Friday, April 16, 2010
Gandhi-Jinnah talks had emminent significance with respect to the political problems in India and Pakistan movement. The talks between the two great leaders of the subcontinent began in responese to the general public desire for a settlement of Hindu-Muslim differences.
On July 17, 1944,Gandhi wrote a letter to Jinnah expressing his desire to meet him, expressing that "I have always been a servant and friend to you . Do not disappoint me," who in turn asked the permission of the league. The league readily acquiesced. But Gandhi's offer to negotiate with Jinnah on the basis of partitioning India created a sensation and provoked the indignation of the Hindu and Sikh minorities in the Punjab and of the Hindus of Bengal.
The talks began in Bombay on Sept. 9,1944 and lasted till 27th of the month.The talks were held directly and via correspondence.Gandhi told Jinnah that he had come on his personal capacity and was representing neither Hindus nor the Congress.
Gandhi's real purpose behind these talks was to extract from Jinnah an admission that his proposition of Pakistan was absurd.
Jinnah painstakingly explained the basis of the demand of Pakistan. "We maintain", he wrote to Gandhi , "that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation.We are a nation of a 100 million years. We have our distinctive outlook on life and of life.By all the cannons of International law, we are a nation." He added that he was convinced that the true welfare not only of the Muslim but of the rest of India lies in the division of India as proposed in the Lahore Resolutions."
Gandhi on the other hand maintained that India was one nation and saw in the Pakistan Resolution "nothing but ruin of the whole of India"." If ,however, Pakistan had to be conceded, the areas in which the Muslims are in absolute majority should be demarcated by a commission approved by both the Congress and the League. The wishes of people of these areas will be obtained through referendum.These areas form a separate State as soon as possible after India is free from foreign domination. There shall be a treaty of separation which should also provide for the efficient and satisfactory of foreign affairs, defense, internal communication, custom and the like which must necessarily continue to be the matters of interest between the contracting countries".
This meant, in effect, that power over the whole of India should first be transferred to Congress which there after would allow Muslim majority areas that voted for separation to be constituted, not as Independent sovereign state but as part of Indian federation.
Gandhi contended that his offer gave the substance of the Lahore resolution. Jinnah did not agree to the proposal and the talks ended.