History Sheeters (1) – Narendra Damodardas Modi – Was Congress Responsible for India’s Partition?

Distorting history has been USP of the BJP leaders, giving rise to a new offence in criminology – “Histerocide”- Murder of Indian history, akin to homicide! Modi’s quotes on history in his speeches are of course more hilarious than criminal offences, mainly due to his shallow knowledge content. His Patna quotes from history were gems specially the one where he said Chandra Gupta Maurya belonged to the Gupta dynasty! But in his speech before a group of Muslims in Balasinor, Gujarat, on 10th November, 2013, his allegation that “Congress was responsible for the partition of India” was mischievous and a travesty of history.

Modi Praying in Front of Savarkar Statue, the main plotter of Gandhiji's Murder
Modi Praying in Front of Savarkar Statue, the main plotter of Gandhiji’s Murder

Even Veer Savarkar, the President of Hindu Mahasabha and a mentor of many like Modi never made such an allegation against Congress. On the contrary, Savarkar was irked by the insistence of Congress for a “United India”. While answering to questions by journalists on 15th August, 1943, Savarkar had said:

“…In the recent past, the educated class among the Hindus mostly through the vehicle of the Congress tried its utmost to champion territorial nationalism by saying that at least in Hindusthan, Hindus and Mussulmans are one nation because they reside in one country….”

The concept of two nation was actually mooted by the two diametrically opposite organisations of pre-independence India. The Muslim league and the Hindu Mahasabha. In his Presidential address to the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha in Karnavati (Ahmedabad) in 1937, Savarkar said,

” …India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Moslems, in India..”

Savarkar had furter clarified the above statement to journalists on 15 August 1943 and had said:

“…And there is no reason why we should sacrifice Hindu interests and plead with them to perforce say that they are not a separate nation. Hindus are a nation unto themselves. Considering this, the Hindus should continue the freedom struggle by consolidating themselves irrespective of whether the Mussulmans come with them or not. If they so desire, they may stay here, else they shall go where it pleases them..

Quaid E Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Quaid E Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah’s position was also clear on this issue as he had demanded a separate home land for the Muslims on behalf of the Muslim league. Within a short span of a few years, Jinnah had rallied the Indian Muslims under the green flag of the (Muslim) League and gave the movement for separate nation a momentum which neither the British government nor the Indian Congress could contain. Nehru and Gandhiji had resisted the division to the end but it was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s clarity that convinced Nehru that his opposition was futile. When Lord Louis Mountbatten formally proposed the plan on 3 June 1947, Patel gave his approval and lobbied Nehru and other Congress leaders to accept the proposal. Knowing Mahatma Gandhi’s deep anguish regarding proposals of partition, Sardar Patel engaged him in frank discussion in private meetings over the perceived practical unworkability of any Congress-League coalition, the rising violence and the threat of civil war. At the All India Congress Committee meeting called to vote on the proposal, Sardar Patel said:

“I fully appreciate the fears of our brothers from [the Muslim-majority areas]. Nobody likes the division of India and my heart is heavy. But the choice is between one division and many divisions. We must face facts. We cannot give way to emotionalism and sentimentality. The Working Committee has not acted out of fear. But I am afraid of one thing, that all our toil and hard work of these many years might go waste or prove unfruitful. My nine months in office has completely disillusioned me regarding the supposed merits of the Cabinet Mission Plan. Except for a few honourable exceptions, Muslim officials from the top down to the chaprasis (peons or servants) are working for the League. The communal veto given to the League in the Mission Plan would have blocked India’s progress at every stage. Whether we like it or not, de facto Pakistan already exists in the Punjab and Bengal. Under the circumstances I would prefer a de jure Pakistan, which may make the League more responsible. Freedom is coming. We have 75 to 80 percent of India, which we can make strong with our own genius. The League can develop the rest of the country.”

Modi, should learn his history better. There were great stalwarts like Gandhiji, Nehru and Sardar Patel who had their own views and acted for the interest of the nation and not necessarily for the Congress party. Partition was a inevitability from the class-point of view. Given their respective class position, Savarkar, Jinnah and Sardar were generally correct since the nascent capitalism with its links with the feudal lords of the respective communities could not have coexisted in a single national state. Modi should not be permitted to divide India again.