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Saturday 25 February 2012

Gandhi's Mindless Appeasement of Muslims and the Partition of India

Gandhi's Mindless Appeasement of Muslims and the Partition of India

Thursday, 01 July 2010 05:45 Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari
Gandhi's mindless appleasement of Muslims with complete disregard for the sufferings of Hindus did not only facilitated India's division in 1947, but also continues to afflict India....
It is now well known that Muslim appeasement was an inseparable part of Gandhi's doctrine of Nonviolence. But many do not know why he, while he was in South Africa, adopted, or compelled to adopt this dirty policy in 1908. At that time, the colonial South African government had imposed an unjust tax of £ 3 on every Indian living in South Africa and Gandhi initiated talks with the South African government on this matter. But Muslims did not support this move and were displeased with Gandhi. In addition to that Gandhi, in one occasion, made some critical comments on Islam while speaking at a gathering. He also had tried to make a comparative estimate of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, which infuriated Muslims.
A few days later, on 10th February 1908, a gang of Muslims, led by a Pathan named Mir Alam, entered Gandhi's house and beat him mercilessly. When Gandhi fell on the ground the Muslim attackers kicked him right and left and beat him with sticks. They also threatened to kill him. From this incident onward, Gandhi stopped making critical comments on Muslims and Islam. According to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, this incident was a turning-point in Gandhi's life. Afterwards, he began to overlook even the most heinous crime committed by Muslims.
An example would help the reader understand the matter. On 23rd December 1926, a Muslim assassin called Abdul Rashid stabbed Swami Shraddhananda to death, when the Swami was ill and lying on his bed. The reader may recall that Swami Shraddhananda was a preacher of Arya Samaj and he started a Suddhi Yajna (True Path) to bring converted Muslims of India back to Hinduism. It should also be mentioned here that when Gandhi's eldest son Hiralal converted to Islam, he sought the help of Swami Shraddhananda to bring him back to Hinduism.
Naturally the Swami's activities infuriated Muslims. A couple of months earlier, a Muslim woman came to the Swami and expressed her desire to return to Hinduism with her children. Her husband took the Swami to court on charges of abduction of his wife and children. The court quashed the allegation and set the Swami free. The verdict left Muslims extremely furious. Within a few days, Abdul Rashid assassinated him.
A few days after this incident, Gandhi delivered a speech at the national conference of Indian National Congress at Gauhati amidst an atmosphere of gloom and depression among Hindus due to unusual cruel assassination of Shraddhananda. But Gandhi left everyone dumbfounded by addressing the assassin Abdul Rashid as "Bhai Abdul Rashid" and added: "Now you will perhaps understand why I have called Abdul Rashid a brother, and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swami's murder. Guilty indeed are those who excited feeling of hatred against one another."
Thus, he indirectly held Swami Shraddhananda responsible for his murder, as he was propagating hatred through his Suddhi Yajna. Yet, quite contradicting himself, he wrote in the obituary note: "He (the Swami) lived a hero. He died a hero."
In other words, if a Hindu dies at the hand of a Muslim assassin, Hindus should consider it a "heroic death".
This policy of Muslim appeasement by Gandhi, under the garb of (pseudo) secularism, was partly responsible for the Partition of India in 1947. Yet many Indians, till today, firmly believe that Gandhi was against partition as in the public meetings, he used to say, "Vivisect me, before you vivisect India".
While Gandhi was saying expressing the undivided India sentiment in public meetings, he was expressing the opposite view his writings. On March 26, 1940, the leaders of Muslim League raised a united voice for the creation of Pakistan as a separate homeland for Muslims. Hardly a couple of weeks had passed, Gandhi, supporting the demand, wrote: "Like other groups of people in this country, Muslims also have the right of self determination. We are living here as a joint family and hence any member has the right to get separated" (Harijan, April 6, 1940). A couple of years later, he also wrote, "If majority of the Muslims of this country maintain that they are a different nation and there is nothing common with the Hindus and other communities, there is no force on the earth that can alter their view. And if on that basis, they demand partition that must be carried out. If Hindus dislike it, they may oppose it." (Harijan, April 18, 1942)
It should be recall here that the Congress Working Committee, in its session on June 12, 1947, decided to place the "partition issue" before the All India Congress Committee (AICC) for debate. At the beginning of the debate, veteran Congress leaders like Purusottamdas Tandon, Govindaballav Panth, Chaitram Gidwani and Dr S Kichlu etc. gave very convincing and forceful speeches against the motion. Then Gandhi, setting aside all other speakers, spoke for 45 minutes supporting partition.
The main theme of his deliberation was that, if Congress did not accept partition (1) other group of people or leaders would avail the opportunity and throw the Congress out of power and (2) a chaotic situation would prevail throughout the country. Many believe that, in the name of other leaders, he pointed to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and in the name of 'chaotic condition', he tacitly asked the Muslims to begin countrywide communal riot, if the Congress did not accept the partition. Till then, Sardar Ballavbhat Patel was on the fence regarding the partition issue. But Gandhi's speech turned him into a firm supporter of partition and he influenced other confused members to support the motion. In this way, Congress approved the Muslim demand for partition (History of Freedom Movement in India, R C Majumdar, Vol. III, p-670).
One may assume that that Gandhi's policy of nonviolence and Muslim appeasement in the name of secularism indeed greatly harmed the unity of India, and should be left at that. But a closer look reveals that it has caused severe harm to India even after partition and is still causing. During independence, the Muslim population in undivided India was 23%, but got 32% of the land area as Pakistan. Yet, the most appropriate step after partition was to carry out the population exchange, that is, to send all Muslims to Pakistan and bring all Hindus and other non-Muslims from Pakistan to India. This population exchange was included in the Muslim League's proposal for creating Pakistan, and after communal riots in Bihar, M. A. Jinnah requested the Government of India to carry out the said population exchange as early as possible. But Gandhi, noticing the Muslim reluctance to move to Pakistan, opposed the implementation of the process, calling it an impractical and fictitious proposal.
Mount Batten, the then Governor General of India, a staunch supporter of the said population exchange, advised Jawaharlal Nehru to carry it out without delay. But Nehru submitted to Gandhi will and refrained from implementing the proposal. It is needless to say that had the said population exchange been carried out, many of India's current and future problems would have gone with that. But, thanks to Gandhi's appeasement of Muslims, they happily stayed back in India, while Hindus from Pakistan migrated to India in large numbers during the partition and continue to do so till today under all kinds of compulsion, including violence.
Many perhaps do not know that due to Gandhi's opposition, "Bande Mataram" could not be accepted as India's National Anthem. In his early life, Gandhi had a great affinity for the song. While in South Africa, he wrote: "It is nobler in sentiment and sweeter than the songs of other nations. While other anthems contain sentiments that are derogatory to others, Bande Mataram is quite free from such faults. Its only aim is to arouse in us a sense of patriotism. It regards India as the mother and sings her praise." But later on when he discovered that Muslims disliked the song, he stopped singing or reciting the same at public places. As a result, the "Jana Mana Gana" was selected as the National Anthem. During the debate over the matter in the Constituent Assembly, Nehru argued that Bande Mataram is not suitable to sing along with military band while Jana Gana Mana is free from this difficulty.
It should also be pointed out that Gandhi was also not pleased with Tri Color, the National Flag of India, because Muslims disliked the same. In this regard, Sri Nathuram Godse has narrated an incident in his "Why I Assassinated Gandhi", which deserves to be noted in this context. During his Noakhali riot tour in 1946, a Congress worker put a Tricolor over the temporary house where Gandhi was staying. One day an ordinary Muslim passer-by objected to it and Gandhi immediately ordered to bring the flag down. So, to please an ordinary Muslim, Gandhi did not hesitate to disgrace and dishonor the flag revered by millions of Congress workers (Nathuram Godse, Why I Assassinated Gandhi, p. 75-76).
It should also be pointed out here that in his early life, Gahdhi was very fond of the Hindi language and used to say that it was the only language having the potentiality to play the role of the national language. But to please Muslim, he later on tried his best to make Urdu, under the garb of Hindustani, the National Language of independent India.
A few months before the partition, when Hindu and Sikh refugees started to come from West Punjab in droves and crowding the refugee camps of Delhi, one day Gandhi visited a refugee camp and said: "Hindus should never be angry against the Muslims even if the latter might make up their minds to undo their (Hindus') existence. If they put all of us to the sword, we should court death bravely. … We are destined to be born and die, then why need we feel gloomy over it?" (speech delivered on April 6, 1947).
On a similar occasion, he said: "The few gentlemen from Rawalpindi who called upon me, asked me, "What about those who still remain in Pakistan?" I asked why they all came here (Delhi)? Why they did not die there? I still hold on to the belief that we should stick to the place where we happen to live, even if we are cruelly treated, and even killed. Let us die if the people kill us, but we should die bravely with the name of God on our tongue." He also said: "Even if our men are killed, why should we feel angry with anybody? You should realize that even if they are killed, they have had a good and proper end" (speech delivered on November 23, 1947)
In this context, Gandhi also said: "If those killed have died bravely, they have not lost anything but earned something. … They should not be afraid of death. After all, the killers will be none other than our Muslim brothers." (Godse, p. 92-93). On another occasion, while talking to a group of refugees, he said: "If all the Punjabis were to die to the last man without killing (a single Muslim), Punjab will be immortal. Offer yourselves as nonviolent willing sacrifices." (Collins and Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight, p. 385).
While Gandhi is seen as a Mahatma or Great Soul, there is no doubt that if one reads all these utterances of Gandhi, he/she would take him as a fool or lunatic.
Gandhi believed that Muslims were brothers of Hindus; hence they should never take arms or wage a war against Muslims. He used to say that the foreign policy of independent India should always be respectful to Islam and Muslims. Moreover, independent India should never invade a Muslim country like Arabia, Turkey etc. Gandhi also said that Rana Pratap, Guru Govinda Singh, Raja Ranjit Singh and Raja Shivaji were misguided patriots, because they fought war with the Muslims.
Gandhi's utterances painting respected Hindu heroes as misguided patriots aroused widespread commotion amongst Hindus. Most importantly, his calling Raja Shivaji a misguided patriot put entire Maharastra on boil. Later on, Nehru pacified their anger somewhat by offering apology on Gandhi's behalf.
It should be understand that throughout Muslim invasion and rule of India, whenever the attack Hindu settlements, they—in addition killing innocent people, setting their houses on fire, loot and burglary as their routine work—rape Hindu women. They committed all such heinous crimes and oppressions to fulfill the dicta of the Koran and Sunna of the prophet. During the Muslim rule that lasted for nearly 800 years, raping Hindu women became a common affair. To save their honour and sanctity from the lecherous Muslims, millions of Hindu women used to sacrific their lives in flames. In the wake of the partition, most of the Hindu families of Pakistan area became victim of Muslim attacks, and raping the Hindu women was an integral part of it. When Hindus were butchered and forcibly converted in Noakhali in 1946, thousands of Hindu women fell victim to rape by Muslims.
Many Hindus do not know what Gandhi, the Great Soul and the Apostle of nonviolence, thought about this heinous behavior of Muslims. In the 6th July, 1926, edition of the Navajivan, Gandhi wrote: "He would kiss the feet of the (Muslim) violator of the modesty of a sister" (D Keer, Mahatma Gandhi, Popular Prakashan, p. 473). Just before the partition, when both the Hindu and Sikh women were being raped by Muslims in large numbers in West Punjab, Gandhi advised them that if a Muslim expressed his desire to rape a Hindu or a Sikh lady, she should never refuse him but cooperate with him. She should lie down like a dead with her tongue in between her teeth, advised Gandhi (Lapierre and Collins, p. 479).
Above narrations makes it clear not only of how Gandhi's mindless policy of appeasement of Muslims helped the partition of India, but also of the fact that he was never moved by the sufferings and miseries of Hindus at the hands of Muslims. While the Hindus suffered, he shed tears for Muslims, the perpetrators. His famed idea of Hindu-Muslim amity was based on the premise that only Hindus are supposed to make sacrifices; they were supposed to endure all kinds of oppressions and heinous crimes of Muslims without protest. And that was the basis of Gandhian nonviolence and secularism. So a Muslim called Khlifa Haji Mehmud of Lurwani, Sind, once said: "Gandhi was really a Mohammedan" (D Keer, ibid, p. 237).
Some comments:
It was the Mongols who finished off the Caliphate. The Caliphate officially ended with the death of al-Mustasim at the hands of the Mongols in 1258. The 19th century claim of the Ottoman Turkish Sultans to be the inheritors of the Caliphate was not recognized by Muslims outside India. It was a political ploy by the Ottoman Sultans to keep together their crumbling empire. When Kemal Ataturk became the ruler of Turkey, he abolished the Caliphate and kicked out the Sultan. But Indian Muslims and even Gandhi embraced the now dethroned Turkish Sultan and pseudo-Caliph as their leader! 
It is one of the tragedies of history that Mahatma Gandhi made the restoration of the Turkish Sultan as Caliph the centerpiece of the disastrous Khilafat Movement in the support of which he launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. It resulted in a reign of terror in Malabar (Kerala) known as the Moplah Rebellion. It was the Khilafat that sowed the seeds of Partition. It also showed that terror could be used for political ends by invoking Islam. Indian history books rarely mention this 'Himalayan Blunder' by Gandhiji that led to bloodshed and Partition.
The Congress party to this day is always appeasing the Muslims as a continuation of Gandhi's policy.  All the Prime Ministers who were/are the members of the Congress party continued to appease the Muslims.  Now, Congress party wants to give a sub-quota to the Muslims out of the quota for OBCs at the cost of Hindus. This reservation for Muslims on religious basis would further divide the country and is fraught with danger.  Congress party is doing nothing to control the population of the country and it is the Muslims who are increasing their numbers through womb explosion.  After sometime, they would start demanding another Pakistan for themselves.  So, it is high time that Congress party which is in power, should change its policy of Muslim appeasement.
Satbir Singh Bedi

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