If Mohammed Ali Jinnah had obeyed, the country would not have been divided
Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Iyer
On August 15, one wonders if the partition of India in 1947 could have been avoided. Some people say that the British imposed partition on us, but any student of history will say that this is false. There is an opinion about it, which many people believe. It is said that on the one hand, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was very stubborn, on the other hand, the Congress did not show the strength to stand against partition, so the country was divided.
Congress Hindu Party
Local elections in the country started from 1909. Then the British king created a separate constituency for Muslims. In a system with a Muslim electorate, Muslims voted for the Muslim League almost unilaterally. On this, the Congress said that this game of independent voters is extremely detrimental to the national spirit. That game was actually related to the reality of the land. The Muslim population was about one-third, but the method of declaring a candidate with the highest number of votes as the winner would have left Muslims with less than one-third of the seats. The establishment of an independent constituency for him diminished the influence of the Congress.
Lala Lajpat Rai said it was impossible to share power with Muslims through independent voters. Instead, he proposed partition. Hindus got most of the Indian subcontinent. Muslims with majority Pathans should be given North West Frontier Province. Punjab should be divided on the basis of religion and the western half should also be given to them. Similarly, Bengal should be divided on the basis of religion and the eastern half should be given to Muslims. They should also be given Sindh. It was proposed by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1924. That is, when the word Pakistan was not even coined. But when the country was divided in 1947, it was divided just like that.
Jinnah, who initially belonged to the Congress, convened an all-India meeting of Muslim organizations in 1927. The ‘Delhi Proposal’ was presented in it. There was no demand for independent voters. Instead, it was said that one-third of the cabinet seats should be reserved for Muslims. Also in Punjab and Bengal seats should be reserved according to their population. It also demanded the creation of new provinces in Sindh, Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province. Initially, the Congress accepted the proposal, but Madan Mohan Malviya of the Hindu Mahasabha strongly objected. Congress bowed to them and lost a golden opportunity.
Then in 1928 a report was issued under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru. It was said that independent constituencies should not be formed, but seats should be reserved for Muslims in terms of population. It was also said that there should be no reserved seats for them in the central government, nor in Punjab and Bengal on the basis of religion. If there were reservations on communal lines, there would be a Muslim majority in both the states.
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Jinnah then proposed a decentralized federal India, in which all the provinces should have equal autonomy. Also, independent voters should be created and one-third of the cabinet ministers in the provincial and central governments should be from the Muslim community.
It was clear that Congress and Jinnah did not share the same views. Disagreements escalated on both sides. Of the historian. All Hindus also wanted partition.
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The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the holding of elections in the provinces and the formation of governments. The 1937 elections were dominated by the Congress. Historian Perry Anderson says that after this Nehru felt that the real political battle was now between the Congress and the British, on the margins of the Muslim League and the princely state. Yet 97 per cent of the Congress party members were Hindus. The Congress could not find Muslim candidates in the 90 per cent seats reserved for Muslims. The Muslim League won the reserved seats unilaterally.
When elections were held in 1945-46, the Muslim League won 446 out of 495 Muslim seats in the provinces.[1945-46मध्येनिवडणुकाझाल्यातेव्हामुस्लिमलीगनेप्रांतांमध्ये495मुस्लिमजागांपैकी446जागाजिंकल्यामुस्लिमांसाठीनिश्चितकेलेलीप्रत्येककेंद्रीयजागाहीत्याच्याखात्यातगेलीउर्वरितजागांवरकाँग्रेसचीजादूपुन्हाएकदाकामीआलीपणदुर्दैवानेतेनिकालपूर्णपणेसांप्रदायिकचित्रदाखवतहोते
Conflict with the league over taxes
However, an interim cabinet was formed. Nehru was made Prime Minister and Liaquat Ali was made Finance Minister. In the budget prepared by Liaquat, he imposed heavy taxes on industrialists. Since most of the industrialists were Hindus, most of the Congressmen called it an anti-Hindu role. However, it also hit Parsis and Christians. And of course, even on the mighty Tata family. Many Congressmen began to say that it was impossible to work with the Muslim League. The situation escalated so much that the same Congress which was saying that it could not consider the partition of the country till 1945, immediately accepted Mountbatten’s proposal in 1947. If the Congress had agreed to the distribution of power under Jinnah’s proposals, that terrible division could have been avoided. But the question is whether communalism was taking root in the country at that time and in such a situation, will undivided India get involved in a civil war? Yes, it could have happened. So, in my opinion, partition was the best solution. But it was not imposed on India. If Jinnah was adamant about it, then Nehru was not far behind. He too had chosen that option.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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