India Divided is an important historical document. Prepared by Dr Rajendra Prasad who became India’s first President it sets out his opposition to the proposal for Partition which was to irrevocably alter the geographical profile of the subcontinent.
The question of the partition of India into Muslim and Hindu zones assumed importance after the All-India Muslim League passed a resolution in its favour in March 1940 in Lahore. Most of India Divided was written in prison and it was published in 1946, a year before India was partitioned. It specifically examines the theory that the Hindus and Muslims of India were two nations, and concludes that the solution of the Hindu- Muslim issue should be sought in the formation of a secular state, with cultural autonomy for the different groups that make up the nation. It traces the origins and growth of the Hindu-Muslim conflict, gives the summary of the several schemes for the partition of India which were put forth, and pints out the essential ambiguity of the Lahore Resolution. Finally, it deals with the recourses of the Muslim- majority states and shows how the suggested scheme of Partition was impracticable, and proposes a new solution to the Hindu-Muslim question.
Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) was the first President of the Republic of India. An independance activist and a prominent Gandghian, Rajendra Prasad was a close associate of Gandhi's from the time of the Champaran Satyagraha in 1916. Prasad was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1934, and again in 1939. He served as president of the Constituent Assemble which drafted India's Constitution over 1948 and 1949. On 26 January 1950, Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as the first presiden of India. He remained in the Post for twelve years, before resigning in 1962. He was also honoured with the Bharat Ratna that year.
The question of partition of India into Muslim and Hindu zones has assumed importance since the All-India Muslim League passed a resolution in its favour at Lahore in March 1940. Much has been written on it and a literature has grown round it. But I believe there is room for another book which tries to discuss the question in all its aspects. In India Divided I have made an attempt to collect in a compact form information and material likely to help the reader in forming an opinion of his own. I have expressed my own opinion on the basis of the material so collected but I believe I have placed the material apart from any conclusions I have drawn there from and it is open to the reader to ignore my conclusions and draw his own inferences, if he can.
The book is divided into six parts. Part I deals with the theory of Hindus and Muslims of India being two nations. While showing that the theory is as unsupported by history and facts of everyday life, as by the opinion of distinguished and representative Musalmans, it points out that even if it be assumed that the Musalmans are a separate nation, the solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem in India should, on the basis of experience of other countries and on the strength of the latest and most authoritative writers of international repute on the subject, be sought in the formation of a multinational State in which a powerful political union guarantees cultural autonomy to different national groups; and not in the creation of national States which will not only leave the problem of national minorities unsolved but will also create more new problems relating to questions—financial, economic, industrial and political, and military defence and strategy—than it will solve.
Part II discusses at length how the Hindu-Muslim problem has arisen and grown to its present proportions and how with the lengthening of the base of the communal triangle, the angle of difference between the communities has become wider and wider. Part III gives the summary of a number of schemes of partition which have appeared.
Part IV points out the vagueness and ambiguity of the Lahore Resolution of the All-India Muslim League and the difficulty which faces anyone trying to consider it on its merits. It analyses the Resolution and, giving their natural meaning to the words used in the Resolution, it fixes the boundaries of Pakistan.
Part V deals with the resources of the Muslim States and shows how the scheme of partition is impracticable.
Part VI gives various proposals put forward by persons or bodies for solving the Hindu-Muslim problem.
Parts I, III, IV, V and VI of the book were written in the Bankipur jail and during intervals of comparatively good health. They, therefore, naturally bear the inevitable marks of work done under some limitations. Since my release I have been able to find time to write Part II—but none to revise the portion written previously. The difficulty of getting books in jail was removed to a considerable extent by the kindness of Dr Sachchidananda
Sinha who freely allowed' books to be lent out of the Sinha THE TWO NATION
Library and of Sir Rajiva Ranjan Prasad Sinha, President of the Bihar Legislative Council, who lent some books from the Library of the Bihar Legislature. Shri Shanti Kumar Morarji of Bombay supplied me with a number of books and some statistics. My thanks are due to all these gentlemen. I am thankful to Shri K.T. Shah of Bombay and Professor Balkrishna of the Birla College, Pilani, for some valuable suggestions and to the Birla College for a free use of its library. Typed copy of the portion written in jail was prepared there and my thanks are due to Shri M. John, Secretary, Tata Workers' Union, Jamshedpur, for making the typed copy, and to Shris S.H. Razi, M.D. Madan and M.K. Ghosh for comparing the typed copy. I am grateful to the Government of Bihar for permitting Shri John to prepare the typed copy. Shri M.K. Ghosh of the Tata Research Laboratory, Jamshedpur, kindly checked the figures and prepared the graphs and I owe him a debt of thanks. My thanks are due also to Shri Mathura Prasad and to Shri Chakradhar Sharan for help of various kinds in preparing Part II and for seeing the book through the press.
I have acknowledged my indebtedness wherever I have taken any statement or quoration from others.
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