WAS PARTITION OF INDIA INEVITABLE? by Dr. R. M. Pal
………..It was not Jinnah but the Hindutvavadi leader Sarvarkar who first propounded the two-nation theory. Veer Sarvarkar, while presiding over the 1937 session of the Hindu Mahasabha, said in plain and simple words, advocating the two-nation theory, “ I warn the Hindus that the Mohammedans are likely to prove dangerous to our Hindu nation. India cannot be assumed today to be a Unitarian and homogeneous nation. On the contrary there are two nations in the main, the Hindus and the Muslims in India,” (Source – Mohandas by Raj Mohan Gandhi, p. 411).
Another important thing, which has prompted me to give a fresh look at this question, is to explore the possibility of bringing about peace between India and Pakistan. (In fact, the matter came up in a short discussion at a meeting organized by Jamia Millia Islamia University under the aegis of the Academy of Third World Studies recently). I don’t believe, like some Gandhian and RSS ideologues, that there can be peace between India and Pakistan only if Pakistan joins India in a Confederation. What a well-known Gandhian and others like him want to say is that the partition should be undone, then only there would be peace and there is nobody to question him why Gandhi did not prevent partition when he was in a position to do so as I have argued in this article. Also there is nobody to question him if India is truly a federation? That Gandhian intellectual wrote an article in a national daily, wherein he pleaded for Pakistan to join India in a confederation. Subsequently, while presiding over one session of an annual conference of the Indian Radical Humanist Association he advanced the same argument. I questioned him and wanted his permission to speak on the subject. Later in the course of private discussion I asked him why was it that Gandhi did not accept Jinnah’s demand? What harm would have befallen if Jinnah’s demand had been accepted except that people like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai would have found no place in the Council of Ministers of the Government of India. This intellectual dismissed the question saying that these are all old issues mixed up with the question beginning with the two-nation theory. I, therefore, add some information, which is not generally known even to Gandhivadies.
It is for intellectuals like the one I have referred t above to enlighten us on how Gandhi reacted to one ruler of a Muslim majority state signing the treaty of accession with India, and also when Jinnah waned to go to Kashmir for a holiday, why the Maharaja said that he would not allow Jinnah to enter Kashmir. It was only after this that Pakistan leaders had a meeting and decided to send infiltrators as secret agents to Kashmir to evaluate the situation and determine the Maharaja’s real intentions.
This was one of the greatest tragedies in Indian history and I have to say with the deepest regret that a large part of the responsibility for this development rests on Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was India’s quintessential politician. He ran the machinery of the Congress party. I was surprised when Patel said that whether we like it or not there were two nations in India. He was now convinced that Muslims and Hindus could not be united into one nation. It was better to have one clean fight and then separate than have bickering everyday. It was surprising that Patel was now an even greater supporter of the two-nation theory than Jinnah. Jinnah may have raised the flag of partition but now the real flag bearer was Patel. Jawaharlal Nehru, the firm opponent of partition had become, if not a supporter at least acquiescent to the idea. (Source – Crisis in the Indian Sub-continent: Can it be Undone by Lal Khan, Aakar Books, New Delhi- 91). So far as Gandhi was concerned, Mountbatten told Gandhi that the Congress was not with him, it was with Mountbatten to which Gandhi replied that the Congress might not be with him, but the country was with him.
In fact those in India who advocate directly or indirectly that the partition be undone may read this book. It is a well-researched and scholarly book. The book has relevant quotations, for example, Trotsky’s critical comments on Gandhi and relevant quotations from Abul Kalam Azad’s book “India Wins Freedom”. One such important quotation, which relates to Sardar Patel and his advocacy of two-nation theory, has been referred to above.