Monday, March 10, 2014

On sources - 1

"Mountbatten : A Biography" by Philip Ziegler (published in 1985) contains this passage about when Viceroy Mountbatten first met Mahatma Gandhi.

(Chapter 29, The End of Unified India, pages 369-370)
It did not take Mountbatten long to conclude that Gandhi was committed to the concept of a united India and that any step in the direction of partition would be resolutely opposed.   It was with this in view that on 1 April Gandhi put forward a plan which he had aired from time to time in the past; that Jinnah be invited to form an interim central government.  Congress, said Gandhi, should be prepared to accept government by the Muslim League if by so doing they could ensure the unity of their country.   Mountbatten, encountering the idea for the first time, found it bold, imaginative, splendidly far-fetched.   He saw in it, as he had seen in Habbakuk, the iceberg aircraft-carrier, the appeal of the outrageous yet remotely feasible.   In his staff meeting he described the proposal as 'undoubtedly mad, except for the fact that Gandhi's amazing personal influence...might induce Congress to accept it' (in the final record the word 'mad' was watered down to 'wild'). [33]
[33] Viceroy's Staff Meeting, 5 April 1947. Transfer of Power, Vol. X, p 124.  Early draft on BA D15.

Here, BA = Broadland Archives.

In this case "mad" to "wild" does not change much.  It does raise the question though, about how much the official record has been edited. 

Just in case you didn't know how the story turned out:
The plan never had the remotest chance of success.  All Mountbatten's advisers told him that such an administration would be unworkable, and the Congress leadership rejected it with alacrity.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sikh-JInnah meeting - 1946

Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed writes in the Daily Times:

 In a meeting in May 1947 sponsored by Lord Mountbatten to help the Muslims and Sikhs reach an agreement on keeping Punjab united, Jinnah offered the Sikhs all the safeguards they wanted if they agreed to support Pakistan. Only in March 1947 some 2,000-10,000 Sikhs — depending on who you cite — were butchered in the Rawalpindi rural areas so the Sikhs were very wary of Jinnah’s overtures. Chief Minister of Patiala Hardit Singh Malik writes he had an inspiration and asked Jinnah: “Sir you are making all the promises but God forbid if something happens to you, what will happen then?” The exact words Jinnah used in reply will be revealed in my forthcoming book, but the reasoning was that his followers will treat his words as sacred. 

I believe Professor Ahmed is wrong in his date. May 1947 is in any case too late.  I have not yet found any trace of this Mountbatten-sponsored meeting in the Transfer of Power papers for May 1947.   I believe the Jinnah-Sikh leaders' meeting was April 2, 1946. Jinnah there promised them the world.

Index: Jinnah's religious beliefs

The following posts on this blog relate to Jinnah's personal religious beliefs.

  1. Jinnah's religion - 1 : A collection of material from Aamir Mughal.
  2. Jinnah's religion - 2 : Jinnah and a Khoja solicitor, 1927 or 1928.
  3. Jinnah's religion - 3 : The dispute over the inheritance laws applicable to Jinnah's estate
  4. Jinnah's religion - 4 : Jinnah on his sect's beliefs, 1917.
  5. Jinnah's religion - 5 : Khaled Ahmed from The Friday Times, 2010
  6. Jinnah's religion - 6 : 1998 article on Jinnah's religion
  7. Jinnah's religion - 7 :  MQM leader Altaf Hussain's claims about Jinnah's religion
  8. Jinnah's religion - 8 :  Jaswant Singh's description of Khojas.

Jinnah's activities as a Mahomedan politician 1913-1915

Based on

The Works of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Volume II (1913-1916)
Editor: Dr. Riaz Ahmad
Quaid-i-Azam University, 1996

All India Muslim League Vol I
Encyclopedia of Political Party Series
Editor-in-Chief O.P. Ralhan
Anmol Publications, 1997

March 22, 1913 - Jinnah at the annual session of the All India Muslim League, succeeded in getting its constitution to ask for self-government for India on lines suitable to India's special needs, instead of self-government for India on colonial lines (as Mazharul Haque pushed for).

October 1913 - Jinnah joined the All India Muslim League

December 20, 1913 - Presidential address at the Anjuman-i-Islam, Bombay

Saturday, January 25, 2014

May 1, 1947 - US officials visit Jinnah

May 1 1947 - At his Bombay residence, Jinnah met with Raymond Hare, US State Dept. Division of Middle Eastern and Indian Affairs, and Thomas Weil, second secretary at the US Embassy at New Delhi.  This meeting was described in "Secret Telegram from George R. Merrell, Charge de Affaires US Embassy New Delhi to Secretary of State George C. Marshall, May 2, 1947,  Foreign Relations of the United States 1947 Volume 3, :154-155."  Cited by Hussain Haqqani, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding.

845.00/5-247 : Telegram

The Chargé in India (Merrell) to the Secretary of State

SECRET                                                                     NEW DELHI, May 2, 1947—10 a. m.

299. In hour and half conversation with Hare and Weil [1] yesterday, Jinnah said Congress demand for partition Bengal and Punjab would not "frighten" him into joining union center; that even if "driven into Sind desert" he would refuse to join union.  He said establishment Pakistan essential to prevent "Hindu imperialism" spreading into Middle East;  Muslim countries would stand together against possible Russian aggression and would look to US for assistance.   Reminded of Dawn's [2] frequent jibes re US economic imperialism and dollar diplomacy, he said Dawn editors simply reflected attitude of Indian Muslims in general towards US and added jokingly "they had to make a living".  He said while he realized US Govt probably open-minded re Pakistan, most Indian Muslims felt Americans were against them (a) because most Americans seemed opposed to Pakistan and (b) US Govt and people backed Jews against Arabs in Palestine.

[1] Raymond A. Hare of the Division of Middle Eastern and Indian Affairs, and Thomas E. Weil, Second Secretary of Embassy at New Delhi.
[2] Daily newspaper published in New Delhi; official organ of the Muslim League.

Jinnah said he thought if Calcutta area were included in Pakistan, Hindus would adjust selves to situation but if they didn't they would have to be brought under control and he thought this would "not take very long".  Apropos Punjab, he said Sikhs would be fairly treated and would have as many representatives in Pakistan Parliament as Sind or NWFP.   Said he thought announcement HMG's decision on Pakistan would clear atmosphere and reduce communal tension.

Jinnah's manner was calm and gracious and he showed none of nervousness or effects of illness noted by Jones of New York Times on April 19 (mitel280, April 21 [3])

Difficult to believe eventual announcement HMG's decision on Pakistan with or without partition of Bengal or Punjab will clear communal atmosphere.  Force will undoubtedly have to be employed to control rebellious elements in Bengal and Punjab no matter who receives power from HMG in those areas.

Please repeat London.


[3] Not printed.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Interview: Maya Tudor : The Promise of Power

 From the Indian Express

 Unlike the Congress, the Muslim League failed to create a social and economic programme, or rural-urban alliances’

Maya Tudor, a lecturer in government and public policy at Oxford University, recently published ‘The Promise of Power’, investigating the origins of India and Pakistan’s regime divergence in the aftermath of independence. In Delhi for a lecture tour, she spoke to Yamini Lohia. Excerpts {of excerpts}
In your book, you identified the leading political parties, the Congress and the Muslim League, as the major difference between India and Pakistan at the time of Partition. How do you think their leadership contributed to the divergent paths?
I wouldn’t say it was leadership. ....... But the parties were more than their leaders, at least in India, and that was the difference. It was just leaders in the case of Pakistan. There wasn’t much of a party organisation in terms of real representation in rural areas and a real programme. So on issues like what kind of programme of economic governance India was going to pursue, what kind of social programme and what the ideology of citizenship was — what made the Indian citizen an Indian citizen — on all these questions, India’s nationalist movement did more to develop a clear programme. They weren’t addressed in Pakistan until much later. India also built a movement that had substantial support in the countryside. That’s what made a difference.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jinnah : Pakistan not a bargaining counter

Back on January 3, 1941, Mr. Jinnah said, in an interview with a London newspaper that the British Government, the Parliament and the public would be making the greatest mistake if they believed the Congress "propaganda" that the demand for Pakistan was merely put forward as a counter for bargaining.

In his address to the Special Pakistan Session of the Punjab Muslim Students Federation, on March 2, 1941, Jinnah again reiterated that partitioning India was a matter of life and death to Mussalmans and was not a counter for bargaining.

To the Ahmedabad Muslim Students Union, reported in the Dawn on January 16, 1945, Jinnah said that British statesmen "encouraged the theory of united that they can play the role of arbitrator and mere[sic] cut the kind of justice which the monkey dispensed to the two cats. Opposition to Pakistan, Mr. Jinnah said, might be due to false notions or sentiments or because it was a new idea.  Some said that it was a hoax and worse still it was a bargaining counter because Mr Jinnah was an astute politician. He asserted that it was neither a hoax nor a slogan for bargaining."..."By division of India and the establishment of two governments, Pakistan and Hindustan, Mr. Jinnah said, distrust would have gone".