Monday, August 31, 2009

Jinnah to Gandhi - IIPM News History Mail

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari had proposed a 'formula' for the solution of the Hindu-Muslim issue in India in 1944. He had informed Jinnah that the plan was acceptable to Gandhi. It provided for a homeland for the Muslims in the six provinces with Muslim majority, except that the bordering districts will have a vote on whether to be a part of Pakistan or India. Jinnah was not convinced that Gandhi had consented to the plan. Following letter was written to discuss these details. It was followed by the famous Gandhi-Jinnah talks that were held at latter’s bungalow in the then Bombay.

25th September 1944, Mumbai

Dear Mister Gandhi ,

You have already rejected the basis and fundamental principles of the Lahore Resolution. You do not accept that the Mussulmans of India are a nation. You do not accept that the Mussulmans have an inherent right of self-determination. You do not accept that they alone are entitled to exercise this right of theirs for self-determination.

You do not accept that Pakistan is composed of two zones, north-west and north-east comprising six Provinces, namely Sind, Baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province, the Punjab, Bengal,and Assam, subject to territorial adjustments, that may be agreed upon, as indicated in the Lahore Resolution.

The matter of demarcating and defining the territories can be taken up after the fundamentals above-mentioned are accepted, and for that purpose machinery may be set up by agreement.

As a result of our correspondence and discussions, I find that the question of India as Pakistan and Hindustan is only on your lips and it does not come from your heart. Now, let me take your main terms:

(a) 'I proceed on the assumption that India is not to be regarded as two or more nations but as one family consisting of many members, of whom the Muslims living in the north-west zone, i.e., Baluchistan, Sind, North-West Frontier Province and that part of the Punjab where they are in absolute majority, desire to live in separation from the rest of India.'

If this term were accepted and given effect to, the present boundaries of these Provinces would be maimed and mutilated beyond redemption and leave us only with the husk, and it is opposed to the Lahore Resolution.

(b) That even those mutilated areas so defined, the right of self-determination will not be exercised by the Muslims, but by the inhabitants of those areas so demarcated. This again is opposed to the fundamentals of the Lahore Resolution.

(c) That if the vote is in favour of separation, they shall be allowed to 'form a separate State a soon as possible after India is free from foreign domination', Whereas we propose that we should come to a complete settlement of our own immediately, and by our united front and efforts do everything in our power to secure the freedom and independence of the peoples of India on the basis of Pakistan and Hindustan.

(d) Next, you say: 'There shall be a Treaty of Separation which should also provide for the efficient and satisfactory administration of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Internal Communications, Customs, Commerce, and the like, which must necessarily continue to be matters of common interest between the contracting parties.'

If these vital matters are to be administered by some Central authority, you do not indicate what sort of authority or machinery will be set up to administer these matters, and how and to whom again that authority will be responsible.

According to the Lahore Resolution, as I have already explained to you, all these matters, which are the life-blood of any State, cannot be delegated to any Central authority or Government. The matter of security of the two States and the natural and mutual obligations that may arise out of physical contiguity will be for the constitution-making body of Pakistan and that of Hindustan, or other party concerned, to deal with on the footing of their being two independent States.

As regards the safeguarding the rights of Minorities, I have already explained that this question of safeguarding the Minorities is fully stated in the Lahore Resolution. You will, therefore see that the entire basis of your new proposal is fundamentally opposed to the Lahore Resolution.

M A Jinnah

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2008

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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