SS9 : Jaswant Singh Gandhi Jinnah Talks 1944

1944 Gandhi Jinnah Talks 1944

Quotes included:
  •  Gandhi Jinnah Talks
Jaswant Singh quoted from   Jinnah India - Partition - Independence, Rupa and Co, 2009.

Comment
Former Foreign Minister of India, Jaswant Singh has written a 669-page book on Jinnah and the partition of India. To be frank, I do not understand a lot of his polemic in the book, especially since I find it is not supported by the primary material which he himself provides as excerpts.   It appears that Jaswant Singh  faults the Congress for not accepting the Cabinet Mission Plan 1946.  It is not clear from Mr. Singh's book whether he understands what the Cabinet Mission Plan implied for the boundaries and defence of India vis a vis Pakistan.

It is amazing to think that a  foreign minister of India believes (and perhaps believed even during his term in office) that (for instance) 'Hindustan'-'Pakistan' boundaries should have passed through Delhi, that the whole of the current Northeast should have been part of Pakistan  and that the large 'Pakistan' thus created by the Cabinet Mission Plan should  not only have had its own separate sovereign constitution, but also an unchangeable veto on  'Hindustan's' army, defence, and foreign affairs. It is also surprising that no one has so far asked him to explain himself to the public on this issue.

But in any case, some of the primary material he provides in his book is interesting. The material on the Gandhi-Jinnah talks of 1944 is quoted  below in lieu of direct quotes from the sources he in turn quotes from.  These quotes supplement the primary source material in
Extra(2) - Gandhi-Jinnah talks in 1944 on defining Pakistan.

It is very difficult to argue,  given any contemporaneous description of the 1944 Gandhi-Jinnah talks, that Jinnah did not want a sovereign independent Pakistan.   The conclusion one is forced to reach from Jinnah's intransigence visible in these excerpts as well,  is that Pakistan was not a bargaining counter which Jinnah wanted to use for further negotiation of the Muslim position within a united India. The bargaining counter which Jinnah wanted was in fact Gandhi's(or the Congress's) willingness to discuss the terms of partition and Pakistan, in order
to further his(Jinnah's) cause of an independent sovereign Pakistan.
(end comment)

Gandhi-Jinnah Talks (Part II)

As things stood in 1944, inside the British system the problem posed by the communal triangle of  the Raj, the Muslim League and the Congress seemingly defied solution. And yet, we need to  recognise that outside of the British Raj, the problem would have found answers, in one manner or another, to their contention. The political and historical background in which the Gandhi-Jinnah talks of 1944 were held, generated pressure on Jinnah, inside the League and also outside, to come to a settlement with the Congress so as to clear the way for India's independence. There were widespread expectations, in the country that something tangible would result from these talks. In an extraordinary departure from his standard practice, Jinnah called Gandhi 'Mahatma' and appealed for a period of political truce. 'It has been the universal desire that we should meet. Now that we are going to meet, help us. We are coming to grips. Bury the past'.

If there was a party in this triangle that wanted no settlement, it was the British; they were greatly troubled by all this for they continued to seriously apprehend any prospects of a Hindu-Muslim settlement. The viceroy made his position known on the eve of the meeting that 'there must be ... agreement in principle between Hindus and Muslims and all important elements' before HMG could think of even a transitional national Government with limited powers.

This was followed by a leading article in the London Times : 'No agreement between Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah, however satisfactory to their adherents, can materially advance political progress in India unless it takes into account wider interests ... the anxiety of the depressed classes.. the claims of the  Princes....' All these not to subtle propaganda points, insinuations or suggestions were not to assist the talks, rather to make clear that there was a third party to all this - the Raj  - and it is the Raj that held the trump card in their hand.

The announcement of the impending meeting also angered the members of the Hindu Mahasabha. Similarly, a batch of Khaksars, a paramilitary Muslim organisation, had swarmed into Bombay and was holding parades to create the proper atmosphere to stimulate a Congress-League settlement. The Communists were holding mass meetings which would compel the two leaders to unite in the defence of democracy as symbolised by Russian resistance to the Nazi aggression. Fearing that Gandhi was going to accept the League's demand for Pakistan, the Sikhs had come out with their demand for 'Sikhistan' - a self-determining state in the Punjab - formed on property basis, meaning obviously that areas where they had by their toil turned waste land to rich agricultural farms, and in which the bulk of their landed property was located, should be constituted into a separate Sikh state. The Bombay police by way of precaution promulgated an order that prohibited the use of 'a certain number of roads and public places except by those persons who are resident in the locality surrounding those roads and by persons who genuinely need to visit those persons'. To it Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah had added a characteristic announcement of his own: 'Press representatives, I hope, will understand that obviously the meeting is not open to the press and, therefore, I would request them not to take the trouble of coming to my house.... Photographers and film companies are at liberty to take photos and shots on the arrival of Mr. Gandhi'.

The talks with Jinnah began on 9 September 1944, and continued for eighteen days at Jinnah's residence at 10, Mount Pleasant Road, Bombay. Gandhi sent Jinnah special wheaten wafers that had been prepared for himself on Id, which fell during the talks. He also sent Jinnah his nature-cure doctor during the talks to given him curative massages.

As Pyarelal has recorded in The Final Phase : 'They met, they shook hands, they embraced each other. There seemed to be a genuine human touch in their first meeting. Jinnah came out into his porch to receive the Mahatma and to escort him back at the time of leaving and even posed with him to be photographed. Observers fancied they noticed in Jinnah's parting warm handshake more than mere histrionic gesture. But that was all.

At the very outset Jinnah questioned the representative capacity of the Mahatma but ultimately relented and agreed to continue the talks'. As the talks progressed truth began to emerge that there was going to  be 'no give but only take'. The Quaid-i-Azam had come not to be convinced or even to discuss: 'the objection had been waived only to give the seeker a change to receive the light and join the band of their faithful'. 'Have you brought anything from Jinnah?' Gandhiji was asked on his return. 'Only flowers,' was the Mahatma's laconic reply.

Later he gave Rajaji the full story of their three-and-a-quarter hours' talk. It was 'most disappointing': It was a test of my patience... I am amazed at my own patience'. However, it was a friendly talk. As per Pyarelal Gandhi continued : 'His (Jinnah's) contempt for your formula (Rajaji formula) and his contempt for you is staggering. You rose in my estimation that you could have talked to him for all those hours and that you should have taken the trouble to draw up that formula. He says you have accepted his demand and so should I. I said "I endorse Rajaji's formula and you can call it Pakistan if you like. He talked of the Lahore resolution. I said, I have not studied it and I do not want to talk about it. Let us talk about Rajaji's formula and you can point out any flaws that you find there".

'In the middle of the talk he came back to the old ghost: "I thought you had come here as a Hindu, as a representative of the Hindu Congress". I said, "No, I have come here neither as a Hindu nor as a representative of the Congress. I have come here as an individual. You can talk to me as an individual or as the president of the League, whichever way you prefer. If you had agreed with Rajaji and accepted his formula, you and he would have gone before your respective organisations and pleaded with them to accept it. That is why Rajaji came to you. You would then have placed it before other parties, too, in the same way. Now you and I have to do it".

He said he was the president of the League. Where was the basis for a talk if I was there representing nobody except myself? Who was to deliver the goods? I was the same man as he had found me in 1939. There was no change in me. I almost felt like saying 'Yes, I am the same man and since you think it is no use talking to me, I will go away.'. But I resisted the temptation. I told him, "Is not it worth your while to convert an individual? I am the same man no doubt. You can change my views if you can and I will support you wholeheartedly". "Yes, I know, if I can convert you, you will be my Ali", he said.'. 'It was a most revealing remark,' Gandhi observed afterwards. 'I was meeting the prophet of Pakistan looking for his Ali!'.

To continue with Gandhi's narrative as recorded by Pyarelal:

'He said I should concede Pakistan and he would go the whole length with me. He would go to jail, he would even face bullets. I said, "I will stand by your side to face them". "You may not", he said, "Try me", I replied.'

'We came back to the formula. He wants Pakistan now, not after independence. "We will have independence for Pakistan and Hindustan", he said, "We should come to an agreement and then go the Government and ask them to accept it, force them to accept our solution". I said I could never be a party to that. I could never ask the Britishers to impose partition on India. ""If you all want to separate, I can't stop you. I have not got the power to compel you and I would not use it if I had". He said, "The Muslims want Pakistan. The League represents the Muslims and it wants separation". I said "I agree the League is the most powerful Muslim organisation. I might even concede that you as - its president represents the Muslims of India, but that does not mean that all Muslims want Pakistan. Put it on the vote of all the inhabitants of the area and see".

He said "Why should you ask non-Muslims?" I said, "You cannot possibly deprive a section of the population of its vote. You must carry them with you, and if you are in a majority why should you be afraid?" I told him of what Kiron Shankar Roy had said to me: "If the worst comes to the worst, we in Bengal will all go in Pakistan, but for goodness' sake do not partition Bengal. Do not vivisect it".

"If you are in a majority", I said, "you will have your choice. I know it is a bad thing for you, but you want it all the same, you will have it. But that will be an adjustment between you and me. It cannot occur while the Britishers are here". 'He began to cross-examine me on the various clauses of the formula. I said to him, "If you want clarification of those things, is not it better to have it from the author of the formula?" "Oh, no". He did not want that. I said, "What is the use of your cross-examining me?" He checked himself. "Oh. no. I am not cross-examining you". and then added, "I have been a lawyer all my life and my manner may have suggested that I was cross-examining you". I asked him to reduce to writing his objections to the formula. He was disinclined. "Must I do so?" he asked. "Yes, I would like you to". He agreed.

'In the end he said, "I would like to come to an agreement with you". I answered, "You remember what I have said, that we should meet not to separate till we had come to an agreement." He said, yes, he agreed. I suggested, "Should we put that also in our statement?" He said "No, better not. Nevertheless that will be the understanding between us and the cordiality and friendliness of our talk will be reflected in our public utterances, too".

'Rajaji: Do you think he wants a settlement?
'Gandhi: I am not certain. He thought he probably did.
'Rajaji: Then you will get it through.
'Gandhi: Yes ... If the right word comes to me'

The next day they did not meet. Jinnah said it was 'the twenty-first day of Ramzan, a very important day for all Muslims'. A former colleague of Jinnah remarked: 'Why did he not say it was Sunday and he wanted a holiday. He understands Sunday better than Ramzan!'

The talks were resumed in the evening on 11th September. The Mahatma had his evening meal in the middle of their conversation at Jinnah's residence. A bottle of boiled water was included in his tiffin basket. Lest anyone should think that the Mahatma was using holy Ganges water or something like that when dining in a Muslim house, Gandhi gave instructions that the water bottle was not to be sent along thereafter any more.

The wooing on the part of Quaid-i-Azam continued on 12 September. In Gandhi's own words from Pyarelal:
'He drew a very alluring picture of the government of Pakistan. It would be a perfect democracy. I asked him if he had not told me that democracy did not suit Indian conditions. He did not remember it. He asked me to tell him what he had said. So I told him all that and said that I might have misunderstood him. In that case he should correct me. But when I repeated in detail what he had said, he could not say no. He said, yes, he had said that, but that was with regard to imposed democracy.

'Then he said, "Do you think it is a question of religious minority with us?" I said, "Yes". If not, he should tell me what it was. He harangued. I won't repeat all that here. I asked him what would happen to other minorities in Pakistan: Sikhs, Christians, Depressed Classes etc. He said they would be part of Pakistan. I asked him if he meant joint electorates. He knew I was coming to it. He said, yes, he would like them to be a part of the whole. He would explain the advantages of joint electorates but if they wanted separate electorates they would have it. Sikhs would have Gurumukhi if they wanted and the Pakistan government would give them financial aid. I asked, "What about Jats?" At first he poohpoohed the idea. Then he said, "If they want it, they will also have it. They will have separate existence if they want it". I said, "What about Christians? They also want some place where they are in a majority and where they can rule, as for instance in Travancore?" He said that was a problem for Hindus. I said supposing Travancore was in Pakistan? He said he would give it to them. He cited the instance of Newfoundland. The rest of the talk was nothing. I am to continue exploring his mind.

Rajaji: 'Find out what he wants.'
Gandhi: 'Yes, that is what I am doing. I am to prove from his own mouth that the whole of the Pakistan proposition is absurd. I think he does not want to break. On my part I am not going to be in a hurry. But he can't expect me to endorse an un-defined Pakistan.'
Rajaji: 'Do you think he will give up the claim?'
Gandhi: 'He has to, if there is to be a settlement. He wants a settlement, but what he wants he does not know. I want to show him that your formula is the only thing that he can reasonably ask for.'

From 9 to 13 September was the period of subdued optimism, so far as the outside world was concerned. Then hope began to wilt. From the 14th to the 19th - when Quaid-i-Azam in his Id day message dwelt on the advance of the Muslims 'as a nation' and instead of striking a note of friendship or goodwill indulged in a tirade against 'renegades of the Millat, who are blocking our progress' - covered the phase of growing pessimism. From then onward it was a steep decline, culiminating in the complete breakdown on 27 September.

The whole period was marked by an exchange of letters - the queerest correspondence that perhaps ever  covered a period of friendly negotiations. The correspondence and the talks never converged but ran a parallel course and were conducted, as it were, in different tongues. 'The talks are to  get around you and the correspondence is in anticipation of the failure,' was Rajaji's shrewd comment.

Gandhi had started from the position that his life's mission was Hindu-Muslim unity. Which is why he was prepared to accept, if the Muslims so desired, the substance of the Muslim League's demand as put forth in the Lahore resolution: 'self-determination for areas where the Muslims were in a majority'. However, it was obvious that 'self-determination  could not be exercised in the absence of freedom.' Therefore, the League and all other groups composing India should agree to combine, in the first instance, to achieve independence through a joint effort.

To Jinnah this was like putting the cart before the horse. Joint action, he maintained, for achieving independence could follow, not precede a settlement with the League. Gandhi, on the other hand stressed that unless they 'ousted the third party, they could not live at peace with one another'. However, he was ever ready to make an effort 'to find ways and means of establishing a living peace between us'. That was why he had given his approval to the Rajaji formula. It embodied the substance of the demand put forth in the Lahore resolution, and gave it shape.

 Jinnah objected. The Rajaji formula required the Muslim League to endorse the demand for independence on the basis of a united India. 'If we come to a settlement ... we reach by joint effort independence for India as it stands. India, becomes free, we will proceed to demarcation, plebiscite and partition, if the people concerned vote for partition.' Was that not the substance of self-determination? Gandhi had enquired.

Jinnah, legalistically then proceeded to show where the Rajaji formula fell short: 'Who, for instance, would appoint the Commission for demarcating areas and who would decide the form of the plebiscite and franchise contemplated by the formula? Who would give effect to the verdict of the plebiscite? To which Gandhi had responded by saying: the provisional interim government, unless they decided that very moment.'

Jinnah asked: 'What was the basis on which the provisional national government was to be formed?' Gandhi replied that would have to be agreed to between the League and the Congress. Naturally, if they could agree on some basis, it would be for them to consult other parties.  That did not satisfy Jinnah. He wanted a definite outline if Gandhi had any. Since it was a the(sic) Gandhi formula, he said, he must have thought it out. Gandhi explained that he had not come with any, but if Jinnah had one in connection with the Lahore resolution, 'which also I presume requires an Interim Government' they could discuss it. That led them to the Lahore resolution.

Why did not Gandhi accept the Lahore resolution since he (Gandhi) had said that the Rajaji formula conceded in substance the demand embodied in the Lahore Resolution?To which Gandhi put forth his difficulty: 'The Lahore resolution was vague and indefinite. The "Pakistan" word was not even in it, nor did it contain any reference to the Two-Nation theory. If the basis of the League's Pakistan demand was religious, then was Pan-Islam its ultimate goal since all the Muslims of the world constituted one community? If, on the other hand, Pakistan was to be confined to Indian Muslims alone, would Jinnah explain what it was that distinguished an Indian Muslim from every other Indian, if not his religion? Was he different from a Turk or an Arab?

Jinnah replied that pan-Islam was a mere bogey. The word 'Pakistan', he admitted, did not occur in the Lahore resolution, nor was it used by him or the League in the original sense. 'The word has now become synonymous with the Lahore resolution.... We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. 'Muslims were a separate nation by virtue of their 'distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and tradition', and therefore, they were entitled to a separate, sovereign existence in a homeland of their own.

'Mere assertion is no proof,' Gandhi had protested.Gandhi had then pleaded with Jinnah to consider how the independent states envisaged by him would be benefited by being split and whether independent states would not become a menace to themselves and to the rest of India? Jinnah's inflexible reply was that this was the only solution to the Indian problem and the 'price India must pay for its independence'.

Pakistan had hitherto appeared before them heavily veiled. Now for the first time its lineaments were exposed to view. 'The more our argument progresses, the more alarming your picture appears to me', wrote Gandhi to Jinnah on 15 September, at the end of the first week of their talks. 'As  I ... imagine the working of the (Lahore) resolution in practice, I see nothing but ruin for the whole of India'.

The discussion thereafter, entered an acrimonious phase. Jinnah took exception even to Gandhi saying that though he represented nobody, he aspired 'to represent all the inhabitants of India', because he realise in his own person, 'their misery and degradation which is their common lot irrespective of class, caste or creed.' This was too much for the future Quaid-i-Azam, Although he accepted that Gandhi was 'a great man', who was exercising enormous influence over the Hindus, 'particularly the masses', he could not accept his statement that he aspired to represent all inhabitants.

'It is quite clear that you represent nobody but the Hindus, and as long as you do not realise your true position ... it is very difficult for me to argue with you.' Jinnah had said.

'Why can you not accept that I aspire to represent all the sections that comprise the people of India?' pleaded Gandhi. 'Do you not aspire? Should not every Indian? That the aspiration may never be realised is beside the point.'

Jinnah insisted that Gandhi should accept the 'basis and fundamental principles' adumbrated in the Lahore resolution. Gandhi pleaded with him that was that not unnecessary since he had accepted 'the concrete consequence' that would follow from such acceptance in as far as it was reasonable and practicable? 'I cannot accept the Lahore resolution as you want me to, especially when you seek to introduce into its interpretation theories and claims which I cannot accept and which I cannot every hope to induce India to accept.'

'Can we not agree,' Gandhi finally pleaded, 'to differ on the question of 'two-nations' and yet solve the problem on the basis of self-determination?' The basis of this offer of Gandhi was that India was not to be regarded as the home of two or more nations, but as one family, consisting of many members, of whom one, the Muslims, living in certain parts in absolute majority, desire to live in separation from the rest of India. 'If the regions holding Muslim majorities have to be separated according to the Lahore resolution, this grave step of separation should specifically be placed before and approved by the people in that area'.

Differing from the general basis proposed by the Muslim League of the Two-Nation theory, Gandhi had said, he could yet recommend to the Congress and the country acceptance of the claim for separation of those parts. If the majority of all the adult population of those parts voted in favour of separation, then those areas would be formed into a separate state as soon as India was free.

This he called 'division as between two brothers'. Children of the same family, dissatisfied with one another by reason of change of religon, if they wished, could separate, but then the separation would be within themselves and not separation in the face of the whole world, 'When two brothers separate, they do not become enemies... in the eyes of the world. The world would still recognise them as brothers.'

Whilst, therefore, the two parts might agree to live separately, Gandhi proposed that the treaty of separation should also provide for the efficient and satisfactory administration of matters of common concern like defence, foreign affairs, internal communications, customs, commerce and others plus terms for fully safeguarding the rights of minorities in the two states. Immediately on acceptance of this agreement by the Congress and the League the two would decide on the common course of action for the attainment of independence. The League would, however, be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress might resort and in which the League might not be willing to participate.

However, Jinnah did not want separation on the basis of a plebiscite in which all the inhabitants affected by it could participate;  he wanted the issue to be decided on the basis of 'self-determination' confined to the Muslims alone. 'We claim the right of self-determination as a nation...You are labouring under the wrong idea that "self-determination" means only that of a "a territorial unit" ... Ours is a case of division and carving out two independent, sovereign States by way of settlement between two major nations, Hindus and Muslims, and not of severance or secession from any existing union, which is non est in India.'

'I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock', wrote Gandhi to Jinnah on 15 September. 'If India was one nation before the advent of Islam, it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children . . . You seem to have introduced a new test of nationhood. If I accept it, I would have to subscribe to many more claims and face an insoluble problem.'

In reply to Gandhi's question as to what provision for defence and similar matters of common concern he contemplated under the Lahore resolution, he replied: 'There cannot be defence and similar matters of "common concern" when it is accepted that Pakistan and Hindustan will be two separate, independent sovereign states, except by treaty between the two.

While Gandhi was prepared to let the Muslim majority areas separate if they wanted to provide a treaty for the satisfactory administration of defence and other matters of 'common concern' to both the parts. Jinnah wanted separation to come first and a treaty for the safeguarding of 'common interest' to India afterwards, on such terms as the two parts might agree to, that is if they could so agree. This, as the then Congress president, Maulana Azad put it, was like 'divorce before marriage'!

What would happen if one or the other broke the treaty, if there was nothing left as of 'joint' concern? The reply was that the 'consequences would be what has happened throughout the world all along up till now, i.e., war.' In other words, Jinnah wanted recognition of the freedom of the Pakistan areas to enter into a combination hostile to India or even to make war upon her. Such a freedom, Gandhi pointed out, could not be had by agreement. He had agreed to separation on the basis of members of a family desiring severance of the family ties in matters of conflict, wrote Gandhi to Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru afterwards, explaining his talks with Jinnah, 'but not in all matters so as to become enemies of the other, as if there was nothing common between the two except enmity'.

'We seem to be moving in a circle', he wrote to Jinnah on 22 September, and the next day, 23 September, marked a crucial point in the talks. In a note to Jinnah that day, Gandhi wrote" 'Last evening's talk has left a bad taste in the mouth.' And again on 26 September: 'You keep on saying that I should accept certain theses which you call the basis and fundamental principles of the Lahore resolution, while I have been contending that the best way for us who differ in our approach to the problem is to give body to the demand as it stands in the resolution and work it out to our mutual satisfaction'.

However, Jinnah refused even to discuss Gandhi's proposal. 'You repeat that if you and I can agree upon a common course of action, you may use what influence you possess for its acceptance by the Congress and the country. I have already stated from the very beginning that that is not enough.'

He had agreed to receive the Mahatma because, as the Mahatma has said, he had come as a seeker of light and knowledge and, 'if I can convert you, exercising as you do tremendous influence over Hindu India, it will be of no small assistance to me'. But he was not prepared to discuss counter proposals for an agreement with one who was not an accredited representative armed with full authority.' (While).. we confined ourselves to the Lahore resolution ... the question of your representative capacity did not arise.. Now you have .. made a new proposal of your own on your own basis.. and it is difficult to deal with it any further unless it comes from you in your representative capacity'.

'Your constant references to my not being clothed with representative authority are really irrelevant', replied Gandhi. 'If you break, it cannot be because I have no representative capacity or because I have been unwilling to give you satisfaction in regard to the claim embodied in the Lahore resolution'.

When the matter had reached breaking point, Gandhi finally suggested that he should be allowed to meet the Muslim League Council to make them see the reasonableness of his proposals. 'Do not take, I pray, the responsibility of rejecting the offer. Throw it on your Council. Give me an opportunity of addressing them. If they feel like rejecting it I would like you to advise the Council to put it before the open session of the League. If you will accept my advice and permit me I would attend the open session and address it'.

As an alternative, he suggested that the issue might be put to arbitration. 'Is it irrelevant or inadmissible to supplement our efforts to convince each other with outside help, guidance, advice or even arbitration?' he asked. If they were bent on reaching an agreement, all these approaches were there to make use of.

However, none of these suggestions was acceptable to Jinnah. 'It is a most extraordinary and unprecedented suggestion to make. Only a member or delegate is entitled to participate in the deliberations of the meeting of the Council or in the open session'.

The following from Pyarelal's diary under the date 24 September 1944, gives an account of the final breakdown of the talks:

'On his return at 7.10 p.m. Bapu spoke to Rajaji and then again after prayers. Jinnah had refused even to discuss Bapu's proposal, as he(Bapu) was not vested with authority; he represented nobody. "If you want defence and so many things in common, that means that you visualize a centre?" "No, but I must say, in practice there will have to be a body selected by both parties to regulate these things."

"Then he came to the August (1942) resolution. He said, it was inimical to Muslims. 'But don't you see that it is absolutely a baseless charge? With all the legal acumen that is attributed to you, why cannot you see that it deals with only India and the British rule? It has nothing to do with the Muslims. You can refer the matter to a lawyer of eminence impersonally and take his opinion whether there is anything in it which could be considered inimical to the Muslim League or the Muslims.'He said he did not need to do so. "Why should I want another's opinion when I know it for myself?"

"I broached the subject that I had fixed up to be at Sevagram on the 2nd October. I would like to leave on the 30th and would be back in 4 or 5 days." He said, "Why must we take so long? We had better close up now. I will have everything ready(the reference was to their correspondence) on Tuesday. You will examine the copies and I will do so." He had the introduction also ready and read it out. "I said, I had nothing to say against it, but if I had a copy I could examine it. He said I could do so on Tuesday. I said, all right. He would not have a third party, nor would he produce his own scheme. He condemned the August resolution. He suggested in so many words that amends should be made, i.e., it should be retracted"'.

'Reporting the failure of the talks at a largely attended evening prayer meeting, on 27 September, Gandhi said that although the result he was hoping for had not materialized, he had no sense of disappointment or despondency. He was convinced that even out of that breakdown good would result. He had tried his best, he went on to explain, to go as far as he could to meet Jinnah's viewpoint for the common good of all. He had knocked on the Quaid-i-Azam's door, but he had failed.

'I believe Mr. Jinnah is sincere, but I think he is suffering from hallucination when he imagines that an unnatural division of India could bring either happiness or prosperity to the people concerned', Gandhi remarked in an interview to Mr. Gelder of the News Chronicle.

'Their talks had only been adjourned sine die. Gandhi explained to another group of pressmen. 'I am convinced that Mr. Jinnah is a good man. I hope we shall meet again. ... In the meantime it is the duty of the public to digest the situation and bring the pressure of their opinion upon us.'

Gandhi had sought a reconciliation, a last attempt to gather some grains from the dust of a destructive partition, but it was not to be.  The risk of bad faith had to be taken; it was inseparable from a completely independent existence. And in any event, the great edifice of independence could not be raised on a foundation of fear.

The Rajaji formula conceded the essence of the League's demand, in so far as it was reasonable, said Gandhi. He did not mind if it was given the name 'Pakistan'. But since Jinnah had characterized it as 'a parody or negation' and an attempt to torpedo the Muslim League's Lahore resolution of March 1940, he felt it necessary to understand the basis of Jinnah's objection. If the League's demand, which it called Pakistan, was not full sovereignty minus only the agreement to wage war, or avoidance of measures detrimental to both parts regards as a whole, then what was Pakistan? If the object was to create a unity where would be the fullest scope for the development of Muslim religion and culture and for the expression of the talents and personality of the leaders of the Muslim community, without being overshadowed by the more outstanding talent which they feared in an undivided India, his formula, Gandhi felt should give full satisfaction. If on the other hand, the plan was to use 'Pakistan' as a fulcrum for employing  Sudetenland tactics against India, it would not lend itself to that use.

Gandhi continued to have the highest regard for Jinnah's singlemindedness, his great ability and integrity which nothing could buy. Surely, Jinnah - the patriot - would not insist on freedom to engage in fraticidal war or to do things that would weaken the two parties taken as a whole economically or in regard to defence. That was why Gandhi had knocked on his door, presented his cards to him for examination and entreated him to produce his without any mental reservation.

However, he had to contend against loaded dice. 'The correspondence makes clear', wrote Dr M.R. Jayakar, the eminent jurist and liberal leader from Maharashtra, to Gandhi, 'that any day, Mr. Jinnah would prefer a settlement with the British rather than his own countrymen.... He will use this formula as a bargaining counter with the British Government and also as the starting point in future negotiations with Indian leaders'.


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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

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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