India Divided

Book: Dr. Rajendra Prasad Review: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi

Part 4

The Resource Constraint India is an agricultural country and by far the largest proportion of the population whether in the Muslim or non-Muslim zone depends upon agriculture for its support and sustenance. It is therefore necessary to take the agricultural resources of the two zones in consideration. The Eastern zone is fertile but very thickly populated, the population being 787 per sq. mile, and in spite of the richness of soil it cannot produce enough food for its large population. The Punjab and Sind are fortunate in having a very extensive system of irrigation by canals and it may be hoped that there is much room not only for further extending agriculture but also for being intensive cultivation of areas already cultivated. India is not abundantly supplied with oil but she possesses large reserves of most important industrial minerals – Coal, Iron, several of Ferro-alloys which make good steel, and the subsidiary minerals in ample quantities to make her a powerful and reasonably self-sufficient industrial nation. Coal is easily and undoubtedly the most valuable mineral. The whole of it falls outside the Muslim zone with the exception of a small quantity that is raised in Punjab and Baluchistan. “India‟s minerals are so distributed between the parts of India in which Hindu and Muslim people preponderate that if India were divided on the basis of religious population the Hindu State would be rich and the Muslim State would be
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conspicuously poor. The significant conclusion as to the question of Pakistan and Hindustan are corollary to the fact… From the point of view of mineral resources the Hindu and Muslim areas of India immediately intergrown are also interdependent economically.” - Dr. Behre “India satisfies the requirement of an optimum unit for economic development in terms of area, population and resources more than any other single country except the United States of America and Russia… Division of India would weaken both Pakistan and Hindustan but the former would suffer more than the later in respect of mineral resources. Lacking Coal, Iron and Ferro-alloys, the position of Pakistan in respect of both zones would be substantially weaker and she would lack the necessary mineral base for large scale industrial development which is so essential for her future progress.” - Sir Homi Mody & Dr. Matthai Among industries which absorb the bulk of the capital invested in India are Cotton Mills, Jute Mills and Sugar Mills. While cotton is produced largely in Punjab and Sind and Jute in Eastern Bengal, the Mills which spin and weave them are mostly outside Muslim zones in the NW and the East. Prof. Coupland, whose sympathy for the Muslim League point of view is apparent throughout his book, ‘The Future of India’ comes to the conclusion: “It appears that the greatest difficulty of Pakistan and its gravest risk lie in „Defence‟. Is it not clear beyond dispute that Pakistan would not be able to maintain the security it has enjoyed hitherto as part of India? Even the minimum necessities of defence would strain its resources to the utmost and hold up the social advancement of its people. For the rest it would have to take the risk.” The Proposal of Partition Examined The backwardness of the Muslims cannot be attributed to anything that the Hindus were primarily responsible for, but to the policy of the British Government in whose hands all power remained for more than 150 years. It cannot be denied that a divided India will be weaker and will not be able to command the same hearing in international counsels that a strong united India will have. It will not be able to secure the same terms from other countries in the matter of trade facilities, its own industrial development, and in a hundred other ways. This will be so especially in the case of the Muslim zones which will be admittedly smaller than the rest of India. But the latter, too, will suffer and suffer grievously on account of this partition. In India the attachment to land of both Hindus and Muslims is so great that it can be safely asserted that neither would care to leave the locality where they have been settled simply to become member of another State.

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The cost of moving such large populations, uprooting them from where they have remained settled for generations and getting them in all together new surroundings, and the loss of property involved in the process, even though compensation may be provided for, will impose a burden which neither the Muslim nor the non-Muslim States will be able to bear. The suffering will be immense and the scheme financially and administratively impossible of accomplishment. In case of compulsory exchange all those difficulties will be increased a hundred-fold, and to all those difficulties will be added the difficulty of shifting the population under police and military guard – which is unthinkable. Minorities have in all cases to depend on the fundamentals of human nature and those universal and moral rules which govern the conduct of all civilized persons, whatever their religion. The creation of independent states does not solve the minority problem. It makes it more difficult of solution. It leaves the minorities, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, in the independent states more helpless, less capable of taking care of themselves, and worse situated in regard to the invocation of any outside authority for enforcing their rights. It does not require any elaborate calculation to show that in case of partition while the resources of both the Muslims and non-Muslim states will be considerably reduced, their defence requirements will enormously increase and it may well be that each in itself will find itself so crippled as to render effective defence beyond the means of any without unbearable hardship to the people at large inhabiting each zone. Arguments Against Partition   The days of small independent states are numbered if not gone already. Recent experience has shown that no small state can preserve its independence. The national resources of the country as a whole can be much better utilized to the benefit of all, if there is mutual accommodation and agreed joint action, which will become impossible in case of independent states. The larger the area, the greater the variety, the wider the distribution of natural resources – agricultural, mineral and power producing – the better the chances of a planned economy. The crying need of India today is that the state should spend more and more on the nation-building departments. India has suffered immeasurably in the past under the British Government which has regarded itself more as a police state than anything else, neglecting and starving the nation-building departments.

One thing is certain: partition is not likely to be attained with the goodwill of those most concerned, and this ill-will is bound to persist on both sides, even if the proposal succeeds, even after the separation is affected. Distrust which is the basis of the proposal is bound to grow and any hope that after separation things
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will settle down and the independent states will soon become friendly will have been built on sand. “India is not only a very well-defined geographical unit with natural frontiers formed by the mountains and the sea, it has been from time immemorial a cultural and spiritual unit. That unity has been forged through countless ages by the culture, traditions and usages of successive generations of men who have migrated and conquered, settled down and been absorbed through the predominant qualities of tolerance and adaptability which are the characteristics of Indian Civilization.” - Sir Ardeshir Dalal Sir Dalal proposed a Charter of Fundamental Rights to guarantee the personal, civil and religious liberties of every individual on following lines:  All citizens of the Federation of India shall be equal before the law.  Freedom of speech, of the press and of association shall be guaranteed.  No person shall suffer any disability on account of his religious faith or belonging to any particular race, caste, class or creed.  Liberty of religion and conscience shall be guaranteed including liberty of belief, worship, observance, propaganda, association and education. Sir Ardeshir Dalal is a Parsi and has thus the advantage of being neither a Hindu nor a Muslim between whom the conflict for power largely arises. His scheme must be treated as one proceeding from an impartial and unprejudiced person who may not be even unconsciously biased in favour of one or the other of the two principal communities. “The communal problem is a universal problem, as it has been a physical impossibility that political and national frontiers should also coincide with racial, religious, and social frontiers. Every State has to accommodate different elements and communities in its composition, and there is no state which has been able to eliminate a minority. It therefore becomes necessary to devise methods for dealing with them.” - Dr. Radha Kumud Mukherjee [New Approach to the Communal Problem] The provisions of the „Turkish Constitution‟ may be taken as a basis which laid down that: “All inhabitants shall be entitled to the free exercise, whether in public or private, of any creed, religion or belief, the observance of which shall not be incompatible with public order and good morals. Differences of religion, creed, or confession shall not prejudice any Turkish national in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights. All the inhabitants of Turkey, without distinction of religion, shall be equal before the law.” But there is a limit to minority protection, and that limit is the integrity of the State which all its communities must be equally concerned to defend at all costs and which no community can be allowed to weaken in pursuit of its exaggerated and extravagant ideas tending towards disintegration of the State itself.
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Despite what Islam may have taught, there is no doubt that Islamic culture in India as a whole is not uniform. It has indeed varied in its content and manifestation in different parts and Musalmans present as variegated a kaleidoscope as any other community in this respect. Epilogue So far as the author is aware, there is no communal group or organization other than the Muslim League which has put forward a proposal for partition of India into Muslim and non-Muslim independent states. Any scheme must fulfill two fundamental conditions. It must be fair and just to all communities. It must be more. It must also rise above the din and dust of the present-day controversy and visualize for this country and for its millions something of which all may be proud and for which they can live, work and die. A man is member of a community; but he is also a man more than member of a community. No scheme, however elaborate, which satisfies all communal claims most meticulously but leaves man as man uncared and unprovided for, will be worth the paper it will be written on. That scheme alone will be worthy of the people of this great country which enables its humblest citizen to live a happier and nobler life than it has been its lot to live in the past. It is really a question offering two alternatives before the people of India to make their choice. The choice has to be made between two alternative schemes – one involving a division of the country and its people into separate zones and nationalities; the other maintaining the unity of the country and providing for the fullest development – moral, intellectual and material – of all groups, including the smallest which inhabit it and removing all barriers – social, political or economic – tending to bar or fetter that development. The choice has to be made by them with their eyes open, their minds informed and alert, after studying and considering all the pros and cons. There can be no doubt that partition is a solution of despair. It cannot solve the problem of minorities, even if it does not aggravate it. The author‟s apprehension is that it will aggravate it. It is bound to leave a bitter legacy. The author does not wish to end this book with a note of despair. He is not without hopes in the justice, fairness and common sense of the people – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis and others – and feels that they will be able to evolve something else that will be worthy and worthwhile, something that our successors will be proud of, something that will place before a distracted world an ideal worthy of emulation. That can be achieved only if we march with „truth‟ as our light and „non-violence‟ as our support. [However, in spite of this bold and timely caution and hopefulness for understanding expressed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, as further history tells us goodwill did not prevail, we were not guided by ‘Truth’ and supported by ‘Non23 | P a g e

violence’ and in accordance with the British designs to ‘Divide and Rule’ partition did happen. The after effects of the violence and suffering that followed reverberate even now in the relations between India and Pakistan, which are far from satisfactory and load enormous burden of defence expenditure on both sides, which would have been much better utilized for the development of the people, which is the ultimate objective of the State. History cannot be reversed, but we can certainly be wiser with the pain experienced in the years and we can look for corrective action in the future. Let us pose ourselves with this question: “When East Germany and West Germany (so ideologically apart as Communists and Capitalists, after being separated at the end of the Second World War) can recombine to form one Germany, why can‟t India, Pakistan and Bangladesh recombine to form India (Undivided)?” Probably we do not have an answer to this question right now, but may be the future generations will hopefully come together in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation to effect the solution which will benefit the inhabitants of the whole Indian sub-continent.] Review: Satyendra Nath Dwivedi

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