Historians and journalists have been very kind towards the Indian National Congress . But history will not be as unsparing. Truth has a way of catching up and exposing everyone for what they actually were . One can hide or be hidden by apologists and sympathisers for a long time, but ultimately truth shall manifest itself in its full glory. Until it does, it lurks around somewhere near – sometimes in plain sight, at other times stuck in equations-waiting to be discovered.
There are three such lies that need to be exposed –
1 : INDIAN MUSLIMS REJECTED MUSLIM PAKISTAN.
2 : Congress was a representative of all religious communities, and not just Hindus.
The results of Indian Provincial Elections of 1937 and 1946 throw quite some light on the performance of Congress , Muslim League and other Muslim parties, as well as the voting patterns and mindset of the two major communities .
Approximately 3 crore Indian gained voting rights in 1937, which was about one sixth of the then adult population. Out of the total 1585 seats for which voting took place, Congress won 707 seats , while Muslim League emerged victorious in 109. Congress formed governments in 8 out the 11 provinces- exceptions being Sindh, Punjab and Bengal. Muslim League could not taste power anywhere . Unionist Party led by Sikandar Hyat Khan in Punjab and Krishak Praja Party led by Fazlul Haq in Bengal formed governments. Sindh Union Party formed the government in Sindh.
While Congress almost swept the Hindu seats, it performed rather poorly in Muslim electorates . On 482 reserved Muslim seats, Congress could manage to field only 58 candidates, and only 26 out of them emerged victorious. For a party which rather churlishly claimed to be a representative of both Hindus and Muslims, Congress did not even contest on ninety percent of Muslim seats . They won most of their 26 Muslim seats in NWFP, Bihar and Madras. Congress drew a blank in Muslim seats of United Provinces, Central Provinces, Bombay, Assam, Orissa, Sindh, Punjab and Bengal. Writing on the wall was clear, just that it hurt Nehru’s, Bose’s, Gandhi’s and Patel’s vanities to accept that Indian Muslims did not consider them as their worthy representatives. Even the Muslim League could win only 109 seats, as the results indicated that the community reposed its trust in provincial parties, rather than the national alternatives.
Despite their poor showing at the hustings, Muslim League hoped to be invited by the Congress for the sake of national unity. Not that it would have changed the course of history , but the lack of magnanimity and foresight among the Congressmen must be noted. The Polls of 1937 presented a picture of how the democratic future in India might look like – Muslim minority states ruled by Congress on the basis of its pan-India Hindu appeal, and Muslim majority states led by regional Muslim outfits with the support of either Congress or League, or more preferably, Hindu regional outfits . Jinnah stared at political marginalization , even as Congressmen enjoyed perks of power and lived their delusion of representing all communities. He understood that to gain support among the provincial-minded Muslim community, League would have to further radicalise their agenda. The Pakistan Resolution Day , celebrated on March 23, 1940, changed political equations forever.
The Provincial Elections of 1946 finally put paid to INC’s claims of representing all Indians (vanity didn’t allow them then, nor does it allow even now to accept) , while boosting the League position in the negotiations for freedom and partition. Executive Council and Constituent Assembly were to be formed following the elections. Pakistan and its possible forms became the main points of discussion everywhere. Casting your vote became an Islamic act.
While Congress won 90 percent of Hindu seats, League romped home in 87 percent Muslim seats. 4.5 million Indian Muslims out of a total of 6 million voted for Jinnah’s outfit which ran a single-minded campaign for Pakistan. The League swept all Muslim seats in Bombay, Madras and Orissa, and most of the seats in Bengal, Assam and CP. Only in NWFP did it fare poorly , and that is because Frontier Gandhi supported the Congress. Despite winning 923 seats out of the total 1585, the INC emerged as an overall loser because Pakistan was by now a certainty.
This makes it very clear how Indian Muslims voted to strengthen League and thereby pushed for formation of Pakistan. This also exposes Congress claims’ of enjoying support among all communities.
If such a partition , negotiated between INC, supported by Hindus, and League, supported by Muslims was not communal, then what were the grounds on which Congress accepted it ?
3 :Hindus,Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists chose to live in a Muslim Country not just in 1947 , but also in 1971.
This is wrong. Jinnah , in his August 11 ,1947 speech promised a secular Pakistan. Their Objectives Resolution of 1949 also mentioned a secular state with protection for minorities. Nehru-Liaqat Pact 1951 offered them guarantees, but they were breached. Paksitan gradually slid into an Islamic Republic by 1956. Those non-Muslims who had stayed on found themselves trapped.
Bangladesh started off as a secular nation as declared by its 1972 Constitution. But in 1977, the secularism principle was removed by an amendment, and was replaced by ‘ absolute trust and faith in Allah’. In 1988, Islam was declared the state religion. Curiously, the Bangladesh Supreme Court in 2010 declared secularism as one of the basic tenets of the Constitution, but retained Islam as the state religion. How were Hindus stranded in Bangladesh to know that the country would turn them into second class citizens ?