Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Who divided India?

Who divided India?

The decision of partition was formally taken in the meeting of the leaders of major parties on 2/6/1947. Therefore one has to go through the major events from January '47 to 2/6/47.

Muslim League fought the General Elections in 1946 on the extreme demand of Pakistan and won total 425 Seats in provinces (it won 177 seats in 1937 elections), but could form Government only in two provinces Bengal and Sindh.

Punjab had 2.8 crore population; 1.6 Cr Muslims and 1.2 Cr non Muslims. No party won clear majority in 1946 elections, therefore a coalition Government of Unionist Party was formed (Unionists 16, Congress 48, Akalis 21, + independents) under Mr. Khizr Hayat as PM of Punjab. Muslim League with 77 members started disturbances to pull down the government.

In January the Punjab government imposed ban on Muslim League National Guards and the RSS. League launched intensive agitation against coalition government on 24/1/47. The ban was withdrawn on 26/1/47 but League continued its agitation.

Meantime, Muslim League nominee in Central Government Ghazanfar Ali Khan (Health) delivered a fiery speech in Lahore on 7/2/47 said: "Mohammed Bin Kassim and Mahommed of Ghazni invaded India with armies composed of only a few thousands and yet were able to overpower lakhs of Hindus; God willing, a few lakhs of Muslims will yet overwhelm crores of Hindus."

Liaquat Ali, the Finance Member of the Central Government issued a statement against Punjab government on 14/2/47.

On 15/2/47, Lord Mountbatten became Viceroy of India. He came with a mission to give freedom to India. The last attempt of uniting India under Cabinet Mission Plan had failed. Nehru was his Vice in the Viceroy Executive Council holding External Affairs and Commonwealth portfolio. Sardar Patel was in charge of Home, Information and Broadcasting portfolio. And Liaquat Ali Khan was holding Finance, was blocking all the decisions of the government. The government was not functioning smoothly.

On  February 20, 1947, the British government announced that it would withdraw from India by June 1948.

On Gandhi's front, he was in Kazirkhil-Haimchar, Noakhali. His yajna/sacrifice of brahmcharya for self purification, sleeping with Manuben created uproar in public and many of his dearest associates including Sardar Patel, Kishorlal Mashruvala, Kriplani, Rajgopalachari, his son Devdas, etc, were angry with him.

"Ever since my coming to Noakhali, I have been asking myself the question, 'What is it that is choking the action of my ahimsa? Why does not the spell work? May it not be because I have temporized in the matter of brahmacharya?'"-Gandhi's discussion with Thakkar Bapa, 24/2/47.

Under the pressure of colleagues, he had to postpone his yajna, but his dharma commands lost some weight. In fact Manu stopped sleeping with Bapu after a pathetic letter from Thakkar Bapa.

The boycotting of each other communities was serious in Bihar. It went into riots. Muslims were under threat. Their properties were looted and girls abducted. Gandhi moved from Noakhali on 3/3/47 and reached Patna, Bihar on 5/3/47. After a short stay in Patna, he visited the riot affected areas and villages. He wished to move to Punjab, but couldn't go before the fire of hatredness extinguish in Bihar. He returned to Delhi on 30/3/47. He called on the Viceroy at 9 am on 1/4/47.

Due to direct action force of ALML (77/175 seats) as single largest party, the Unionist Parties government under Sir Khizr Hayat had to resigned on 3/3/47 (the first day of budget session). Mandot of League made no serious efforts to form ministry. The province was put under Art.93.

After 34 days agitation of League, on 3/3/47 night a large non Muslims meeting was held at Lahore at which violent speeches were made. On 4/3/47 riots broke out in Lahore. On 5-6/3/47, riots broke out in Multan, Rawalpindi, Amritsar, Jullundhar. On 6-7/3/47, riots spread to rural areas.

Anti Pakistan statement by Master Tara Singh, procession of shikhs shouting slogans Jinnah Murdabad, scarcity of clothes and sugar and its black marketing by non muslims, rumors of impending attack by a large shikh army, etc, worsen the situation further.

In a fortnight, Punjab experienced widespread urban and rural outbreaks of violence resulting in an estimated 3,500 (overwhelmingly non-Muslim) deaths,  widespread abductions of non-Muslim women and forced conversions of non-Muslims, looting and arson and  more than 40,000+ non-Muslim refugees. There was no Gandhi in Punjab to extinguish the fire.

Within days the Congress demanded the partition of the Punjab (this demand in effect meant that even if India as a whole remained united, the Congress position was that Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs wanted the Punjab province partitioned).

On 1/4/47 Gandhi met Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and proposed to
invite Jinnah to form a government of his choice at the centre and to present his Pakistan plan for acceptance even before the transfer of power under Mountbatten’s umpireship, not as Viceroy but as man.

In the evening (1/4) prayer meeting, as soon as Manuben uttered a first word of Kalma a man stood up and raised objection. Thereafter, every prayer meeting in the evening there used to be objections on uttering kalma of Quran and questioning on atrocities of Muslims by refugees from Punjab.

A draft agreement was prepared on 4/4/47. League had launched large scale invasion of Assam using Muslim immigrants to alter the communal ratio of population. Lawlessness incidents were increasing in Noakhali. On 4/4, Congress Executive Committee of Bengal and Hindu Mahasabha has made a demand for partition of Bengal.

On 7/4/47 Gandhi proposed to the Viceroy go to Punjab for peace efforts.

On 11/4/47, Gandhi wrote to the Viceroy that he failed in convincing Nehru and the members of Congress Working Committee to execute the compromise formula. His last attempt to keep the Country united failed. He was no more a command in the Congress. He proposed to leave for Patna and left for it by train on 12/4/47 night.

On 14/4/47, Lord Ismay held a meeting of Governors to review situation and discuss Partition proposal.

Sir E Jenkins, Governor Punjab, had noted on 16/4/47:

"With two or three possible exceptions no British official intends to remain in the Punjab after the transfer of power. Six months ago the position was quite different; but we feel now that we are dealing with people who are out to destroy themselves, and that in the absence of some reasonable agreement between them the average official will have to spend his life in a communal civil war." -

The joint Statement of Gandhi and Jinah to establish peace in the country on 6/5/47, didn't work.

Mr. VP Menon played a key role. He had worked with 4 Viceroy and was known to the political problem in depth. Sardar Patel in charge of Home was monitoring Law and Order condition in Punjab, Bengal and rest of the Country.

The draft of partition scheme was seen by Sardar Patel some two months before Nehru saw it on 1/6/47. Therefore, the partition decision (informal) within Ministry(!) date may be considered around April 1947. Riots and Civil war type condition created through direct action by AIML had left no option except the partition, whether some one would have agreed or not. Finally, partition was agreed upon on 2/6/47 and was announced on 3/6/47.

India was divided to establish peace and to save lives and properties of the people. It was destined.

1 December 2015


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