“A deed without a name . . .”
“And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stolen out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
― William Shakespeare, Richard III
Hi, Everyone! Gandhi crossed all limits when he went personally to Jinnah and tried to bring him round to his way of thinking for three weeks.
But Jinnah was a wily bird, and more than a match for Gandhi’s scheming!
“The lengthy correspondence and prolonged talks between Gandhi and Jinnah took place for three weeks. Gandhi paid nineteen visits to Jinnah without receiving a single one in return, even observed his usual silence on Sundays and returned everyday with an unpleasant face from there! Yet Jinnah gained much. He got the Congress moral leader committed to the principle of the division of India. On September 24 Gandhi wrote to Jinnah: ‘If the vote is in favour of separation, it shall be agreed that those areas shall form a separate State as soon as India is free from foreign domination and can therefore be constituted into two Sovereign Independent States.’
Gandhi had declared on several occasions that Pakistan was a sin, a denial of God and an untruth. He had asked the protagonists of Pakistan to vivisect him before they vivisected India. But now he conceded the principle of vivisection of India and to undo the work of centuries.”
But Jinnah didn’t seem to be budging, so Gandhi went further.
“Immediately on the acceptance of that agreement by the Congress and the League, the two would decide upon a common course of action for the attainment of India’s independence. The League would however be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress might resort and in which it might not be willing to participate.”
The Mahatma of the Indians himself had publicly conceded Pakistan to Jinnah’s demands. In fact he was practically pushing it on him!
But Jinnah was no fool. He knew well that it was the British who had the power to grant his demands; all he needed was a concrete public acceptance of Pakistan from the Mahatma (which, but naturally, meant the acquiescence of the Congress.)
· And that goal was now achieved.
Jinnah didn’t need to agree to a thing!
“On September 27, Jinnah announced that it had not been possible to reach an agreement, but added: ‘We trust that this is not the final end of our efforts.’ Gandhiji commented that failure to reach an agreement was no cause for disappointment. ‘The breakdown is only so called. It is an adjournment sine die.’”
As V. P. Menon write in his Transfer of Power (page 163):
“In these circumstances Gandhiji’s move was calculated only to strengthen Jinnah’s hands and further the cause of the Muslim League.”
What would be Gandhi’s next move?