Monday, January 2, 2023

Communal Card

Communal card can swing the people in less than a decade

AIML could win only 107 (22%) of 482 Muslim reserved seats, 7% of the total 1585 seats of United India in 1936-37 provincial elections, failed form Govt in any of the provinces except became a support to KPP in Bengal that to was withdrawn after few months. Congress had 45% share and independents had 48%. 

But with the start of WW-II, Viceroy Linlithgow joined India into war and declared emergency therefore Congress ministries resigned from the 7 provinces and opened up a gate for Muslim League to side with British. Dr Ambedkar was also against Congress and near of British was taken into the Viceroy Executive Council as Member Labour in July 1942. Congress launched Quit India movement in August 1942 but all its major leaders were put behind the bar for three years (1942-45) till the WW ended. Meanwhile it prepared Plan A (United) and Plan B (Divided) of India independence and released Mahatma Gandhi from Jail to negotiate with Jinnah in 1944. But they didn’t agree to each other’s view point and therefore Wavell Plan of 1945 (14 June) and Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 (16 May) put forward to resolve the Indian problem. As per Wavell’s Plan the Viceroy’s Executive Council was to have all Indian members except the Viceroy himself and the Commander-in-Chief. The council was to have a ‘balanced representation’ of all Indians including ‘caste-Hindus’, Muslims, Depressed Classes, Sikhs, etc. Muslims were given 6 out of 14 members which accounted for more than their share of the population (25%). Jinnah opposed the nomination of Muslim members by the Congress and demanded that the League was the sole representative of Muslims in India therefore the plan failed. 

The elections of Central Assembly and Provincial Councils were held in British India in December 1945 January 1946 respectively. Congress won 923 of 1585 seats (58%). Muslim League won 429 (87%) of 492 Muslim reserved seats that was 27% of total of 1585 seats. It won only 7% in 1937 became 27% in 1946 by playing communal card. Congress rose from 45% in 1937 to 58% in 1946. The regional parties and independents which were a force were diminished from 48% in 1937 to 19% in 1946. 

In 1946, League won more than 87% seats of the reserved constituencies; 113 or 119 in Bengal, 54 of 64 in UP, 34 of 40 in Bihar, and captured all Muslim reserved seats in Bombay and Madras. It won 75 seats in Punjab and became a single largest party. Congress won 43 and Sikh-Akali 22. However, Muslim League couldn’t form Govt in Punjab because Congress and Akali supported the Unionist Party who had otherwise suffered a heavy loss in losing elections against Muslim League candidates. Due to strong personality of Abdul Gaffar Khan Congress won the majority in Northwest Frontier Province. Muslim League could form the Govt only in Bengal which became the epicentre of communal violence after the launch of Direct Action Day by Jinnah on 16 August 1946. In Sind, Muslim People’s Party formed the Govt. Its CM Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah was opposed to partition of India. The assembly (March-September 1946) of Sind was dissolved due to no confidence motion and in the elections held in December 1946, Muslim League won 33 of 35 Muslim seats in a house of 60. Sind assembly voted in favour of partition and their joining with Pakistan. 

Cabinet Mission Plan which was accepted by both the major parties initially but withdrew their acceptance later because of mistrust over each other on permanent or temporary nature of the provinces in the groups. The Plan in general had weakened the Central authority and empowered more to the provincial governments therefore it was less accepted to Congress and therefore it had objected the permanency of the provinces in the group. League on other had was expecting the permanency as a division in first step with a freedom to move out of the umbrella after 10 years. Congress sensed Jinnah’s plan and moved on to the other recommendations of the mission, i.e., formation of Constituent Assembly and Interim Goverment. League initiated the communal violences in August 1946 and didn’t join interim Govt formed in September but later took part to create road block in the functioning of the Govt. The members of Muslim League and representatives of Princely States didn’t attend the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 9th December 1946. Dr. MR Jaykar of Congress proposed to postpone the meeting of the Constituent Assembly and to find solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem to avoid partition of India which was supported by Dr Ambedkar, but the meetings continued. As the interim government had formed the negotiation committees for deciding the terms and conditions of signing of the instrument of accession (annexed in Goi Act 1935) with the princely States and many of them started responding to it, joined the Constituent Assembly meetings from April 1947 onwards. The problem of 562 princely states was scaled down to 93 representatives in the Constituent Assembly and was further reduced to some 20-25 major princely states as the bulk of them were from Gujarat, Maharastra and Rajasthan. 

As soon as it was made clear that partition was the only solution and the new Viceroy Lord Mountbatten had taken over the rein in February 1947 to execute the plan of independence of India with divisions, Muslim League saw its dream coming true and therefore started working to get as much as bigger size of Pakistan. But Pt. Nehru and Sardar Patel were smarter bargained divisions of Punjab and Bengal and prevented Junagagh, Kashmir and Hyderabad going into the net of Pakistan. Jinnah was forced to accept “a mutilated, moth-eaten Pakistan“. 

Where India is today and where Pakistan and Bangladesh are after 75 years is a lesson from history. 


27 December 2022


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