Abul Kalam Azad
'Jinnah not responsible for Partition'
He was demonized
by India, says Jaswant Singh, admits
Indian Muslims are treated as aliens:
In what is certain to stir up a
hornets' nest, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh says in his biography
on the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Hero, Your Hero - The War Goes On
Nehru, Jinah and partition
In the current
debate on partition started by Jaswant Singh’s book every one is
talking about the role of Jinnah, Nehru and Sardar Patel in
partitioning of India but hardly anyone has mentioned what Maulana
Azad, an important leader of Indian National Congress and an eminent
scholar of Islam who held post of President of the Congress for six
long years before partition, had done to avert partition.
It is true that
Maulana was also party to the Congress Working Committee (CWC)
resolution accepting partition but besides this Maulana Azad had
never accepted partition and had warned Jawaharlal Nehru of certain
of his acts which politically were not wise and may result in
alienation of Jinnah or in partition. Pandit Nehru was not for weak
centre and hence he consciously contributed to contribution but Azad
had no such interest in partition and wanted to prevent it. He
supported it only as something inevitable.
Maulana Azad’s viewpoint his own book India Wins Freedom and the 30
pages which were published 30 years after his death. About partition
Maulana had definite point of view that cannot be ignored if we have
to understand the genesis and causes of partition. Maulana Azad was
an important leader of the Congress, on one hand, and on the other,
an important leader of Muslims and a great religious scholar. Hence
his views and role assume added significance.
Azad had passionate commitment to freedom of India and as youngest
president of the Congress in Ramgarh session had said, in his
presidential address that if an angel descends from heaven with gift
of freedom of India and declares from Qutub Minar that India is a
free country I would not accept it unless Hindus and Muslims are
united as if India does not get freedom it is India’s loss but if
Hindus and Muslims do not unite it is entire humanity’s loss. Thus
Maulana Azad was passionately committed to Hindu-Muslim unity and
would in no case agree to partition for personal reason, whether
centre remains weak or strong.
It would be
interesting to mention here Maulana’s views on Pakistan. Maulana
writes in India Wins Freedom:
“I must confess
that the very term Pakistan goes against my grain. It suggests that
some portions of the world are pure while others are impure. Such a
division of territories into pure and impure is
un-Islamic…Furthermore, it seems that the scheme of Pakistan is a
symbol of defeatism and has been built up on the analogy of the
Jewish demand for a national home. It is a confession that Indian
Muslims cannot hold of their own in India as a whole and would be
content to withdraw to a corner specially reserved for them….”
Over 90 million in
number, they are in quantity and quality a sufficiently important
element in Indian life to influence decisively all questions of
administration and policy. Nature has further helped them by
concentrating them in certain areas. In such a context, the demand
for Pakistan looses all force. As a Muslim, I for one am not
prepared for a moment to give up my right to treat the whole of
India as my domain and share in the shaping of its political and
economic life. To me it seems a sure sign of cowardice to give up
what is my patrimony and content myself with a mere fragment of it.
The Maulana then
examines the consequences of partition quite objectively. Thus he
“Let us consider
dispassionately the consequences which will follow if we give effect
to the Pakistan scheme. India will be divided into two states, one
with a majority of Muslims and the other of Hindus. In the Hindustan
State there will remain three and half crores of Muslims scattered
in small minorities all over the land. With 17 per cent in U.P., 12
per cent in Bihar and 9 per cent in Madras, they will be weaker than
they are today in the Hindu majority provinces. They have had their
homelands in these regions for almost a thousand years and built up
well known centres of Muslim culture and civilization there.
They will awaken
overnight and discover that they have become alien and foreigners.
Backward industrially, educationally and economically, they will be
left to the mercies to what would become an unadulterated Hindu raj.
On the other hand,
their position within the Pakistan State will be vulnerable and
weak. Nowhere in Pakistan will their majority be comparable to the
Hindu majority in the Hindustan States.
In fact their
majority will be so slight that it will be offset by the economical,
educational and political lead enjoyed by non-Muslims in these
areas. Even if this were not so and Pakistan were overwhelmingly
Muslim in population, it still could hardly solve the problem of
Muslims in Hindustan.”
Also, the fear
that if Pakistan is not formed the Centre with Hindu majority will
interfere in Muslim majority provinces, Maulana counters by the
argument (which was what the Cabinet Mission Plan was about) “The
Congress meets this fear by granting full autonomy to the provinces.
It has also provided for two lists of Central subjects, one
compulsory and none optional so that if any provincial unit so
wants, it can administer all subjects itself except a minimum
delegated to the Centre. The Congress scheme, therefore ensures that
Muslim majority provinces are internally free to develop as they
will, but can at the same time influence the Centre on all issues
which affect India as a whole.”
Thus Maulana was
not opposing partition only as a congress leader but also with full
conviction as a wise Muslim who could foresee far reaching
consequences. Maulana Azad, unlike other politicians, was a far
sighted leader both of Muslims and of whole of India also. What
Maulana has said in his opposition to Pakistan is clearly borne out
in post-partition period.
Muslims as a whole lost much more than others. They were fragmented
and divided. Had Pakistan not been formed today there would have
been more than 33 per cent Muslims, a huge number in any democracy.
In any case they would have formed their own government in the
Muslim majority provinces and would have had stake in whole of
India. Several Muslim leaders could have become prime minister of
says, according to the numbers of Muslims than in India that
Pakistan will result in only 9 crores of Muslims in Hindustan,
scattered throughout the country. Today there are about 15 crores of
Muslims but are still a minority and face several problems as
minority and also have to carry the guilt – wrongly of course – of
having partitioned the country. Ironically there are more Muslims in
India than in Pakistan and yet they constitute only 14 per cent
could not remain united and feel into two pieces as Bengali Muslims
could not carry on with West Pakistani Muslims for more than 25
years. Thus whole sub-continent got divided into three parts. Had
partition not taken place in 1947, what is Bangla Desh today would
also have been part of united India. Also, democracy has eluded
Pakistan in post-partition period and it has become totally
dependent on American aid and military has remained, and will remain
for foreseeable future, politically influential even if democracy
lasts longer in Pakistan.
Azad does not mention it as that problem had not arisen then, there
would have been no Kashmir problem either. Kashmir either would have
become independent or would have enjoyed autonomy like other Muslim
majority areas and thousands of Kashmiris would not have lost their
lives as they did due to dispute between India and Pakistan today.
Also, both India
and Pakistan spend astronomical sums on maintaining their armies.
What for? Only due to fear of each other. There would have been only
one army for the whole country and we would have spent much less on
our army and could have faced external threats, specially from china
much more effectively. What is much more important thing is that we
would not have faced terrorism as both Pakistan and India are facing
today. Terrorism alone has consumed thousands of life and huge
amounts on armament.
Azad, in those thirty pages which were published thirty years after
his death blames both Nehru and Sardar Patel. According to the
Maulana, Nehru made a mistake by refusing to take two Muslim League
members as cabinet ministers after provincial elections in 1937 in
U.P. It made Jinnah distrustful of the Congress leaders whom he
began to describe as ‘Hindu’ leaders.
committed by Jawaharlal Nehru was his statement to the press in July
1946 after taking over as president of the Congress in which he said
Cabinet Mission Plan could be changed. Muslim League and Congress
both had accepted the Plan and to give such statement in an
atmosphere of distrust and mutual suspicion was certainly a mistake.
That finally drove Jinnah to insist on partition. And British could
achieve what they had wanted.
What Muslims in
what is Pakistan today?