First posted May 26, 2019
NB: Ambedkar’s book is a crucial archive for the climate of the times in which it was written. A noticeable feature is the extensive research, done in short time, soon after the Muslim League’s Lahore Resolution in March 1940. It is also noteworthy that he used stereotypes, fairly common in those days. I have cited some of these extracts in my essay on the history of Indian fascism. DS
“If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost. But is Pakistan the true remedy against it? What makes communal Raj possible is a marked disproportion in the relative strength of the various communities living in a country… Not partition, but the abolition, of the Muslim League and the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims is the only effective way of burying the ghost of Hindu Raj… Nor should the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims be difficult in India…“
Extracts from Ambedkar’s book on Pakistan (1940, 1945)
Page numbers below are visible on this PDF
These are links to the same book, without page numbers:
Comments on Muslim League demands: pp 131 -132: After taking into account what the Muslims demanded at the R. T. C. and what was conceded to them, any one could have thought that the limit of Muslim demands was reached and that the 1932 settlement was a final settlement. But, it appears that even with this the Musalmans are not satisfied. A further list of new demands for safeguarding the Muslim position seems to be ready. In the controversy that went on between Mr. Jinnah and the Congress in the year 1938, Mr. Jinnah was asked to disclose his demands which he refused to do. But these demands have come to the surface in the correspondence that passed between Pandit Nehru and Mr. Jinnah in the course of the controversy and they have been tabulated by Pandit Nehru in one of his letters to Mr. Jinnah. His tabulation gives the following items as being matters of disputes and requiring settlement:
(1) The fourteen points formulated by the Muslim League in 1929.
(2) The Congress should withdraw all opposition to the Communal Award and should not describe it as a negation of nationalism.
(3) The share of the Muslims in the state services should be definitely fixed in the constitution by statutory enactment.
(4) Muslim personal law and culture should be guaranteed by statute.
(5) The Congress should take in hand the agitation in connection with the Sahidganj Mosque and should use its moral pressure to enable the Muslims to gain possession of the Mosque.
(6) The Muslims’ right to call Azan and perform their religious ceremonies should not be fettered in any way. (7) Muslims should have freedom to perform cow-slaughter.
(8) Muslim majorities in the Provinces, where such majorities exist at present, must not be affected by any territorial re-distribution or adjustments.
(9) The ‘ Bande Mataram’ song should be given up.
(10) Muslims want Urdu to be the national language of India and they desire to have statutory guarantees that the use of Urdu shall not be curtailed or damaged.
(11) Muslim representation in the local bodies should be governed by the principles underlying the Communal Award, that is, separate electorates and population strength.
(12) The tricolour flag should be changed or alternately the flag of the Muslim League should be given equal importance.
(13) Recognition of the Muslim League as the one authoritative and representative organization of Indian Muslims. (14) Coalition Ministries should be formed.
With this new list, there is no knowing where the Muslims are going to stop in their demands. Within one year, that is, between 1938 and 1939, one more demand and that too of a substantial character, namely 50 per cent. share in everything, has been added to it. In this catalogue of new demands there are some which on the face of them are extravagant and impossible, if not irresponsible. As an instance, one may refer to the demand for fifty-fifty and the demand for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India. In 1929, the Muslims insisted that in allotting seats in Legislatures, a majority shall not be reduced to a minority or equality. 34 [f34] This principle, enunciated by themselves, it is now demanded, shall be abandoned and a majority shall be reduced to equality. The Muslims in 1929 admitted that the other minorities required protection and that they must have it in the same manner as the Muslims.
The only distinction made between the Muslims and other minorities was as to the extent of the protection. The Muslims claimed a higher degree of protection than was conceded to the other minorities on the ground of their political importance. The necessity and adequacy of protection for the other minorities the Muslims never denied. But with this new demand of 50 per cent. the Muslims are not only seeking to reduce the Hindu majority to a minority but they are also cutting into the political rights of the other minorities. The Muslims are now speaking the language of Hitler and claiming a place in the sun as Hitler has been doing for Germany. For their demand for 50 per cent. Is nothing but a counterpart of the German claims for Deutschland Uber Alles and Lebenuraum for Themselves,irrespective of what happens to other minorities. Their claim for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India is equally extravagant. Urdu is not only not spoken all, over India but is not even the language of all the Musalmans of India. Of the 68 millions of Muslims 35[f.35] only 28 millions speak Urdu. The proposal of making Urdu the national language means that the language of 28 millions of Muslims is to be imposed particularly upon 40 millions of Musalmans or generally upon 322 millions of Indians.
It will thus be seen that every time a proposal for the reform of the constitution comes forth, the Muslims are there, ready with some new political demand or demands. The only check upon such indefinite expansion of Muslim demands is the power of the British Government, which must be the final arbiter in any dispute between the Hindus and the Muslims. Who can confidently say that the decision of the British will not be in favour of the Muslims if the dispute relating to these new demands was referred to them for arbitration ? The more the Muslims demand the more accommodating the British seem to become. At any rate, past experience shows that the British have been inclined to give the Muslims more than what the Muslims had themselves asked. Two such instances can be cited… pp 131-132
(PP 141 onwards): Must there be Pakistan because the Muslims have lost faith in the Congress majority? As reasons for the loss of faith Muslims cite some instances of tyranny and oppression practised by the Hindus and connived at by the Congress Ministries during the two years and three months the Congress was in office. Unfortunately Mr. Jinnah did not persist in his demand for a Royal Commission to inquire into these grievances. If he had done it we could have known what truth there was in these complaints. A perusal of these instances, as given in the reports 4[f.4] of the Muslim League Committees, leaves upon the reader the impression that although there may be some truth in the allegations there is a great deal which is pure exaggeration. The Congress Ministries concerned have issued statements repudiating the charges. It may be that the Congress during the two years and three months that it was in office did not show statesmanship, did not inspire confidence in the minorities, nay tried to suppress them. But can it be a reason for partitioning India ? Is it not possible to hope that the voters who supported the Congress last time will grow wiser and not support the Congress ? Or may it not be that if the Congress returns to office it will profit by the mistakes it has made, revise its mischievous policy and thereby allay the fear created by its past conduct ?
[f.4]On this point, see Report of the Inquiry Committee appointed by the All-India Muslim League to inquire into Muslim grievances in Congress Provinces popularly known as Pirpur Report. Also Report of the Bihar Provincial Muslim League to inquire into some grievances of Muslims in Bihar and the Press Note issued by the Information Officer, Government of Bihar, replying to some of the allegations contained in these reports published in Amrita Bazar Patrika of 13-3-39.
Must there be Pakistan because the Musalmans are a nation ? It is a pity that Mr. Jinnah should have become a votary and champion of Muslim Nationalism at a time when the whole world is decrying against the evils of nationalism and is seeking refuge in some kind of international organization. Mr. Jinnah is so obsessed with his new-found faith in Muslim Nationalism that he is not prepared to see that there is a distinction between a society, parts of which are disintegrated, and a society parts of which have become only loose, which no sane man can ignore. When a society is disintegrating—and the two nation theory is a positive disintegration of society and country – it is evidence of the fact that there do not exist what Carlyle calls ‘organic filaments’ – i.e., the vital forces which work to bind together the parts that are cut asunder. In such cases disintegration can only be regretted. It cannot be prevented.
Where, however, such organic filaments do exist, it is a crime to overlook them and deliberately force the disintegration of society and country as the Muslims seem to be doing. If the Musalmans want to be a different nation it is not because they have been but because they want to be. There is much in the Musalmans which, if they wish, can roll them into a nation. But isn’t there enough that is common to both Hindus and Musalmans, which if developed, is capable of moulding them into one people ? Nobody can deny that there are many modes, manners, rites and customs which are common to both. Nobody can deny that there are rites, customs and usages based on religion which do divide Hindus and Musalmans.
The question is, which of these should be emphasized. If the emphasis is laid on things that are common, there need be no two nations in India. If the emphasis is laid on points of difference, it will no doubt give rise to two nations. The view that seems to guide Mr. Jinnah is that Indians are only a people and that they can never be a nation. This follows the line of British writers who make it a point of speaking of Indians as the people of India and avoid speaking of the Indian nation. Granted Indians are not a nation, that they are only a people. What of that ? History records that before the rise of nations as great corporate personalities, there were only peoples.
There is nothing to be ashamed if Indians are no more than a people. Nor is there any cause for despair that the people of India – if they wish – will not become one nation. For, as Disraeli said, a nation is a work of art and a work of time. If the Hindus and Musalmans agree to emphasize the things that bind them and forget those that separate them there is no reason why in course of time they should not grow into a nation. It may be that their nationalism may not be quite so integrated as that of the French or the Germans. But they can easily produce a common state of mind on common questions which is the sum total which the spirit of nationalism helps to produce and for which it is so much prized. Is it right for the Muslim League to emphasize only differences and ignore altogether the forces that bind ? Let it not be forgotten that if two nations come into being it will not be because it is predestined. It will be the result of deliberate design. (p 142)
143: Given the experience of the French in Canada, the English in South Africa and the French and the Italians in Switzerland, the questions that arise are, why should it be otherwise in India ? Assuming that the Hindus and the Muslims split into two nations, why cannot they live in one country and under one constitution ? Why should the emergence of the two-nation theory make partition necessary ? Why should the Musalmans be afraid of losing their nationality and national culture by living with the Hindus ? If the Muslims insist on separation, the cynic may well conclude that there is so much that is common between the Hindus and the Musalmans that the Muslim leaders are afraid that unless there is partition whatever little distinctive Islamic culture is left with the Musalmans will eventually vanish by continued social contact with the Hindus with the result that in the end instead of two nations there will grow up in India one nation. If the Muslim nationalism is so thin then the motive for partition is artificial and the case for Pakistan loses its very basis.
Must there be Pakistan because otherwise Swaraj will be a Hindu Raj ? The Musalmans are so easily carried away by this cry that it is necessary to expose the fallacies underlying it. In the first place, is the Muslim objection to Hindu Raj a conscientious objection or is it a political objection If it is a conscientious objection all one can say is that it is a very strange sort of conscience. There are really millions of Musalmans in India who are living under unbridled and uncontrolled Hindu Raj of Hindu Princes and no objection to it has been raised by the Muslims or the Muslim League. The Muslims had once a conscientious objection to the British Raj. Today not only have they no objection to it but they are the greatest supporters of it. That there should be no objection to British Raj or to undiluted Hindu Raj of a Hindu Prince but that there should be objection to Swaraj for British India on the ground that it is Hindu Raj as though it was not subjected to checks and balances is an attitude the logic of which it is difficult to follow.
The political objections to Hindu Raj rest on various grounds. The first ground is that Hindu society is not a democratic society. True, it is not It may not be right to ask whether the Muslims have taken any part in the various movements for reforming Hindu society as distinguished from proselytising. But it is right to ask if the Musalmans are the only sufferers from the evils that admittedly result from the undemocratic character of Hindu society. Are not the millions of Shudras and non-Brahmins or millions of the Untouchables, suffering the worst consequences of the undemocratic character of Hindu society? Who benefits from education, from public service and from political reforms except the Hindu governing class – composed of the higher castes of the Hindus – which form not even 10 per cent. of the total Hindu population? Has not the governing class of the Hindus, which controls Hindu politics, shown more regard for safeguarding the rights and interests of the Musalmans than they have for safeguarding the rights and interests of the Shudras and the Untouchables ? Is not Mr. Gandhi, who is determined to oppose any political concession to the Untouchables, ready to sign a blank cheque in favour of the Muslims? Indeed, the Hindu governing class seems to be far more ready to share power with the Muslims than it is to share power with the Shudras and the Untouchables. Surely, the Muslims have the least ground to complain of the undemocratic character of Hindu society (143)
(144): If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt, be the greatest calamity for this country. No matter what the Hindus say, Hinduism is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. On that account it is incompatible with democracy. Hindu Raj must be prevented at any cost. But is Pakistan the true remedy against it? What makes communal Raj possible is a marked disproportion in the relative strength of the various communities living in a country. As pointed out above, this disproportion is not more marked in India than it is in Canada, South Africa and Switzerland. Nonetheless there is no British Raj in Canada, no Dutch Raj in South Africa, and no German Raj in Switzerland. How have the French, the English and the Italians succeeded in preventing the Raj of the majority community being established in their country?
Surely not by partition: What is their method? Their method is to put a ban on communal parties in politics. No community in Canada, South Africa or Switzerland ever thinks of starting a separate communal party. What is important to note is that it is the minority nations which have taken the lead in opposing the formation of a communal party. For they know that if they form a communal political party the major community will also form a communal party and the majority community will thereby find it easy to establish its communal Raj. It is a vicious method of self-protection. It is because the minority nations are fully aware how they will be hoisted on their own petard that they have opposed the formation of communal political parties.
Have the Muslims thought of this method of avoiding Hindu Raj. Have they considered how easy it is to avoid it? Have they considered how futile and harmful the present policy of the League is? The Muslims are howling against the Hindu Maha Sabha and its slogan of Hindudom and Hindu Raj. But who is responsible for this? Hindu Maha Sabha and Hindu Raj are the inescapable nemesis which the Musalmans have brought upon themselves by having a Muslim League. It is action and counter-action. One gives rise to the other. Not partition, but the abolition, of the Muslim League and the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims is the only effective way of burying the ghost of Hindu Raj. It is, of course, not possible for Muslims and other minority parties to join the Congress or the Hindu Maha Sabha so long as the disagreement on the question of constitutional safeguards continues.
But this question will be settled, is bound to be settled and there is every hope that the settlement will result in securing to the Muslims and other minorities the safeguards they need. Once this consummation, which we so devoutly wish, takes place nothing can stand in the way of a party re-alignment, of the Congress and the Maha Sabha breaking up and of Hindus and Musalmans forming mixed political parties based on an agreed programme of social and economic regeneration, and thereby avoid the danger of both Hindu Raj or Muslim Raj becoming a fact.
Nor should the formation of a mixed party of Hindus and Muslims be difficult in India. There are many lower orders in the Hindu society whose economic, political and social needs are the same as those of the majority of the Muslims and they would be far more ready to make a common cause with the Muslims for achieving common ends than they would with the high caste of Hindus who have denied and deprived them of ordinary human rights for centuries. To pursue such a course cannot be called an adventure. The path along that line is a well trodden path. Is it not a fact that under the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms in most Provinces, if not in all, the Muslims, the Non-Brahmins and the Depressed Classes united together and worked the reforms as members of one team from 1920 to 1937? Herein lay the most fruitful method of achieving communal harmony among Hindus and Muslims and of destroying the danger of a Hindu Raj. Mr. Jinnah could have easily pursued this line.
Nor was it difficult for Mr. Jinnah to succeed in it. Indeed Mr. Jinnah is the one person who had all the chances of success on his side if he had tried to form such a united non-communal party. He has the ability to organize. He had the reputation of a nationalist. Even many Hindus who were opposed to the Congress would have flocked to him if he had only sent out a call for a united party of like-minded Hindus and Muslims. What did Mr. Jinnah do ? In 1937 Mr. Jinnah made his entry into Muslim politics and strangely enough he regenerated the Muslim League which was dying and decaying and of which only a few years ago he would have been glad to witness the funeral. However regrettable the starting of such a communal political party may have been, there was in it one relieving feature.
That was the leadership of Mr. Jinnah. Everybody felt that with the leadership of Mr. Jinnah the League could never become a merely communal party. The resolutions passed by the League during the first two years of its new career indicated that it would develop into a mixed political party of Hindus and Muslims. At the annual session of the Muslim League held at Lucknow in October 1937 altogether 15 resolutions were passed. The following two are of special interest in this connection.
Resolution 9[f.9] No. 7: ” This meeting of the All India Muslim League deprecates and protests against the formation of Ministries in certain Provinces by the Congress parties in flagrant violation of the letter and the spirit of the Government of India Act, 1935, and Instrument of Instructions and condemns the Governors for their failure to enforce the special powers entrusted to them for the safeguards of the interest of the Musalmans and other important minorities”
Resolution* No. 8: ” Resolved that the object of the All India Muslim League shall be the establishment in India of Full Independence in the form of federation of free democratic states in which the rights and interests of the Musalmans and other minorities are adequately and effectively safeguarded in the constitution.”
Equal number of resolutions were passed at the next annual session of the League held at Patna in December 1938. Resolution* No. 10 is noteworthy. It reads as follows :—
“The All India Muslim League reiterates its view that the scheme of Federation embodied in the Government of India Act, 1935, is not acceptable, but in view of the further developments that have taken place or may take place from time to time it hereby authorises the President of the All India Muslim League to adopt such course as may be necessary with a view to explore the possibility of a suitable alternative which will safeguard the interests of the Musalmans and other minorities in India.”
By these resolutions Mr. Jinnah showed that he was for a common front between the Muslims and other non-Muslim minorities. Unfortunately the catholicity and statesmanship that underlies these resolutions did not last long. In 1939 Mr. Jinnah took a somersault and outlined the dangerous and disastrous policy of isolation of the Musalmans by passing that notorious resolution in favour of Pakistan. What is the reason for this isolation ? Nothing but the change of view that the Musalmans were a nation and not a community ! ! One need not quarrel over the question whether the Muslims are a nation or a community. But one finds it extremely difficult to understand how the mere fact that the Muslims are a nation makes political isolation a safe and sound policy?
Unfortunately Muslims do not realize what disservice Mr. Jinnah has done to them by this policy. But let Muslims consider what Mr. Jinnah has achieved by making the Muslim League the only organization for the Musalmans. It may be that it has helped him to avoid the possibility of having to play the second fiddle. For inside the Muslim camp he can always be sure of the first place for himself. But how does the League hope to save by this plan of isolation the Muslims from Hindu Raj? Will Pakistan obviate the establishment of Hindu Raj in Provinces in which the Musalmans are in a minority? Obviously it cannot. This is what would happen in the Muslim minority Provinces if Pakistan came. Take an all-India view. Can Pakistan prevent the establishment of Hindu Raj at the centre over Muslim minorities that will remain Hindustan? It is plain that it cannot. What good is Pakistan then? Only to prevent Hindu Raj in Provinces in which the Muslims are in a majority and in which there could never be Hindu Raj!!
To put it differently Pakistan is unnecessary to Muslims where they are in a majority because there, there is no fear of Hindu Raj. It is worse than useless to Muslims where they are in a minority, because Pakistan or no Pakistan they will have to face a Hindu Raj. Can politics be more futile than the politics of the Muslim League? The Muslim League started to help minority Muslims and has ended by espousing the cause of majority Muslims. What a perversion in the original aim of the Muslim League! What a fall from the sublime to the ridiculous! Partition as a remedy against Hindu Raj is worse than useless…
On Muslim politics: (p 118) Muslims have no interest in politics as such. Their predominant interest is religion…With the Muslims, election is a mere matter of money and is very seldom a matter of social programme of general improvement. Muslim politics takes no note of purely secular categories of life, namely, the differences between rich and poor, capital and labour, landlord and tenant, priest and layman, reason and superstition. Muslim politics is essentially clerical
On the Muslim League’s demands in 1938: ‘The Muslims are now speaking the language of Hitler and claiming a place in the sun as Hitler has been doing for Germany (p 132).
Transfer of population as the only solution to the ‘minority problem’: Those who scoff at the idea of transfer of population, will do well to study the history of the minority problem, as it arose between Turky, (sic) Greece and Bulgaria. If they do, they will find that these countries found that the only effective way of solving the minorities problem lay in exchange of population. The task undertaken by the three countries was by no means a minor operation. It involved the transfer of some 20 million people from one habitat to another. But undaunted, the three shouldered the task and carried it to a successful end because they felt that the considerations of communal peace must outweigh every other consideration.. That the transfer of minorities is the only lasting remedy for communal peace is beyond doubt. If that is so, there is no reason why the Hindus and the Muslims should keep on trading in safeguards which have proved so unsafe. If small countries, with limited resources like Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, were capable of such an undertaking, there is no reason to suppose that what they did cannot be accomplished by Indians. After all, the population involved is inconsiderable and because some obstacles require to be removed, it would be the height of folly to give up so sure a way to communal peace … (p 52 to 54)
In 1955, on partition: I was glad that India was separated from Pakistan. I was the philosopher, so to say, of Pakistan. I advocated partition because I felt that it was only by partition that Hindus would not only be independent but free. If India and Pakistan had remained united in one State Hindus though independent would have been at the mercy of the Muslims. A merely independent India would not have been a free India from the point of view of the Hindus. It would have been a Government of one country by two nations and of these two the Muslims without question would have been the ruling race notwithstanding Hindu Mahasabha and Jana Sangh. When the partition took place I felt that God was willing to lift his curse and let India be one, great and prosperous..
https://archive.org/details/TheSelectedWorksOfDr.B.R.Ambedkar (re-organisation of states, p 3890)