Category Archives: General

Don’t compare E.V. Ramasamy (a) Periyar with Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Venkatesan

Today, there is a false propaganda that the views of E.V. Ramasamy (a) Periyar and Babasaheb Ambedkar are one and the same which is not only being spread in Tamil Nadu but all over India. They are trying to portray   Periyar as Ambedkar  of the North and Ambedkar as the Periyar of the South among  the people. In universities and colleges, Periyar – Ambedkar study circles are being set up trying to give the common attributes to both of them.

Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar is in no way comparable to E.V.R. The two were at odds over any field of study, be it education, social thought, national unity, foreign policy, or economic policy. Babasaheb Ambedkar was a scholar and intellectual genius who had learnt many texts. When you read his book it contains footnotes, sources, quotes from various scholars, everything sufficiently. But E.V.R was not a scholar. He was not a person who had read too many texts. From time to time, he spread the thoughts whatever came to his mind. He changed it too and changed it to suit the situation.

E.V.R has been involved in prostitution in prostitute homes for 40 years. He had not cared about the society until then. But Ambedkar was involved in education throughout his youth and filed petitions for his community. Just as it is unacceptable to compare the mountain and the pond together, it would be injustice that we do to Ambedkar if we compare both – E.V.R and Ambedkar.

The Theory of Racism: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

There is no alternative to E.V.R Periyar being a racist and one who accepted the racist ideology. He spread Aryan-Dravidian racism throughout Tamil Nadu. He was a staunch proponent of racist ideology to cause division among the people. He campaigned that Aryans were foreigners and they were those who invaded the country and destroyed the indigenous people. Thereby he used his campaign of hate to destroy solidarity. E.V.R sought to divide the Indian people through racist ideology. But Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar was the one who completely rejected the Aryan racist doctrine. Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar rejected the theory that Aryan racism should go to the trash. He never accepted the doctrine of racism since he was a humanist who loved human beings.

Dalits: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R encouraged all Dalits and backward classes to convert. In the process, he proposed Islam for conversion. He continued to propagate that Islam was the antidote to conversion and that all people should convert to Islam. It is not that Periyar had said this after serious studies and research. In contrast, Babasaheb Ambedkar proposed Buddhism for their conversion. According to him, Islam will never give equality; Ambedkar is confident that it will not give fraternity either. This belief did not occur casually. He came to this conclusion after an in-depth study of Islam and other religions. He was the one who rejected the call to give crores of rupees and college on conversion to Islam. He said nationalism would change if religion was converted to Islam and Christianity. Ambedkar urged all, including the Dalits, to accept Buddhism, believing that only Buddhism could bring equality. E.V.R, who told everyone to convert, remained a Hindu until the end. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism as he had preached.

E.V.R always excluded the Dalits. He unequivocally declared that he was fighting for the Sudras. E.V.R never waged a struggle for the rights of the Dalits in Tamil Nadu. E.V.R never led any struggle in Tamil Nadu for Dalits to walk on the road, walk on the street or fetch water from a pond or to enter the temple. But Babasaheb Dr.Ambedkar was the one who led the struggle to get water in the Mahat pool and to enter the Kalaram temple.

E.V.R opposes the integration of Dalits with other caste Hindus:

E.V.Ramasamy Nayakar said, “Does the elimination of untouchability involve just the entry to the temple and the inclusion of the Sudra to the Parayans? If the lower caste of Parayan is not changed then should the Sudra be added to Parayan for that? The Sudras, who had hitherto had been the middle caste, have now been made the lower caste which we should not allow”. (Thread: History of Vaikkam struggle – Veeramani)

E.V.R has always been against the Dalits. Despite the Muthukulathur riots and the Kizhvenmani massacre, E.V.R acted against the Dalits. When 44 Dalits were burnt to death in Kizhvenmani, the report by E.V.R says:

“The Communist comrades are trying to cause unrest and revolution in the country without telling you how the workers should live in the economy available to them, and today they are trying to overthrow this regime, right-wing, left-wing and far-right communists. I ask that the comrades of agriculture and other working friends should not give place to it. The Communist Party instigated the riot in Nagai taluka. 42 people died due to it. The government did not stop at saying that the Communist Party was the party that cooperated with us. Government is taking the necessary action.  (Vidudhalai 20-1-1969)

E.V.R says there is no need for a wage struggle. Employers do not have the intention to raise wages despite their rising profits. E.V.R pierces the spear into the burn without even realizing by saying that that it has to be obtained through protest. E.V.R supports the assassination, saying that it would be rebellion if it fought for higher wages. He did not stand on the side of the affected Dalits but expressed his views in support of those involved in the riots. On the contrary Ambedkar brought various laws not only for the Dalits but for all the backward people. He continued to fight for their rights.

We can also learn from his speech how vile E.V.R thinks about people of the scheduled community. E.V.R says:-

“Ambedkar is a little bit emotional. He asked me. ‘What do you do for your people?’ I gave him a lot of details. He started talking about. The Brahmins immediately paid the price for him. That is, where he  [Ambedkar] asked for 10 out of 100 his people to get the educational facility, and job facility, he [Brahmins] said ‘take it as 15’! He [Brahmins] knew that even if he [lower caste] was given 25 seats, not even three or four of them would come. He [Ambedkar] signed the law written by the Brahmins. He doesn’t care about the company of others.  (Vidudhalai 11.11.1957)

Dalits in Pakistan: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

Dalits were persecuted in Pakistan during the partition of Pakistan. Thousands were massacred. Without rendering any feelings for the situation, E.V.R supported Pakistan and Muslims without condemning the massacre. But Babasaheb Ambedkar sent the Makar Regiment to save the oppressed Dalits in Pakistan. He issued a statement saying that Dalits in Pakistan should not convert to Islam. Similarly, Ambedkar gave full cooperation to the annexation of the Indian princely states. Ambedkar issued a public statement saying that none of the lower caste there should support the Hyderabad Nizam who refuses to connect with India.

Indian Independence: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R Periyar was against Indian independence. A resolution was brought with the blessings of E.V.R at the Dravidar League Conference held at Salem on 27-08-44. In the resolution,

“The conference concludes that the main policy of the Dravidar League is to include the name Dravida Nadu as the first policy of our Chennai Province to be divided into a separate (state) country which is not dominated by the Central Government administration and is directly under the administration of the British Secretary of State.”

Not only this, E.V.R also declared Independence Day as a day of mourning. He continued to spread the demand that Whites should rule here. But Ambedkar never took any action against national liberation. No statement was issued in support of the White government by Ambedkar. He has strongly documented the demand for India’s independence at the London Round Table Conference and beyond. He once said that I am more patriotic than the other Congress leaders.

E.V.R was at the forefront of disrupting Indian unity. Part of India was demanded by E.V.R as a separate Dravidastan. He also waged various struggles to separate the Dravidian country from India. Similarly, the leader of the Muslim League, Jinnah, asked Pakistan. The British government and many others demanded that Ambedkar should ask for a separate Dalitistan for the Dalits. But Ambedkar never heeded to it. He did not agree with the Dalitistanisation of India. So he cut the request at the very start and threw it away. If not, the Dalits would have split from India just as Pakistan did.

Hindi and Sanskrit: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R had a lasting anti-Hindi and anti-Sanskrit attitude. He held anti-Hindi and anti-Sanskrit conferences and protests. He incited linguistic hatred and disrupted Indian unity. But Ambedkar said they needed Hindi for national unity. He spoke in Parliament that Sanskrit should be the national official language. Yet Ambedkar never provoked language fanaticism.

Communism: E.V.R vs Ambedkar

E.V.R had a deep attachment to so-called communism. After his visit to Russia, he actively spread the policy of common wealth in Tamil Nadu. But Babasaheb Ambedkar was against communism throughout his life. He said that communism was based on violence and if ever he considered someone as his enemy, it was communism. Ambedkar did not even have an electoral relationship with the Communists. He proposed Buddhism as an alternative to communism for the Dalit people.

It is the firm opinion of Ambedkar that India should not have relations with China and Russia even in foreign policy. He prophesised that China would one day invade us, that is, India. That happened in 1962.

Religion: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

According to E.V.R, humans do not need religion. E.V.R view was that religion fools man. But Ambedkar says religion is a necessity for man. He says that the good qualities he possesses are due to religion. Ambedkar opposed the statement that religion is an opium and explained why religion is important to man.

Only country: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R said there is no such thing as one country called India. He said that India is a mixture of several national races. He also campaigned that India has never been a single country. But Ambedkar clearly wrote that India has been a single country for thousands of years in terms of its spiritual culture.

Indian Unity: E.V.R vs. Ambedkar

E.V.R was not interested in Indian unity. E.V.R wanted India to secede. But Ambedkar had an unconditional love for Indian unity. He was also clear that India should not be enslaved again. His speech in the Constituent Assembly will make us aware of this.

Ambedkar speaks:

” What worried me the most is that India has lost its that India has lost its independence many times due to the betrayal and treachery of the Indian people. When Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, the army commanders of King Tagir of Sindh refused to fight for their king with the help of Muhammad bin Qasim’s henchmen. Jayachandran invited Mohammad Gori to invade India and to fight against Prithviraj. He promised to help him and the Solanki kings. While Shivaji was fighting for the liberation of the Hindus, other Maratha leaders and Rajput kings sided with the Mughals and fought against him.

When the British fought against the Sikh kings, the commander-in-chief of the Sikhs was inactive. He did not help to defend the Sikh state. During the freedom struggle against the British in 1857, the Sikhs were having fun doing nothing. Will history repeat …?

It is even more worrying that a number of parties with different and opposing policies are now emerging with old hostile forces such as castes and religions.The people of India must carefully monitor the parties who are striving for the interest of their party rather than the interest of the country. If not, the independence of the country will be in jeopardy for the second time. It may become irreversible. We should ensure that our freedom is upheld until the last drop of blood.”

Ambedkar was responding to a third round of debate on the Constitution on November 25, 1949. This call of Ambedkar is a call for Indian nationalism. We need to understand that the call is driven by a sense of nationalism – a passion that the Indian nation should never be distorted again.

E.V.R and Ambedkar were at odds over whichever field we take and study. They have been campaigning for the comparison of Ambedkar and E.V.R in order to draw the people, mainly the Dalits, to their side. This is great injustice to Ambedkar.

About the Writer:

Author is Member of BJP National Council, Chennai and served as State President, BJP SC Morcha, Tamilnadu. He wrote a book named ‘Hindutva Ambedkar’. He can be contacted at venkiambeth@gmail.com

Invading Education– Louis F. Budenz, 1954, Ch X of ‘The Techniques of Communism’

In lectures delivered at Sverdlov University in Moscow, Stalin specified “cultural and educational organisations” as valuable allies in the Communist battle … These Stalin lectures of 1924 are now famous as “Foundations of Leninism”. Following the consolidation of power by Stalin in USSR and the expulsion of Lovestone from CPUSA (1929), “in 1933 … extensive infiltration began in the schools and colleges of” the USA.

In 1937, the CPUSA declared that “the Party must take careful steps to see that all teacher comrades are given thorough education in the teachings of Marxism-Leninism …” … “inject it into their teaching at the least risk of exposure” and that they “are faced with a tremendous social responsibility.”

Budenz adds “In the classroom, the Communist teacher or professor very rarely, if ever, teaches Marxism-Leninism openly. There are hundreds of indirect ways of reaching the same end. Books by Howard Fast … are proposed as suggested or recommended readings … [as are] many other “non-communist” sources … who always follow the Communist line…. An entire syllabus which would inevitably lead a student either to embrace Marxism-Leninism or to be sympathetic to the Communist line, can be drawn up without one notably or openly Stalinite reference in it.”

“Building on that foundation, the Communist teacher or professor notes the pupil or student most susceptible to pro-Red ideas. This student is cultivated privately, with a view to drawing him …”. In like manner, colleagues on the faculty who indicate sympathy for pro-Communist ideas are influenced by personal association to join the Communist Party. … often working behind the scenes with Communists in those groups, in the preparation of books, the presentation of lectures, the voicing of opinions, the raising of finances …”

Dr. J.B.Matthews … declares that since 1935 “the Communist Party has enlisted the support of at least thirty five hundred professions … adherents of the Party line in varying degrees …” (Communis and the Colleges, American Mercury, May 1953). …

LIBRARIES – RED TARGET

The school and college libraries are other targets of the Reds. For a number of years, cells have existed among libraries and the Communist influes has not been small in the AMerical Library Association. At the local level, the big effort is to get the works of concealed Communists into the libraries, and if at all possible to have them placed on the required or recommended reding lists. .. There are several objects in this manouver other than the effect the books themselves (apparently non-Communist in character but many slanted in a Communist direction) will have on the students. …”… The organisation “is keenly aware of the value of prestige, of getting its concealed members recognised as “authorities”. …

UP Cabinet approves Law against forced Religions Conversions

The Uttar Pradesh cabinet has approved the ordinance against religious conversions through fraudulent means, especially conversions for the purpose of marriage. But a vicious propaganda has been unleashed that the law is aimed at non-existent ‘love jihad.’ The law has no mention of ‘love jihad’ anywhere, yet there is so much noise in the media and social media platforms to this effect. Media headlines put out so far go like this – ‘Why India’s Most Populous State Just Passed a Law Inspired by an Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theory’?

The facts are as follows.
The bill is titled ‘Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Virudhh Dharm Samparivartan Pratisdhedh Adhyadesh, 2020’ or ‘UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance – 2020’.  It does not use the word ‘love jihad’ at all nor is it directed towards curbing fundamental rights of any citizen to practice religion of their choice. It is not for the first time that a law has been enacted in India having similar provisions.

The ‘The Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018’ also has provisions against conversions by fraud or misrepresentation for purposes of marriage. Section 3 of the said act reads:

No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion;

Provided that, if any person comes back to his ancestral religion, shall not be deemed conversion under this Act’.

So why such a brouhaha against the Uttar Pradesh law when a law with similar provisions was enacted in 2008 in Uttarakhand? Is the opposition aimed at the law or aimed at Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath?  In fact, enactment of such a law was recommended by the Uttarakhand high court and the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission. Enactment of this legislation paves way for other states like Kerala, which have been advised by respective High Courts to bring similar laws against forced conversions.

Provisions under the law:

  1. The act aims to provide freedom of religion by the prohibition of conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage & for matters connected therewith.
  2. The punishment for such conversions may range from 1-5 years. It could attract a higher penalty if the person being converted is a minor or belongs to SC/ST.
  3. The one who desires to convert and the one who is doing the conversion process must submit forms in the District Collector / District Magistrate’s office who will then enquire about the real intention, cause and purpose of such conversions.
  4. The converted person must submit a declaration and present himself/herself before the District Collector / District Magistrate, in person, to testify claims made in the declaration.
  5. The burden of proof lies on the person who has caused the conversion.
  6. Any person, reconverting to his immediate previous religion, shall not be deemed as a convert under this law.

Q1. Does it deny freedom to women to profess religion of their choice?

Absolutely not. In fact quite the opposite. It makes it unlawful to forcefully convert women after or during their marriage. It gives them the choice to continue with the religion of their choice.  There have been numerous instances of forceful conversion post-marriage, concealing identity while luring the girl or by other undue influence. Noteworthy is, the bill doesn’t outlaw conversion as a whole. It outlaws conversion against free will in limited cases. So cases like Hadiya, where she was groomed to accept Islam out of free will, still won’t come under the purview of this law.

Q2. Does it act against free will?

No, it doesn’t. In fact, it provides freedom of religion by prohibiting conversion against free will. Conversions for the sole purpose of marriage have been outlawed by courts in the past. This law only codifies such judgements. You can’t convert to a religion just because it allows you to bypass certain civil laws. For example, you can’t convert to Islam because you want to keep multiple wives. Your family can’t convert to Islam overnight because you want to disinherit your daughters from parental properties.

You can convert only out of your own conviction for the tenets of a religion. Free will can’t be an alibi for committing religious bigotry and a fraud upon the law

Q3. Does it violate Article 25A?

A short reading of article 25, which is a fundamental right, before we commence further.

“Subject to public order, morality and health, all persons are equally entitled to practise, profess and propagate their religion”.  Islamists across the board and their handlers in the media are arguing that anti-conversion law prohibits propagation, which is a constitutional guarantee. They seem to be under the impression, “Either your head or your signature will be on the conversion papers” is the propagation of religion. That is where they and their handlers in the media are erring, by overlooking the first part of the article – the condition which sets the term for practising, professing and propagating. “Subject to public order, morality and health”.

‘Propagating’ is a person telling someone about his religion,roots, cultures, traditions and values. This is held by the honourable SC. ‘Convert or face beheading’, as practised by the Islamic invaders, is not propagation. That violates public order and health. Conversion is not a fundamental right under article 25. Laws against conversion do not violate your fundamental rights.

This is not the first time such laws are passed. The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967 was challenged in court and was duly dismissed. The propagandists know this, hence, instead of challenging the proposed law to be enacted in UP, if they really believe it to be anti- constitutional, they will only make noise in social media platforms.

This law, in no way, restricts interfaith marriages. Numerous courts have given several judgements on religious conversions. Courts have even passed orders asking state governments to frame laws against this growing menace. The proposed law only codifies the principle laid down by our courts.

Presently our country has different civil laws for different religions. Conversion by fraud or coercion will have implications for the concerned individual in matters of marriage, adoptions and inheritance rights.

Secularism can be enshrined in the preamble but in practice, in the absence of a uniform civil code, the state does interfere in civil laws which are religion-specific.

In such circumstances, laws that protect religious rights should be welcome. Such a progressive piece of legislation should be hailed by people from all religions as it protects the most vulnerable section of the society – women. But since the law is being enacted by a state ruled by BJP, malicious propaganda has been unleashed against the same. 

By
Sahadev K

Partitioned freedom : The Conclusion

(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 1” from this link – 1)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 2” from this link – 2)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 3” from this link – 3)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 4” from this link – 4)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 5” from this link – 5)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 6” from this link – 6)

The final years and the lessons:

A decade of appeasement had only helped the Muslim League gain greater legitimacy. When the Second Round Table Conference came in September 1931, the League leadership played an even more divisive role.

Jinnah and the Aga Khan were present in London for the Conference on behalf of the League. Gandhi was the lone Congress representative. Dr. B R Ambedkar was there representing the Depressed Classes. There were envoys from several communities including the Sikhs, the Parsis, the Anglo-Indians, and the Concord of Princes. Behind Gandhi’s back, the Aga Khan held secret meetings with the leaders of various groups and put forward a proposal before the British for enhanced separate representation for all of them in the Indian legislature. Gandhi firmly rejected this fragmentation of the Indian society in the name of creating separate electorates. Already, the Muslims and a few other minorities enjoyed separate electorates under the Government of India Act 1919.

Communal Award 1932:

British Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald went ahead with a modified version of the League’s recommendations and announced the famous Communal Award 1932. It came as a rude shock to the Congress leadership. They were especially aghast at the British decision to provide exclusive electorates for the Depressed Classes by separating them from other Hindus.

Gandhi viewed the Communal Award as the negation of his years of toil. He rightly believed that the separate electorates would eventually perpetuate social evils like untouchability as they excluded the depressed classes from the rest of Hindu society. Disheartened and back in India, Gandhi announced an indefinite fast against the Award on September 20, 1932.

Poona Pact:

The Congress command persuaded the leader of the depressed classes, Dr. Ambedkar to engage in negotiations with Gandhi at the Yerawada prison. The negotiations led to the Poona Pact, which was signed by Dr. Ambedkar from the depressed classes and Madan Mohan Malaviya from the Congress. Under the pact, Dr. Ambedkar agreed to give up the demand for exclusive electorates for the depressed classes and secured instead a larger number of seats for the community from 71 to 147 under the Hindu quota. The Communal Award was accordingly amended in 1933. Gandhi thus prevented the Hindu society from further fragmentation.

However, regarding the rest of the Award, Congress continued its politics of ambiguity and appeasement. Though it opposed the Communal Award in principle, the consent of the minorities was needed to take a final position, the Congress leaders argued. The Muslim leaders in Congress like Dr. Ansari started supporting the Award. Finally, Congress took a bizarre stand of “neither accepting nor rejecting” the Communal Award. This new concession irked leaders like Madan Mohan Malaviya and Loknayak Aney, who resigned and started the Congress Nationalist Party.

The Communal Award came as a significant setback to Gandhi’s efforts for Hindu-Muslim unity and it gave greater teeth to Jinnah and the Muslim League. The stridency of the League’s separatist rhetoric increased. Jinnah now insisted that the Congress should represent Hindus only.

Provincial Elections:

The provincial elections of 1937 provided an excellent opportunity to the Congress. Despite its separatist rhetoric, the Muslim League was decisively rejected in all the Muslim majority provinces in the country. Out of the 482 exclusive Muslim constituencies, the League could hardly win 109 seats. While the Congress was able to form governments in eight provinces, the League could not form even in one. The Muslim voters preferred other Muslim parties like the Unionists in Punjab, the Krishak Praja Party in Bengal, and the Assam Valley Muslim Party in Assam. Several of those regional Muslim outfits were keen to join hands with the Congress.

The Muslim League was in utter disarray, and Jinnah demoralised. But two steps taken by the Congress leadership helped Jinnah revive his fortunes once again:

First was the Congress’s decision to reach out to Jinnah instead of talking to the leaders of the regional Muslim parties. Gandhi, Nehru, and Bose approached Jinnah once again with a proposal to work together. This gave Jinnah a fresh lease of life. While the League refused the Congress’s offer, Jinnah succeeded in attracting smaller Muslim parties into his fold.

The second self-defeating move was the decision of the Congress on October 22, 1939, to ask all provincial governments to resign in response to Viceroy Linlithgow’s decision to involve India in the Second World War without committing to grant Self-rule after the War. The League seized this opportunity and declared its support to the British in return for enhanced protection to the League in the provinces. Jinnah appealed to the Muslims to celebrate December 22, 1939, as the ‘Day of Deliverance’ from the ‘unjust Congress regime.

Jinnah’s Demand for ‘Pakistan’:

At Lahore in 1940, when the League demanded Pakistan, Gandhi realised that it was time for a more decisive action. On August 8, 1942, at its Mumbai session, the Congress launched the Quit India movement. The Muslim League responded by asking the British to ‘Divide and Quit’. March 23, 1943, was observed by the League as Pakistan Day.

C Rajagopalachari approached Gandhi at Yerawada prison with a formula for a thaw between the Congress and the League. Known as the C R Formula, it proposed that if the League endorsed the demand for national independence, the Congress would agree to the demarcation of contiguous Muslim majority districts in the North-West and the North-East of India after the War. A plebiscite would be conducted on the basis of the adult franchise over the demand for Pakistan. Jinnah immediately dismissed the proposal as a “shadow and a husk, a maimed and moth-eaten Pakistan.” But he also expressed vicarious satisfaction that at last, Gandhi had accepted “the principle of Pakistan”.

Gandhi persisted. “Let us meet whenever you wish. Do not disappoint me,” he wrote to Jinnah. The two finally met at Mumbai. For full nineteen days, from 9th to 27th September 1944, Gandhi climbed up the steps of Jinnah’s place, ‘almost daily, and sometimes even twice in a day’. Gandhi would address Jinnah as ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ – Great leader, while Jinnah would reciprocate with ‘Mr. Gandhi’. On September 27, 1944, Jinnah announced the termination of the talks without any result.

In the provincial elections in 1946, the League secured convincing victories in Muslim seats but it fell short of a majority everywhere. In fact, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which became Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2010, gave a huge majority to the Congress. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the senior Congress leader of the NWFP, famous as the Frontier Gandhi, shed tears when his province became a part of Pakistan. In Punjab, the Congress and the Akalis together had an equal number of seats to that of the League. Eventually, those who did not vote for the League ended up in Pakistan, and those who voted for it remained in India.

The Direct Action ensued in 1946 and Partition followed a year later.

Partition saga has several lessons:

Why is this history relevant today? India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are three sovereign nations. We respect the sovereignty of each of our neighbours and strive for cordial relations with them. But the partition saga has several lessons. Firstly, countries should never pander to separatist sentiments even with good intentions. Compulsions of time should not become convictions. Secondly, Jinnah’s notion of religion-based nationhood couldn’t stand the test of time. In less than 25 years, Pakistan was split into two.

But most importantly, as the Spanish writer-philosopher George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

(Courtesy: The article was originally published in Chintan, India Foundation on August 19, 2020).

Continue reading

Partitioned Freedom – 6

(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 1” from this link – 1)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 2” from this link – 2)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 3” from this link – 3)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 4” from this link – 4)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 5” from this link – 5)

Part 6

When strategy became policy at Lucknow in 1916, and the Khilafat and Moplah lay bare the slide of the Congress, many leaders were genuinely worried. They realised that the appeasement policies of the Congress were helping the League in furthering its separatist agenda. Despite his best efforts at placating the League and striving for Hindu-Muslim unity, Gandhi could not achieve much. When attempts were made to pacify the Moplahs in the name of Gandhi’s non-violence, they bluntly replied that Gandhi was a Kafir, and he could never be their leader. In 1924, Maulana Mohammed Ali, to whom Gandhi gave more importance than he did to Jinnah, declared: “However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me, from the point of religion, inferior to any Mussalman even though he be without character.” In 1925, he reiterated it saying, “Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi”.

Savarkar was one of the leaders who felt that Congress was making a colossal mistake by appeasing the fundamentalist Leaguers. Savarkar asked the Congress leadership to stop in the downward spiral of appeasement and be firm with the Muslim League leadership. “If you come, with you; if you do not, without you; if you oppose in spite of you” – this was the message he wanted the Congress to convey to the League. Yet the Congress leadership lacked that courage.

Shraddhananda’s Murder:
Swami Shraddhanand was a renowned Arya Samajist and a senior leader of the Congress. As a disciplined soldier of the movement, he had participated actively in the Khilafat movement too. Shraddhananda was a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and used to play an active role in reconversion activities. This angered some fanatical Muslims. One such young man called Abdul Rasheed visited Shraddhananda’s residence at Naya Bazar in Delhi on December 23, 1926, on the pretext of discussing “some problems of the Islamic religion”. Shraddhananda was unwell and lying on his bed. According to the Arya Samaj website: “
The visitor then asked for a glass of water, and while Dharm Singh (Shraddhanand’s attendant) was taking his glass away, he rushed up to the Swamiji and fired two bullets point-blank into his chest.

The annual session of the Congress was taking place from December 25, 1926, at Guwahati. All the senior leaders, including Gandhi, were present at the session when the news of the gruesome murder of Swami Shraddhananda came in. Gandhi called Abdul Rashid his own brother, but moved a condolence motion himself. “If you hold dear the memory of Swami Shraddhanandji, you would help in purging the atmosphere of mutual hatred and calumny. Now you will perhaps understand why I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji’s murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another”, Gandhi said to the shock of many in the audience. At the very same session, funds were collected for the legal defence of Rashid in the courts. When he was sentenced to capital punishment by the British, there were over fifty thousand people in his funeral procession at Kolkata. That was where the appeasement policy of the leaders had led the country.

National Flag – (National symbols compromised):

Gandhi had proposed in 1921 that Congress should design a national flag. Several models were presented to him, and the one with three colours – orange, white and green –proved to be popular However, its interpretation as orange for the Hindus, white for the Christians, and green for the Muslims did not go down well with the people. A flag committee was then appointed in 1931 to look into the controversy and recommend a national flag for India. Among others, the 7-member committee included Nehru, Patel, and Azad. The committee submitted its report to the Karachi Congress session in December 1931.

“Opinion has been unanimous that our National Flag should be of a single colour except for the colour of the device. If there is one colour that is more acceptable to the Indians as a whole, one that is associated with this ancient country by long tradition, it is the Kesari or saffron colour. Accordingly, it is felt that the flag should be of the Kesari colour except for the colour of the device. That the device should be the Charkha is unanimously agreed to. The Committee have come to the conclusion that the charka should be in blue. Accordingly we recommend that the National Flag should be of Kesari or saffron colour having on it at the left top quarter the Charkha in blue with the wheel towards the flagstaff, the proportions of the flag being fly to hoist as three to two”, the report, signed by all the seven members stated.

However, the Congress session at Karachi rejected it, saying that the saffron colour represented only Hindus. The tricolour flag designed by Pingali Venkayya was adopted. It featured three horizontal stripes of saffron, white and green, with a Charkha in the centre. The colours were given a new interpretation thus: saffron for courage; white for truth and peace; and green for faith and prosperity. After the national song came the compromise with the national flag.

Language (concessions were made):

The Hindu Bhajans were modified. ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram – Patita Pavan Sitaram’ saw ‘Isvar Allah Tere Naam’ added to it. Even the national language was not spared. There were concerted efforts to discourage Muslims from learning Hindi right from the time of Syed Ahmad Khan. Syed Ahmad asked Muslims to prefer English to Hindi. Aligarh Muslim University taught only in English and Urdu. An effort was made to project Hindi as the language of the Hindus, and Urdu, that of the Muslims. In its eagerness to please the fundamentalists in the Muslim League, the Congress leadership decided at its 1925 Karachi session that Hindustania hybrid product from the mixture of Hindi and Urdu – should be the lingua franca of independent India. It even suggested that the script could either be Devnagari or Arabic.

Texts were rewritten. Special language classes were held for the Congress volunteers to familiarise them with the new hybrid language. Phrases like Badshah Ram, Begum Sita, and Maulvi Vasistha were promoted. Nevertheless, this one compromise did not go down well with the Congress and the nation. The protagonists of Hindi could succeed only after several years in making it the official language of the nation.

The Congress leadership continued to make these one-sided compromises without any reciprocal gestures being made by the League.

Cow slaughter was given free hand:

Even on a question as important to him as cow-slaughter, Gandhi was willing to compromise. “How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians, and other religious groups here”, he argued.

None of these concessions could move the League leadership. Instead, they only led to establishing the League and Jinnah, now its leader, as the ‘sole spokesmen’ for the Muslims, as Ayesha Jalal puts it. Emboldened, Jinnah went ahead ruthlessly, unmaking everything the Congress made, including, in the end, the geographical unity of the country.

(Final part to follow)


(Courtesy: The article was originally published in Chintan, India Foundation on August 18, 2020).