Monday, June 21, 2010

Ambedkar on Pakistan

Ambedkar tells us (January 1945) that it was wishful thinking on the part of Hindus to believe that Pakistan was a negotiating position.
AG3L writes:
Funny, pakteahouse says today: “For Jinnah and the Muslim League, the Two Nation Theory was not an ideological position etched in stone. It was the restatement of the arguments needed to ensure national status for Muslims in a multinational independent India.”

Ambedkar writes in 1945, with the advantage of being on the scene, that Hindus think it is a negotiating position, and Muslims say it is not. See the quote below.

“The Hindus say they have an alternative to Pakistan. Have the Muslims also an alternative to Pakistan? The Hindus say yes, the Muslims say no. The Hindus believe that the Muslim proposal for Pakistan is only a bargaining manoeuvre put forth with the object of making additions to the communal gains already secured under the Communal Award. The Muslims repudiate the suggestion. They say there is no equivalent to Pakistan and, therefore, they will have Pakistan and nothing but Pakistan. It does seem that the Musalmans are devoted-to Pakistan and are determined to have nothing else and that the Hindus in hoping for an alternative are merely indulging in wishful thinking. But assuming that the Hindus are shrewd enough in divining what the Muslim game is, will the Hindus be ready to welcome the Muslim alternative to Pakistan? The answer to the question must, of course, depend upon what the Muslim alternative is.

What is the Muslim alternative to Pakistan? No one knows. The Muslims, if they have any, have not disclosed it and perhaps will not disclose it till the day when the rival parties meet to revise and settle the terms on which the Hindus and the Muslims are to associate with each other in the future. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. It is, therefore, necessary for the Hindus to have some idea of the possible Muslim alternative to enable them to meet the shock of it; for the alternative cannot be better than the Communal Award and is sure to be many degrees worse.

In the absence of the exact alternative proposal one can only make a guess…”
The original Ambedkar can be found here. 

If we go with pakteahouse's narrative, Jinnah was so successful at keeping his negotiating position hidden that even an astute observer like Ambedkar could not figure it out.   If Jinnah was waiting for an offer he couldn't refuse, he was bound to be disappointed. 

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