North West Frontier Province 1946-47

CMP(A2)  North West Frontier Province, October - November 1946 and February-March 1947
Documents included
  • Sir O. Caroe to Viceroy Wavell, 23 October 1946 (full text)
  • Khan Abdul Wali Khan in his book Facts are Sacred (excerpt)
  • Pandit Nehru to Sir O.Caroe, 24 October 1946 (excerpts)
  • Sir O. Caroe to Pandit Nehru, 7 November 1946 (full text)
  • Wavell, The Viceroy's Journal, 19 November, 1946 (excerpt)
  • Sir O. Caroe to Viceroy Wavell , 22 February 1947 (full text)
  • Letter from Sant Singh Talwar, Editor, Frontier Gazette, to M.A. Jinnah, dated 24 February 1947 (full text)
  • Pandit Nehru to Viceroy Wavell, 13 March 1947 (excerpts)
  • Sir O. Caroe to Viceroy Wavell, 13 March 1947 (full text)
Unless otherwise specified, from The Transfer of Power 1942-7,  Volume VIII The Interim Government and Volume IX The fixing of a time limit, Eds. Nicholas Mansergh and Penderel Moon.
Letter from Sant Singh Talwar from,  Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers, Prelude to Pakistan 20 February - 2 June 1947,
Editor in Chief Z. H. Zaidi,  First Series Volume I Part II
 
Comment
In late 1946 and early 1947, there was a steady deterioration of inter-communal relations and  imminent threats of political chaos in many provinces of India.   One among them was North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.),  where  ongoing national-level tensions between Muslim League and Congress Party not only spilled into the province's semi-autonomous tribal areas but also put  Premier Dr. Khan Sahib's provincial Congress  government,  which enjoyed a 60% majority in the provincial assembly,  under threat.

The situation in N.W.F.P in 1946-47 should also be viewed in the context of  long-standing cultivation over many years by the British Indian administration, of mullahs and loyalists in the tribal territories,   explicitly to counter Congress and Khudai Khidmatgar influence; and in the context of the wholesale persecution of Khidmatgars themselves in the 'settled areas' by a succession of British governors[*for example, see note below 1]. 

However, at the time, many including  then governor Sir Olaf Caroe and Congress leaders Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad faulted Jawaharlal Nehru's visit in October 1946, of N.W.F.P. and tribal territories including Waziristan,  as being the beginning of the end of Congress's influence over the province.  Other Congress leaders including the provincial Premier's brother, Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan faulted the British-led administration for deliberately promoting public disaffection with the Congress. 

The ongoing riots in other parts of India in that period also affected the province. [*note below 2]In December 1946, trans-border tribesmen attacked two villages inhabited by Sikhs in Hazara district[*note below 3]. Some months later, beginning in February 1947, a Muslim League agitation, including an "Islam in danger" campaign by the League demanding the "return" of a Sikh woman forcibly converted to Islam,  precipitated violence and put the Khan ministry under threat[*note below 4].
 
In these excerpts, Dr. Khan Sahib stands out as a brave example of offering determined resistance to highly-charged communal forces. Also, in hindsight,  while Jawaharlal Nehru's and Congress's politics was unsuccessful in prevailing over their adversaries in the province,  Nehru's instincts about the tribal territories seem to me to have been proved right over the long term. 

It is ironic that in 1946 Governor Olaf Caroe advised Nehru to keep silent about what Caroe claimed was the religious 'Islamic' connotation of stone-throwing at Nehru and others in which they were injured.  Sixty years later, deniability is solicited and responsibility denied for  immensely more violent and deadly activities in the tribal areas than stone-throwing at a 'Hindu' leader.

Side note: Governor Olaf Caroe later went on to write a book  The Pathans, 550 B.C-A.D. 1957  and another book Wells of Power which reportedly influenced U.S. policy towards Pakistan starting in the early 50s.

*N.B.1 : [...Parshotam Mehra, The North-West Frontier Drama, 1945–1947. Combing through long unexamined records, the author found that in 1932, the NWFP, with a population of just 3 million, accounted for 5,557 convictions for civil disobedience compared with 1,620 in the Punjab, which had five times as many inhabitants.] From  http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/articles/wpj03-1/meyer.html

*N.B.2 : Parshotam Mehra writes in The North-West Frontier  Drama, 1945–1947:
Of all places, the riots in Bombay and Bihar, where there were small but affluent pockets of Pakhtuns, had a particularly noticeable effect-for the worse-in the Frontier, with the Muslim League and its agents provocateurs exploiting the situation by using blood stained clothing, torn pages of the Koran and skulls of alleged Muslim victims of Hindus atrocities. Some of these were paraded in public to corroborate these wild, gruesome accounts.

*N.B.3 :   ibid:
On the night of 7-8 December 1946, trans-border tribesmen attacked the village of Battal in Hazara district and burnt down the bazaar. A couple of days later, they torched the village of Oghi. A number of Sikh rural folk had settled in the hills below the ghalis in this area as small-time cultivators since the times of the Sikh ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh... Caroe estimated, there were 20 odd murders and some forcible conversions, with a number of evacuee houses burnt down... The Hazara raids appeared well organised, apparently 'instigated' by mullahs across the border working on fanatical tribes to avenge the anti-Muslim riots in Bihar. Thus began an exodus of over 10,000 Hindus and Sikhs to Kashmir and the Panjab. The Khan Sahib ministry's knee-jerk reaction was to ban public speeches, processions and rallies in Abbotabad and other towns of the Hazara district. ... collective security fines were imposed for the protection of evacuee property. Additionally, those responsible for the raids were asked to pay an indemnity which they eventually did. ...the League announced the formation of a 'War Committee' under the leadership of the Pir of Manki. Inter alia, the Committee blamed the Hindu and Sikh blackmarketeers  for the Hazara disturbances and urged the offenders-whom it projected as the Mujahideen-to refuse to pay fines, and instead rise in opposition to the authorities and wage  a holy war..

*N.B.4 :  ibid:
A case that was to gain considerable notoriety was the forcible conversion to Islam of a pregnant Sikh girl who was also coerced into marrying one of the gang members reponsible for the murder of her husband. As a result, the Sikh evacuees threatened not to return to their homes, a move that was bound to slow down any reversion to normal conditions.... To silence the critics, she was produced before the district magistrate where she swore she wanted to rejoin her faith. To squash wild rumors that this was false and that she was being coerced, the premier had invited Abdul Qaiyum and other League leaders to hear her testimony. Even though persuaded of the truth, they refused to yield the political high ground they now occupied. Khan Sahib, they charged, was not behaving as a true Muslim. Having allowed his own daughter to marry a non-Muslim (her husband, Jaswant Singh, who was a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force, was actually an Indian Christian, not a Hindu, as the League charged) he was now privy to a Muslim girl reverting to her Sikh faith!
(end comment)

The following are from The Transfer of Power 1942-7,  Volume VIII The Interim Government.
 

498 page 786 (full text)
Sir O. Caroe (North-West Frontier Province) to Field Marshal Viscount Wavell
GOVERNOR's CAMP, PARACHINAR,
23 October 1946

Dear Lord Wavell,

The last week has been one of great anxiety and no less difficult that we anticipated. As Nehru's tour progressed, I had an odd sense of watching the unfolding of a new act in a Greek tragedy on the old theme of hubris followed by nemesis. I had never met Nehru before our meeting last week in Delhi, but had always heard of his attractions. But in the eyes of many one feels that his charm must be overlaid by his intellectual arrogance, and I could not help noticing how like he is to his friend Madame Chiang Kai Shek. In a sense during his visit here he showed courage, but it was courage better described as bravado, with something feminine in its composition.

2. Your Excellency will remember that, when I came to Delhi, on 9th October, the two chief points I made that a visit at this moment, when a Coalition was on the tapes, would be exceedingly ill-timed, but that if he was determined to carry it out he must make the approach on non-party lines, and on no account take round with him the Frontier leaders of one party. As expected, he was deaf to these arguments, in spite of the fact that after I had seen him there came Jinnah's decision to enter a Coalition.

3. For some time the League leaders up here had been showing increased activity, and there had been signs of their wishing to make their mark with the tribes. Up to the end of September they had been persuaded, by means direct and indirect, of the dangers of entering tribal territory to make a communal appeal on their own. They feared their lead would be followed by Congress with its money-bags and so kept out themselves. My principle during the last few months has been to tell the tribes that they would be unwise to allow either Congress or the League to make them the subject of a party approach, and that their policy lay in a refusal to deal until both parties came together in the Constituent Assembly.

The fact that Nehru's appointment as Foreign Member carried with it power over tribal affairs did not at once penetrate to the tribes, but it did not take long for the Muslim League to understand the implications; and there is no doubt that it was this realisation which decided them to send their emissaries, and particularly the Mullah of Manki, into tribal territory. I considered anxiously at the time whether it would be wise to restrain the Mullah, but this could not have been done without his arrest, and I was not willing to risk this open challenge. As soon as it became known that Nehru was definitely coming to the Frontier to deal through Abdul Ghaffar Khan- and it must be remembered that his decision to do so was taken without consultation with myself and overrode subsequent direct warnings which I went specially to Delhi to deliver-the League decided to intensify their propaganda among the tribes, and the Mullah of Manki went out on a tour, which included Gandab in Mohmand country, a place in the Malakand Protected Area, and Jamrud in the Khyber, the tour being timed just to precede Nehru's arrival.

There is no doubt that at those meetings a good deal of fanaticism was stirred up. The Political Agents concerned, under my directions, and the longer-headed among the tribesmen did their best to persuade the Mullah against entering tribal territory, but failed. I think that in the circumstances, and given the fact that Nehru's tour was obviously intended to push the Congress cause, it would have been wrong to put active restraint against the League's propagandists going into tribal territory, and an attempt to do so would certainly have led to disturbances. It is noteworthy that neither the Mullah of Manki nor any other important League propagandists went to Waziristan, which since 1930 and until now has remained outside contacts with the Indian political parties of both complexions. The Mullah's activities had been confined to the Northern tribes around the Peshawar District.

4. Before Nehru's arrival, apprehending that his reception, particularly if he were accompanied by Abdul Ghaffar Khan, would be likely to be hostile, I arranged with the Resident in Waziristan for Dr. Khan Sahib to pay a special visit to Miranshah to prepare the ground for Nehru. Khan Sahib is a man of courage and character, and I wanted to show him and the tribes that we were anxious to give him every chance to act the harbinger. Special air transport was laid on, but he showed no keenness and unfortunately never went. Had he gone, it might have made some difference, though not I think much, to Nehru's reception in Waziristan. I mention the incident to show how anxious I was to give Khan Sahib and people of his way of thinking a fair run in the field.

5. When Nehru arrived he was greeted by a large and hostile League demonstration on the airport at Peshawar. The situation was ugly, and he had to be slipped out by a back way. Immediately-so immediately that I am convinced that this was part of prearranged tactics-the Political Department was publicly accused by Abdul Ghaffar Khan-an accusation subsequently embroidered by Mehr Chand Khanna, my Hindu Minister-of having staged the demonstration. If anybody really believes this propaganda, or wants to believe it, they have omitted to notice that if I and my officers were so powerful as all this, we would be a great force to be reckoned with! I cannot imagine that even Congressmen in their hearts believe the charge. What they want is to pass on the blame for the hostile reception from themselves, and to find an excuse to sweep away the present methods of control on the Frontier. Nobody of any other persuasion does more than laugh at the assertion, and I gather that the British and foreign pressmen who have been here during the last week saw through these tactics from the beginning.

6. The next day Nehru started for Waziristan, where the tribal leaders he saw at Miranshah and Razmak gave him an extremely hostile reception. These were not Jirgas, but the real leaders of the tribes who are of course selected by the tribes on tradition and heredity. Abdul Ghaffar Khan made the usual approach so popular in Congress circles, saying that all had been slaves together and were now going to be free. You can imagine the effect of that sort of talk on a gathering of glowering Pathan tribesmen. The Maliks were further enraged by Nehru losing his temper. What they particularly disliked was talk of a regime of love, coupled with arrogant loss of temper. These people-and in this criticism I include people like Khan Sahib-are far to intense too deal with tribesmen. They do not understand that a steady quiet bearing, turning off to a smile or joke when tempers get frayed, is the proper way to deal.

Moreover, it has been a great shock to the tribes to see a Hindu coming down to talk to them from a position of real  authority, and they told him plainly that they regarded Hindus as humsayas(their tenants or serfs), and would have no dealings. Certain factions, for their own ends, have made an approach to Congress. One of them is a faction of Bahlolzai Mahsuds led by a well-known Malik named Hayat, who has been hostile for the last ten years because Government did not raise his allowance to the pitch which he thought he deserved; and there was a friendly gathering of Bhitannis, a tame little tribe many of whom are subjects and not real tribesmen, at Jandola, collected by the Naib Tehsildar dismissed for doubtful practices some years ago. Nehru called the tribesmen to their faces pitiful pensioners, and at the same time I have plenty of information that Congress funds are being used to win over the old hostiles. So we have the spectacle of the recognised allowance-holders of the tribe, who are of course still Government's allowance-holders, being abused by the Member of the Government in charge, while an attempt is being made to bribe hostile factions out of party funds. There has been a good deal of talk in Congress circles of stopping the tribal allowances, and I wonder whether the pattern may not be to stop the allowances from Government and to replace them with secret party funds to obtain the support on bribery of sections hitherto hostile. If so, the end will be confusion, and the tribes will rise.
 
7. Then came the return to the North of the Province. This caused me far more anxiety, as Nehru intended to make journeys by road and not by air. The situation in the Khyber was alarming. The Afridis as a whole, the strongest and wisest of all the tribes, had refused to see Nehru at all. There was a smaller section who were willing to meet him, but they were overawed by the body of the tribe, who have announced a fine on anybody who deals with either Congress or League. The Political Agent had to spend a dangerous day in separating large numbers of armed tribesmen at Jamrud, and anything might have happened. More by luck than anything else he was successful, and the party got through up the Pass.  After seeing the Khyber Rifles at Jamrud, Nehru went down with his party to the Afghan frontier, and it was on his way back when he got close to Landi Kotal that the stone-throwing started. This party seems to have been a jumbled collection of Afridis, Shinwaris, and Ningraharis from Afghanistan, no doubt excited by what the Mullah of Manki had been saying a couple of days previously, and I have no doubt that the League had a hand in it. It was entirely unexpected, and the Political Agent (an Indian) showed great gallantry in going into the midst of the melee and himself grappling with the stone-throwers. The party was not armed, and it is clear that an angry demonstration was all that was intended. But the breaking of glass seems to send people mad, and I gather from the Political Agent and from Crichton that if we had not been able, with difficulty, to induce the Khyber Rifles to open fire there would have been disaster. Although his car among others was stoned, neither Nehru nor any of his own companions were actually hurt on this occasion.

8. The party then went up the Malakand, having wisely given up Shabqadr, where they expected too much opposition. I had not been expecting trouble actually in the Malakand, where the people are generally peaceful, and was pretty certain that the Political Agent (another Indian), who is persona non grata  with my Ministry, would be careful to use all his influence to prevent any insult to the party which might be attributed to him. However he failed. At two points on the way back on the following day, the first at Malakand itself and the second at Dargai at the foot of the pass, demonstrations by stonethrowers were made. On the second occasion Nehru, Khan Sahib and Abdul Ghaffar Khan were all injured, and again fire had to be opened to avoid disaster. The party would normally have returned via Mardan and Nowshera, where I had been expecting trouble. The Deputy Commissioner, Mardan, went on ahead and found the road blocked with dangerous crowds. With the greatest difficulty, and overriding the bravado of Dr. Khan Sahib, he managed to persuade Nehru to go back by another route across country via Charsadda, where their passage was unopposed as no one had been expecting them to take that way. There can be no doubt that all these demonstrations were League-organised. They were not armed and they carried black flags. But where they took place on hillsides, the temptation to throw stones overcame them, and the crashing of glass made them dangerous.

9. Meanwhile the Congress leaders here had been preparing a fine show for Nehru at Abdul Ghaffar Khan's Ashram at Sardaryab between Peshawar and Charsadda, where he had collected Red Shirts from all over the Province to line the route. Up to the last moment the League had been intending to make counter demonstrations, which might have been the most dangerous item in the whole programme, for I expected a pitched battle between the rival private armies. For some reason unexplained the League luckily called this off at the last moment. Either they felt that they would not be numerically strong enough at this point to deal with the Red Shirt demonstrations, or perhaps in answer to my appeals through Your Excellency Jinnah had done something from Delhi to call them off. This visit was therefore carried out without mishap and with much enthusiasm on the part of the Congress volunteers.

10. It has been necessary for me for all these tours through the North of the Province to arrange not only Police and Constabulary guards, but for support by troops, and they were carried out in full convoy. The position reached by the end was that Nehru could not go anywhere outside the Cantonment of Peshawar without strong escorts of Police and troops, and my Ministers were in the same position. This is in odd contrast to my own journeys, when I go about the Province entirely without escort. In speaking of the troops I should say that the redeeming feature of Nehru's tour was the excellent reception he got from them and from the R.I.A.F. at Razmak, Miranshah and elsewhere. And I must add that without their help we might well have suffered a disaster.

11. Meanwhile the Congress propaganda against the machinations of the Political Department continued unabated, all the opposition met by Nehru and the Ministers being attributed to officers. I suppose the suggestion is that my officials use the Muslim League as an organisation for making the Congress position in the Frontier impossible. Anything more futile or malicious can scarcely be imagined. It is only ten days ago that the Mullah of Manki in a speech threatened to shoot me, if he got the word from Jinnah!

12. On the last evening I asked if Nehru would come and have a talk with me, and was glad to find him willing to do so. He had not been badly hurt, having bruises on the ear and the chin. He made no direct charge that Political Agents had been behind the demonstrations, but he accused our Indian subordinates of this kind of machination. He also charged the Political Agents in the Khyber and Malakand (both happen to be Indians), and I gathered the Deputy Commissioners of Peshawar and Mardan also, with inefficiency in having been unable to prevent the demonstrations. I told him that I resented attacks on officers who had been subjected to immense strain by his untimely tour and had been doing all that was humanly possible against an outburst of feeling to secure his safety. I said, too, that if he believed that our Indian subordinates were powerful enough to organise opposition of this nature he would believe anything.

On more general questions I said that, as I had told him, a party approach to the tribal problem was bound to fail, and could not have been time worse than was his approach. I added that, if he had gone round by himself quietly and without losing his temper and told the tribes that he was their guest, he would have been politely received, but it was fatal to take round a party politician like Abdul Ghaffar Khan. If he meant to take with him party politicians, he should have attempted to induce men from all parties to go with him. His answer to this was a tirade against the League, and an assertion that it was not his wont to desert his old friends, of whom Abdul Ghaffar Khan was the chief. He also said that he was coming again as soon as he could, and then gave me a lecture on  "the authoritarian habits of the I.C.S."  I told him that in my experience both the Indian political parties were far more authoritarian than any I.C.S officer had ever been, and quoted, in response to a demand for instances, the tendencies towards one-party rule, and when in power to over-ride the law. I asked him what he had achieved by this visit at this moment, to which his answer was that he had learnt many things, good and bad, and instructed himself.

I said it seemed to me that this tour had put out of court for a very long time any hope of bringing the tribes into the new India peaceful and free from party lines, and that his visit had done more to strengthen communalism and the party approach on this Frontier than anything else could have done. Incidentally one result is like to be the weakening of my Ministry's position.

Finally I asked him why at critical junctures he always set out on his own preconceived and published ideas and without hearing the other side, making it hard for him to adjust his attitude later. He said he felt himself unable to comment on his own proceedings, but one thing he must impress on me, and that was that there must be a complete change in the method of Frontier control, and what he termed "the romance of the frontier" must come to an end as soon as possible. Our conversation was amicable enough in tone, but with Nehru, as with other politicians in this country, one seldom finds there is any give and take in discussion. I made several attempts to induce such a spirit by expressing admiration of his courage, and saying that in theory at least in many respects the Congress approach to the Frontier problem was wider and wiser than that of the League, in that it was not conceived on religious and communal grounds. One was left with the impression that this politician of world-wide repute was entirely without any element of statesmanship, and that matters such as timing, adjustment, a quiet approach and a decision after weighing a great issue are beyond his ken.

13. I had feared throughout that Nehru might be killed, and this in spite of the heavy guards which were arranged. I think we are fortunate in having avoided that tragedy. There is no doubt that this visit has led to an upsurge of genuine feeling some of which is fanatical, and the results are difficult to foretell. It is due to my officers, who have been placed in an impossible position, that something should be publicly said by Your Excellency, and by H.M.G. also, to reassure them, both by way of recognition of all they have done and of their success in avoiding complete disaster, and to make in clear that every man of goodwill sees through the futility of the attacks which Congress is making on them.

14. There is one other point, and that is that All-India Radio throughout in this matter has acted very much as a mouthpiece of Congress propaganda and has not given the true picture. It quotes what various other party leaders say, giving much more prominence to the Congress point of view[than] to any other, and seems to avoid objective statements of fact.

15. I should imagine that this business will have an adverse effect on your efforts to get a Coalition going at Delhi, and I must reiterate the warning that the retention of Nehru, or any other Hindu, in charge of Tribal Affairs will prolong disorder and probably lead to tribal risings. Given the manner in which the Interim Government had to be formed, I see that it was not possible to do anything else at the outset, but to continue this arrangement must lead India into great danger.

Roughly the position is that we have told the tribes that for the time power is with Nehru, and the tribes have told Nehru that they will have none of him. What then is my position with the tribes?

16. Your Excellency may like to see separately reports from Waziristan and the Khyber, and I will send these later.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                                                                 O.K. CAROE
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Khan Abdul Wali Khan in his book Facts are Sacred (excerpt). [Available online at http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf ]

Groundwork for Pakistan

WHEN Jawaharlal Nehru did come to NWFP without the governor’s go ahead he received a reception from the government and its functionaries. Erland Janson [Erland Jansson in 'India, Pakistan or Pakhtunistan?:The nationalist movements in the North-West Frontier Province, 1937-47']has quoted a number of officials and malaks on what actually happened. In South Waziristan the Masud Malak Gulab Khan himself told Erland that the assistant political officer secretly guided him and others about what to do.

Malak Gulab Khan paid Rs.200 to snipe at Nehru’s plane when it would land at Razmak. The assistant political officer, one Abdul Manan, was particularly helpful and would encourage and guide them secretly……

The situation is cleared and further explained by the dialogue this man had with Faridullah Shah. Faridullah Shah, then was the A.P.O. Khyber while Col. Khurshid was the political Agent. According to Faridullah Shah’s statements:

At that time Col. Khursheed was Political Agent of Khyber Agency. Two or three days before Nehru’s arrival Khursheed sent for me and told me Nehru was coming to Khyber. He said that if the tribals should receive him in a docile way, all Mohammadans of this part of the country will go under the suzerainty of the Hindus. As Muslim I should do something but at the same time he warned me not to tell him of the action I would take. Do you know why? He was a religious man and if he was asked anything he could say he did not know. I went straight to Jamrud. I contacted a certain Kukikhel Malak called Swati Khan. The only question he asked was what would be the reaction of the Political Agent. And I told him, don’t worry. I very strongly told him that nobody was to be killed. They should resort to very heavy sniping. On return from Jamrud I contacted Mullah Sahib of Manki Sharif. He had then a lot of disciples among the Shinwaris and Mollagories. So he also went on tour to Landikotal and Mollagor areas.

Erland Janson, op. Cit., p. 185-86.

In the event, however, I think the British bungled the game for the tribals in Malakand. Nehru and his party were attacked there and wounded, and that gave away the whole conspiracy.

The rest of the agencies are geopolitically different from Malakand. They lie adjacent to the tribal areas on one side and to Afghanistan borders on the other. Malakand has Mardan district on one flank and Swat and Dir on the others. Obviously, the malaks in Malakand were much more amenable to the wishes of the political agent than those in the other agencies. Besides, the political agent in Malakand at the time, Sheikh Mehboob Ali, was involved in a bribery suit. During the war days he was deputy commissioner in Kohat and was accused of misappropriating a lot of government money allocated to the construction of underground bunkers in Tal. Apart from enormous amounts of cash, he was reported to have taken from here the entire construction material-cement, bricks, iron bars etc. –for the building of his own bungalow in his village in Sheikhan. With such a background he was more than normally eager at that time to please his masters.

Thus became attack on the Nehru party in Malakand. In any other agency, the government could have shaken off responsibility, since people there did have a measure of their own will. But in Malakand everyone knew that far from throwing brickbats, nobody could have cast even a feather at Nehru without the political agent’s nod.

 
520 page 814 (excerpts)
Pandit Nehru to Sir O.Caroe(North-West Frontier Province)
Enclosure to No. 520

NEW DELHI, 24 October 1946

Note on my tour in the Tribal Areas of the North-West Frontier (October 16th to 21st, 1946) *see note below
..

6. In considering the future, two basic factors have to be borne in mind.
(1) It is probable that land routes between India and Afghanistan will develop in importance. India, which for a long stretch of years has been more or less isolated on its land frontier, is now bound to develop closer relations with its neighbours both on the North-West and North-East. A far greater volume of trade and passenger traffic will flow in both directions. A growing air traffic across the frontier will also make a difference. It is possible also, though this will take some time, that railway lines might be constructed so as to ultimately to connect the Chinese railway system through India with the Western Asian railway system and Europe. All these factors will tend to upset the traditional economy of the Frontier Areas. They are likely to have far-reaching consequences in the social structure of the Tribes.

(2) It seems to me, though I speak with partial knowledge, that a class conflict is slowly developing and interests of most of the Maliks or Tribal leaders and the greater part of the population. In a sense this will be a conflict between the haves and the havenots. Any policy that is framed by us will, to some extent, have to take this into consideration.

Do we support the existing social structure, in other words do we support the semi-feudal heads as against the mass of the population, or do we help the poorer people to progress even though this might be opposed by the Maliks and their like? As far as I know, official policy thus far has been to deal with and support the Maliks and we have ignored the others. Probably this was the only feasible policy in the past. It was much simpler to deal with them; but it may not be so simple in the future and we may have to choose. I have no doubt that we should not try to preserve in any way the same feudal structure or to help the Maliks to retain their special positon where this comes in the way of the development of the people generally. Probably our system of paying allowances to the Tribes is chiefly beneficial to these Maliks.

7. This system of paying allowances has been rightly described as a kind of hush-money or blackmail. It may have been a lesser evil, but obviously it is something that is not desirable. It is often said that if a part of this money had been used for developing the area, a major change might have taken place by now. Apart from this, payment of money in this way is demoralising to the giver and the taker alike. Inevitably, it leads to corruption and to a lowering of the tone of the public service. Perhaps it is difficult to stop this payment suddenly, but I have no doubt that it will have to be stopped some time or other and the money utilised for better purposes which benefit the mass of the population.

8. It is said that any educational or like approach is resented by the Tribal people as they consider this an attempt to penetrate and infiltrate. This is understandable. Probably if the approach was made in a different way and after some kind of psychological change had taken place, it could not be so resented. An immediate approach which is likely to be appreciated and to do immense good is through the films. Naturally these films will be of an educational character. They could even be used for literacy campaigns as well as to broaden the horizon of the Pathan in regard to India and the world.

9. It seems essential to me that the barriers which had been erected around the Tribal Areas preventing free movements should be largely done away with. People from the Frontier Province should be allowed to go there and people from the Tribal Areas should be allowed to come to the Frontier Province. There are some risks in this, but those risks have to be taken. With this freedom of movement a wider appreciation of each other will necessarily follow. I understand that some steps forward in this direction have already been taken. I am glad of this.

10. Most of the officers of the Political Service have been drawn from a special cadre and they have specialized in this particular work. Apparently they are interchangeable with officers serving in the Indian States, though there is an essential dis-similarity between the two kinds of work. They have undoubtedly specialized in the Frontier areas and know a great deal about the Tribal people and their problems. Nevertheless, it seems to me that living cut off from the wider currents in India, they have become limited in outlook. As with all permanent services, they are convinced that their old way of dealing with things is the right way and any radical change will be harmful. While this applies to most permanent services, it applies in particular to those serving in the Frontier who deal with a particular set of problems and often lack awareness of the big changes that are taking place all over the world and in India in particular. This limited outlook must come in the way of dealing with the problems in conformity with modern standards.

11. This note does not pretend to deal with any basic problem. It is just an attempt to note down some impressions. I have many other impressions and many other ideas, but I should like to consider them more fully and to discuss them with others before I say much about them... 
...

13. I found soon enough after my arrival in the Frontier that I was surrounded by a kind of hostile atmosphere. There was courtesy enough for which I am grateful, but at every step I was reminded that I had come against the wishes of the official heirarchy and that I would be responsible myself for the consequences.

14. The incidents that occurred later on during the tour confirmed this impression. I knew even before my visit to the Frontier that considerable agitation had been carried out by the Muslim League in opposition to my visit. That did not matter much though the kind of statements that were being made by certain Mullahs and others were highly provocative and false. I had hoped that the announcement of the inclusion of members of the Muslim League in the Interim Government might make a difference. So far as I was concerned, I had no desire to speak on political party issues. On arrival at Peshawar I learnt of the violence indulged in by Muslim Leaguers under the direct leadership of one of their prominent men. This was an extraordinary incident occurring as it did in an area where no such thing had happened previously, and normally the entry of people is regulated. It seems to indicate either gross mis-management or a passive acquiescence, if nothing more, in what took place. There had been so much talk about demonstrations etc and so many warnings by officials that at any rate they should have been fully prepared. I cannot imagine that they could not have stopped this exhibition of crude violence near the aerodrome if they had so wished it.

..
16. The fact that at Jhandola, where my programme had been fixed up rather suddenly, I had a warm welcome, stood out rather prominently. It contrasted with the places where my visit had been pre-arranged.
 ..

18.The most remarkable incident, however, occured just as we were leaving Malakand. We had been told previously that a group of persons were waiting outside the gate to create trouble. This informaton had been passed on to the Political Agent who was with us. When we started, the Political Agent's car preceded us. Immediately after emerging from the gate of the Agency, we saw two buses full of persons standing across the road and partly blocking it and about two or three dozen persons standing by the road-side. Immediately our car was stoned. The Political Agent obviously saw what was happening but he took no step. His car slowly proceeded. The men in the buses came down and surrounded our car, smashed all the glass and made a dangerous and murderous attack upon us. Meanwhile the Political Agent calmly proceeded ahead leaving us completely isolated in the hands of this relatively small and hostile crowd.

Ultimately we got through when Dr. Khan Sahib took a revolver from the orderly in the car and brandished it about without firing it. The sight of this one revolver was quite sufficient to frighten the crowd who made way for us for pass. Indeed some of them were so frightened that they fell down as they were going back. This showed how easy it was to deal with this crowd. It was pure chance that we were not seriously injured (although Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was badly hurt) or even murdered.

19. The behaviour of Nawab Shaikh Mahbub Ali, the Political Agent at Malakand, in these extraordinary circumstances can only be explained by one of two hypotheses: either he was completely incompetent and incapable of dealing with any situation or he approved of what took place and, therefore, did not intervene...
..
25. The Provincial Government in the N.W.F.P., as in other Provinces, represents a democratic form of Government. It represents a Government by the majority group or party in the Assembly which is supposed to represent a majority of the voters in the Province. In the N.W.F.P. there is at present a Congress Government. Normally, therefore, there should be harmony between not only the Government and its officials but also between the officials and the Congress  Party and its leaders. It was evident that there is no such harmony and indeed there is plenty of suspicion on both sides.

It is impossible for a government to function effectively if its officials do not give it loyal service. It may be difficult to write off the past or to forget the memories of past conflicts. Nevertheless that past must not be allowed to influence the present when the whole structure has changed. My impression was definitely that even now the official heirarchy look upon the Congress only with extreme dislike but with some hostility. They submit to the Congress Government with reluctance and do not give it the cooperation that it should receive from its officials. To some extent this is to be found, in varying degrees, in other Provinces also. But it was most marked in the Frontier Province where the traditions are somewhat different from other Provinces. The permanent official group does not think of itself as a service but rather as expert administrators and statesmen far above the strife of parties and the like. Permanent services should keep apart from party strife. But they have no business to function as superior persons. In a democratic form of government they must serve loyally whatever government is in power. During the past there has been so much conflict between these officials and the Congress that both parties are full of ill-will against each other. Statements are often made by Congress leaders and others which are not always fair to the permanent officials. On the side of the officials, action is indulged in which is unfair to the Provincial Government and more especially to the Congress Party which is supposed to control that government.
..

27. Indians must remember that British officials in India have to face a difficult situation and it is not easy for them to fit in always with changing conditions. They have often to face unjust criticism. They have the feeling that there is no special place for them in India in the future and that they are not wanted. Inevitably they seek support from one another and are rather cut off from the flowing current of national life. British officials in India should remember that India is dynamic today and her long past of suppression makes her people irritable and intolerant of those who are associated with this suppression. There is today a bubbling life in India observable even more in the common people than in the upper classes. This life often takes a wrong turn. Nevertheless it is the hope of India and any suppression of it is to do injury to India. In any event it cannot be suppressed. This fact has to be recognised and people should adapt themselves to it.
..

*Note below: A critique of this Note by Mr Weightman (apparently written at Pandit Nehru's request) will be found on R/3/1/92:ff 123-8


The following are from The Transfer of Power 1942-7,  Volume IX The fixing of a time limit.

11 Page 20 (full text)
Sir O. Caroe (North West Frontier Province) to Pandit Nehru
7 November 1946

Dear Pandit Nehru,

I am afraid I have taken a long time to reply to your letter of October 26th, with the note enclosed. The official commentary on your tour is now going off, and I enclose a copy of it for your personal information. As you will see I was anxious to wait a little in order to see forward and not to look back, and an attempt has been made in the official letter both to view things in prospect and to emphasize tendencies which may make for steadiness or the reverse in our treatment of this great and difficult problem. This letter is intended to convey some personal comments in supplement to what has been said in the official letter [which is not included in the ToP volume-blogger].

2. First the question of violent attacks on you and your party. I have been occupied in a personal investigation of the charges against Mahbub Ali and my conclusions on that matter are now ready and going off, so I will not comment at length in this letter, except to say that the charges are so grave that it seems to me necessary in the public interest, and to give the officer himself full opportunity to defend himself, that a formal and full-dress enquiry should be held by an independent tribunal. Matters might be on an easier footing, if the allegation of priviness to the assault could be publicly withdrawn. My note on the Malakand affair really deals with the general question of the violence employed, the reaction of which is likely to hang to some extent on the decision reached as to the matter of dealing with this particular case.[Mahbub Ali was ultimately exonerated after an enquiry by a sitting judge in January 1947-blogger]

 
At this stage I have only one special point to add to what is stated about the responsibility of the League organisation, and that is that information is coming in suggesting that the infamous technique of stoning was supported by some fatwas by mullahs as a traditional means of attack on non-Muslims. This, if established, is disquieting, and the less publicity it receives the better. The Yusufzais of Swat, unlike the Waziristan tribes, are prone to fanaticism, and the same applies to the Mohmands and to some extent to the Shinwaris, of the whom most reside in Afghanistan but some on our side of the Line in the area around Landikotal. The Afridis are steadier and wiser, but they too have been known to flare up. Curiously enough the Wazirs and Mahsuds, despite their wildness, are far less priest-ridden  and in this respect easier to deal with.

3. As often happens with Pathan tribes a fire burns up swiftly and dies down, and for the moment there is comparative quiescence. There is however every indication of a quickening tempo in the reaction of some of the tribesmen to the Indian political scene and a tendency to seek alignment with one or other political party. As has been said in the official letter I regard this tendency as unfortunate. There is real peril in stirring up the tribes now and (it seems to me) particular peril in a vertical or even a horizontal alignment of the tribesmen with the Indian political parties. The most dangerous appeal of all is that to religious intolerance, and everything possible should be done to avoid stimulating it. I think too that policies tending to stir up class or economic rivalries during this formative period will recoil on their authors. The real genius of the Pathan, as I see it, lies in a nationalism of his own, and if that nationalism can be aligned with India as a whole without introducing unnecessary rifts in the tribal body politic, much will have been done  to produce a stable equilibrium on a vital frontier, such as will allow India to grow great behind it. We need a bulwark and not a sandbank torn by tides from without and shifted by streams from within.

4. On the economic issue it would be worth your while to examine our Five Year Development Plan, which includes the Tribal Areas. All that need to be read is the Introduction on the first 14 pages- the rest is a mass of figures giving the detail of schemes. Mallam, the Development Commissioner here, is an enthusiast and the Ministry recognise his sterling value.

5. I am glad that you are able to dissociate yourself from the general criticism which has been turned on Political Officers. We shall never be able to hand over this frontier as a going concern, if the officers are not trusted and publicly supported, and this applies to officers all down the scale. This is vital.

6. There are many other points in your note which I should like to think over more fully before further discussion and I have no doubt we shall  have an opportunity to do this in due course. I hope too to discuss them with the Viceroy.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Yours sincerely, 
                                                                                                                                                                                               O.K. Caroe

 

Wavell, The Viceroy's Journal, ed. Penderel Moon
19 November 1946 (excerpt)
At the Malakand Pass I looked at the scene of the assault on Nehru and his party. The political agent, Mahbub Ali, whose conduct has been called in question, had met us in Dargai. While I think it is most unlikely that he instigated or was privy to the attack, it was inexcusable that he should have gone on down the hill as he did and not seen the party safely past what was obviously a danger point.
 


450 page  787 (full text)
Sir O. Caroe (North-West Frontier Province) to Field Marshal Viscount Wavell (Extract)

PESHAWAR, 22 February 1947

We had a bad day yesterday and are in for a difficult period. After the Mardan election the League began to think out methods of direct action, partly stimulated by Punjab events and partly yielding to the cry of Islam in danger over the Sikh girl married to a Moslem in Hazara after her Sikh husband had been murdered in the Hazara disturbances. She was brought into Peshawar, and Dr. Khan Sahib put her up in his own house, unwisely as I think, and as I told him. She was kept there for several days and gave a perfectly fair statement at the end of it in presence of her new Moslem husband and her Sikh relations that she wished to return to Sikhism. She was thereupon sent back to Hazara, where to save her life she has had to be placed in protective custody in jail.

The League are trying to make what capital they can out of this affair on the lines of the Islam Bibi case of ten years ago, which originally set the Faqir of Ipi going(note below). They arranged a large protest meeting in Peshawar, and took the opportunity of attacking what they call the black laws in Hazara and the methods adopted in handling the Hazara border tribes, and they have been busy in Mardan also.

In Peshawar we decided to keep them out of the Cantonment, and we had adequate police forces available, but the meeting developed into a procession of at least 5000 which broke the cordons and came right up the road in front of my house into the Premier's garden, again breaking the cordon and besieging his house on all sides.  I am sorry to say that the police refused to obey orders to open fire. Tear gas was used, but without effect. The police did not actually mutiny or anything of that kind, but though they went through the motions of loading they just quietly disobeyed orders to fire. The mob in Khan Sahib's garden was dangerous; it broke all his windows and threw stones into the rooms, but did not succeed in storming the house. The old man was brave as a lion, and went out on top of the porch to tell the crowd what he thought of them. He refused to give away any points, and eventually the Deputy Commissioner was able to get the crowd to move on to the jail.

In the circumstances Dr. Khan Sahib was lucky to get away with his life. I went over as soon as the mob started to disperse and found the house a shambles of broken glass. Mrs. Khan Sahib was splendid and so were his Parliamentary Secretary and one of the other Ministers who stuck by him through the worst. The Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police(both Indians) did their best, the former exposing himself amongst crowds carrying spears and daggers and managing to argue them out of more dangerous actions. There have been threats that the same tactics would be followed today, and we have therefore turned out troops in large numbers and did a flag march round the city, holding troops ready at exits and also at the important entrances to the Cantonment, with definite instructions that they would have to fire if necessary.

So far this show of force has succeeded in preventing any repetition of yesterday's incidents, but what is worrying is the proof of police demoralization. It has been a gradual process which one associates with all Congress Governments, but the real rot set in with Nehru's visit, which had the result of making all Moslem Government servants, except a few at the very top, disloyal in their hearts to a regime which represents in their eyes Hindu domination. I think, too, that the action taken against Mahbub Ali and various others has done a great deal to undermine the confidence of the public servant generally, as have the continual diatribes of that idiot Abdul Ghaffar Khan. My prayer is that we shall not be driven into using military force, for with tempers as they are there will be considerable casualties, and we shall get the tribes down as in 1930.

Note below:
Mirza Ali Khan, who became known as the Faqir of Ipi after the village in N.W.F.P. where he settled in the 1920s as a religious leader, gained considerable notoriety as an agitator among the Frontier tribes. In March 1936 a case came up for trial in Bannu which concerned the alleged abduction and conversion to Islam of a Hindu girl. The case, which was referred to as the 'Islam Bibi' case, aroused considerable communal excitement in which the Faqir induced one of the tribes, the Daurs, to participate. Later in the year, he championed calls for the girl to be handed over to Muslim custody after an appeal court had ruled she should be returned to her Hindu parents. He also excited feeling among the tribes on other issues. To counter his influence a punitive expedition was mounted in the course of which his house was destroyed.

pages 79-81, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah PapersPrelude to Pakistan 20 February - 2 June 1947, Ed Zaidi, First Series Volume I Part II
Letter from Sant Singh Talwar, Editor, Frontier Gazette, to M.A. Jinnah,
24 February 1947

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Peshawar, 24 February 1947

Respected Quaid-i-Azam,

I am one of those Sikhs who honestly think that the peace and prosperity of Northern India lie in the cordial and brotherly relations of [sic] the Muslims and Sikhs. My paper, the Frontier Gazette, Peshawar, will bear me out on this point. We have always maintained very good relations and in the last Muslim League ministry, the non-Muslim Minister was a Sikh1 gentleman. My paper was the only non-Muslim paper which supported the League Ministry throughout very vehemently. Incidentally, I may point out that up till now my paper was on the Congress Government's black list. In the present Provincial Assembly the only non-Muslim MLA in opposition is also a Sikh2 gentleman.

It, therefore, pains me and thousands of other Sikhs of my way of thinking to see that once again the eccentric and short-sighted League leaders in the N.W.F.P. have started a very damaging agitation on an extremely-ill-advised and wrong issue. Whereas in the Punjab some courageous Sikhs have joined the League Civil Disobedience Movement for civil liberties, in the N.W.F.P., I regret to say, that eccentric opportunist, Mr. Abdul Qaiyum Khan, and fanatically blind Arbab Abdul Ghafoor Khan, started agitation purely on communal and religious issue. This ill-conceived move may help Mr. Qaiyum etc, to win cheap popularity but it has already extremely embittered the sweet relations of [sic] the Sikhs and the Muslims in this tiny province.

The facts of the case are that a widowed Sikh girl named Paisri, aged 22 years, under pain of death was compelled to conversion[sic] and marrying [sic] a Muslim. She was forced to declare [her conversion to] Islam in the mosque and gave a statement to this effect to a magistrate in Hazara, where the atmosphere for non-Muslims was very dangerous at the time. When the Sikh Relief Committee started work and refilled the Sikhs with confidence, the fact of Paisri's forcible conversion was brought to their notice. They approached the district authorities and the Ministry for getting back the girl. I must frankly confess that although this minor incident was quite of a minor nature, the Ministry thought it proper to bring the girl to the Headquarters of the Provincial Government.

It is surmised in well-informed quarters that this was a clever move on the part of the Ministry to entrap the League leadership in a communal net and thus defame the League in the eyes of the Frontier minorities and, more especially, the Sikhs, who are still out of the Congress. The girl was kept in the Premier's house from 8th to 18th February 1947. When the League leaders learnt about this, they easily fell into the trap and started an agitation. The girl had already stated before the Premier and others that she was forcibly converted and married to a Muslim. The Premier, thereupon, sent for the mother and the so-called husband of the girl to Peshawar, and in their as well as in the presence of the European Chief Secretary, the Muslim Deputy Commissioner and the Muslim Superintendent of Police, asked the girl to give a statement to the Muslim City Magistrate. All of them assured her that if she was a Muslim she will be allowed to go with her Muslim husband, and if a Sikh, she will be sent with her mother. The girl gave the statement that she was always a Sikh and that she was forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim.

This should naturally have silenced the wrong and damaging agitation, because Islam does not permit forcible conversion. Besides this, from the political viewpoint it was also essential to abandon this bad issue and thus win the confidence of the minorities[to show] that in the Muslim-majority provinces of Pakistan, ,Religion, Culture, and other rights of the Minorities are quite safe. But, as usual, Mr. Qaiyum failed to appreciate the dire and far-reaching consequences of the situation and thought it fit to sacrifice the most important principles for winning cheap popularity. He got himself arrested at Mardan and now both in Mardar and in Peshawar this communal and foolish agitation is going on. May I point out that the Hazara Muslims are more religious and League-minded. Out of eleven seats of the Assembly, Hazara returned ten League members. There, the Muslims rather welcomed this decision that the girl herself went to the Sikhs and there is no agitation at all there. Similarly, the sane and far-sighted Muslims in Peshawar also condemn this wrong agitation and wholly and solely blame Mr. Qaiyum and Arbab Ghafoor for this. Since the move is taking a communal turn, and it may now spread to  other districts and the Tribal Areas, I, as a true Sikh and a true Frontier man, request you kindly to intervene and stop this wrong agitation. The Nawa-i-Waqt and other sane Muslim papers of the Punjab have also advised the Frontier Muslims to abandon this un-Islamic issue and to fight for civil liberties only.

Your immediate or rather telegraphic intervention is eagerly sought, because you are the only one who can stop such wrong means.

An early reply would highly oblige the Sikhs of this province.

My paper, The Frontier Gazette, of 24th instant is being sent to you under a separate cover for your kind perusal.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yours  sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                                                            SANT SINGH TALWAR,
                                                                                                                                                                                            Editor, Frontier Gazette
1 Emphasis here and hereafter in the original
2 Sardar Partap Singh(Akali Dal), a lawyer who had defeated the Congress candidate from Peshawar(Sikh) constituency.

527 page 928 (excerpts)
Pandit Nehru to Field Marshal Viscount Wavell
13 March 1947

Dear Lord Wavell,
As you know, events in the Punjab and in the Frontier Province have been distressing us very greatly. Conditions there do not seem to be improving. Last night I had a telephone conversation with Sardar Baldev Singh who was in Lahore and the account he gave me of what was happening round about Rawalpindi was terrible. Evidently press and other reports do not give all the facts.

In the Frontier Province the agitation led by the Muslim League has now definitely taken a communal turn. The demands of the Muslim League there have been, and are, refund of the fines levied on and realised from the Nandihar tribes in the Hazara area and the return of a Sikh woman who was forcibly converted and I believe raped. These demands are very extraordinary. You know the circumstances in which action was taken against the Nandihar tribes and a relatively moderate fine was imposed on them. This fine was agreed to and has in fact been paid. No further operations were undertaken. To ask for the return of this fine is to put an end to the whole administration of the tribal areas. Also, to ask for the return of the Sikh woman is fantastic and immoral. She was forcibly taken away and she does not want to return. She has been mishandled and ill-treated. The question to consider should be what punishment to inflict on those who treated her in this way. Instead of this a demand is put forward by the Muslim League and supported by agitation for her return to her original captors. No government can agree to such demands, whatever the consequences.
...

 
528 page 930(full text)
Sir O.Caroe(North West Frontier Province) to Field Marshal Viscount Viceroy Wavell
PESHAWAR 13 March 1947

North-West Frontier Province situation. After their victory in Mardan election in the middle of February local League started on direct action against Ministry, partly stimulated by events in the Punjab but making their cause of action the measures take to control Hazara situation. Particular point was made of case of Sikh woman who after murder of her husband was married to Mohammedan and after staying some days in Premier's house had made free statement before both parties that she wished to return to Sikh relations and had therefore been released under law(action taken by authorities in this case was lawful and just). On February 21st large and dangerous procession formed in Peshawar city, marching into cantonment, overpowering police, and surrounding Premier's house of which windows were broken but fortunately no loss of life occurred.  Meanwhile League leaders instituted picketing of courts and public buildings and had been defying bans Section 144 in Mardan and elsewhere. As a result of this and of demonstrations in Peshawar League leaders, including most of the M.L.As., were arrested with the result that with budget session starting on March 10th main body of Opposition was in jail. Arrests were however made for bailable offences or under security sections and those arrested could have obtained freedom by giving security or bail. On my advice Ministry, though reluctant, have refrained from arrest of Manki Mullah.

2. While strongly supporting Ministry in action taken to  maintain law and control dangerous demonstrations, I urged them to open negotiations with the League leaders on basis of statement of February 20th before Assembly met. This they refused to do and League demonstration was staged at Assembly Hall on March 10th. It was necessary to support police with troops. Mob made ugly rushes and troops had to open controlled fire. Seven rounds fired, 15 casualties sustained of which two have subsequently died. This clash has on the whole steadied situation but immediate result was that 17 cases of stabbing Hindus took place on the same afternoon in Peshawar City. In consultation with military I decided to occupy city forthwith and impose curfew. Portion of British battalion in Peshawar with other troops was utilised for this purpose and had reassuring effect all around. Communal incidents have now spread to villages east and south of Peshawar where there have been some murders and some forcible conversions of Sikhs. On 10th all telephone lines round Peshawar were cut and poles damaged. Trunks now restored.

3. Elsewhere in Province situation in Hazara which was returning to normal has deteriorated. Gurdwaras have been burnt, individual Sikhs murdered and forced conversions have taken place. Main bazaar in large village of Ot Gaj(?)bullah was reported destroyed by fire. Picketing continues and large demonstrations have taken place in districts of Mardan, Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail but so far without casualties.

4. Tribes have hitherto taken no overt action and are unlikely to do so if control is maintained in Peshawar and other chief urban centres and flow of food can be assured. Shortage of food will lead to a tribal invasion of more than one part of frontier on considerable scale and maintenance of food traffic is the most essential need of the whole situation.

5. I visited all parts of Peshawar city on March 11th and was well received by all communities. Hindus and Sikhs are frightened and stray stabbing assaults by Muslims are  still taking place. On March 12th large funeral procession was taken out by League in city to escort body of one man killed by firing on March 10th. As this was outside curfew hours it was decided to let it go. Curfew in Peshawar City is still being enforced. Today Moslem shops have opened but Hindus still remain closed. I am hopeful that if flow of food consignments can be maintained we have turned the corner, but situation may deteriorate under influence of leaders, either Congress or League, from elsewhere or if Congress are foolish enough to send up Advisory Committee of Constituent Assembly to enquire into tribal problems or interfere in other ways. Khan Sahib is displaying his usual courage but Ministry is naturally disturbed.

Comment
The Muslim League's agitation and use of violence henceforth grew in scope and intensity until it was called off on June 5 1947 in response to Viceroy Mountbatten's offer to hold a referendum in the province.

Parshotam Mehra writes in his copiously-referenced book:
(quotes)
Even though the ministry managed to carry through the budget session, in retaliation for what happened around the Assembly building, an irate mob ravaged through the town, killing twenty Hindus and Sikhs and burning their houses and property. Before long, the contagion caught on; killings and arson became routine and spread to other districts.... On 2 April a train was stopped near Kohat and attacked by men in Muslim League uniforms. And as the official fortnightly report for the second half of April put it, the general picture one of processions, picketing and interference with the running of trains. This, in turn, invited police lathi charges, use of tear-gas and even arrests. There were occasional murders of Hindus and Sikhs apart from more serious outbreaks. Bomb blasts and sabotage of roads and bridges was not unknown. ...

Serious riots broke out in D.I.Khan on 14 April when 18 people were reported killed and 900 shops and private buildings torched. From D.I.Khan the riots spread to Tank which was [invaded] by Mahsud tribesmen from across the border. The raiders burnt down practically the entire town. ...This was to pose a serious threat to stores of grain and other commodities. And inasmuch as southern Waziristan depended upon Tank for its food supplies, ramifications were bound to be widespread...

By 25 April, when the army brought the situation to some semblence of normalcy, the toll had risen to 118 killed. While almost the entire Hindu-Sikh population living in rural areas, approximating 16,000 and many more in the towns, had move into refugee camps or spilled over into neighbouring Punjab. By mid-May, an estimated 60 percent of the minority community in Peshawar, Mardan and Kohat had left the province; the percentages in Hazara and D I Khan being much higher...

Meanwhile, the League's highly decentralised and largely spontaneous campaign gave the province little peace. Behind the scenes, large groups of Muslim students and almost all Muslim officials played a key role: the former engaged in small-scale terrorism, the latter, in subverting state authority and hob-nobbing with the law breakers.

 ...Together with Muslim students, Muslim National Guards led demonstrations, supplied volunteers and co-ordinated activities. Some teachers at Islamia College (Peshawar) are known to have lent a hand in making explosives; the Pir of Manki provided some financial assistance. ... The Muslim National Guards were a paramilitary outfit and roughly a counterpart of the Khudai Khidmatgars. Upfront, they...took a prominent part in all League-sponsored activities in general. Khurshid Anwar, a high profile functionary of the Guards, played a prominent role... Armed with a generous supply of explosives, he advocated large scale sabotage and organised an underground movement to bomb government buildings.  Interestingly enough, he managed his supply of explosives through the police school in Hangu; his mole was the chief drill inspector who also imparted instruction in the use of explosives. There was help too from a professor of chemistry at Islamia College, Peshawar. ...Khurshid Anwar was also to play an important role in organising and sustaining Muslim women demonstrations which caused the Khan Sahib government no end of embarrassment and were indeed hard to counter....


By mid-May government officials in the rural areas of Peshawar district began to be attacked and village land revenue records destroyed. Demonstrations in the known Congress strongholds of Charsadda and Utmanzai bore eloquent testimony to the agitators' growing clout and ability to challenge the Khudai Khidmatgars even on their home ground.

...[On June 5] Jinnah in his broadcast from All-India Radio.. asked the Provincial Muslim League 'to withdraw the movement of peaceful Civil Disobedience' which they 'had perforce to resort to' and expressed his 'appreciation' of the sufferings and sacrifices made 'by all classes' of Muslims and 'particularly the great part the women of the Frontier' played in the 'fight for civil liberties'. ... [In response to Jinnah's broadcast] Khan Sahib... called into question the Quaid's 'conception of civil liberties.' The Muslim League movement which Jinnah had eulogised had started 'very definitely on a communal basis' and was responsible for 'brutal murders on a large scale', continuing violence and occasionally arson. There had been destruction of public records too, Khan Sahib added, while 'riots and mutinies' in jails had resulted 'in death and injury'.
(end quotes from Parshotam Mehra's The North-West Frontier  Drama, 1945–1947)

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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