I’m glad that India was divided: Congress veteran K Natwar Singh | India News
The former foreign minister spoke at the launch of Rajya Sabha’s new book MP MJ Akbar “Gandhi’s Hinduism: the fight against Jinnah’s Islam”. He was released by former President Pranab Mukherjee at his residence.
“In my opinion, I am glad that India had divided. Because if India had not divided we would have had days of direct action, the first one we had during Jinnah’s life (Muhammad Ali) was August 16 (1946). ) when thousands of Hindus were killed in Kolkata (then Calcutta), and of course, the reprisal took place in Bihar, where thousands of Muslims were killed.
“Moreover, it could have been impossible for the simple reason that the Muslim League had not allowed the country to function,” he said.
The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had called on Muslims to participate in direct actions in support of the creation of a separate nation. On August 16, 1946, also known as the 1946 assassination of Calcutta or Direct Action Day, communal riots broke out between Muslims and Hindus in Kolkata, in the province of Bengal of what was then British India.
To reinforce his point on the Muslim League, Singh gave the example of the Provisional Government of India, formed on September 2, 1946, and how the Muslim League first refused to join the cabinet of the vice president of the council, Jawaharlal Nehru, and then It became part only to “reject” all its proposals.
“Therefore, you can imagine this on a larger scale, if India were not divided, the Muslim league would have made it very difficult for us to operate. Furthermore, the government situation (then) would have worsened every week,” he explained. .
Singh described Gandhi and Jinnah as two very “great” and “difficult” people.
“It would have been impossible to live with them. Because Gandhiji’s standards were so high and Jinnah’s temper was so abrasive that he certainly wouldn’t have gotten along with him,” the 88-year-old said, adding that he must be the only one in the audience that saw Gandhi in flesh and blood.
He thought it was Gandhi who spoiled Jinnah for the persuasion of the last governor general of India, C. Rajagopalachari.
“In many ways, and it is my judgment, Gandhiji spoiled Jinnah. In 1944, Gandhi visited Jinnah’s house on Malabar Hill 17 times. But not once did Jinnah return to her visits.
“Now why did Gandhiji go there? I know because Sri C. Rajagopalachari ji pursued him to do it.
“Jinnah was a member of Congress for many years, but when Gandhi appeared on the scene … Jinnah temperamentally did not fit in with her non-cooperation program and separated gradually. In 1928 the true separation took place. It was then that Jinnah went to London to becoming a lawyer because she thought of a political future for himself, “she said.
According to former President Pranab Mukherjee, the book was a “well written” and “deeply researched” work that could become an important reference to analyze the history of the partition.
“(The book) demonstrates very clearly the essential spiritual secularism that Mahatama ji represented and the divisive and utilitarian color that Jinnah gave religion only to secure political ends.
“In addition, it tells how Mahatma Gandhi and the National Congress of India stood firm against the partition of the country until the end,” he said.
Praising the book, national security adviser Ajit Doval, who was also present at the event, said Gandhi’s statement that he would like to go to Pakistan on August 15 “was a symbol of the great pain he had suffered.”
It was not just Partition, but Gandhi felt that beyond Partition “the relationship (between India and Pakistan) will be such that it will probably hurt and bleed the two countries that turned out to be so right,” he said.
“Probably in history 70 years is not much time. Time will pass and we will learn from our own experiences. We will probably do the right things after having experimented with everything else.
“We will realize that our coexistence is a possibility and a reality and is the only thing that is beneficial in the end,” said Doval.
The book, published by Bloomsbury, aims to analyze both the ideology and the personality of those who shaped the destiny of the region, and explains the mistakes, lapses and conscious ruse that permeated the policy of seven explosive years between 1940 and 1947.