Read this article to learn about the communal politics and genesis of Pakistan!
The British rule and its policy of Divide and Rule bore special responsibility for the growth of separatist trends in Indian Nationalist politics and it could succeed only because of internal social and political conditions.
The British government used communalism to counter and weaken the growing national movement and the welding of the Indian people into a nation.
The drift from Nationalism to communalism was initiated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan when in August 1888 he set up the United Indian Patriotic Association with the avowed object of countering the Congress propaganda and policy and to wean away people from the Congress.
In 1893, he founded the exclusively sectarian Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental Defence Association of upper India to keep the Muslims aloof from political agitation and strengthen British Rule in India.
Contributory Factors in the Growth of Communalism:
1. Pronounced Hindu tinge in much of nationalist thought and propaganda in the beginning of the 20th century.
2. Communalism in writing of Indian history by the British writers were also initiated by Indian scholars.
3. Patronage in government services used to foster communalism.
The Muslim League:
The Simla deputation (Muslims) led by the spiritual leader of the Khoja Muslim community, Aga Khan met Lord Minto at Simla on 1, October 1906. The deputationists demanded separate Muslim electorates which was accepted by Lord Minto.
The All-India Muslim League was formerly founded on 30 December 1906 by a group of big zamindars, ex-bureaucrats and other upper class Muslims like the Aga Khan, the Nawab of Dacca Salimullah and Nawab Mohsin-ul-Mulk with three main objectives:
a) To promote among Indian Muslims feelings of loyalty towards the British government.
b) To protect and advance the political and other rights of the Indian Muslims.
c) So far as possible, without prejudice to the objects (a) (b), to promote friendly relations between Muslims and other communities of India.
For about a decade after 1913, the Muslim League came under the influence of progressive Muslim leaders like Maulana Mohammad Ali, Maulana Mazhar-ul-Haq, Syed Wazir Hussain, Hasan Imam and M.A. Jinnah.
The unity between the Congress and the League was brought about by the signing of the Congress-League Pact, known popularly as the Lucknow Pact (1916) and both put forward common political demands before the government.
The Pact accepted separate electorates and the system of weightage and reservation of seats for the minorities in the legislatures (the Congress thus formally recognised communal politics). From 1920-1923 the activities of the Muslim League remained suspended.
However, the appointment of the Simon Commission (1927-30) and the Round Table Conferences at London (1930-32) that followed again brought the Muslim League into activity by 1934. M.A. Jinnah became the undisputed leader of the Muslim League.
In the elections for the provincial legislative councils held in 1937 out of the 485 reserved Muslim seats, the League could capture only 110 seats. In 1988, the Muslim League appointed Pirupur Committee to report on the oppressions of the Muslims by the Hindus in the so-called Hindu Congress Provinces. The Muslim League observed a Day of Deliverance when the Congress Ministries resigned in October 1939 over the war issue.
The Two-Nation Theory and the Pakistan Movement:
Inspired by the spirit of Pan-Islamism poet and political thinker Mohammad Iqbal gave the idea of a separate Muslim State for the Indian Muslims at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League (1930).
The idea of a separate homeland for Indian Muslims to be called Pakistan took a definite shape in the mind of a Cambridge student Rahmat Ali in 1933. The most unequivocal declaration of the Hindus and Muslims as separate nationalities was made by M.A. Jinnah at the Lahore session of the League in March 1940.
The Muslim League passed the resolution demanding the partition of India. The Pakistan Resolution was drafted by Sikandar Hayat Khan and moved by Fazlul Haq. Henceforth, the demand for Pakistan became as much an article of faith for the Indian Muslims as their holy book, the Quran.
The Hindu Mahasabha:
The Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded in 1909. Its leader, U.N. Mukerji and LalChand laid down the foundations of Hindu communal ideology and politics. In 1990, the leading Hindus of Allahabad decided to organise an All-India Hindu Mahasabha was held in April 1915, under the President ship of the Maharaja of Kasim Bazar. But it remained for many years a rather sickly child compared to the Muslim League.
The Hindu Mahasabha was revived in 1923 and openly began to cater to anti-Muslim sentiments. Its proclaimed objective became the maintenance, protection and promotion of Hindu race, Hindu culture and Hindu civilisation for the advancement of Hindu Rashtra.
Sangathan and suddhi movements among Hindus and Tanzeem and Tabligh movements among Muslims, working for communal consolidation and religious conversion, came up. Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya and N.C. Kelkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and urged for Hindu communal solidarity. Under the leadership of V.D. Savarkar who became the President of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1938 and was re-elected again and again, the Mahasabha developed a political programme.
Sove at the Muslim appeasement policy of the Indian National Congress, Savarkar popularised the concept of Hindu Rashtra. After the death of V.D. Savarkar, Dr. S.P. Mookerji became the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha and imparted a more nationalist outlook.
The Hindu Mahasabha never gained that popularity with the Hindu masses as the Muslim League did with the Muslims in India. At the same time, against the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan, it raised the slogan of Akhand Hindustan.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) founded by Dr. Keshavarao Hedgewaron 27, Sept. 1925 became the chief ideology and propagator of extreme communalism. M.S. Golwalkar, codified the RSS doctrines in his booklet, We.
Post-Quit India Movement developments:
1. The Muslim League observed on March 23, 1943, the “Pakistan Day”.
2. In March 1944, Mr. C. Rajagopalachari evolved a formula for Congress-League cooperation. It was a tacit acceptance of the League’s demand for Pakistan. The main points of C.R. Plan were:
a. Muslim League to endorse Congress demand for independence.
b. League to cooperate with Congress in forming a provisional government at Centre.
a. After the end of the war, the entire population of Muslim majority areas in the North-West and North-East of India to decide by a plebiscite, whether or not to form a separate sovereign state.
b. In the event of separation, agreements would be made for defence, communications and other essential matters.
c. These terms were to be binding only in case of transfer of full powers by England.
Jinnah rejected the C.R. Plan on the grounds of common Centre and also wanted only the Muslims to vote in the plebiscite instead of the entire population.
d. The Desai-Liaqat Pact (Jan 1945) proposing for the formation of an Interim government at the Centre consisting of (a) equal numbers of persons nominated by the Congress and the League in Central legislature (b) representatives of minorities and (c) the commander in chief failed to reach a settlement between the Congress and the League.
Wavell Plan (1945):
The essence of the Plan was to reconstruct the Governor-General’s Executive Council pending the preparation of a new Constitution. For this purpose, a conference was convened by Lord Wavell the new Viceroy at Shimla in 25, June 1945.
The main proposals of the Wavell Plan were:
(a) With the exception of the Governor-General and the Commander-in-chief all members of the Executive Council were to be Indians.
(b) Caste Hindus and Muslims were to have equal representation.
(c) The reconstructed Council was to function as an Interim government within the framework of the 1935 Act.
(d) Governor-General was to exercise his veto on the advice of Ministers.
(e) Representatives of different parties were to submit a joint list to the Viceroy for nominations to the Executive Council, if a joint list was not possible, then separate lists were to be submitted
The League wanted all the Muslim members to be League nominees and claimed some kind of veto in the Council with decisions opposed to Muslims needing a 2/3rd majority for approval. The Congress objected to the plan as it attempted to reduce the Congress to the status of a purely Hindu party. Lord Wavell ended the Conference by declaring a failure of the talks thus giving the League a virtual veto.
On July 1945, the Conservative Party of Churchill was replaced by the Labour Party in England. Clement Attlee took over as the new Prime-Minister of England and Pethick Lawrence as the new Secretary of State for India.
Elections of 1945-46:
On September 19, 1945, the Viceroy’s decision to hold elections to the Central and Provincial legislatures in India was announced. In the election (held in India in the winter of 1945-46) the Congress secured 91.3% votes in the General Constituencies (in the Central Assembly) and the Muslim League won every Muslim Seat. In the Provincial Legislature, the Congress won absolute majority in Bombay, Madras, United Provinces, Bihar, Orissa
and Central Provinces and the Muslim League could secure majority only in Bengal and Sind. In the Punjab, a coalition ministry composed of all parties except the Muslim League was formed under Malik Khizr Hyat, leader of the Unionist Party.