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Friday, December 17, 2010

THE NEVER-ENDING ROMANCE OF ROYAPURAM RAILWAY STATION


V SUNDARAM I.A.S.





Yesterday (15-12-2010, Wednesday) I came across an interesting article in the New Indian Express (Chennai Edition) under the titleWill Royapuram turn a railway terminus? authored by Yogesh Kabirdoss. He has written about the long-standing demand of the citizens of Royapuram Area in North Chennai for upgrading the 155-year-old Royapuram railway station into a terminus. I am presenting below the full text of this article. In this context, I would like to invite the attention of my readers to an article I had written on the history of the opening of the Royapuram Station by Lord Harris, the then Governor of Madras, on 28 June 1856. Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India at that time. Lord Palmerston was the Prime Minister of England. Queen Victoria was the Empress of Great Britain, having come to the throne in 1837. it was one year before the First War Of Indian Independence (described as the Indian Mutiny by the colonial historians) in 1857. I am presenting below the full text of my article as well.

History may not be a magic show. But there is a lot of magic in it for those who have the hearts to feel, the eyes to see and ears to hear the rolling thunder of the Past or what Bismark called the “ horse hoofs of history”!

Will Royapuram turn a railway terminus?
Yogesh Kabirdoss

Express News Service
First Published : 15 Dec 2010 04:16:53 AM IST
Last Updated : 15 Dec 2010 08:22:04 AM IST


CHENNAI Residents of north Chennai are not ready to give up their demand for upgrading the 155-year-old Royapuram railway station into a terminus, though authorities have categorically ruled it out. Urging the residents to pursue their dream of transforming the station into a rail terminus, the North Chennai People’s Right Federation has published glossy booklets running into 50-odd pages.

The booklet traces the history Indian Railways with a photo feature of the Royapuram station, the oldest facility in South India. It makes a fervent appeal to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to accept their demand.

The federation argued that Royapuram has all the potential to be developed into the third terminus in Chennai, after Central and Egmore. The station has over 72 acres, on which 16 platforms could be constructed. Parking bays for both public and private vehicles could be created in north and south blocks.

The booklet also lists seven long-distance express trains bound for eastern and western parts of the country, along with those services that pass through the station.

Residents said the Southern Railway’s move to develop Tambaram and Arakkonam stations into termini would inconvenience the commuters as both these spots were away from Chennai.

“Creating a new terminus at far off Tamabaram will affect the people residing in northern parts of the city,” S Jayachandran, convener of North Chennai People’s Rights Federation, told Express.

“Of the 30-lakh population in the north, 50 per cent have their roots in southern districts. If the existing south-bound trains departing from Egmore are moved to Tambaram, it will increase their travel time to reach the other end of the city to board trains,” he said. He added that a new terminal at Royapuram would be helpful for the locals and also give a facelift to the entire north Chennai — a neglected corner of the city.

When contacted, Southern Railway general manager Deepak Krishan said the space available at Royapuram station was inadequate for setting up a terminus. However, he said the railway officials were examining the possibilities.


THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF ROYAPURAM STATION
V.SUNDARAM I.A.S.

Recently, the Royapuram Railway Station in Madras was very much in the news. The renovated railway station building was declared open by Union Minister of State for Railways Velu on 2 October 2005. Many people may not be aware of the fact that this railway station was inaugurated by Lord Harris, the Governor of Madras on 28 June, 1856 - one year before the onset of Indian Mutiny in 1857. Pycrofts was then the Chief Secretary of Madras.



OLD ROYAPURAM RAILWAY STATION, NORTH MADRAS


RENOVATED ROYAPURAM RAILWAY STATION

This recent news item made me delve deep into my personal collection of antiquarian books, journals and newspapers to gather facts relating to the history of the introduction of railways in the erstwhile Madras Presidency in the second half of the 19th century. Such an exercise is an excursion not only into economic history but also social history. The social scene grows out of economic conditions, to much the same extent as political events, which in their turn, grows out of social conditions. Without social history economic history will be barren and political history unintelligible. It is exhilarating to look at the dusty records of our ancestors, remote and recent, and to see how they lived, how they laughed and how they wept. Viewed in this light event dustier records of the dead take form, colour, gesture, passion and thought. As Winston Churchill puts it 'History, with its flickering lamp, stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days'.

The first Madras Railway Company was formed in London on 8th July, 1845, with the aim of constructing rail lines in Madras Presidency. The company approached the East India Company for support for construction of a railway between Madras, Walajahnagar, and Arcot. Despite Mr. F. W. Simms, Director of the Railway Department recommending the project, the Court of Directors of the East India Company (E.I.C.) declined to support the project. With the East India Company showing an indifferent attitude the company became defunct.


However the mercantile community of Madras Presidency did not lose patience and continued lobbying. Finally on 7th June, 1852, the Board of Control of the E.I.C. agreed to a guarantee of 4-1/2% on the capital for the proposal. A new company also called the Madras Railway Company was registered on 26th July, 1852. Construction began and the Company opened its first section, 101.74km long, from Royapuram to Arcot (now called Wallajah Road), the titular capital of the Nawab of the Carnatic on 28th June, 1856.

The Railway Line from Royapuram to Arcot was inaugurated by Lord Harris, Governor of Madras on 28th June 1856.



In The Illustrated London News dated 6 September, 1856 (a priceless copy in my possession) a news item entitled 'Opening of the Madras Railway' was published. It contains a description of the inauguration of the Madras Railway on 28 June, 1856 by the then Governor of Madras, Lord Harris. THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS IN ITS ISSUE DATED 6 SEPTEMBER, 1856 described the function as follows:



 
ILLUSTRATYED LONDON NEWS


LORD HARRIS (1810-1872 AD)

GOVERNOR OF MADRAS (1854-1859)
The above oil Painting was done by Sir Francis Grant in the 19th century.



'On the 28th of June the inauguration of the Madras Railway was celebrated with great state. The Right Honourable the Governor, His Excellency the Commander-in-chief, the officers of the Government and staff of the Garrison of Fort St. George with all the elite and beauty of the Presidency, honoured the Railway Company with their presence on this important occasion'.


'It was a sight long to be remembered in Madras, thousands flocking to witness the proceedings from any point from which a view of the ceremony to the train could be obtained. The company had issued invitations to about 300 of the leading members of the European society to witness the function, and to take a trip by train to Amoor, up to which place the railway is now completed: there to partake of a dinner, and to return in the evening:- another train was dispatched after the depature of the first one, to a nearer station up the line - Triveloor, which was occupied by the principal members of the native community of Madras and others who has also been invited to join the excursion.’





Royapuram station in 1856 Sketch by
Capt Barnett Fort of the Madras Army



'The sketch by Capt. Barnett Fort of the Madras Army represents the terminal station at Madras at the moment when the religious ceremony was being performed in the noble verandah of the northern side of that building. The rooms here are very elegant and most superbly furnished with handsome punkahs & most etc., the coup d' ail was very picturesque when seen as they were filled with a crowd of elegantly dressed ladies, against the light colours of whose dresses and the black of the civilian who were present at the function. The train is seen ready to come up to the platform for this party, and that for the native community which was to follow is seen already filled, and run up so as to enable its occupants to witness the inaugurations. As soon as the ceremony was completed, the party proceeded on their excursion trip. though a hot day it was not very much felt - the train, by its rapidly, making a breeze for its occupants, who found the carriages well ventilated both about above and below; and with the addition of Venetian shutters and gauze-wire binds, heat and glare were completely got rid of'.

'Arrived at Amoor, the crowds were greater than ever. The hills were covered with varied-coloured masses; the artillery guns roared their welcome to Lord Harris, who on alighting, was received by a guard of honour of the 19th Regiment and officials of the Private Railway Company, headed by Major Jenkins their manager. The guests alighting under a shamianah, or covered entrance-way to the reception stand ? the bands playing, the multitude cheering, and the bright sun shining on the brilliantly-coloured groups, formed a striking picture. Tents were pitched for the guests, who shortly assembling were led to the pavilion which had been temporarily erected for their entertainment at an elegant repast. Lord Harris proposed a toast to the success of the railway and the health of the agent and manager, Major Jenkins. His Lordship's speech was very commendatory upon the economy and expedition with which the line has been thus far completed, a distance of 65 miles in three years at a cost which he stated was estimated at about £5,500 per mile.


'It was stated by Major Jenkins in replying to his Lordship's toast, that the whole line extending to the western coast, a distance of about 450 miles was in course of construction, and that considerable progress had been made upon it. Its course, he stated, lies through Vellore, Salem, Coimbatore, round of the foot of the Neilgherry Hills, terminating at Naypoor, a small port on the Western Coast, a little to the south of Calicut. After some other toasts & c., a signal was given that it was time to prepare for a return to Madras and the shades of evening were beginning to close soon after the train started on its return'.

Disinterested intellectual curiosity is the bed-rock of a real civilisation. Social history constitutes one of its best forms. At bottom, the fascination of history is imaginative. Our imagination longs to see our ancestors as they really were going about their daily business and daily pleasure.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

INDIAN PARTITION - DISSECTED AND ANALYSED

V SUNDARAM


Many interpretations of historical events are often taken as sacred and sacrosanct truths. History thus becomes coloured and tailored to fit those interpretations, which in turn become an authentic chronicle of historical events and developments for future generations.


This tendency is often more pronounced especially when the events are of the recent past and leading political actors have taken part in them. A diabolically distorted and manufactured version of history can serve neither as a point of inspiration nor as a warning to the nation in its future march. Very unfortunately most of the books on partition present a very distorted and garbled version of events without enabling any one of us to have an informed understanding of the course of events which led to the grim tragedy of partition of India in 1947. Viewed in this light, the book on partition titled 'UNDERSTANDING PARTITION' (India Sundered: Muslims Fragmented) authored by Yuvaraj Krishan, a distinguished civil servant, historian and scholar in indology assumes a great significance. This book was published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as a part of its Bhavan's Book University Series in 2002. I am not surprised that this book has been ignored by the pseudo-secular mafia of mass media in India who consider Pakistan as a victim of Indian Saffron Hindu terrorism!

The partition was undoubtedly the most crucial and tragic event in the entire chequered course of our nation's history over the millennia. Yuvaraj Krishan has clearly brought out the fact that Pakistan grew out of the two nation theory of the Muslim League, which from 1927 was synonymous with its permanent President Mohamed Ali Jinnah called by the Muslims Qaid - Azam or the Supreme Leader.


The career of Qaid - Azam Jinnah indicates a curious and ironic transformation from being 'apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity' as he was called by many admiring Congress men before 1940, to being the chief exponent, advocate and creator of Pakistan -- a State based upon the thesis that the Muslims of India are a separate nation, and as such need a homeland and State for themselves, separate from Hindu-land.


It was no idle boast of Jinnah when he claimed that he had won Pakistan with the help of his Private Secretary and his typewriter. S R Khairi said: 'Jinnah created history, and one is tempted to say, altered geography'. Penderal Moon of the ICS paid this tribute to Jinnah: 'To have transformed in little more than seven years the chimerical idea of Pakistan into a living political reality was an astonishing achievement'.

Carl Posey in a brilliant article in TIME in 1996 wrote: ' By shear force of will, Jinnah sundered the grand ruby that had been British India and raised Pakistan from shards'.


Y Krishan rightly observes that Jinnah made three unique contributions: he significantly altered the course of history, modified the map of the world and created a nation-State. According to the author what is most amazing is that Jinnah on behalf of the Muslim League was just one man ranged against a galaxy of Congress leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Dr Rajendra Prasad, besides the third party, the British Government represented by the Governor General.




Yuvaraj Krishan succinctly states in his introduction to his book: 'It deals with the triumph and tragedy of partition: it was a triumph of the two-nation theory. It was also a triumph for Jinnah. The creation of a State, almost single-handedly, was a unique achievement in world history. But it was a tragedy for the Indian Muslims for whom the homeland, Pakistan, was established at enormous cost in terms of loss of human life, destruction of property, unprecedented uprooting and mass migration'.


This book seeks to correct judgements or findings of many historians like Maulana Azad, Ayesha Jalal, Asgar Ali Engineer and Rafiq Zakaria to name a few, about the unwise role of the Congress leadership, Nehru and Patel, as being responsible for the growth of separatism among the Muslims in 1937 and for rejecting the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946 which could have maintained the essential unity of India. In the light of solid and irrefutable documentary evidence, Y Krishan rightly declares : 'A careful scrutiny of facts shows that this is absolutely wrong to say that Nehru's refusal to show accommodation to Muslim League's desire for sharing power with the Congress in the provinces after 1937 elections was responsible for pushing the Muslim League to the goal of Pakistan. If Nehru had compromised with the Muslim League at that time he would have been accused of strengthening a communal organisation which, at that time, was politically weak and insignificant'. Y Krishan is very right because the Muslim League won only 105 seats out of a total of 499 Muslim seats all over India in 1937.



                                            FRONT COVER OF BOOK

Y Krishan argues that it is wrong to accuse the Congress leadership -- Nehru, Patel, Rajendra Prasad---of throwing away the last chance of maintaining a united India by rejecting the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946.

Y Krishan clearly proves his thesis that acceptance of this Cabinet Mission Plan would have balkanised the country, eventually leading to the creation of a Bigger Pakistan in the then near future. The author also deals with the mischievous role of Lord Mountbatten IN CREATING CONDITIONS OF BREAKDOWN OF ADMINISTRATION BY HURRIED TRANSFER OF POWER IN A VERY SHORT PERIOD, AND COMMUNALISATION OF SERVICES, ESPECIALLY OF SECURITY FORCES, BY ADVANCING THE DATE OF TRANSFER FROM JUNE 1948 TO AUGUST 1947, AS A QUID PRO QUO FOR INDIA, AFTER BECOMING INDEPENDENT, AGREEING TO REMAIN IN THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH AS A DOMINION. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE AUTHOR REPORTS WHAT FIELD MARSHALL TEMPLAR IS REPORTED TO HAVE TOLD LORD MOUNTBATTEN: 'YOU ARE SO CROOKED, DICKIE, IF YOU SWALLOWED A NAIL YOU'D SHIT A CORKSCREW'. FINALLY THE BOOK EXAMINES WHY THE PARTITION HAS FAILED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF HINDU - MUSLIM CONFLICT IN INDIA EVEN TODAY.

In my view, this is a landmark book by virtue of its original contribution to the historiography of Partition. The writer of history, I believe, has a number of duties vis-a-vis the reader, if he wants to keep him reading. The first is to distil. He must do the preliminary work for the reader, assemble the information, make sense of it, select the essential, discard the irrelevant - above all, discard the fraudulent -- and put the rest together so that it forms a developing narrative. Narrative, it has been said, is the lifeblood of history. To offer a mass of undigested facts, of names not identified and places not located, is of no use to the reader and is simple laziness on the part of the author, or pedantry to show how much he has read. To discard the unnecessary requires courage and also extra work, as exemplified by Pascal's effort to explain an idea to his friend in a letter which rambled on for pages and ended, 'I am sorry to have wearied you with so long a letter but I did not have time to write a short one'. The historian is continually being beguiled down by fascinating byways and sidetracks. But the art of writing, the test of the artist, is to resist the beguilement and cleave to the subject. This is what exactly Yuvaraj Krishan has achieved with remarkable precision in his path-breaking book.




Rafiq Zakaria in his book on Partition cites the lament of a Muslim poet:

‘Among the sinners we are counted
Though for what sin we know not
Of the punishment we are aware
But for what, God alone can tell' 



SCHOLARS LIKE RAFIQ ZAKARIA, AZGHAR ALI ENGINEER, DR.SYED MAHMUD, AND SEVERAL OTHER MUSLIM SCHOLARS OVERSTRAIN THEMSELVES THROUGH EITHER EXAGGERATED OR CONSCIOUSLY LOADED ARGUMENTS TO DILUTE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MUSLIMS OF INDIA IN BRINGING ABOUT THE PARTITION OF THE COUNTRY. THEY DO SO BY CHALLENGING THE REPRESENTATIVE CHARACTER OF THE MUSLIM LEAGUE OF JINNAH ON THE EVE OF PARTITION.
For example Azghar Ali Engineer observes: 'It would be very difficult maintain that all Indian Muslims were responsible for the creation of Pakistan. Only the educated Muslim elite classes of UP and Bihar who supported Pakistan out of fear of losing their privileges in these feudal States. There was no universal franchise at that time. Only 10 per cent of population had franchise at that time: And not more than 5 per cent voted in the crucial election of 1945. Out of these only 3.5 per cent supported the Muslim League. Thus only a miniscule minority of Muslims supported the Pakistan movement.'
Krishan dismisses these untenable arguments by concluding that these Muslim scholars have deliberately overlooked the fact that an overwhelming majority of politically enfranchised Muslims in India supported the Pakistan movement.


A pseudo-secular Congress politician of the Nehru era Dr Syed Mahmud in his address to the All India Muslim Conference held at Lucknow in 1964 said:
'Pakistan could not have been possible only by the support of the Muslims if the non-Muslims had not agreed. The leaders of both the com¬munities nave sinned and both are responsible for the tragedy of Partition."

MAULANA AZAD, AYESHA JALAL. ASGHAR ALI ENGINEER AND RAFIQ ZAKARIA HAVE ALL CONCLUDED THAT JINNAH DID NOT WANT PAKISTAN. ACCORDING TO THEM NEHRU AND PATEL WERE THE REAL ARCHITECTS OF PAKISTAN. THESE HISTORIANS CONTEND THAT IT WAS THE CONGRESS WHICH INSISTED ON PARTITION. THESE ARE ONLY A FEW MINOR FLASHES FROM THE BOUNDLESSLY RICH AND VARIED BATTERY OF ANTI-KAFIR, BLATANTLY ISLAMIC AND HYSTERICAL HISTORIOGRAPHY!! These great historians are only a hair­line away from the declaration that Jinnah was a helpless victim of ter­rorism let loose by Mahakafir Mahatma Gandhi!!! THE MOST ENTHUSIASTIC AND AVID TAKERS OF THIS GREAT THEORY WOULD BE SONIA GANDHI, DR.MANMOHAN SINGH, P. CHIDAMBARAM, ALL THE SUCKING AND SUCKABLE, MALLEABLE PUTRIFIED AND STINKING MASSES OF FLESH IN THE ANTI-HINDU ANTI-NATIONAL SONIA CONGRESS HIGH COMMAND OPERATING FROM AKBAR ROAD IN NEW DELHI! THE PLAYBOY P.CHIDAMBARAM WOULD MAKE HIS FORMIDABLE LEGAL INPUT INTO THIS POOL BY STATING THAT SAFFRON HINDU TERRORISM WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BIRTH OF PAKISTAN!

After an exhaustive and penetrating analysis of the facts derived from the primary sources and a critical examination of all the major studies of the different aspects of Par­tition by distinguished scholars, Y Krishan comes to the categorical con­clusion that it was the handiwork of Jinnah and the Muslim League lead­ers. To quote his own words: 'They had mobilised mass and passionate support of the Muslim community by raising the bogey of the Muslim mi­nority and Islam being in danger, by actively promoting separatism by vig­orously fertilising the poisonous weed of the Two-Nation Theory and even­tually creating conditions which made peaceful co-existence of the two ma­jor communities — Hindus and Mus­lims — virtually impossible.'

Y Krishan has also once for all de­stroyed the myth marketed by Jinnah and the Muslim League leaders after 1939 that the Congress Provincial Governments committed atrocities against Muslim minority in the Prov­inces of United Provinces (UP), Bihar, Central Provinces and Bombay in 1937 - 39. The Muslim League had asked the Raja of Pirpor (UP) Mohammed Mehdi Raja Syed to give a report on the Congress atrocities against the Muslims in 1938. Like most of the anti-national Muslim cler­ics in India today, he concluded: 'The conduct of the Congress Govern­ments seems to substantiate the theory that there is something like identity of purpose between Con­gress and the Hindu Maha Sabha. We Muslims feel that vast majority of the Congress members are Hindus who look forward to the establishment of a purely Hindu Raj.' The Muslims of U P view the use of the Congress flag, the use of the National Anthem (Vande Mataram), the reverence paid to Mahatma Gandhi, the policy of cow protection and the use of Hindi as an attack on the civil and cultural rights of the Muslims. The same anti-Kafir Islamic swan song was sung with vicious communal gusto by the Shareef Committee Report (1938) about the plight of Muslims in Bihar under the Congress (Hindu-majority rule). It complained of the reign of terror in Bihar. The same kind of General Report was given by the one-man Committee Report by Fazlul Haq (1939). He spoke of the sufferings of the Muslims under the Congress-Rule denigration of Islam, interference with the religious beliefs and practices and cow slaughter and above all desecra­tion of mosques by throwing pig meat in them etc. According to Y Krishan these three reports laid a solid foundation for the birth if Pakistan. Jinnah blessed it in 1939 by declaring: 'Democracy of the kind with which the Congress high command is enamoured would mean a complete destruction of what is most precious in Islam.'

It is clear from Y Krishan's acute analysis that it was Jinnah who sabo­taged Gandhiji's proposal in 1944 to the effect that in a referendum on Pakistan in Muslim majority areas, the non-Muslim citizens would have the right to vote. Jinnah stuck to his position that only the Muslim resi­dents had the right to vote. This meant that the non-Muslim bona-fide residents would not be treated as citi­zens and nationals of Jinnah's future Pakistan because of their religion. THUS JINNAH WAS CLEAR AND CATEGORI­CAL IN HIS COMMITMENT TO MAKE PAKI­STAN THE HOMELAND FOR MUSLIMS ONLY.

Lord Wavell, the Viceroy also as­sisted Jinnah and the Muslim League by coming out with his totally sinister Parity Principle to be made applicable to both the Muslims and the Hindus during the political negotiations in 1945 at Simla. By cleverly omitting to invite the truly secular Unionist Party from the Punjab for the Simla Confer­ence in 1945 and by denying a seat to that Party in the Governor General's Council, Lord Wavell strengthened the hands of Jinnah and the Muslim League in the sordid process of ma­nipulation for the creation of Pakistan. IN THE PROCESS, THE CIVILIZED AND DEMO­CRATIC UNIONIST PARTY TOTALLY DISAP­PEARED FROM THE POLITICAL SCENE.

Another strikingly important point brought out by Y Krishan in this semi­nal book is that the government of In­dia destroyed the composite charac­ter of the Civil and other Public Ser­vices by making the administrative apparatus partisan and discrimina­tory which became clear during those dark days of complete breakdown of law and order in the Punjab. This end process was diabolically achieved by giving option to Services in 1947 to serve in Dominions of their choice. Consequently all the Hindu minority officers came back to India from Punjab and all the Muslim minority officers went back to Pakistan from India. The entire civil administration in Pakistan was thus converted into a barbarous clan of violent marauders for letting loose organised Islamic vio­lence against the Hindus.

After the Cripps and the Cabinet Mission Plans, Jinnah and the Muslim League became certain of British Government's support for the es­tablishment of Pakistan. Thereafter they were not willing to make a settlement with the Congress except on their own terms.

Y Krishan also gives an interesting account of a discussion he had with Pandit Jawarlal Nehru as an IAS probationer in the IAS training col¬lege at Metcalfe House in Delhi in 1948. Nehru’s face turned red when Y Krishan, then only 26 years old, put a straight question to Nehru: 'Sir, why have you allowed anti-national Pakistan supporting Muslim leaders like the Raja Of Muhammedabad, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Raja Of Pirpur, Maulana Hasrat Mohani etc from UP, Syed Hussain Imam from Bihar, Mohammed Ismail from Madras, who have shamelessly worked with Jinnah for the creation of Pakistan, to remain in India even after 15 Au¬gust, 1947?'

I AM OF THE VIEW THAT Y KRISHAN SHOWED GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ANTI-NATIONAL MUSLIM PSYCHE AS A YOUNG MAN THAN ISLAM-EMBRACING NEHRU IN 1948! If only those anti-national men had been thrown out of India in 1947, the rest of the Muslims in India would have settled down to a life of peaceful co-existence in post-independent India.

Finally Jinnah gave a parting Islamic kick to both Nehru and Gandhi on 15 August, 1947 by giving this solemn appeal to the Muslims of India: 'Now that your country is divided, you should be loyal citizens of India.' Was this not an act of betrayal of the Pakistan movement and of the Indian Muslims for whose 'liberation' India was partitioned?
All in all Y Krishan's book is a major path-breaking book on India’s partition. General, abstract truth is the most precious of all blessings: 'without it, man is blind, it is the eye of reason'. Y Krishan has clearly brought out some unknown, unpleasant but very vital truths about the partition of India. He has indeed given a cubic content to the follow¬ing immortal words of a timeless historian TACITUS: ‘This I hold to be the chief office of history, to rescue virtuous actions from the oblivion to which a want of records would consign them, and that men should feel a dread of being considered infamous in the opinions of posterity, from their depraved expressions and base actions’.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A MESSIAH OF THE SUPPRESSED AND THE OPPRESSED – III
V.SUNDARAM I.A.S.

Dr Ambedkar

‘Vishwakarma’ of the Indian Constitution



Dr Ambedkar will live in Indian History forever, not only as an unquestioned and unsurpassed Liberator of the oppressed and suppressed classes of India, but also as the ‘VISHWAKARMA’ of the Indian Constitution which came into force on 26th January, 1950.


Recently I was looking at the Constituent Assembly Debates relating to the Indian Constitution between September 1, 1947 and November 30, 1949.  When I re-read the speeches made by the stalwarts in the Constituent Assembly those days, I was transported to an ethereal world of surging sublime thoughts, feelings and emotions relating to India’s glorious past, degrading and disgraceful Italian-controlled present and tragically uncertain future.  The following quotation from Sir Winston Churchill flashed in my mind: ‘History like a flickering lamp, stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes and to kindle, with pale gleams, the passions of former days’.  Let me present the exciting story relating to the part that Dr. Ambedkar played as one of the makers of Modern India in his capacity as Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution between August 29, 1947 and November 26, 1949.

 

The Constituent Assembly passed the following Resolution on August 29, 1947. “This Assembly resolves that a Committee consisting of:

1. Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar

2. Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar

3. The Honourable Dr. B.R.Ambedkar

4. Shri K.M. Munshi

5. Saiyed Mohamed Saadulla

6. Shri B. L. Mitter

7. Shri D.P. Khaitan

be appointed to scrutinise the Draft of the Text of the Constitution of India prepared by the Constitutional Adviser giving effect to the decisions taken already in the Assembly and including all matters, which are ancillary thereto, or, which have to be provided in such a Constitution, and to submit to the Assembly for consideration the Text of the Draft Constitution as revised by the Committee”.



After considerable discussion, the Draft, as amended and altered, was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949. CERTAIN ARTICLES OF THE CONSTITUTION CAME INTO FORCE AT ONCE; THE REMAINING ARTICLES AND THE PREAMBLE CAME INTO FORCE ON 26TH JANUARY, 1950.


What were the objects which the framers of the Constitution set out to achieve in their Draft Constitution? What were the models to which they turned? What were the pitfalls they tried to avoid? Dr Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, answered some of these questions when he moved that the Constituent Assembly should take the Draft Constitution into consideration in November 1949. The form in which Dr Ambedkar’s speech was cast and the popular Assembly to which it was addressed, made it difficult for him to give his analysis the kind of sharpness and precision, which he would certainly have given were he writing on the Draft Constitution. And yet as a Master of Law and Jurisprudence and above all, as a great National Leader wedded to the eternal causes of equity, natural justice, social justice, rule of law, liberty, equality and fraternity, Dr. Ambedkar rose to Himalayan heights in giving a final concrete shape to our Constitution and breathed a new life into it forever.


1. The distribution of Legislative Power between the Union and the States, which gives to the Union, exclusive power to legislate in respect of matters contained in List I and a concurrent power to legislate in respect of matters contained in List III of Schedule VII (Article 246)



2. The Power given to Parliament to legislate on exclusively State subjects, namely,


a. with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest (Article 249)


b. in respect of any matter in the State List if a proclamation of Emergency is in operation (Article 250)


c. For two or more States by consent of those States (Article 252)


3. Provisions for proclamation of Emergency and the effect of such proclamation (Articles 352 and 353)


4. Provisions included in the Constitution which are to be operative unless ‘provision is made to the contrary by Parliament by Law’ or words to the same effect.


5. Provisions regarding the amendment of the Constitution.

Dr Ambedkar made it clear that the power under Articles 250, 352 and 353 of the Constitution can only be exercised by the President of India and requires the approval of both Houses of the Indian Parliament. He summed it up precisely when he said ‘These provisions make the Indian Constitution both ‘Unitary as well as Federal’ according to the requirements of time and circumstances. In normal times, it is framed to work as a federal system. But in times of war, it is so designed as to make it work as though it was a Unitary system’.


According to Article 1(i) of the Constitution India is a Union of States.  In his capacity as Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Dr. Ambedkar saw to it that the word UNION was substituted for the word FEDERATION.  The Drafting Committee said that there were advantages in describing India as a ‘Union’, although its Constitution was federal in structure.  Amplifying this view in the Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar said that the Unitary Government of South Africa was called a Union and so it was not contrary to usage to describe India as a Union. 

Dr. Ambedkar made it clear that though India was to be a Federation, the Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join a Federation, and that the Federation, not being the result of an agreement, no State had the right to secede from it. The Federation was a Union because it was indissoluble. Again and again Dr Ambedkar emphasised the cardinal fact that the Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. Kashmir Valley does not have the right to secede from the Indian Union as Ukraine seceded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Quite unlike the cheap, corrupt, irresponsible, immoral, illegal pseudo-secular, anti-social and anti-national criminal politicians and Cabinet Ministers of today, Dr Ambedkar was an extraordinary man blessed with a transcendental moral vision and integrity. This will be clear from the brilliant and clairvoyant way in which he touched upon the controversial issue of equality in his final address to the Constituent Assembly.  Let us hear the bracing words of Dr. Ambedkar on that occasion: ‘I would not like to interpret but to illumine the scheme of the Equality Code. I remember the days when politically minded Indians resented the expression ‘the people of India’.  They preferred the expression ‘the Indian Nation’.  I am of opinion that in believing that we are a nation, we are cherishing a great delusion.  How can people divided into several thousands of castes be a nation?  The sooner we realized that we are not as yet a nation in the social and psychological sense of the word, the better for us.... For, fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation.   Without fraternity, equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint.’

I am shocked to see that most of the legal experts on the Indian Constitution and the historians have not taken note of a very stark fact that, it was Dr Ambedkar and Dr Ambedkar alone, who in a single handed manner finalised the Draft of the Indian Constitution. This becomes clear from the speech of Shri T T Krishnamachari on behalf of the Scrutiny Committee, during the general debate in the Constituent Assembly, at the start of the second reading on November 5, 1948. It makes very sad reading and this by itself ought to give us all a sense of inner shame and loss of honour.

Shri T T Krishnamachari said ‘At the same time, I do realise that that amount of attention that was necessary for the purpose of drafting a Constitution so important to us at this moment has not been given to it by the Drafting Committee.  The House is perhaps aware that of the seven (7) members nominated by YOU, one had resigned from the House and was replaced.  One died and was not replaced.  One was away in America and his place was not filled up and another person was engaged in State affairs and there was a void to that extent. One or two people were far away from Delhi and perhaps reasons of health did not permit them to attend.  So it happened ultimately that the burden of Drafting this Constitution fell on Dr Ambedkar and I have no doubt that we are grateful to him for achieving this task in a manner which is undoubtedly commendable.  But my point really is that the attention that was due to a matter like this has not been given to it by the Drafting Committee as a whole.... The point why I mention all these is that certain aspects of our Constitution have not had the amount of expert attention that was necessary, the amount of attention that could have been provided to it if a person like Shri. Gopalaswami Ayyangar or Shri Munshi or certain another persons had attended the meetings all through’.


THUS IT WILL BE CLEAR THAT NEHRU AND HIS GOVERNMENT DURING THAT PERIOD HAD NOTHING BUT UNCONCEALED CONTEMPT FOR THE SACRED PROCESS OF FORMULATION AND CREATION OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION.  NEHRU GAVE A HIGHER KNOCKDOWN PRIORITY TO HIS PRIVATE AFFAIRS WITH LADY EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN AT THAT TIME THAN TO THE AFFAIRS OF THE INDIAN STATE!

Dr Ambedkar was firmly of the view that A NATION MAY MAKE A CONSTITUTION, BUT A CONSTITUTION CANNOT MAKE A NATION.  He often expressed the view that the Constitution, viewed as a continuously operative Charter of Government, is not to be interpreted as demanding the impossible or the impracticable.  At the same time, the interpretation of Constitutional principles must not be too liberal. At the same time he was also pragmatic enough to say ‘We must remember that the machinery of Government would not work if it were not allowed a little play in its joints’.  Dr Ambedkar’s  Constitutional philosophy can be generally summed up in these words: ‘Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are Constitutional.... The people of India have made the Constitution and they can unmake it.  It is the creature of their own will, and lives only by their will.  Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by Authority. The Constitution overrides a statute, but a statute, if consistent with a Constitution, overrides the ‘ Personal Law’ of Judges’.

It is a sad public fact that the Supreme Court of India today is more concerned with the Personal Law of ephemeral and transitory Judges than with the Permanent Law of the Constitution.

Dr. Ambedkar was the only statesman in India in 1940 who fully understood the sinister and evil anti-Hindu designs of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. It was 1940 that Dr. Ambedkar wrote his classic book “Pakistan or the Partition of India”. Dr. T. Hanuman Chowdary has rightly summed up as follows: "In this book Dr. Ambedkar analyzed and criticized the many sinister views and designs of the advocates of Pakistan, to be created by the Partition of India. It may be recalled that until 1944, not many Muslims of what are now Pakistan and Bangladesh were with the Muslim League. It was the Muslims of what is now India that were demanding the Partition of India and the creation of an Islamic State at that time".
DR. HANUMAN CHOWDARY'S PERCEPTION IS CORRECT AND EXACT. In the Elections to the Central Legislative Assembly and to the Legislative Assemblies/Councils in the Provinces in 1946, there were separate electorates for Muslims. The Congress under the Leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel and Azad fought the elections promising that India would not be divided. The Muslim League fought the elections demanding and promising that India would be divided and Pakistan would be created. Only 1.3 percent of the Muslims voted for the nationalist Muslim candidates put up by the Congress Party for the Central Legislative Assembly and only 4.67 percent voted for Congress Muslim for the Provincial Legislatures. In other words, it is the Muslims of what is now India that asserted that they were not part of the Indian Nation; they were a separate nation because they were Muslims and Pakistan should be carved out as a Muslim State.

The Muslim League of Jinnah launched the DIRECT ACTION _ civil war _ for creation of Pakistan on the 16th of August 1946. Sir H.S.Suhrawardy was the Muslim League Chief Minister of Bengal Province at that time and acting like a pre-meditating criminal he declared holiday for the police for two days and sponsored a pogrom of massacre of Hindus in Calcutta city and its neighbourhood, which triggered supportive and retaliatory killings in many parts of Bengal and Bihar. As planned by Mohammed Ali Jinnah and H.S. Suhrawardy, the Hindus were frightened and Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and all the Congressmen were frightened into agreement for Partition. That this would be inevitable was clearly foreseen by Dr. Ambedkar in his book on Pakistan published in 1940. I am giving below a few excerpts from this book which speak for themselves:

"Islam is a closed corporation of Muslims by Muslims for Muslims. For those who are outside the Corporation there is nothing but contempt and enmity. The second defect of Islam is that it is a system of social self-Government and that is incompatible with local self-Government, because the allegiance of a Muslim does not rest on his domicile in the country which is his, but on the faith to which he belongs. Wherever there is a rule of Islam, there is his own country. In other words, Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his Motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin. That probably is the reason why Maulana Mohammed Ali, a great Indian but a true Muslim, preferred to be buried in Jerusalem rather than in India. Let us also recall what Maulana Mohammed Ali, at the height of his comradeship with Mahatma Gandhi, during the Muslims Khilafat Movement in 1921 to which Gandhiji committed the secular Congress, said: `However pure Mr. Gandhi's character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of religion, inferior to any Musalman, even though he be without character.' This statement created a flutter all over India. Mohammed Ali was asked whether the sentiments attributed to him were true. Mr Mohammed Ali, without any hesitation or compunction replied: “Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Musalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi”.(Dr. Ambedkar's `Pakistan', Page 343)

Dr. Ambedkar wrote thus about the future Pakistan in 1944: "Rightly or wrongly, most people suspect that Pakistan is pregnant with mischief. They think that it has two motives, one immediate, the other ultimate. The immediate motive, it is said, is to join with the neighbouring Muslim countries and form a Muslim Federation. The ultimate motive is for the Muslim Federation to invade Hindustan and conquer or rather re-conquer the Hindu and reestablish Muslim Empire in India. Nobody can fathom the mind of the Muslims and reach the real motives that lie behind their demand for Pakistan". Today, the Jihadis in Pakistan say “Haske liye Pakistan, Ladke lenge Hindustan”.

Dr. Ambedkar was the first statesman who suggested that there should be an exchange of minorities between the two States of Pakistan and India by common agreement and in an orderly fashion all the Muslims of India should go to Pakistan and non-Muslims of Pakistan should come to India. Most pseudo-secular Politicians and anti-Hindu Historians in India today posed to be deliberately ignorant about the patent fact that Dr. Ambedkar even drafted the treaty for exchange of population that should be signed by the two new States in July 1947. He sighted the example of such large scale transfer of population between Greece and Bulgaria which was on a voluntary basis and that between Greece and Turkey, on a compulsory basis. Dr. Ambedkar clinched the issue and wrote sharply “Nobody can deny that transfer of minorities has worked, has been tried and found workable... What succeeded elsewhere may well be expected to succeed in India”.

Dr. Ambedkar was a great patriot who was passionately concerned about the well-being and safety of India. While that political eunuch, murky and shaky somersaulting Jawaharlal Nehru stopped the Army from re-conquering all of Kashmir from Pakistan in 1948 and allowed the Chinese to overrun Tibet in his mindless Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai euphoria in 1962.

Dr. Ambedkar warned against the danger of Islamic and communist aggression and even suggested that India should join the pro-western SEATO (South-East-Asian Treaty Organization) when he said in 1954 "The Prime Minister Nehru has practically helped the Chinese to bring their border down to the Indian border. Looking at all these things, it would be an act of levity not to believe that India, if it is not exposed to aggression right now, will be exposed to aggression and that aggression might well be committed by people who are always in the habit of committing aggression.... Nehru's foreign policy has made India a friendless country.... Nehru had bungled the Kashmir issue and had sheltered men who were dishonest. Today India is encircled by a kind of United States of Islam on one side and on the other side Russia and China in a combination for the conquest of Asia". Dr. Ambedkar was proved mathematically, exactly and precisely correct on this core in 1962 and 1965. In 1962 India was humiliated by China. The shameless Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did not have the decency to resign from his post. In 1965, Pakistan, armed to the teeth with American weapons, made an armed bid for capturing New Delhi and flying the flag of Islam on the ramparts of the Red Fort. Thanks to the bravery and valour of the Indian Armed Forces under the inspiring leadership of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, India was able to throw out the Pakistani aggressors.

In the evening of his life Dr. Ambedkar decided not to die as a Hindu though born as one. He was approached by the greatest and the mightiest and the richest in Islam and Christianity asking him to convert to their religion. AS A GREAT PATRIOT-STATESMAN HE REFUSED TO CONVERT TO ISLAM SAYING THAT THE FRATERNITY IN IT IS CONFINED ONLY TO THE ‘BELIEVERS’ AND THAT IF ANY ONE CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY, HE CEASED TO BE AN INDIAN. Thus he spurned both Islam and Christianity and chose a religion of the soil of Bharat, Buddhism, whose appeal is universal.

Dr. Ambedkar said emphatically that Buddhism is our indigenous religion which does not bring with it extra-territorial loyalties. Let us hear his inspiring and patriotic words uttered on that occasion: "I will choose only the least harmful way for the country. And that is the greatest benefit I am conferring on the country by embracing Buddhism; for Buddhism is a part and parcel of Bharatiya Culture. I have taken care that my conversion will not harm the tradition of the culture and history of this land."

During the last 30 years, the RSS has gone all out to applaud Dr. Ambedkar as an eternal and shining symbol of Hindu solidarity and Hindu integration. During his visit to Europe in 1995, the RSS Sarsanghachalak Professor Rajendra Singh at a celebration of Dr. Ambedkar's 104th Birth Anniversary hosted by the Friends of India Society International in London had said, “Sangh celebrated the Birth Centenary of late Dr. Ambedkar 4 years ago.... We also published a small life and work sketch of Dr. Ambedkar, outlining his key achievements. We enlisted Dr. Ambedkar in the RSS programme of `character-building' by presenting his life story as an inspiring example. We could distribute 20 million copies of that small booklet throughout the country.”

Firebrand Dalit Leader and Poet Namdeo Dhasal
shaking hands with RSS Sarsanghchalak Sri K.S. Sudharshanji
in New Delhi in September 2006.


A great moment in the recent history of this noble effort to bring all the Hindus of India together as an integral part of the larger and more glorious Bharat Hindu Parivar was reached when in September 2006 firebrand Dalit poet Namdeo Dhasal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief K Sudarshanji came together on the same public platform at a book release function in New Delhi.

The internationally renowned poet and Dalit leader Namdeo Dhasal is the founder President of Maharashtra's Dalit Panther Party. This is a path-breaking and magnificent effort by the Sangh to publicly reach out to the Dalit leaders in India. The psuedo-secular mafia of mass media in India is continuing to suppress and black out from public view the solid fact that the RSS and Sangh Parivar at large have done astonishing amount of work to reduce the Caste differences in Bharat. Though I do not belong officially to the `inglorious' (!!) Sangh Parivar or to the ‘glorious’ (!!!) sycophantic Sonia Congress Parivar, yet I can say with certainty that the Sangh Parivar in its 85 years history has done more to solve the caste problem in Bharat than everything else combined during the last one century. More than 60,000 daily shakhas are nothing but an experiment in removing those caste differences by making people of every caste sit together, sing together, play together and eat together. That is why they are called communal by the shameless Congress Party and other equally despicable pseudo-secular anti-national and anti-social political parties like the DMK, RJD, SP, BSP, CPM, CPI, etc!