B R Ambedkar in Pakistan or the Partition of India

Extra(3) B.R. Ambedkar  in his book 'Pakistan or the Partition of India',  1940 and 1945-46
Documents included
  • Evolution of Muslim demands from chapter Communal Aggression  (excerpts)
  • General comment on the extent to which a community can demand safeguards from  chapter The Muslim Alternative to Pakistan (excerpts)
  • On the defence of India in context of two-nation theory from chapter Weakening of the Defences (excerpts)
  • Ambedkar quotes questions asked on the British Indian Army's ethnic and regional composition in the Legislative Assembly in 1938. From Weakening of the Defences (excerpts)
From Pakistan or the Partition of India, B.R. Ambedkar, available online at http://www.ambedkar.org/pakistan/

The quotes here are relevant to India's constitutional question in the 1940-1947 time frame and to the question of safeguards demanded by Jinnah for a 25% religious minority. B.R. Ambedkar is quite as unsparing in his evaluation of the Hindu Mahasabha's and the Congress's failings  in their dealings with Muslims. People usually quote  Ambedkar's criticisms of only one side. It is strongly recommended  to avoid that and to read the whole book. 

Communal Aggression(excerpts)

After taking into account what the Muslims demanded at the R. T. C. and what was conceded to them, any one could have thought that the limit of Muslim demands was reached and that the 1932 settlement was a final settlement. But, it appears that even with this the Musalmans are not satisfied. A further list of new demands for safeguarding the Muslim position seems to be ready.

In the controversy that went on between Mr. Jinnah and the Congress in the year 1938, Mr. Jinnah was asked to disclose his demands which he refused to do. But these demands have come to the surface in the correspondence that passed between Pandit Nehru and Mr. Jinnah in the course of the controversy and they have been tabulated by Pandit Nehru in one of his letters to Mr. Jinnah. His tabulation gives the following items as being matters of disputes and requiring settlement :--

    ( 1 )The fourteen points formulated by the Muslim League in 1929.

(2) The Congress should withdraw all opposition to the Communal Award and should not describe it as a negation of nationalism.

(3) The share of the Muslims in the state services should be definitely fixed in the constitution by statutory enactment.

(4) Muslim personal law and culture should be guaranteed by statute.

(5) The Congress should take in hand the agitation in connection with the Sahidganj Mosque and should use its moral pressure to enable the Muslims to gain possession of the Mosque.

(6) The Muslims' right to call Azan and perform their religious ceremonies should not be fettered in any way.

(7)  Muslims should have freedom to perform cow-slaughter.

(8) Muslim majorities in the Provinces,  where such majorities exist at present, must not be affected by any territorial re-distribution or adjustments.

(9) The ' Bande Mataram' song should be given up.

(10) Muslims want Urdu to be the national language of India and they desire to have statutory guarantees that the use of Urdu shall not be curtailed or damaged.

(11)  Muslim representation in the local bodies should be governed by the principles underlying the Communal Award, that is, separate electorates and population strength.

(12) The tricolour flag should be changed or alternately the flag of the Muslim League should be given equal importance.

(13) Recognition of the Muslim League as the one authoritative and representative organization of Indian Muslims.

(14)  Coalition Ministries should be formed.

With this new list, there is no knowing where the Muslims are going to stop in their demands. Within one year, that is, between 1938 and 1939, one more demand and that too of a substantial character, namely 50 per cent. share in every thing, has been added to it.

In this catalogue of new demands there are some which on the face of them are extravagant and impossible, if not irresponsible. As an instance, one may refer to the demand for fifty-fifty and the demand for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India.

In 1929, the Muslims insisted that in allotting seats in Legislatures, a majority shall not be reduced to a minority or equality.  This principle, enunciated by themselves, it is now demanded, shall be abandoned and a majority shall be reduced to equality.

The Muslims in 1929 admitted that the other minorities required protection and that they must have it in the same manner as the Muslims.  The only distinction made between the Muslims and other minorities was as to the extent of the protection. The Muslims claimed a higher degree of protection than was conceded to the other minorities on the ground of their political importance. The necessity and adequacy of protection for the other minorities the Muslims never denied. But with this new demand of 50 per cent. the Muslims are not only seeking to reduce the Hindu majority to a minority but they are also cutting into the political rights of the other minorities.

The Muslims are now speaking the language of Hitler and claiming a place in the sun as Hitler has been doing for Germany. For their demand for 50 per cent. is nothing but a counterpart of the German claims for Deutschland Uber Alles and Lebenuraum for themselves, irrespective of what happens to other minorities.


It seems to me that the Congress has failed to realize two things. The first thing which the Congress has failed to realize is that there is a difference between appeasement and settlement, and that the difference is an essential one. Appeasement means buying off the aggressor by conniving at his acts of murder, rape, arson and loot against innocent persons who happen for the moment to be the victims of his displeasure.

On the other hand, settlement means laying down the bounds which neither party to it can transgress. Appeasement sets no limits to the demands and aspirations of the aggressor. Settlement does. The second thing the Congress has failed to realize is that the policy of concession has increased Muslim aggressiveness, and what is worse, Muslims interpret these concessions as a sign of defeatism on the part of the Hindus and the absence of the will to resist.

This policy of appeasement will involve the Hindus in the same fearful situation in which the Allies found themselves as a result of the policy of appeasement which they adopted towards Hitler. This is another malaise, no less acute than the malaise of social stagnation. Appeasement will surely aggravate it. The only remedy for it is a settlement.

If Pakistan is a settlement, it is a proposition worth consideration. As a settlement it will do away with this constant need of appeasement and ought to be welcomed by all those who prefer the peace and tranquillity of a settlement to the insecurity due to the growing political appetite shown by the Muslims in their dealings with the Hindus.

 The Muslim alternative to Pakistan(excerpts)

All I would like to say in this connection is that the Hindus before determining their attitude towards this question should note certain important considerations.

In particular they should note that there is a difference between Macht Politic [Power politics] and Gravamin Politic[in which the main strategy is to gain power by manufacturing grievances.] ; that there is a difference between Communitas Communitatum and a nation of nations; that there is a difference between safeguards to allay apprehensions of the weak and contrivances to satisfy the ambition for power of the strong: that there is a difference between providing safeguards and handing over the country.

Further, they should also note that what may with safety be conceded to Gravamin Politic may not be conceded to Macht Politic. What may be conceded with safety to a community may not be conceded to a nation and what may be conceded with safety to the weak to be used by it as a weapon of defence may not be conceded to the strong who may use it as a weapon of attack.

These are important considerations and, if the Hindus overlook them, they will do so at their peril.

Weakening of the Defences(excerpts)

..two glaring facts stand out from the above survey. One is that the Indian Army today is predominantly Muslim in its composition. The other is that the Musalmans who predominate are the Musalmans from the Punjab and the N. W. F. P. Such a composition of the Indian Army means that the Musalmans of the Punjab and the N. W. F. P. are made the sole defenders of India from foreign invasion.

So patent has this fact become that the Musalmans of the Punjab and the N. W. F. P. are quite conscious of this proud position which has been assigned to them by the British, for reasons best known to them. For, one often hears them say that they are the ' gatekeepers ' of India. The Hindus must consider the problem of the defence of India in the light of this crucial fact...

...The question how this army of the Punjabi and the N. W. F. P. Muslims will behave if Afghanistan invades India, is a very pertinent and crucial question and must be faced, however unpleasant it may be.

Some may say—why assume that the large proportion of Muslims in the Army is a settled fact and that it cannot be unsettled ? Those who can unsettle it are welcome to make what efforts they can. But, so far as one can see, it is not going to be unsettled. On the contrary, I should not be surprised if it was entered in the constitution, when revised, as a safeguard for the Muslim Minority...
... There is another and equally important question on which the Hindus must ponder. That question is: Will the Indian Government be free to use this Army, whatever its loyalties, against the invading Afghans ? In this connection, attention must be drawn to the stand taken by the Muslim League. It is to the effect that the Indian Army shall not be used against Muslim powers..
..If India remains politically one whole and the two-nation mentality created by Pakistan continues to be fostered, the Hindus will find themselves between the devil and the deep sea, so far as the defence of India is concerned. Having an Army, they will not be free to use it because the League objects. Using it, it will not be possible to depend upon it because its loyalty is doubtful.

This is a position which is as pathetic as it is precarious. If the Army continues to be dominated by the Muslims of the Punjab and the N. W. F. P., the Hindus will have to pay it but will not be able to use it and even if they were free to use it against a Muslim invader, they will find it hazardous to depend upon it..

..The revenue of the Central Government amounts to Rs.121 crores. Of this, about Rs. 52 crores are annually spent on the Army. In what area is this amount spent ? Who pays the bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crores ? The bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crores which is spent on the Army is spent over the Muslim Army drawn from the Pakistan area. Now the bulk of this amount of Rs. 52 crores is contributed by the Hindu Provinces and is spent on an Army which for the most part consists of non-Hindus ! ! How many Hindus are aware of this tragedy ? How many know at whose cost this tragedy is being enacted ?

Today the Hindus are not responsible for it because they cannot prevent it. The question is whether they will allow this tragedy to continue. If they mean to stop it, the surest way of putting an end to it is to allow the scheme of Pakistan to take effect. To oppose it, is to buy a sure weapon of their own destruction. A safe Army is better than a safe border.

BR Ambedkar quotes questions asked on British Indian Army ethnic composition in the Legislative Assembly in 1938. From Weakening of the Defences(excerpts)

"Mr. S. Satyamurti: With reference to the answers to clauses (d) and (e) of the question taken together, may I know whether the attention of Government has been drawn to statements made by many public men that the bulk of the army is from the Punjab and from one community ? Have Government considered those facts and will Government also consider the desirability of making the army truly national by extending recruitment to all provinces and communities, so as to avoid the danger present in all countries of a military dictatorship seizing political power ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : I am not sure how that arises from this question, but I am prepared to say that provincial boundaries do not enter into Government's calculations at all. The best soldiers are chosen to provide the best army for India and not for any province, and in this matter national considerations must come above provincial considerations. Where the bulk of best military material is found, there we will go to get it, and not elsewhere..."

Mr. S. Satyamurti : With reference to the answer to part (a) of the question, my Honourable friend referred to previous answers. As far as I remember, they were not given after this statement was brought before this House. May I know if the Government of India have examined this statement of the Punjab Premier, " No patriotic Punjabi would wish to impair Punjab's position of supremacy in the Army" ? May I know whether Government have considered the dangerous implications of this statement and will they take steps to prevent a responsible Minister going about and claiming provincial or communal supremacy in the Indian Army, which ought to remain Indian first and Indian last ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : I can only answer in exactly the same words as I answered to a precisely similar question of the Hon'ble Member on the 15th September last. The policy of Government with regard to the recruitment has been repeatedly stated and is perfectly clear.

Mr. S. Satyamurti: That policy is to get the best material and I am specifically asking my Honourable friend—1 hope he realises the implications of that statement of the Punjab Premier. I want to know whether the Government have examined the dangerous implications of any provincial Premier claiming provincial supremacy in the Indian Army and whether they propose to take any steps to correct this dangerous misapprehension ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : Government consider that there are no dangerous implications whatever but rather the reverse.

Mr. Satyamurti : Do Government accept the supremacy of any province or any community as desirable consideration, even if it is a fact, to be uttered by responsible public men and do not the Government consider that this will give rise to communal and provincial quarrels and jealousies inside the army and possibly a military dictatorship in this country ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : Government consider that none of these foreboding have any justification at all.

Mr. M. S. Aney : Do the Government subscribe to the policy implied in the statement of Sir Sikander Hyat Khan ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : Government's policy has been repeatedly stated and made clear.

Mr. M. S. Aney : Is it the policy that the Punjab should have its supremacy in the Army ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : The policy is that the best material should be recruited for the Army.

Mr. M. S .Aney : I again repeat the question. Is it the policy of Government that Punjab should have supremacy in the Army ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie : I have repeatedly answered that question. The policy is that the Army should get the best material from all provinces and Government are quite satisfied that it has the best material at present.

Mr. M. S. Aney : Is it not, therefore, necessary that Government should make a statement modifying the policy suggested by Sir Sikander Hyat Khan ?

Mr. C. M. G. Ogilvie: Government have no intention whatever of changing their policy in particular."


CMP(1) -  From Ayesha Jalal's 'The Sole Spokesman'

CMP(2) -  Congress and Muslim League positions on 12 May 1946

CMP(3) -  The Cabinet Mission Plan 16 May 1946

CMP(4) - Jinnah  and ML  responses to the CMP 22 May  and June 6 1946

CMP(5) -  Jinnah's meeting with Mission Delegation on 4 April 1946

CMP(6) -  Jinnah's meeting with Missiion Delegation on 16 April 1946

CMP(7A) - Maulana Azad's meeting with Mission Delegation on 17 April 1946

CMP(7) -  The Congress unease with parity  8-9 May 1946

CMP(7B) - Jinnah and Azad responses to preliminary proposals 8-9 May 1946

CMP(8A) - Simla Conference meetings on 5 May 1946 on the powers of the Union

CMP(8) -  More exchanges on parity, Simla Conference meeting  11 May 1946

CMP(9) -  Jinnah and Wyatt(1) on Pakistan and CMP, 8 Jan. and 25 May 1946

CMP(10) -  Jinnah and Wyatt(2) on the interim government, 11 June 1946

CMP(11) -   Congress opposition to grouping. Gandhi, Patel and Azad, May 1946

CMP(12) - Congress Working Committee resolutions, May-June 1946

CMP(12A) - Arguments over inclusion of a Congress Muslim, June 1946

CMP(12B) - Behind the scenes-Gandhi, June-July 1946

CMP(12C) - Behind the scenes-Jinnah, June-July 1946

CMP(13) - Jawaharlal Nehru's press conference on the Plan, 10 July 1946

CMP(14) - League rejected Plan, called Direct Action,  July-August 1946

CMP(15) - Viceroy strong-arming Nehru, Gandhi on compulsory grouping, Pethick-Lawrence to Attlee, Aug -Sept 1946

CMP(16) - Intelligence assessment on Jinnah's options and threat of civil war, Sept. 1946

CMP(17) - League Boycott of the Constituent Assembly Dec. 1946

CMP(17A) - Congress "climbdown" on grouping and Jinnah's rejection, January 1947

CMP (A1) - Plain speaking from Sir Khizr Hayat, Abell on the Breakdown plan, Wavell

CMP(A2) - North West Frontier Province, Oct-Nov 1946 and Feb-March 1947

CMP(A3) - Bengal and Bihar, August - November 1946

CMP(A4) - Punjab, February - March 1947

CMP (18) - My take

CMP (19) - What did parity and communal veto mean in numbers?

CMP(20) - Another take -with links to reference material

CMP(21) - Mountbatten discussing CMP with Patel and Jinnah, 24-26 Apr 1947

CMP(22) - A reply on the Cabinet Mission Plan

Extra(1) - Jinnah's speech in March 1941 on independent sovereign Pakistan

Extra(1A) - Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1941-1942

Extra(1B) - Jinnah's Speeches and Statements from 1938-1940

Extra(1C) - Jinnah's speeches and Statements from 1943-45

Extra(2) - Gandhi-Jinnah talks in 1944 on defining Pakistan

Extra(3) - BR Ambedkar quoted from his book 'Pakistan or the Partition of India'

Extra(4) - Congress and Muslim parties' on the Communal question 1927-1931

Extra(4A) - Excerpts of Motilal Nehru Committee Report 1928

Extra(4B) - Nehru, Bose, Jinnah Correspondence 1937-38

Extra(5) -  BR Ambedkar on Communal Representation 1909-1947

Extra(6) - Gandhiji's scheme of offering the Prime Ministership to Jinnah in 1947

Extra(6A) - Jinnah on Congress's offers of Prime Ministership 1940-43

Extra (6B) - Apr-Jul 1947 Negotiations on Pakistan between Mountbatten and Jinnah

Extra(7) - M.A.Jinnah and Maulana Azad on two nation theory

Extra(8) - On Separate electorates, Joint electorates and Reserved constituencies

Extra(9) - Links to cartoons on Indian constitutional parleys from the Daily Mail, UK, 1942 and 1946-1947, by L.G. Illingworth

Extra(10) -Nehru Report 1928 (10 MB pdf)
Extra(11) -Iqbal's letters to Jinnah, May-June 1937

Extra(12) -Jinnah, Linlithgow, Sikander Hayat, Pakistan rumblings 1942-43

Durga Das (1) 1919-1931, Jallianwala Bagh to Bhagat Singh

Durga Das (2) 1931-1936, Crescent Card: Jinnah in London to Fazli Husain in Punjab

Durga Das(3) 1937-1940, Provincial Autonomy to Jinnah gets the veto

Durga Das(4) 1940-1945, The War Years: India's War Effort-Pakistan on a platter

Durga Das(5) 1945-1947, The Cabinet Mission to Divide and Quit

1937-1940(2)  Congress and Jinnah fall out in U.P., Jinnah's anti-Congress campaign and the Viceroy gives Jinnah a Veto: Ayesha Jalal, Sarvepalli Gopal and Stanley Wolpert

1937: Congress-Jinnah tussle over coalition government in U. P., M.J. Akbar

1937: Nehru, Jinnah and Coalition Governments, Bimal Prasad

1939-1940: India and the War, Anita Inder Singh

1945-1946: The Elections of 1945-46, Anita Inder Singh

1857-1938 Glimpses of British policy in Punjab: Ian Talbot and David Page

1930-1939 Congress Decline in Bengal, John Gallagher

Glendevon (1) 1937: Congress's Office Acceptance Saga over Governor's Powers

Glendevon (2) 1937-1940: Federation, Jinnah, Congress activism in Princely States

Glendevon (3) 1939-1942: Linlithgow, Congress, Jinnah,War-time Realignments

1939-1947: Jinnah and the Anglo-Muslim League Alliance, Narendra Singh Sarila

1944: Gandhi-Jinnah talks, Jaswant Singh

1830s-1898: British Forward Policy(1)

1899-1947: British Forward Policy(2)

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