SS1 Jalal Gopal Wolpert

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
Quotes included
  • Ayesha Jalal from 'The Sole Spokesman, Jinnah, Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan' , 1985
  • Sarvepalli Gopal quoted from 'Jawaharlal Nehru A Biography' Volume One 1973
  • Stanley Wolpert from 'Jinnah of Pakistan', 1984 
Comment
Many historians  consider the period 1937-1940 as a decisive one; during which period Congress-Jinnah differences over  elected provincial governments evolved rapidly into an unbridgeable political rift between many Muslims and other Indians. Durga Das is quoted on this period in [Durga Das(3)  1937-1940 Provincial Autonomy to Jinnah gets the veto].

Ayesha Jalal quoted from 'The Sole Spokesman, Jinnah, Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan', 1985

Ayesha Jalal writes:
After the [1937] elections[in which Muslim League won only four and a half percent of the Muslim vote], [poet-philosopher] Iqbal had advised Jinnah to 'ignore Muslim minority provinces' and to look to the Muslims of north-west India and Bengal, an irony not lost on the leader of a party whose only electoral success had been in the minority provinces which he was now being invited to spurn.."

"..But as even Iqbal could see the lip-service paid by the two main Muslim-majority provinces[Punjab and Bengal] in October 1937 could be turned into political advantage only if the League could find a line which would appeal to all Muslims, whether in the majority or in the minority provinces.  Once the Congress had launched its Muslim mass contact movement in March 1937, Iqbal was convinced that the League would now have to decide 'whether it will remain a body representing the upper classes of Indian Muslims or [the] Muslim masses who have so far, with good reason, taken no interest in it.'

The real issue as Iqbal saw it, was 'how.. to solve the problem of Muslim poverty? And the whole future of the League depends on the League's activity to solve the question.'. .. "A bold social and economic programme based on the 'Law of Islam' for the Muslim masses would, according to Iqbal, do the trick; but what such a 'Law' involved or how it could be implemented was not very clear, and in any case Jinnah was too shrewd and too secular to chase this particular hare. If the 'Law of Islam' was to be interpreted by the ulema, then Jinnah would certainly have nothing to do with it.

Any recourse to the 'Law of Islam' would have sparked off an ideological debate between the ulema and the more progressive Muslims...Moreover, Jinnah could see that any appeal to religion, or to a radical economic programme, might only too easily boomerang upon its proponents. The League could not even begin to set out a plausible facsimile of a social programme to eradicate Muslim poverty since such support as it possessed came from vested landed and business interests at the apex of society. In any event, such appeals were irrelevant to Jinnah's predicament.

But the Congress's siren calls to the Muslims, both to the elected representatives in the assemblies and to the people below, its efforts to seek accomodations with provincial Muslim factions and to launch a mass contact movement, had somehow urgently to be countered.

All Jinnah could do was to make much of the Congress threat to Muslim interests, portraying it as a perfidious party no Muslims after the U.P. experience could ever trust again; its mass contact movement a knife at the throat of every Muslim politician; its ministries blatantly favouring their own; a High Command whose iron control over its own provinces clearly hinted at what lay ahead for the Muslim-majority provinces once it came to dominate the centre.

Much of the League's propaganda at this stage was directed against the Congress ministries and their alleged attacks on Muslim culture; the heightened activity of the Hindu Mahasabha, the hoisting of the Congress tricolour, the singing of the bandematram, the Vidya Mandir scheme in the Central Provinces and the Wardha scheme of education - all were interpreted as proof of 'Congress atrocities'.

So Congress was clearly incapable of representing Muslim interests, yet it was trying to 'annihilate every other party'. Jinnah wanted the League's claim to 'complete equality with the Congress' to be recognised. While he was prepared to come to an understanding in this basis:'we cannot surrender, submerge or submit to the dictates or the ukase of the High Command of the Congress, which is developing into a totalitarian and authoritative caucus functioning under the name of the Working Commitee, and aspiring to the position of a shadow cabinet in a future republic'.

He warned that Congress was taking the offensive deep into the Muslim provinces, and hoping by dividing to rule. In Sind, his line was that Congress had contrived a split among Muslims; certainly it had helped to keep a League ministry out of office. In the C.P, the very provinces where according to League propaganda, Congress had ridden roughshod over Muslims, it was accused of dangling carrots before Muslim League M.L.As. These were some of the arguments, according to Jinnah, why Muslims needed to unite under his leadership.

Much of this propaganda was simply a response to Congress's attempts to further consolidate its electoral success by winning Muslim support both inside and outside the legislatures. But by now some elements in the Congress High Command were coming to realise that they had perhaps underestimated the League's capacity for survival, or the fears among Muslims upon which it would play. So they called off the Muslim contact movement and made tentative approaches to Jinnah through Subhas Chandra Bose, an appropriate choice since Bose, as a Bengali, could see the advantages for his own province in some understanding between Congress and the Muslims.

But at this point Jinnah was not ready to parley with the Congress unless it accepted the League as the 'authoritative and representative organisation of the Indian Muslims.' just as he was ready somewhat provocatively to admit that the Congress was the 'authoritative and representative organisation of the solid body of Hindu opinion'.

Congress saw no reason to make a concession which cut against the basis of its creed, and so Jinnah turned to the British, a last resort for so dedicated a nationalist who had devoted his political life to battling against alien rulers. In August 1938, he asked to meet Lord Brabourne, the acting Viceroy, and hinted at a deal by which the League might support the British at the centre if in return the British accepted the League as the sole spokesman of the Muslims.

According to Lord Brabourne, Jinnah had ended up with the suggestion that 'we[the British] should keep the centre as it is now' and that 'we should make friends with Muslims' by protecting them in the Congress provinces, and if this was done, 'Muslims would protect us at the centre'. Jinnah himself confessed that if the League's interests so demanded, he was ready to be 'the ally of even the devil'. 'It is not because we are in love with Imperialism', Jinnah explained to the annual League session in December 1938, 'but in Politics one has to play one's game as on a chessboard.'

After war broke out 'This ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity now seemed the best guarantee the British could find in India against an united political demand. With his limited mandate from the Muslim-majority provinces, Jinnah now had a semblance of a right to speak for Muslims at the centre. This is where the British needed him and where they were ready to acknowledge his standing.

But they wanted to keep him out of the affairs of the Muslim-majority provinces...It seemed unlikely that Jinnah could produce a demand which would seriously embarrass the British, and he had no power to create problems for the war effort in the Muslim-majority provinces, especially in the Punjab, the main recruiting ground for the Indian Army, and in Bengal, the Raj's eastern front against Japan."

Just how confident Delhi was of its ability to exploit the weakness both of the Congress High Command and its much weaker counterpart, the League, was shown on 3 September 1939, when Linlithgow, without consulting any Indian politician, simply announced that by declaring war on Germany Britain had automatically turned India into a belligerent in the allied cause. This was correct by the letter of the law; but it was hardly the action of rulers concerned about the reactions of their subjects.

The next day the Viceroy invited Jinnah, on an equal footing with Gandhi, for talks, and informed them that the efforts to implement the federal provisions of the 1935 [Government of India] Act would be suspended until after the war. ..[The Congress responded by making an] impractical demand on 14 September 1939 for immediate independence and for a constituent assembly to make the arrangements. This was the price Congress had to pay in order to maintain a semblance of solidarity over its own divided camp.

Once the Congress had stated its demands, Linlithgow urgently needed a means why which he could challenge its claim to be speaking for all-India. Four days later, the League's more measured resolution calling for abandonment of the 'Federal Objective' and a guarantee that no scheme of constitutional reform would be enforced without its approval gave the Viceroy the opening he needed.

On 18 October 1939, Linlithgow assured Muslims that 'full weight would be given to their views and interests.' 'It is unthinkable', Linlithgow added, 'that we should not  proceed to plan afresh, or to modify in any respect any important party of India's future constitution without again taking counsel with those who have in the recent past been so closely associated on a like task with His Majesty's Government and with Parliament'.

The League's Working Committee interpreted this statement as an emphatic repudiation of the Congress claim to represent the whole of India, and an indication that H.M.G 'recognise the fact that the All-India Muslim League alone truly represent the Mussalmans of India and can speak of their behalf', even though this was not quite how Linlithgow intended his response to be understood.

By making prior agreement between the Congress and the Muslims the condition for any advance at the centre, Linlithgow effectively handed a veto to whoever could claim to speak for the Muslims. At the same time he shifted the blame for failure to achieve constitutional advance squarely upon Indian politicians. As Delhi had hoped, the Congress High Command now had no option but to ask its eight provincial ministries to resign; they did so on 10 November 1939 and the Governors took charge of their administration under Section 93.

With the constitutional question now effectively in cold storage, Linlithgow turned increasingly towards Jinnah and the League. He frankly admitted that Jinnah had given him 'valuable help by standing against Congress claims and I was duly grateful.' Had Jinnah supported the Congress and 'confronted me with a joint demand, the strain upon me and His Majesty's Government would have been very great indeed.. therefore, I could claim to have a vested interest in his position.'.

On his side, Jinnah, mindful of the risks of making an open declaration of collaboration in the war effort, preferred to sit on the fence. In private, however, he thanked Linlithgow 'with much graciousness' for what the Viceroy had done to 'assist him in keeping his party together'. When London pressed him [the Viceroy] to try and reach an accord with Indian leaders, Linlithgow argued that so long as Congress failed to meet Muslim demands, it was a mistake to try 'swapping horses or doing anything which might lose us Muslim support.'

So for the time being neither Jinnah nor the British were ready to negotiate with the Congress. But they were ready to come to an accomodation with each other which offered prospects of setting Jinnah and the League on the road to recovery.
(end quotes)

Comment
In this connection, Linlithgow pressed Jinnah to come up with a 'constructive plan' in public as a basis for agreement between the British and the League and it was thus that the Lahore resolution of 1940 (the Pakistan resolution) came into being.


Sarvepalli Gopal quoted from 'Jawaharlal Nehru A Biography' Volume One 1973

Sarvepalli Gopal writes:
After the decision of the Congress Working Committee [against his urging] to accept office in the provinces where it had won elections Jawaharlal virtually went into retreat. Though still the president of the party, he did not serve on the parliamentary board which sought to guide and co-ordinate the working of the ministries. He took no serious interest in the composition of the Governments, not even in his home state, the United Provinces.

It is necessary to state this, because years later the charge was made by Maulana Azad that the leaders of the Muslim League in the U.P had agreed to co-operate with the Congress in return for two seats in the Cabinet, but Jawaharlal had whittled down the number to one and thereby destroyed the agreement reached by Azad.

'Jawaharlal's action gave the Muslim League in the U.P a new lease of life. All students of Indian politics know that it was from the U.P that the League was reorganized. Mr Jinnah took full advantage of the situation and started an offensive which ultimately led to Pakistan.'
(Maulana Azad, India Wins Freedom)

Such severe criticism from so authoritative a quarter cannot lightly be set aside. Even if Jawaharlal had been responsible for the decision to exclude the representatives of the League in 1937, it is obviously too superficial to trace the growing influence of Muslim communalism to one such single event. But did Jawaharlal in fact decide in this manner.

Azad's memoirs, prepared under his instructions by Humayun Kabir, were published in January 1959 after his death. The manuscript was shown to Jawaharlal, who asked Kabir not to make any changes. He also referred to the criticism at a press conference but in very general terms, merely remarking that Azad had thought too much sometimes in individual terms and not in terms of the historical forces at work. His loyalty to the memory of an old colleague was too strong to permit him to rebut the charge in detail. The result has been the entrenchment of a myth, and its frequent repetition even in scholarly accounts of this period.

However, the facts are very different. When Jinnah took up again in 1936 the leadership of the Muslim League, he was still a nationalist who had no wish to support, or rely on, foreign rule. Indeed his aloofness, brittle ability and anti-imperial attitude made him as disliked by the British as any Congressman. 'Of all the Indians I have met', Hoare wrote to Willingdon, 'I think I have disliked Jinnah the most. Throughout the Round Table discussions he invariably behaved like a snake, and no one seemed to trust him. I greatly hope that he is not getting a following among the Muslims.'

But Jinnah had no use for mass politics. His idea was to revert to the pre-Gandhian period and to form once more an alliance of elite politicians acting together to wrest concessions from the British. He had been the chief architect of the Lucknow Pact of 1916 between the Congress and the League and his hope now was for another similar understanding. He therefore secured the election as president of the League not of a loyalist contender but of Sir Wazir Hasan, a retired judge of Lucknow whose family had close links with the Congress leadership in the U.P.

The election manifesto of the League drafted by Jinnah was very similar to that of the Congress and in the League parliamentary board there were representatives of Muslim organizations, such as the Jamiat-ul-Ulema, which supported the Congress. In all his speeches in 1936 Jinnah stressed his nationalism and commitment to freedom; and in August he and Jawaharlal spoke from the same platform at the All-India Students conference in an atmosphere of personal cordiality.

Yet Jinnah's tactics had never a chance of success. The Congress, and Indian politics as a whole, had moved far since the nascent days of 1916. The premise of the Lucknow Pact, that the Congress and the League were two communal parties with political objectives and that they could form an equal partnership was long dead. Certainly the Congress, which had mobilized the masses in a series of campaigns and established itself as a broad nationalist front, could not now be expected to agree that it was primarily a Hindu organization and would not seek to enlist the Muslim and other religious minorities in India.

To Jawaharlal in particular, critical of vested interests and emphasizing the basic problems of poverty and hunger from which the vast majority of the Indian people, whatever their religion, suffered, the religious elitism of Jinnah appeared medieval and obscurantist.

Throughout the early months of 1937 he and Jinnah attacked each other in the press. When Jawaharlal stated that there were only two forces which mattered in India, British imperialism and nationalism represented by the Congress, Jinnah replied there was a third party, the Muslims. Jawaharlal brushed this aside as communalism raised to the nth power. Muslims could not be regarded as 'a nation apart'; and the Muslim League represented a small group functioning in the higher regions of the upper middle classes and having no contacts with the Muslim masses and few even with the Muslim lower middle class.

The controversy soon descended to verbal slanging. Jinnah spoke of Peter Pan who refused to grow up, 'the busybody President' who seemed 'to carry the responsibility of the whole world on his shoulders and must poke his nose in everything except his own business'. On his part, Jawaharlal declared there were Muslims in the Congress 'who could provide inspiration to a thousand Jinnahs'. He had no use for secret pacts with anybody, much less with Jinnah. It is at this time that Jinnah seems to have developed a particular allergy to Jawaharlal, his exuberance and his socialist ideas. He even appealed over Jawaharlal's head to Gandhi for an understanding on Hindu-Muslim relations, but was firmly rebuffed.

The election results had their own lessons for both Jawaharlal and Jinnah. While the Congress had done spectacularly well in the general constituencies, in the 482 seats reserved for Muslims it had put up only 58 candidates and won in 26. In eight provinces it had not put up candidates for these special seats at all, and most of its victories in such constituencies were in the NWFP, where Abdul Gaffar Khan had given the Congress a decisive hold.

On the other hand, the Muslim League had not contested all these 482 seats and had won only 109 of them. It could not gain a majority even in the Muslim-majority provinces of the Punjab and Bengal. In the former, it was the Unionist Party, dominated by landlords, which won a majority, while in Bengal the single largest parties were the Congress and the peasants's party led by Fazlul Haq.

To Jawaharlal this suggested that the Congress had not done enough work among the Muslims, and that in a new 'mass contact' programme, a special effort should be made to reach the Muslims. There was widespread anti-imperialist spirit in the country and, apart from the microscopic handful at the top who were fearful of social changes, the Indian people as a whole were with the Congress. The party had therefore erred in not setting up more Muslim candidates. The younger generation of Muslims and the Muslim peasants and workers were getting out of the rut of communalism and thinking along economic lines, and the Congress should set about organizing this latent support. 'The Congress is supreme today so far as the masses and the lower middle classes are concerned. Even the Muslim masses look up to it for relief. It has hardly ever been in such a strong position.'[Jawaharlal to Stafford Cripps, February 1937]

The elections had gone some way to lay the ghost of communalism, and the Congress should follow this up by working among the Muslim intelligentsia and masses and rid India of communalism in every shape and form. Each provincial Congress committee should set up a special committee to increase contacts with Muslims and enrol more Muslim members. The central office of the Congress would also set up a separate department for this purpose. Notices should be issued in Urdu as well as in other local languages and wide circulation should be given to a new Congress journal being published in that language.

Gandhi disapproved of this 'mass contact' programme and preferred to proceed cautiously through constructive work among the Muslim masses by both Hindu and Muslim workers, but the Working Committee preferred Jawaharlal's scheme. For it recognized that the Gandhian constructive programme no longer evoked enthusiasm, and Muslims had absolutely no trust in Gandhi and considered him their enemy.[Proceedings of the Working Committee 1937]

Jinnah's diagnosis was very similar, but the lesson he drew was the opposite. The Muslim League had made a mistake in not organizing itself better for elections and contesting all the seats reserved for the Muslim electorate. The Congress was increasingly becoming a mass party and striking out in new directions. Were its approaches to the Muslim masses to prove effective, Jinnah and the League would be left high and dry.

So, if the Congress were to take him seriously, it would be necessary to strengthen the communal feelings among the Muslims. The only possible answer to the Congress 'mass contact' programme was to make the Muslims submerge their economic interests in religious zeal. Then the Congress would be forced to deal with the League. The hold of Islam on the Muslim masses should be strengthened to provide the sanction for the demand of the Muslim upper and middle classes for jobs and security.

It is against this general background that developments in the U.P fall into place. In the elections, the chief opponent of the Congress was not the Muslim League but the National Agriculturist Party, an organization of landlords promoted by the Government to challenge the influence which the Congress had gained over the tenants.

The British attached greater importance to this party than to the Muslim League and did not hesitate to coerce Muslim talukdars to transfer their allegiance from Jinnah, 'the arch enemy of the British raj' to loyalists like the Nawab of Chhatari. So the Congress and the League reached an informal, unspoken understanding in this province and avoided a conflict as much as possible. The question of Hindu-Muslim relations and of the recognition of Muslims as a separate third party, raised by Jinnah on an all-India level, did not apply in the U.P.

Here the main issue was authority, landlordism and reaction on the one hand and tenant right on the other. In this contest, the Congress and the League made a joint effort to defeat the Government and their puppets. The parliamentary board of the League in the U.P was an odd assortment of reactionaries, leaders of the Jamiat who supported the Congress, ex-Congressmen with personal affiliations to the Nehru family like Chaudhuri Khaliquzzaman, and many with no fixed attachments.

The most energetic campaigner for the League was a leader of the Jamiat, Maulana Husain Ahmad, who was very close to the Congress. Some candidates of the League would probably have stood as Congressmen if requested and during his election tours Jawaharlal supported the League candidates if they were not obvious reactionaries and the Congress was not contesting the seats.

After the elections, the various elements in the parliamentary board of the League fell out. When in March the Congress refused to take office and a loyalist 'interim' ministry was set up by the Government, Khaliquzzaman was asked to join it but refused.

However, another member of the League joined, and though he was expelled from the board, some other members, including Maulana Husain Ahmad, resigned. At this stage, Govind Vallabh Pant and Mohanlal Saxena, leading members of the U.P Congress, not expecting their own party to take office in the near future, approached Khaliquzzaman to reinforce his decision not to join the 'interim' government and pressed him to return to the Congress. It is possible, though they did not admit this, that they went even further and offered to form a pact with the League. The atmosphere then, born of a collective triumph over the Government and the latter's efforts to thwart the decision of the elections, was conducive to this.

Jawaharlal got wind of these overtures and warned Pant against any such agreement. 'I am personally convinced that any kind of pact or coalition between us and the Muslim League will be highly injurious. It will mean many other things also which are equally undesirable.' It is worth adding that Azad, who was staying with Jawaharlal at this time, was equally opposed to any such pact.

Faced with this reprimand, the U.P Congress abandoned any idea it might have had a pact with the League; but relations between the two parties continued to be cordial. In a vacancy which arose in a Muslim constituency which had been held by the League, the board of that party in the U.P, despite Jinnah's announcement that it should be retained by the League and warning the Congress not to claim it, decided to leave it to a leading Congressman, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai.

Jinnah himself, however, was in favour of a coalition with the Congress, or, as he termed it, 'a united front'. Now that the Congress was willing to accept office if it were satisfied on certain points, there seemed to him to be no substantial difference between the two parties. He was right to the extent that the Congress no longer even claimed to be a revolutionary organization and there was no difference on that score between it and the League.

But the main hitch still remained, that any coalition with the League implied the Congress accepting a Hindu orientation and renouncing the right to speak for all Indians. For fear that Khaliquzzaman might go further than a coalition and agree to merge the League with the Congress, Jinnah came to Lucknow and authorized the continuance of negotiations on the basis of the maintanance of separate identities. But this the Congress was not prepared to grant.

When, towards the end of June, it became clear that the Congress would take office, Khaliquzzaman and Nawab Ismail Khan again suggested a coalition. Khaliquzzaman seems to have gone further and and informed Azad that the League would accept any terms provided he and Nawab Ismail Khan were included in the ministry. [n.b. Jawaharlal to Rajendra Prasad. In Khaliquzzaman's account of his meeting with Azad, he states that discussion centred only on two points:whether the League would resign office along with the Congress if at any time the Congress resigned(to which he agreed), and whether he would agree to another Muslim in place of Nawab Ismail Khan(which he refused) 'Pathway to Pakistan'].

Jawaharlal was not enthusiastic, for a Congress ministry should undertake land reforms and he did not wish this to be precluded by any agreement with the League, which was influenced by zamindari interests. But Azad was attracted by the possibility of the League ceasing in the U.P to exist as a separate group. He was in charge of the negotiations, being authorized by the Working Committee to deal both with Congress affairs in the U.P and Bihar and with Muslim representation in all the provincial ministries.

He consulted Jawaharlal, Pant, Kripalani and Narendra Deva and it was decided to offer ministerships to Khaliquzzaman and Nawab Ismail Khan in return for acceptance of the Congress programme and the winding up of the Muslim League group and the U.P parliamentary board. All Muslim League legislators should become full members of the Congress party and abide by its discipline; no Muslim League candidates should be set up in by-elections, and they should resign their offices or vacate their seats whenever the Congress decided to do so.[ref:Jawaharlal to Rajendra Prasad, Khaliquzzaman]

These were stringent conditions which, if accepted, would have seriously weakened the Muslim League in the U.P, although Khaliquzzaman and others were not asked to sever all connection with the parent Muslim League or specifically to take the Congress pledge. Khaliquzzaman agreed to all conditions except two: the winding up of the parliamentary board and the injunction against contesting by-elections. He himself was willing to accept even these but was not authorized to do so. However, he added, this might happen in any case.

In fact, so eager was he to reach an agreement and take office that he offered to call a special meeting of the executive committee of the U.P Muslim League to consider the question of by-elections. He also suggested that members of the League be given freedom of vote on communal matters. But Azad and Jawaharlal insisted on full acceptance of the original conditions, and the negotiations broke down. Neither at that time, nor even later during his life did Azad voice any regrets, either to Jawaharlal or in public.[In fact, he seems to have expressed his satisfaction. Edward Thompson reported a conversation in October 1939: 'We will not have in the Cabinet, said one leader who had a lot to say in what happened(and he was a Moslem), 'a man who was our comrade for twenty years and then ratted because he thought we were going to be beaten!'(Enlist India to Freedom, 1940). The reference is clearly to Azad speaking about Khaliquzzaman].

This account makes clear that while Jawaharlal was never happy about these opportunist, unprincipled bargainings with the League which had now, in the U.P, become a narrow upper-class organization, he had allowed Azad, Pant and Rafi Kidwai to do what they thought best. Certainly the discussions had not broken down on the question of one or two representatives of the League in the ministry, nor had Jawaharlal decided unilaterally that it should be one and not two.

Whether, if the negotiations had succeeded, the country and the Congress would have benefitted in the long run is debatable. Any agreement would in effect have accepted that politics were a matter of alliances between upper-class groups, betrayed all Muslims who thought in non-communal terms and abandoned the economic programme on which Jawaharlal had been laying so much stress.

No such agreement could have endured, for the League had no long-term economic or social objectives. The only incentive where its leaders were concerned was the hope of office, and once this was fulfilled the cracks were bound to widen. Indeed, the negotiations were throughout hollow and unreal, for alongside the parleys of Azad and Khaliquzzaman a by-election was being fought in a Muslim constituency where the new strategy of Jinnah was finding full play.

Both the Congress and the Muslim League set up candidates, converting it into a test election. Jawaharlal himself spend two full days in the constituency, speaking as usual of economic and national interests, while the League raised the cry of 'Islam in danger'. Jinnah issued an appeal in the name of Allah and the Koran, and Maulana Shaukat Ali spoke of civil war and called on voters 'to crush the swollen head of Jawaharlal'[Fida Sherwani to Jawaharlal, 30 June 1937]. Money and bearded maulanas were in great demand.[Assistant Secretary U.P.P.C.C to Rafi Kidwai, 6 July 1937]Supporters of the League gave large donations to mosques and madrasas, while the 'interim' government assisted the League by arresting Muslim workers of the Congress.[Jawaharlal's statement to the press, 10 July, Bombay Chronicle].

The League's candidate was helped by the fact that he was Malkani Rajput[a sect of Rajputs converted to Islam], and the caste panchayat decided to penalize any member who voted against him. This, along with the bigotry that had been aroused, ensured the defeat of the Congress candidate. It was the beginning of a new phase of Indian politics, in which communal rancour was to spread and embitter all relations. For the first time in his career, Jawaharlal was the object of a hostile demonstration. On his way to a meeting in the constituency, his car was pelted with stones.[The Bombay Chronicle, 14 July 1937]. In these circumstances, little importance can be attached to the talks with Khaliquzzaman, and no weighty consequences followed their failure.

The refusal of the Congress to form coalitions with the League seemed to Jinnah to be a betrayal born of arrogance, and since then his policy had been clear. Acceptance of office by the Congress made it an easy target. He attacked it as a Hindu fascist body which was out, with the assistance of a few 'traitors' to destroy the Muslim minority. When Jawaharlal and other Congress leaders asked him repeatedly to specify instances, Jinnah, now fast beginning to show the mastery of obstructive tactics and skill in avoidance which were to dominate Indian politics for the next ten years, steadily refused.

He talked of the suppression of Urdu although Urdu was not the language only of the Muslims and Jawaharlal had clearly reiterated the Congress policy of developing Hindustani in both Urdu and Devanagari scripts as the national language.[The Question of Language, August 1937]. He objected to the singing of the Bande Mataram, ignoring the facts that that song had long rid itself of its Hindu antecedents and that the Congress, on Gandhi's initiative, had decided that only the first two stanzas, which had no religious overtones, should be sung at public gatherings.[Statement of the Working Committee, 28 October 1937]. But otherwise Jinnah would mention no particular grievances.

It would indeed have been difficult for him to do so; for, as even the British Viceroy and Governors conceded, the Congress ministries took special care to avoid harming Muslim interests. The documentary record of complaints published later by the League carried little conviction and explains why the League would not agree to the Congress proposal for an impartial inquiry. Sir Sikander Hyat Khan, the premier of the Punjab and the most cool-headed of the League leaders, later toned down the charge of 'atrocities' committed by Congress governments to high-handedness of the majority community in some Congress provinces.

When Linlithgow informed Jinnah that he had examined the position and could find no specific instances of oppression, all that Jinnah could say in reply was that the Hindus had 'a subtle intention of undermining the Muslim position' [Lord Glendevon,The Viceroy At Bay, 1971].

But this did not mean that Jinnah's effort to create a legend of the Muslim community being trampled on by the Hindus was a failure. As the majority of Indians happened to be Hindu by religion, it was an easy slide from the fact of Congress ministries representing majority opinion to the suggestion of these ministries representing Hindu majority opinion. That the Congress was in office put it on the defensive, and the League's successful myth-making was not the least of the unhappy consequences of office acceptance.

Jinnah went around the country denouncing the Congress as anti-Islamic and promoted a drive to build up the organization of the League at the provincial and district level. The League was as committed on paper as the Congress to economic and social reforms and proclaimed the objective of full independence in the form of a federation of free democratic states.

But the decision to convert the League into a mass party and the resentment of the 'mass contact' campaign of the Congress did not mean the overthrow of the League's reliance on the upper classes. Indeed, the tenancy reforms proposed by the Congress brought many Muslim talukdars in the U.P from the National Agriculturist Party into the League, and in the Punjab the link between the League and the Unionist Party was facilitated by support to rich agricultural producers. 'What', Sikander Hyat Khan said to Jawaharlal sometime in 1938, 'have I got in common with Jinnah? Nothing except(pointing dramatically at Jawaharlal)'common opposition to you!'

Jinnah, in fact, was prepared to use every influence and interest to strengthen Muslim communalism. He frightened the wealthy by prophesying that one result of the Congress policy would be class bitterness.[Presidential Address at the Lucknow session of the Muslim League October 1937] On the other hand, he encouraged Fazlul Haq of Bengal to support the peasants of that province against the zamindars not on an economic but on a communal basis; and Fazlul Haq agreed to this after failing to secure a coalition with the Congress.

Jinnah also made overtures to the British, warning them that if they did not devote more attention to the Muslims there was a real risk that these would be driven into the arms of the Congress. However, if the British 'protected' the Muslims in the Congress provinces, the Muslims in return would 'protect' the British at the Centre.[Zetland papers, Brabourne Papers].

But at this period the British were having a semi-honeymoon with the right wing of the Congress, and paid little heed to Jinnah. Linlithgow, in particular, had a poor opinion of Jinnah as a leader[Linlithgow to Haig, Haig papers]. Jawaharlal's talks in London with Zetland and Linlithgow made the League suspicious and in desperation Jinnah sent A. R. Siddiqui and Khaliquzzaman to Europe in 1939 to contact the German and Italian Governments.[Zetland papers].

The Government of India ignored these efforts and set aside the Muslim mood of frustration to be exploited in any change of circumstance. But the Congress was baffled. Jawaharlal was willing to go as far as to consider, in any scheme of provincial redistribution, the grant to important groups and minorities of territories within which they could feel that they had full opporunities of self-development, without which creative life was hardly possible.[draft concluding chapter written on 23 August 1937 for K.T. Shah's book Federal Government]. He disliked the term 'communal provinces' but his scheme contained the germ of territorial redistribution on the basis of religion. But to concede Jinnah's main demands, that the Congress should not approach the Muslim masses but should recognize the League as representative of Muslim opinion, was unthinkable.

However, so long as the Congress was in office it could not ignore even uncorroborated allegations of partisanship. One way out of this dilemma was to approach the Muslim peasantry over the heads of the leaders of the League with a programme of economic change; but here Jawaharlal found that, with the Congress ministries not proceeding fast enough, the communal approach, however 'hysterical' and 'medievalist'[Jawaharlal's comments on the Muslim League session October 1937, The Bombay Chronicle, 19 October 1937] was successfully hampering efforts to draw the Muslim masses into the Congress.

The other alternative was to take advantage of the League's decision to widen its base and precipitate a conflict between the reactionary outlook of its leaders and the needs of the Muslim masses. So Jawaharlal encouraged the holding of Muslim mass meetings demanding debt relief and abolition of the talukdari system in the interests of the Muslim kisans.[Jawaharlal's letter to Siddiq Ahmed Siddiqui, 8 September 1937].

But these were long-term projects which hardly gathered any momentum in the context of extreme communal propaganda and violence. The League, which was promoting this activity, understandably rejected all suggestions by the Congress for consultation to promote communal harmony. The British police and magistrates also often did little to curb religious riots in order presumably to discredit the Congress ministries. If this were their objective they gained considerable success, for Hindu-Muslim rioting strengthened the anti-Congress feeling among the Muslim masses. Jawaharlal realized what this might finally mean.

'As you know I am overwhelmed with this sense of impending catastrophe. I find that few persons even among our leading politicians have this sense of tension and this premonition of approaching disaster. I fear we are rapidly heading for what might be called civil war in the real sense of the word in India. Our future conflicts are never going to be on the straight issue of Indian nationalism versus British imperialism. British imperialism in future is certainly going to play an important part in opposing us. But it will do so more from behind the scenes exploiting all manner of other groups to this end.'[To Sri Prakasa, 15 August 1939]


[When World War II broke out in September 1939]It was for India to decide whether she would go to war. The Viceroy had now, without consulting representative opinion, taken that decision. But it was absurd for a subject India to fight for the freedom of Poland. If India were to participate enthusiastically in the war, she would have to be granted freedom. One had to be free and democratic to fight for freedom and democracy. If Britain fought for democracy, her first task was to eliminate empire from India. The Indian people would not bargain or seek to take advantage of Britain's difficulty; but whatever they did would have to be in accord with India's freedom and dignity.

The resolution of the [Congress] Working Committee was on these lines....[The Committee] rejected both Gandhi's advice that there should be no demand for a statement of war aims and the suggestion of Subhas Bose that civil disobedience should be launched immediately. ...A free and democratic India would gladly associate herself with other free nations for mutual defence against aggression and for economic co-operation. The British government were, therefore, invited to declare their war aims clearly and state how this would be applied to India and given effect to immediately, so that India could assume her proper role in the emergence of the new world order.

But the Viceroy had made up his mind that his present duty was neither to move even at snail's pace along the path of constitutional progress nor to seek ways of harnessing India's enthusiasm for democratic principles. He had no committment to the Indian people, and even the tragedy of famine in Bengal caused him no concern. He was now a war Viceroy whose first objective was to make India a safe base for the mechanical prosecution of the war, and to provide men and money. Every decision had to be judged solely by the extent to which it would promote an Allied victory; and Linlithgow lacked the imagination to see that wars are not won by guns and soldiers alone.

In this projection, the Congress, as guided by 'a doctrinaire like Nehru with his amateur knowledge of foreign politics and of the international stage', had no place. On the other hand, more importance should be given to the Muslim League; and the Viceroy thought that this would have the added advantages of appeasing the army, which was largely Muslim, and the tribal elements in the North-West Frontier. Linlithgow decided, therefore, to ignore Jawaharlal and to break with the Congress.

...Sikandar Hyat Khan, though nominally a member of the League, had no wish to see Jinnah break up the Unionist Party in the Punjab, which was a party mainly of rural landed interests held together by economic and not communal considerations. He therefore advised the Viceroy that nothing should be done to inflate Jinnah or make him more difficult to deal with.[Zetland papers]. But, despite this warning, Linlithgow sent for Jinnah; and Jinnah asked that the Congress ministries be dismissed.[Zetland papers].

..On the British government's war aims for India, the Viceroy's "public statement left no doubt that the Government had not revised their policy in the context of the war situation...." At the end of the war, the British Government would be very willing to enter into consultations as to any modifications of [the 1935 Government of India] Act that might be made with the agreement of all the vested interests in India..

From the start of the war crisis, the Congress had hoped for a joint approach with the League to the British Government. Jinnah had been invited to the meeting of the Working Committee in September, but had declined. However, the Congress thought the idea worth pursuing. The League was also committed to independence, and it was this demand which the Government had spurned. So the Congress might utilize the urgency of the situation to secure priority for the political issue over communal differences.

Jawaharlal met Jinnah informally in October and thought the latter had not been totally immune to this suggestion. To humour Jinnah's vanity, Azad stayed away from the talks with the Viceroy.[Zetland papers]. Sikander Hyat Khan rang up Azad to say that a compromise might be reached if the Congress recognized the League as an 'important organization even if not the sole organization representing Muslim opinion'.[Nehru to Rajendra Prasad, 17 October 1939]. This was unobjectionable and made an agreement seem possible.

The day after Linlithgow's statement, Nehru wrote a friendly letter to Jinnah, offering to meet him again wherever it suited him to come to closer grips with their differences. ...At the end of the month, Gandhi, Jawaharlal and Rajendra Prasad met Jinnah again. He was assured that the Constituent Assembly would be formed on the widest possible franchise and by agreement on communal representation, and that Assembly would frame full protection for the rights and interests of all minorities...

These efforts worried the Government, who were relying heavily on the antagonism of the League to the Congress. The nationalist leaven was bound to work in that body, particularly among its younger members[Zetland papers 23 October 1939], while Jinnah was unpredictable, 'and I had one or two rather anxious moments during the period when he, Jawaharlal and Gandhi were discussing the situation together'.[Zetland papers 18 November 1939].

But the Viceroy's fear was short-lived...[When] the Congress announced that its ministries would resign, [Jinnah] lost interest in these conversations. He had no wish to be involved in any agitation which the Congress might launch and was prepared to fall in line with the Government in order to secure concessions from them.

To the Congress resolutions in the provincial assemblies on India's attitude to the war, the members of the League were directed to move amendments asserting that democracy was unsuited to India. Fazlul Haq, the premier of Bengal.. challenged Jawaharlal to join him in a joint inquiry into atrocities committed by the Congress against the Muslims.

Jinnah himself declined to sign a communique' drafted by Jawaharlal, stating that the Congress and the League had much in common on the political issue and the general objective; and soon after the Congress ministries resigned in the first week of November, he called on all Muslims to celebrate a 'deliverance day'. The challenge of Fazlul Haq, which Jawaharlal promptly accepted, was conveniently submerged in the demand for a Royal Commission which obviously the Congress could not accept as it implied acquiescence in British intervention in Indian affairs.Their suggestion of a reference to Sir Maurice Gwyer, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, held no interest for Jinnah.

There was clearly no scope for further talks with Jinnah, and Jawaharlal called them off...There was also no room for further negotiations with the Government. Zetland's reference to the Congress as a Hindu organization which should reach a settlement with the Muslim League put a lid on all talks.."

Subsequently, the Pakistan resolution was passed. Later "..On learning that Sikander Hyat Khan was trying to get in touch with moderate Congress leaders so as to bring the Congress and the League together, Linlithgow cracked the whip and called him off.[Penderel Moon, 'The Round Table', July 1971].

The widening gulf between the two parties enabled the Government to abandon all efforts to reach a settlement. Nothing more seemed to be required than preparations to deal firmly and promptly with any form of civil disobedience.[Zetland papers, April, May 1940]. 'I am not too keen to start talking', commented the Viceroy, 'about a period after which British rule will have ceased in India. I suspect that that day is very remote and I feel the least we say about it in all probability the better.'[Zetland papers, 5 April 1940]


Stanley Wolpert quoted from 'Jinnah of Pakistan', 1984

Stanley Wolpert writes:
[In 1936] Jinnah made one other important addition to the League. Next to Liaquat Ali Khan, who served Jinnah most effectively as honorary secretary of the League, the young raja of Mahmudabad(1914-1973), Amir Ahmad Khan, was Jinnah's foremost supporter in the United Provinces. As the largest Muslim landlord of Lucknow, the raja enjoyed an estimated income of some 2 million rupees annually. Jinnah appointed him treasurer of the League's central board.

The platform adopted by Jinnah's central board on which Muslim League candidates stood for election in January-February 1937 was much the same as that of Congress, including these advanced nationalist demands: ...[list of demands]

Each of these had long been integral to the Congress national demand, and all were anathemas to more conservative Muslim parties, such as the Agriculturist party of the United Provinces landlords, formed at Governor Sir Malcolm Hailey's instigation.

The one clear divergence between the League's socioeconomic position and that of Congress, however, which reflected a basic difference in philosophy dividing Jinnah from Nehru and Subhas Bose, was the League's firm opposition "to any movement that aims at expropriation of private property." Even as Jawaharlal placed increasing faith in socialist solutions for India's problems of poverty, Jinnah retreated more than ever behind the bastions of private property.

...The platform adopted by the League's central board in 1936 included, indeed, a number of important concessions to Islamic fundamentalist groups within India, if not as yet to the extremist advocates of a Pakistan National Movement. Three out of fourteen planks were drafted exclusively to appeal to special concerns of the Muslim minority, whose 482 separate electorate seats alone were among those contested by League candidates.

The League's first plank was:"To protect the religious rights of the Mussalmans. In all matters of purely religious character, due weight shall be given to the opinions of Jamiat-ul-Ulema Hind[Indian Ulema Party] and the Mujtahids." Two later planks were : "to protect and promote Urdu language and script." and "to devise measures for the amelioration of the general conditions of Muslims."

The Indian Ulema party, born during the Khilafat Movement and then relatively dormant under the leadership of Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani and Maulana Ahmad Said, had merged with the Muslim Conference party in the United Provinces to contest elections as the "Muslim Unity Board,", presided over by the raja of Salempur, with brilliant Choudhry Khaliquzzaman as its secretary.

In February of 1937, Khaliquzzaman and several members of his board met with Jinnah in Delhi and were promised a majority on the League's United Provinces parliamentary board if they joined forces. It was one of Jinnah's most creative political coups- surrendering numerical for nominal power.

The one thing he demanded was that Unity Board candidates all run as Muslim Leaguers, this enhancing his party's stature while broadening the base of its support. He knew that to build a national party capable of asserting effective demands both to Congress and the British raj he might have to surrender provincial powers to any number of local magnates.

...Liaquat Ali Khan was, however, furious at having lost control over choosing Muslim League candidates from his own province and tried his best to regain the power of selecting members for the UP's board, despite the fact that he was in a minority among the Lucknow seven on the League's central board. Jinnah gave his verdict against Liaquat, who was so annoyed after their July meeting in Bombay that he resigned from both parliamentary boards and sailed off to England for a few months. Jinnah thus almost lost the support of the man who could become his right arm in transforming the League into a party second only to Congress, and Pakistan's first prime minister.

Yet he would rather risk so important a loss than go back on his word once it was given. Oxford-educated Liaquat later hailed him as "the Disraeli of Indian politics", admiring his "unpurchasability" and recognizing the wisdom of his political judgement even when he most disliked its impact on his personal base of power.

...Jinnah's judgement paid off handsomely by the year's end; his League and its allies captured 29 out of 35 Muslim seats for which its candidates competed, while the Congress returned not a single Muslim member on its own. Rafi Ahmad Kidwai was elected only because of Khaliquzzaman's help. It was an impressive show of strength, and had the League done nearly as well elsewhere, Jinnah might have wrested some real concessions from Congress's haughty leadership.

In the Punjab, however, only 2 out of 7 League candidates were elected, in Assam 9 out of 34, in Bengal 39 out of 117. Most of the League's minority in Bombay and Madras were returned and 109 Muslim League seats were captured for British India as a whole. By Jinnah's own estimate his party returned from 60-79 percent of its total number of candidates. Congress alone won 716 out of 1585 seats in all eleven provinces, however, enjoying absolute majorities in most of the country; but it elected only 26 Muslim members, an Achilles heel it hoped to remedy through working much harder in future Muslim "mass contact".

Nehru stalking the campaign trail in 1937, made the mistake of refusing to take the Muslim League and the communal problem seriously, insisting:

"There are only two forces in the country, the Congress and the government... To vote against the Congress candidate is to vote for the continuance of British domination..It is the Congress alone which is capable of fighting the government. The opponents of the Congress are bound with each other by a community of interests. Their demands have nothing to do with the masses."

"I refuse to line up with the Congress" Jinnah insisted, when he heard Nehru's simplistic analysis in Calcutta early in January. "There is a third party in this country and that is the Muslims." A few days later Jinnah publicly warned Nehru and the Congress to "leave the Muslims alone"; but sensing victory, Nehru refused to be intimidated and decided, instead of backing away from India's Muslim electorate, to seek to convert the vast mass of them to Congress's platform.

"Mr Jinnah...objects to the Congress interfering with Muslim affairs in Bengal and calls upon the Congress to let Muslims alone...Who are the Muslims? Apparently only those who follow Mr. Jinnah and the Muslim League." "What does the Muslim League stand for?" Nehru asked, with gratuitous insult and acerbity he would long live to regret[but not his admirers -blogger].

"Does it stand for the independence of India, for anti-imperialism? I believe not. It represents a group of Muslims, no doubt highly estimable persons, for functioning in the higher regions of the upper middle classes and having no contacts with the Muslim masses and few even with the Muslim lower class. May I suggest to Mr. Jinnah that I come into greater touch with the Muslim masses than most of the members of the Muslim League."

It would not be the last of Nehru's political errors of judgement in his dealings with Jinnah, but it was one of the most fatal mistakes he ever made in a moment of hubris. More than Iqbal, it was Nehru who charted a new mass strategy for the League, prodding and challenging Jinnah to leave the drawing rooms of politics to reach down to the hundred million Muslims who spent most of each day laboring in rural fields.[No kidding. Prod a Pakistani politician to leave the drawing room and reach out to those he wants to rule? Big mishtake- blogger].

There was, of course, only one possible way for the League to stir up that mass, to awaken it, and to lure it to march behind Muslim leadership. The cry of Islam-in danger-of din (religion) alone could emerge as the unique stand of the Muslim League.

"No common principle or policy binds them." Nehru had taunted, referring to Jinnah's independent "party" in the assembly. And for Jinnah this was as significant a turning point, traumatically triggered by public humiliation, as the Congress non-cooperation resolution rebuke he had sustained at Nagpur in 1920.

"What can I say to the busybody President of the Congress?" Jinnah remarked of Nehru in an interview several months later. "He seems to carry the responsibility of the whole world on his shoulders and must poke his nose into everything except minding his own business."

...Khaliquzzaman, who belonged to Congress for two decades before merging his Unity Board with the League in 1936, hoped that a Congress-League coalition government, including himself, might be appointed to administer the United Provinces. Muslim Rafi Kidwai, their leader of the Congress at this time, had been Motilal's secretary and remained Jawaharlal's confidant in Nehru's home province. Kidwai and Khaliquzzaman were old friends, and it was hardly surprising, therefore, for them to discuss a coalition ministry with Kidwai promising Khaliquzzaman "two Muslim Leaguers to join the Congress ministry" prior to his election. Nehru "turned down" the League after his victory.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was the only Muslim on the Congress Working Committee and managed to wean the provincial Ulema party away from its committment to the League in mid-May of 1936. Azad used the classic lures of a provincial cabinet office with all its seductive perquisites to achieve that dramatic defection.

...To Jinnah, Azad's political treachery placed him beneath contempt. "This is war to the knife," Jinnah remarked, after learning of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema's flip-flop.  That July, Azad visited Lucknow and tried to negotiate a settlement with Khaliquzzaman, offering to bring him into the United Provinces cabinet if "The Muslim League group in the United Provinces Legislature shall cease to function as a separate group," its members all becoming "part of the Congress Party,", the League's provincial Parliamentary Board this, in effect, agreeing to "dissolve". Khaliq rightly read those terms as a "death warrant" of the provincial party over which he presided and refused to agree. Meanwhile, Nehru called upon Congress committees throughout India to intensify recruitment among "the Muslim masses".
 
...Wherever Jinnah went that summer and early fall he invited Muslim leaders he met to come to Lucknow to attend the forthcoming League session. Besides Shafi's son-in-law, Mian Bashir Ahmad, other powerful non-League leaders, including the new premiers of the Punjab and Bengal, Unionist Sir Sikander Hayat Khan(1892-1942) and Fazlul Haq, also came to Lucknow at Jinnah's behest; and before leaving that fateful session of the League they would agree to join forces in what was about to become a revitalized united Muslim movement, alarmed by Congress's victories and Nehru's attempts to cut the mass base of their constituencies out from under their very feet if they failed to respond with alacrity and unity to that clear and present Hindu-atheist challenge.

...Building a mass party become the Quaid-i-Azam's primary occupation during 1938 and 1939. From its winter session at Lucknow in 1937 to the spring League meeting at Lahore in 1940, the Muslim League's membership multiplied from a few thousand to well over half a million. Membership dues were dropped after Lucknow to half the purely nominal four-anna fee charged by the Congress, inviting any Muslim of India with two annas to his name to join the All-India Muslim League..

...In March 1938..on the eve of passing his mantle of leadership to Bose, Nehru wrote Jinnah: "We are eager to do everything in our power to put an end to every misapprehension and to endeavour to solve every problem that comes in the way of our developing our public life along right lines and promoting the unity and progress of the Indian people."

Nehru asked Jinnah to "let me know what exactly are the points in dispute which require consideration." to which Jinnah replied, "But do you think that this matter can be discussed, much less solved, by and through correspondence?" Jawaharlal agreed that it was "always helpful to discuss matters and problems face to face," but "Correspondence helps in this process and sometimes is even preferable as is more precise than talk. I trust therefore that you will help in clarifying the position by telling us where we differ and how you would like this difference to end." Jinnah, however, was most reluctant to be lured into written debate of differences, insisting it was "highly undesirable and and most inappropriate," trenchantly arguing: "You prefer talking at each other whereas I prefer talking to each other. Surely you know and you ought to know what are the fundamental points in dispute."

By rejecting Jawaharlal's repeated appeal for an updated brief on the Muslim argument, Jinnah was not merely saving vital energy when demands on his time had escalated from his own lieutenants. He was also holding out till Gandhi was ready to invite him to talk..

By late February, Gandhi himself did write: that he had accepted Abul Kalam Azad as his guide and that "conversation should be opened in the first instance as between you and the Maulana Sahib. But in every case, regard me as at your disposal." But Jinnah replied that "I find that there is no change in your attitude and mentality when you say you would be guided by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad."

Jinnah insisted not only upon full recognition of his League as the "one authoritative" political body in British India representing all Muslims, but he demanded prior acceptance by Gandhi of his equivalent role as spokesman for all Hindus.

From Congress's perspective, neither position was tenable-as Jinnah well knew. But what better way of avoiding debate? Reconciliation with Congress was, after all, the last thing he wanted at this juncture. Nothing would do more to undermine his cause of uniting the Muslim community against the clear and present danger of a "Hindu raj".

Any form of Congress-League rapprochement in 1938, whether provincial or central, partial or even potential, would have taken the wind out of the full sails of his League's mass recruitment effort and dramatic growth. His entire strategy was, indeed, based on rallying to his ranks every good Muslim who feared for the future of his faith in a land ruled by hostile Hindus. To have agreed to swing his fragile craft round just as it was starting to pick up speed under full wind would have been suicidal to Muslim League prospects. Jinnah might easily have negotiated the concession of a few seats in the Bombay and other provincial cabinets, but he would certainly have lost Pakistan in the process.

...The Mahatma.. [came] to Jinnah's house in Bombay alone on April 28, after Jinnah refused to break his journey from Calcutta to Wardha. [Bose] came to Bombay and met with Jinnah in early May. But those talks resolved nothing..

Jinnah returned to Simla that August for the Central Assembly's session, and acting viceroy Lord Brabourne..invited Jinnah and soon after Sikander to meet with him. That crucial, secret summit with leaders of Muslim India sealed the fate of the still unimplemented "federation" of autonomous British provinces and princely states that was to have been the keystone of the Government of India Act of 1935.

Secretary of State Lord Zetland, reported Brabourne's account to him of that important interview on Tuesday evening, August 16, 1938: "Jinnah ended up with the startling suggestion that "we should keep the centre as it was now' that we should make friends with the Muslims by protecting them in the Congress provinces and if we did that, the Muslims would protect us at the Centre!" Sir Sikander seconded Jinnah's position, arguing that "we are made to go ahead with the Federation scheme which is obviously playing straight into the hands of Congress and that the Muslims, given a fair deal by us, would stand by us through thick and thin." That reassurance was crucial to Britain on the eve of its most difficult war, for the British Indian Army still depended heavily on Muslim troops, and the Punjab remained her more most fertile source of fresh recruits.

On September 3, 1939, Lord Linlithgow broadcast the news of Germany's invasion of Poland. Linlithgow met with Gandhi for almost two hours the following day, after which the viceroy saw Jinnah. Jinnah appealed to the the viceroy for "something positive" to take back to his party to help him rally Muslim support for the war. Asked if he wanted Congress ministries thrown out, Jinnah replied, "Yes! Turn them out at once. Nothing else will bring them to their senses..They will never stand by you." During this conversation on September 4, 1939, moreover, Jinnah revealed to the viceroy that he now believed the only ultimate solution for India "lay in partition".

...On October 5, Jinnah arrived at the viceregal palace, "friendly and cooperative" and "began by thanking Linlithgow for helping to keep the Muslims together and Linlithgow replied that it was in public interest for the Muslim point of view to be fully and competently expressed." Jinnah pleaded for "more protection" for Muslims, but Linlithgow frankly informed him that after studying the charges of persecution in Congress provinces he "could find no specific instances of oppression". Jinnah argued that "Hindus had a 'subtle intention' to undermine the Muslim position.."

[During the All India Muslim League session in December 1938, Jinnah asked in a speech] speaking to Gandhi "Why not come as a Hindu leader proudly representing your people and let me meet you proudly representing the Musalmans? This is all that I have to say so far as the Congress is concerned."

[However] Rather than growing more receptive to admitting "Hindu" identity, Congress had.. become more determined than ever to prove its comprehensively national character-and was to remain so-insisting that religious bias played no role in its deliberations, policies, or programs. ...[In a March 1940 speech in Lahore Jinnah said ]"The problem of India is not of an inter-communal but manifestly of an international character, and it must be treated as such. So long as this basic fundamental truth is not realized, any constitution that may be built will result in disaster and will prove destructive and harmful not only to the Musalmans, but also to the British and Hindus."

...Jinnah's Lahore address lowered the final curtain on any prospects for a single united independent India.

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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