‘That is where I am at variance with the Congress.
They do not want the independence of India…’
Jinnah, Central Legislative Assembly, 19 November 1940
Gandhi, the Indian National Congress, the Hindu Mahasabha, the All-India Hindu League, the Liberal Federation and some other little bodies were ‘one and the same,’ according to Jinnah. He called them the high caste Hindu leadership and the Fascist Grand Council.
Iqbal had already stated earlier that by clinging to ‘the idea of a unitary Indian nation’, the Hindu community will have to accept for itself ‘the permanent position of an agent of British imperialism in the East.’ Jinnah stated more clearly that Gandhi and his associates were striving to keep the British in India, contrary to what they claimed. The following is a small sample:
- ‘Mr. Gandhi understands or ought to understand that to wrangle over the imaginary one and united India can only result in our submission to foreign rule.’ (Hubli, Matheran, 25 May 1940)
- ‘That is where I am at variance with the Congress. They do not want the independence of India … What they want is, under the over-lordship of Britain, power and patronage to dominate the Muslims and rest of minorities … The fact is that the Congress wants domination of India under the shelter of British bayonets.’ (Central Legislative Assembly, 19 November 1940)
- ‘I am unable to accept that the Hindus and the Congress are fighting for the independence or freedom of the people of the country … We know why they have launched the civil disobedience movement. The British government know why. It is to coerce the British Government to recognize the Congress as the only authoritative and representative organization of the people of India. The Congress says: “Come to settlement with us. We are your friends; we desire to maintain your supremacy in this country. Come to terms with us and ignore the Mussalmans and other minorities.”’(Delhi, 30 November 1940)
- ‘Mr. Jinnah said that the Congress had been deceiving Muslim youth by saying that it was fighting for the freedom of the country … The Congress fraud had now been exposed by the Muslim League.’ (Cawnpore, 30 March 1941)
- ‘He [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Gandhi] does not mean to achieve India’s independence. He and Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru are both indulging in slogans and catchwords.’ (Bombay, 22 June 1942)
- ‘Mr. Jinnah reiterated that the Muslim League was for immediate Independence but the Congress stood in the way.’ (Reported in The Eastern Times, 20 August 1942)
- ‘They [the high caste Hindu leaders] wanted the British in this country, though that was not their official policy.’ (Bombay, 24 January 1943)
- ‘It is the Congress which is mainly responsible for holding up India’s progress … they are postponing the progress and the freedom of this subcontinent.’ (Quetta, 3 July 1943)
- ‘If British Government announced its intention of setting up Pakistan and Hindustan, Congress and Hindus would accept it within three months. In other words the Government would have called the Congress bluff.’ (New Delhi, 29 February 1944)
- ‘… the desire of the Hindus to dominate over the Muslims and make them slaves in a united India … was a dream, and once that dream was abandoned, the Hindu and the Muslim nations together could achieve freedom for both at the quickest possible time.’ (Karachi, 25 October 1945)
- ‘It was Hindu Congress which was withholding freedom of all of us by obsession.’ (Peshawar, 27 November 1945)
- ‘It is only the Caste Hindu Fascist Congress and their few individual henchmen of other communities, who want to be installed in power and authority of the Government of India to dominate and rule over the Mussalmans and other minority communities of India with the aid of British bayonets.’ (Bombay, 18 August 1946)
When Gandhi launched the ‘Quit India’ Movement in 1942, asking the British to leave, Jinnah said that the Muslims would not mind if the British left at once. The Muslims could get Pakistan afterwards. The reason why they were opposed to Gandhi’s movement was that they feared that the British might appease Gandhi by promising that there would be no Pakistan, and then continue to rule happily ever after with the full blessings of Gandhi and his friends.
- ‘If they can persuade the British Government to withdraw,’ said Jinnah, ‘the Muslim League would welcome it’ (Bombay, 22 June 1942). Here are a few more statements, out of many available, on this specific point:
- ‘I refuse to believe that Mr. Gandhi thinks for a moment that the British would withdraw immediately at his request … Mr. Gandhi … is launching a movement whose only and only object is by hook or by crook to bring about a situation which will destroy the Pakistan scheme.’ (Bombay, 30 July 1942)
- ‘Thereafter, Mr. Gandhi hit upon an extraordinary formula which was that the British must withdraw. I shall be very glad if they do it tomorrow. We shall settle our affairs alright.’ (Jullundur, 15 November 1942)
- ‘The Muslims have no objection to the British withdrawing from India today.’ (Bombay, 30 July 1942)
The purpose of this chapter is only to establish that Jinnah said, repeatedly, that Gandhi and his associates did not want the independence of India. I hope that this purpose has been achieved.
In passing it might be mentioned that some of the other allegations he raised against Gandhi and his associates seems to be related directly to the reasons why, and how, we have come to forget his original case and replaced it with a counterfeit.
Firstly, as Jinnah pointed out on numerous occasions, Gandhi had persistently failed for more than twenty years to deliver what he had promised.
This might have set a bad precedent and the countries of South Asia are now plagued with political parties that are not judged by their ability to deliver, and thrive on (a) displays of street power by disrupting civic life; and (b) loyalty to sacrosanct leaders whom they follow devotedly, whether or not they keep their promises.
It seems that in spite of our very high regard for Jinnah, we have been consciously or unconsciously perceiving him in this light, since we do not have any other conception of leadership.
Secondly, Jinnah accused Gandhi and his associates of cognitive incoherence. They twisted and turned the words, their own and those of others, until words began to mean the opposite of what was originally conveyed.
This, again, seems to be a legacy of Gandhi which persists in the politics of the region to this date. Also, we have seen examples of this mentality in some of the academic works analysed here.
Thirdly, Jinnah accused the Congress of converting democracy into a variant of fascism. Alternatively, we can say ‘aristocratic radicalism’.
The term is usually linked with the German thinker Nietzsche (see the 1889 lecture by Georg Brandes; and criticism of it by Iqbal in the seventh lecture of The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.184).
Yet it might come in handy for describing the modern caste system that seems to have replaced the ancient one in South Asia, including Pakistan.
It seems that we, the educated ones, have mostly developed the same attitude – we have become aristocratically radical. We fail to see Jinnah and his associates the way they wanted us to see them, because they were free from this aristocratic radicalism, and were possibly the last defence of humanity against this evil.
Fourthly, Nehru began to use socialism as a political slogan in the mid-1930s. Iqbal wrote to Jinnah, ‘The issue between social democracy and Brahmanism is not dissimilar to the one between Brahmanism and Buddhism. Whether the fate of socialism will be the same as the fate of Buddhism in India I cannot say.’
We have now seen that the so-called socialism of Nehru actually resulted in the birth of a new type of capitalism in India, just as implied in Iqbal’s statement. Similar things happened later in Pakistan and Bangladesh (and the Urdu novelist Ibn-e-Safi was sharp enough to notice; see, my Urdu book, Psycho Mansion, pp.96-101). Still, some of us are possibly so besotted by this Brahmanized socialism that it prevents us from seeing Jinnah in his own light. A classic example is The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan by Aitzaz Ahsan.
Lastly, in the light of what Jinnah has told us, it seems that the thing which is now called Muslim extremism, Islamic militancy or Muslim terrorism is actually a farewell present given to us by the saintly Gandhi.
In June 1947, the provincial Congress of NWFP (now KPK), led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (‘the Frontier Gandhi’), adopted a resolution for establishing a Pathan state (‘Pakhtoonistan’). The same resolution also demanded a government according to ‘Shariah’ and ‘the laws of the Quran’. This was done with the blessings of Gandhi.
Jinnah issued a long statement in reply, which probably deserves our special attention today. Among other things, he said:
More than 13 centuries have gone by and in spite of bad weather and fair that the Mussalmans had to pass through we have not only been proud of our great and Holy Book the Quran, but we have adhered to all fundamentals all these ages; and now suddenly this cry has been raised insinuating that the Pakistan constituent assembly, composed of an overwhelming majority of Muslims, cannot be trusted.
‘We have adhered to all fundamentals all these ages.’ This testimony of Jinnah on the relationship between the Quran and the Muslim masses in general (fully corroborated by Iqbal as well, e.g. the last paragraph of the sixth lecture in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.170).
Quite possibly, this is the greatest barrier between us and those who were with Jinnah. Today, whether we are liberal or whether we are conservative, we tend to think that the Muslim society in general has not adhered to, or does not adhere to, all fundamentals of the Quran. Thus we negate the very basis on which Jinnah had claimed that the Muslims are a nation.
This is a modified version of the fourth chapter of Jinnah: The Case for Pakistan. Complete references for the facts and quotations cited here can be found in the printed book. Download PDF or find out how to purchase a hard copy.