B R Ambedkar on Communal Representation 1909-1947

Extra(5) B. R. Ambedkar's commentary on Communal representation in federal and provincial legislatures from 1909-1947
Tables included
  •  Legislative Councils (Act of 1909): Communal Proportion between Hindus and Muslims
  •  Representation of Muslims According to the Lucknow Pact, 1916
  •  Actual Weightage of Muslims According to the Lucknow Pact
  •  Communal Composition of the Legislatures, 1919
  •  Communal Award 1932 Allocation of Seats in Provincial Legislatures (Lower House only)
  •  Allocation of Seats under the Government of India Act, 1935, for the Lower House of the Federal Legislature for British India, by Province and by Community
  •  General and Muslim Distribution of Seats by Number and Percentages in the Federal Legislature under Government of India Act 1935

From Pakistan or the Partition of India, B.R. Ambedkar, available online at http://www.ambedkar.org/pakistan/


Comment
Except for Muslim majority provinces Punjab and Bengal, the weightage given to Muslim representation at central and provincial levels was in excess of their population percentage.    One context of B.R. Ambedkar's assessments which can not be ignored in understanding the evolution of  the legislatures is that any weightage demanded by or granted to Muslims in excess of their population ratio  would  squeeze the seats granted not only to the Hindu majority but also to other minorities.  Minorities such as the Scheduled Castes, of whose interests B.R. Ambedkar was  a prominent and vocal representative, would   have to depend even more on the good will of the  squeezed Hindu majority to concede from the Hindu majority's own reduced share,  their own fair share of representation.


 From B.R. Ambedkar's  Pakistan or the Partition of India, Chapter XI

Though, to start with, the suggestion of separate representation came from the British, the Muslims did not fail to appreciate the social value of separate political rights with the result that when in 1909 the Muslims came to know that the next step in the reform of the Legislative Councils was contemplated, they waited of their own accord in deputation upon the Viceroy, Lord Minto, and placed before him the following demands :—

        (i) Communal representation in accordance with their numerical strength, social position and local influence, on district and municipal boards.
       (ii) An assurance of Muhammadan representation on the governing bodies of Universities.
      (iii)  Communal representation on provincial councils, election being by special electoral colleges composed of Muhammadan landlords, lawyers,   merchants, and representatives of other important interests, University graduates of a certain standing and members of district and municipal boards.
     (iv) The number of Muhammadan representatives in the Imperial Legislative Council should not depend on their numerical strength, and Muhammadans  should never be in an ineffective minority.  They should be elected as far as possible (as opposed to being nominated), election being by special Muhammadan colleges composed of landowners, lawyers, merchants, members of provincial councils, Fellows of Universities, etc.

These demands were granted and given effect to in the Act of 1909. Under this Act the Muhammadans were given
      (1) the right to elect their representatives,
      (2) the right to elect their representatives by separate electorates,
      (3) the right to vote in the general electorates as well, and
      (4) the right to weightage in representation. 

...

The provisions were applied to all Provinces except the Punjab and the C. P. It was not applied to the Punjab because such special protection was considered unnecessary for the Musalmans of the Punjab and it was not applied to the C. P. because it had no Legislative Council at the time.


Table 1. Legislative Councils (Act of 1909): Communal Proportion between Hindus and Muslims

Province Ex-officio
Members
Elected Members
Nominated
Members
Total
Strength
Total
Non-Muslim
Muslim
India
8
27
22
5
33
68
Madras
4
21
19
2
24
49
Bombay
4
21
17
4
24
49
Bengal
4
28
23
5
22
54
Bihar
4
21
17
4
20
45
U.P
1
21
17
4
28
50
Punjab
1
8
8
none
18
27
Burma
1
1
1
none
16
18
Assam
1
11
9
2
14
25


Comment
From Stanley Wolpert in Jinnah of Pakistan

..The legislative council reforms proposed by Morley and Minto initially provided for four separately elected Muslim members on the expanded Imperial Council of theViceroy. By the time the Indian council's bill was finished in 1909, however, no fewer than six such seats were reserved on a central legislative council of sixty, more than half of whom remained British officials. Minto, moreover, had promised to "appoint" at least two additional Muslim members as nominees off his own bat if they were not elected by special constituences such as landholders or municipalities, raising Muslim membership to eight out of twenty-eight non-official members on the viceroy's council, more than the actual ratio of India's Muslim minority to the total population of the subcontinent. By 1909 even Minto complained of "the excess of representation granted to Mahomedans." Morley retorted, "It was your early speech about their extra claims that started the M.[Muslim] hare." The secretary of state was by then convinced that "It passes the wit of man to frame plans that will please Hindus without offending Mahometans, and we shall be lucky if we don't offend both."

(end quote from Wolpert)

Ambedkar writes in Chapter XI:

In October 1916, 19 members of the Imperial Legislative Council presented the Viceroy (Lord Chelmsford) a memorandum demanding a reform of the Constitution. Immediately the Muslims came forward with a number of demands on behalf of the Muslim community. These were :—

(i)   The extension of the principle of separate representation to the Punjab and the C. P.
(ii)    Fixing the numerical strength of the Muslim representatives in the Provincial and Imperial Legislative Councils.
(iii)   Safeguards against legislation affecting Muslims, their religion and religious usages.

The negotiations following upon these demands resulted in agreement between the Hindus and the Muslims which is known as the Lucknow Pact. It may be said to contain two clauses. One related to legislation, under which it was agreed that :—
" No Bill, nor any clause thereof, nor a resolution introduced by a nonofficial affecting one or other community (which question is to be determined by the members of that community in the Legislative Council concerned) shall be' proceeded with, if three-fourths of the members of that community in the particular Council, Imperial and Provincial, oppose the Bill or any clause thereof or the resolution."

The other clause related to the proportion of Muslim representation. With regard to the Imperial Legislative Council the Pact provided :—
"That one-third of the Indian elected members should be Muhammadans,  elected by separate electorates in the several Provinces, in the proportion, as nearly as might be, in which they were represented on the provincial legislative councils by separate Muhammadan electorates."

Table 2. Representation of Muslims According to the Lucknow Pact, 1916

Legislative Body
Percentage of Muslims to total population of the electoral area(1921 Census)
Percentage of Muslim Members to total number of Members
Percentage of elected Muslim Members to total number of elected Indian members*
Percentage of Muslim Members to total Members in seats filled by election from Indian general(communal) constituencies
Lucknow Pact Percentage
Punjab
55.2
40
48.5
50
50
United Provinces
14.3
25
30
32.5
30
Bengal
54.6
30
40.5
46
40
Bihar and Orissa
10.9
18.5
25
27
25
Central Provinces
4.4
9.5
13
14.5
15
Madras
6.7
10.5
14
16.5
15
Bombay
19.8
25.5
35
37
33.3
Assam
32.2
30
35.5
37.5
No provision
Legislative Assembly
24.0
26
34
38
33.3


* Column 3 includes Indians elected by special constituencies, e.g. Commerce, whose communal proportions may of course vary slightly from time to time. Similarly column 2, including also officials and nominated non-officials, will show slightly different results at different periods.

While allowing this proportion of seats to the Muslims, the right to second vote in the general electorates which they had under the arrangement of 1909 was taken away.
...

This table does not show quite clearly the weightage obtained by the Muslims under the Lucknow Pact. It was worked out by the Government of India in their despatch on the Report of Franchise Committee of which Lord Southborough was the Chairman. The following table is taken from that despatch which shows that the Muslims got a weightage under the Lucknow Pact far in excess of what Government gave them in 1909.

Table 3. Actual Weightage of Muslims According to the Lucknow Pact


Muslim percentage of population
Percentage of Muslim seats proposed
Percentage (2) of (1)

(1)
(2)
(3)
Bengal
52.6
40
76
Bihar and Orissa
10.5
25
238
Bombay
20.4
33.3
163
Central Provinces
4.3
15
349
Madras
6.5
15
231
Punjab
54.8
50
91
United Provinces
14.0
30
214


The Lucknow Pact was adversely criticized by the Montagu Chelmsford Report. But being an agreement between the parties Government did not like to reject it and to substitute in its place its own decision. Both clauses of the agreement were accepted by Government and embodied in the Government of India Act of 1919. The clause relating to legislation was given effect to but in a different form. Instead of leaving it to the members of the Legislature to oppose it, it was provided that legislation affecting the religion or religious rites and usages of any class of British subjects in India shall not be introduced at any meeting of either Chamber of the Indian Legislature without the previous sanction of the Governor-General.

The clause relating to representation was accepted by the Government, though in the opinion of the Government the Punjab and Bengal Muslims were not fairly treated.

The effect of these concessions can be seen by reference to the composition of the Legislatures constituted under the Government of India Act, 1919, which was as follows :—

Table 4. Communal Composition of the Legislatures, 1919

Legislative Body
Elected Members
Nominated
Members
Total
Total
Muslims
Non-Muslims
Legislative Assembly
104
52
52
41
145
Council of State
33
11
22
27
60
Madras Provincial Council
98
13
85
34
132
Bombay Provincial Council
86
27
59
28
114
Bengal Provincial Council
114
39
75
26
140
U.P Provincial Council
110
29
71
23
123
Punjab Provincial Council
71
32
39
23
94
Bihar Provincial Council
76
18
58
27
103
C.P Provincial Council
55
7
48
18
73
Assam Provincial Council
39
12
27
14
53


Comment
Note that in the Legislative Assembly,  elected Muslims had  seats equal to the number of  elected Non-Muslims. This was at a time when the Muslim population percentage was 25-27% of the total.
(end comment)

Ambedkar writes:

In 1927 the British Government announced the appointment of the Simon Commission to examine the working of the Indian Constitution and to suggest further reforms. Immediately the Muslims came forward with further political demands. These demands were put forth from various Muslim platforms such as the Muslim League, All-India Muslim Conference, All-Parties Muslim Conference, Jamiat-ul-Ulema and the Khilafat Conference. The demands were substantially the same. It would suffice to state those that were formulated by Mr. Jinnah  on behalf of the Muslim League.

They were in the following terms :—
  1. The form of the future Constitution should be federal with residuary powers vested in the provinces.
  2. A uniform measure of autonomy should be granted to all provinces.
  3. All legislatures in the country and other elected bodies should be reconstituted on the definite principle of adequate and effective representation minorities in every province without reducing the majority of any province to a minority or even equality.
  4. In the Central Legislature, Muslim representation should not be less than one-third.
  5. The representation of communal groups should continue to be by means of separate electorates as at present, provided that it should be open to any community at any time to abandon its separate electorate in favour of joint electorates.
  6. Any territorial redistribution that might at any time be necessary should not in any way affect the Muslim majority in the Punjab, Bengal and North-West Province.
  7. Full religious liberty, that is, liberty of belief, worship, observances, propaganda, association and education should be guaranteed to all communities.
  8. No bill or resolution, or any part thereof, should be passed in any legislature or any other elected body if three-fourths of the members of any community in that particular body oppose such bill or resolution or part thereof on the ground that it would be injurious to the interests of that community or, in the alternative, such other method as may be devised or as may be found feasible and practicable to deal with such cases.
  9. Sind should be separated from the Bombay Presidency.
  10. Reforms should be introduced in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan on the same footing as in other provinces.
  11. Provision should be made in the Constitution giving the Muslims an adequate share along with other Indians in all the Services of the State and in self-governing bodies, having due regard to the requirements of efficiency.
  12. The constitution should embody adequate safeguards for the protection of Muslim religion, culture and personal law, and the promotion of Muslim education, language, religion, personal laws, Muslim charitable institutions, and for their due share in grants-in-aid given by the Stale and by self-governing bodies.
  13. No Cabinet, either Central or Provincial, should be formed without there being a proportion of Muslim Ministers of at least one-third.
  14. No change to be made in the Constitution by the Central Legislature except with the concurrence of the States constituting the Indian Federation.
That in the present circumstances the representation of Musalmans in the different legislatures of the country and of the other elected bodies through separate electorates is inevitable, and, further, Government being pledged not to deprive the Musalmans of this right, it cannot be taken away without their consent, and so long as the Musalmans are not satisfied that their rights and interests are safeguarded in the manner specified above (or herein) they would in no way consent to the establishment of joint electorates with or without conditions.

Note:—The question of excess representation of Musalmans over and above their population in the provinces where they are in minority to be considered hereafter.

This is a consolidated statement of Muslim demands. In it there are some which are old, and some which are new. The old ones are included because the aim is to retain the advantages accruing therefrom. The new ones are added in order to remove the weaknesses in the Muslim position. The new ones are five in number: (1) Representation in proportion to population to Muslim majorities in the Punjab and Bengal, (2) One-third representation to Muslims in the cabinets both Central and Provincial, (3) Adequate representation of Muslims in the Services, (4) Separation of Sind from the Bombay Presidency and the raising of N.-W. F. P. and Baluchistan to the status of self-governing provinces, and (5) Vesting of residuary powers in the provinces instead of in the Central Government.

These new demands are self-explanatory except perhaps 1, 4 and 5. The object of demands 1 and 4 was to place, in four provinces, the Muslim community in a statutory majority where it had only communal majority, as a force counteracting the six provinces in which the Hindu community happened to be in a majority. This was insisted upon as a guarantee of good treatment by both the communities of its minorities. The object of demand No. 5 was to guarantee Muslim rule in Sind, N.-W. F. P., the Punjab and Bengal. But a Muslim majority rule in these Muslim Provinces, it was feared, would not be effective if they remained under the control of the Central Government which could not but be in the hand of the Hindus. To free the Muslim Provinces from the control of the Hindu Government at the Centre was the object for which demand No. 5 was put forth.

 These demands were opposed by the Hindus. There may not be much in this. But what is significant is that they were also rejected by the Simon Commission. The Simon Commission, which was by no means unfriendly to the Muslims, gave some very cogent reasons for rejecting the Muslim demands. It said :—

" This claim goes to the length of seeking to preserve the full security for representation now provided for Muslims in these six provinces and at the same time to enlarge in Bengal and the Punjab the present proportion of seats secured to the community by separate electorates to figures proportionate to their ratio of population. This would give Muhammadans a fixed and unalterable majority of the general constituency seats in both provinces. We cannot go so far. The continuance of the present scale of weightage in the six provinces could not—in the absence of a new general agreement between the communities—equitably be combined with so great a departure from the existing allocation in Bengal and the Punjab.

" It would be unfair that Muhammadans should retain the very considerable weightage they enjoy in the six provinces, and that there should at the same time be imposed, in face of Hindu and Sikh opposition, a definite Muslim majority in the Punjab and Bengal unalterable by any appeal to the electorate........ "

Notwithstanding the opposition of the Hindus and the Sikhs and the rejection by the Simon Commission, the British Government when called upon to act as an arbiter granted the Muslims all their demands old and new.

By a Notification   in the Gazette of India 25th January 1932 the Government of India, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 52  of the Government of India Act, 1916, declared that the N.-W. F. Province shall be treated as a Governor's Province.   By an Order in Council, issued under the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of section 289 of the Government of India Act of 1935, Sind was separated from Bombay as from 1st April 1936 and declared to be a Governor's Province to be known as the province of Sind.

By the Resolution issued by the Secretary of State for India and published on 7th July 1934 the Muslim share in the public services was fixed at 25 per cent. of all appointments Imperial and Provincial. With regard to residuary powers, it is true that the Muslim demand that they should be vested in the Provinces was not accepted. But in another sense the Muslim demand in this respect may be deemed to have been granted. The essence of the Muslim demand was that the residuary powers should not be vested in the Centre, which, put in different language, meant that they should not be in the hands of the Hindus. This is precisely what is done by section 104 of the Government of India Act, 1935, which vests the residuary powers in the Governor-General to be exercised in his discretion.

The demand for 33 1/3 per cent. representation in the Cabinets, Central and Provincial, was not given effect to by a legal provision in the Act. The right of Muslims to representation in the Cabinets was however accepted by the British Government and provision for giving effect to it was made in the Instruments of Instructions issued to the Governors and Governor-General.

As to the remaining demand which related to a statutory majority in the Punjab and Bengal, the demand was given effect to by the Communal Award. True, a statutory majority in the whole House has not been given to the Muslims and could not be given having regard to the necessity for providing representation to other interests. But a statutory majority as against Hindus has been given to the Muslims of the Punjab and Bengal without touching the weightages obtained by the Muslim minorities under the Lucknow Pact.

Table 5. Communal Award 1932 Allocation of Seats in Provincial Legislatures (Lower House only) 

Provinces
General
Depressed Classes
Rep.s from Backward Areas
Sikh
Moha-
mmedan
Indian Christian
Anglo-
Indian
European
Comm. and Industry, Mining and Planting Special(a)
Land-
holders, Special
Univer-
sity, Special
Labour Special
Total
Madras
134
 
18
1
0
29
9
2
3
6
6
1
6
215
Bombay(incl Sind)
97(b)
 
10
1
0
63
3
2
4
8
3
1
8
200
Bengal
80(c)
(c)
0
0
119
2
4
11
19
5
2
8
250
United Provinces
132 
12
0
0
66
2
1
2
3
6
1
3
228
Punjab
43 
0
0
32
86
2
1
1
1
5(d)
1
3
175
Bihar and Orissa
99
7
8
0
42
2
1
2
4
5
1
4
175
Central Provinces
(incl. Berar)
77
10
1
0
14
0
1
1
2
3
1
2
112
Assam
44(e)
4
9
0
34
1
0
1
11
0
0
4
108
North-West Frontier Province
9
0
0
3
36
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
50
Bombay (without
 Sind)
109(b)
10
1
0
30
3
2
3
7
2
1
7
175
Sind
19
0
0
0
34
0
0
2
2
2
0
1
60

(a) The composition of the bodies through which election to these seats will be conducted, though in most cases either predominantly European or predominantly Indian, will not be statutorily fixed. It is, accordingly, not possible in each Province to state with certainty how many Europeans and Indians respectively will be returned. It is, however, expected that, initially, the numbers will be approximately as follows: Madras 4 European, 2 Indians; Bombay(including Sind), 5 Europeans, 3 Indians; Bengal, 14 Europeans, 5 Indians; United Provinces, 2 Europeans, 1 Indian; Punjab, 1 Indian, Bihar and Orissa, 2 Europeans, 2 Indians; Central Provinces (including Berar), 1 European, 1 Indian; Assam, 8 Europeans, 3 Indians; Bombay(without Sind), 4 Europeans, 3 Indians; Sind, 1 European, 1 Indian.

(b) Seven of these seats will be reserved for Mahrattas.
(c) As explained in paragraph  9 of the statement, the number of special Depressed Class seats in Bengal- which will not exceed 10-has not yet been fixed. The number of General seats will be 80, less the number of special Depressed Class seats.
(d) One of these seats is a Tumandar's seat. The four Landholders' seats will be filled from special constituencies with joint electorates. It is probable, from the distribution of the electorate, that the members returned will be one Hindu, one Sikh and two Mohammedans.
(e) This woman's seat will be filled from a non-communal constituency at Shillong.

Under the Poona Pact the numbers for Depressed Classes were changed as follows(as was the mode of election)

"(1) There shall be seats reserved for the Depressed Classes out of the general electorate seats in the Provincial Legislatures as follows:÷
Madras 30: Bombay with Sind 15; Punjab 8; Bihar and Orissa 18; Central Provinces 20; Assam 7; Bengal 30; United Provinces 20; Total 148..."

Comment:
Under the Poona Pact,  separate electorates for Scheduled Castes were withdrawn and their representatives would henceforth be elected under joint electorates with Hindus. However, in return,  as can be seen above,  reserved seats for Scheduled Castes were granted in excess of those awarded under the 1932 Communal Award.

Ambedkar writes in Chapter VI:
 
...To  sum up this discussion of the Communal Award, it may be said that, as a solution of the Communal Question in its " lesser intent", there is no inequity in the Award on the ground that it gives weightage to the Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces. For, it gives weightage also to Hindu minorities in Muslim Provinces. Similarly, it may be said that there is no inequity in the Award, on the ground that it gives a statutory majority to the Muslims in Muslim Provinces in which they are a majority. If there is any, the statutory limitation put upon the Muslim number of seats, also gives to the Hindus in Hindu Provinces a statutory majority. But the same cannot be said of the Award in the matter of the electorates. The Communal Award is iniquitous inasmuch as it accords unequal treatment to the Hindu and Muslim minorities in the matter of electorates. It grants the Muslim minorities in the Hindu Provinces the right of self-determination in the matter of electorates, but it does not grant the same right to the Hindu minorities in the Muslim Provinces. In the Hindu Provinces, the Muslim minority is allowed to choose the kind of electorates it wants and the Hindu majority is not permitted to have any say in the matter. But in the Muslim Provinces, it is the  Muslim majority which is allowed to choose the kind of electorates it prefers and the Hindu minority is not permitted to have any say in the matter. Thus, the Muslims in the Muslim Provinces having been given both statutory majority and separate electorates, the Communal Award must be said to impose upon the Hindu minorities Muslim rule, which they can neither alter nor influence.

This is what constitutes the fundamental wrong in the Communal Award. That this is a grave wrong must be admitted. For, it offends against certain political principles, which have now become axiomatic. First is, not to trust any one with unlimited political power. As has been well said,


 "If in any state there  is a body of men who possess unlimited political power, those over whom they rule can never be free. For, the one assured result of historical investigation is the lesson that uncontrolled power is invariably poisonous to those who possess it. They are always tempted to impose their canon of good upon others, and in the end, they assume that the good of the community depends upon the continuance of their power. Liberty always demands a limitation of political authority..."

The second principle is that, as a King has no Divine Right to rule, so also a majority has no Divine Right to rule. Majority Rule is tolerated only because it is for a limited period and subject to the right to have it changed, and secondly because it is a rule of a political majority, i.e., majority which has submitted itself to the suffrage of a minority and not a communal majority. If such is the limited scope of authority permissible to a political majority over a political minority, how can a minority of one community be placed under the perpetual subjection of a majority of another community?  To allow a majority of one community to rule a minority of another community without requiring the majority to submit itself to the suffrage of the minority, especially when the minority demands it, is to enact a perversion of democratic principles and to show a callous disregard for the safety and security of the Hindu minorities.


Ambedkar writes in
Chapter XI:

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 [Nehru's reply to Jinnah in Extra (4B)] 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 Shahidganj 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.

   Their claim for the recognition of Urdu as the national language of India is equally extravagant. Urdu is not only not spoken all, over India but is not even the language of all the Musalmans of India. Of the 68 millions of Muslims only 28 millions speak Urdu. The proposal of making Urdu the national language means that the language of 28 millions of Muslims is to be imposed particularly upon 40 millions of Musalmans or generally upon 322 millions of Indians.

    It will thus be seen that every time a proposal for the reform of the constitution comes forth, the Muslims are there, ready with some new political demand or demands. The only check upon such indefinite expansion of Muslim demands is the power of the British Government, which must be the final arbiter in any dispute between the Hindus and the Muslims. Who can confidently say that the decision of the British will not be in favour of the Muslims if the dispute relating to these new demands was referred to them for arbitration ? The more the Muslims demand the more accommodating the British seem to become. At any rate, past experience shows that the British have been inclined to give the Muslims more than what the Muslims had themselves asked. Two such instances can be cited.

One of these relates to the Lucknow Pact. The question was whether the British Government should accept the Pact. The authors of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report were disinclined to accept it for reasons which were very weighty. Speaking of the weightages granted to the Muslims by the Lucknow Pact, the authors' of the Joint Report observed:—


" Now a privileged position of this kind is open to the objection, that if any other community here after makes good a claim to separate representation, it can be satisfied only by deducting the non-Muslim seats, or by a rateable deduction from both Muslim and non-Muslim ; and Hindu and Muslim opinion are not likely to agree which process should be adopted. While, therefore, for reasons that we explain subsequently we assent to the maintenance of separate representation for Muhammadans, we are bound to reserve our approval of the particular proposals set before us, until we have ascertained what the effect upon other interests will be, .. and have made fair provision for them."

Notwithstanding this grave flaw in the Lucknow Pact, the Government of India, in its despatch referred to above, recommended that the terms of the Pact should be improved in so far as it related to the Muslims of Bengal. Its reasons make a strange reading. It argued that :—


" The Muhammadan representation which they the authors of the Pact  propose for Bengal is manifestly insufficient. It is questionable whether the claims of the Muhammadan population of Eastern Bengal were adequately pressed when the Congress-League compact was in the making. They are conspicuously a backward and impoverished community. The repartition of the presidency in 1912 came as a severe disappointment to them, and we should be very loath to fail in seeing that their interests are now generously secured. In order to give the Bengal Muslims a representation proportionate to their numbers, and no more, we should allot them 44 instead of 34 seats [due to them under the Pact]."

This enthusiasm for the Bengal Muslims shown by the Government of India was not shared by the British Government. It felt that as the number of seats given to the Bengal Muslims was the result of an agreement, any interference to improve the bargain when there was no dispute about the genuineness of the agreement, could not but create the impression that the British Government was in some special sense and for some special reason the friend of the Muslims. In suggesting this augmentation in the seats, the Government of India forgot to take note of the reason why the Muslims of the Punjab and Bengal were not given by the Pact seats in proportion to their population.

The Lucknow Pact was based upon the principle, now thrown to the winds, that a community as such was not entitled to political protection. A community was entitled to protection when it was in a minority. That was the principle underlying the Lucknow Pact. The Muslim community in the Punjab and Bengal was not in a minority and, therefore, was not entitled to the same protection which it got in other Provinces where it was in a minority. Notwithstanding their being in a majority, the Muslims of the Punjab and Bengal felt the necessity of separate electorates. According to the principle underlying the Pact they could qualify themselves for this only by becoming a minority which they did by agreeing to a minority of seats. This is the reason why the Muslims of Bengal and the Punjab did not get the majority of seats they were entitled to on the population basis.


The proposal of the Government of India to give to the Bengal Muslims more than what they had asked for did not go through. But the fact that they wanted to do so remains as evidence of their inclinations.

The second occasion when the British Government as an arbiter gave the Muslims more than they asked for was when the Communal Decision was given in 1932. Sir Muhammad Shafi made two different proposals in the Minorities Sub-Committee of the R. T. C. In his speech on 6th January 1931, Sir Muhammad Shafi put forth the following proposal as a basis for communal settlement :

" We are prepared to accept joint electorates on the conditions named by me : Firstly, that the rights at present enjoyed by the Musalmans in the minority Provinces should be continued to them; that in the Punjab and in Bengal they should have two joint electorates and representation on a population basis; that there should be the principle of reservation of seats coupled with Maulana Mahomed Ali's condition."

In his speech on 14th January 1931 before the same Committee he made a different offer. He said :—

" To-day I am authorized to make this  offer : that in the Punjab the Musalmans should have through communal electorates 49 per cent. of the entire number of seats in the whole House, and should have liberty to contest the special constituencies which it is proposed to create in that Province : so far as Bengal is concerned that Musalmans should have through communal electorates 46 percent, representation in the whole House, and should have the liberty to contest the special constituencies which it is proposed to create in that Province; in so far as the minority Provinces are concerned, the Musalmans should continue to enjoy the weightage which they have at present through separate electorates, similar weightage to be given to our Hindu brethren in Sind and to our Hindu and Sikh brethren in the North-West Frontier Province. If at any time hereafter  of the representatives of any community in any Provincial Legislative Council or in the Central Legislative Council desire to give up communal electorates and to accept joint electorates then there after the system of joint electorates should come into being."


The difference between the two proposals is clear. "Joint electorates, if accompanied by statutory majority. If statutory majority was refused, then a minority of seats with separate electorates." The British Government took statutory majority from the first demand and separate electorates from the second demand and gave the Muslims both when they had not asked for both.
(end quote)
Comment
The Communal Award 1932 was used as basis for assigning seats in the Government of India Act 1935.

Table 6. Allocation of Seats under the Government of India Act, 1935, for the Lower House of the Federal Legislature for British India, by Province and by Community

Province
Total Seats
General Seats
Sikh Seats
Maho-
mmedan
Anglo Indian
European
Indian Christian 
 Rep.s of commerce/  Industry
Land-
holders
Rep.s of labour
Women's Seats
Total
 Scheduled Castes reserved
Madras
37
19
4
--
8
1
1
2
2
1
1
2
Bombay
30
13
2
-- 6
1
1
1
3
1
2
2
Bengal
37
10
3
-- 17
1
1
1
3
1
2
1
United Prov.
37
19
3
-- 12
1
1
1
--
1
1
1
The Punjab
30
6
1
6
14
--
1
1
--
1
--
1
Bihar
30
16
2
-- 9
--
1
1
--
1
1
1
Central Provinces/Berar
15
--
2
-- 3
--
--
--
--
1
1
1
Assam
10
4
1
-- 3
--
1
1
--
--
1
--
North-West Frontier Prov.
5
1
--
-- 4
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Orissa
5
4
1
-- 1
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Sind
5
1
--
-- 3
--
1
--
--
--
--
--
British Baluch.
1
--
--
-- 1
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Delhi
2
1
--
-- 1
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Ajmer-Merwara
1
1
--
-- --
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Coorg
1
1
--
-- --
--
--
--
--
--
--
--
Non-provincial
4
--
--
-- --
--
--
--
3
--
1
--
Total
250
105
19
6
82
4
8
8
11
7
10
9


 Table 7. General and Muslim Distribution of Seats by Number and Percentages in the Federal Legislature under Government of India Act 1935

Name of Chamber
Distribution in Numbers
Distribution by Percentage
Total seats
Non-Muslim
(Hindu) seats
Muslim seats
Percentage of Muslim
seats to Hindu seats
Percentage of Muslim
seats to total seats
Council of State
150
75
49
66
33
Federal Assembly
250
105
82
80
33

Comment:
When in 1939, M.A. Jinnah demanded 50% representation for 25% Muslims on the basis of the two-nation theory, as can be seen in Table 7,  in the Federal Assembly  operating under the Government of India Act 1935, the number of  Muslim seats already constituted 80% of the number of  Hindu seats.

Home

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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