Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bangladesh, Partition Unavoidable? (contd-2)

Abul Kalam Azad was an intimate freind and a close associate of Gandhi and his views about Gandhi always carried much weight. According to him, available documents about Gandhiji's opinion on Partition was not sudden nor it was complete. Gandhi seemed to have actively opposed the idea of Partition till the very last. He had been preaching against partition in his prayer meetingsand the Muslim leaders made a complaint on the subject. Even so late on 4 June,1947, Lord Mountbatten was apprehensive about Gandhi in this matter, and invited him to come round to the Viceregal Lodge just before the prayer meeting . The net result of the interview might be judged from what gandhi said in the Prayer meeting,
" The British Government is not responsible for partition,. The Viceroy has no hand in it. In fact he is as opposed to division as Congress itself, but if , both of us, Hindus and Moslems, can agree on anything else, then the Viceroy is left with no choice."
It appeared from some of his conversation that Gandhi believed that India was behind himin his opposition to Pakistan, but, unfortunately, the Congress leaders were not. The consequences of rejecting the partition would be to entrust the administration to the hands of a new set of leaders. But gandhi thought thatit would be most unwise , if not impossible, to remove the old and tried leaders. this was the burden of his speech in the AICCon 14 June,1947.
But Fischer said that Gandhiji might have induced them if he could foresee that the Hindus and Muslims could live together amicably.

Jinnah (left), Nehru (right) with cabinet Mission Members.

The British Government representative , Lord Wavell, however, believed that once the disadvantages of the Pakistan sch3eme were exposed, Jinnah would see the advantages of workingfor the best possible terms inside a united India , he wrote,

" unfotunately the fact that Pakistan, when soberly and realistically examined , was found to be a very unattractive proposition , would place the Molems in a very disadvantageous position for making satis factory terms with India for a federal Union . This view was based on a report , which claimed that a future Pakistan would have no manufacturing or industrial areas of importance; no ports except Karachi, or rail centres. It was also argued that the connection between east and west Pakistan would be difficult to defend and maintain. The report concluded,

It was hard to resist the conclusion that taking all considerations into account the splitting up of India would be the reverse of beneficial as far as the livelihood of its people was concerned.

In March 1947, Mountbatten became Viceroy of India with a mandate to oversee the British withdrawal . He established good relations with the political leaders of India excepting the Muslim leader M.A.Jinnah to make him understand the benifits of United Independent India.

Mountbatten soon gave up the idea of a United India and on 14-15 Aug 1947, British India was partitioned into the new States India and Pakistan. There were huge populatio ,about 3,5 million ,Hindus and Sikhs fled from the areas that had become Pakistan and about 5 million Muslimsmigrated to Pakistan.

In 1953 Mountbatten returned to the Royal Navy and on 27th Aug 1979, he was murderedwhenIRA terroristsblew up his boat off the coast of County Sligo.