Sunday, June 27, 2010

Excerpt from Clow to Wavell

Acting Governor of Bombay Sir A.G. Clow wrote to Lord Wavell on September 27, 1946 outlining his thoughts on the political deadlock in India.  Wavell noted "Interesting, but not, I am afraid, realistic".  Clow advocated essentially yielding to all the Muslim League conditions as a recognition of the reality that the Muslims had an essentially different ethos than the Hindus.  There is part of his note that I think we should keep in mind when trying to understand Pakistan.

...many Hindus, and particularly those who have no living religious faith, fail to appreciate or even recognize it {the consciousness of unity and of distinctness from the other} adequately.  For Islam is a dogmatic credal religion which, although not free from sectarian differences, has a far greater uniformity and cohesion than any other religion has attained, and is in marked contrast with the eclectism and syncretism of Hinduism.   And there is no cement like that of a common religious conviction: this bond transcends all others that man can form.   Further, Islam is to a greater extent than any other living religion, theocratic.   There is for the Muslim, the tradition of an essential link between church and state, stronger than that of Roman Catholicism, or Calvinism in its extreme form.   All religion is a matter not only of the individual, but also of the fellowship; religion claims to secure not only communion with God, but the union of those holding the same belief.  And this claim is made emphatically by Islam.

Those who are sceptical of the reality of the religious values, or who view religion as what a man chooses to occupy his leisure thoughts, are incapable of appreciating the point properly.  To regard a Muslim as merely a citizen who happens in his private life to hold certain beliefs about God and the unseen world, is to start off with a radically false conception of the position and to court disaster.  It is not merely that, as Mr Gandhi has himself stressed, one cannot divorce one's politics from one's religion.  It is not merely that the individual's outlook on most questions of importance must be coloured by his view of reality, and of the unseen.  What is true and more important, is that the individual, particularly if he is a Muslim, is not a mere individual—a John citizen, like any other one—but part of a transcendental fellowship to which he is linked by ties stronger than those which geography or propinquity or economics have forged.
....Despite all the logical absurdities of the two-nation theory, there is less danger of going astray in thought and action if the Muslims are regarded and treated as a nation than if they are regarded as merely a number of citizens who hold, or can be induced to hold, views held by other political parties. The Muslim League's claim to speak for the community as a whole should be conceded, and efforts by the Congress to retain or strengthen dissident elements should be abandoned....


My own conclusion is that while Clow's statements quoted above have some element of truth, to hold in their entirety, the Muslim League had to raise the slogan of "Islam is in danger" to get political traction.   Otherwise, they were nowhere, electorally speaking. 

Let us note that Pakistan is the state of the eternal "Islam is in danger".  It is self-evident to Pakistanis, they just have to point to India.

PS: Wavell replied to Clow on October 7, 1946, replying to Clow's various points.  Wavell pointed out that in the previous elections, "1 1/4 millon votes were cast against the Muslim League at the recent elections as compared to about 6 million for the League".

No comments:

Post a Comment