Indian National Movement
The Gandhian Era
Though Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) returned to India in 1915ï¿½after having spent more than twenty years (1893-1914) in Southï¿½Africa where he had fought and won the war against racialismï¿½through Satyagraha and non-violence, which means became theï¿½cardinal principles of his struggle throughout his life. Gandhiï¿½took up the leadership of the Indian National Congress afterï¿½having launched successfully the Champaran (Bihar), theï¿½Ahmedabad and the Kheda Satyagrahas during 1917-18 (onï¿½Gokhale’s suggestion whom Gandhi had regarded his politicalï¿½guru, Gandhi travelled around the country to see for himselfï¿½India’s people, their problems and the miserable conditions inï¿½which they lived), Gandhi came on to the political scene of theï¿½country and dominated and guided the Congress and its affairsï¿½for about thirty long years.
Though the period of Gandhi’sï¿½leadership of the Congress is usually known as the Gandhianï¿½era, there were the other forces such as those relating to theï¿½Muslim League, the Swarajists, the revolutionaries, Subhashï¿½Bose and his Indian National Army, the workers, the peasants,ï¿½the communists, the hard-core nationalists, the Ambedkeritesï¿½who had, in their varying ways, contributed to the developmentsï¿½during 1917-1947. The tale of our national movement was toï¿½unfold itself, now with its own peculiar characteristic features.
XIA. Communalism: The Muslim Leagueï¿½and its Activities
The rise and evolution of the All-India Muslim League wasï¿½the product of the British policy of “divide and rule” as alsoï¿½a reaction to the Hindu revivalism. Sir Syed Ahmad Khanï¿½(1817-1898), who was once a champion of the Hindu-Muslimï¿½unity, began suspecting the objective of the Indian Nationalï¿½Congress. The foundation of M.A.O. College, with Beck as itsï¿½principle, brought the Britishers and the Muslims closer to eachï¿½other, paving the way for the Agha Khan’s Muslim deputation toï¿½give a memorandum for the Muslim’s separate representationï¿½to the Viceroy at Simla in October 1906.
The birth of the AllIndian Muslim League (with Wakar-ul-Mulk as its President)ï¿½in December 1906 was the logical culmination of a politicalï¿½organization for purposes, as Maulana Azad stated, of
(a)ï¿½strengthening and developing the feelings of the Muslim’s loyaltyï¿½towards the British rulers, and
(b) safeguarding the Muslimï¿½interests/rights. The League demonstrated its approval of theï¿½partition of Bengal (1905), and welcomed the reforms of 1909.
The 1906-Muslims League’s objectives included :
(i) creatingï¿½a sense of loyalty among the Muslim towards the British,
(ii)ï¿½safeguarding the Muslim rights,
(iii) representing the aspirationsï¿½and sentiments of the Muslims,
(iv) maintaining friendlyï¿½relations with other communities.
The friendship between theï¿½Muslim League and the British rulers was short-lived. With theï¿½annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911, and the Britishï¿½attitude of hostility towards Turkey in 1914-war, there aroseï¿½differences between the League and the British government.ï¿½On the other, the League and the Congress came to holdï¿½their annual sessions not only at the same cities but also onï¿½the same dates, bringing the two closer. The Lucknow Pact ofï¿½1916 , though brought the two organizations together, made theï¿½Congress commit itself to League’s demand of separate electorateï¿½for the Muslims – the union between the two did not last long.
The Mont-ford reforms (The Government of India Act, 1919)ï¿½saw the two organizations parting ways ï¿½ï¿½ the distance wentï¿½on widening which ended only in the partition of the countryï¿½in 1947. The Congress, thereafter, could not overcome its policyï¿½of appeasement towards the League. As the Muslim Leagueï¿½moved towards its communal stance, it came to disapproveï¿½all that the Congress did (the non-cooperation movement ofï¿½1920-22, the Swarajists’ demand for a commission to review theï¿½reforms of 1919) and supported what the British governmentï¿½proposed. M.A. Jinnah (1876-1948), one time a Congressman,ï¿½had become the leader of the Muslim League, demandingï¿½separate representation for the Muslims in politics and services.
As against the Nehru report of 1928, he sought:
(1) Muslimsï¿½should be givenï¿½1/3ï¿½representation in the Central Legislature
(2) Punjab and Bengal should have Muslim representation onï¿½the population basis for 10 years.
(3) Residuary powers shouldï¿½be vested in the Provincial Legislatures and not in the Centre.
Then came the Jinnah’s fourteen points which were :
(1) Theï¿½form of the future constitution of India should be federal.ï¿½The residuary power was to veste in the provinces and theï¿½states.
(2) A uniform measure of autonomy shall be grantedï¿½to all provinces.
(3) All legislatures shall contain adequateï¿½representation of minorities without reducing the majority inï¿½any Province to a minority or even equality.
(4) In the Centralï¿½Legislature, the Muslim representation shall be one-third.
(5)ï¿½Re-presentation of communal groups shall continue to be meansï¿½of separate electorates.
(6) Any territorial redistribution shall notï¿½affect the Muslim majority in Punjab, Bengal and North-Westï¿½Frontier Province.
(7) Full religious liberty shall be guaranteedï¿½to all communities.
(8) No bill or resolution or any part thereofï¿½shall be passed in any legislature or any elected body ifï¿½3/4thï¿½ï¿½ofï¿½all members of any community in that particular body opposeï¿½such a bill, resolution or part thereof on the ground that itï¿½would be injurious to be interests of that community.
(9) Sindï¿½should be separated from the Bombay Presidency.
(10) Reformsï¿½should be introduced in the N.W.F. Province and Baluchistan onï¿½the same footing as in other Provinces.
(11) Provision should beï¿½made in the constitution giving the Muslims an adequate share inï¿½all services and in all self-governing bodies.
(12) The constitutionï¿½should embody adequate safeguards for the protection of Muslimï¿½culture, education, language, religion etc.
(13) No cabinet eitherï¿½central or provincial should be formed without there being aï¿½proportion of at leastï¿½1/3ï¿½Muslim Ministers.
(14) No change shallï¿½be made in the constitution of the Central Legislature except withï¿½the concurrence of the States constituting the Indian Federation.
The League’s lukewarm attitude towards the Congress’sï¿½’Purna Swaraj’ resolution of 1929 and Gandhi’s civil ‘disobedienceï¿½movement of 1930-1934 did not make any ground for the twoï¿½organizations together towards the Government of India Actï¿½1935 which they had denounced, though on different reasons.ï¿½The 1937-elections held under the Act 1935 and the subsequentï¿½Congress’s forming governments in a couple of provinces andï¿½its resignation in 1939 with the opening of the World War IIï¿½made the League celebrate the day of deliverance. The League’sï¿½Lahore session of 1940 made the intentions of Jinnah (especiallyï¿½his two-nation theory) clear when the Pakistan resolution wasï¿½passed. In all these developments, the British blessings towardsï¿½the League’s ever-increasing demands helped the League toï¿½attain Pakistan.
During the war as also in years following 1945,ï¿½Jinnah and the League (with riots in the name of direct action)ï¿½persistently adopted an un-compromising attitude towards anyï¿½and every scheme for solving the Indian problem. So much so,ï¿½even the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946) which offered Jinnahï¿½a de facto Pakistan could not satisfy his ambitions. Attlee’sï¿½statement of February, 1947 encouraged Jinnah’s designs andï¿½’Direct Action’ became the programme of the League. Theï¿½British decision to transfer power, Jinnah’s intransigence andï¿½his nominees’ obstructive attitude in the Interim Governmentï¿½apart, the danger of wide-spread communal riots andï¿½Mountbatten’s skilful negotiations with the Indian leaders, made the Partition of India inevitable. Consequently, on Julyï¿½15,1947 , the nationalist leaders voted for the resolution toï¿½accept Mountbatten Plan calling for Partition of India. On theï¿½14thï¿½ï¿½of August, the Dominion of Pakistan was inaugurated byï¿½the Governor General at Karachi.
Written by princy