political dynamics. May be it was different then, but I doubt it. My point is, if sheduled castes do or do not get a separate electorate, unless they have their own political party they will elect either some Dalit leader associated with Congress or some Dalit leader associated with AIML, or any other. That fact does not depend on the separate electorate question. And we are not discussing here a separate party formed by the Dalits and Gandhi opposing that. If the latter were the case, I can see the motive you are talking about. But not with opposing the separate electorate.

    On the other hand, the separate electorate making a permanent division between the upper caste and lower caste Hindus and thus institutionalizing untouchability is something easy to understand. Untouchability is a blot on Hinduism,and Gandhi, being also the religious reformer he was, fighing against something that would make it permanent is not so difficult to understand. Doing everything possible to get rid of the caste system and making Hinduism one whole is not so difficult to understand. What is difficult to understand, at least for me, is how the existence or not
    of the separate electorate would have harmed or helped the congress, as you put it. Because separate electorate or not, if the lower castes thought themselves as Hindus, they would vote for Congress, and if they thought themselves as something else, they would vote for AIML or any other party. Again, may be you understand something that I do not.

    “hy didn’t gandhi show (exactly) the same level of concern and kindness – patronising as it was – for the similarly ‘misguided’ muslims?”

    There was no question of bringing the Muslims back to the main fold of Hinduism. And you must know Congress wasn’t happy about separate electorate for the Muslims either. So I don’t know what you are trying to prove here.

    “the issue is not the right to have the pov but the method used to impose it.”

    Oh, I didn’t realize that. I thought the method of fasting that was also used to quell severe
    Hindu Muslim riots etcwould not be found offensive.

    “as a friend of mine pointed out: what is the rural-urban population ratio in india? what exactly is the state of progress in this respect in rural india? what are the consequences of lack of progress?”

    That’s not even a question worth debating. Your friend pointed out the examples of division in private lives in rural areas. Now tell me which law in the world can address that question? Laws can only provide relief in economic and political lives, which have been, by and large, adequately addressed, in both urban and rural areas.

    “he point is not that no progress has been made but whether more, much more, might have been possible. quotas – electoral and in other fields – and even separate electorates are a legitimate part of affirmative action.”

    Really? Which country has a separate electorate system as part of its affirmative action? Leave alone separate electorate, which country has a reservation system as complex and as wide spread as India has? India has many deficiencies, but lack of adequate reservation for the lower castes and tribals (SCST) is not one of them.

    “ou can either have separate electorates as a strictly temporary measure, or as part of a federal arrangement,”

    The entire reservation system, once introduced, is almost impossible to take back. Particularly in a democratic set up like India’s.

    “he important fact here is that the leadership of the oppressed or suppressed group – esp when it is of the calibre of ambedkar – should be making the decisions, at least as equal partners, about what is best for their people and when.”

    While that is a valid statement in itself, the concern of the majority is also an important factor. Because not everyone in the majority has suppressed others but can stand to loose important things, like right to vote. We have already discussed Gandhi’s motivation in these matters from the angle of religious reform (which, BTW, is amply written about in his complete works from much before this issue even arose). Finally, even in hindsight, the disenfranchisement of a section of the majority, and the consequent discord, could only have been a disaster for the SCST’s. They are much better off in the present system (which was agreed upon) than in a system of separate electorate.

  447. no-communal

    @due

    “Some have a passionate hatred towards M K Gandhi and a passionate love for Jinnah.

    Some have a passionate hatred towards Jinnah and a passionate love for M K Gandhi.”

    If the second part of your comment is directed to me, it’s plain wrong. While my friends have indeed shown passion for Gandhi, I haven’t uttered a single criticism of Jinnah. Let alone “passionate hatred”, I have always found Jinnah a fascinating character.

    My comments on this thread were exclusively for what happened in Calcutta, and I have remained consistent. The explicit religious mob tenor was given to it by the Calcutta Muslim League, while Jinnah and the AIML called for a hartal. It is that religious mob tenor that should be denounced as forcefully as any other in pre- and post- partition subcontinent.

    In any case, it’s no use digging up the sordid chapters of the history of the subcontinent. Because any subsequent analysis is bound to be colored by our individual biases. We will do ourselves a great service by focusing the energies on the future.

  448. Bin Ismail

    @ Bade Miya (September 16, 2010 at 7:20 am)

    “…..one can argue that a mature democracy would not give grounds for such a protest…..”

    Even the most mature and established of democracies tend to give grounds for such protests, and that too, quite generously. One does note, however, that in democracies where literacy levels are higher, such protests are generally less violent. This unfortunately, is a luxury that nations like ours do not enjoy.

    “…..Would you have argued differently had the lawyer’s movement in Pakistan led to formation of a more enlightened democratic government?…..”

    Such protests have an innate propensity to turn violent. Therefore, I would not have argued differently. It is the violent outcome of such protests, that in my opinion, is the darkest aspect of such activities.

    “…..What are your views about the protest in Kashmir?…..”

    Loss of human life and property and destruction is not something that can be advocated. In my opinion, mass scale violence and riots, even if politically successful, still tend to leave scars that live through generations. Such scars have the potential of keeping the flame of hatred alive for a long time.

  449. due

    The past is full of people misunderstanding each other.
    Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Mountbatten and so on…

    Let us just say they misunderstood each other and move on.

    What is the solution for today’s mess?
    Who can implement?

    Old books and dead persons are not going to help us a bit. If intelligent people keep talking about all this dead stuff then the less-intelligent will be misled and take to them even more fanatically.

    Our lands are full of the less-intelligent (not for any racial reasons but for want of good education).

    Break out of this old-book worship and dead-men worship. PTH is going waste. Is there no one on the PTH panel to stop these outpourings? I am sick of reading them all over again and again.

  450. Bin Ismail

    @ due (September 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm)

    “…..Old books and dead persons are not going to help us a bit…..”

    For as long as the contents of an “old book” are fresh and applicable, it is adoptable. And for as long as the thoughts, words and actions of a “dead person” offer us an example worth emulating, the memory and mention of that dead person will remain to be inspiring.