Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jinnah's in camera speech to the Muslim League Working Committee, April 1943

The Transfer of Power 1942-47, Volume III, 21 September 1942-12 June 1943, editors Mansergh, Lumby.

Emphasis added.

Item #669, Pages 918-922
Note on the proceedings of the session of the All-India Muslim League at Delhi,
24 to 26 April 1943
{Enclosed in the letter of 11 May 1943 from the Deputy Private Secretary to the Viceroy to the Private Secretary to the Secretary of State.}


1.     Taken against previous reports, the proceedings of the All-India Muslim League Session have caused no surprise.   Jinnah’s speeches both in the meetings of the Working Committee and the Subjects Committee (held in camera) and in the Open Session have confirmed impressions that of late his mind has been passing through a certain process of change.  He has become more aggressive, more challenging and more authoritative.  The reason appears to be “consciousness of power lately acquired and of certain old injuries which can now be avenged therewith”.

It cannot be denied that he is today more powerful than he ever has been.  Sir Sikander’s death and the consequential disappearance of the fear of a strong rival Muslim organization being created, the formation of League Ministries in various Provinces,  the spinelessness of the new Punjab Premier which circumstance has for the first time exposed that vital part of the Pakistan organism to his direct encroachments,  the recent successes in bye-elections and the deterioration of the Congress power constitute a set of circumstances which have lent an unusual lustre to Jinnah’s leadership and augmented his strength and striking power to a degree never before attained.

On the other hand four years of close study of the British attitude towards the Muslims appear to have forced on him the final conclusion that the British are not prepared to give to the Muslims anything material beyond the few barren references to the “greatness” of the Muslim community with which British Statesmen have lately been embellishing their speeches in [on?] India.  “If”, he argues, “the Congress has gone astray, why are the British not inviting us to form a government at the Centre?   If the Congress did not accept the Cripps proposals,  what then has prevented the British from conceding the Muslim right to self-determination immediately and independently of the Congress?”

Jinnah was quiet so long as he lacked the power to assert himself and have this unpromising situation altered.  But now he has developed the necessary power and sanctions.

2.     These considerations have been uppermost in Jinnah’s mind while he has been addressing the various Committees and the Open Session.  He has clearly indicated that he is determined no longer to take things lying down.  As a matter of fact, he has tried to go through all the preliminaries with which the new storm of his making must be prefaced.   He has finally warned the British;  he has expressed his profound dissatisfaction with their attitude; he has urged Provincial Leagues now to place themselves on a war footing in preparation for what is to come; he has castigated the Capitalists and pampered the masses (on whose sympathy and goodwill he has to base his future struggle) by his references to “social justice” and “economic reorganization”;  he has tried to impress upon the Provincial Premiers the fact that their own future lies only in following his lead and above all he has, in order to show his bona fides to the neutral world, extended an open and almost final invitation to the Congress to approach him for a settlement if it so desires.  Inevitably the next stage will be “preparation for the inevitable struggle” and after that the “struggle” itself.

3.     In amplification of this point, Jinnah spoke to the Working Committee, where he was able to expose his mind more freely, something as follows :—

“About the future, there are two sets of suggestion[s];
(1) to take direct action here and now to force Britain to accept the Muslim demands, and
(2) to wait and watch.

The extremists would wish the League forthwith to declare war on Britain, and one of them, Mr. G.M. Syed even recommends that as a token of Muslim resentment, members of the Working Committee should in the first instance court imprisonment and at the same time Muslim Leaguers should be called upon to withdraw from the War Committees.

Then there are the Moderates who maintain that the League should rest satisfied over the formation of Ministries in Bengal, Sind, Assam and the Punjab.  No one, however, takes a balanced and realistic view of the situation.

The situation is this: the Congress is determined to defy the Muslims.  But it has now paid the penalty.  It has been crushed and it has ceased to claim that it also represents the Musalmans.  It may not act as we would wish, but at the same time it is not longer capable of substantially harming us.   The wounds it has received will take some time to heal and so we are for the time being free from its terror.  Besides it is not under the present circumstances in a position to give us anything.  We want Pakistan and that commodity is available not in the Congress market but in the British market.  In other words, the Congress danger has ceased to exist for the time being.  Let us, therefore, not bother too much about it but maintain a watchful attitude.

Then comes our second enemy, the Britisher.  How do we stand in relation to him?   Well, he is as useless for our purpose as the Congress and he is as callous and defiant as any enemy can be.  His anxiety throughout has been to court the Congress, and he feels that his Imperialist interests demand that he should permanently keep the Mussalmans down. He is gravely suspicious of the Mussalmans.  In the rise of the Muslim power, he sees the end of his own supremacy in the East.   Therefore, beyond soft words, the Muslims can expect nothing from him.

Nor can the Muslims associate any high hopes with the so-called Post-war New World Order.   The end of this war is going to leave the Britisher so powerful that he will be able to defy the world opinion wherever it conflicts with his own Imperialistic designs.   At the end of the war the Britisher will be more powerful than any of his Allies.  And if he is really powerful and if he has successfully emerged at the expense of his Allies, why should he listen to the counsels of his weak allies or even to the world?  He has not been fighting this war to enable visionaries to advise him as to how he should liquidate his own power.  Therefore, neither now nor henceforth is there any possibility of the British willingly conferring upon us the boon of Pakistan.

On the contrary, in the post-war period, there is every likelihood of a British-Muslim conflict on a grand scale.  There are various issues which may give rise to such a conflict, e.g., Palestine or Syria, or the withdrawal of the British from Iran, Egypt and Baghdad.  Collectively these issues form but part of the general world problem and when it comes to the point, the Muslims of various countries will have to sink or swim together.  It is impossible for British Imperialism to yield to Muslim opinion in all these fields.  On one issue or the other, there is bound to be an open clash.

We must prepare ourselves to play our part in that major clash.  Naturally, we shall require elaborate arrangements.   None of the small mercies show to us recently by the Provincial Governors in Sind or Bengal can lull us into a false sense of security.  These favours have not been granted because the British love us.  It is in order to expose us before the masses to whom we have been making extravagant promises that we have been saddled with this responsibility.  

The same trick was played with the Congress when they were given a long rope in the shape of Ministries to hang themselves.   Had this not been done, there would have been no Hindu-Muslim bitterness such as now exists.  If Congress had not accepted office, it would not have lost its former hold over the agrarian and labour populations, or its former popularity with certain sections of Muslims.  The British have brought League Ministries into existence so that our promises to our people are put to the test, so that we feel and thereby stand self-condemned and so that there should arise local and internal complications within the League.  I am genuinely afraid that the British will not allow the League to do anything substantial for the Muslim masses in order that the Muslim League shall stand discredited in the eyes of its own people. Therefore, let us not lay down our tools merely because seventeen or twenty of our men have been provided with seats in Provincial Cabinets. 

What are we to do?  Are we to acquiesce or fight?   As far as I am concerned, that we should fight is a foregone conclusion.  All that remains if how and when.    We cannot fight unless everything is placed on a perfect war footing. By giving us Ministries, the enemy feels that he has sealed our doom.  But let us seal his doom with the same instruments.   Let us use this opportunity to consolidate our position in the Provinces.   Let the Ministries function in such a manner that instead of discrediting themselves, they popularize the League among the masses from whom we are mainly to draw when we are on the war path.  Collect funds.  Consolidate the National Guards. Consider from what side we are going to launch our attack.  Let us exploit these Ministries so that when we attack, the very fact that we are giving up our seats in the Government in order to launch such an attack will add to our prestige.

When should we attack?  I think I should be ready with my plans by about next December. [Note in original: The agent explains that the month of December is specifically stated because in the acceleration of League activity, December has been chosen as the month for the annual session which is usually held during Easter.  By December also Jinnah will have judged more definitely how the war situation stands and the annual session will provide an opportunity for his plans to be reviewed.   A special session will probably we convened in the Punjab in April for further consideration.]

Meanwhile, our Provincial Ministries and Leagues will have completed the work of organization in the Provinces and prepared themselves for the fight.  Also we will have seen how the war goes during the summer.  In December we meet in Sind.  In April we meet in the Punjab.  There we decide when to strike, where to strike and how to strike.

Personally I think that unless unforeseen circumstances force us to act otherwise, we should begin our offensive immediately on the termination of the war.  Then everybody will be in a state of exhaustion and unwilling to face a new ordeal.  It is true that the Britisher will by then be strong than anyone else.  But that strength of his will be confined only to this that he shall stand no dictation from his Allies who would be comparatively weaker than him. But for that reason alone he dare not court fresh trouble on a large scale.

All we have to do to wrest our ideal from his unwilling hands will be to create trouble on a large scale, and thus compel him to surrender.  How did Afghanistan win her independence?   She declared war when the World War had just ended.  England was exhausted and her pleasure-loving people would allow no new wars to be fought.  We should, if necessary and if matters can be delayed till then, copy Afghanistan.

That, however, does not mean that we should stay our hands, if provocation comes earlier.   We have already killed the Congress.  Now it is the turn of the British.  The war in my opinion may last another three years and we shold use that period to put our house in order.

“In this connection, here are the few points which should be borne in mind –

(1) Now that we are in the Ministries, we should try to retain them as long as possible so that we are able to use them as an instrument for consolidating our position in the Provinces for the purposes of the impending fight.

(2) We should, if possible, avoid conflict with the British until the arrival of the psychological moment and until our preparations are completed.

(3) In order to popularize the League with the masses, we should pass some good legislation in the Provinces where Ministries are functioning.  This will stand us in good stead in due time.

(4) Meanwhile discourage anything that will create dissensions in the Muslim Camp.   For instance, discussion or determination of fundamental rights for citizens of Pakistan, or production of a cut and dried scheme for Pakistan must create controversies and differences of opinion and should, therefore, be avoided for the present.

(5) The fight being inevitable, we must make our preparations flawless.”

It was on account of this speech that the various resolutions of which notice had been given were withdrawn, and the official resolution, which was meant to serve only as a smoke-screen was passed.

4.     Other features of the Session were—

(1)          Rs. 29,000 were contributed by Sind members and an equal sum by Punjab members towards the Jinnah fund.  The Punjab Premier promised, on condition that his name would not be announced, a donation of Rs. 7,000.  Shaukat Hayat Khan offered Rs. 3,000, but his offer was not accepted as it was thought that its acceptance at this stage, when he had just been given the League ticket, would create misunderstandings.  Other donors were—

The Nawab of Mamdot in his own name, in the name of his
brother, &c.    . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .      17,000
Mir Ghulam Ali of Sind         . .          . .          . .          . .      10,000
Mir Bundeh Ali of Sind         . .          . .          . .          . .        5,000
K. B. Khuro of Sind    . .          . .          . .          . .          . .        5,000
Sir Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah     . .          . .          . .       1,000
Gazdar, Law Minister, Sind   . .          . .          . .          . .       1,000
K. B. Jalal-ud-din of Sind      . .          . .          . .          . .        1,000
Pir Ellahi Bux . .          . .          . .          . .          . .          . .        1,000
Sir Maratab Ali of the Punjab          . .          . .          . .         5,000
Hassan Bux Shah of Sind     . .          . .          . .          . .         2,500

The rest paid lesser sums.  The total amounted to some Rs. 60,000 (approx..).  The Jinnah Fund now stands at rupees six lakhs.

(2)          The Sind League quarrel, Jagirdars versus Jagirdar Tenants, had its echoes in Delhi.  Both the parties tried to get the support of Jinnah.  With a view to win Jinnah’s sympathies, the Mirs of Sind, who are Jagirdars, were this time unusually generous in their contributions.  G.M. Syed, the exponent of the other side is, however, unyielding.  For the present, however, Qazi Isa and Nawab Ismail Khan are going to Sind to look into these matters.

(3)          Shaukat Hayat has been given the League ticket for his bye-election by the Central League Parliamentary Committee on his placing his resignation in the hands of Jinnah to be used if and when necessary.   Meanwhile, both sides have contracted to treat this matter with the utmost secrecy.  Shaukat Hayat is believed to have made it clear to Jinnah that, if it comes to a fight with the British, Jinnah must release him from his obligations, because of his father’s long connections with the British and because he is an Army officer, Shaukat Hayat will not go against the British.  Jinnah has seen his point of view and agreed to let him out when necessary.   For the present Jinnah appreciates that a combination of Shaukat’s group with the Hindus and the Sikhs is a matter to be reckoned with.

(4)          A resolution was passed urging the termination of Martial Law in Sind and the restoration of Pir Pagaro’s property.  Pir Ellahi Bux, tried to oppose it, but was hooted down, thanks to the excellent arrangements made by Yusif Haroon and G. M. Syed.  It is most unlikely that the Sind League Ministry will resign on the Pir Pagaro issue or the issue of the lifting of Martial Law.

(5)          Resolutions were passed on the food problem, the South African affair, Collective fines, Mr. Jinnah’s emergency powers, &c., &c.


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