‘the demand for Pakistan’ and the partition of India

Courtesy Tehelka

“It is a mistake to equate the demand for Pakistan with the partition of India” Ayesha Jalal, Pakistani historian and author of The Sole Spokesman, picks through the tangle of the Jinnah controversy with Shoma Chaudhury

By Shoma Chaudhury

What strikes you, personally, as the sharpest irony of the Jinnah- Jaswant Singh controversy and its fallout in India?

What strikes me as most ironic is the extent to which the ”’secular’ Congress and the ‘communal’ BJP end up subscribing to the same common idioms of Indian nationalism when it comes to Pakistan and its most potent symbol, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Jinnah of the 1916 Lucknow Pact where Sarojini Naidu hailed him as the “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”; Jinnah of the 1940 Lahore Declaration and two-nation theory; Jinnah who wanted Pakistan to be a “laboratory of Islam”; the secular Jinnah of the August 11 1947 address. And the Jinnah of the personal domain: a Parsi wife, smoking, drinking. How is one to reconcile all these? Were these all stages in the evolution of Jinnah’s political thinking, or were they expedient positions?

Like any other successful politician, Jinnah changed tactics without losing sight of his ultimate strategic objectives in response to shifting political dynamics during a career spanning several decades. Only a most superficial and politically tainted understanding of Jinnah can lead to the conclusion that there was an irreconcilable contradiction between his early career when he was hailed as the ‘ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ and his later years when he orchestrated the demand for a Pakistan in order to win an equitable share of power for Muslims in an independent India.

As for the presumed contradiction between his personal lifestyle and championing of a Pakistan in which Islam would play a role, the problem again lies with an insufficient understanding of what Jinnah meant by Islam. The Islam he advocated was neither bigoted nor narrow-minded, but one based on principles of equity, justice and fairplay for all, regardless of caste or creed. Jinnah never abandoned his secular and liberal vision for purposes of expediency. This is amply in evidence from the speeches he gave in the aftermath of partition on the place of religion and the minorities in the Muslim state of Pakistan.

Your own book <The Sole Spokesman> argues that Partition was a  gross miscalculation and Jinnah never wanted it till the end. How is one to read his demand for two nations then? And what, according to you, did Jinnah really want?

What I argued in <The Sole Spokesman> was that it was a mistake to equate the demand for Pakistan with the partition of India as it took place in 1947. After 1940, the demand for Pakistan was intended by Jinnah as a means to stake a claim for the Muslim share of power in India once the British quit. He argued that the unitary centre of the raj was a British construction and would stand dissolved at the moment of decolonization. Any reconstitution of the centre would have to be based on the premise that there were ‘two nations’ in India – the Muslim nation represented by the Muslim-majority provinces in the north-west and north-east (Pakistan) and the Hindu nation represented by the Hindu-majority provinces (Hindustan). Once the Congress and the British conceded the principle of a Pakistan, Jinnah left it an open question whether the two parts of India would arrive at treaty arrangements on matters of common concern as two sovereign states or enter into a confederal arrangement on the basis of equality. Jinnah always insisted that ‘Pakistan’ had to be based on undivided Punjab and Bengal and resolutely opposed the partition of these two provinces along ostensibly religious lines until the bitter end. By insisting on a wresting power at a strong center with only the most nominal concessions to the provincial autonomy demanded by the Muslim-majority provinces, by endorsing the Hindu Mahasabha’s call to partition Punjab and Bengal and, above all, by refusing to grant Muslims the share of power at the all-India level demanded by Jinnah, the Congress led by Nehru and Patel foreclosed the possibility of keeping India united. Jinnah did miscalculate in believing Gandhi’s voice was still dominant in the Congress.

Was the idea of an eminent Muslim domain within a sovereign Indian Union a tenable idea? Indian states were in any case carved along linguistic lines, would a Muslim State have been in keeping with this principle? And if so, why were the Congress stalwarts so against it?

This is a counterfactual question. However, the irony is that it was Jinnah and the Muslim League who wanted undivided Punjab and Bengal and the Mahasabha-Congress combine that insisted on their division along lines of religion. The Congress stalwarts were against such a Muslim state because it entailed diluting their control over the centre and gave far too much power to Jinnah and the Muslim League. Linguistic states in a federal union was not incompatible with Jinnah’s vision.

In your reading of history, who would you hold most culpable for the Partition, and why? (Jaswant Singh seems to suggest that Patel and Nehru were most responsible, would you agree?)

Mr Jaswant Singh has basically endorsed the main lines of my thesis in <The Sole Spokesman> as far as apportioning responsibility for the partition of India is concerned. Patel and Nehru were more responsible because, as leaders of the larger party, they had to find the terms for an accommodation with Jinnah and the Muslim League so that the unity of India could have been preserved. In opting to seize power at British India’s unitary center rather than striking a compromise with the Muslim League based on a genuinely federal arrangement, these politicians of the Congress paved the way for partition.

In India we don’t want to acknowledge that Jinnah never really wanted Pakistan; in Pakistan it must be a kind of anathema to suggest the founder of the nation never wanted the nation. Why is Jinnah, in particular, subject to such historical ambiguity?

It is wrongly presumed that Pakistan as it emerged in 1947 is what Mr Jinnah was after all along. The demand for Pakistan, as I have explained above, was intended to renegotiate the power sharing arrangements at the all-India centre on the basis that there were two nations in India, both of which had to be treated on an equal footing regardless of their population proportions. An understanding of the difference between ‘Pakistan’ and partition, particularly the partition of the two main Muslim-majority provinces, will go some way to clearing the fog surrounding the reasons for the division of the subcontinent and, in the process, resolve the ‘historical ambiguity’.

What would you count as the real turning point that made Partition inevitable? (Is it the Cabinet Mission plan of 1946? Or do you think there was some other catalytic moment?)

The Congress’s refusal to agree to the grouping of provinces – even Gandhi called grouping worse than partition – and Nehru’s public assertions against a centre restricted to three main subjects (defence, foreign affairs and communications), made it impossible for Jinnah to stick to the Muslim League’s acceptance of the Cabinet Mission three tiered plan for a federal India instead of a fully sovereign Pakistan. The outbreak of violence in Calcutta in August 1946 and, subsequently, in other parts of India narrowed the options available to the all-India leaders and made a painful division rather than a negotiated accommodation seem more feasible. However, the partition of Punjab was not inevitable until the Congress called for it in early March 1947 and efforts continued to be made to avoid the partition of Bengal until the end of May 1947.

What would you say are the inconvenient or uncomfortable facts of history that India papers over in its construction of Jinnah? In turn, what does Pakistan paper over?

Despite the available scholarship, the nationalist self-projections of both countries have not managed to attain the requisite level of maturity. The exclusive focus on the ‘religious causes’ of partition in the public discourse on both sides of the divide obscures the powerful regional dynamics that played such a decisive role in the final denouement of 1947. The other associated reason is the insistence on writing history by focusing on the ‘great men’, whether Jinnah, Nehru, Patel or Gandhi. This makes it impossible for people to fully understand the complex historical factors that shaped the politics of these individuals. The Indian state and political elite find it hard to acknowledge that Congress leaders did not in the end stand for the unity of India. Their Pakistani counterparts are loath to accept that Jinnah was handed the maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan in 1947 that he had categorically rejected in 1944 and 1946.

If Jinnah was indeed a secular and constitutional giant, why has Pakistan slid so easily towards a theocracy or dictatorship at different points in its history? Is it hobbled in any way by discrepancies in the life of its founding father?

Jinnah articulated a clear vision for Pakistan as a modern nation-state where all citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations, would have equal rights of citizenship. He ruled out a theocracy at the very outset. His successors stuck to this vision when it came to keeping the religious divines in place well into the early 1970s. They were less successful in avoiding dictatorship in the context of the Cold War and chronic tensions with India over Kashmir. The emergence of the military as the dominant institution and the derailing of democratic processes after 1958 set the ball rolling in the gradual erosion of Jinnah’s vision for a moderate and democratic Pakistan. Yet, it was not until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that Pakistan under Zia-ul-Haq made the fatal decision to turn a narrowly construed brand of Islam into an instrument of state policy, both internally and externally. What plagues Pakistan today are more a result of the legacies of the Zia era than any specific discrepancies (other than partition) in the life of its founding father.

67 Comments

Filed under History, India, Partition

67 responses to “‘the demand for Pakistan’ and the partition of India

  1. Majumdar

    In one short sentence Partition happened becuase INC/Hindoos were unwilling to concede the demands of Jinnah sahib/AIML, which were all just, reasonable and moderate demands of Muslims.

    Regards

  2. karun

    @ majumdar

    as if you really wanted to stay together. Do you regret partition? (your comment sounds as if u do)

  3. Majumdar

    Karun mian,

    Do you regret partition?

    No, just the reverse.

    But that does not take away INC’s responsibility for Partition, does it?

    Regards

  4. karun

    ha ha…you should be thankful then..and JN and Patel should be your heroes for bringing about partition…

    But that does not take away INC’s responsibility for Partition, does it?

    It sounds more accusatory than congratulatory

    MJ Akbar’s article also supported partition and he was grateful to Patel and JLN for bringing it about.

  5. Majumdar

    JN and Patel should be your heroes for bringing about partition…

    Yes, of course.

    It sounds more accusatory than congratulatory

    How so? The only thing I consider reprehensible about INC’s role is that by denying their responsibility they have soured up Hindoo-Muslim relationship within India.

    Regards

  6. karun

    I think the opposite:

    which such a large muslim populace if INC would have conceded that it actually supports TNT it would have been a heart break for the muslims staying back.

    For Pak it was much easier given the small size of its minorities.

    For India it was very complex and i think INC did really well by appropriating all blame to AIML and making Jinnah the scapegoat.

    At least by denying TNT in theory they could lay a foundation for a secular society. The price was AIML and Jinnah ( which anyway was not much since they were already gone)

  7. Hayyer 48

    “At least by denying TNT in theory they could lay a foundation for a secular society. The price was AIML and Jinnah ( which anyway was not much since they were already gone)”.
    Pakistan had as good a chance under Jinnah of becoming a secular state as India did. India is largely a secular country now despite the occasional relapse into the religious discourse.
    Actually we manage with three different discourses running all together. You may call it simultaniety; also, if you like, an Indian way of thinking. We like to see our forces marching to the tune of Sare Jahan se Achha’ on certain days. It accepts an India of the sort that Iqbal envisioned before his views altered. In other contexts we have Bande Mataram which is what nationalism meant to Bankim Chandra; many think like him even now.Finally we have Jana Gana Mana written in praise of the King Emperor, as the national anthem, because it includes all of India not excluding Pakistan, excepting the areas beyond the Indus. Incidentally, Bande Mataram was set to music by Rabindranath Tagore’s father. Is there a connection there?
    So, our concept of secular India is still amorphous- underneath the surface anyway. Zhou enlai when asked for his views on the impact of the French Revolution famously said that it was too early to tell. Much the same could be said about the nature and future of Indian secularism.

  8. ghulammuhammed

    ”’secular’ Congress and the ‘communal’ BJP are the two sides of the same coin – Brahminism. They can hardly differ in their fundamentals, including nationalism and partition.

  9. Bloody Civilian

    i think INC did really well by appropriating all blame to AIML and making Jinnah the scapegoat.
    At least by denying TNT in theory they could lay a foundation for a secular society

    so what if the foundation was based on a lie… a bit of dishonesty (as pointed out by majumdar and conceded by karun without a hesitation). a more honest foundation might well have yielded better results.

    which such a large muslim populace if INC would have conceded that it actually supports TNT

    what was partition if not the INC conceding TNT in its most extreme form. the INC-mahasabha combine, as jalal terms it.

    it would have been a heart break for the muslims staying back

    and the worse than utter disregard shown to their democratic will, legitimately expressed was of course had been a great comfort and reassurance?!

    the most important point from this interview is emphasised right at the top: partition was not pakistan, but instad a violence to the very idea of pakistan. it did violence to the idea of india too. and of course obliterated any hope of reaching a solution.

    the other thing that jalal is pointing out: it was about the dynamics of regional politics and a failure ot acknowedge democratic legitimacy and offer accomodation (btw, refusing to accomodate is not the same as disregarding democratic legitimacy). it was not about religion, per se. what we’re living with is the legacy of partition, not of the idea of pakistan.

  10. Bloody Civilian

    “a more honest foundation might well have yielded better results” = a more honest foundation might well have yielded better results and relatively quickly.

  11. Hayyer 48

    Pakistan like India is running on the colonial model. This means a strong centre and very little power to, or acknowledgement of the legitimacy of power of the states. Punjab dominates in Pakistan, but that is the same thing as a strong centre with Punjab’s interests dominating.
    The future of the colonial model is still unproven. It has lasted but for how long we can’t really say. On the other hand how long united India would have survived with strong states and a weak centre can only be speculated. And not just a united India; I am not at all sure if empowering the states in present day Pakistan and India as in the United India model of yore would ensure the survival of the two countries in their present forms.
    Regional identities are fundamental; but the balance between too much and too little federal power is difficult to arrive at.

  12. Bloody Civilian

    Hayyer 48

    and (bitterly) dividing the country on a communal basis down to individual tehsils was better than trying the unproven, speculative models? did that entail greater hope or less speculation?

  13. karun

    @BC

    a more honest foundation might well have yielded better results and relatively quickly.

    or we could subscribe to MJ Akbar(mind it he is an Indian Muslim)

    Nehru and Patel saved India from anarchy by isolating a wound that would have infected the whole of India if it had not been cauterized and sutured.

  14. karun

    @bc

    and the worse than utter disregard shown to their democratic will, legitimately expressed was of course had been a great comfort and reassurance?!

    did not understand pls elaborate!

  15. Hayyer 48

    Too early to say. I am not convinced about the survivability of the present model(the modified colonial model) but it seems to be holding even if considerably frayed.
    I don’t know of any other country where the centre holds only defence, foreign affairs and currency. The power to tax and to run the ports, to modulate where necessary the economy through selective market interventions would seem to be fundamental to running a country particularly an army. In other matters such as controlling religious and linguistic fundamentalism, or in matters of health and education and coordinating interstate disputes as in river waters and in judicial issues the jury may be out but the need for central intervention as required cannot be rejected out of hand.
    If the centre did not exist as Jinnah maintained after the British left then negotiating one between two or three parties would have been very very difficult given the complete distrust between the parties. The result in my opinion would have been complete anarchy.
    My father’s side of the family left West Punjab as refugees and were for some years destitute. I can hardly take partition to have been a blessing. But in hindsight it is a choice between a rock and a hard place.
    It should have been obvious that partition would have been accompanied by massacres, but all that is done.
    “….did that entail greater hope or less speculation? I believe it was just resignation to the inevitable. The CMP was not the Congress-AIML pact of 1916. Ofcourse the Congress rejected it in Gauhati in 1926. Ofcourse before the war Nehru was wilfully blind to the Muslim need for guarantees. Partition may have been a sort of reverse Benthamitism. Sacrifice a few Hindus and Sikhs for the greater good of the larger number.
    The hostage theory is disputed on this site. Even if it were true it would still have been unworkable.
    Muslims of the minority provinces who stayed back did think that initially that Pakistan would work to their advantage; they had not all intended to migrate. Till the call for partition of Punjab in March 47 there may have been Hindus and Sikhs who thought they could go on living in Pakistan. The riots showed how presumptous they were.

  16. Bloody Civilian

    karun

    or we could subscribe to MJ Akbar(mind it he is an Indian Muslim)

    i don’t think he was around in 1945/6, let alone eligible to vote.

    Nehru and Patel saved India from anarchy by isolating a wound that would have infected the whole of India if it had not been cauterized and sutured.

    partition was the cauterisation and suturing.. but what was the wound??

    “and the worse than utter disregard shown to their democratic will, legitimately expressed was of course had been a great comfort and reassurance?!”

    = and the worse than utter disregard shown to their democratic will, legitimately expressed, was a great comfort and reassurance?! this was in reply to your assertion: it would have been a heart break for the muslims staying back. sorry about the typos.

  17. Bloody Civilian

    Hayyer 48

    wihtin the context of the cmp, it was defence, foreign affairs and communications (why can’t that include control of ports), and the right to raise the requisite revenue from the states. cmp was a basis for going in to and approaching constitution making, not the final constitution. there was communal veto on ‘communal’ matters only, and it was up to the president of the CA to decide whether a matter was ‘communal’ or not. the president was going to be from the majority party (i.e. INC = 69% seats).

    the whole thing was only to hold till there was a constitution – which could have been anything. after the first general elections grouping was to become optional. the states had a right to review thier own constitution at 10 year intervals, if deemed necessary by them.

    the province with the biggest muslim majority had a congress ministry. riots in the punjab only started when partition could be seen to becoming a reality, with ‘pakistan special no. 1’ leaving delhi for lahore… in march 47. even in the streets of calcutta, you could see INC and AIML supporters celebrating together, i.e hindoos and muslims celebrating together, when – for a brief moment – cmp seemed to have been a success (you might have seen the pictures).

    if partition was the only solution – the lesser evil, then why go through the charade of accepting ‘your own interpretation of’ the cmp? just because cripps has asked the INC to do it just so that they can be invited to form the interim govt? isn’t that dishonest? and the dishonesty that majumdar pointed out. yet, to ‘sacrifice some hindoos and sikhs (not mentioning muslims, congress voters or not)’ was an honest decision?

    i am a simpleton. even naive. to me the most important thing is the democratic principle. if a leader disagrees with it then the job of a democratic leader is to form something like consensus to support their POV. otherwise, a democratic leader ought to accept the lack of consensus and accomodate. show flexibility. not to dictate, patronisingly, what she/he thinks is best for the country even at the ost of ‘a few hindoos and sikhs’.

  18. Bloody Civilian

    the more critical typos:

    1. “if a leader disagrees with it then the job of a democratic leader is to form something like consensus to support their POV” = if a democratic leader disagrees with it then it’s her/his job to form something like consensus to support their POV

    2. last line: “ost” = cost

  19. Hayyer 48

    Well, I am no defender of the Congress leadership, much less of Nehru and Patel in the matter of Partition. I was concerned with the models that we follow not with the politics of the Congress. We are comparing what may have been and what was. If Nehru and Patel could not see what Noorani saw later, what would have they made of the constitution making process.
    The Congress and the AIML found themselves disagreeing every time they met. This happened individually between Nehru and Jinnah and between Gandhi and Jinnah. Gandhi even backed out of the understanding that he arrived at with the Muslims at the second round table conference because he could not carry the Hindu Mahasabha with him. I cant success a constitution drafting process would have met without give and take.
    Who knows; perhaps Nehru and Patel could not wait ten years for office. Or maybe they did not mind losing a few lives in return for a Hindu majority state.

  20. Hayyer 48

    Error: Second para last line. Please read ‘I cant see what success…’

  21. Bloody Civilian

    strange that patel and jinnah never ‘talked’, i.e. there are jinnah-ranjendra prasad/rajaji/nehru/gandhi parleys and summits/pacts/formal talks etc. but none between patel and jinnah. am i right? if yes, why? i remember somebody mentioning that jinnah used to ask for debate/talks with patel.. but i don;t know much about this.

  22. YLH

    The key issues need to be understood in following light:

    Four different things have to be distinguished-

    1. Jinnah’s maximum public demand.

    2. What Jinnah actually wanted.

    3. What Cabinet Mission Plan actually suggested.

    4. What actually happened.

    1. The maximum demand was a sovereign Pakistan with undivided provinces. This was a tight-lipped demand.

    2. It seems what Jinnah actually wanted was reconstitution of the provinces in two centers – one Hindu majority and one Muslim majority- which would then negotiate commonalities on the basis of parity. By asking for such reconstitution Jinnah was making numerical strengths in over all India irrelevant while preserving the principle of one man one vote in the two federations which would then come together in an EU like arrangement. He imagined India to be above Hindustan and Pakistan.

    3. What Cabinet Mission Plan gave was a three-tier federation (not confederation). There was an all India center below which there were groups consisting of provinces. The mission gave the provinces the right to secede only after the constitutions -both group and central were finalized and legislative elections held on that basis. What the Congress seems to have a problem with. In his letter Azad wrote that Congress was concerned about provinces like NWFP and minorities like the Sikh and therefore could not agree to it. The CMP mind you did not give Muslims the parity at the center. The fact that Jinnah was ready to accept CMP given 1 and 2 is very significant.

    4. Pakistan as it was created was based on neither 1 nor 2 nor 3. What we had in 1947 was a moth eaten Pakistan and with 1971, it became an Mullah-bitten Pakistan.

  23. YLH

    Erratum “a” not “an”

  24. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    yet, to ’sacrifice some hindoos and sikhs (not mentioning muslims, congress voters or not)’ was an honest decision?

    In my opinion, yes.

    And to begin with not too many Hindoos and Sikhs were sacrificed in the first place. Almost the entire Hindoo/Sikh pop of WP was evacuated. As far as EP Hindoos were concerned- most of them were Dalits who thought that they were better off with Muslims as neighbours than with caste Hindoos and were not INC voters to begin with. Dunno whethre INC owed them anything in the frist place.

    Regards

  25. karun

    @bc

    democratic will, legitimately expressed….sry what was their democratic will? still not clear…pls elaborate..😦

  26. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    otherwise, a democratic leader ought to accept the lack of consensus and accomodate. show flexibility.

    Of course India’s democratic leaders did show the flexibility. JLN accepted the Muslim majority state’s right to secede- MAJ (pbuh) accepted the right of the Hindoos/Sikh majority distt of Punjab and Bengal’s right to secede.

    what we’re living with is the legacy of partition, not of the idea of pakistan.

    No, we are not. We are living the legacy of dishonesty of INC leaders and foolishness of AIML on the Kashmir issue. Had Kashmir not been around, there is a more than 50% chance of a free trade area and some kind of defence arrangement between India-Pak-BD.

    Regards

  27. Bloody Civilian

    karun

    they had given the mandate, in the ’46 elections, to AIML to speak for them and not the INC. AIML had this precedence over the INC, in relative terms, even in 1937. the mandate was the democratic will, and the legitimate expression was through the ballot box.

  28. Bloody Civilian

    majumdar

    for someone like you who believes hindoos and muslims cannot live together to blame the INC for the less than ideal state of hindoo-muslim relations in india, is odd… to say the least. do you really think that views like yours are no hurdle to the state of the relations, or even that they are a great boost, and all problems are due to the INC and its ‘dishonesty’ instead?

    karun, on the other hand, is saying that the ‘dishonesty’ is for a good cause as far as post-partition india is concerned… regardless of how it harmed and defeated a united india.karun has still not told us, though, what the ‘wound’ was that had to be isolated through partition.

  29. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    for someone like you who believes hindoos and muslims cannot live together

    Err,…. let me clarify. I don’t believe that Hindoos and Muslims cannot live together in peace. They can- provided one community is in a overwhelming majority and the other is in a minority. Where the majority community runs the state pretty much according to its whims and fancies but does not seek to bully the minority, while the minority community does not try to change the rules of the game but is secure from harassment and has equal citizenship rights.

    A 75-25 or 65-35 ratio is of course unworkable.

    blame the INC for the less than ideal state of hindoo-muslim relations in india, is odd

    Not really. One of the reason which sours Hindoo-Muslim relationship is the fact that Hindoos blame Muslims for breaking up Bharat Mata (whereas she never existed in the first place) and solely responsible for Partition (which Yasser Pai and Ayesha Jalal has shown is not the case). And the reason why these myths have persisted is largely the creation of INC.

    karun has still not told us, though, what the ‘wound’ was that had to be isolated through partition.

    That is becuase karun mian does not know what the (alleged) wound was!!! He is merely repeating what someone else has used.

    Regards

  30. YLH

    I agree with Majumdar …

    In my view the healthiest number for a minority in a nation state is between 10-20 percent. Anything less than 10 percent and the balance is lost in favor of the majority…anything more than 20 percent and the majority becomes a hostage to the minority.

  31. Majumdar

    Yasser,

    Anything less than 10 percent and the balance is lost in favor of the majority…

    And the majority becomes its own worst enemy.

    Regards

  32. YLH

    Well said. It turns on it self. There is also an added dimesnsion to this. Minority majoirty busijness.what if a sizeable minority forms a majority in a number of constituent units?

  33. YLH

    And what if those units are contiguous and form populations in scores of millions.

  34. Majumdar

    Yasser,

    what if a sizeable minority forms a majority in a number of constituent units?And what if those units are contiguous and form populations in scores of millions.

    This is what happened to India (and to Punjab and Bengal) in 1947. And should it be repeated again it wud mean either another Partition or a civil war.

    That is why IMHO the two major blunders that INC/Hindoos did in 1947 was:

    Annexation of Kashmir (trans- Chenab).
    Failure to exchange population in Bengal and Assam (as recommended by Shyama babu)

    Had this happened, all the three nations wud have remained at peace with little ability or motivation to disturb each other.

    Regards

  35. Hayyer 48

    BC:
    I have seen no references to Jinnah-Patel interaction either. There must have been some.
    Clio has no use for ‘if’. She records what happened…….Speculation is useful if we learn something from experience, but even now there are few takers for mutual accommodation.
    As the poet said ‘kya tha mere hone mein…na hota to kya hota.’

  36. Majumdar

    Hayyer mian,

    There weren’t any (prolly). Had SVP (or even Rajaji) been the supremo of INC, maybe the whole business of Partition wud have been worked out in a more business like manner.

    Regards

  37. Bobby

    This idea of a division into a muslim majority province and a hindu majority province is a pretty bad idea. What about other divisions? In fact divisions along linguistic lines make much more sense and has worked quite well in the case of India. On the other hand as events turned out, religion was not enough to keep pakistan united.

    Also, saying that minorities should be between 10 to 20% is not a well defined statement. Minorities according to which criteria? Again taking the example of India, there is no such clear majority when one considers linguistic divisions, and still this has not given rise to any major problems.

    Problems do not arise by having more percentage or less percentage of minorities. Problems arise when justice is denied or seen to be denied to one group or the other.

  38. Bloody Civilian

    YLH + Majumdar

    yasser, you talk of ‘constituent units’.. majumdar, i believe, is quite happy with a tehsil level division – i.e. partition of bengal and punjab. indeed he laments too many hindoos staying back in e.bengal.

    if pak had undivided punjab and bengal… muslims would have been, what, a 60% to 65% majority? or less? that is less than your ideal number.

    also, who decides that numbers need to be rationalised? who decides who leaves and who stays in case where the ‘ideal’ majority-minority ratio cannot be achieved without pop movement/exchange?

  39. Bloody Civilian

    i realise that your ‘ideal’ ratios are strictly in the context of what majumdar considers much under evolved peoples of this subcontinent of ours. which still leaves us with the question: who’d be the higher than higher primate amongst them to decide and enforce not just partition but also a pop exchange?

  40. Gorki

    YLH Majumdar:
    “In my view the healthiest number for a minority in a nation state is between 10-20 percent. Anything less than 10 percent and the balance is lost in favor of the majority…anything more than 20 percent and the majority becomes a hostage to the minority.”

    Then the following are doomed but they don’t even know it. 😉

    Brazil

    49.4% of the population are White, about 93 million; 42.3% are Pardo (brown), about 80 million; 7.4% are Black, about 13 million; 0.5% are Asian, about 1 million; and 0.4% are Amerindian, about 519,000.

    Mexico

    Mexico Mestizo is the largest group, comprising up to 60–80% of the total population.[ Amerindians 30% .

    Canada

    According to the 2006 census, there are 43 ethnic origins that at least 100,000 people in Canada claim in their background. The largest ethnic group is English (21%), followed by French (15.8%), Scottish (15.2%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (5%), Chinese (4%), Ukrainian (3.6%), and First Nations (3.5%).

    Indonesia

    There are around 300 distinct native ethnicities in Indonesia, and 742 different languages and dialects. The largest is the Javanese, who comprise 42% of the population.

    Chile

    The Chilean population is approximately 30% white European, with mestizos of predominantly white (castizos) ancestry further estimated at 65%.

    Then there are others too but I am busy today.

    Regards.

  41. Gorki

    BC:
    .. majumdar, i believe, is quite happy with a tehsil level division – i.e. partition of bengal and punjab. indeed he laments too many hindoos staying back in e.bengal.

    Actually I believe he thinks the Hindoos in BD were traitors but laments too many Muslims left in Assam.😉

    and BTW Majumdar Da;

    It was not an ‘evacuation of Hindus and Sikhs’ from West Punjab. An evacuation is what USA does for its citizens (like medical students on Hercules transport planes) before it invades minor countries like Grenada.

    What happened in Punjab (both east and west Punjab) was ethnic cleansing, and professionally at that, the kind that the novices in Bosnia can only dream of.
    Estimated numbers are between 10 to 25 million of them, the term for them in parts of East Punjab is still refugees after 63 years of ‘evacuation’ !!

    Regards.

  42. karun

    @bc

    they had given the mandate, in the ‘46 elections, to AIML to speak for them and not the INC. AIML had this precedence over the INC, in relative terms, even in 1937. the mandate was the democratic will, and the legitimate expression was through the ballot box.
    *************************************************
    Well hence those who decided could go and join pakistan. I was speaking for those muslims who rejected the idea of pakistan or perhaps did not think the idea of nationhood based either on cultural majority/minority was paramount enough to change their homeland.

    In that way AIML failed them

  43. karun

    Nehru and Patel saved India from anarchy by isolating a wound that would have infected the whole of India if it had not been cauterized and sutured.
    ***********************************************
    well the foundation of pakistan sowed the seeds of fundamentalism which later the ilk of taliban would hijack and exploit.

    It is what George Bush Jr. (dont laugh :)) said among all the Islamist militants/suicide bombers found none were Indian muslims despite their numbers.

    I do not know the Indian equivalent of a Ajmal Amir kasab

    well the credit goes to INC.

  44. Gorki

    For all those who think the partition was a good thing:

    While it is OK to use sanitized words such as ‘population exchange’ or ‘evacuation’ one must not forget the unbelievable trauma that was inflicted upon those who were unfortunate to underwent these events, many of whom had no say in this matter in the first place.

    There were no heroes here, with all our countrymen shamelessly butchering each other; defenceless Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs whenever a large mob of one community could find those from another in a minority.

    The following sanitized link only discusses these matters as statistics to protect those who may be suffering from weak hearts or other such maladies.
    If some one feels brave enough I can provide other links that discuss many individual events and incidences in all their fine and gruesome details.

    Please remember; do not read this as an attempt to indict any one community; (all were perpetrators and all were victims) my post is only to remind everyone how painful the entire process was.

    Here below is the link to the harvest of pain that Punjab went through:

    http://www.massviolence.org/Thematic-Chronology-of-Mass-Violence-in-Pakistan-1947-2007

    With a heavy heart: regards.

  45. Bloody Civilian

    karun

    90% of the muslim minority provinces’ muslims voted AIML. they certainly were neither religious maniacs wishing a state ‘founded on fundamentalism’ nor plain maniacs wanting to be uprooted from their home and country. 90% is a huge mandate by any democratic principle.

  46. Bloody Civilian

    Actually I believe he thinks the Hindoos in BD were traitors but laments too many Muslims left in Assam.

    oops! of course, i remember now. all this who belongs where and who must be kicked out can get a bit confusing😉

  47. Bloody Civilian

    well the foundation of pakistan sowed the seeds of fundamentalism which later the ilk of taliban would hijack and exploit.

    wasn’t the ‘foundation of pakistan’ a direct result of partition?

    wasn’t partition how the INC ‘isolated a wound that would have infected the whole of India if it had not been cauterized and sutured’?

    well the credit goes to INC… indeed.

  48. hayyer

    Karun:
    Fundamentalism was not invented in 1947 with Pakistan. I assume you refer to Islamic fundamentalism. Hindu fundamentalism which also predates 1947 remained within India.
    Nehru could not summon the imagination to acknowledge Muslim fears till 1947, after that as clients he could see what made them afraid because what they feared had come to pass. In the 30s Muslims were a vested interest of landlords, but he developed his own vested interest in Muslims once he was PM.
    Patel was honest about it. He had no time for Muslims. Nehru was play-acting.
    It was too late after 1940. Jinnah had pitched his demands too high. His position that only the Muslim League could speak for Muslims bound not only the Congress, it bound the Muslims too. Till 1946 the AIML could not have made this demand legitimately from the Muslims of the majority provinces. There were other representational issues here. Could the Congress have claimed (if it were so minded) that no other party but the Congress should represent the Hindus? It would have been laughed out.
    Most fundamentalist Muslim organizations were aligned with the Congress. The Congress carried Hindu fundamentalists in its saddle bags along with Muslim fundamentalists. It wanted to be all things to all Indians.
    Suppose Jinnah had not asked that the AIML be recognized as the only representative of the Muslims but negotiated for Muslims regardless. At worst the Congress would have stymied him. But that happened anyway.

  49. yasserlatifhamdani

    Gorki sb,

    The race issue does not exist in Brazil. If it had been those numbers would be damning. I am assuming that the white and brown people of Brazil all have linguistic unity? That is about a 170 million Portuguesse speaking people there… arent they. There is also an absolute religious majority.

    The other examples you gave is the sum of small communities … adding together as minorities.

    The logic that Majumdar has put up actually does apply across the board but you have calculate for the sticking factors in different societies… draw the correct analogy.

    BC,

    You are right… I remember reading an exchange where Jinnah told some British official that he did not want marginal majority but did not want a 3/4ths majority either … that means that he wanted a 30-35 percent non-Muslims in Muslim majority areas. This is also the picture that emerges from Jinnah-Gandhi exchange where he also considers the Sikh question (Gorki sb you should read Jaswant Singh’s book ASAP … it is a great compendium of sources … in my view …it would make you think twice before describing third rates scholars like Ishtiaq Ahmed in glowing terms that you did)

    Here I must agree with Majumdar… that practical experience shows 10-20% is the ideal number. We are talking of one homogenous minority along the established lines of conflict… so the Canadian or Brazil examples don’t apply here.

  50. yasserlatifhamdani

    Karun mian,

    “well the foundation of pakistan sowed the seeds of fundamentalism which later the ilk of taliban would hijack and exploit”

    This is the biggest bunch of bullshit and a historical fallacy… The Taliban are Deobandis …and theirs is a Deobandi inspired Islamic struggle… they were around fighting Curzon… then they fought Pakistan in 1947 and their efforts were supported by the Frontier Congress. They have a direct ideological chain connecting them to the Ulema who were part and parcel of the Khilafat Movement that Gandhi- I repeat Gandhi- encouraged (and Jinnah discouraged). The Father of the Taliban, Maulana Fazlurahman is the son and ideological successor of Maulana Mufti Mahmood, who was an ally of Gandhi and Abdul Ghaffar Khan…. and who famously said “thank god we were not part of the sin of making Pakistan”.

    George W Bush is an idiot… and quoting an idiot means you are an idiot as well. Darul Uloom Deoband – the grand ally of the Congress Party and Gandhi’s favorite Muslims- are the ideological inspiration for all Islamic militancy and fundamentalism. Now the only thing that makes this somehow connected to Pakistan is that Pakistan’s idiotic policymakers under Zia ul Haq coopted the Deobandi Fanatics for Afghan Jehad under American leadership. They also encouraged Pushtuns amongst the Afghans because of bad strategic thinking… does that mean forces of Pushtun Nationalism were historically allied with Pakistan?

    And also…. Amir Ajmal Kasab’s ideological mentor- Hafiz Muhammad Saeed- is the ideological successor of Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari … the Majlis-e-Ahrar leader and a pro-Congress mullah… who was one of the most trenchant opponents of the Pakistan Movement. Ataullah Shah Bukhari was Gandhi’s homeboy.

    So Karun atleast try to be honest atleast once …. if you do want to go in the past…the logical conclusion is that it is Gandhi who laid the foundations of Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism. The irony Karun is that Indians like you and Amir Ajmal Kasab both are strategic allies in the long run… but you don’t even recognize it yet.

  51. Gorki

    Dear Yasser:

    “it would make you think twice before describing third rates scholars like Ishtiaq Ahmed in glowing terms that you did”

    Rating of any scholar is a matter of opinion; it is the quality of the research, the methodology, and the overall relevance of the paper that matters.
    Ishtiaq Ahmed happens to be but one of the several sources I came across during a quick search (although his paper appears to be properly researched, referenced one)
    I am awaiting moderation of another post, that has links to more scholarly papers\sources.

    Again, the aim of my post (or these papers) is not confrontational; that is not to demonstrate any moral or ethical superiority of anyone over another but rather like Amrita Pritam’s poem ‘Aaj Akhaan Waris Shah nu…”
    to the demonstrate the combined pain and suffering our people endured which is undeniable.

    To call the rendering of 10 to 20 million people homeless and destitute and deaths of a quarter million of your own people ‘evacuations’ or ‘population exchanges’ are in my opinion dishonest.

    Similarly stating that even more people (Assamese Muslims) should have been subjected to this kind of trauma is difficult for me to understand.

    Even if the Governments of our republics may or may not acknowledge them, those who suffered were real people with real lives; loved ones who should be acknowledged by us ordinary sons and daughters of those innocent victims.

    Regards.

  52. yasserlatifhamdani

    Gorki sb,

    I have already written an email on the matter.

    Since Raza Rumi is friends with the man, I won’t proceed to express what I really think of him and his “researched” papers- which I have already done in my email.

  53. yasserlatifhamdani

    I have found and posted the moderated post you referred to which is clearly a much more balanced narration of events.

  54. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    You dont have to fly all the way to Latin America. Examples abound closer at hand. Eg India/Pak- even if we exclude Muslims/Hindoos there are large minorities- linguistic ones. But it does not create a huge chaos in India becuase Tamils or Bongs or Punjoos or Mallus dont perceive themselves as political minorities, religious minorities in India do. By contrast, in Pakistan where almost everyone is Muslim, ethno-linguistic identities are perhaps the main faultlines, Sindhis, Baloch (and perhaps Mojos) see themselves as political minorities

    Regards

  55. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    Actually I believe he thinks the Hindoos in BD were traitors

    Traitor is perhaps too harsh a word. “Short-sighted idiots” is better.

    all this who belongs where and who must be kicked out can get a bit confusing

    Very simple. Bong, Assamese and Punjoo Muslims had voted for Bengal, Assam and Punjab being part of Pakistan (as per AIML’s plans) so it wud have been kosher to expell out Bong, Assamese and Punjoo Muslims from WB, EP and Indian Assam. But Muslims of the minority provinces had not voted for their province being part of Pak, so INC was honour bound to protect Muslims in these provinces.

    Bong/Punjoo Hindoo-Sikhs secured the partition of their province so it wud have been kosher for AIML to boot out these folks. Elsewhere they shud have protected the minorities.

    Regarding Punjab, sure there was a huge amount of short-term pain but it has brought lasting peace to the two Punjabs (barring the unfortunate period of 1981-92). Bengal and Assam were spared atrocities on a similar scale but most likely this is merely a postponement. And in any case East Bong Hindoos have seen a slow and steady decimation in BD while WB Muslims have been ghettoised.

    Regards

  56. Gorki

    Majumdar Da:

    “But it does not create a huge chaos in India becuase Tamils or Bongs or Punjoos or Mallus dont perceive themselves as political minorities, religious minorities in India do”

    I think we both can agree on it then that the minority label is not immutable; it has a lot to do with preception.

    Having lived as a ‘minority’ all my life, first in my country of birth and then in my country of adoption, I have been fortunate in that I never felt anything less than a complete citizen of both those countries and if someone treated me as a minority I was too dumb to notice.

    My whole purpose was to point out that the whole minority majority issue should be meaningless in an ideal state which should be organised around a simple contract between two parties:

    The state and the individual citizen.

    The state has the right to demand the complete loyalty of its citizen but in return owes it to him\her a treatment as an absolute equal in terms of all the rights and priveleges, regardless of sex, sexuality, race or faith. Notice that it is not a contract between any two communities or any other such groupings.
    Once this contract is upheld as sacrosanct; any issue of sub-identity or subnationality can be dealt with satisfactorily in any situation.

    I now leave it upto the local lawyers (and lawyers in training) to express this in the legal jargon; especially if they agree with it in principle.😉

    Regards.

  57. yasserlatifhamdani

    “But Muslims of the minority provinces had not voted for their province being part of Pak, so INC was honour bound to protect Muslims in these provinces.”

    This is a rather interesting statement majumdar bhai…

    The victory for the Muslim League in 1946 elections – on the single platform- was complete Muslim minority/Hindu majority provinces. 100%.

  58. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    The victory for the Muslim League in 1946 elections – on the single platform- was complete Muslim minority/Hindu majority provinces. 100%.

    Yes of course. But when the Bihari or UP Mussalman voted for AIML, they voted for Bihar/UP being a part of “Hindustan”, no? Unless as per the AIML plan, Bihar/UP were to be part of the Pakistan zone too.

    Regards

  59. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    My whole purpose was to point out that the whole minority majority issue should be meaningless in an ideal state…..etc

    As and when India, BD and Pak are that ideal state I wud personally revise my stand and work for reunion of the subcontinent. I promise you!!!

    Regards

  60. Gorki

    As and when India, BD and Pak are that ideal state I wud personally revise my stand and work for reunion of the subcontinent. I promise you!!!

    Very good then.

    What the state ultimately becomes is up to all its citizens; which includes you too Majumdar Da, therefore you have your work cut out for you. Get to work at it in your own individual capacity.😉

    Seriously, building fair and equitable societies is a work in progress.
    Consider the United States, still not there after more than two centuries.
    However, it does not mean that we cannot envision the finished product in our mind today (like Jefferson did then for the US then) and put our thoughts on paper.

    Isn’t that what the PTH is all about?

    Regards.

  61. karun1

    beta YLH, shaitani mat kar nahin to thappad khayega!

  62. Bloody Civilian

    Hayyer 48

    Most fundamentalist Muslim organizations were aligned with the Congress. […] Suppose Jinnah had not asked that the AIML be recognized as the only representative of the Muslims but negotiated for Muslims regardless. At worst the Congress would have stymied him. But that happened anyway.

    yet, it took the initiative away from the muslim findamentalists.. indeed all religious fundamentalists and gave it – the initiative – to the AIML. it took much subversion of law and constitutional and running rough shod over rule of law… indeed violence, threat of violence… you know the story. zia took things to a new level.

    majumdar

    was there any difference in the question put to the electorate in the ’46 elections and the nwfp referendum of july ’47?

    gorki

    since we can start with an ideal state.. we need a realistic compromise. in the case of our subcontinent, we were unable to come up with a compromise any better than partition. if truth be told, it was no compromise. in no aspect of it was there an iota of what may be termed a spirit of compromise. there was only violence, acrimony, atrocity… and hate. it continues to distort and hinder the journey towards your ideal state(s)

  63. Bloody Civilian

    correction:

    ” it took much subversion of law and constitutional and running rough shod over rule of law… indeed violence, threat of violence… you know the story”…. for the mullah hiding with his tail between his legs to regain some kind of a role.

  64. yasserlatifhamdani

    Karun,

    You are not making any sense, as usual. Try to be honest with yourself.

  65. Arif

    The country is towards the dark abyss but why our prayers are going in vain? The following theme which was meant for
    Jaswant saga but the relevant blog is closed due to some realistic remarks that the press could not tolerate and that is why our country has remained blind for ever…………………..(this matter provides food for thought for the present blog)
    How Great a bundle of lies,falsehood,fiction,imagination and self produced convictions has been created by Jaswant Singh through the directions of some invisible sectarian hands, since the Free Masionaries have no better profession than to stir the dirty waters. The two vivid examples of his blatant lies are enough to understand for the sensible persons that what the unwanted mass would have been!!.
    It is well known that BJP, as an extrimist party, is unpopular among the Indian Muslims so to earn the vote bank of Muslims for BJP he has shamefully tried to distort the Historical Truth and give the misimpression that muslims in India are in more deplorable condition than those in Pkistan.Jaswant is from the Maratha Faction who have always been the enemies of muslims and also of Gandhijee who started Fatal Fasting to relieve 117 mosques occupied by hindus and clearance of the assets of 550 millions of Pakistan’s share which the Congressies were not willing to clear.This was the main reson that the Mahatma was assassinated by a Maratha Pig..So Jaswant is out with his old illness by diminishing the image of the Great Personality.The Indian youths are warned against such Black Sheep among them.By playing such the dejectable practice he has played the part of a TRAITOR.He must be kicked out from every field for ever.
    First,as regards the Indian muslims,we have hundreds of relatives and acquaintances there who are living as prestigeous citizens in the Rule of Law and Order.Mostly,they enjoy the full rights of respectable civilians in a bettetr way than we have experienced here .The present example of the discounted prices upto 40 to 60 percent of utility items for Muslims for the month of Ramzan,like on many other occassions in the past, is the explicit proof. Now, it is on the press record what is the tragic plight of people in Pakistan.Also, what is the rate of the deaths of the muslims that are going to be continuously killed here after partition which was the PLANNED GAME.
    Secondly, it is the undebatable historical truth that has now been accepted as the Universal Truth that the dignitary like Gandhijee is NOT and NEVER comparable with anyone however great in Asia, at least for the last three hundred years(probably after Aurangzeb Alamgir) and centuries will wait for such the Creation.This great man emerged through quite humble and conservative circumstances against highly modern, arrogantly luxurious and ruling forces whose concept was that all the black people were their slaves and only they were born to rule for ever.He was Gandhijee,the really great, that opened their eyes and shattered their whims for ever.How can any showman, proud to imitate such rulers can be ranked before the Mahatma?Also,he was not addicted to wine and pork dishes.He strictly practised what he preached.He never stupefied his people by only ideal and ambiguous table statements. India as the country and the nation is the great proof as to what Gandhijee was.His spirituality still prevails over the nation.
    It should also be noted that Gandhijee was NOT the multi-purpose man.He was only and only pure,sincere,true and devoted LEADER.He was not at a time Governor General,Party President,Public Leader,Constitution Assembly Head,Cabinet Head and so on & so forth..(let it go on so long as the Fools into Stupids are there…..) He had supernatural abilities to fight against any forces through his inborn Iron Will Power which was NOT AT ALL empowered by the backing of US-UK who were highly powerful and definite to divide India and create permanant enmity between the two parts (through KASHMIR saga) and bring into effect the partirion of their own choice and will where they may conspire and rule invisibly. The Time Truth which is the Divine Machine has automatically declassified all the facts through the syndrome in this country. The will-power of Gandhijee can be assessed by the fact that sometimes high level British officials had to sit on the floor carpets before Gandhijee who did not prefer elevated seats.He never worked with the assured backing of the conspiring powers to implement the policies of Divide and Rule. Gandhijee was not at all hypocrite to change colours according to the dictation from the western masters from behind the scene to become the Governor General,Founder of western planned nation and then all in all to install the civil and military bureaucracy from all the controversial sects (who have nothing to do with human values)with the blessings of the intriguing powers whose aim is to bring into power as the leaders and heads who must be liers,cheaters,hypocrites,blackmailers,drunkards,killers addicted to wine,pork-dishes,adultry etc. All these are the hidden evil hands who are in the way to stop the nation from all the moral,spiritual and ethical values which are the main pillars for peace, prosperity and security.
    After Gandhi’s death, Albert Einstein said of Gandhijee: “Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.” He also once said,” I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil.”
    It is to be alert for the CUSTODIANS of International Historical parameters that those who distort the historical truth and facts are misguiding the generations who will be on the path of deterioration like Pakistanies.

    Reply
    Leave a Reply
    Click here to cancel reply.
    Name (required)

    E-mail (will not be published) (required)

    Website

    You are subscribed to this post. See comment notification emails to unsubscribe.

    Archived EntryPost Date :
    September 2, 2009 at 1:35 pm
    Category :
    India, Pakistan, Partition, South Asia
    Do More :
    You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  66. Bishan

    The flaw in all this argument is that it ignores he penchant for seperatism that characterises muslims in all parts of the world. Muslim Indians – before partition and now – are no different. Those who believe that partition ought to have been averted – on any terms – should visualise what would have been the political dynamics of India with a 33% muslim minority, by extrapolating how bizarrely the present 13% is impacting party positions and secular policies.

  67. skyview

    Does the world come to an end in 1947 in the PTH?