“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
- Carl Sagan
Hi, Everyone! With the Muslim League taking the Pakistan scheme off the table, though with reservations, the saving of India was a great possibility.
It was a very, very delicate juncture in Indian history, a very critical moment. It was time to tread with great caution.
So who upset this applecart?
On July 6, 1946, Nehru gave a speech before the Congress Working Committee. Read what R. C. Majumdar has to say about it in his HFMI, Vol III (pages 770-774).
“In winding up the proceedings of the Committee, Nehru made a long speech explaining the position of the Congress vis-à-vis the Cabinet Mission plan. He said ‘that as far as he could see, it was not a question of the Congress accepting any plan, long or short. It was merely a question of their agreeing to enter the Constituent Assembly, and nothing more than that. They would remain in that Assembly so long as they thought it was for India’s good and they would come out when they thought it was injuring their cause. ‘We are not bound by a single thing except that we have decided for the moment to go to the Constituent Assembly.’
Later, speaking at a press conference on 10 July, Nehru qualified his statement. He admitted that the Congress was bound by the procedure set down for election of members to the Constituent Assembly. But then he added: ‘What we do there we are entirely and absolutely free to determine.’ . . .
If Nehru were determined to scare away Jinnah he could not have devised a better or more ingenious plan.
In view of the importance of Nehru’s statement and its tragic consequences of putting ‘Hindus and Muslims back in two fuming and suspicious camps,’ it would not be improper to refer to the views of two Englishmen, both intimate friends of Nehru, and one of whom was the author of what Nehru regarded as his best biography. Leonard Mosley says:
‘Did Nehru realize what he was saying? He was telling the world that once in power, the Congress would use its strength at the Centre to alter the Cabinet Mission Plan as it thought fit. . . . In the circumstances, Nehru’s remarks were a direct act of sabotage.’”
“In 1937 his [Nehru’s] outright rejection of Jinnah’s offer of Congress-League Coalition Ministry ruined the last chance of a Hindu-Muslim agreement. His observations in 1946 destroyed the last chance—though a remote one—of a free united India.”
When everything was set for a happy ending for India, Nehru chose to ruin India’s chances of unity. For years the Congress had been trying to get Jinnah out of their hair. And now when it appeared they would be stuck with him, for in the final reckoning he had put aside his Pakistan demand, they chose to incite him into demanding it again.
There is a very good word to describe this action of Nehru’s: “stabotage,”—a deliberate stab in the back sabotage of India’s chance of unity.
· This is the action that dropped the gavel on go-ahead of the Pakistan scheme.
· This is the action that led directly to Jinnah’s calling out for Direct Action.
· This is the action that led to the horrendous killing, raping, and looting of Hindus.
· This is the action that led to the civil war in India, the wholesale violence particularly in the Punjab and Bengal.
India paid a very heavy price, indeed, for the aspirations of the Congress High Command.