Friday, September 4, 2009

Bangladesh, Gandhi-Jinnah Talks,1944 (contd-1)

Gandhiji's letter to Mr. M.A.Jinnah, 24,Sept.1944
With your assisstance, I am exploring the possibilities of reaching an agreement, so that the claim emboddied in the Muslim League resolution of Lahore may be reasonably satisfied. You must, therefore, have no apprehensions that the Aug resolution will stand in the way of our settlement.
I proceed on the assumption that India is not to be regarded as two or more nations,but as one family consisting of many members of whom Muslims living in the north-west zones, i.e., Baluchistan, Sindh, NWFP, and that part of Punjabwhere they are in absolute majorityover all the other elements, and in part of Bengal and Assam where they are in absolute majority, desire to live in separation from the rest of India.
Differing from you on the general basis, Icanyet recommend to the Congress and the country the acceptance of the claim for separation containd in the Muslim League resolution of Lahore 1940 on my basis and on the following terms :
a) The areas should be demarcated by a commission approved by the Congress and the League. This wishes of the inhabitants of the areas demarcated should ascertained through thew votes of the adult population of the areas or through some equivalent method.
b) If the vote is in favour of separation, it shall be agreed that these areas shall form a separate state as soon as possible after India is free from foreign dominationand can,therefore, be constituted into sovereign independent states.
c) There shall be a treaty of separation which should also provide for the efficient and satisfactory administration of Foreign affairsw, Defence, Internal Communications, customs, Commerce and the like, which must necessarily continue to be matters of common interestbetween the contracting parties.
d) The treaty shall also contain terms for safeguarding the rights of the minorities of the two States.
e)Immediately on the acceptance of this agreement by the Congress and the League, the two shall decide upon a common course of action for the attainment of Independence of India,
f) The league will, however, be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress may resort and in which the League may not be willing to participate.
If you donot agree to this terms, could you let me know in precise terms what you will have me accept to recommend to the Congress? If you kindly do this, I shall be able to see apart from the difference in approach, what definite terms I can agree to.