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English Pages  Year 1983
Vol. 1 covers the period up to 1931. Presentation of the author's thesis that besides the struggle launched by the
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Table of contents :
1. Constitutional Changes Slnce 1919
Missing Page 53
Missing Page 54
2. The Nationalist Movement In India
4. The Indian States Since 1919
Chronological Table 1920-1974
The Reading Generation [A note in Sindhi]
IDSTORY OF MODERN INDIA
( 1919-1982 )
1 974 )
HISTORY OF MODERN INDIA (1919-1982)
V. D. MAHAJAN,
M.A. (Hons.), LL.B., Ph.D.
Author of .Ancient India, Muslim Rule in India, British Rule in India, History of India upto 1 526, India Since 1526, Advanced History of India, History of the Nationalist Movement in India, Leaders of the Nationalist Movement, History of Modern Europe Since 1789, History of Great Britain, England Since 1485, England Since . 1688, Constitutional History of India, InternatiolUll Relations Since 1900, International Law etc.
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Council of the Governor-General. Lord Wavell pleaded for "men of influence and ability to be recommended by the various parties
who would be prepared to take decision and responsibility of ad ministration ·of all the portfolios including External Affairs," ex cept the conduct of war which was to· be under the Commander in-Chief. There was to be an equal number of Muslims and Hindus other than the Scheduled Castes. The control of the Secretary of State for India and the Governor-General was to con tinue. Likewise, the veto of the Viceroy was to continue, although
the same was not to be used unreasonably. It was to be used not in the interests of England but those of Tudia. The proposals were to affect only British India and not the Indian States. To quote Wavell, "In regard to the Indian States, while recognising that dur ing the interim period the powers of the Crown representative will continue, it is clear that the National Government will have to deal with many matters which overlap and have concern with the states, e.g., trade, industry, labour, etc. Further the barriers between the States people and the princes and members of the National Gov ernment and other associates should be removed so as to help in mutual discussion, consultation and consideration of common problems and their solution." Wavell pointed out that "If the meeting is successful, I hope that we shall be able to agree on the formation of the new Executive Council at the Centre and that Provincial Ministries in Section 93 provinces would resume office and that these would be Coalitions." However, "If the meeting should unfortunately fail, we must carry on as at present until parties come together." The members of the Congress Working Committee were re leased from jail and high hopes were raised on all sides. Invita
tions were issued to the leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah for the proposed Conference to be held at Simla. The Conference met on
25 June, 1 945. After three· days of delibera 1 1 July, 1 945, Mr. Jinnah had a 1 5 minutes with Lord Wavell. He
tions, it was adjourned. On short interview extending over
seems to have made it clear that he would not agree to the in clusion of non-League Muslims in the list of the Governor-General on the ground that the Muslim League alone was the sole repre sentative of the Muslims of India.
Lord Wavell was not aware
of the fact that a member of his own Executive Council was advis
ing Mr. Jinnah to stand :firm.
However, Lord Wavell ·did not
accept the point of view of Mr. Jinnah. Shortly after that, Mahatma Gandhi met Lord Wavell. On 12 July, 1 945, Maulana •
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
Azad, President of the Congress, was invited by Lord Wavell to see him. He was merely informed that Mr. Jinnah was not agree "able to the Muslim representatives in the list prepared by Lord Wavell himself. However, Lord Wavell did not reveal the con tents of the list. On 14 July 1 945, Lord Wavell declared that the Conference had failed. In a statement, he observed: "The Conference has . . . . . failed. Nobody can regret this more than I do myself. I wish to make it clear that the responsibility for the failure is mine. The main idea underlying the Conference was mine. If it had. succeeded, its success could have been attributed to m� and I cannot place the blame for its failure upon any of the parties. Critics point out that the procedure followed by Lord Wavell was not a proper one. He should have taken the leaders of the other parties into confidence and revealed to them the contents of his own list of the members of the Executive Council. It is possi ble that the Congress Working Committee might have agreed to accept his list, with or without minor alterations. He should not have all9wed the Muslim League to sabotage the whole scheme. The responsibility for the failure must be shared by the Muslim League and the British Government. The latter ought to have acted :firmly and fearlessly. There is a close analogy between the Cripps Mission and the Wavell Plan. Cripps came to India in the midst of the beating of drums and the fanfare of trumpets. He raised high hopes and made extravagant off-the-record promises to the Congress Presi dent and later denied the same. In the case of the Wavell Plan also, the Viceroy definitely stated at Simla that there was no question of his veto being elimiJiated. To that extent, he was frank unlike Cripps. Moreover, when Cripps came to India and invited Mahatma Gandhi to meet him, the Mahatma was not at all impressed by his proposals. In the case of the Wavell Plan Mahatma Gandhi felt that the Plan was sincere in spirit and' con tained the seedS" of independence. When Cripps came to India, Mahatma Gandhi did not ask for the summoning of the Congress Working Committee to consider the proposals. However, in 1 945, he asked for the summoning of the Congress Working Committee to consider the Wavell Plan. Cripps came to India when there was an immediate danger of the Japanese invasion of India. When the threat of invasion passed away, the Cripps Mis sion came to an abrupt end. Likewise, the Wavell Plan came to light when the I:abou� Par� threatened th� �2IlS�rva�iv� �arty
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
in the elections held in July 1 945. When the elections were over, the Wavell Plan also came to an unexpected end. It is also point ed out that the Simla Conference was due to the Russian pressure as the Cripps Mission was due to the American pressure. In 1 942, the Mission failed as the Congress rejected the proposals. The failure of the Wavell Plan was due to the attitude of the Muslim League. The Cripps proposals failed virtually on the third day of the deliberations of the Congress Working Commit tee which met on 29 March 1 942. The decision was not made public on account of the special request of Cripps. In 1 945 also, the Simla Conference failed on the third day of its meeting. About the Simla Conference, Shri V. P. Menon says: "The Simla Conference afforded the last opportunity for the forces of nationalism to fight a rearguard action to preserve the integrity of the coµntry, and when the battle was lost, the waves ot com munaj.ism quickly engulfed it. Only the Hobbson's choice of partition was left." (The Transfer of Power in India, p. 215). LABOUR PARTY
The Labour Party came to power on 10 July 1 945 and Lord Pethick Lawrence, an old friend of India, was appointed Secretary of State for India. In his speech to the new Parliament, the King-Emperor referred to the Indian affairs in these words: "In accordance with the promises already made to my Indian peoples, my Government will do their utmost to promote in conjunction with the leaders of Indian opinion, early realisation of full self government in India." The War with Japan ended officially on the midnight of 14 August 1 945. Lord Wavell was summoned to London for consultations and he reached there on 25 August 1 945. Before his return to India, an announcement was made from London to the effect that fresh elections would be held both for the provincial legis latures and the Central legislature in India. Lord ·Wavell came back to India on 1 8 September 1 945 and made a broadcast speech on 1 9 September 1 945. In that broadcast, Lord Wavell told the people of India that His Majesty's Gowrnment were de termined to do their utmost to promote the early realisation of full self-government in India. He also declared that elections to the central and provincial legislatures would be held in the com ing cold weather and after that the Government hoped that minis terial responsibility would be accepted by the political leaders in
CONSTITUTIONAL CHAN9-ES SINCE 1919
all" the provinces. It was the intention of His Majesty"'s Govern ment to convene as soon as possible a constitution-making body and for that purpose he himself would hold, immediately after
the elections, discussions with representatives of the provincial legislative assemblies to ascertain whether the proposals contain ed in the Declaration of 1 942 were acceptable to them or whether some alternative or modified scheme was preferable. He also de clared that di�cussions would also be undertaken with the repre sentatives of the Indian states with a view to ascertaining in what way they wou1d best take their part in the constitution-making body. His Majesty's Government was also proceeding to the consideration of the treaty which was to be concluded between Great Britain and India. He also declared that after the elections he wo:uld take steps to bring into being an Executive Council
which would have the support of the main: Indian political parties. He concluded his broadcast with these w:ords: "It is now for the Indians to show that they have the wisdom, faith and courage to determine in what way they can best reconcile their differences
and how their country can be governed by Indians for Indians." A similar statement was made on the same day by Mr. Attlee, the Prime Minister of England and that .statement ended with these
words: "I would ask all Indians to follow this great example and to join together :in a united effort to work out a Constitution which the majority and minority .communities will accept as a just and fair constitution in which both the states and provinces can find their places. The British Government will do their ut most to give every assistance in their power and India can be assured of the sympathy of the British people."
On 4 December 1 945, Lord Pethick Lawrence made a state ment in the House 0f Lords in which he toqk pains to make it clear that there was absolutely no foundation in the propaganda in certain quarters that the British Government intended to delay matters by adopting the device of holding discussions with the representatives of the people of India.
He also declared that His
Majesty's Government was JUranging for a Parliamentary Delega tion to go to India under the auspices of ·the Empire Parliamen tary Association so that the members of the British Parliament could have an opportunity to meet leading political Indian per
sonalities so that they could form their own views on the spot. The Secretary of State also made it clear that the British Gov
ernment would not allow the loyalty of the administrative services and the Indian armed forces to be interfered with.
.FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA ' .
On 10 December 1945, ·while addressing the annual function of the Associated Chamber of Commerce, Lord Wavell gave an assurance that the British Government and the British people honestly and sincerely wished the Indian people to have their political freedom and a· government or governments of their own choice. However, he made it clear that the problem was a diffi cult one and there was no magic Sesame which would open the. Alibaba's cave. The problem could also not be solved through violence and disorder. There must be some agreement between the Congress, the Muslims and the rulers of the Indian States and the British Govermrient so that the objective of freedom and wel fare of India could be secured. To quote him, "I do appeal most solemnly and earnestly at this critical moment of Indian history for goodwill on the part ·of all leaders. We are going through a very difficult and testing time and it will need coolness and wis dom if we are to avoid calamity. 'In so far as I can help by per·· sonal contact, I am always prepared to do so." On 19 February 1964, Lord Pethick Lawrence made a mo mentus declaration in the House of Lords in which he announced the decision of the British Government to send a special mission of Cabinet Ministers to resolve the constitutional deadlock in the country. The members. of the Mission were Lord Pethick Law rence himself, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of .Tr.ade and Mr. A. V. Alexander, First. Lord of Admiralty. THE CABINET MISSION (1946) The Mission reacbed Delhi on 24 March 1946. Prolong ed discussions took place ·between the members of the Mission and the leaders of the Congress and Muslim League. However, the main parties could not come to any mutual understanding. The result was that the members of the Mission had to put forward their own formula for solving the constitutional problem. That formula was embodied in a joint statement issued by the Cabinet Mission and Lord Wavell on 16 May 1964. After pointing out the impracticability of the Pakistan sche· me, the statement of May 16 recommended that the new cons titution of India should take the following basic form:"(l) There should be· a Union of India, embracing both British India and States which should deal with the following subjects: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Com-
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES . SINCE 1919
munications, and should have the powers necessary to raise the :finances required for the above subjects. "(2) The Union should have an Executive and a Legisla ture constituted from British India and States repre sentatives. Any question raising a major communal issue in the Legislature should require for its deci sion a majority of the representatives present and voting of each of the two major communities as well as a majority of all the members present and voting. "(3) All subjects other than the Union subjects ·and all residuary powers should vest in the Provinces. "(4) The States will retain all subjects and powers other than those ceded to the Union. "(5) Provinces should be free to form Groups with exe cutives and legislatures, and each Group· could de termine the Proyincfal subjects to be taken in com mon. "(6) The constitutions of the Union and of the Groups should contain a provision whereby any Province could, by a majority vote of its Legislative Assembly, call for a reconsideration of the term� 9f the cons titution after an initial perio� of + 0 years and at 1 0 yearly intervals thereafter." . . As regards the constitution-making machinery, it was pro vided that the Legislative Assemblies of the provinces would elect the members of that body on the basis of one representa tive for one million of the population. The Sikh and Muslim legislators were to elect the quota of their communities, deter ·mined on the population basis. Others were to elect the repre -�entatives for· the rest of the population. The representatives Jrom the provinces were to divide themselves into three sections, A, B and C. Section C was to consist of the representatives of ·Bengal and Assam, Section B of the Punjab, Sind and North West Frontier Province and Section A of the rest of the provin ces of India. "These Sections shall proceed to settle the Provin -cial Constitution for the Provinces included in each Section, and ·sp.all also decide whether any Group Constitution shall be set up for these provinces and, if so, with what provincial subjects the ·Groups should deal." The representatives of the Sections of the Indian States were then to re-assemble and settle the Union Constitution, ·
FIFTY-FIV.E YEARS OF MODERN INDIA TABLE OF REPRESENTATION Province
Madras Bombay United Provinces Bihar Central ProvinceS" Orissa Total Province
Total Total for British India Maximum for States Total
General 4S 19 47 31 16 9
M11slim 4 2 8 s 1 0
General 8 0 1
Muslim 16 3 3
Siklz 4. 0 0
General 27 7 34
M11slim 33 3 36
Total 49 , 21 SS 36 17 9
Total 28 3 4 3S
Total 60 10 70 292 93 38S
The Provinces of India were given the power to opt out of the Groups by a decision of their Legislature after the general elections under the new Constitution. The Resolutions of the Union Constituent Assembly regarding major communal issues were to require a majority of the representatives present and vot ing of each of the two major communities. The Chairman of the Constituent Assembly was to decide which resolution raised major communal issues and was to consult the Federal Court be fore giving his decision. A plan for the interim Government was also envisaged in the Scheme of May 1 6, 1 946. The Cabinet Mi$sion declared that the British Government could not and woµld not in any circumstances transfer para mountcy to aii Indian Government. However, it was made clear that when a new self-governing Government or Govern ments came into being in British India, it would not be possible for the British Government to carry out the obligations of para-
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
mountcy. In that case, all th:e rights surrendered by the states to the paramount power were to return to the Indian states. "Political arrangements ·between the states on the one hand and the British Crown and British India on the other will thus be brought to an end. The void will have to be filled either by the states entering into a federal relationship with the successor Gov ernment or Governments in British India or, faifuig this, enter ing into particular political arrangements with it or them." This policy " has been described as a "political scorched-earth policy." The great merit of the Cabinet Mission scheme was that the Constituent Assembly was to be constituted on the democratic principle of population strength. The principle of weightage was to be discarded altogether. The democratic method of the decision of issues by a simple majority was adopted in the case of communal issues. However, safeguards were provided for the minorities. The scheme also provided-for an Indian Union of provinces and states and rejected the idea of Pakistan com pletely. The Cabinet Mission scheme was the last attempt made by British statesmen to save Jndia from .division and disaster. Some of the anomalies of the scheme were due to the desire of the members of the Cabinet Mission to save Indian unity at any cost. The scheme required that all the members of the Cons tituent Assembly were to be Indians. Neither the British Gov ernment nor non-official Europeans in India were to be given any representation in the ·Constituent Assembly. The European members of the Provincial Assemblies were to absent themselves from voting. There was to be no inte;rference with the work of the Constituent Assembly either by the Br.itish Governme.nt or by its officials. Within the framework of the scheme, the ·Cons tituent Assembly was to be its own master. As regards its demerits, while the scheme protected the rights of the Muslim minority, the same principle was not applied to the Sikhs in the Punjab. The proposals of the Cabinet Mission with regard to the grouping of the provinces were not clear. Both the Congress and the Muslim League interpreted the provisions dif ferently. The Muslims regarded the compulsory grouping of the provinces as one of the cornerstones of the Cabinet fylissiRn Scheme and were not prepared to came to a compromise on -that question. The Congress stand was that the making of the groups was optional for the provinces and the latter were fr:�e to join or not to join any group. As a matter of fact, M�atma Gandhi · asked the people of Assam no.t to join the group if they did not ·
OF MODERN 'JNDIA
"approve of it. To solve this difficulty, it was suggested that the provinces might join provisionally, but later on freedom might -be given to them to leave it if they so desired. The Congress sug gested that the matter be referred to the Federal Court. of India for decision. However, the British Government gave its verdict "in favour of .the compulsory grouping of the provinces. The Muslim League won and the Congress lost its point. Another defect of the scheme was the order in which the Union and Sec tional Assemblies were to meet and work and draft their con stitutions. It looked ridiculous first to form the constitutions of the groups and the provinces and then to frame the constitution of the Union. It was like putting the cart before the horse. This practical difficulty would have been experienced if the whole scheme would have worked out in actual practice. As regards the events after May 1 6, 1 946. the All India Muslim League passed a resolution on June 6, 1 946. by which it ·accepted the Cabinet Mission scheme in its entirety. On June 26, 1 946 the Working Committee of the Indian National Con 'gress passed a resolution by which it accepted the scheme partial ly. The part accepted by it related to constitution-making. The view of the Working Committee was that the grouping of the pro vinces was not to be compulsory. The Congress rejected the in, terim Government scheme on the ground that the clarifications given were not acceptable. The resolution of the Working Com mittee was ratified by the All India Congress Committee. The Sikhs rejected the scheme completely on the ground that the com pulsory grouping of the provinces as contemplated by the scheme was suicidal to their interests. Before the members of th_y Cabinet Mission left India, they issued a statement alo:pg with Lord Wavell in which they express ed their satisfaction that the work of the making of the constitu tion would proceed with the consent of the major political parties in India. They regretted that an interim Government consisting of the various political parties could not be formed on account of certain difficulties. It was hoped that after the elections to the Constituent Assembly were over, negotiations would be started for the formation of an interim Government consisting of the re presentatives of the various political parties. CALCUTTA KILLING (AUGUST 1 946) Mr. Jinnah who had accepted the scheme in its entirety, was aiinoyed at the decision of the British Government to postpone the
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
formation of the interim Goverhment. He accused Lord Wavell of his having gone back on his promise. He was so much angry that the Muslim League, under his leadership, passed another re solution on July 29, 1 946 by which it withdrew its former accept ance of the Cabinet Mission scheme. Mr. Jinnah was not con tented with this negative action. The Muslim League passed the famous Direct Action Resolution by which both the Congress and the British Government were condemned for their breach of faith with the Muslims. It was declared that the time had come for the Muslim League to resort to direct action to achieve Pakistan. The resolution authorised the Working Committee of the Muslim League to prepare a programme of direct action at once. August 1 6, 1 946 was :fixed as the Direct Action Day. On that day, Hindu-Muslim riots took place in Calcutta on an unprecedented scale. There was a lot of blood-shed. There was an enormous loss of life and property and the British Government did nothing to stop it. Mr. Suhrawardy, Chief Minister of Bengal at that time, was himself in the control room to direct and protect the rioters., On 1 8 August 1 946, the figure of casualties mounted to 1 ,000 killed and 2,000 injured. As the trouble continued till '20 August 1 946, the total toll of communal carnage in Calcutta was 1 5,000 dead and wounded. An eye-witness account is in these words: ''Even small boys and girls were killed by mobs. In one place, a three year old child is stated to have been killed and nail ed to the door. Fiendish mobs raiding residences are said to have thrown down children from second and third floor balconies in some places. Mobs armed with axes, daggers, lathies and other weapons raided houses and shops, battered the doors, looted, bu tchered or maimed the residents on whom they could lay hands, threw petrol and kerosene on the building, set fire to it and went on their way to carry out similar :fiendish work elsewhere." The Calcutta atrocities were followed by the riots in Noakhali. It is difficult to describe the hardships and sufferings of the Hindu men� women and children. To quote, "The echoes of the �alcutta riots have hardly died down ere we have reports of massacres more dire and disastrous still. Harrowing tales of murder, loot and arson which made the Calcutta killing pale into insignificance have occurred in Noakhali and Tipperah Districts." The indignities to which Hindu women were subjected in Noakhali brought forth protests from all over the country. . When all this was happening, Lord Wavell invited Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, President of the Indian National Congress, to
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA.
form the interim Government and he took office on 2 September 1 946. To begin with, the Muslim League refused to join the Interim Government but later on, on 13 October, 1946, it de cided to join. On 15 October 1946, five members of the Muslim League were included in the Interim Government. The intro duction of the new element destroyed the team spirit of the Executive Council as the League members openly repudiated the idea of collective responsibility.1 What was worse, the Lea gue refused to join the Constituent Assembly although Lord Wavell had told Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru before the inclusion of the Muslim League members in the Executive Council that the League had agreed to join the Constituent Assembly. ATILEE'S STATEMENT OF FEBRUARY 1 947 As apprehended, the Muslim League did not participate in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly. It demanded a separate Constituent Assembly for framing a separate constitu tion of its own. On 20 February 1947 Prime Minister Attlee made an important statement in which he declared .the intention of the British Government to quit India by a date not later than June 1 948 . ' To quote .Mr. Attlee, "This great sub-continent now containing over four hundred million people has for the last cen- ; tury enjoyed peace and security as a part of the British Common wealth and Empire. Continued peace and security are more than ever necessazy today if the full possibilities of economic development are to be realised and a higher standard of life attained by the Indian people. "His Majesty's Government are anxious to hand over their responsibilities to a Government which, resting on the sure foun dation of the support of the people, is capable of main�aining peace and administering India with justice and efficiency. It is, therefore, essential that all parties should sink their differences in order that they may be ready to shoulder the great responsibility which will come upon them next year. "After months of hard work by the Cabinet Mission a great measure of agreement was obtained as to the method by which I. It was realised that the Interim Government was a fraud-a snare to torpedo the Constituent Assembly and make the Congress leaders look like fools. The representatives of the League served as the henchmen of the European reactionaries in the services and outside. (Salmi, The Lid Off, p. 225) .
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
a Constitution should be worked out. This was embodied in their statement of May last. His Majesty's Government agreed to recommend to Parliament a constitution worked out in ac cordance with the proposals made therein by a full representative Constituent Assembly. But if it should appear that such a con stitution will not have been worked out by a full representative Assembly before the time mentioned in paragraph 7, His Majesty's Government will have to consider to whom the powers of the Cen tral Government in British India should be handed over, on due date, whether as a whole to some form of Central Government for British India, or in some areas to the existing Provincial Govern ments or in such other way as may seem most reasonable and in the best interests of the Indian ·people. "Although the final transfer of authority may not take place until June. 1 948, preparatory measures must be put in hand in advance. It is important that the e:ffici�ncy of the civil adminis tration should be maintained and that the defence of India should be fully provided for. But inevitably, as the process of transfer proceeds, it will become progressively more difficult to carry out to the letter all the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935. Legislation will be introduced in due course to give effect to the :final transfer of power. . "In regard to the Indian States, as was explicitly stated by the Cabinet Mission, His Majesty's Government do not intend to hand over their powers and obligations under Paramountcy to any Government of British' India. It is not intended to bring Paramountcy, as a system, to a conclusion earlier than the �ate of the final transfer of power, but it is contemplated that for the in tervening period the relations of the Crown with individual States may be adjusted by agreement. "His Majesty's Government will negotiate agreements in re gard to matters arising out of the transfer ·of power with repre sentatives of those to whom they propose to transfer power. "His Majesty's Government believe that British commercial and industrial interests in India can look forward to a fair field for their enterprise under the new conditions. The commercial connection between India and the United Kingdom has been long and will continue to be to their mutual advantage. "His Majesty's Government cannot conclude the statement without expressing on behalf of the people of this country their goodwill and good wishes towards the people of India as they go forward to this 'final stage in their achievement of self-government.
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OE MODERN INDIA
It will be
the wish of everyone in these Islands that, notwithstand ing constitutional changes, the association of the British and Indian peoples should not be brought to an end, and they will wish to continue to do all that is in their power to further the well being of India." Mr. Attlee also announced that Lord Mountbatten was to succeed Lord Wavell as the Viceroy of India and he was to be entrusted with the task of transferring into the hands of the Indians tlie responsibility for the Government of British India in a manner that would best ensure the future happiness and prosperity of India. After the February Declaration, the Muslim League resorted to Direct Action. There was a wear and tear campaign in favour of Pakistan. There were very serious riots in Punjab in which horrible atrocities were committed on the minorities, particularly the Sikhs. There was ar$on, looting, violence and murders. There was trouble in the North-West Frontier Province. It is regrettable that the British Government in India took no action against the workers of the Musljm League. While on previous occasions, the Congress workers while hoisting the national flag on the -Govern ment buildings were shot dead, absolutely no action was taken against Muslim women and youngmen who climbed the Secre tariat with the lrelp of staircases and hoisted the flag of the Muslim League. The Muslim League volui1teers were surrounded, put in trucks and left off after giving them a joy-ride. for a few miles. That certainly heartened them to do �ore and more. JUNE 3
Lord Mountbatten assumed office as Governor-General and Viceroy of India on 24 March. 1 947. The situation at that time was explosive. Riots were taking place at that time on a large scale. It appeared that it was not possible to maintain the unity of India under any circumstances. Mr. Jinnah declared that the "Muslim League will not yield an inch in its demand for Pakistan" and he had the backing of the British bureaucracy in India in this demand. Hectic negotiations continued between Lord Mount batten on the one hand the Muslim League leaders and the Con gress Leaders on the other. Ultimately Lord Mountbatten broad cast on 3 June 1 947 his famous Plan which laid down the method by which power was to be transferred from British to Indian hands. In that Plan, it was declared that if the areas with a majority of
CONSTITtJTIO.NAL CHANGES SINCE i9i!J
Muslim population desired that they should be allowed to form a separate dominion, a new Constituent Assembly would be set up for that purpose. However, in that case, there would be a parti tion of Bengal and Punjab if the representatives of their Legisla tive Assemblies so desired·. "The members of two parts of each Legislative Assembly sittin'g separately will be empowered to vote whether or not the provinces should be partitioned. If a simple majority of either part decides in favour of partition, partition will take place and arrangements would be made accordingly." The Legislative Assembly of Sind was to make its own decision at a special meeting. A decision by referendum was provided for in the case of North-West Frontier Province. The Muslim majority District of Sylhet was to decide by a referendum whe ther it would join East Bengal or remain in Assam. There was to be a Boundary Commission to settle the details of the boun daries in case the partition of Bengal and Punjab was decided upon. The statement concluded thus: "His Majesty's Government propose to introduce legislation during the current session for the transfer of power this year on a Dominion Status basis on one or two suc cessor authorities according to decisions taken as a result of this announcement. This will be with5mt prejudice to the right of the Indian Constituent Assemblies to decide in due course whether or not the part of India in respect of which they have authority will remain in tbe British Commonwealth." In his broadcast, Lord Mountbatten declared: "The whole Plan may not be perfect; but like all Plans, its success will depend on the spirit of goodwill with which it is carried out· I have al ways felt that once it was decided in what way to transfer power the transfer should take place at the earliest possible moment, but the dilemma was that if we waited until a constitution set for All India was agreed, we should have to wait a long time, particularly if partition were decided on, whereas if we handed over power before the Constituent Assemblies had :finished their work, we should leave the country without a constitution. . The solution to this dilemma which I put forward, is ·that His Majesty's Govern ment should transfer power now to one or two Governments of British India each having Dominion Status as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made. This I hope will be within the next .few months." This historic pronouncement was received with mixed feelings by the public. The Hindus and nationalists of all persuasions �eplored the partition of India. The Muslim League was not
FIFTY-FIVE: YEARS OF MODEllN INDIA
fully satisfied with the "truncated and moth-eaten Pakistan." How ever, it was agreed that the June 3 Pfan was the best practicable solution of the Indian problem as could be worked out under the circumstances. No ,wonder, the Plan was accepted both by the M;uslim League and the Congress. The Legislatures of the Pun jab and Bengal decided in favour of the partition of those pro vinces. l'wo Boundary Commissions were appointed by the British Government for the Punjab and Bengal with Sir Cyril Radcliffe as Chairman of both. The referendum in North-West Frontier Province went in favour of Pakistan. Sylhet also de cided to join Pakistan.
INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT, 1 947
In order to implement the June 3 Plan, the Indian Indepen dence Bill was introduced in the British Parliament on 4 July 1 947 and the same was passed by the British Pfl!liament on 1 8 July 1947 without any dissent. The Indian Independence Act provided for the partition of India and the establishment of two Dominions of India and Pakistan from the appointed day (August 15, 1 947). It also provided for the legislative supremacy of the two ,Dominions. The legislatures of the two Dominions were given full power to make laws having �extra-territorial jurisdiction. The British Government was to have nb control over the affairs of the Dominions, provinces or any part of the Dominions after August 15, 1 947. Until a new constitution was framed for each Dominion, the Act made the existing Constituent Assemblies the Dominion Legislatures for the time being. The Assemblies were to exercise all the powers which were formerly exercised by the Central Legislature in addition to its power regarding the framing of a new constitution. Pending the framing of a new constitution, each of the Dominions and all the provinces were to be governed in accordance with the Government of India Act, 1935. Each Dominion was authorised to make modifications in the Govern ment of India Act, 1935. · The Governor-General was given the power to modify or adapt the Government of India Act, 1 935, as might be considered necessary till March 3 1 , 1 948. After that date, it was open to the .Constituent Assembly to modify or adopt the old Government of India Act, 1 935. The right of the King to veto laws or to reserve laws for his plea�ure was given up. This right was given to the Governor-General. He was given the full ·right to ass�nt in the name of His Majesty to any law of the Domi-
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES siNc:E i9i9
nion Legislature made in the ordinary legislative capacity. The Act provided for the termination of the suzerainty of the Crown over the Indian States. All treaties, agreements and functions ex ercisable by His Majesty with regard to the states and their rulers were to lapse from August 15, 1947. The existing arrangements between the Government of India and the Indian states were to con tinue pending the detailed negotiations between the Indian states and the new Dominions. Agreements with the tribes of the North West Frontier Province of India were to be negotiated by the suc cessor Dominion. The office of the Secretary of State for India was to be abolished and his work was to be taken o�er by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs. The title of Em peror of India was to be dropped from the royal style and titles of the King of England. The Act terminated British authority over India and set up two independent Dominions, each with full au thority to make its own constitution. Both the Dominions were given full freedom. They could leave the British Commonwealth of Nations if they so pleased. The importance of the Indian Independence Act as a piece of constructive legislation can hardly be over-emphasised. It re flects great credit on the political sagacity bf the British nation and the moderation and wisdom of Indian statesmanship that such a wonderful transformation of the political destiny of India was effected by mutual consent. This was also due to the moral in fluence of Mahatma Gandhi. To quote Ernest Bevin, "It fills one with a feeling of gladness to live in this generation and see the fate of 400 million people handled 'by discussion, by reason, by agreement, and not by gun." In terms of the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, Pakistan got her independence on 14 Augus� 1 947 and India on 15 August, 1 947. While Mr. M.A. Jinnah became the Gover nor-General of Pakistan, Lord Mountbatten was requested by the Government of India to continue as the Governor-General of India. . · On the night of 14 August 1 947, when the independence of India was declared, Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the members of the Constituent Assembly in these words: "Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very sub stantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes. which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old
FIFTY-FM YEAils bF MODERN INDIA
fo the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a. nation, long suspended, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn mo ment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and ' her people and to the still larger cause of humanity." THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
Even before the achievement of independence in August
1947, a Constituent Assembly ha'd already been set up in terms of the Cabinet Mission Scheme and its first meeting held on 9 December 1 946. Out of 207 members who attended it, there were only 4 Muslims who were elected on Congress ticket. On 13 December 1 946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the Objectives Resolution and the same was passed on 22 January 1 947. The
Resolution gave expression to the ideals and aspirations of the people of India. It declared the fundamental objectives which were to guide the Constituent Assembly in its deliberations. India was to be an independent sovereign Republic in which British India and the Indian states were to be included. It was declared that all power and authority of the state was derived from th� people. All people were to be guaranteed social, eco nomic and political justice, equality of status and equal opportu nity before law. They were to be guaran.teed freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship1 vocation, association and ac tion subject to law and morality. The minorities and backward and tribal people were to be guaranteed ad�quate safeguard. The first session of the Constituent Assembly lasted from 9 December to 23 December 1946 and the second session from 20 January 1 947 to 25 January 1 947. During the second session, the Constituent Assembly set up a Steering Committee, a Com mittee on the Order of Business, an Advisory Committee on Fun damental Rights and Minorities and a Union Powers Committee. The third session of the Assembly lasted from 22 April 1 947 to 2 May 1 947. On 28 April 1 947, Nehru presented the re port of the . Union Powers Committee. On 29 April 1947,· the Interim Report of the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities was presented by Sardar Patel. Before adjourning on 2 May 1 947, the Constituent Assembly set up the Union Constitution Committee under the Chairmanship of Nehru and the Provincial Constitutions Committee under the Chairmanship of Sardar Patel. The fourth session of the Constituent Assembly began o:µ.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
14 July 1 947. The Reports of the Committees on Union Cons titution and the Provincial Constitutions were presented. Like wise, the Reports of the Special Committees on Minorities, Fun damental Rights and the tribal and excluded areas were also presented. The report of the ad hoe on the Supreme Court was also presented. The Constituent Assembly began with a gene ral discussion of the principles underlying provincial constitu tions. It adopted the national flag on 22 July 1 947. It started dis1.:11ssion on the principles of the Union constitution. After appointing the Chief Commissioners Provinces Committee and the Expert Committee on Financial Relations, the Constituent Assembly adjourned on 21 July 1947. The next session of the Constituent Assembly was held on 14 August 1 947. According to the terms of the Indian Inde pendence Act, the Constituent Assembly became a sovereign body and it could frame any constitution it pleased without the limi tations imposed by the Cabinet Mission Scheme. From 15 August 1 947 onwards, the Constituent Assembly performed two separate functions. It enacted ordinary laws for the country and also framed a new Constitution for free India. The session of the Constituent Assembly which met on 14 August discussed the second report of the Committee on Union Powers. This re port was fundamentally different from the earlier one on account of the passing of the Indian Independence Act. The Report of the Advisory Committee on Minorities was also discussed. The Report on Fundamental Rights was also discussed. On 29 August 1 947, a Drafting Coinmittee consisting of 7 members was set up with Dr. Ambedkar as Chairman. The draft cons titution was published in July 1 948 and the people of India were given many months to discuss it and make their suggestions. It was on 4 November 1 948 that the general discussion on' the draft constitution started and the same continued till 9 November 1 948. Between 1 5 November 1 948 and 17 October 1 949, the draft was thoroughly discussed clause by clause. As many as 7,635 am endments were proposed and 2,473 were actually discussed. The draft was given the third reading from 14 November to 26 Nov ember 1 949. The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 and it came into force on 26 January 1 950. The new Constitution of India consists of 395 Articles (some of which: have been repealed) and nine Schedules'. It is divided into 12 parts. It is probably the lengthiest constitution ill. the whole world and that is due to the fact that its framers
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
have put into it not only the broad principles but also the de tails of administration. The Constitution provides not only for the administrative machinery at the centre but also of the units.
The incorporation of Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, special provisions for safeguarding the interests of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, etc.., have added to its bulk. There have been as many as 3 0 amendments between 1 950 \ and 1 973 . . r The Constitution of India contains a Preamble which secures to all its citizens justice, social, economic and political lib erty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and equa lity of status and opportunity. It also aims af creating in all its citizens the feelings of fraternity and also assures the dignity of the indiV:idual and unity of the nation. It also sets up in the country a sovereign democratic republic.
To begin with, there were four of States under the constitution, viz., Part A States, Part B States, Part C States and Part D States. Part A States were the former provinces of British India. Part B States were previously ruled by the Indian princ es. Part C states were those which were formerly under the Chief Commissioners and Lt. Governors: The Seventh amend
ment of the constitution made in 1956 abolished this distinction and at present there are only states and Union Territories. The
number of states and Union Territories has fluctuated from time to time on account of the agitations from various quarters. The constitution has adopted the principle of a single citizen ship for the whole of India. There is no separate citizenship of India and a state or a Union Territo . Persons born or domi ciled in India, the refugees who migrated to India from Pakistan and the Indians overseas who apply for Indian citizenship are Indian citizens.
The constitution provides for a large number of Fundament Righ!s which are guaranteed to every citizen of India. Those al rights are ,to be found in Articles 1 2 to 35 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of India and the High Co1:1rts have been ap-
. pointed the guardians of those Fundamental Rights and it must be admitted that they have performed their duties faithfully un
mindful of the consequences. The Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution are: right to equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds l of religion, race, caste, colour, ·sex or place of birth, equality of opportunity in matters of public em ployment, abolition of untouchability, right to freedom of speech
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
and expression, right to assemble peacefully and without arms,
the right to form associations and unions, the right to move free
ly throughout the territory of India, the right to reside and settle
in any part of India, the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property, the right to practice any profession or carry on any oc cupation, trade or business, the right to life and personal liberty,
the right to freedom from arrest and detention in certain cases, the prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour, the prohibition of employment of children in any factory or mine or any other hazardous work, the right to freedom of coneycience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion, the freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion, freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain education al institutions, protection of interests of minorities, right of mino
rities to establish and administer educational institutions, right to property with certain limitations and the right to constitution- al remedies. Article 32 whic gives the right to move the Sup
reme Court for the enforcement of fundamental rights is itself a fundamental right. Article 33 gives the Parliament of India power to modify the Fundamental Rights, in their application to the Armed Forces or the forces charged with the maintenance of public order. In the case of Golak Nath v. State of Punjab (A.I.R. 1 967 S. C. 1 643), the Supreme Court held that the fundamental rights could be added to but not taken away by an amendment of the Constitution.
However, this view has been reversed by
the 24th Amendment of the Constitution which gives to the Indian Parliament power to amend any part of the Indian Cons
titution, including the part dealing with Fundamental
Previously, the fundamental rights were considered to be all-im portant as compared with the Directive Principles of State Poli cy but the situation has changed after the passing of the 25th
Amendment of the Constitution which puts more emphasis on
the Directive Principles of State Policy as compared with funda mental righs.
The Directive Principles of State Policy relate to those mat ters which the Government of India is required to keep in view for the welfare of the people of the country. It is true that the
Directive Principles cannot be enforced by a court of law but no Government can afford to ignore them. Articles 3 6 to 5 1 deal
with these Directive Principles. Article 3 8 provides that the state shall strive to prom0te the welfare of the people by securing_
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
and promoting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the insti tutions of national life: The state shall in particular direct its policy towards securing that the citizens, men and women equal ly, have the right to adequate means of livelihood, that the own· ership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good, that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concen tration of wealth and means of production to the common detri ment, that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women, that the health and strength of workers, men and wo men, and the tender age of children are not abused ·and that the citizens are nbt forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and moral and material aban doni:p.ent. · The state shall take steps to organise village Pan chayats and endow them with powers and authority to enable them to function as units of self-government. It shall make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to pub lic assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want. It shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief. It shall endeavour to secure to all work ers a li,ving wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural op portunities. It shall endeavour :to promote cottage industries on an individual or cooperative basis in rural areas. It shall endea vour to secure for the citizens a uniform Civil Code throughout the territory of IIidia. It shall endeavour to provide for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14. It shall promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people. It shall raise the level of nutrifion and ·standard of living and improve public health. It shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines. It shall protect monuments and places and objects of national importance. It shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive. It shall endeavour to promote international peace and security, maintain just and hon ourable wlations between nations, fost.er respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another and encourage settlement of international dis· putes by arbitration.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
The Constitution provides for a President of the Indian Re public. He is to be elected indirectly by an electoral college con sisting of the elected members of both houses of Parliament and State legislatures. He must be a citizen of India. He must have completed the age of 3 5 and he must be qualified for election as a member of Lok Sabha (House of the People). He is not eligible for election if he holds a job under the Government. He holds office for 5 years but he can be re-elected. He gets a salary of Rs. 10,000 in addition to other allowances. He can be ·impeached for a violation of the Constitution. A special procedure is prescribed for the impeachment of the Pre sident. The President has been given a large numbei; of powers in the executive, legislative and judicial fields. He is authorised to act in times of emergency. He is expected to act as a consti tutional head like the King or Queen of England. The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha (Council of States). Any citizen of India who is 3 5 years of age or more and who is qualified for membership of Rajya Sabha can be elected to this office by both the Houses of Parliament. When the President is ill or resigns or dies or is removed or is absent for any other reason, his place is taken over by the Vice-President of India for the time being. The Constitution provides for a Council of Ministers to assist the President. The President appoints the Prime Minister but the other ministers are appointed by him only on the. advice of the Prime Minister� All the ministers are collectively respons ible to Lok Sabha. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to com rl:rnnicate to the President all the decisions arrived at the Cabi net. The Prime Minister is the link between the President and Cabinet. His position is similar fo that of the Prime Minister of England. The Indian Parliament consists of two Houses: Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya,Sabha (Council of States). The Lok Sabha consists of 500 members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the states and 25 members represent ing the Union Territories. Every adult citizen of India has been given the right to vote. The life of Lok Sabha is 5 years. Lok Sabha has a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker. Rajya Sabha is a permanent body of 250 members, out of which 23 8 are elected by states and Union Territories and 12 are nominated by the President on the basis of their special knowledge or practical ex perienc&\ in respect of literature, science, art and social service.
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
The members of Rajya Sabha are elected for 6 years and as near ly as possible, one-third of them retire after 2 years. The Constitution provides for the Supreme Court of India consisting of Chief Justice of India and not more than 7 other judges. Provision has been made for increasing the number of judges by an Act of Parliament and the same has actually been done. An Act of 1956 fixed the number at 1 0 and 3 more judg es were added by an Act of 1960. All the judges of the Sup reme Court are appointed by the President and they hold office during good behaviour till th� age of 65. Provision has also been made for ·the appointment of ad hoe judges of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has been given both original and ap pellate jurisdiction. As regards its original jurisdiction, it can try any dispute between the Government of India and one or more states or between Government of India and any state or states on one side and one or more states on the other, or between two or more states if and in so far as the dispute involves any ques tion, whether of law or fact, on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends. The Supreme Court has the power to issue directions or orders in the nature of a writ of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari or any of them for the enforcement of fundamental rights. The appellate juris 'diction of the Supreme Court is of three kinds: constitutional, civil and criminal. As regards constitutional cases, Article 132 provides that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgement, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substan tial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. Where the High Court has refused to give such a certificate, the Supreme Court may grant speci:l leave to appeal if it is satisfied that the. case involves a substantial question of law as to the in terpretation of the constitution. As regards appeals in civil cases, the position before the thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution in 1 972 was that an appeal could be taken to the Supreme Court under Article 1 3 3 on a certificate granted by a High Court that the amount or value of the subject matter of dispute was not less than Rs. 20,000 or that the judgement, decree or final order involved some claim to property of the like amount. As a result of the Amendment, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court only if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substan tial question of law of general importance and requires to be de cided by the highest court of the country. The Amendment has
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES SINCE 1919
removed the condition that an appeal lies only when the am ount or value in dispute is not less than Rs. 20,000. The result is that in future all appeals, irrespective of their monetary value, can be taken to the Supreme Court provided they involve a subs tantial question of law. In criminal cases an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from any judgement,' final order or sentence in a crimillal proceeding of a High Court if the High Court has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any court subordinate to its authority and 4as in such trial convicted the accused person and sentenced him to death, or certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Sup reme Court. Parliament has also been given the power to con fer on the Supreme Court any further powers to entertain and hear appeals. As regards the advisory jurisdiction of the Sup reme Court, Article 43 provjdes that if at any time it appears to the President of India that a question of law or fact has arisen or is likely to arise which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Sup reme Court upon it, he may refer the question to that ·court for consideration and the court may after _ such hearing as it thinks fit, report to the President its opinion. Article 1 3 6 provides that the Supreme Court may, in its direction, grant special leave to appeal from any judgement, decree, determination, sentence or order in any case or matter passed or made by any court or tri bunal in the territory of India. Though Article 1 3 6 confers on the Supreme Court an unlimited power to grant special leave to · appeal, the Supreme Court has already laid down that it will use this power sparingly and only in those cases where special circum stances exist. The S_upreme Court also possesses the power of review. . The Constitution provides for a High Cou�t for every state. There can be one High Court for two states. Every High Court consists of a Chief Justice and such other judges as the Pr,esident of India may from time to time think fit. Every judge retires at the age of 62. Every High Court has control over all the courts subordinate t0 it throughout the territory under its con trol except the courts set up for the armed forces of India. Every High Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction. It can issue writs of the type issued by the Supreme Court. It also hears appeals in civil and criminal cases. The appointments of the judges of the Higq Courts are made by the President of India in
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Chief Justice of India. In actual practice, the Chief Minister of the ·state concerned plays an important part. The Constitution provides for a Union Public Service Com mission and also State Public Service Commissions. Two or more states can have a joint public service commission. The main functions of the Public Service Commissions are to recom mend candidates for appointment and also to conduct examina tions for recruitment to the services. The Constitution provides fot a Comptroller and Auditor General of India. He is appoint ed by the President to perform duties and exercise powers relat ing to the accounts of the Union and the States. His main duty is to keep a careful watch on the :finani:;es of the Union and the states and specially to see that the expenses voted by Parliament or state legislatures and laid down in the Appropriation Acts are not exceeded or varied. The Constitution provides for th� distribution of powers bet ween the Union and the states. The Union List contains those subjects on which laws . can be passed by the Indian Parliament. The State List contains those subjects on which laws can be made only by a state legislature. The Concurrent List contains those subjects on which laws can be passed both by the Union Parliament and the' state legislatures. However, if a law is passed by the Union Parliament on a subject in the Concurrent List, any state law on that subject is superseded to the extent it is in con flict with the Union law. The residuary powers are given to the Union Parliament. There has been a lot of controversy with re gard to the refations between the Union and the States. The Government of Tamil Nadu has been demanding a large mea sure · of autonomy in its affairs. The Constitution provides for the appointment of a Gover nor of a state by the Central Government. However, a demand is being made that the state concerned should be consulted by the :Central Government before making the appointment of a Gover nor. A Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President. He has the power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite or remis sion of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute sentence in certain cases. The Governor appoints the Chief Minister but the other ministers are appointed by him on the adviceople and helped them to realise the real aims and purposes of British rule in India. The Kesari of Poona wrote on 28 January 1 896: "Surely, India is treated as a vast pasture reserved solely for the Europeans to feed upon." To those who contended that the British rule in India had brought the benefits of security of life and property, Dadabhai Naoroji gave the following reply: "The romance is that there is security of life and property in India; the reality is that there is no such thing. There is security of life and property in one sense or way -i.e., the people are secure from any violence from each other or from Native despots . . . . But from England's own grasp there is no security of property at all, and as a consequence, no security for life. India's property is not secure. What is secure, and well secure, is that England is perfectly safe and secure, and does so with perfect security, to carry away from India, and to eat up in lndia7 her property at the present rate of £30,000,000 or
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
£40,000,000 a year . . . I therefore venture to submit that India does not enjoy security of her property and life . . . . To millions in India life is simply 'half-feeding' or starvation, or famines and disease." To those who pointed out that British rule had brought about law and order .in the -country, Dadabhai Naoroji said: "There is an Indian saying: 'Pray strike on the back, but don't strike on the belly.' Under the native despot the people keep and enjoy what they produce, though at times they suffer some violence on the back. Under the British Indian despot the man is at peace, there is no violence; his substance is drained away unseen, peaceably and subtly-he starves in peace and perishes in peace, with law and order!" The Moderates carried on agitation for the reduction of heavy land revenue payments. They urged the Government to provide cheap credit to the peasantry through agricultural banks and to make available irrigation facilities on a large scale. They asked for improvement in the conditions of work of the planta tion labourers. They demanded a radical change in the existing pattern of taxation and expenditure which put a heavy burden on the poor while leaving the rich, especially the foreigners, with a very light load. They demanded the abolition of salt tax which hit the poor and lower middle classes hard. The Moderates complained of India's growing poverty and economic backwardness and put all the blame on the policies of the ·British Government. They blamed the Government for the destruction of the indigenous industries in the country. They demanded the rapid development of the modern industries and wanted the Government to give tariff protection to the Indian in dustries. They advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and the boycott of British goods. They demanded that the economic drain of India by England must stop. The Moderates criticised the individual administrative mea sures and worked hard to reform the administrative system which was ridden with corruption, inefficiency and oppression. They demanded the Indianisation of the higher grades of the. admin istrative services. The demand was put forward on economic, political and moral gmqnds. Economically, the high salaries paid to the Europeans put a heavy burden on Indian finance and contributed to the economic drain. The Europeans sent out to India a large part of their salaries and also got their pensions in England. That added to the drain of wealth from India. Poli tically, the European civil servant ignored the needs of the Indians ·
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
and favoured the European capitalists at the cost of their Indian counter-parts. It was hoped that the Indianisation of the ser vices would make the administration more responsive to Indian needs. Morally, the existing system dwarfed the Indian char acter reducing the tallest Indian to permanent inferiority in his own country. The Moderates demanded the separation of the judiciary . from the executive. They were opposed to the ,policy of disarm ing the people of India by the Government. They wanted the Government to spend more money on the spread of education in the country. They also took up the cause of the Indians who had migrated to the British colonies. The Moderates opposed tooth and nail the restrictions imposed by the Government on the freedom of speech and the press. In 1 8 97, Tilak and many other leaders were arrested and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for spreading disaffection against tlie Government through their speeches and writings. The Natu brothers of Poona were deported without trial. The arrest of Tilak marked the beginning of a new phase of the Nationalist movement. The Amrita Bazar Patrika wrote: There is scarcely a home in this vast country where Tilak is not now the subject of melancholy talk and where his :iniprisonment is not considered as a domestic calamity." ' The Moderates demanded the expansion and reform of the existing Legislative Councils. Th'ey demanded the introduction of the system of direct selections and an increase in the number of. members and powers of the Legislative Councils. It is true their agitation forced the Government to pass the Indian Councils Act of 1 892 but the Moderates were not satisfied with what was given to the people of India. No wonder, they declared the Act of 1 892 as a "hoax". They demanded a larger share for the Indians in the Legislative Council. Later on, the Moderates put forward the claim for Swarajya or self-Goverll1.Il,ent within the British empire on the model of the other self-governing colonies. The basic weakness of the Moderates lay in their narrow social base. Their movement did not have a wide appeal. The area of their influence was limited to the Urban community. As they did not have the support of the masses, they declared that the time was not right for throwing out a challenge to the foreign rulers. That was likely to invite premature repression. To quote Gokhale, "You ·do not realise the enormous reserve of power be hind the Government. If the Congress were to do anything such
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
as you suggest, the Government would have no difficulty in throt tling it in 5 minutes." However, it must not be presumed that the Moderate Leaders fought for their narrow interests. Their programmes and policies championed the cause of all sections of the Indian people and represented nation-wide interests against colonial exploitation. As regards the attitude of the Government tpwards the Moderates, it became hostile soon after the inception of the Indian National Congress. Lord Dufferin looked upon the foundation of the Congress with suspicion. In 1 8 87, he attacked the Congress and ridiculed it as representing a "micrq_scopic minority of the P.eople." Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, accused the Congress leaders of possessing "seditious and double-sided charac ter." He went to the extent of abusing Dadabhai Naoroji and declared that Dadabhai's residence and association with radical and socialist British leaders had "deteriorated whatever brains or presence he may originally have possessed." The British officers p,ublicly criticised and condemned the Indian National Congress and its leaders. They were branded as "disloyal Babus'', "sedi tious Brahmins" and "violent villains". The Congress was des cribed as a "factory of sedition" and the Congressmen as "dis appointed candidates for office.. and discontented lawyers who represented no one but themselves." Lord Curzon declared in 1900: "The Congress is tottering to its fall and one of my great ambitions, while in India, is to assist it to a peaceful demise." He described the Congress as an "unclean thing." Some English men accused the Indian National Congress of receiving the Rus sian gold. Lord Elgin openly threatened the Indians in 1 8 9 8 in these words: "India was conquered by the sword and by the sword it shall be held." The British officials relied upon the policy of "divide and rule" to weaken the nationalist movement. They encouraged Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Raja Shiva Prasad and other pro-British Indians to start an anti-Congress movement. They tried to drive a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims. They fanned com munal rivalries among the educated Indians on the question of jobs in Government service. If we critically evaluate the work of Moderates, it appears that they did not achieve much success. Very few of the reforms advocated by them were carried out. The foreign rulers treated them with contempt. To quote Lala Lajpatrai, "After more than 20 years of more or less futile agitation for concessions and re-
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
dress of grievances, they had received stones in place of bread." . The Moderates failed to acquire any roots among the common people and even those who joined the Congress with high hopes, were· feeling more and more disillusioned. The politics of the Moderates were 'described as "halting and half-hearted." Their methods were described as those of mendicancy or beggary through prayers and petitions. The Moderates failed to keep pace with the yearnings and aspirations of the people. They failed to understand and appre ciate tIJ.e impatience of the people who were suffering under the foreign yoke. They did not realise that the political and econo mic interests of the Indians and the British clashed and conse quently the British people could not be expected to give up their rights and privileges in India without a :fight. Moreover,•it was during this period that a movement started among the Muslims to keep a:way from the Congress and that ultimately resulted in the establishment of Pakistan. In spite of their best efforts, the Moderates were not able to win over the Muslims. It is wrong to say that the political record of the Moderates was a barren one. Taking into consideration the difficulties they had to confront with at that time, the Moderates achieved a lot. It is their achievement in the wider sense that led later on to the more advanced stages of the nationalist movement. The Mode rates represented the most aggressive forces of the time. They made possible a decisive shift in Indian politics. They succeeded in creating a wide political awakening and in arousing among the middle and lower middle class Indians and the intelligentsia the feeling that they belonged to one common nation. They made the people of India conscious of .the bonds of common political, economic and cultural interests and the e:idstence of a common enemy and thus helped to weld them in a common nationality. They popularised among the people the ideas of democracy and civil liberty. They did pioneering work in mercilessly exposing the true character of British imperialism in India. Even though they were moderate in politics and political methods, they success fully brought to light the most important political and economic aspects of the Indian reality that India was being ruled by a foreign power for economic exploitation. The agitation of the Moderates in the economic :field completely undermined the moral founda tions of British rule in India. " This was the seed-time of Indian nationalism. The Mode rates sowed the seeds well and deep. They evolved a common
THE ·NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
political and economic programm.e which united the different sec tions of the people. In spite of their many failures, they laid strong foundations for the national movement to grow upon and they deserve a high place among the makers of modern. India. To quote Gokhale, "Let us not forget that we are at a stage of the country's progress when our achievements are bound to be small, and our disappointments frequent and trying. That is the place which it has pleased Providence to assign to us in this strug gle, and our responsibility is ended when we have done the work which belongs to that place. It will, no doubt, be given to our countrymen of future generations to serve India by their successes; we, of the present generation, must be content to serve her main ly by our failures. For, hard though .it be, out of those failures the strength will come which in the end will accomplish great tasks." Again, "The minds of the people have been familiarised with the idea of a united India working for her salvation; a na tional public opinion has been created; close bonds of sympathy now knit together the different provinces; castes and creeds ham per less and less the pursuit of common aims; the dignity of a consciousness of national existence has spread over the whole land. Above all, there is a general perception now of the goal towards which we have to strive and a wide recognition of the arduous character of the struggle and the immense sacrifices it requires."
The Surat Split (1907) In 1 907, there was a split in the Congress and the Mode rates parted company with the Extremists. That split was due to many causes. The Moderates had controlled the Congress from its very beginning and even now they were in control of it. They had their own ways of thinking and doing which were not accept able to the younger generation who were impatient with the speed at which the Moderates were moving and leading the nation. Under the circumstances, a confrontation between the two was foevitable and that actually happened in 1 907. (1) There were fundamental differences between the Mode rates and the Extremists on the question of loyalty to the English throne and the continuance of British rule in India. The Mode rates believed in loy�t.£_!!1.e English throne. 'J'.hey also believed tha,Uh.e._ continuance of the British rule was in the interests of � tillLPeople of India. Theview of the EXfremTsTu�s tlial -J®
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
British rule in India was a curse and the question of loyalty to the English throne did not arise at all.. To quote B. C. Pal, "'!'he time has come when all lies must be conscientiously eschewed from above political platform. We are not loyal in any sense, except in original or radical ,sense of mere obedience to law . . . . ut when we proclaim our so-called loyalty to the British Gov !!'rnment here or to tlie-:British throne in-England-we utter a lie, though only, a white he.'' (2) Another difference bfltween the two was regarding the emphasis on the ultimate goal as well as the actual form of ulti mate goal. The Moderates believed in a policy . ·of conciliation and compromise. They were satisfied with the small concessions given by the British Government from time to time. A little re presentation here and a few jobs there were enough to satisfy them. They stood for self-Government for India in the same way as the position of the British dominions like Canada and Australia was. The Extremists did not bother about the petty concessions given by the British Government. They did not care for the petty reforms which they considered to be merely pallia tives and not the :final remedy. Accorqing to the Extremists, Swaraj alone was the :final remedy. They considered instalments of constitutional reforms as mere local applications. To quote them, "He is a quack doctor who, when the disease is a constitu tional one, wastes time by local application." The Extremists also feared that the acceptance of petty reforms from time to time might ultimately prove "more effectual to stem the rising tide of nationality. Therein probably lies a greater danger to the rapid growth of the idea of nationality in the country than in a system of repression." The Extremists did not believe that the Indians cQuld expect anything good from the Englishmen'. They were convillced that the Englishmen will not treat the Indians in the same way as they were treating the people of Canada or Australia. There existed a perpetual conflict of interests, economic, intel lectual and moral, between England and India which did not exist in the case of the colonies. (3) The Moderates believed in adopting strictly constitution al methods for agitation and that ·also of the feeblest type, so that there was not the slightest chance of any violence. They believed · in reasoned and emotional appeals, lucid presentation of the case, irresistible statements of facts, irrefutable arguments and present ing petitions. The view of Pherozeshah Mehta was: . "We dele gates meet together to present our Petition of Rights, our Grand __..
"=-""" _, �---=-=-= ,,,._
't:HE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
Remonstrance, our appeal and our prayer." A. C. Mozumdar considered the right of petition to be the highest privilege of a nation. The Moderates were not prepared to resort to a policy of non-cooperation or passive resistance. They did not accept even the programme of Swadeshi whole-heartedly. They considered boycott as a vindictive act which was liable to create feelings of ill-will. On the other hand, the Extremists were con vinced that constitutional agitation will lead them nowhere.... They believed that constitutional methods could not cut ice against the autocratic rule of a foreign nation. They also believed that the Government of India would not allow even peaceful propa ganda to go on and would intervene at every step to hinder and stop the progress of the nationalist movement. They believed that the national problems could not be solved by resorting to argu ments, ethics and piety and only a vigorous agitation could meet the needs of the situation. They believed in a policy of passive resistance which could make the government . of India impossible. (4) Another point of difference between the Moderates ,and th� Extremists was with regard to their approach and strategy. Under the Moderates, the Congress movement was not a popular movement. It had no touch with the · masses. As a matter of fact, the Moderates depended for their success on the goodwill and sympathy of the Englishmen. They worked on the hypothesis that if the grievances of the ·people of India were brought to the notice of the Englishmen, the same would be redressed. The Extremists rejected such an approach. They believed that the people of India were the· masters of their own destiny and not any foreign power. Tilak pointed out that although Dadabhai Naoroji had spent 25 years in England to convince the people of England that injustice was being done to India, nothing had come out of i�. After a visit to England;, Lala Lajpatrai ol:isefved thus in 1 905 : "The British democracy was too busy with their own affairs to do anything for them, that the British press was not willing to champion Indian aspirations, that it was hard to get a hearing in England and that the influence and the credit of the Anglo-Indians ';.,rag too strong to be met successfully by the necessarily inadequate agitation which the Congress could set up in England." On his return to India, the message he brought for his people was that if they really cared for their country, they would have to strike the blow for freedom themselves. B. C. Pal expressed himself in these words: "Our eyes have been turned away from the Gov ernment House, away from the House of .Parliament, away from
FIFTY-FIVE YEARs b:F MbD:ERN INDtA
Simla and Calcutta, and our faces have turned now to the naked, starving, patient, the long-suffering three hundred millions of the Indian people, and in them we see a new potency because we view them with an eye of love which we never had before, and in teem ;ing, toiling, starving, naked population of India we :find the pos sibility, the potentiality, the promises that have given rise to this new movement . . . . . With the decadence of your faith in the foreign Government, in the foreign nation, has grown up this larger, this stronger, this deeper, this more vital and more divine faith in Indian humanity." (5) Another point of difference between the Moderates and the Extremists was regarding the fitness of Indians to rule themselves without d�pending upon the British Government. The Moderates believed that the people of India were still not fit for self-Government. However, the Extremists believed that the people of India were fit to rule themselves and self-Government could not be denied to them on the ground of their unfitness. (6) Another point of difference between the Moderates and , the Extremists was that while the Moderates believed that they would get what they asked for without any sufferings, the Extre mists were of the definite view that the salvation of India was not possible without sufferings and self-sacrifice. Lala Lajpatrai pointed out that tyranny was like hell and could not be easily con quered. B. C. Pal observed thus in 1 902: "Agitation is not, in any sense, a test of true patriotism. The test is self-help and self sacrifice; and the time perhaps is coming, faster than-'we thought, when Indian patriotism will be put to this test." On account of these differences, there were clashes between · the Moderates and the Extremists even during the 1 9th century. However, events dupng the Viceroyalty of Lord Curzon aggra vated matters. There is no denying the fact that the Moderates were as much vehement in their denunciation of the partition of Bengal as the Extremists, but they had their own limitations and they could not go beyond them. T.1;1.e Congress passed resolutions on boycott, Swadeshi and national education 1n 1 906 but there was opposition from the Moderates. The result was that some of them were shouted down by the audience. The Moderates did not approve of all that happened at the Calcutta s1:;ssion in 1906 and they tried to undo the same at the next session of the Con gress in 1 907 at Surat. This the Extremists were not prepared to allow them. Under the circumstances, an open clash between them was inevitable. When the Congress met on 27 December,
TH:E NAT16NAtiST MOVEMENT IN INbIA
1 907, the atmosphere was surcharged and there were all kinds of rumours. The name of Dr. Rash Behari Ghose was proposed for the Presidentship. When Surendranath Banerjee got up to second the proposal, attempts were made to shout him down and pandemonium prevailed in the Pandal. The meeting had to be adjourned. On the next day, Dr. Ghose was elected the Presi dent, but when he got up to deliver his Presidential address, Tilak ascended the platform, stood in front of the President and de manded that he be allowed to address the ·audience. He refused to submit to the ruling of the Chair that he could not be allowed to address at that stage. While this tussle was goj.Iig on, the rank and file of the Extremists created trouble and there were clashes. All efforts to persuade Tilak failed. He stood with folded hands and refused to go to his seat unless he was bodily removed. Some persons from Nagpur and Poona rushed to the platform with Lathies in their hands. A shoe was hurled froni the audience and �t struck Pherozeshah Mehta. Pandemonium prevailed. Chairs . were thrown at the dais and sticks were freely used. The session had to be suspended. On 28 December, 1907, a Convention of the Moderates was held in the Congress Pandal from which the Extremists were ex cluded although some of them were willing to sign the necessary declaration. Those who did not wish to go back from the posi tion taken at the Calcutta Congress met at a separate place to consider what steps were to be taken to continue the work of the Congress. It was in this way that the Surat Session of the Con gress ended. After the Surat fiasco, it was clear that the Mode· rates were not prepared to yield to the Extremists. They knew that once the plant of Extremism was planted, it was bound to grow. They were not preparec;I. for any compromise. Tilak was ridiculed, abused and called a traitor. The Moderate press wrote such things as the following: "Tilak has been feeding the flames which have burnt the Congress to ashes. He is not a pat riot, but a traitor to the country, and has blackened himself. May God save us from such patriots." In spite of the attacks from the Moderates, Tilak was prepared to accommodate them. He want ed the Moderates and the Extremists to unite to carry on the work of the National Congress. The Moderates put the blame on the Extremists for the Surat split. Their contention was that they had no intention to drop or alter the resolutions passed at the Calcutta Session of the Congress. What they .intended to- do was merely. to modi!J or to use such
FIF'rY-:Fr\lE YEAR.s OF MODERN INDIA
words in those resolutions which would save them from chances of mis-construction. However, such a contention cannot be ac cepted. A critical study of the relevant record shows that what the Moderates intended to do was not only to save the Calcutta resolutions from mis-construction but also to resonstruct them with a view to watering them down. If that had not been so, the Moderates would have reaffirmed the Calcutta resolutions in their Madras Session held in 1 908, but that was not done. At the Madras Session, the resolution on boycott was entirely dropped. Instead of national education, the Moderates merely talked about supplementing the existing institutions and the effort of the Gov ernment. In 1 906, the Congress had declared Swaraj or self Government, not only as their final goal but also demanded imme diate steps leading to it. At the Madras Session, the Congress expressed deep and general satisfaction at the reforms proposals formulated in Lord Morley's Despatch. At the Calcutta Session in 1 906, the Moderates had .accepted the resolutions on Swaraj, national education, boycott and Swa deshi on account of the pressure brought on them from all quar ters. In their hearts, they did not accept the new resolutions. Their fear was that the growing pace of the national struggle might lead to lawlessness and that would provide the British with an excuse to deny the reforms on the one hand and to crush all political activity on the other. They had no self-confidence. They did not believe that sustained and dignified national struggle was possible and desirable.·. They considered the Extremists irrespon� sible persons who were likely to put in danger the future of the country. The British Government also tried to win over the Moderates against the Extremists, There were frequent meet ings between the Moderate leaders and the Viceroy before the S,urat split. While the Extremists were roughly handled by the Government, the Moderates were shown all the favours. Lala Lajpatrai, Sardar Ajit Singh, Tilak and many leaders of Bengal were deported. Public meetings were held all over the country to condemn the action of the Government. In Bombay the pro testing crowd clashed with the military and police and many .were killed. However, there was no word of condemnation by the Moderates. On the other hand, the Moderate Congress Pre sident observed thus in 1908 at the Madras Congress Session: "The clouds are now breaking . . . . The time of the singing of the birds is come; and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." It canot be denied that the Surat split not only weakened
THE :NATtoNALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
the Indian National Congress, but it virtually destroyed its effec tiveness till the Lucknow Session in 1 9 1 6. For the next 8 years, India's nationalist movement remained a house divided against itself, half constitutional and half revolutionary in aspirations. Tilak was out of Indian politics from 1908 to 1 9 1 4 on ac count of his long imprisonment in the Mandlay jail in Burma. During his absence, the politics of the country was dull. The Moderates were happy that theii: opponent was in jail. Things changed after the release of Tilak in 1 9 14. Tilak was not in a mood to precipitate matters. He was willing to have a compro mise with the Moderates. It is true that when Gokhale started negotiations with Tilak, Pherozeshah Mehta disapproved of them and the result was that the negotiations broke down. Pheroze shah Mehta decided to have the next session of the Congress at Bombay with a view to maintain his hold over it: Unfortunate ly, Pherozeshah Mehta died a few weeks before the Congress session in 1915. Gokhale also died the same year. The right of the Extremists to enter the Congress was admit ted at the Bombay Session of the Congress and its Constitution was suitably amended. The Bombay Session saw the ascendancy of the politicians of the Extremist school and the decline of the in fluence "of the Moderates. With the passage of time, the Moder ates in the Congress were thrown into the background and the Congress leaders like Tilak came to the forefront. With the entry of Maliatma Qandhi into the politics of the country and the death of Tilak, the position of the Moderates became very weak and they continued to work under the banner of the Liberal Federation.
Extremism or Milifunt Nationalism
Many factors were responsible for the rise of Extremism or Militant Nationalism in the Congress. (1) The Indian Councils Act, 1 892 did not satisfy the aspirations of even the Moderates. It was contended that the policy of appeals and prayers had brought forth no results. The Government of India considered that policy a sign of weakness. The constant economic drain of the resources of the country due to foreign domination added to discontentment. The policy of the Government of India sacri ficed the industries of India to the intersets of' British manufac turers. (2) Another cause was the disc.ontentment created _by the
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA ,
outbreak of famine in 1 897. - It affected about 20 million people and 70,000 sq. miles of Indian territory. The attitude of the Government was rather callous. While the people were in the grip of famine, the Government was busy in celebrating the Jubi lee celebrations of Queen Victoria.. The money which was re quired for the relief of the people was wasted on unnecessary things-. That was interpreted as an attitude of indifference on the part of the Government. (3) The outbreak of the Bubonic plague in the Bombay Pre sidency also added to the discontentment among the people. It is true that the Government of India adopted certain measures to check the spread of the disease but the methods adopted by it were rather unfortunate. No consideration was shown for the senti ments of the people. Mr. Rand, the Plague Commissioner of Poona, was most ruthless in his oppression that created a lot of resentment. Such a state of affairs could .not be tolerated by the people and no wonder the Plague policy of the Government was attacked vigorously by her critics, particularly by Tilak. The resentment was so great that Mr. Rand and one of his associates were shot dead when they were returning from the Government House at Bombay after taking part in the jubilee celebrations of Victoria. (4) Another cause was the revival of Hinduism. · Swami Vivekananda had faith in the spiritual mission of India and he felt that the same was not possible without the independence of his country. In his speeches, he called upon the people to be come brave and strong and thereby make their country great. He urged the people to give up living on the glory of the past and manfully build the future. He believed that much could not be expected from the upper class educated Indians and hence the necessity of arousing the masses. Tilak also was the product of llindu revival and he put great emphasis on Hindu festivals and the consolidation of the Hindus for the emancipation of India. The Theosophical Society also made its contribution in this direction, (5) The exclusion of the intelligentsia from all the big jobs in the country created bitterness. The anti-Indian policy of Lord Curzon added to that discontentment. The view of Lord Curzon was that "the highest ranks of civil employment must, as a gene ral rule, be held by Englishmen." He believed that only the Englishmen by their birth and training were fit to rule India. Curzon was a bureaucrat per excellence and he put the great est emphasis on efficiency. He had no sympathy with the aspira·
TH� NATIONALIST MOV.EMENT
tions of the people of India. As a matter of fact, he ignored them altogether. He regarded the administration as a machine and acted only in the interests of the efficiency of that machine, even if the people were adversely affected by the machine. He offi:. cialised the Calcutta Corporation and the Indian universities by passing the Calcutta Corporation Act and the Indian Universities Act. The Official Secrets Acts passed during his Viceroy�.lty widened the definition of the terms "sedition" and made them au ... comprehensive. His most controversial measure was the parti·· tion of Bengal in 1905 which led to wide-spread agitation not · only in Bengal but also in other parts of India. The Government published its official scheme for the partition of Bengal on 20 July 1 905. There was violent agitation against it. It was sug gested that all honorary Magistrates, Municipal Commissioners and Members of District Boards should resign in protest. A na tional mourning for 12 months was also advocated. Seditious leaflets were printed and circulated among the people. When the agitation was at its height, Lord Curzon resigned as Viceroy on account of his differences with the British Government. However, the necessary legislation to give effect to the partition of Bengal was rushed through the Legislative Council in September 1 905 ;in order to make sure that the partition became a settled fact before Curzon left India. 16 October 1905 was the day fixed for the coming into force of the partition and after a month, Lord Curzon left India. 1 6 October 1 905 was declared to be a day of National mourning throughout Bengal. It was observed as a day of fast ing. There was a Hartal in Calcutta. People went to the Ganges bare-footed in the early hours of the morning and took their bath. Rabindranath Tagore composed a national song for this occasion. The song was sung by huge crowds parading the streets. There were cries of Bande Mataram which ·became a national song of Bengal. The ceremony of Raksha Bandhan was observed on 16 October, 19.05. The leaders of Bengal felt that mere demonstrations, public meetings and resolutions were not enough and something more ·concrete was needed and the answer was Swadeshi and boycott. Mass meetings were held all over Bengal and big crowds took the oath of Swadeshi. Patients refused to take foreign medicines and were willing to take the consequences. People burnt foreign clothes and foreign cigarettes. Large sums were collected to help the Swadeshi movement. Many textile mills, soap and
FIFTY-FIVE YEA.RS OF MODERN INDIA
match factories, national banks and insuranGe companies were started. A prominent part was played by the students of Bengal in the Swadeshi agitation. They picketed the sho11s selling for eigh cloth and other foreign goods. Women also joined proces sions and picketed the shops dealing � foreign goods. The pro gramme of Swadeshi and boycott went hand in hand. The leaders of Bengal took up the work of national educa tion in right earnest. National educational insmtutions were opened by them and literary, technical and physical education was given there. On 15 August 1 906, a National Council of Educa tion was set up and Aurobindo Ghose was appointed the first Principal of the National College. The Government of the new province tried to suppress the anti-partition agitation with a heavy hand. Meetings were b.roken and political leaders were insulted and threatened. Gorkha soilders were let loose on the people. B. Fuller, Lt-Governor of the new province, went out of his way to insult the people. Brutal repression took its heaviest toll at Barisal in East Bengal where the Provincial Council was disbanded on the strict orders of the Lieutenant-Governor. When the Local leaders and the people protested they mere mercilessly battoned on the chests and backs. Many were killed on the spot and hundreds of them were severe ly injured. The Lieutenant-Governor of the new province warn ed the Hindus that they would be thrown 500 years back and barred from Government service for 3 to 4 generations. Stud ents were sent to jail for throwing away sweets made of foreign sugar. Gorkha soldiers were ordered to sfop the singing of Bande Mataram by the people. Shopkeepers were ordered to supply the needs of the Gorkhas even if they did not pay for them. Or9.ers were issued to stop the grants-in-aid to the educational institu tion s�spected of being against the Government. Disciplinary action against the teachers and professors was threatened. The -tGovernment also follQwed a policy of "divide and rule." In its earlier stages, the anti-partition movement was led by the Moderates but they were disheartened when Lord Morley, Secretary of State for India, declared that the partition was a settle4 fact which would not be changed. At this stage, the mili tant nationalists or the Extremists came to the fore and gave a call for passive resistance in addition to Swadeshi and boycott. They called upon the people to non-cooperate with the Govern ment and boycott the Government schools and colleges, courts and Government offices. Their programme was "to make the
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
administration under present conditions impossible by an orga nised refusal to do anything which shall help either the British commerce in the evploitation of the country or British officialdom in the administration of it-unless and until the conditions are changed in the manner and to the extent demanded by the people."· The question of partition of Bengal got merged with the question of India's freedom. The Extremists called upon the people to offer sacrifices at the altar of the Motherland. rn -1907, Lala Lajpatrai and Ajit Singh were deported from the Punjab. In 1908, Tilak was arrested and sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment. Chidambaram Pillai in Madras and Harisarvottam Rao and others in Andhra were put behind the bars. Aurobindo Ghose was arrested and prosecuted and although acquitted, he retired to Pondicherry. There was a lot of discontentment and bitter ness in the country. This state of affairs was allowed to continue. . Lord Minto was succeeded by Lord Hardinge and he and Marquis of Crew who was then Secretary of State for India, de cided to take steps to pacify Indian resentment over the partition of Bengal. At the Delhi Durbar held in 1 9 1 1 , the King and Queen and the Secretary of State for India were present. The occasion was taken advantage of to announce the cancellation of the partition of Bengal. (6) The treatment of the Indians abroad also created resent ment in the country. The Government of India had encouraged Indian labourers to go · to British colonies and had given them big promises regarding their future. The Indians were respon.. sible for the development of Kenya, Uganda, Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad and South Africa. In spite of their services, the Indians were despised, insulted and degraded. Their privileges were withdrawn. . They were excluded from trade and were treated as intruders. They could not purchase property and could not vote. They were required to give their thumb impressions and carry identity cards. They were forced to travel in separate third class railway compartments. They were driven out of tram cars and kept out of the hotels. They were not allowed to sit in public parks. They were required to walk only on the footpaths and live outside the towns in places set apart for them. They were r�quired to put off lights and go to bed after 9 p.m. They were "spat upon, hissed, cursed, abused and subjected to a variety of other indignities." Certain international events also had their repercussions on
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
India. . The rise of Japan after 1 868 proved that even a back ward Asian country could develop herself without Western con trol. The defeat of Italy by Abyssinia and of Russia by Japan exploded the myth of European superiority. This was interpret ed as a harbinger of the rise of the East. The Indians could take inspiration from those events. It was felt that if the Euro pean nations could be defeated by an Asiatic power, it was also possible for the Indians to drive away the Englishmen from their country. The growth of education in India increased the influence of Western ideas of democracy, nationalism and radicalism. The educated Indians became the strongest advocates of militant na tionalism. The treatment given to them by the foreigners added to their bitterness. They were low paid. Many of them were unemployed. They felt very strongly the foreign domina�ion. There was a feeling in the country that self-government was ne cessary for the economic, political and cultural advancement of the country. Leaders like Tilak and B. C. Pal preached the message of self-respect and asked the nationalists to rely on the character and capacities of the Indian people. They called upon the people to build their own future by their own efforts. They advocated agitation and mass action. They had no faith in the efficacy of constitutional meth9ds. They believed that prayers, petitions and protests were not going to convince the British Government whose only object was to exploit the people of India with a view to add to their own prosperity. To quote Tilak, "Protests are of ilo. avail. Mere protests not backed by self-reliance will not help the people. Days of protests and prayers have gone." Again, "Prepare your forces, organise your power and then go to work so that they cannot refuse you what you demand." The methods of the Extremists were boycott, Swadeshi and national education. Boycott was directed primarily against the rdteign good� but it also included the boycott of the Government services, honours and titles. About the methdds of the Extremists, Lala Lajpatrai wrote, ''We desire to turn our faces away from the Government Houses and turn them to the huts of the people. We want to stop our mouth so far as an appeal to the. Govern ment is concerned and open our mouth with a new appeal to the masses of dur people. This is the psychology, this is the ethics, this is the spiritual significance of the boycott movement." Both the boycott and Swadeshi movement were a great success. The
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
Englishmen of Calcutta wrote: "It is absolutely true that Calcutta ware-houses are full of fabrics that cannot be sold. Many Mar wari :firms have been absolutely ruined, and a number of the biggest European houses have had either to close down their piece-goods branch, or to put up with a very small business. In boycott, the enemies of Raj have found a most effective weapon for injuring British interests in the country." B. C. Pal spoke of so organising the forces of the nation as to "compel the submission to our will of any power that may set itself against us." He declared that he would not take Swaraj if the same was offered as a gift by the British Government. In his whirlwind tour of the country, Tilak declared that the Moderates could not deliver the goods and the people should look up to the Extremists for the liberation. of their Motherland. The repetition of resolutions full of, prayers to the Government could not bring any result. The remedy was not petitions but boycott. After the Surat session, Tilak h�d no rest. Single-handed, he started a many-sided struggle and spread the :fire of patriotism in every nook and corner of the Bombay :Presidency. He went on tours and collected a lot of money for the various national causes, He asked his audiences to work for Swaraj and get ready for sufferings which alone could bring Swaraj. His slogan at the meeting was: "Swarajya is my birth-right; I will have it." The Government of India passed the Public Meetings Act, ihe Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, the Seditious Meeting Act,. 1 907, the Explosive Substances Act, 1 908, the Newspaper (In citement to Offences) Act, 1 908 and the Indian Press Act, 1 9 10, to ta�
The Non.:-Cooperation Movement (1920-22) Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Nation al Congress decided in 1 920 to start the Non-cooperation Move ment. It was truly a revolutionary step. It was for the first time that ihe Congress decided to follow a policy of direct action and many factors were responsible for this change. Mahatma Gandhi had so far believed in the justice and fair-play of the British Gov ernment. He had given his full cooperation to the Government during the World War I in spite of opposition from men like Tilak. However, the tragedy of the Jallianwala Bagh, the Martial Law in the Punjab and the :findings of the Hunter Committee destroyed his faith in the good sense of the Englishmen. He felt that the old methods must be given up. After the withdrawal of the Moderates1 the Extremists were in complete control of the
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
-congress and it was possible for the Congress to adopt a revolutionary course. The terms of the Treaty of Sevres were severe and resented by the Muslims of India who were try ing to persuade the British Government to show leniency to wards Turkey, but they got a flat refusal. That resulted in resentment among them against the British Government. The Muslims started the Khilafat Movement and Mahatma Gandhi identified himself with the in that movement. Mahatma Gandhi was sure of Muslim support if the Congress started the Non-coope ration Movement. A special session of the Congress was held at Calcutta in September 1 920 under the Presidentship of Lala Lajpatrai and Mahatma Gandhi himself moved the Non-cooperation resolution. The resolution was carried by a majority. The programme of the ·Non-cooperation Movement was clearly stated in the Non-coope ration Resolution. It involved the surrender of titles and hono rary offices. The Non-cooperators were not to attend Govern� ment levies, Darbars and other official and semi-official functions ·held by the Government officials or in their honour. They were to · withdraw the'ir children gradually from schools and colleges and establish national schools and colleges. They were to boycott gradually the British courts and establish private arbitration courts. They were not to join the army as recruits for service in Mesopotamia. They were not to stand for election to the Legis ·Iatures and they were also not to vote. They were to use Swa deshi cloth. Hand-spinning and liand-weaving were to be en couraged. Untouchability was to be removed as there could be no Swaraj without this reform. Mahatma Gandhi promised Swaraj within one year if people adopted his programme sincerely ·and whole-heartedly. Ahimsa or non-violence was to be strictly observed by non-cooperators. They were not to give up Satya or truth under any circumstances. The Calcutta decision was endorsed at the annual session of .the Congress held in Decembe� 1 920 at Nagpur. At the Nagpur sessidn, many changes were made in the Consti tution of the Congress. There were to be 1 5 members of the Working Committee of the Congress, including the President and Secretaries. The Congress was to function as a continuous poli tical organisation, capable of linplementing its resolutions. Con.. gress membership was thrown open to all men and women of the age of 21 or above on payment of as. 4 as annual subs .cription. The age limit was reduced to 1 8 in 1 92 1 . ·
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
The Non-cooperation Movement captured the imagination of the people. Both the Hindus and Muslims took part in it. There was a whole-sale burning of foreign goods. Many stu dents left their schools and colleges and the Congress set up such national educational institutions as the Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras Vidyapeeth, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Bihar Vidyapeeth, Bengal Na tional University, National College of Lahore, Jamia Millia of Delhi and the National Muslim University of Aligarh. Seth Jamna Lal Bajaj declared that he would give Rs. 1 lakh a ye.ar for the maintenance of non-practising lawyers. 40 lakh volunteers were enrolled by the Congress. 20,000 Charkhas were manufactured. The people started deciding their disputes by means of arbitration. Mahatma Gandhi gave up the title of Kaisar-i-Hind and his ex' ample was followed by others. The Government of India decided to suppress the Non ·cooperation Movement with all the force as its command. Sec tions 108 and 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were pro mulgated at important centres of the agitation. Orders were passed restricting the entry of Congress leaders in certain places. The provisions of the Seditious Meetings Act were enforced at Lahore. The pilgrims who had gone to Gurdwara Nankana Sahib were shot down by tlie police and 1 95 of them died. In the United Provinces, thousands of volunteers were put in jails without trial. Hundreds of them were wounded by :firings by the police. Many of them were killed. The Ali Brothers were arrested. Mahatma Gandhi was so much agitated on account of the repressive policy of the Government that he asked the Congress Working Com mittee to authorise each Provincial Congress Committee to under take on its own responsibility the civil disobedient campaign in cluding the non-payment of taxes. In November 1921, the Prince of Wales came to India to thank the people for their "magnificent contribution" to the British war-effort. However, when he landed in Bombay, there was complete Hartal. There were clashes, rioting and blood shed. 53 persoD;s lost their lives and 400 were wounded .as a result of firing by the police. A similar thing happened when the Prince of Wales went to Calcutta. All this annoyed Lord Read ing, Viceroy of India. The result was that thousands of volun teers were arrested and put in jails. The Government banned the enrolment of volunteers. Action was taken against the lea ders and C, R. Das along with his wife and son, Lala Lajpat Rai,
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN I:N"DIA
Moii Lal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad were arrested and put in jail. Pandit Madan Mohan Malavjya tried to bring about a cam� promise between the Goverllm.ent and the Congress. He asked the Viceroy to release the civil disobedience prisoners. As the Prince of Wales wanted to celebrate the Christmas in India, Lord Reading was anxious to avoid all unpleasant happenings during the celebrations. No wonder, he agreed ·to consider the sugges tions of Madan Mohan Malaviya. However, Mahatma Gandhi insisted that not only civil disobedience prisoners be released but also the Karachi and Fatwa prisoners. He also demanded that the right of picketing should be conceded. These demands were rejected by the Viceroy and consequently Calcutta observed com plete Hartal on the Christmas day. At the Ahmedabad Session of the Congress held in December 1 921, it was resolved to create a National Volunteer Corps of young men above the age of 1 8 . It was also decided to organise individual civil disobedience movement and mass civil disobe dience after the people were trained in the methods of non violence. Mahatma Gandhi was made the sole executive autho·· rity and he was given full powers to direct the movement. In January 1 922, leaders of the various political parties met ill Bombay and discussed the ways and means to bring about a settlement between the Congress and the Government. So long as the Prince of Wales was in India, Lord Reading followed a policy of caution and showed his willingness to negotiate but as soon as the Prince of Wales left India, he rejected all the demands. Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that the only way to make the Government see reason was to start the civil disobedience movement and he decided to start the same in Bardoli (in Gujarat). The Congress Working Committee called upon the people of India to cooperate with the people of Bardoli "by refraining from mass or individual civil disobedience of an aggressive character, except upon the express consent of Mahatma Gandhi previously obtained." Mahatma Gandhi wrote to the Viceroy and gave 7 days to accept his demands. The Viceroy held the Congress responsible for all the lawlessness in the country. Mahatma Gandhi was left with no alternative but to launch the civil dis obedience movement. Unfortunately, at this time, the tragedy of Chauri Chaura occurred which changed the course of Indian history. What actually happened was that a mob of 3,000 per sons killed 25 policemen and one inspector. Similar tragic events·
THE NATIONALiST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
had already occurred on 17 November 1921 in Bombay and on 13· January 1 922 in Madras. This was too much for Mahatma Gandhi who stood for complete non-violence. The result was that Mahatma Gandhi gave orders for the suspension of the Non cooperation Movement at once. The Government was not satis fied with this action of Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. It was feared that Mahatma Gandhi was out for a bigger trouble and consequently he was arrested on 13 March 1 922. His trial began in Ahmedabad and he pleaded guilty. He took upon him self full responsibility for the occurrences in Madras, Bombay and Chauri Chaura and told Mr. Broomfield, the British judge, that he would "do the same again" if he was set free. He was sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment. The action of Mahatma Gandhi in suspending the movement was severely criticised from many quarters. Moti Lal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai wrote long letters to Gandhiji in which they criticised the action of Mahatma Gandhi. Subhash Chandra Bose condemned Mahatmaji's action in these words "To sound the order of retreat just when public enthusiasm was reaching the boiling point, was nothing short of a national calamity." Jawahar Lal Nehru could not understand how Mahatmaji could justify his action under the present circumstances. However, he justified the action of Mahatma Gandhi later on, on ground of practical politics as the incident of Chauri Chaura was not a solitary one. It was only the last straw. There was practically no discipline among the volunteers. There were many cases of violence. As practically all the leaders of the Congress were in jails with the exception of Mahatma Gandhi, it was not possible to lead the movement on the right lines. Moreover, communalism was rais ing its ugly head in Indian politics. There was every possibility of more violence in the country and that was liable to give the Government a chance to crush the same with a lot of cruelty. As regards the short commings and achievements of the Non cooperation Movement, it failed to achieve its object of securing the redress of Khilafat and Punjab wrongs. The Swaraj was not aHANANJAYA. Savarkar and His Times, 1950. KEISNER, I.M. AND N.M. GoLABERG (En.) . Tilak and the Struggle for Fre$!· .. dom, 1 966. New Delhi. KELKAR, N.C. Life and Times of Lokmanya Tilak (1928) . K.ELLOCK. Mahadeva Gobind Ranade, 1926. KHAN, SHAH NAWAZ. My Memories of I.N.A. and its Netaji. Delhi, 1 945. KoRBEL, JosEF. Danger in Kashmir. Princeton, 1954. KRIPLANI, J.B. Gandhiji - His Life and Thought. KRISHNA KRIPLANI. Gandhi. •
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
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MACDONALD, J. RAMSAY. The Government of India, 1920. MA.cN1coL. Making a Modern India. 1 924. MAJUMDAR, B. AND B.P. MAJUMDAR. Congress and Congressmen in the Pre-Gandhian Era (1885-1917) . Calcutta. MAJUMDAR, B.B. Political Thought From Ram Mohan to Dayanand (1934) , Calcutta. MAJUMDAR, R.C. History of the Freedom Movement in India, Vols. I, II. III. Calcutta, 1963. MAJUMDAR, R.C. . Three Phases of India's Stmggle for Freedom. Bombay, •
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FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
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T.HE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA .
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SASTRI, A.V. The Psychology of Indian Nationalism. Pondicherry, 1969. SASTRI, SIVANATH. Men I Have Seen. Calcutta, 1919. SASTRI, V.S. SRINIVASA. The Indian National Congress. Madras, 1911. SASTRI, V.S. SRINIVASA. Life of Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1937) . SATYA PAL AND PRABODH CHANDRA. Sixty Years of Congress. 1 9'16. SEN, AMIT. Notes on the Bengal Renaissance, 1946. " SEN, A.C. Raja Ram Mohun Roy. SEN, HEM CHANDRA. How India "\.Yon 'Freedom. SEN, P.K. Biography of ·a New Faith.. Volumes 1 and 2. SETALVAD, M.C. Bhulabhai Desai. New Delhi, 1968. SETHANA, K.D. The Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo. SILffi, K.T. Sixty Years of Indian Finance. Bombay, 1921. SHAH, K.T. AND KHAl\IBATA, K.J. Wealth and Taxable Capacity of India. Bombay, 1924. SnAH'ANI, T.K. Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Bombay, 1929. SHAKIR, Mom. Khilafat . to Partition. New Delhi. SHARDA, HAR BILAS. Dayanand Saraswati. SHARMA, RAl\IPRAKASR. Khudiram. SHAY, T.L. The Legacy of Lokmanya. SHELVANKAR, K.S. The Problem of India. London, 1940. SHUKLA, B.D. A History of the Indi11n Liberal Party. Allahabad, 1960. SINGH, B.IC Swami Dayanand. SINGH, G.N. Landmarks in Indian Constitutional and National Develop ment (1600-1919) . Banaras, 1930. SINGH, HIRA LAL. Problems and Policies of the British in India, 1 885-1898. Bombay, 1963. SINGH, SITA RAM. Nationalism and Social Reform in India (1885-1920) , Delhi. SING.HAL, D'.P. Nationalism in India and other Historical Essays. SINHA, NIRMAL (En.) . Freedom Movement in Bengal. SINHA, S. Some Eminent Bihar Contemporaries, 1944. SINHA, LoRD S.P. S,peeches and Writings of, 191 9. SrrARAMA.YYA, PATrABHI. History of the Indian National Congress. Vols. I and II. SMITH, WILLIAM. Nationalism and Reforms in India. SORENSEN. R.W. My Impression of India. London, 1 940. Source Material for a History of the Freedom Movement in India (Bombay) . STOKES; ERIC. The English Utilitarians and India. Oxford, 1959. SUDA, J.P. Indian National Movement. SUDHIR GHOSH. Gandhi's Emissary. SL'NDERLAND, J.T. India in Bondage ii Her Right to Freedom, 1920. TAGORE, S.N. Raja Ram Mohun Roy. TAMANKAR, D.V. Lokmanya Tilak (1956) TARA CHAND. History of Freedom Movement in India. Vols. 1 to ·!. TARIN! SHANKAR CHAKRAVARTI. India in Revolt. Calcutta, 1946. TELANG, K.T. Free Trade and Protection from an Indian Point of View. Bombay, 1877. TENDULKAR, D.G. Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. 8 Vols. TERRAINE, JoHN. The Life· and Times of Lord Mountbatlen. TmvY, J.A. A Shorl Sketch of the Indian Independence :Movement in East Asia. TucKER,..Srn FRANCIS. While Memoi;y Serves. Lo�don, 1950. TYNE, C.H'.V. Ipdia in_ Fen:ge1l.t. Ldndon, 1923. . TYsoN, GEoFFREY�r Nehru, The Years ·of Power. London, 1966. Uttar Pradesh Government: Freedom Struggle in Uttar Pradesh. _
THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN INDIA
VASWANI, T.L. Rishi Dayanand, 1958. VIDYARTHI, R.S. British Savagery in India. Agra, 1946. VYAS, ICC. The Social Repaissance in India. Bombay, 1957. WADIA,, J.A. The Artificial Currency and the Commerce of India. Bombay, 1902. WALLBANK, T."W. India in the New Era. WAsT1, S.I. Lord Minto and the Indian Nationalist Movement. 1905-1910. WEDDERBURN, SIR W. A.O. Hurne, 1913. WEST, GEOFRY. The Life of Annie Besant. London, 1929. WHEELER, PosT India Against the Storm. New York, 1944. WINT, G. The British in Asia. London, 1955. WOLPERT, S.A. Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India. Berkeley, 1962. YusuF MEHERAI.LY. The Price of Liberty. Bombay, 1942. ZACHARIAS, H. 'Renascent India (From Ram Mohun Roy to Mohan Das Gandhi) . London, 1933. ZAKARIA, RAFIQ. 'Rise of Muslims in Indian Politics: An analysis of De . velopments from 1885 to 1906. ZETLAND. LoRD. Steps Towards Indian Home Rule. London. ZETLAND, LoRD. The Heart of Arvavarta (1 925) . .
THE Muslims ruled India for more than six centuries. They were able to conquer practically the whole of India. However, towards the end of the reign of Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire began to break up. The Marathas raised the standard of revolt and ultimately were able in the 18th century to set up a big Mara tha Empire. The Sikhs, after some time, were also able to carve out a kingdom of their own. Many small Muslim States also came into existence. Both the English and the French East India Companies joined the scramble for power. After defeating their rivals in Bengal and the Deccan, the English were able to establish their own empire in India. One by one, the Muslim states were conquered and annexed. The �athas were :finally defeated and their territories also annexed. Sind and the Punjab were annexed during the 1 840's. By the middle of the 19th century, British hold over the whole of India was complete and they ruled the country with an iron hand, without the people having any say in the administration of the country. The relations between the English and the Muslims were parti cularly bad as the Muslims nursed a grievance that it were the British who snatched away power from their hands. They refus ed to study the English language and m:iintained an attitude of aloofness from the British. No wonder, they were not taken in the employment of the English East India Company and the Hindus alone from India were to be found there. The Muslim resent ment against the British Government exhibited itself during the Wahabi Movement, but the same was suppressed ruthlessly by the British Government. During the rising of 1 857-58, the Muslims played an important part. The Mughal Emperor put himself at the head of the rebels and naturally the British Government took stern action against the Muslims not only during the period of the ·national uprising but even after that. It is pointed out that during the 1 9th Century, the British were biased against the Muslims. Lord Cornwallis had shut out the Muslim community from his Permanent Settlement. The Muslim monopoly over army officers was usurped by the Euro252
peans. In 1 843, Lord Ellenborough declared the entire Muslim community to be disloyal and recommended a policy of favour ing the Hindus. After 1 858, ·men like John Lawrence advocat ed a policy of straining the relations between the Hindus and the Muslims. The policy of the Government gave Islamic cultural influence a death blow. Persian was at :first replaced by Bengali and later on by English. It was specifically stated in the Gov ernment advertisements that only the Hindus were eligible and not others. The result was that in 1 871, out of 2, 141 gazetted . posts in Bengal, i ,23 8 were occupied by Europeans, 7 1 1 by Hindus and only 92 by the Muslims. It was pointed out that in Calcutta there was hardly a Government office in which a Muslim "can hope for any post above the rank of porter, messenger, :filler of ink-pots and mender of pens." Between 1 852 and 1 868, out of 240 natives admitted as Pleaders of the High Courts, only one was a Muslim. In 1 8 60, out of 300 students in the Hoogly College, only three were Muslims. In 1 8 69, out of 104 medical diploma-holders, only one was a Muslim. In the list of Univer sity graduates of 1871, we .find only one Muslim B.A. in Madras and two Muslim B.A.s and one Muslim M.A. in Bombay. The . result was that the Muslims became the "hewers of wood and drawers of water" in a country where they had ruled previously. No wonder, frustration, despondency and decay overtook the entire Muslim community. • Between 1864 and 1 873, there were five major trials involv., ing dozens of Muslims for religious activities. In 1 871, a Muslim fanatic murdered the Chief Justice of Bengal who had imposed heavy sentences on the Wahabis. Another Wahabi convict murdered Lord Mayo in the Andamans. However, a change took place in the British attitude towards the Muslims. In 1 871 was published a book entitled "The Indian Mussalmans" by Sir William Hunter. The contention of the author was that the Muslims were too weak for rebellion and "it was expedient now to take them into alliance rather than con tinue to antagonise them." Lord Oliver, at one time Secretary of State for India, wrote: "No one with close acquaintance of Indian affairs will be prepared to deny that on the whole, there is a pre dominant bias in British officials in India in favour of the Muslim community, partly on the ground of closer sympathy but more largely as a make-weight against Hindu nationalism." Sir John St!'achy emphasised the importance of winning over the Muslims in these words: "The better classes of Mohammadans are a source ·
FIFTY-FIVE YEA,RS OF MODERN INDIA
to us · of strength and not of weakness. They constitute a com paratively small but energetic minority pf the population whose. political interests are identical with ours." Similar sentiments w�re expressed by Bampfylde Fuller ·when he declared that of his "two wives, the Mohammadan one was the favourite." Lord Mor ley wrote to Lord Minto: "The real truth is that I am an Occi dental, not an Oriental; don't betray this fatal secret or I shall be ruined! I think I like Mohammadans but I cannot go further in an easterly direction." SIR SYED AHMED KHAN The change in British attitude towards the Muslims was wel comed by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1 8 1 7-98). He belonged to a Mughal official family and had entered the British judicial service. During the 1 857-58 edays, he remained faithful to the British Government. After that, he published a book analysing the causes of the revolt of 1 8 57-58 . His conclusion was that the Indian Muslims must come to terms with the British Government and at the same time re:qiain aloof from the Hindus, He put em phasis on the community of fllndamental ·Islamic and Christian ideas with their common Judaic heritage. Reason and revelation were basic to both Islam and Christianity. ·Sir Syed joined the Viceroy's LegislativeaCouncil in 1 878 but even before that he had founded in 1 875 the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at A ligarh. That college became the centre of all the Muslims of India and even for Muslims abroad and was given the status of a University in 1 920. Not content with. this, Sir Syed laid the foundation of the Annual Muslim Educational Conference in 1 886. This was done only a year after the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1 885. The Muslim Conference was held each year at a dif ferent. place in India. In addition to being a centre of informa tion regarding the general and educational condition of the Indian Muslims, it became a forum of dissemination of Muslim poli ti�al opinions. With, the help of this Annual Conference, the Muslims hoped to cover "the whole of Upper India with a net work of societies, committees and individuals, all working har moniously in the great cause, so that a big evil may be dealt with by a strong remedy and by the vigorous work ' of one generation the tide of misfortune may be turned and the M'ahommedan Nation may be set moving on the tide qf progress abreast of all
the other Nations of India." Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk Maulvi Sayyid Husain Bilgrami made it clear in his inaugural address as President of the Conferertce on 27 December 1 900 that several purposes were associated with the Annual Conference and it provided a meeting ground for the educated Musalmans of different parts of India, so that they might have oppprtunities of mutual consulta tion for the progress of their community and take concerted action - for its achievement. The Annual Conference gradually gained ground and fr succeeded in collecting information regarding the number, ajms and methods of the Muslim societies in each district, the number, names and addresses of eminent Musalmans, Maulvis, Ulema and the members of the Muslim nobility "who may be thought earnest in devoting their leisure and money to matters of commqnal interest." Both the educational and political objectives of the Conference were emphasized during the Annual Con ferences. Sir Syed also founded in 1 8 8 8 the Indian Patriotic Associa tion. The objectives of the new organisation were to "(a) publish and circulate pamphlets and other papers for information of mem bers of Parliament, English journals and the people of Great Britain, in which those mis-statements will be pointed out by which the supporters of. the Indian National Congress have wrong ly attempted to convince the English people that all the Nations of India and the Indian chiefs and rulers agree with the aims and objects of the National Congress, (b) to inform members of Par liament and the newspapers of Great Britain and its people by the same means of the opinions of .Mohammedans in general, of the Islamia Anjmans, and those Hindus and their societies which were opposed to the objects of the National Congress, (c) to strive to preserve peace in India and to strengthen the British rule; and to remove those bad feelings from the hearts of the Indian people, which the supporters ' of the Congress are stirring up throughout the country and by which great dissatisfaction is being raised among the people against the British Government." c, In addition to these, Sir Syed started in 1 893 the Moham medan Defence Association of Upper India. Principal Beck of the Aligarh College played an important part in starting this , organisation. On 30 D�cember 1 893, a meeting of some influ ential Muslims was held at the house of Sir Syed to discuss the political condition of the Musalmans. The proceedings of this meeting were started with an. address by Principal Beck himself. The Principai was vot fa�our, bf p 91jtical aAfi:ation ·as that coul� .
·FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
alienate the Muslims from the British Government. However, he felt the necessity of an organisation to give political lead to the young Muslims. To quote Principal Beck, "With the press pouring out a stream of ·political articles, our young educated Mohammedans will be drawn into the current to support or op pose the measures proposed . . . . I think it would be a mistake to leave them without guidance." The advice of Principal Beck was accepted and the Mohammedan Defence Association of Upper India was set up through a resolution passed to that effect in the same gathering. · ' Sir Syed was a true Muslim and he was jealous of the pro gress made by the Hindus. He felt that Muslims had made a .mistake in ignoring the study of the English language and Euro pean ideas. He would like to pull up the Muslims of India so that they were not hanqicapped in any way in their struggle for existence. He also felt that the future of the Muslims in India was not bright. A beginning had already been made by the in troduction of democratic institutions in India by the British Gov ernment. If ultimately, the British Government agreed to trans fer power into the hands of the Indians, the Muslims will be no where. The Muslims being in a minority in India will· not be able to safeguard their own interests. The Hindu majority could do anything against the Muslim minority. It was for that reason that Sir Syed advised the Muslims of India not to join the nation alist movement in the country and keep away from it. Sir Syed was not bothered about the fact whether India became free or not. His only worry was that if more powers were given to the Indians by the Englishmen, those were going to be used by the Hindus against the Muslims.' He was not prepared to put up with the majority rule of the Hindus in the distant future. That was the. reason why he called upon all the Muslims of India not to join the Indian National Congress. Sir Syed jeered at the national agita tion for freedom and called it as "no more than the cries of jackals and crows" and advised the British Government to rule with the help of force a country like India which did not have a common nationality, common blood, common aims and common ways of thinking. He assured the Government of India that the Muslims would not join the Indian National Congress and in this he was 1. In his speech at Meerut in 1888, Sir Syed Ahmed "emphasised that in representative institutions, Muslim share in proportion to the Tatio of their population would be insignificant; even if they were given parity they lacked the educational standard to share administrative power at the helm."
eminently successful. Sir Syed definitely succeeded in keeping most of the Muslims away from the Indian National Congress. As a matter of fact, a deliberate attempt was made both by the British bureaucracy in India and the influential Muslims to keep the Muslims away from the Hindus. Aligarh became the centre of Muslim thought and culture. Practically every big Muslim in India sent his children to Aligarh for education or he was persuad ed or coerced to do so by the British bureaucracy in India. The credit for separating the Muslims from the Hindus must go to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. He may have played the game which some of the Englishmen in India wanted him to play but ·the fact re mains that as a result of the policy advocated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the nationalist movement in India became positively weak and ultimately it resulted in the partition of India in 1 947. Judged by any standard, Sir Syed was a great man. The tribute paid to him by an intimate friend and quoted by C. F. Andrews describes his greatness in these words: "In Sir Syed Ahmed Khan I saw the grandeur, the lion-like strength, the high ideals, the passionate enthusiasm of a great mind. No Musalman, whom I ever met, impressed me more by the force and dignity of his character and · his commanding intellectual greatness than Sir Syed Ahmed. Wherever he went, he naturally took the lead. His personality demanded it, and men instinclively followed him. His very presence and appearance were commanding. He was a born leader of men." The view of Ram Gopal is that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was a very controversial figure in his life-time and continues to be ap praised and interpreted differently by different writers. However, it cannot be denied that he was a colossal personality with a rare vision and a rarer ambition for service of the people needing more attention than others. Sir Syed was so much devoted to the mis sion of his life that the rising tide of the political movement ap peared to him as a distraction. He felt that if he did not withhold the Muslims from it, their progress in the field of education would be halted. This aspect of his life admits of different interpreta tions and different conclusions. However, those who suggest that Sir Syed did a national wrong in asking the Muslims to keep aloof from the Indian National Congress, will have to agree that the period of his educational movement closely coincided with the early progress of higher English education among the Muslims. (Writings and Speeches of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan by Shan Mo� hammed, pp. vii-viii) .
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
PRINCIPAL BECK �
A reference must be made in this connection to the work of Mr. Beck who was the Principal of the Aligarh College from 1 8 83 to 1 899. It was Principal Beck who organised the Muslim oppo sition in 1 899 to Bradlaugh's Bill in the British Parliament for giving representative institutions to India. The memorial which was sent on behalf of the Muslims of India claimed that the in troduction of democratic institutions was not suited to India be cause India was not one. nation. It has already been pointed out above that Principal Beck was the prime mover in the establish ment of the Mohammedap. Defence Association of Upper India in 1 893 . The object of that organisation was to prevent the Muslims from joining the Congress. To quote Beck, 'The objec tive ·of the Congress is to transfer the political control of the coun try from the British to the Hindus . . . . . Muslims can have no sympathy with these demands. It is imperative for the Muslims and the British to unite with a view to fighting these agitators and prevent the introduction of democratic form of Government unsuited to the needs and genius of the country. We, therefore, ad . :vocate loyalty to the Gove!'l1Il1ient and Anglo-Muslim collabora tion."· Again, "Thy parliamentary system in India is most un suited ·aifd the experiment would prove if representative institu , tions are introduced. The Muslims will be under the majority opinion of the Hin�us, a thing which will be highly resented by Muslims and which I am sure, they will not accept quietly." Principal Beck was able to convince Sir Syed that while an Anglo-Muslim alliance would ameliorate the condition of the Muslim community, the nationalist alignment would lead them once again to sweat, toil and tears. He was further led to believe that supporting the Government was the surest way of making up the leeway for his coinmunity. As a . result, his unique influence was used to keep the Muslims, particularly in Northern India, . away from the Congress. On the death of Principal Beck, Sir John Strachey wrote: "An Englishman who was engage_d in empire-building activities in a far off land has passed away. � He died like a soldier at the post of iris duty. The Muslims are a suspicious people. They opposed ¥r. Beck in the beginning suspecting him to be a British spy but his sincerity and selflessness soon· succeeded in his , gaining their , confidence.� . J:h�re is a temptation to compare the work of Principal Beck �.
with that of Hume. The latter founded in 1 8 85 the Indian Natio nal Congress which foughr for more than 60 years · the ·battle of ' India's freedom and ultimately made her free in 1 947. On the other hand, Principal Beck tried to separate the Muslims' from the Hindus and ultimately succeeded in his object. It were his ideas that in a way helped the establishment of Pakistan in 1947. While Hume stood for the unity and freedom of India, Beck stood 'for the division of India and if possible keeping the Muslims attached to th� British Go:vernment.
PARTITION OF BENGAL
On 1 6 October 1 905, Lord Curzon announced the Partition· of Bengal into two parts. It was pointed out �hat t4is was being done with a view to overcome the administrative difficulties .which ' . were being faced by the British Government ·m. India. . 'Fhe pro- ·· Vince of Bengal was an unwieldy one and its boundaries· were -qn scienti:fic · and required -readjustment. However, the real object of the partition· of Bengal was the desire of the British Govern ment to create a Muslim majority province and to reward the Muslims for their devotion to the British Government and to punish Beng�li Babus for their audacity to defy the British Gov ernment in India. As was expected, the Hindus of Bengal carried on a vigorous agitation against the partition for practically 6 years and ultimately the same was cancelled in 1 9 1 1 . S o far as the Muslims were concerned, they attached. very. great importance to the creation of a Muslim majority province. They were very grateful to Lord Curzon for what he had given them. While the Hiildus criticised the re-appointment of Lord Curzon, the Muslims welcomed ·th� same and showered praises on him. They considered Lord Curzon as the best Viceroy. No .wonder, when Bengal was partitioned, the Muslims were over joyed. They not only thanked the Government for their gift but also opposed the anti-partition agitation. The Muslims were made to believe that partition was beneficial to them. At a meet ing of the Muslim League held on 3 0 December 1 906 at Dacca, a resolution was passed to the effect that the partition of Bengal was beneficial to the Muslims. Agitation against partition was condemned. In its extraordinary meeting held in 1908, the Muslim League expressed its grave anxiety over the anti-partition movement and hoped in the �teady and firm stand of the Govern ment in the matter because the Partition was believed to have brought salvation to the Musalmans of Eastern Bengal ,from de-.
FIFTY-F-IVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
gradation and ruin. The Muslim League also declared that any change in the partition would result in a grave injury to the Musalmans from one part of India to another. Sayyid Ahmad Delhvi,, Editor of Farhing Asa:fia, remarked that although the illiterate and ignorant frontier tribes could not estimate the power .and strength of the British Governmept, there was no reason why the Bengalis who were experts in the English language and fami liar with the history of the world should be unaware of it. They might succeed in killing 1 0 or 20, 50 or 100 Englishmen with the help of bombs, but they would not be able to uproot the British rule in India. They ought to have known that even the children of Englishmen were brave soldiers and born heroes. The revolutjonary activities of the Bengalis were condemned by the Muslims and resolutions to that effect were passed by the Muslim League. The London Branch of the Muslim League was goaded to action with a view to check the growth of the idea that the partition be amended or upset. It was directed to impress upon the British Government that a policy of :firmness in the mat ter would be more advantageous to it than even the slightest show of weakness. Moreover, the Muslims who were loyal subjects of His Majesty, had a right to be heard before any action was taken by the British Government. It was conveyed to the British Government that the Musalmans believed that their lives and i:,ights would remain protected only by the continued rule of the British Government in India. They did not like, even for a min ute, that any impediment be placed in the way of the grand ad ministration of the ,British Government. In view of this Muslim attitude, the orders of the British Gov ernment cancelling the partition, could not be liked by �hem. The British Government was criticised on the ground that it had betray ed them and it was not possible to have faith in the pledged -word of such a Government. To quote Nawab Mushtak Husain Viqar ul-Mulk Bahadur, "So far as th� Musalmans are concerned, it may be· understood to be the consensus of opinion that this re-union is generally disliked. In face of the assurances repeatedly given by successive ministers of the Crown as to the Partition being 'a settl ed fact', the amalgamation betrays /the weakness of the Govern ment and will, in future, be regarded as one of the reasons for placing no trust in its utterances and actions." It is worthy of note that Bengal which was partitioned in 1905 was partitioned again in August 1 947 in order to give the Muslims of East Bengal �_!!other Muslim ma�ority province.
Causes of Muslim Communalism Many reasons have been given for the rise and growth of Muslim. communalism in India. One view attributes this to the backwardness of the Muslims. It is contended that the Muslims avoided contact with the new culture and education on account of their religious orthodoxy. They became more and more· poor during the British rule. Their importance was further lessened on account of the new judicial system and the English education. The areas with Muslim majority came under the British control later than those where the Hindus were in a majority. After the rising of 1 8 57, the British Government adopted a policy of dis favouring the Muslims and hence the Muslims became backward. Knowing their backwardness, the Muslims felt that they could not compete on equal terms with the Hindus and consequently, they must get their due by showing their loyalty to the British Government and remaining aloof from the nationalist movement in the country. It is pointed out that the backwardness of the Muslims was self-inflicted. It was on account of their religious pride and fanaticism that they neglected English education and · thereby became backward. MacCully points out that in the year 1 865-66, out of 1,578 students enrolled in colleges for general education, a survey revealed that there were only 57 Muslims, 'l,426 Hindus and 95 others. Another view is that communal conflict ·in India was implicit in the very unfolding of our history and the same could not be avoided. The Muslims had once ruled India and they could not pull on with the Hindus. This view is also not accepted. It is pointed out that there were many" Muslim kings who treated the Hindus well. This was true not onJy of Akbar, the Great, but also of many other Muslim Kings. Moreover, there were corn. man festivals, common social customs, common literature, com plimentary architecture, etc., among the Hindus and Muslims. Even when some Muslim rulers persecuted the Hindus, there were no Hindu-Muslim riots in the country. It was only during the British rule in India that Hindu-Muslim riots took place and that also in those areas where the nationalist movement was strong. Between 1 8 8 9 and 1.894, there were about 90 Hindu-Muslim riots. Out of them, there were as many as 44 such riots in Ben gal alone, 9 riots in North-Western Provinces and Oudh, 17 in Madras and one in the Punjab. The British Government en couraged these riots wherever there was great political activity, ·
Of M_ODERN INDIA ..
. so that the Hindus and Muslims may start quarrelli1m and fight-· ing anq the nationalist movement m;ay get a set-back. It is !flso contended by writers like Dr. Beni Prasad, W. C Smith and A. R. Desai that the rise and growth of Muslim com..: munalism was due to the Hindu i:evivalists. Some Hindu Con- · gress leaders put too muc_h emphasis on the Hindu heroes of the past and thereby' alienated the Muslims. In particular, the names of Tilak, B. C. Pal, Lala Lajpatrai and Aurobindo. Ghose are mentioned. A Muslim newspaper wrote thus in 1 893: "There is another party in the Congress whose sole object in joining the move)]]jent is oppressing the Yavanas. They are all Hindu re·· vivalists . . . . . Their object - i& nothing more or less than to estab lish a purely Hindu Govetnment." It is true that leaders like Tilak appealed to the examples of the Hindu heroes to turn out the Englishmen from India, but it is wrong to say that Muslim communalism could be attributed to them. At a time when Muslim communalism: began to grow, it is the · Moderates who were in control of the Congress and they believed in keeping re ligion separate from politics. Moreover, the Muslims attacked not only the Extremists among the Congressmen like Tilak, but they also attacked the Moderates. ' That clearly shows that · Hindu revivalism had not much to do with the growth of Mu�lim Communalism. However, Hindu revivalism gave an excuse to the Muslims to remain away from the nationalist movement in the country. There are some writers who refer to the social, cultural, re ligious and linguistic differences between the Hindus and Muslims and they attribute the separatist movement of the Muslims .to those differences. To quote Coupland, "Hinduism has its pri meval roots in a land of rivers and forests, Islam in the desert. Hindus worship many gods, Muslims only one; Hinduism main tains a rigid caste system, Islam proclaims the equal brotherhood of all believers The classical language of Hindus is Sanskrit and of Muslims Arabic and Persian; the distinc�ive daily speech of the one is Hindi and the other the Urdu variant of Hindustani . . . . " Both the Hindus and the Muslims were proud of their old glory and grandeur. The Hindus had not forgotten that the Muslims had conquered India .with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other. The Muslims had desecrated temples, polluted the places of worship of the Hindus, abducted their women and sub jected them to numerous hardships. From time to time, there had been Hindu-Muslim riots in the country. The;re was a Hindu-
.. � r
Muslim riot at Banaras in 1 809 in which several hundred per sons were killed and about 50 mosques were destroyed. In 1 8 85, there were serious riots at Lahore and Kamal. There were riots at Delhi in 1 8 86, at Dera Ghazi Khan in 1 889 and at Palakod in 1 8 9 1 . In 1 893, there were riots in U.P. and Bombay and a large number of persons were killed. · The root cause of Muslim communalism was the intellectual backwardness and numerical inferiority of the' Muslims as a whole in the country. The Muslims knew that they were educationally backward anci consequently could not compete with the Hindus. Therefore, they decided to remain aloof from the nationalist move ment and asked the British Government to reward them adequate ly for their loyalty. The Muslims were in a minority in the country and consequently they could not hope to have a majority in the Legislatures if India was given self-government. Con sequently, they joined hands with the GoverD.Jlljent so that self government was not granted to India which involved domination by the Hindus. That explains Muslim opposition to refon:p.s and also the Congress organisation. In 1 8 99, the Muslims held a meeting at Lucknow and passed many resolutions. One of the resolutions ran thus: "Democratic theories are wholly unsuited to this country and, if carried into effect, would result not in estab lishing equal 'rights, about which so much is said, but in introduc ing a monopoly of power, the communities in minority being care fully excluded from all the seats of office." In the same year, the following Memorandum was forwarded to the Government by Mirza Mohammed Abbas Bahadur, Secretary of the Anti-Congress Committee: "The time has come for the loyalty of this important sectibn to be rewarded by a somewhat more active participation in pubiic affairs, not by reason of any dissatisfaction with the be nign and just rule the country enjoys, but in order to counteract the agitation which seeks to undermine the firm foundation of that rule in the hearts of the people." The following is the report of a meeting of the Mus:µms of Jhang in the Punjab: "The meet ing took notice of the fact that if the Government appointments were given according to literary attainments only, none but Pakori Malls and Dhoti Parshads will occupy Government offices and courts." If the Muslims wanted favours from the British Gov ernment, they had to keep away from the Congress organisation with a view to keep their masters in good humour. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan helped the cause of Muslim commun alism in the country. He kept the Muslims away from the Con-
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
gress in order to get more favours and privileges for them from the British Government. In 1 859, he published a booklet in which he tried to prove the basic loyalty of the Muslims to the British Government. He also pointed out to the basic similarity of Islam and Christianity. He published a study of the Bible. In 1 869-70 he went to England and was received well by the members of the House of Lords and British officials. He was presented to Queen Victoria and was de9orated. He was elected an Honorary Member of an English' club. Sir John Strachy got for Sir Syed Ahmed the present site of the Muhammedan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh. Lord Northbrook donated· Rs. 10,000 towards the funds of that College. Lord Lytton laid fhe foundation-stone of the College in 1 877. Sir Syed Ahmed was appointed a member of the Viceroy's Legislative Council in 1 878. In 1 8 � 1 , Lord Ripon renewed the appointment. Lord Du:fferin appointed him a member of the Public Service Commission. In '1 889 he was decorated with K.C.S.I. For all these favours, Sir Syed Ahmed became a willing instru ment in the hands of the British Government. He opposed joint elec;torates and favoured communal electorates. He declared that there would be Hindu-Muslim riots all over the country, if the Bri tish rulers left India. He founded the Muslim Educational Con ference, the Indian Patriotic Association and the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental Defence Association of Upper India. Only the Muslims and Englishmen could be the members of the Muham medan Anglo-Oriental Defence Association of Upper India. While founding the Indian Patriotic Association, Sir Syed wrote to Colonel Graham thus: "I have undertaken a heavy task against the so-called National Congress." Sir Syed criticised the Con gress move to have simultaneous examinations for recruitment to ' the Indian Civil Service. His view was that the British rule in India was due to divine will. He told the Muslims: "God has made them your rulers. This is the Will of God. We should be content with the Will of God and in obedience to the Will of Goq, you should remain friendly and faithful to them." The view that Sir Syed Ahmed was weaned away from the nationalist movement by Principal Beck of the Aligarh College is not accepted by many writers who maintain that Sir Syed always stood for the service of the Muslim community by remaining loyal to the British Govern ment. It was on account of his influence that the Muslims were given so many concessions. As a matter of fact, the Statutory Civil Service was started with a view to recruit Muslims to various
offices in the country. In December 1 8 87 when the Indian Na tional Congress was holding its Session under . a Muslim Pre sident, Sir Syed "re-emphasised his plan of prospering the Muslim professional classes by loyalty and fav�ur." He assured the Mus lims that the Government would certainly give them jobs as Co lonels and Majors in the Army provided they did not give rise to the suspicions of di�loyalty by joining the Congress. The British policy of "Divide and Rule" was also responsible for the rise and growth of Muslim communalism. in the country. The British rulers realised that they could stay on in the country only so long as the Hindus and Muslims did not join hands against the foreign Government. As early as 1 857, Disraeli made the following declaration in the British Parliament: "'Our Empire in India was, indeed, founded upon the old principle of Divide· et impera, but the principle was put into action by us not with any Machiavellian devices, but by merely taking advantage of the natural and spontaneous circumstances of the country in which we were acting a part." Elphinstone is stated to have observed: "Divide et impera was the old Roman motto and it should be ours." It was under the British patronage that Aligarh grew into a big A_ll-India centre for Muslim compmnalism. Sir John Strachey went to Aligarh and told the Muslims: ''You have a per fect right to have a national aspiration and not to forget your past." He also made the following confession in a book: "The existence side by side of these hostile faiths is one of the strong points in our political situation in India." It is well known that the Aligarh movement played an important part in keeping the Muslims away from the nationalist movement. The policy of favouring the Muslims and thereby keeping them away from the Congress was continued by the British Gov ernment 'even after the death of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. It is well known that in 1 906, Lord Minto told the Muslim delegates that they were the descendants of a conquering and ruling race. He also assured them that their position would be judged not by their numerical . strength but by the services rendered by them to the British Empire. Lord Minto was happy that he was able to pull back 62 millions of MusJ.lms from "joining the ranks of seditious opposition." The Muslims were given separate repre sentation in 1 909 and they stuck to this privilege throughout till they achieved the goal of Pakistan. Later on also the British Government continuecf to follow a policy of playing the Muslims against the Hindus and thereby widening the gulf of differences
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
between them. Mr. Jinnah was backed by the British Govern ment in his claims for the Muslims. It is true that very many Muslims joined the naticmalist movement from time to time and played a memorable part, but on the whole, the Muslims remain ed away from the mainstream of the nationalist movement. LORD MINTO
When the Government of India made up its mind to give cpn cessions tG India in the constitutional field about the year 1906, the Muslims put forward a demand for separate electorates for themselves. Those demands were placed before Lord Minto by a Muslim deputation led by Sir Agha Khan. But it must be notic ed that everything was arranged by Archibold, Principal of the Aligarh College. The deputation was a comm.and affair. Mr. Archibold wrote thus: "Colonel Dunlop Smith, Private Secretary of His Excellency, the Viceroy, informs me that His Excellency is agreeable to receive the Muslim deputation. His advises that a formal letter requesting permission to wait on the Excelle�cy be sent to him. In this connection, I would like to make a few sug gestions. The formal letter should be sent with the signatures of some representatives of Mussalmans. The deputation should con sist of representatives of all the provinces. The third point to be considered is the text of ilie address. I would here suggest that we begin with a solemn assurance of loyalty. The Government's decision to take a step in this direction of self-government should the, appreciated. But our appr�hensions should be expressed that the principle of election, if introduced, would prove detrimental to the interests of the Muslim minority. It should respectfully be suggested that nomination or representation by religion be intro duced to meet Muslim opinion. We should also say that in a country like India due weight must be given to the Zamindars. But in all these views, I must be in the background. They must come from you . . . . I can prepare for you the draft of the Address or revise it. If it is prepared in Bombay, I can go, through it. As you are aware, I know how Jo phrase these things iri proper langu age. Please remember that if we want to organise a powerful movement in the short time at our disposal, we must expedite mat ters." Lord Minto received the deputation sympathetically and gave the following reply: "The pith of your address, as I understand it, is a claim that under any system of representation, whether it affects
a municipality or a district board or a legislative council, in which it is proposed to introduce or increase an electoral organisation, .the. ·Mohammedan community should be represented as a commU: ·nity. You point out that in many cases electoral bodies as now constituted cannot be expected to return a Mohammedan candi date, and if by chance they did so, it could only be at the sacrifice .of such a candidate's views to those of a majority opposed to his community whom he would in no way represent; and you justly claim that your position should be estimated not only in your numerical strength, but in respect to the political importance of your community and the s�rvice it has rendered to the Empire. I am entirely in accord with you. Please do not misunderstand me, I make no attempt to indicate by what means the representa tion. of communities can be obtamed, but I am as firmly convinced as I believe you to be that any electoral representation in India would be doomed to mishievous failure which aimed at granting a personal enfranchisement regardless of the beliefs and tradi tions of the co�unities composing the population of this con tinent." Lady Minto tells us in her Diary that Lord Minto des cribed the day on which the Muslim deputation met him as "an epoch in Indian history." Having committe4 himself to give separate electorates to the Muslims, Lord Minto took up the matter with Lord Morley, the Liberal Secretary of State for India. The latter was not in favour of the proposal of Lord Minto. But the Viceroy insisted that se· parate electorates alone could satisfy the Muslims of India and nothing else. The result was...,that ultimately Lord Morley accept ed the point of view of Lord M,into and provision was made in the Act of 1909 for separate electorate� for the Muslims. Lord Mor ley wrote to Lord Minto thus in December 1 909: "I won't follow you again into our Mohammedan dispute. Only I respectfully remind you again that it was your early speech about their extra claims that started the (Muslim) hare. I am convinced my deci sion was best." It is clf\ar that Lord Minto was the real father of communal electorates although the British officials also played their part. After' the Simla deputation, Nawab Salim Ulla Khan of Dacca set up a permanent political organisation of the Muslims known as the Muslim League.1 The latter supported the pa�ition of 1. It is contended that the form�tion of the Muslim League was in pur suance of· the British policy of "divide and rule." Maulana Mohammed Ali
(Continued on next p_age) ,
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
Bengal and opposed the boycott of British goods. THE ALL-INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE On 30 December 1 906 was established the All-India Muslim League with a view to "support, whenever possible, all measures emanating from the Government, .and to protect the cause and advance the interests of our co-religionists throughout the coun try, to controvert the growing influence of the so-called Indian National Congress which has a tendency to misinterpret and sub vert British rule in India, or which might lead to that deplorable situation, and to enable our young men of education, who for want of such an association have joined the Congress, to find scope, according to their :fitness and ability, for public life." Zaka Ullah has rightly pointed out that the All India Muslim League was in complete accord with the advice of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. The Muslims did not join the Indian National Congress and set up a separate League of their own. There was nothing common between the Congress and the Muslim League. While the latter taught the lesson of undivided loyalty to the British Crown, the former preached open agitation or sedition. A refer ence to a statement of the. Secretary of the Muslim League also points out to the fundamental difference between the Congress and the Muslim League: ''We are not opposed to the social unity of the Hindus and the Musalmans . . . . but the other type of unity (political) involves the working out of common political purposes. This sort of our unity with the Congress cannot be possible be cause we and the Congressmen do not have common political ob jectiv�s. They indulge in acts calculated to weakening the Bri tish Government. They want .representative Government which means death for Musalmans. They desire competitive examina tion for employment in Government services and this would mean the deprivation of Musalmans of Government jobs. Therefore we need not go near political unity (with the Hindus). It is the aim of the League to present Muslim demands through respectful requests before the Government. They should not, like Congress men, cry for boycott, deliver exciting speeches and write imperti-
(Continued from previous page)
says that the Muslim deputation which waited on the Viceroy was a "command performance." The view of Ramsay Macdonald is that "The Mohammedan leaders were inspired by certain Anglo-Indian officials and these officials have pulled wires at Simla and in London and sowed discord between Hindu and Mohemmedan communities by showing the Muslims special favour."
nent article in newspapers and hold meetings to turn public feel ing and attitude against their benign Government." In a letter to the President of the Deccan Muslim League, His Highness the Aga Khan who was the President of the All-India Muslim League, wrote thus: "Recognising, as we must do, that British rule is essen tial to India-that it is the only rule which can preserve us from ;internal anarchy and unsympathetic foreign domination, that it is the only rule under which 1ndia can march steadily along the paths of peace, contentment and moral and intellectual progress by which we have advanced so far, let us bend all our energy to making that rule strong in its hold upon the imagination and affection of the people of India." The founders of the Muslim League believed that "Musalmans have their own traditions and ideals which constitute the common property of Islam but which cannot wholly be identical with those of any other community. Prominent among the ideals which sway the ordinary Musalman is the conviction that nothing would compensate him for the loss of conscious ·membership of the great Muslim community of the world." . The :first annual session of the All-India Muslim League was held at Karachi on 29 December 1 907. Karachi in Sind was deliberately chosen for that purpose. "Sind is that pious place in India where Muhammad Bin Qasim came first, with the torch of religion and the gift of Hadis. No other place could appeal to our elders." The President of the session made the following significant declaration: "If a handful of men under a boy could teach Kalima to the territory of Sind and promulgate the law of true Shariat of God and His Rasul, can seven crores of Musal mans not make their social and political life pleasant?" The Pre sident also declared that he was satisfied with the attitude of the Government towards the Muslims. He hoped that at least 4 Musalmans would be taken in the Imperial Council under the new reform, give evidence in any investigation or trial held under the Regula tions and the punishment for its violation was death. No person was to commit. an act or was to be guilty o ran omission or was to make a speech prejudicial to good order' or public safety and its violation was to be punished with 10 years' rigorous imprison· · ment. No one by word of mouth or in writing or by signals or otherwise was to spread reports calculated to create alarm or des pondency amongst the public or calculated to create dissatisfaction towards the Armed Forces and police or any member thereto and the violation of the rule was to be punished with 14 years' rigorous imprisonment. President Ayub Khan set up a strong Government in Pakistan, which believed neither in favouritism nor in corruption. The result was that the undesirable elements in the country were crush ed with a heavy hand. Blackmarketing disappeared. The cor rupt people were severely punished. Everybody was made to work or quit. There was no place for lethargy or indiscipline. The tone of the administration underwent a revolution. Ineffi ciency was replaced by efficiency. The economic condition of the country was improved and the prestige of the country in the i.nternational sphere arose. CONSTITUTION OF 1962 President Ayub Khan promised to give the people of Pakistan a constitution and he fulfilled his promise in 1 9 62. On 1 7 Febru ary, 1 960, he appointed a Commission to examine the progressive failure of parliamentary Government in Pakistan leading to the abrogation of the constitution of 1956 and to make recommenda tions for the future constitution of Pakistan. The Commission submitted its report on 29 April, 1961. A new constitution for Pakistan was drafted and the same came into force on 8 June, 1 962. It remained in operation up to March, 1 969 when the same was abrogated. The new Constitution of Pakistan had a Preamble wherein it was stated that sovereignty over the entire universe belonged to Almighty Allah and the authority exercised by the people was a sacred trust. The t�rritories included in Pakistan formed a fede ration in which the provinces enjoyed as much autonomy as was
OF MODERN INDIA
consistent with the unity and interests of Pakistan as a whole. It was the will of the people of Pakistan that the state should exercise its power and authority through representatives chosen by the people. The principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam were to be fully observ ed in Pakistan. · The Muslims of Pakistan were to be enabled in dividually and collectively, to live their lives in accordance with the teachinis and requirements of Islam. The legitimate interests of the people in Pakistan were to be adequately safeguarded. The fundamental human rights were to be preserved in so far as those were .consistent with the security of the state, public interest and requirements of morality. The independence of the judiciary was to be safeguarded. . The State of Pakistan was declared to be a republic. It con sisted of.two provinces of East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Pak istan had a federal form of Government. The powers given to the federation were enumerated in the Third Schedule to the Con stitution. An attempt was made to reconcile :the regional demands of East Pakistan which resented the domination of West Pakistan. The Constitution provided for the establishment of the seat of the National Assembly at D acca and the Headquarters of the Gov ernment of Pakistan at Islamabad in West Pakistan. Dacca was made the second capital of P�istan. Both Urdu and Bengali were made the national languages of Pakistan in order to give satisfaction to the people of East Pakistan. Both East and West Pakistan were given equal representation in the National Assembly. Article 16 specifically provided that "parity between provinces in all spheres of the Central Government should as nearly as practi cabl� pe achieved." The Constitution provided for the principles of law making. It was _the responsibility of each legislature to ensure that no law was made by it if it disregarded, violated or was otherwise not in accordance with those principles. The responsibility for decid ing whether a proposed law did or did not disregard or violate or was not otherwise in. accordance with the principles of law mak ing was that of the legislature concerned. However, the National Assembly, the Provincial Assembly, the President or Governor of a province could refer to the Advisory Cquncil of Islamic Ideology for advice any question that might arise whether a proposed law disregarded or violated or was otherwise not in accordance with the principles. The validity of a law was not to be called in ques tion _on the ground that the law disregarded, violated or was other-
wise not in accordance with the principles of law-making. The principles of law-making included that no law was to be repugnant to Islam. All citizens were to be equal before the law, were en titled to equal protection of the law and were to be treated alike in all respects. No law was to impose any restriction on the free dom of citizens to assemble peacefully and without arms or to form associations or unions. No law was to put any restriction on the freedom of a citizen to move throughout Pakistan br to reside or settle in any part of Pakistan. No restriction was to be imposed on the freedom of a citizen to acquire, hold or dispose of property in any part of Pakistan. No law was to impose any restriction on the freedom of a citizen to engage in any profession, trade; business, occupation or employment or otherwise to follow the vocation of his choice. No law was to prevent the members of a religious community or denomination from professing, prac tising or propagating or providing instruction in their religion or their continuing the institutions for the purpose or in connection with their religion. No law was to require any person to receive religious instruction or attend a religious ceremony or religious worship, relating to a religion other than his own. No law was to impose on any person a tax the proceeds of which were to be applied for purposes of a religion other than his own. No law was to discriminate between religious institutions in the granting of ex emptions or concessions in relation to any tax. No law was to authorise expenditure of public money for the benefit of a parti cular religious community or denomination except the money raised for that purpose. A law authorising the arrest or deten tion of a person was to ensure that the person arrested or detained under the law was informed of the grounds of his arrest or deten tion at the time when he was arrested or detained as soon there after as was practicable. He was to be taken before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours after he was arrested or detained· He was to be at liberty to consult or be represented and defended by a legal practitioner of his own choice. No law was to authorise the punishment of a"person for an act or omission that was not punishable by law at the time the act was done or the omission was made. No law was to authorise the punishment of a person for an offence by a penalty greater than the penalty prescribed by law for the offence at the time the offence was commit ted. No law was to authorise compulsory acquisition or compulsory taking possession of property except for a public purpose. The law that authorised compulsory acquisition or compulsozy taking pos-
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
sesion of "property was to provide for the payment of compensa tion for property and fix the amount of compensation or specify the principles on which and the manner in which the compensa tion was to be determined. No law was to permit forced labour in any form. No law was to deny to any person access to a public place on the ground of religion, caste or place of birth. No law was to prevent any section of community from having a distinct language, script or culture of its own. N� person was to permit or in any way facilitate the introduction into Pakistan of slavery or untouchability in any form. The Constitution provided for the Principles of Policy. It was the responsibility of each organ and authority of the state and each person performing the functions on behalf of an organ or authority of the state to act in accordance with those principles in so far as they are related to the functions of the organ or the au thority. The validity of an action or lav/ was not to be called in question of the ground that it was not :ln accordance with the Principles of Policy and no action was to lie against the State, any. organ or authority of the State or any person on that ground. The Principles of Policy laid down that the Muslims of Pakistan were to be enabled, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam and were to be provided with facilities whereby they were to be able to understand the meaning of life in accordance with those principles and concepts. The teachings of the Holy Quran and Islamiat to the Muslims of Pakistan were to be compulsory. Unity and observance of Islamic moral standards were to be pro moted amongst the Muslims of Pakistan. The proper organisa tion of Zakat, Wakfs and mosques was ensured. Parochial, racial tribal sectarian and provincial prejudices amongst the citizens were to be discouraged. The legitimate rights and interests of the minorities were to be safeguarded and they were to get due op portunity to enter the services of Pakistan. Special care was to be taken to promote the educational and economic· interests of the people of backward classes or any backward areas. Steps were to be taken to bring on terms of equality with other· persons the members of ·under-privileged castes, races, tribes and groups. Illiteracy was to be eliminated and free and compulsory primary education was to be provided for all. Just and humane condi tions of work were to be provided· Children and women were not to be employed on vocations unsuitec;I to their age and sex. Maternity benefits were to be provided to women in employment. The well-being of the people was to be secured by raising the
373 . standard of living of the common men, by preventing the undue concentration of wealth and means of production and distribution in the hands of a few. All citizens were to have an opportunity to work and earn an adequate livelihood and enjoy reasonable rest and labour. All persons were to be provided with compulsory social insurance. The basic necessities of life such as food, clothes, housing, education and medical treatment were to be provided for citizens who were unable to earn their livelihood on account of infirmity, disability, sickness or unemployment. Ad ministrative offices and other services were to be provided in places where they would best meet the convenience and requirements of the public. No citizen was to be denied entry into the services of Pakistan on the ground of race, religion, caste, sex or place of resi dence or birth. Persons frnm all parts of Pakistan were to be allowed to serve in the defence services of Pakistan. The Constitution provided for a unicameral Central legisla ture known as the National Assembly of Pakistan. It had 156 members, half of which were elected from East Pakistan and the other half from West Pakistan. Three seats from each province were reserved exclusively for women. The National Assembly was to sit for 5 years but it could be dissolved earlier. The President of Pakistan was ;to be elected by an Electoral College of Pakistan consisting of 80,000 electoral units. Provi sion was made for the removal of the President by the National Assembly on the ground of his incapacity. The matter was re quired to be referred to a Medical Board for :final disposal. Provi sion was made for the impeachment of the President before the National Assembly. However, if less than half of the total num ber of the members of the National Assembly voted in favour of the resolution, the members who gave notice of the resolution were to cease to be the members of the National Assembly forth with after the declaration of the result of the voting. The execu tive authority of the Republic of Pakistan was vested in the Pre sident. To assist him in the performance of his functions, the President could appoint a Council of Ministers who were- to be taken from the members of the National Assembly. Provision was made for the appointment of an Attorney-General for Pakis tan by the President. The President was given the power to grant pardon, reprieves and respites. He could remit, suspend or com mute any sentence passed by any court, Tribunal or other autho rity. Certain legislative powers were also given to the Preside:t;i.t which could be exercised by him in times of an emergency or at a time when the National Assembly was not sitting. PAKISTAN
FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF MODERN INDIA
Provision was made for the establishment of an Advisory CounciJ of Islamic Ideology. The function of the Council was to make recommendations to the Central Government and Pro vincial Governments regarding the means of enabling and en couraging the Muslims of Pakistan to order their lives in all res pects in accordance with the principles and concepts of Islam. Provision was also made for the establishment of an Islamic Re search Institute whose function was to undertake Islamic research and instruction in Islam for the purpose of assisting in the recon struction of Islamic society on a truly Islamic basis. The Constitution made both Bengali and Urdu as the nation al languages of Pakistan. However, English language could be used for official and other purposes until arrangements for its re placement were made. The President was required to set up a · Commission in 1972 to examine and report on the question of the replacement of the English language for official purposes. Provision. was made for the establishment of a Supreme Court of Pakistan. The President was to determine the number of the judges of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was given original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. It was given the power of review. There was to be a High Court in each province of Pakistan. Provision was also made for the establishment of the Supreme Judicial Council for Pakistan consisting of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, two next seniormost judges of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of each High Court. The Council was required to issue a Code of Conduct to be observed by the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The Coun cil could be asked to enquire whether a particular judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court was :fit or not to perform his duties and the President was required to act upon the report of the Council. Provision was also made for the establishment of the National Finance Commission whose duty was to make recommendations to the President with respect to the distribution between the Central Government and the Provincial Governments of the proceeds of certain taxes. Provision was also made for the establishment of National Economic Council whose duty was to review the overall econom!c position of Pakistan, formulate plans with respect to :financial, commercial and econm:nic policies. and economic deve lopment of Pakistan and inform the Central and Provincial Gov' ernments of those plans. Provision was made for the Governor of each province who
was to be appointed by the !!resident and who was subject to his directions in the performance of his duties. The Governor could appoint a Council of Ministers from the members of the National , Assembly. Each province of Pakistan was given a legislature of one house known as the Assembly. The Assembly of each pro vince consisted of 15.5 members. However, 5 seats were reservoo for women in each province and they were entitled to contest other seats also. The Constitution of 1962 was criticized on the ground that it provided for a unicameral legislature both at the Centre and the provinces. That innovation was not considered to be a desirable one. . It was contended that the principles of law-making should· have been made justiciable. It was also contended that the system of indirect elections was not .conducive to the development of democratic institutions in Pakistan. The ·provision in the Con stitution that only that person should be appointed the Defence Minister of Pakistan who had once held a high office in the d�f ence services of Pakistan- was not desirable as that was likely to make the military very strong. He was likely to dominate the deliberations o;f the cabinet. It was also contended that the Islamic character of the Republic might give encouragement to the ultra religious and fanatical sections of the people of Pakistan and that might stand in the way of the social and ec�nomic develop ment of country. The first amendment of the Constitution was made in Dec ember, 1 9 63 · and assented to by the President in January 1 9 64. It enumerated and defined the fundamental rights and rendered them justiciable. It abolished the terms principles of law mak ing a,nd principles of policy and restored the earlier terms,. funda mental rights and principles of policy. Another significant depar ture in the Constitution was made in 1964 not by legislative amendment but by judicial decision. The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the President's order which allowed ministers appointed from the National Assembly to retain .their seats as legislators, null and void. By doing so, the Supreme Court of Pakistan established the doctrine of judicial review. Another development took place in Pakistan. The party system was allow ed to develop after the passing of the .Political Parties Act, 1 962 and President Ayub Khan himself became the President