Behind every successful Jinnah there is a Gandhi – 4
by Radha Rajan on 02 Oct 2009 8 Comments

The Goal Determines the Path and the Tool
The writer is convinced that because Gandhi led the INC and the INC led the Hindu nation towards vivisection in 1947, Hindus have to undertake a thorough reading of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG) to fill in the yawning gaps in the state-funded narration of the history of the times. 

The CWMG is veritably a hadith of the Mahatma. It is a painstaking collection and compilation of letters, interviews, newspaper reports, first-hand day by day and sometimes hour by hour accounts of Gandhi’s busy life; the CWMG is a record of Gandhi’s writings in different journals and his speeches at Congress and other meetings, including his meetings with the highest in the Imperial British Government and the British Indian Government, and a record of his conferences and everyday prayer meetings over the decades.

It is truly a treasure-house for an accurate and chronological rendition of Gandhi’s life. Besides opening to Indians the shadowy world of Gandhi’s private meetings with important political persons and the truly great but less-known individuals who devoted their lives to serving the deprived in our societies, in villages and cities, it is also a repository of details of Gandhi’s personal life, the details ranging from the serious to the trivial, and from the infuriating to the utterly distasteful. 

There are however some extremely significant omissions in this exhaustive collection
- Gandhi does not mention Aurobindo or Savarkar by name even once in any of his writings or speeches between the years 1900 and 1910; we must conclude that Gandhi had already begun to position himself to the British; and worse, he had begun to position himself to himself 

- There is no mention of Gandhi’s meeting with Hindu nationalist VO Chidambaram Pillai from Madras Province, whose close friends and compatriots swore by armed resistance; Gandhi’s studied silence on these men may of course have nothing to do with the fact that Chidambaram Pillai, after the Surat Congress of 1907 (which he attended along with Subramania Bharati, the fierce and passionate nationalist poet), chose to belong to the ‘Nationalist’ group with Tilak and Aurobindo; Chidambaram Pillai, a sad and disillusioned man by then, also attended the Calcutta Congress in the first week of September 1920, barely a month after the death of Lokmanya Tilak 

- BR Ambedkar came to Segaon to meet Gandhi on May 1, 1936; CWMG has no record of the meeting 

- Tej Bahadur Sapru (who would author the all-Indian draft plan, the Sapru Report, for transfer of power as the alternate option to the Cabinet Mission proposals in 1946), meets Gandhi on 6 April 1936 at Allahabad, but there is no record of this meeting either 

- Between 1937 when Subhash Bose was elected President of the Congress for the first time, and 1939 when he was thrown out of the Congress after being elected President for the second time, Bose met Gandhi twice, on February 2, 1938 and March 19, 1938. CWMG has no record of these meetings either. 

Except for the detailed (and sordid) accounts of Gandhi’s experiments in brahmacharya, all other information contained in CWMG may be categorized as being either trivial and completely useless for the nation, or that which projected him as being a man of great power and moral authority. It takes a discerning and determined reader to arrive at the truth regarding any single issue from information which may be scattered across a single volume or across two and even three volumes. 

From the nature of the omissions mentioned above, it is clear that the meetings with Pillai, Ambedkar and Bose did not contribute to Gandhi’s hagiography and these details have been concealed, either by the Government of India which holds sole copyright over the Collected Works, or else the records of these meetings were destroyed by Gandhi himself; either way the nation will never know the truth about these omissions. It is worth noting that Aurobindo, Savarkar, Pillai, Ambedkar and Bose were all towering political personages who had sharp differences of opinion with Gandhi over the goals Gandhi had set for the INC and the direction in which he was leading it. 

The reason behind Gandhi’s studied silence over his meetings with these men and his even more studied silence when these great souls passed away – Tilak in 1920, Subramania Bharati in 1921 and Chidambaram Pillai in 1936, has a direct bearing on the rise of Jinnah within the Muslim League and the increasing stridency of the League, culminating in vivisection of the Hindu nation in 1947. We must contrast this with available records of Gandhi’s reaction at the passing away of British monarchs and other foreigners and Indians for whom Gandhi had respect or affection or from whom Gandhi had benefitted in some manner. It was fear of public anger alone in North India which compelled Gandhi to acknowledge grudgingly and sparingly the greatness of Tilak, Bose and Bhagat Singh after their deaths.

The feeble and hesitant national debate on the freedom movement has studiously avoided asking the question if the bloody vivisection of 1947 may have been avoided, because this would entail taking a good, hard look at Gandhi’s political activism and the Congress party’s own culpability for standing by as Mountbatten and Jinnah, working in tandem, tore the Hindu nation apart. Public discourse has been cleansed of any critique of Gandhi’s political activism for fear of the halo of his mahatmahood fading away. Nehru’s secular India mandates keeping Gandhi on his unstable pedestal to de-legitimize Hindu political assertion, which would inevitably lead to a self-conscious Hindu state.

Arun Shourie and Jaswant Singh, because they have written on the issue, must tell us why they failed to cast their eyes beyond Jinnah, Patel and Nehru, and why they have failed to speak the whole truth. If truth has to be spoken then we shall have to examine the reasons for vivisection and why Jinnah, the Muslims and the Muslim League succeeded; we will now examine the reasons for vivisection under three heads – Gandhi’s political goal and the tool he employed, Gandhi and the Muslim question, and Gandhi and the Cabinet Mission.

Gandhi’s political goal and the tool       

The Muslim League and the INC were the only two large political formations at the turn of the twentieth century; because the Muslim League served only Muslim interests, the Hindus of the country looked to the INC to represent Hindu interests. Vivisection of the Hindu nation could have been averted only if the INC had made not only ejecting the British from out of the country its raison d’etre, but also taming the political objectives of Islam.

As part 3 of this series demonstrated, Gandhi’s INC never set political freedom as its goal, but aspired until 1942 only for a measure of self-rule within the Empire. As for dealing with the explicit and clear-cut political objectives of Islam and the Muslim League, Gandhi’s INC and Gandhi’s freedom struggle hallucinated until August 1947 about Hindu-Muslim unity of heart and unity of purpose. Gandhi’s passive resistance, which he said was synonymous with satya, and ahimsa was Gandhi’s chosen tool in his political career; this was the tool of the Congress party, not only against British rule, but also against Islam’s political goal. Gandhi’s non-violence was the uncompromising, non-negotiable and absolutist Congress creed.

Now let us examine Aurobindo’s doctrine on passive resistance keeping not only the British government’s brutal use of state power in mind, but also the readiness with which Muslims and the Muslim League took to jihad; and we will understand why behind every successful Jinnah there is always a Gandhi.

There is a limit however to passive resistance. So long as the action of the executive is peaceful and within the rules of the fight, the passive resister scrupulously maintains his attitude of passivity, but he is not bound to do so a moment beyond.

To submit to illegal or violent methods of coercion, to accept outrage and hooliganism is to be guilty of cowardice, and by dwarfing national manhood, to sin against the divinity within ourselves and the divinity in our motherland.

The moment coercion of this kind is attempted, passive resistance ceases and active resistance becomes a duty.

The new politics therefore, while it favours passive resistance, does not include meek submission to illegal outrage under that term; it has no intention of overstressing the passivity at the expense of the resistance.

Moreover the new politics must recognize the fact that beyond a certain point, passive resistance puts a strain on human endurance which our natures cannot endure. This may come in particular instances where an outrage is too great or the stress of tyranny too unendurable for anyone to stand purely on the defensive; to hit back, to assail and crush the assailant, to vindicate one’s manhood becomes an imperious necessity to outraged humanity.

If at any time the laws obtaining in India or the executive action of the bureaucracy were to become so oppressive as to render the struggle for liberty on the lines we have indicated, impossible; if after a fair trial given to this method, the object with which we undertook it, proved to be as far off as ever; or if passive resistance should turn out either not feasible or necessarily ineffectual under the conditions of this country, we should be the first to recognize that everything must be reconsidered and that the time for new men and new methods had arrived. 

We recognize no political object of worship except the divinity in our Motherland, no present object of political endeavour except liberty, and no method or action as politically good or evil except as it truly helps or hinders our progress towards national emancipation. (Aurobindo in Bande Mataram, The doctrine of passive resistance, Its Limits, pp113-17, April 1907)

The myth that the nation, under Gandhi’s leadership won her freedom without shedding blood has to be shattered if the death of thousands of Indians who died for Gandhi’s Satyagraha, and who died because the British government let loose the full might of repressive state power, must have any meaning or value. It was not a bloodless struggle; far from it. Indian blood was shed; more to the point, Hindu blood was shed, not only by the British but also by the Muslims. 

Gandhi failed to acknowledge the greatness of Aurobindo and Savarkar, Gandhi usurped Tilak’s position in the INC, Gandhi first marginalized and then evicted Bose from the INC, Gandhi did not lift a finger to save Bhagat Singh, Gandhi unmanned the Bengal revolutionaries, and Gandhi ignored the Marathi and Tamil revolutionaries because he had made his un-Hindu non-violence the Congress creed. Above all, he disarmed the Congress even when the Congress was faced by an increasingly violent Muslim League. The only political vehicle for non-Muslims, the INC was shackled to Gandhi’s fetish for non-violence, thus paving the way for the Muslim League to walk away with Hindu territory. 

The myth of a bloodless freedom struggle somehow gives the impression that all that ordinary Indians did was stand obediently around Gandhi and watch with dumb admiration, intermittently shouting ‘Vande Mataram’ in the background as Gandhi fasted indefinitely and spun the charkha with saintly but stubborn defiance to bring the British empire to its knees. The writer mentioned the heroic and noble Chidambaram Pillai at the beginning of this segment, with deliberate intent.

VO Chidambaram Pillai

In the true spirit of the Nationalists’ call for swadeshi and swaraj in the wake of the partition of Bengal, VO Chidambaram Pillai used his considerable wealth in the spirit of combative ‘swadeshi’ to buy two ships for the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company to put the British Steam Navigation Company out of business. Subramania Bharati and Subramaniam Siva, litterateurs par exemplar and friends and compatriots of Pillai, inspired and motivated several young men who were ready for armed resistance against the British. One of them, young Vanchinathan, trained in the use of arms by VV Iyer, shot dead Thirunelveli District Collector Ashe for pronouncing the unimaginable and horrendous forty-year sentence on Chidambaram Pillai. VV Iyer, a friend of Veer Savarkar, also trained Madanlal Dhingra who killed Curzon Wyllie, Secretary to Lord Curzon, in London, as reprisal for the partition of Bengal.  

As already revealed in the writer’s book Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and his Freedom Struggle and other writings on the issue, the British Indian Government between 1907 and 1910, put down the Nationalists with utmost ferocity and ruthlessness. Chidambaram Pillai was released within five years after imprisonment but was not permitted to return to his hometown. Chidambaram Pillai having lost his all, moved to Chennai where he lived the rest of life with his wife in utter penury. Siva contracted leprosy while in prison and Bharati, unable to withstand the persecution of the British government, left Madras and moved to Pondicherry; he returned to Chennai in 1920, but died a premature death in 1921 at the age of 39.

When Gandhi was on tour of South India in April 1915, he met Chidambaram Pillai and asked him casually and in passing if he had received the princely amount of 327 rupees that Gandhi had raised in South Africa for Pillai’s defense expenses. Denying that he had received any such money, Pillai asked Gandhi to forward the sum which, he told Gandhi, would go a long way to alleviate his poverty.

Typical of the manner in which he treated the Nationalists, Gandhi led Pillai a merry dance for over six months, with ill-concealed impatience in terse one-line letters for Pillai’s persistence in asking for the money. Gandhi finally repatriated to Pillai the money for which Pillai had to beg Gandhi for over six months. The same Gandhi, in 1936, would send rupees 60,000 to Tagore the very next day after Tagore asked Gandhi to raise funds for Shanti Niketan! While Tamil websites carry indignant accounts of the Gandhi-Pillai encounter, CWMG makes no mention of Pillai at all, but does mention the 60,000 rupees which Gandhi sent to Tagore in 1936.

Gandhi and his patrons in the INC, Naoroji, Gokhale, Pheroze Shah Mehta and Surendranath Bannerjea did not raise a murmur, did not squeak as the British government let loose a reign of terror against their own people and decimated the Nationalists physically, inflicting lasting damages to their health, breaking their spirit, and banishing them all finally to lives of wasted anonymity and utter poverty.

The new politics is a serious doctrine and not, like the old, a thing of shows and political theatricals; it demands real suffering from its adherents – imprisonment, worldly ruin, death itself, before it can allow him to assume the rank of a martyr for his country (The Doctrine of Passive Resistance, Its Limits, Bande Mataram, page 116). 

The soldiers of 1857, the Bengal revolutionaries, the Chapekar brothers, Dhingra, Bhagat Singh, Jugantar’s women revolutionaries in Comilla, Subhash Bose, the mutineers in the British Indian Navy, and the thousands of faithful and obedient Indians who stepped out of their homes and into the streets for Gandhi’s satyagraha to brave the British Government - these were the true kshatriyas, Aurobindo’s martyrs, who, as individuals faced up to the Empire and fell in battle. The British government succeeded in decimating the Nationalists because Gokhale’s INC and Gandhi’s INC turned its back on the soldiers. First Gandhi, then the Muslim League, and lastly Jinnah, benefited from the retreat and fading away of the Nationalists. Hindus and the Hindu nation suffered the consequences.

Gandhi and the Muslims


Gandhi’s commune, the Phoenix Settlement, which he set up in November-December 1904, had Indian and South African inmates professing different religions. The process of crafting the Mahatma was yet to begin and even Gandhi had not defined the contours and content of Gandhigiri. But Gandhi’s political activism in South Africa had begun and with it, the tentative steps of what would soon become the march of Gandhian socio-political ideology or Gandhigiri.

1. Gandhi needed the support of Indian Hindus and Muslims to become the authoritative voice of the Indian immigrant community as they fought to get the South African and British Government to amend several discriminatory laws.

2. Gandhi and other Indians were in a fragile minority in South Africa and could not hope to confront the colonial government by use of force or arms. Taking the cue smartly from Tilak and Aurobindo’s Swadeshi movement in India , which used passive resistance as the instrument of protest, Gandhi too launched passive resistance against the South African and British governments.

The core tenets of Gandhigiri, Hindu-Muslim unity and passive resistance or unqualified Gandhian non-violence which he re-christened Satyagraha, thus had its origins in the distant shores of South Africa. Gandhi and Gandhi alone was therefore the only cause for Jinnah’s success, because even though India was not South Africa and the political goal of Indians in India was radically different from the goal of Indians in South Africa, Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress into another Natal Indian Congress, rejected the political goals of the Nationalists, and made the political goals of the INC as innocuous and unthreatening as the goals of the NIC in South Africa.

Gandhi gave his own slant with shades of South Africa to the INC and the freedom struggle despite the fact that India was an enslaved nation and Gandhi was an Indian leader under colonial rule; despite the creation of the Muslim League; despite growing political demands of the Muslims with the full backing of the British Indian government; despite increasing jihadi attacks against the Hindus, and despite Jinnah’s Muslim League articulating unambiguously and marching determinedly towards the realization of the Muslim state of Pakistan. 

Gandhi stuck adamantly to absolutist non-violence and unreal Hindu-Muslim unity in spite of the fact that the Hindus of the Hindu nation under the leadership of Gandhi’s INC were confronting not only the British but also the Muslims. Gandhi’s political goals were unreal and so his tools were just as unreal and in the end, ineffective.

We recognize no political object of worship except the divinity in our Motherland, no present object of political endeavour except liberty, and no method or action as politically good or evil except as it truly helps or hinders our progress towards national emancipation.

Gandhi consigned Aurobindo’s political wisdom to the trash can and to the lasting detriment of Hindus and the Hindu nation, turned the INC around in a direction where he became the object of worship, supplanting Hindu dharma with his own absolutist un-Hindu political ideology as the nation’s life breath. 

1905 November 1, Gandhi called for communal harmony in Bengal to strengthen anti-partition agitation, even though he was aware that the Muslims of Bengal and the rest of India were celebrating the partition.

The cablegram from India that has appeared lately in the newspapers brings the aphorism (divide and rule) vividly home to us. It is said that twenty-thousand Mahomedans at Dacca, the capital of the new province partitioned from Bengal, assembled together and offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty for the partition, and their consequent deliverance from Hindu oppression (Divide and Rule, Indian Opinion, 4-11-1905, CWMG Vol. 4, page 477; Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, page 99)

That 20,000 Muslims offered prayers to Allah thanking him for partition was of no consequence to Gandhi who still wanted (even if the want was unreal) the Hindus and Muslims of Bengal to come together to protest the partition!

1907 November 22, Gandhi wrote to Gokhale suggesting Hindu-Muslim compact be made special feature of forthcoming Indian National Congress at Surat. This was no small ideological positioning, and the fact that this new turn of political ideology was being thrust upon the Moderates from a person in South Africa was a sign of things to come, and perhaps one of the reasons why the Congress split into two distinct ideological groups – the Moderates and the Nationalists in December 1907 at Surat.

Dear Professor Gokhale,
I have sent a letter addressed to you through Mr. Ameeroodeen Fajander, one of the delegates from the Transvaal who will attend the Congress at Surat. May I draw your attention to the fact that the struggle we are undergoing here has resulted in making us feel that we are Indians first and Hindus, Mahomedans, Tamils, Parsees etc. afterwards. You will notice too, that all our delegates are Mahomedans, having South African connections, attending the Congress. May I ask you to interest yourself in them and make them feel perfectly at home? A Hindu-Mahomedan compact may even become a special feature of this Congress. The rest of the struggle you know from the papers.
Yours’ sincerely,
MK Gandhi

(Letter to GK Gokhale, Johannesburgh, November 22, 1907, CWMG Vol. 7, page 354; Eclipse of the Hindu Nation, pp 107-8)

With this letter, Gandhi began the trend which would lead the nation inexorably towards vivisection. He always claimed to be speaking on behalf of the entire nation – Hindus and Muslims included. Gandhi’s pet delusion, “we are Indians first”, blew up on his face when the same Muslims demanded Pakistan and got it in 1947. But in 1907, the insistence on Hindu-Muslim compact is sinister considering that –

In the same year, the Muslims of Bengal had unleashed jihad against the Hindus of Mymensingh and Comilla; it is impossible that Gandhi who was watching the political scene in India very closely, did not know of this

The bureaucracy are never tired of impressing the irresistible might of British supremacy on the subject populations, but in their own hearts they are aware that that supremacy is insecure and without root in the soil; the general upheaval of any deep-seated and elemental passion in the hearts of the people might easily shatter that supremacy as so many others have been shattered before it.

The one passion which in past times has been proved capable of so upheaving the national consciousness in India is religious feeling; and outraged religious feeling is therefore the one thing the bureaucracy dreads and the slightest sign of which turns their courage into nervousness or panic and their strength into paralysed weakness.

The alarm which the Swadeshi movement created was due to this abiding terror; for in the Swadeshi movement, for the first time patriotism became a national religion, the name of the Motherland was invested with divine sacredness and her service espoused with religious fervour and enthusiasm.

In its alarm Anglo-India turned for help to that turbulent Mahomedan fanaticism which they had so dreaded; hoping to drive out poison by poison, they menaced the insurgent religion of patriotism with the arming of Mahomedan prejudices against what its enemies declared to be an essentially Hindu movement.

The first results of this policy we have seen at Mymensingh, Serajgunge and Comilla. It was a desperate and dangerous, and might easily prove a fatal expedient; but with panic-stricken men the fear of the lesser danger is easily swallowed in the terror of the greater. (Aurobindo, The Comilla Incident, Bande Mataram, March 1907, page 216)

Aurobindo’s commentary on jihad against the Hindus of Tipperah in 1907 proves several things. In March 2006 the writer had remarked –

- Both Islam as a politico-religious ideology, and US state power symbolizing Christianity and democracy, have been exposed as being vulnerable to each others’ armies (national, terrorist, proxy and mercenary) and also to be inherently violent in concept and in practice. The Muslim world is waking up to the shameful truth that Islam and Muslims have been reduced (with their willing consent and participation) to becoming America’s agents to serve American interests in Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Central Asia and in the middle-east. The US has reduced Islam and its followers to becoming the West’s minions. 

- Islam had allowed itself to be used as early as 1907 by White Christian state power as embodied by the British Empire to serve White Christian interests. Islam lent itself to be used by the West and the trend has not stopped even now as evidenced by Libya’s Gaddafi joining the ranks of the White Christian world’s Islamic pet poodles

- Tilak and Aurobindo did indeed transform the British creature – the Indian National Congress – into a vehicle for Hindu nationalist objectives

- The British feared Hindu nationalism more than they feared Islam

All the delegates from South Africa to the Surat Congress in 1907 were Muslims; whose decision was this and why did the Hindus of South Africa accept the strange decision to send only Muslims may perhaps never be known, unless Hindu nationalists make the effort to study the history of this period afresh.

The Swaraj and Swadeshi movement under the leadership of Tilak and Aurobindo had ignited the INC and through the INC, the entire nation; the British government would have liked nothing better than for the INC to split and have the nationalists isolated so that once the well-organized nationalist group had been broken down to individuals, it would be easy for the British government to decimate them; for this to happen the Nationalists must not be supported by the well-oiled and large machinery that was the INC. 

The British government created the Muslim League as a counter to the rising tide of Hindu nationalism and used Nawab Salimullah of Dacca to initiate the first wave of British-supported jihad against the Hindus in 1907. But Gandhi continued to harp on Hindu-Muslim unity as a counter to the British ploy of divide and rule, little realizing that the Muslims were happy to be used by the British against the Hindus because far-sighted Muslims like Syed Ahmed Khan and the Ali brothers had decided that they would use both the British and Hindus like Gandhi to regain the state power they lost under colonialism. The Muslims were determined to bring India once again under Islamic rule; failing which they would tear the Hindu nation apart to create a Muslim state.

Jihad in Mymensingh and Comilla were followed by the Moplah massacre, Direct Action and the continued jihad against Hindus in Bengal, Bihar, Delhi and the Punjab all through 1946 and 1947; but Gandhi continued merrily on his wild goose chase for Hindu-Muslim unity. Jihad against the Hindus has been made possible always by state support – first by Islamic state power, then colonial state power and now by anti-Hindu Gandhi-Nehru secular state power. Consistently since 1907, the British government had refused to intervene when the Muslims unleashed jihad against the Hindus; 1946-47 was no different. 

Responding positively to Jinnah’s call for Direct action, the Muslim League government in Bengal facilitated uncontrolled jihad against the Hindus. Eclipse of the Hindu Nation has chronicled the gory details of unbridled, relentless and continued violence lasting three long months. Gandhi’s prattle of non-violence, ‘we are Indians first’, ‘we are brothers’, ‘Islam preaches peace’, ‘serve our Mussalman brothers selflessly’ did not impress the Muslims and the Muslim League government of Bengal made sure that the gains from jihad were made irreversible.

Aurobindo had advocated in 1907 change of leaders and change of methods if the incumbent leadership and the existing method failed to lead us to our goal. At least then, in 1946, was the time for Patel and Rajendra Prasad to have deposed Gandhi; but enmeshed in the tangled knot of the three-way negotiations of the Cabinet Mission proposals, the INC could not remove Gandhi for fear of greater instability within the INC.

Gandhi and the Cabinet Mission

The Imperial British Government, realizing that it was not possible to hold on to India by force any longer, sent the Cabinet Mission with proposals outlining the terms for transfer of power. The realization that the country could not be held by force logically should have strengthened the hands of the INC, which should have rejected firmly London’s right to decide the terms for transfer of power. Had the INC conveyed its rejection to London, the only two alternatives would have been for the INC and the Muslim League to sit at the negotiating table and work out a mutually acceptable method to form a government after the British quit India; failing the Muslim League’s possible rejection to sit at the table, the INC should have prepared itself to deal with the violence which the Muslim League was certain to unleash, without seeking British aid or intervention.

The Cabinet Mission proposed to get both the INC and the Muslim League to come together to form an Interim Government which would work directly under the Viceroy as the proposed Constituent Assembly would set about the business of drafting a constitution acceptable to all sections of the people, especially the two largest political parties – the INC and the Muslim League. 

- The Cabinet Mission proposed to group all provinces into three large groups, A, B and C

- Provinces once placed under these groups could opt out of the group and may choose to belong to another group only at the time of the first general elections in free India

- The Union of India would have only Defense, Foreign Affairs and Communications under its control, while all other subjects would vest with the provinces

- Groups B and C comprising the Muslim majority provinces gave the Muslim League maximum autonomy at the provincial level, thus amounting to but not quite the Pakistan that was its demand

- For the INC the proposals were cold comfort, not only because the British government had conceded the Muslim League’s demand not to be ruled by Hindus, but also because the Muslim League had in its acceptance resolution stated bluntly that it was accepting the proposals only because the Interim Government and the Constituent Assembly provided them with the opportunity to sow the seeds of Pakistan

- Either immediately or a little later, the Muslim League signalled that it would strive to create the Pakistan of its dreams, peacefully if the INC conceded to its demands, or violently if the INC showed resistance

The Cabinet Mission proposals was a lethal document and Gandhi who should have rejected the very suggestion of the British Government deciding on the time and terms of quitting India , should at least have read the fine print of the document before welcoming it as the best document that the British could have manufactured given the circumstances. 

The nation’s historians have never told us why Gandhi, who allowed his blue-eyed patron Motilal Nehru to draft the all-Indian draft constitution as a challenge and counter to the Simon Commission report, did not instruct the INC to draft its own draft proposals for transfer of power. Gandhi also did not give the Sapru Committee’s report a fair hearing. He conceded, on behalf of the INC and the entire nation comprising all non-Muslim League Indians, the right of the British Government to dictate to us the terms under which it would quit India.   

Had Bihar not responded effectively to the jihad in Bengal, the Muslim League may very well have rejected the Cabinet Mission proposals in toto; but Bihar’s Hindus demonstrated not only to the British Government but also to the Muslim League that the Hindus of India were capable of handling jihad on their own. A subdued Muslim League accepted the INC’s counter proposal that the INC would concede Pakistan, but it would be the Pakistan of the CR formula.
(For details about the CR Formula and how Gandhi aborted the Cabinet Mission with culpable folly provoking Jinnah to announce Direct Action Day resulting in the massacre of 5000 Hindus on the first day alone in Calcutta, read

Gandhi should have refused to entertain the Cabinet Mission as he had refused to entertain the Cripps Mission earlier; or Gandhi, even after welcoming the report in haste must have acted decisively to reject the proposals outright, instead of subjecting the INC to the torture of haggling and bargaining with the Muslim League and the British Government for concessions and amendments which both were determined not to concede. Non-violence had not succeeded in making the British government or the Muslim League see reason or the immorality of their objectives. Non-violence did not stave off jihad or reverse the gains from jihad. Gandhi did not permit the INC to choose new leaders or chalk out a different path.

Till the very end, until his execution in January 1948, Gandhi exercised absolute and despotic control over the INC. Gandhi did not set political freedom as the INC’s goal; Gandhi did not think this nation was a Hindu nation and therefore did not acknowledge that the Muslims posed the biggest threat to the territory of the Hindu nation; Gandhi did not allow the INC to choose a different tool or appropriate weapon to combat the British and the Muslims; Gandhi did not ever want to combat the British and the Muslims; Gandhi did not allow the Hindus their right to make the British and the Muslims pay for shedding the blood of Hindus; Gandhi in a last, desperate and foolish move to avert the tearing apart of the nation met with Mountbatten and made a bizarre proposal. As always, the British Government patted Gandhi on the head for his adherence to non-violence even as it used the sledge hammer against the heads of Indians:

The Viceroy told Gandhiji that it had always been the British policy not to yield anything to force, but the Mahatma’s non-violence had won. They had decided to quit as a result of India’s non-violent struggle. Towards the close, on being invited to do so, Gandhiji placed before the astonished Viceroy his solution to the Indian deadlock. He reiterated what he had said often before, that he did not mind Jinnah or the Muslim League turning the whole of India into Pakistan, provided it was done by appeal to reason and not under threat of violence. But while he had previously held that this could be properly done only after the British had quitted, and while in principle he still adhered to that view, the crux of his present proposal was that he was now prepared under Mountbatten’s umpireship—not as Viceroy but as man—to invite Jinnah to form a government of his choice at the centre and to present his Pakistan plan for acceptance even before the transfer of power. (Interview with Lord Mountbatten, April 1, 1947, CWMG Vol. 94, pp 209-10)

Needless to say, the British Government (Mountbatten) politely refrained from laughing in Gandhi’s face; Jinnah and the Muslim League of course had no such compunction. But Gandhi and Gandhi alone is held guilty of partition on the strength of his own words. Belying the apocryphal story that Gandhi had declared that partition would happen “only over my dead body”, Gandhi conceded in February 1947, that partition of the country was inevitable but that it would happen as per the Rajaji formula. And to understand why partition happened with little or no resistance from the Hindus in the INC, well, Gandhi himself offers the explanation –

Gandhiji then passed on to a question which had been referred to him that evening. It was with regard to the partition of Bengal into two provinces, one having a Hindu and the other a Muslim majority. Bengalis had once fought against and successfully annulled the partition of their province. But according to some, he proceeded, the time had now come when such a division had become desirable in the interest of peace. Gandhiji expressed the opinion that personally he had always been anti-partition. But it was not uncommon even for brothers to fight and separate from one another. There were many things which India had to put up with in the past under compulsion, but he himself was built in a totally different way. In a similar manner, if the Hindus, who formed the majority in the whole of India, desired to keep everyone united by means of compulsion, he would resist it in the same manner as before. He was as much against forced partition as against forced unity. (Speech at a prayer meeting, Haimchar, Feb 28, 1947, CWMG Vol. 94. page 58)

Arun Shourie who declared he worshipped Gandhi also declared that he agreed with Girilal Jain’s ‘partition was good’ sentiment. Shourie did not need to seek refuge in Jain; his best refuge was his Ishta Devta who also said the same thing at the prayer meeting. And because Gandhi was as much against forced partition as against forced unity, not only behind Jinnah, but also behind every jihadi in J&K and Christian terrorist in the North-east, behind every Sandeep Pandey and Arundhati Roy, there will always be not a Gandhi, but the Gandhi. 

The author is Editor

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