Nehru pilloried for partition

Shiban Khaibri
At the outset, let this writer candidly admit his disliking to many political decisions of Mr. Nehru, the architect of modern India and being his severe critic because of his unprecedented appeasing policies towards largest religious minority of the country, even after the country getting partitioned and the people here agreeing to have secular set up, still not necessarily advocating for decrying him for Kashmir, least on partition. Having said that, most of the problems which are of political nature more than economic or socio- cultural, felt more than seen in India today, dragging Nehru’s name and holding him solely responsible to the extent of pillorying him, has become a symbol of new political (late) awakening with a silent lament that “up till now, we were either ignorant or could not muster courage or get conducive opportunity” to lavishly berate Nehru. Competitive hatred for Nehru and in that, outpacing one another, can be seen by lowering the standard of healthy criticism by questioning his private life when he is not living, casting aspersions even on his friendly relations with some ladies and what not. That is just cheapness deserving to be contemptuously rubbished.
India, when Nehru became its Prime Minister, was reeling under tremendous problems– numerous, complex and difficult to be ironed out– abject poverty, hunger, squalor, killings , arson, refugees, no food and no money to import food etc. He is held entirely responsible for the present Kashmir problem to an extent that all what we see and pass through as an immediate and after effect of it, would have not been there if he would have done “this” and not “that” and at once, put him in present day fast developing India, powerful nuclear India, militarily strong India to dictate and to get things done with a political hubris both at home and abroad in political and economic matters which he should have done then. Such a cussed approach adopted mostly by some political neophytes has become entirely one sided, with very few to shoot back certain unpleasant but factual and historical questions.
Why was the accession of the state with India, at the first instance, not done right from June even up to August 1947? Why it was not done even after August 15, when alarming reports of rebellion and distribution of arms in border areas to resist state forces and wreak and overthrow the State Government had reached the state capital ? Why it was not done despite many requests made by numerous important leaders, to name a few like Sardar Patel followed by Acharya Kriplani in May 1947 as also by Lord Mountbatten on June 21, 1947 personally visiting Srinagar respectively to “cajole press” for accession until Pakistani regulars and Kabaylis attacked Kashmir on Oct22, 1947 ? It was not done even after the fall of Muzaffarabad , Domel, Baramulla and other parts of the state till Oct 26, when it was a matter of few hours only for Kashmir to have gone into the treacherous grubby lap of Pakistan.
Had Nehru not accepted, at the far end of even the eleventh hour, the instrument of accession for retrieving Kashmir by airlifting military or if that piece of paper written in pencil by Sheikh Abdullah from the adjacent room of Nehru not accepted, the consequences thereof are subject of no conjectures. Nobody could have dared Nehru to accept it or question in rejecting it. That is cardinal, central and fundamental to the entire issue. Can this hypocrisy and political disparagement (of condemning Nehru continuously) be camouflaged as neo- Nationalism or dawning of the factual historical knowledge quite awfully late. Let this be left to the wisdom of the impartial and knowledgeable scholars as to how they appraised it. History is present in the past.
It is , however , excruciatingly unacceptable that a non- Indian , that also an asylee or the one who has been asylum seeker in this country for decades, to indulge in controversial political issues to the extent blaming what he calls “self centering” attitude of Nehru to result in the partition of the country. It is ab-initio unacceptable. It is another issue that Dalai Lama, though non- Indian but still held in esteem in the highest traditions of India’s ages old Sanatan traditions, having later expressed regrets for having given an unsolicited, completely unauthentic and malicious statement that in the absence of Nehru’s self centred attitude, India would have not been partitioned. However, the damage his statement made in various ways cannot be undone with his withdrawing the statement and expressing mild regrets. Those having interest in accounting standards can better understand as to how a wrong entry in books is “withdrawn or erased” only by passing additional two entries. That accounting standard analogy fits very much in the statement of the reverend Lama and no regrets would erase it from the minds of the people who know what role the fanatic Muslim League played in pressing for the partition.
Seeds of partition were sown by (Sir) Syed Ahmed Khan (1817- 1898) by advocating two nation theory. People must be deeply hurt at the conspiracy to exonerate him and others who carried forward his mission. This theory became the basis of creation of Pakistan. Two nation theory states that Muslims and Hindus are two separate nations from every definition and by that logic, Muslims should have a separate Homeland in the Muslim majority areas of India where they can live and spend lives as per tenets of their religion. It is a travesty that the first war of independence (1857) was fought during the heydays of the life of Syed Ahmed Khan having been witness to the holocaust when “rebel” native Indians were butchered by the Britishers; when the “mutineers” were hanged by neck by the branches of the trees.
The movement for Muslim self awakening and identity was started by him while projecting himself as Muslim modernist and reformer. Later, his concrete structure based on a particular logic was carried forward by the great poet Mohammad Iqbal. Even text books in Schools and colleges in Pakistan present Iqbal as a pious orthodox Muslim thinker and Pakistan, the Homeland is accredited to his vision. Recall the poet’s Presidential address to the 21st session of All India Muslim League on Dec 29, 1930 in Allahabad. He was the first to give a call for the Punjab, North West Frontier Province, Sind and Balochistan amalgamated into a single Muslim state. In this, he intellectually built up an ideological dichotomy between Islam and Western nationalism to be engaged in a conflict which, according to him, had the potential to disturb Islamic way of life.
Iqbal tried to argue that if democracy were to be applied, there had to be “recognition” of diverse nature of India’s “communal groups”. Nehru Report of 1929 had totally rejected the crucial Muslim demands for a separate electorate and weightage for Muslims as minorities and Iqbal’s Presidential address was a direct hard hitting rebuttal to the Nehru Report. Perhaps Dalai Lama could not take pains in going through the pages of history of a few decades old instead of holding Nehru guilty on unfounded premise. He had argued for a “Muslim India within India”.
The concept of Pakistan was taken forward by Jinnah from where Iqbal had left it and under the warning of “Divided India or Destroyed India” preceded and followed by countless communal attacks engineered by Muslim League, Jinnah spurned any offer under the sky at the cost of formation of Pakistan, then how come Nehru is held responsible for partition or how pseudo secularists and Communists are holding Veer Savarkar also responsible for it? It is amoral, politically monochromatic, and nadir in political propriety. It is spreading canards.
Jinnah reacted sharply and threateningly to the British PM Attlee’s announcement in Parliament that not later than June 1948, power would be transferred to “Indians” that Muslim League would not yield , come what may, in its demand for Pakistan exclusively for Muslims . Liyaqat Ali Khan, another Muslim League fanatic, warned that they would never “allow” transfer of power by the British unless Muslim demand for Pakistan was conceded by the British. Please spare Nehru as he is no more in this world for 54 years.