1. Congress leadership: Nehru and Gandhi underestimated Jinnah, Muslim League, its ambitions and outreach.
- In the 1920s, Gandhi neglected Jinnah and appealed to Muslims for a common cause, which seemed harmless at that time.
- In the 1930s, Nehru, assured of the backing of his socialist ideology and the support among the Muslim bases for the same, arrogantly believed that Muslims won't be moved by a party based on faith. It later turned out he was false.
- In the 1930s, Jinnah was willing to negotiate an agreement with the leadership, but was constantly ignored. This is going over my head. Arrogance and underestimation of someone doesn't go unpunished. However blame is to be equally shared by all the top leaders.
- In the 1940s, ML with almost a million members had no compulsion to bow out. He had no reason to cut a deal now. He was demanding recklessly. He refused to allow first independence , then partition. I may not comment on the course of history had this been allowed.
- While Gandhi tried his best possible to stop the painful separation, Nehru wasn't ready to the idea of Jinnah being the first Prime Minister of the independent India till the very end. Patel hoped partition would show Jinnah the fault in his ideas and would seal his fate.
Thus the failure of Congress leadership and the rise of Jinnah is interlinked.
2. Jinnah and the Muslim League:
- He instigated religious passions and fears among the masses since the 30s.
- He was more concerned with the fact that Muslims and Hindus didn't intermarry or interdine and that Congress didn't have Muslim representatives in the 1946 Provincial Elections.
- He claimed in his 1940 Muslim League Presidential Address that cultures, literature and way of living and views on life were different of the two communities. The theory of one nation had been carried along too far and that it was nothing but a far fetched dream. I don't think partition gave too much peace either.
- The provinvcial elections were held on the lines of religion and demand for a new country, rather than on the promises of growth and "independence".
- Direct Action Day was a call by this great leader. What else do you expect from such a gathering at such a crucial point of time on such a critical issue. If countries could be made by gatherings and processions, I'm going out on the streets to demand the Shubham Kingdom!
The violence, retaliation and counter violence led to the inevitable- Partition of two brothers, fighting for petty issues, not ready to listen and even the parents acting as stubborn kids.
3. The Brits ( Don't Forget them) :
- The Brits promoted communal electorates. I don't see why a Muslim can't work for the cause for the Hindus and why a Hindu can't work for the cause of the Muslims as an elected leader.
However even if the Brits didn't do this, communal vote banks and voting pattern was coming into the picture, shown by 1300 members in the ML in 1927 rising to about a million by the time of independence, flocking from all strata of the society.
- The Brits had positions reserved for the two communities in the government employment. "Special Care" was taken to promote animosity between the two groups.
- Even after the partition, the Governor of West Punjab , Francis Mudie was more interested in his partisan policies and worked with his Cabinet to create a rift and thus killings were intensified.
- In 1925, by the time struggle had peaked, the Sec of the State writes to the Viceroy that his priorities and hopes had always been the "eternity of the communal situation".
- Even after the partition, most of the army personnel were deployed for the protection of the departing Brits, even when there was no imminent danger to them. No one had a moment to pay attention to them. There was "just a frenzied hunt for Hindu or Moslem symbols".
- On 3 June 1947 Mountbatten announced partition from London and date had been strategically shifted to 15 August 1947 which was less than 10 weeks away from earlier planned June 1948.
- The people, the country, the administration and the policy makers were ill-equipped to deal with something of this magnitude at such a short notice.
- The Mountbatten administration seemed to portray that delaying the independence and the Partition process would have increased in more killings over a longer period of time, told by his biographer Philip Ziegler. In contrast , Andrew Roberts slammed him for his lack of action. Punjab Boundary Force was ill-staffed and there was no air cover. Hasty withdrawal led to more deaths according to him.
- On 22 July Mountbatten writes to Radcliffe that "an extra day would reduce the disorder".
- Mountbatten wanted to announce Punjab boundary award until the day of independence lest the forces be prepared on both sides of the boundary and the little killings which may have resulted would have been attributed to the Brits.
Thus we see there was a serious failure on the part of the Brits too. The intentions of the concerned officials were maligned and inhuman. They will never be forgiven for this!