Mayhem in the Market

February 7th, 2018

Mayhem in the Market

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Markets around the world have been jumping up and down, mostly down, since February 2, 2018. The reason for the slide in the Indian Markets could be due to the Indian budget. But what about the markets around the world? I see almost every English Channel around the world every day. I have seen no major upheaval anywhere. It is true that markets have been rising every day for years. At best a correction is due and desirable. At the worst, the bubble is beginning to burst and a collapse is around the corner.

Most analysts will have us believe that the downswing is just a normal correction. There is nothing to worry about market stability. The fundamentals are excellent. Just buy at the dips at the dips is what they advise.

The pessimists like me are not so sure. I believe that if there is smoke, there must be a fire somewhere. What could trigger a collapse of the market like in 2007/08?

Possible Reasons

Collapse of the UD dollar could be one reason for collapse. One of my friends had warned me about this about 3 months back. In my opinion the US dollar is overvalued. The US is the world’s biggest debtor with a debt of over $20 trillion. It printed the Greenback on as required basis since 2000. It has a large trade deficit and astronomical defence expenditure. The Quantitative Easing (QE) at $90 billion per month for about 8 years has created a huge liquidity in the market which has been pushing up share prices as unlimited money supply chases limited number of shares. The US dollar remains strong because most major economies of the world want it to remain high so that their products remain cheap and competitive on the US market. However, as the US tries to restrict imports from China, Japan, Korea, EU and Mexico by imposing import duties, the incentive to keep the dollar strong may be reducing. As China seeks to enhance its super power status, it would like to project the Chinese Yuan as the most stable currency. So it could decide to destabilize the dollar by selling some of its huge holdings of US bonds. Chinese rating agencies do not rate the US dollar very high. US do not have reserves to defend the dollar.

Stock valuations

I read somewhere that the price of a stock should be around 15 to 20 times the earning per share. Today, prices of most shares are above 30 times the earning per share. Thus a major correction becomes a distinct possibility.

War

There are many conflict zones in the world like North Korea, South China Sea, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan. There is a possibility of a clash between the US and Turkey as Turkey tries to pushback the Kurds from its borders. There is also the possibility of a clash between Israel and Hezbollah over Israeli missile attacks on Hezbollah and Iranian bases in Syria. But these would not destabilize the world. Threat of war is least likely to be spooking the markets.

US Politics

US politics has turned ugly since Trump won the Presidency. There seems to be pathological hatred between the Republicans and the Democrats which is not good for the US and the world. Winning and losing elections is a part of democracy and the will of the people should be accepted gracefully. Unfortunately, that is not happening. Democrats want to discredit Trump. In his State of the Union speech, Trump claimed credit for the rise is US markets over the last year. Some Democrat moneybags may be trying to crash the market to discredit Trump. Republican moneybags could be trying to stabilize the market and hence the rebound. This could be the reason for the recent volatility.

LCGT

The 10% tax proposed on Long Term Capital gains could have spooked the Indian stock market. Most Indians hate paying tax and will go to any length to avoid paying it. The withdrawal of tax on Long Term Capital gains has encouraged all and sundry to invest in mutual funds in the hope of tax free gains. I have never been able to understand why governments of all hues have tried to encourage speculative activity by making it tax free while making manufacturers, traders, service providers, salaried class and consultants pay tax through their noses. This not only totally unfair but diverts funds from productive activities which create employment and real wealth to speculative activity which does not create employment and generates virtual wealth which can disappear in a day. I congratulate Mr. Jaitly on introducing the tax and hope that the next budget will make tax on capital gains from shares at par with any other capital gains. This tax has no effect on the global market.

Conclusion

I am not an investor, financial advisor or fortune teller. I am an humble writer who is not being paid for this piece. So it is not even paid news. I have no idea as to how the markets will behave in the coming days. For all you know, by the time this is published, if at all, the Bulls may be charging up the mountain again. However, I am convinced that if there is danger to economic stability in the world it lies in the value of the US dollar and US politics. If you are an investor using your own money, please go ahead and do what you please. If you are playing the market with someone else’s money or borrowed money, you may like cash your holdings and wait on the sidelines for better times.

Old Guard vs Young Brigade: Can Rahul Prevail

December 19th, 2017

Old Guards Vs The Young Brigade: Can Rahul Prevail?

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Website www.bhaskarsarkar.com ; www.twitter@COLSARKAR

The fight between the old guards and the young brigade of the Congress is finally in the open. Like his father, Rajeev Gandhi (Mr. Clean of yester years), Rahul Gandhi has been keeping his instinctive aversion to the culture of corruption in the Congress in check. This was possibly due to biddings of his mother. It is always difficult for a young man to come out of his mother’s influence. But his patience seems to have burst when the Congress brought in an ordinance to save the membership of the parliament of convicted political leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav. His going public with his views against the Ordinance forced the Congress to withdraw the Ordinance. But he immediately fell silent on other instances where the Congress Old Guard kept stalling attempts to investigate scams by denying the CBI permission to question senior bureaucrats or to prosecute tainted leaders without assigning any reason. He has remained silent over the Maharashtra Governor’s refusal to allow prosecution of ex chief minister Ashok Chavan and the Maharashtra Cabinet’s decision to reject the finding of a judicial commission on the Adarsh Housing Society Scam set up by the same Cabinet without assigning any reason. However, by design or otherwise, another member of the young brigade, central minister and Congressman  Milind Deora has taken up cudgels against corruption and gone public with his demand that the Adarsh Housing Society scam must be effectively investigated and the guilty punished. The other interesting development in the struggle between the Old Guard and the Young Brigade is the attempt by the old guard to reverse the decision of the Congress, possibly taken at the behest of Rahul Gandhi and the Young Brigade, to unconditionally support the AAP in forming a government in Delhi.

It is natural for the Old Guard in political parties, bureaucracy and the police to be alarmed by the anti corruption election plank of the AAP and its adoption by the Young Brigade in the Congress. For decades they have thrived from the Congress Party’s benign tolerance of corruption and amassed hundreds of millions, thousands of acres, tons of gold and lucrative benami properties. They hold esteemed position in society and have started political dynasties which they hope will last forever. They are aghast that their own scions are questioning their wisdom of turning a firm blind eye to corruption.  The fear of being exposed and being held accountable by the long arm of law have unnerved them to rebel against the party policies.

History of Struggle

The history of struggle between the Old Guard and the Young Brigade is nothing new. Indira Gandhi, in her early days as Prime Minister, faced opposition from the “Syndicate” of Old Guards to her policies. She was bold enough to take them on in selection of the presidential candidate, preferring V V Giri to Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, backed by the “Syndicate”. Her candidate won and she packed off the Old Guards and established a new order.

Rajeev Gandhi was confronted by the Old Guards (his mother’s confidants or new order) on his attempts to clean up corruption and to introduce the Muslim Women’s Maintenance Bill in line of the Supreme Court judgement on the “Shah Bano” case. But he lacked the guts and political acumen of his mother. He lamented that only 25 paise of each Rupee earmarked for development reached the poor but did nothing to check the leaks. The Old Guard made merry and ferried their spoils to undisclosed stashes and foreign tax havens. Only a few unfortunate ones like Sukh Ram were caught and convicted.

Conclusion

The battle between the Old Guards and the Young Brigade in the Congress has started again. The Young Brigade has rightly recognized that India and the Indian electorate are changing. One third of the Indian electorate is below 35 and in another five years, almost half of Indian electorate will be under 35, literate and social media savvy. An army of RTI activitists and investigating journalists are constantly unearthing instances of corruption. With media coverage of corruption reaching every corner of the country almost instantly, it is not possible to hide corruption the way it could be in the good old days. The stunning electoral victories of the poor man’s AAP and the Congress’s electoral rout in the Delhi state, Rajasthan and MP elections was proof enough for the sceptics to admit that honest politicians could win elections and that young India was fed up of the two timing dishonest and criminally oriented politicians and ready to throw them out. The Young Brigade therefore wants to opt for probity in public life to survive.

For the Old Guards, the stakes are too high. The Lok Pal Bill (whether adequate or inadequate) has been passed. Rahul Gandhi is pushing for four or five other anti corruption bills to be passed. AAP and BJP are promising to reinvestigate closed cases. The Old Guard will therefore employ every trick in the trade to stall investigations and prevent the Young Brigade of the Party to sideline them and take over the Congress Party.

It will be interesting to see whether Rahul Gandhi has the guts of his grandmother to take on the Old Guard and rid the grand old Congress of its corrupt and criminal elements, bring transparency and probity in functioning of Congress governments and take the wind out of the sails of AAP and BJP and win back the confidence of the electorate before the Lok Sabha elections. A lot will depend on whether he has the support of his mother in his endeavour. If he fails it is curtains for the Congress in the next election.

Should We Forget Nehru

December 14th, 2017

Should We Forget Nehru

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The BJP Government of Rajasthan has revised its text books to eliminate the mention of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first prime minister of India. Our honourable Prime Minister wants a Congress “Mukt” (free) Bharat (India). It is only natural that his party men will try to erase the memory of great leaders that the Congress Party has produced and hope to improve their standing with him. This pathological hatred of the Congress Party, particularly the Nehru, Gandhi family is unbecoming of a great leader. Respect begets respect. Hatred begets hatred. This action of eliminating the name of Pandit Nehru, like many other controversial dictates of BJP governments like banning possession and consumption of beef in Maharashtra (since set aside by the High Court), Gujarat and Haryana, closing dance bars (since set aside by the courts), saying “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, singing “Vande Mataram”, teaching Sanskrit, Indian culture and Manusmriti at engineering colleges is now a matter of debate in the media, coffee shops and teas shops. May I also be allowed to say my bit?

Pandit Nehru’s role in India’s freedom struggle is neither unique nor spectacular. Many well known persons like Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi and many unknown freedom fighters have made greater contributions or sacrifices. I agree that Pandit Nehru need not be remembered as a freedom fighter. I also agree that his becoming prime minister could have been an act of favouritism on the part of Mahatma Gandhi. He is unfairly held responsible by many for Partition and the Kashmir Problem. (It was the “Direct Action” riots started by the Muslim League in 1946 that forced Partition.) I hold him responsible for introducing and tolerating a culture of corruption and nepotism among the political class and government servants which has continued unabated till today. I also blame him for weakening the armed forces and leading the country to a disastrous defeat in the 1962 war with China. Nehru also neglected agriculture which led to our being dependant on US PL480 food aid program. I cannot say how many of these mistakes were committed in good faith and how many were due to lack of administrative experience. Whether he should be forgiven or not is for each one of us to decide ourselves after due diligence and not based on BJP propaganda? (Will Modiji be forgiven for “Demonetisation”? Only time will tell.)

I am a great admirer of Nehru the visionary, a man who dreamt big and set India on the way to be the knowledge, industrial and economic powerhouse that we are today. I want to chronicle his contribution to the modernisation of India for the knowledge of the younger generations who are unaware of his enormous contribution to India’s growth and are encouraged by those who envy his achievements not to give the man his due. Please remember that he was Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964. Let us see what he achieved during these 17 years.

Field of Education

Nehru could visualize the need for professional and technical education to take forward a resurgent India. He founded the Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai (1958), Delhi (19610, Kanpur (1959) and Kharagpur (1956). Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act 1956 founded the basis for these institutions. Institute of Technology’s Act 1961 created 16 Engineering colleges all over India. Over 350,000 students strive to join the IITs every year. Do they know who started them?

Nehru established the Atomic Energy complex at Trombay in 1954. This was later renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre 1967 and is the bedrock of development of Atomic energy for peaceful and military purposes. He established the Indian National Committee for Space Research 1962 which became ISRO in 1969. India is now the third ranked power in space technology after the US and Russia. He established the Defence Research and Development Organization 1958 so that India’s requirement of Defence equipment could be developed and built in India.

He was responsible for setting up the IIM Kolkata and IIM Ahmadabad in 1961. The inception of almost every institution of higher learning that we have today was due to Nehru’s vision of the educational needs of the people of a vibrant, modern, industrialized and prosperous India.

Field of Industry

Nehru was the originator of “Make in India” concept but not the slogan. Unlike other developing countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria etc, Nehru set India on the path to industrialisation. He set up three public sector steel plants at Bhllai 1955, Durgapur 1960 and Rourkela 1959. Chttaranjan locomotive works established in 1950 has produced 2351 steam locomotives from 1950-72. It now produces electric locomotives. Integral coach factory Chennai set up in 1955 built coaches for Indian railways. Mazgaon dockyard was nationalized in 1960, Garden Reach workshop was established in 1960, Hindustan Shipyard Vizag nationalized in 1961, and Goa Ship Yard set up in1967 to build ships.  Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was formed in 1964 as the pioneer of our aeronautical industry. Heavy vehicle factory was set up at Avdi 1965 to build battle tanks. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) set up in 1964 is a world leader in turbine manufacture. Bharat Electronics established in 1954 pioneered manufacture of radio, telephones and radars. Bharat Earthmovers established in 1964 pioneered productions of earth moving equipment in the country. Bharat Petroleum 1952, and Indian Oil Corporation 1964 are the pioneers of crude oil refining and distribution of petroleum products in the country. Heavy Engineering Corporation Ranchi established in 1958 produced heavy machinery for steel and other heavy industries. HMT established in 1953 produced machine tools and watches. ONGC established in 1956 pioneered exploration and production of crude oil in the country. India is perhaps the only developing country where the oil industry is not controlled by foreign companies. Shipping Corporation of India, was established in 1961to meet our shipping needs. Uranium Corporation of India started producing uranium in 1967. Nehru along with the Tatas, Birlas, Munjals, Mahindra was the founding father of industrialized India.

Field of Health Care

Nehru was responsible for the setting up of AIIMS Delhi 1956. Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd was set up in 1954 to meet our immunization needs.

Irrigation and Hydro Power

Nehru understood the importance of harnessing the rivers of India. Damodar Valley Corporation was set up in 1948 on the model of Tennesse Valley Authority. It has four dams producing hydroelectric power Maithon, Panchet, Tilaiya, Konar 1948-1959. He initiated the Bhakra and Beas projects in Punjab. Bhakra Dam was built in 1963. Pong dam on Beas started in 1961 was completed in 1974. Project Hirakud Dam was constructed in 1957, Tungabhadra dam in Karnatak1953 in 1953. 234 dams were built between 1951 and 1961. The Farakka barrage on the Ganges was started in 1961.

Agriculture

Nehru did not do much to encourage farmers. He concentrated on creating infrastructure to support farming. Hindustan Insecticides was established in 1954, Fertilizer Corporation of India in 1961, Food Corporation of India in 1965, National Seed Corporation in 1963. The benefits were to come later.

Conclusion

India is the second most developed developing country not because of the vision of the Sangh which seeks to take us back to medieval India, but because of the vision of Nehru and his actions to introduce professional education and make India self reliant in manufacturing. He did not coin a slogan. He actually set up manufacturing unit. His Public Sector employed more people than required. Under the Modi Government there are over a few million vacancies in every government department from the judiciary, administrative services, school teachers, college professors, nurses, doctors and so one which the government simply refuses to fill to save the wage bill. Engineers and graduates are applying for jobs of security guards and sweepers. Some have taken to snatching chains, stealing motor cycles and taking to other forms of crime.

BJP and Mr. Modi should also realize that the hundreds of thousands of Indian diaspora who organized functions for him all around the world and cheered for him got there and became prosperous because Nehru started IITs and IIMs from which most of them graduated.

You may want to forget Nehru, I never will. I was not taught to be ungrateful by my parents and Gurus.

Women and RSS

November 28th, 2017

Women Beware; RSS is Taking Over

Hindu wives and daughters beware

RSS, the Hindu Taliban is here

They have no respect for women

They want you each to have four children.

Women are objects in Manuvadi text,

Subservient to men, they have no respect

Father before marriage, later husband

Son of a widow will obedience demand.

Knowledge will make women sinfull

The kitchen is their place rightful

Birth control they do not want

Against Valentine’s Day they will rant.

Falling in love will be an unforgivable sin

Marrying father’s choice will be the in thing;

You will not wear dresses of your choice

Women’s lib will be dead, as will be your voice.

Non veg food you cannot choose

Fun, games and parties will invite abuse;

Go not with your husband to pub or bar,

Watching what you do is the Sangh Parivar.

If you want live in peace without fear,

With body erect and head high, my dear;

In elections do not vote for BJP

Banish RSS and be happy.

November 22nd, 2017

Modiji’s War on Corruption

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

Modiji has stated that he will not tolerate corruption. “Na Khaunga, na Khane Dunga” (I will not accept bribe nor permit corruption) he has repeatedly roared. He says that he went for demonetizations to stop corruption. He says is promoting cashless economy to stop corruption. But what is happening in the BJP led state of Rajasthan. The BJP government of Rajasthan quietly passed an ordinance on September 7, 2017, making it mandatory for all investigating agencies and courts to obtain the state government’s permission before taking any action against corrupt government officials or politician. The ordinance also provides of a two year jail sentence for any journalist or news media who publishes the name of any politician or official who is accused of corruption before government’s permission is issued. A Bill, named “Gag Order” by the opposition and the media, was introduced in Rajasthan Assembly on 23rd October to convert the ordinance into law. This provoked widespread protests from the opposition, intellectuals and the media. The Bill has strong support from the Central Minister of State for Law and many BJP leaders. Modiji has been silent on the issue. The protests forced the CM to refer the Bill to a select panel for re-examination. But the ordinance remains in place and so does the protection provided to the corrupt. As per RTI answer, the ACB in Rajasthan has received over 15,000 complaints. Prosecution has been allowed for only 51. Sanction is denied or delayed even when an official is caught red handed when taking a bribe.

What is Corruption?

The Little Oxford dictionary defines corruption as dishonest action in return for money or other reward. I would like to define it as “Giving or receiving gratification to ward off danger or threat or to gain something illegally or dishonestly or out of turn.”

Mankind is used to giving and receiving such gratification for millenniums. It started with humans trying to appease Gods to ensure good rains, good fortune, ward off evil, ensure victory in wars and so on. Humans and animals were sacrificed to appease the Gods. Gifts were showered on the gate keepers of the Gods, the priests and the witch doctors. Millenniums have passed. The intervention of Gods are still sought to protect and help us.

We have also added new human gods, the ministers, politicians, police officers, government servants, inspectors, and examiners etc who can delay examination results, trains and flights, slap public and government servants and get them to clean their shoes and make the lives of people hell or heaven. The new gods are more powerful than the real Gods. They also have gate keepers, the personal secretaries, clerks, peons and power brokers who zealously guard the access to the new gods. The new gods and their gate keepers need to be appeased to grant us our wishes and to protect us from evil. The best way to appease them is illegal gratification. This comes naturally to most of us. I wonder why Modiji and some of us make so much fuss about illegal gratification or corruption. Corruption helps us sleep better knowing we can mostly pay and get out of trouble.

Types of Corruption

There are many forms of corruption. Let us examine them one by one.

The first kind is “Speed Money”. We live in the world of shortages where demand for goods and services exceeds availability. There are shortages of jobs, berths on trains, seats in colleges, electric connections, water connections etc and most importantly “time”. So what do we do? We pay speed money to the service provider. Government has been able turn some of speed money into revenue by having “Tathkaal” services for booking berths on trains or getting passports.

The second category is catering to dishonest or illegal demands in return for illegal gratification. We want jobs or seats in colleges for our children though they cannot compete. We resist transfers or postings or want transfers to places and appointments of choice. We want to steal electricity. We want to pay less tax or no taxes. We want to pollute the environment or adulterate food and medicines and make more profits. Our desires are endless. So we are ready to appease the recruiters, college authorities, politicians, brokers and agents who can get us what we want. We are also ready to share the loot with tax inspectors, environmental protection agencies, safety inspectors and police and anyone who can help us to swindle public money, property and resources and avoid or reduce taxes.

The third category is paying for getting offender out of trouble. Sometimes we have accidents or commit crimes or illegal activities like street vending, illegal parking, profiteering, polluting, cheating, raping, molesting, drunk driving, speeding, thrashing Dalits and cow smugglers and even murder. So we are ready to appease the police, the inspectors, and the politicians who may be able to get us out of trouble.

The fourth category is extortion. The police are the masters at this game but some other departments like environment watchdogs and factory inspectors are not far behind. Money is extracted by threatening arrest on false cases and for permitting illegal activities like over loading of trucks, fleecing consumers, vending on trains etc.

Method of Collection

There are different methods of colleting the bribe money. These are discussed below.

The first category is institutionalized collection. Almost all government departments use this to extort money from contractors or suppliers. The contractor or supplier has to pay a fixed percentage to get payments released. The percentage varies from 3 to 10 percent. The money is collected and distributed up and down the chain. The acceptance of one’s share is not considered corruption. Demanding more than the laid down percentage is. The percentage is sometimes declared in pre-bid conferences before tendering and firms are advised to add the cost in working out their bids.

The second category is on the spot collection. Here, negotiations are held directly or through brokers or agents. An advance is paid by the beneficiary and the remainder is paid when the service is provided. This kind of corruption is common for services like granting party ticket to stand for elections, allotting licences, permits, agencies for gas or petroleum products, arranging postings, transfers, promotions, closing vigilance cases, granting contracts and so on.

The third category is payment in kind. This could include sale of properties at concessional rates, grant of citizenship in foreign countries or sexual favours. Some companies employ retired government servants and kin of politicians as employees or consultants. Some companies provide office space, secretarial support and pay credit card dues for retired officials and politicians.

Reducing Corruption

Why does Modiji or anyone else want to reduce or eliminate corruption when it benefits saffron and other politicians and their favoured government servants? It is true that corruption reduces government revenue and quality of construction and services. But that does not make any difference to political parties and politicians. Is it not true that there is a change in the incumbent of all important government posts after each election? Perhaps Modiji wants to protect his image. Let us examine what he has done other than state his anti corruption stance and refer to corruption and scams in the opposition political parties.

He has carried out “Demonetization”. Has it had any effect on corruption? 99 percent of black money has become white. All forms of corruptions are back to normal levels.

The second step he has carried out is “Digitization”. But is cashless payment really cashless? Does one not need to deposit cash in “Payment Wallets” or bank accounts for card based payments?

How does the government track who deposited the cash if the amount is below Rs 50,000?

If Modiji or any other political party is serious about reducing corruption, they have to take some concrete steps. Merely stating intent is not enough.

The first step is doing away with discretionary powers of officials and politicians. They must function as per the rules and regulations. No exceptions should be permitted. Are the political parties ready for such step and for fixed tenures for IAS, IPS and other government servants? Why should government sanction be necessary for corrupt officials caught red handed?

The second step is ensuring transparency in government’s decisions. The Congress is corrupt. But Mrs. Sonia Gandhi brought in the Right to Information (RTI) Act in 2005. The amount of discomfort it caused to the corrupt can be gauged by the number of RTI activists who have been murdered. Is BJP trying to dilute the RTI Act by the gag orders?

The third step in reducing corruption is protection of whistle blowers. Whistle blowers, whatever be the motive, have exposed large scale corruption. The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 was also brought by the Congress. But governments refuse to provide them protection and often prosecute them for flimsy or fabricated offences or post them to unimportant departments.

The fourth step is making reporting corruption easy. Digital portals for reporting corruption need to be publicized. Anonymous complaints must be seriously investigated.

The fifth step is strengthening ACB.

The sixth step is encouraging investigative journalism. Free press is the only protection against government excesses and corruption. Journalists play a major role in exposing corruption. The effectiveness of journalists in exposing corruption is borne out by the number of journalists murdered for exposing corruption. Recently, the journalist who exposed the Panama Papers was assassinated.

The seventh step is doing away with need for government sanction for launching prosecution where a government servant is caught red handed by the ACB. This will act as deterant.

The eighth and most important step is to set up “Fast track” courts to try corruption cases. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Fodder scam case has continued for over 25 years. It questions the government’s credibility on its fight against corruption. Fast track courts would be most effective.

Conclusion

“Na khayenge na khane denge” has remained a slogan. The Congress is called the fountain head of corruption and I accept the tag. Being the party in power at the time of independence, it is responsible for all that is good and bad in this country. But it enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, RTI Act of 2005 and the Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2011. What has the Modi Government done? The reality is that gag orders have been enacted by BJP Governments of Maharashtra and Rajasthan and may be enacted soon in other BJP ruled states and the Centre. Selective approach to investigation by investigating agencies and indirect persecution of whistle blowers is the order of the day. Is this the way to check corruption?

Is Modiji really against corruption? Your guess is as good as mine. All I can say is that his actions do not match his words. He, like Mr. Manmohan Singh, seems to have adopted the policy of selective tolerance of corruption. Manomohan Singh had coalition compulsions. Modiji does not.

Questions for the Aam Admi

November 22nd, 2017

Questions for Aam Admi

Dear Patriots and Well Wishers of the Ordinary Indian Citizen,

Ask the public these questions. Ask one another. Ask the questions again and again. Discuss them over cups of tea. Discuss them in the market. Discuss them on trains and buses. Discuss them at home. Ask the questions through news paper advertisements. Ask the questions through posters. Ask the questions through printed hand bills. Ask the questions at election rallies. Your future depends on the answers to these questions.

Modiji said, “I will will bring you good days.”

Have the good days come?

Aren’t the prices of petrol and diesel rising every day?

Are the farmers getting the prices for their produce which they deserve?

Have the prices of essential commodities gone down?

Has the violence of cow vigilantes reduced?

Have the services improved in government hospitals?

Has the standard of education improved in government schools?

Have the vacancies of teachers in government schools been filled?

Are your wives, daughters and kids safe?

Have the number of train accidents gone down?

Have the power cuts been reduced?

Have atrocities on Dalits reduced?

Has the economic condition of Adivasis improved?

Modiji said, “I will bring back all black money stashed abroad and give 15 lakhs to each family?”

Have you received any money?

Every year about Rs. 25,000 crores or $4 billion of wealth flows from India to tax havens around the world. Has Mr. Modi been able to stop it?

Modiji said, “Yoy have suffered due to Demonetization. But this will reduce corruption.”

The poor suffered. They stood for days on queue trying to draw money. Some even died. Did you see any rich person stand in queue to change their money?

Has corruption reduced?

Are the police not collecting “Hafta or weekly extortion” from rikshawalas, vendors and similar people?

Can any poor man register an FIR without paying money?

Has anyone got an electric or water connection without paying a bribe?

Has any Ticket Collector allotted a seat without taking money? Do they give receipt?

Has any contractor got payment for his bill without paying a bribe?

Has your income increased due to Demonetization?

Has any BJP government given ACB the permission to launch prosecution against officers caught red handed by ACB? Has government thought of fast track special courts to try corrupt government servants?

Has BJP appointed the Lok Ayukt as agreed with Anna Hazare?

How many corrupt government servants have been jailed? Suspension is no punishment. It is leave at half pay.

Has the 2000 rupee note made it easier or more difficult to hide black money?

Modiji said, “I will ensure development for all sections of society.”

How many of you have got jobs or income since 2014? How many of you have lost jobs and income?

Have the condition of roads in your town, city or village improved?

Are you getting enough clean, safe drinking water?

Has your city or village become cleaner?

Do you have Rs 12 lakhs to purchase a house built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna? Can you take and repay such a loan?

Have any of you received money from Pradhan Mantri Fasal Beema Yojna?

Have any of you become richer through Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna?

Has the collection of rain water or mud around your house reduced?

Do you benefit if some trains run at 150 km/hr? Do you have money to buy tickets on such trains?

Does the money spent on four laning highways improve your lives?

Is Modiji PM of Gujarat or of India?

Modiji has taken about Rs 90,000 crores from Japan for the bullet train project from Gujarat to Mumbai. The factories connected to the project will be set up in Gujarat. Jobs will be created in Gujarat. Are you going to benefit from the bullet train?

How many poor people will lose their land? How many poor people will lose their livelihood?

Who will return such a big loan? The entire economy will be ruined in trying to pay back the loan.

The prices of petrol and diesel will go up further. The ordinary citizen will be crushed.

How many of you can pay Rs 3000 as fare to travel on the train?

Who benefit from the bullet train? Only the rich, the businessmen and politicians will benefit? The poor can only see it fly past from a distance and pay for project.

Elections are going to be held in Gujarat. Is this an attempt to win the election?

5 lakh children below five died in India due to lack of adequate medical facilities during 2016. Would the money for bullet train not be better spent in developing better health care all over the country?

Would it not have been better if the money for the bullet train had been used for providing clean and safe drinking water to lakhs of villages which do not have safe drinking water?

Modiji says that the economy of the country will become better due to GST.

How will GST improve the economy of the country?

The rich with help of corrupt income tax officers and CAs have been evading tax and will continue to evade tax.

Business men were evading sales tax in with the help of corrupt inspectors. They will continue to evade GST with the help of corrupt GST inspectors. How many businessmen are issuing GST compliant receipts? How will the nations income increase unless corruption is checked?

How will small businessmen and less educated business men cope with the documentation connected with GST? Will they not have to pay bribes to survive?

BJP stands for the Rich and the Business community? What can an ordinary citizen expect from it?

BJP keeps increasing the price of petroleum products. It is not bothered about the pain suffered by the poor due to price rise. Can they not ban the sale of diesel cars and SUVs? But why should they do it? They want to give benefits of subsidy to the rich. They have to benefit the automobile manufacturers for contribution to party funds. Can they not sell petrol pre-mixed with engine oil for two wheelers at a subsidized rate? Why should they do it? Its aim is to milk the poor to the bone and benefit the rich and businessmen.

The price of the LPG cylinder is also being increased every month. BJP is not bothered about the pain it is causing the poor. Can they not stop issue of subsidized cylinders to those who earn more that Rs 5 lakh per year? Can they not restrict the number of subsidized cylinders to 6 per year? Can they not make the use of domestic cylinder for commercial purposes in hotels or industries a criminal offence wih a Rs 5000 fine for the first offence and one month jail for second offence? But why should they do it? Their mission is to benefit the rich and businessmen.

BJP government is not filling up vacancies in government departments. The railways alone have more that 3.5 lakh vacancies. They want all government work done by contractors. They are even thinking of giving running of government schools and hospital by contractors. The contractors pay the desperate unemployed far less than the government, make them work longer hours and make huge profits. Why does the government not fill up existing vacancies? Why should they? BJP is there to benefit businessmen and to take commission from the contractors.

BJP government is paying builders at the rate of Rs 1600 per sq. ft for making houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna on government land. It is paying thousands of crores in premium to insurance companies for Pradhan Mantri crop insurance scheme. It is paying traders to procure pulses. God knows who else is being paid and for doing what? All these businesses are making huge profits and contributing to BJP funds. What is the farmer or ordinary citizen getting? Nothing.

Modiji is a dream merchant. He sells new dreams where ever he goes.

Are you going to vote based on dreams?

Would you like to give another political party a chance to serve you?

Please remember, as you sow, so shall you reap.

GST: Great Source of Trouble

November 22nd, 2017

GST: Great Source of Trouble

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

GST was introduced with much fanfare by the BJP Government on 1 July 2017 following the passage of the Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill. It is applicable throughout India and has replaced multiple taxes levied by the Central and State governments. The GST is governed by a GST Council. Its Chairman is the Finance Minister of India with members from State and Central Governments. Under GST, goods and services are taxed at a number of rates, 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. There is a special rate of 0.25% on rough precious and semi-precious stones and 3% on gold. In addition there is a cess of 22% on top of 28% GST on a few items like aerated drinks, luxury cars and tobacco products. GST replaced a slew of indirect taxes like exercise duty, sales tax, octroi tax, entry tax, import duty, service tax, entertainment tax etc with a unified tax. It is expected reshape the country’s 2 trillion dollar economy. The Government claims that GST is easy to administer, helps check tax evasion and reduces the cost of tax collection. The Government also claims that the prices will come down because of GST.

Infosys is building a gigantic electronic infrastructure to control the process which is expected to serve about 7.5 million businesses, 500 million consumers and possibly 10 trillion transactions per month over 4 metros, 7 semi metros, thousands of towns, hundreds of thousands of villages spread over 29 states and five union territories some of which are not yet connected by road or electricity. It is not out of place to mention that out of our one and a quarter billion population, only about 1% pay income tax, 3% understand English and about 2% can use a computer. The situation is further complicated by the fact we have three types of GST, Central GST, State GST and Integrated GST and five different rates excluding the special rates and cesses. This gigantic and complex system with a plethora of reports, tax collection, tax credits and refunds is to be implemented by Central and State departments who have been at war over jurisdiction (mainly over share of illegal gratification they have been used to receiving). I hope my readers understand what our Government has bit into.

It is not out of place to mention that only seven countries in the world, Singapore 1994, Australia 2000, Canada 2008, New Zealand 2010, Malaysia 2015, France 2015 and India 2018 have GST. 152 major economies including the US, UK, EU, China follow VAT. Most countries have only one GST rate.  The lowest is Canada 5% and highest New Zealand at 15 %. Only Canada has Central and state GST. With this background information, we can now examine the problems being faced.

Troubles for Manufacturers

The accounting costs are likely to increase as calculation of cost of inputs and value added will be complex.

Initial tax payment will be large as the tax paid will be on cost of inputs as well as value added.

Delay in getting tax credits is a serious problem which can create cash flow problems particularly for small and medium size industries. GST system with multiple tax brackets has inherent problems, as the taxes on intermediate goods are in some cases higher than the tax on the final products in which they are used. Thus there may be cases where tax credit will be more than tax paid.

Troubles for Distributors for Whole Sellers

In GST, the supplier will be liable to collect tax on goods and services provided. This provision will have serious adverse impact on unregistered dealer business as most of the companies will try to not to deal with unregistered dealers to avoid unwanted additional compliance burden.

Troubles for traders and Retailers

The first and major problem is preparing the monthly returns. The GST returns are complex and even taxmen who are not computer savvy find them difficult to fill. Even if the returns become quarterly as is the case in some countries using GST, it is a major problem for those traders and retailers who are not computer savvy. Hiring professionals is costly and professionals have taken advantage of the large demand and hiked their rates.

There is also the problem of charging the wrong rate and getting penalized.

Troubles for the Tax Professionals

GST is absolutely different from existing system of indirect taxation. It, therefore, requires that tax consultants to be trained properly in terms of concept, interpretation, legislation and procedure for preparing returns, claiming tax credits etc. This will take time.

In the absence of a uniform legal procedure for tax disputes, tax professionals will have difficulty in helping clients sort out their client’s problems with tax authorities. Litigations may increase.

Several transactions can be classified sales or as services. Thus there will be disputes in determining the nature of transaction.

Troubles for the Hospitality Industry

GST has led to rise in tariff. But hotels are unable to raise prices of rooms booked in advance. He will suffer some losses. Increased tariffs could lead to fall in occupancy and more losses.

There would also be problems in calculating value addition. For example branded atta attracts 12% GST while unbranded 0%. On what rates will input cost be calculated?

Troubles for the Consumers

The GST rates are too high on many products. For example, service tax has increased from 12% in 2014 to 18% under GST now. High taxes can lead to increased tax evasion, inspector raj and corruption, lower demand and thus lower tax collection, and higher prices. There is a risk that it may lead to short-term inflation.

The main problem with consumers is increased cost. I bought a mixer grinder worth Rs 2000 and paid Rs 560 as tax. Is this fair?

The other problem is availability. Dealers are not supplying items to small cash traders as the tax trail is not clear. This is causing scarcity in rural areas.

Troubles for the Taxmen

It is well known that it takes a fair amount of time for any software to be debugged. When the system is so vast, debugging the system is going to take time. Tax credits and refunds are getting delayed and the tax men and the government are being blamed.

Many offices of customs and exercise at district levels have not yet received the hardware and software. The end of the financial year is only about four months away. It is difficult to see how chaos is going to be avoided.

GST is absolutely different from existing system of indirect taxation. It, therefore, requires that tax administration staff at both Centre and state to be trained properly in terms of concept, interpretation, legislation and procedure for dealing with returns, tax credits etc.

There has to be a uniform legal procedure for tax disputes and litigations to avoid any confusion. This is yet to be put in place.

With the transportation services available everywhere, the place of sale and consumption may not be the same. This makes it difficult to go forward with revenue allocation.

There are various definitional issues related to manufacturing, sale, service, valuation etc. arises. These need to be rationalized.

Troubles for the Economy

The first and most important problem is Central Government’s loss of revenue. As per Mr. Vanaja Sharma, Chairperson Central Board of Exercise and Customs (CBEC) (as reported in Times of India, Jaipur Edition of October 30, 2017), the Government had targeted 9.7 lakh crores collection from Customs and other indirect taxes in its budget for the current fiscal. Keeping in view the GST rollout this target was unlikely to be achieved. What will be the shortfall is difficult to project. Right now the CBEC was acting as a facilitator and not penalizing anybody.  A serious shortfall will seriously affect Government spending and will result in low profile spending on healthcare, education, rural development etc. Job creation will stop and even retrenchments could take place. There could be distress selling of Public Sector assets to make up revenue shortfall.

The state governments will also face serious revenue losses. They cannot print notes or sell public sector assets. Government servants will not be paid in time. Even without GST problem, the Rajasthan State Transport Corporation employees have not been paid salaries for over three months. State governments are demanding compensation from the central government for five years as they foresee a major dent in the revenue due to sales tax revenue losses. The central government has agreed to 3 years. Only God knows what will happen when the loss of revenue due to GST will be known in April 2018.

Manufacturers of consumer goods and two wheelers will be in serious trouble. Their sales growth which was mainly in the rural areas will turn negative. Rural economy is totally cash oriented as there is only one bank for every 10 or more villages and small traders and vendors cannot accept digital payments. How this interface between the small traders and consumers in the cash economy and GST paying whole sellers in small towns work is yet to be seen. Diwali sales this year was down about 30%. Drop in sales will result in job losses, agitations and increase in crime.

There will be no growth in employment as private and public sector players face severe cash crunch. The number of educated unemployed will increase from the already monstrous 50 million. Demands and agitations for reservations will increase. Law and order will deteriorate.

It is not clear as to how the GST system caters for reconciliation of numbers of items produced and sold which will differ due to losses in transit, storage, accidents, thefts, expiry of shelf life, rejection during quality check and a host of other causes. Our sharp businessmen will no doubt exploit any loophole and cheat on taxes as they have done all these years.

Initial tax collection on introduction of GST is high and creates euphoria in governments. But this is going to be short lived as up to 65% may have to be refunded as tax credits. Governments will be in trouble if they over spend.

Conclusion

By opting for GST, our Government has taken a gigantic leap into the unknown. I can only hope they have looked long and hard before they leapt. The Government claims that GST will benefit the country in the long run. Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister in the Vajpayee Government, says that we will be dead by the time things get better. Mr. Chetan Bhagat, Columnist and self proclaimed “Under age optimist” has pleaded with the Government to make things simple. Mr. Subramanium Swamy, BJP MP, calls GST a disaster and a national security risk. In the age of cyber attacks and warfare, total reliance on a digital system is likely to be risky. I, the self proclaimed “Over age rational pessimist” will hope for the best and try to prepare for the worst, a bankrupt government, unable to pay my pension. World Bank and IMF certificates and accolades do not guarantee my pension. Only sound, pragmatic and implementable economics policies and adequate government revenue can.

May God save India

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

November 22nd, 2017

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

India’s Freedom Struggle and Partition Revisited

By

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

The youth of India@70 know little about the history of our struggle for independence and the Partition and ethnic cleansing that followed. Misinformation abounds. Some believe Pandit Nehru could have avoided Partition if he had agreed to Jinnah being the PM of India. My brother says that the British partitioned India as a part of its divide and rule policy. I have not come across any evidence to suggest that these statements are true. This article seeks to put the record straight before saffron historians rewrite the history of our freedom struggle and Partition. The article has been researched off the web. The sites visited are far too numerous to be listed in this short article. However the most important ones are  www.shivareddy.in/papers/talks/PartitionofIndia.pdf

www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/partition1947_01.shtml ;  www.thoughtco.com/what-was-the-partition-of-india-195478 ; www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

India became a British Crown Colony in 1858. The Sepoy Mutiny and the battles that followed shook the British who decided to impose direct Crown rule on India. It passed the Government of India Act 1858 and made major changes in the way India was governed. It divided India into eight major states, five minor states and 565 princely states. There was a central government in Kolkata and provincial governments in the states. The Viceroy represented the British Crown in India. Political activity was allowed. In 1905 Lord Curzon divided the Bengal Province into the Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam and the Hindu-majority province of West Bengal. This sowed the seeds of division among Indians in Bengal on religious lines and attracted armed resistance to the move. At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. The partition of Bengal was also rescinded in 1911.

Indian National Congress (INC)

The INC was established in 1885 and spearheaded the Independence Movement. Mr. A O Hume was one of the founder members. It was secular and its social policy was “Sarvodaya” or lifting of all sections of society. Congress became a mass movement in 1915 on arrival of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa. At its peak, over 15 million Indians were involved in its organizations and over 70 million Indians participated in its struggle for independence against the British Empire. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was elected Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from the party in 1939 by Gandhi for holding contrary views.

Indian Muslim League (ML)

The Hindu protests against the partition of Bengal in 1905 led the Muslim elite in India to form the All India Muslim League in Dhaka in 1906. The League favoured the partition of Bengal, since it gave them Muslim majority in the eastern half. It was a political party in British India that developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan. It did not take part in the independence struggle.

Hindu Maha Sabha (HM)

HM was formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India after the formation of the ML in 1906 and the British government’s creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909. Madan Mohan Malviya presided over its first session at Lahore. HM accused INC of being a pro-Muslim secular. socialist organization. HM did not take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. In 1939, when the British declared India’s engagement in WW ll without even consulting Indian people, INC ministers of provincial governments resigned in protest. Sensing an opportunity, both ML and HM formed coalition governments in Bengal, Sindh and North West Frontier Province. BJP has a similar coalition government in J&K with PDP. It was also seen as an opportunity to strengthen their mass base, and weaken INC’s mass base. HM did not take part in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In March 1943, Sindh Government became the first Provincial Assembly of the sub-continent to pass an official resolution in favour of the creation of Pakistan. In spite of HM’s public opposition to any political division of India, the MH Ministers of the Sindh government did not resign. They simply protested. HM’s lust for power was obvious and this had open support of its President, Veer Savarkar and prominent leader Shyamapada Mukherjee. RSS was founded in 1925 but not as a political party.

India’s Freedom Struggle

India’s struggle for independence is deemed to have started with the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. But the Mutiny and the events that followed were efforts by some Indian rulers to fight and defeat the British. There was no organized effort to oust the British at all India level. The rebellions by different rulers in different parts of India were defeated by the British. Organized and all India freedom struggle started only after INC was formed and started the movement.

Swadeshi Movement

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the INC leader, started the first Swadeshi movement consisting of the boycott of foreign goods and social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods. He was jailed. There was a split between the moderates and the extremists in INC in 1906 and INC remained fragmented until 1914, when Tilak was released from prison. Re-unification took place in 1915. In the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress, Tilak’s supporters were able to push through a resolution which asked for the British to declare that it was their intention to confer self-government on India at an early date. The year 1915 also saw the return of Mr. Gandhi to India. Gandhi made his political debut in India in 1917 in Champaran district in Bihar.

Non Cooperation Movement

In 1920 Gandhi began his campaign of non-cooperation, prompting many Indians to return British awards and honours, to resign from civil service, and to again boycott British goods. In addition, Gandhi reorganised the Congress, transforming it into a mass movement and opening its membership to even the poorest Indians. The INC, under the presidency of Jawaharlal Nehru demanded Purna Swaraj or “complete independence” at its annual session in Lahore in 1929. Gandhi subsequently led an expanded movement of civil disobedience, culminating in 1930 with the Salt Satyagraha in which thousands of Indians defied the tax on salt, by marching to the sea and making their own salt by evaporating seawater. Although, many, including Gandhi, were arrested, the British government eventually gave in, and in 1931 Gandhi travelled to London to negotiate new reforms.

Quit India Movement

The Quit India movement was started by INC in 1942. HM, RSS  and ML joined hands with British government in actively opposing the Quit India Movement. INC had opposed Indians fighting for the British in World War II. VD Savarkar, President HM, went on a nationwide tour encouraging Hindu youth to join army in large numbers. Communist Party of India  (CPI) opposed Quit India Movement. They had been banned by the British government and used this as an opportunity to get the ban lifted by cooperating with the government. Indian Capitalists and Westernised Oriental Gentlemen opposed Quit India Movement. They were a privileged class in British India and were worried by rise of the “Swadeshi Movement” urging boycott of foreign goods and the Dhoti and Khadi culture. The Princely States were also opposed to Quit India Movement.  The Princes were also a privileged class and were worried that democracy would curb their autonomy, privileges and powers.

Subhash Chandra Bose and INA

Subhas Bose escaped from detention in Kolkata and fled to Germany in 1939. He founded “Azad Hind”, a Provisional Indian Government-in-exile on 21 October 1943 at Singapore. The government claimed authority over Indian civilian and military personnel in British colonies in South East Asia and Indian territory which would fall to the Japanese forces and the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA ) during the Japanese offensive towards India during World War II. The Azad Hind government had its own currency, court and civil code. Japan gave it nominal authority of the Andama and Nicobar Islands in 1943. Japanese officials made all the decisions, and throughout its existence it was entirely dependent on Japanese support. INA went into action against British Indian Army in the Imphal-Kohima sector. The Japanese suffered a catastrophic defeat in the battle and both the Japanese and the INA had to retreat. Azad Hind Government ended with the surrender of the last of INA troops in Rangoon. The death of Netaji was the end of the entire Azad Hind Movement. Though the movement did not survive it created a tide of militant nationalism that swept through India and inspired many revolts at individual level. Indian political parties did not support the Movement. However, INC provided legal assistance during INA trials.

Naval Mutiny

The Naval mutiny was revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ships and shore establishments at Bombay harbour on 18 February 1946. The revolt spread from Karachi to Kolkata and ultimately came to involve over 10,000 sailors in 66 ships and shore establishments. The mutiny was repressed with force by British troops and Royal Navy warships. Total casualties were 8 dead and 33 wounded. Only the Communist Party supported the mutiny. The INC and the ML condemned it. INA and the Naval Mutiny sowed the seed of doubt about the loyalty of Indian Armed Forces to British Rule and facilitated our independence.

Individuals and Groups Who Sacrificed Themselves

Many individuals and groups fought the mighty British Raj to avenge misrule and atrocities by them. This article is too small to mention all of them. Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki created mayhem by planting bombs near police stations and other Government offices. They took part in the famous Muzaffarpur bombing. Prafulla Chaki committed suicide to avoid capture. Khudiram was hanged in 1908. Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta shot the Inspector General of Prisons, General N.S. Simpson dead at Writer’s Building situated at Kolkata. They were killed in the fire fight that followed. Matangani Hazra was one of the first women members of the Indian National Congress and actively participated in the Quit India Movement started by Mahatma Gandhi. Bina Das shot the Bengal Governor Stanley Jackson at the Convocation Hall of Calcutta University. She was sentenced to nine years for her failed attempt. Udham Singh followed Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer, the butcher of Jaliwanwalabag to Britain and killed him. Bhagat Singh dropped a bomb in the British Parliament to draw attention to India’s independence struggle. Kartar Singh Sarabha was hanged for taking part in the Ghadar Mutiny. Hemu Kalani took part in sabotage of British vehicles and railway tracks. He was hanged on 21 January 1943. There were thousands of others including Shivaram Rajguru and Chandra Sekhar Azad who laid down their lives while avenging British brutality and in the independence struggle. Not one of them was from Hindu Mahasabha or RSS.

Britain Agrees to Independence

Laour Party came to power in Britain after World War II. The new prime minister decided to expedite grant of independence to India as early as possible.

Partition of India

The first to demand a separate state for Muslims was the philosopher Allama Iqbal. He was the president of ML. In his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League at Lahore, said that there should be a separate nation for Muslims. Otherwise Muslims will be dominated by Hindus. Jinnah supported the idea and quit INC. Jinnah made clear his commitment to two separate states at the 1940 ML conference in Lahore. He never wavered from this position. Politicians and community leaders on both religions whipped up mutual suspicion and fear which culminated in dreadful events such as the riots during the ML’s Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946.

HM advocated “Hindu Raj” at sessions in Nagpur in 1938. The session also advocated the use of Hindi as sole language of India. Mr. Golwalkar, founder Sarsanghchalak of RSS (RSS chairman) said “that the non-Hindu people of Hindustan must either adopt Hindu culture and language, must learn and respect and hold in reverence the Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but of those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture . . . in a word they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizens’ rights.” The HM along with RSS ensured Partition by frightening Muslims with their ideology. The RSS role is downplayed because it is politically convenient to project the ML to be solely responsible for the Partition.

ML insisted on Partition and launched “Direct Action” to ensure it. It asserted that since Muslims are separate Nation and they must have a separate country to themselves. It was apprehensive that if British leave, Hindus will take over the country and will oppress Muslims. This is happening today.

Muslim land lords of Punjab and Muslim peasants of Bengal supported partition. The former wanted to retain their hold on their land and power. The latter wanted to rid themselves of Hindu land lords and money lenders.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and the INC believed that India should be a democratic secular State where all citizens enjoy full rights. INC opposed Partition. The Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten also opposed partition.

Muslim League Launches Direct Action

Direct Action, also known as the “Great Calcutta Riot”or “The Week of the Long Knives”,

started on August 16, 1946. The ML had planned general strike on the day to assert its demand for a separate homeland for Muslims. The protest triggered massive riots in  Kolkata between ML and its Volunteer Corps and Hindus and Sikhs. Retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar. The riots spread to other major cities. More than 4,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 residents in the city of Kolkata were left homeless in 72 hrs of rioting. As public order broke down all across northern India and Bengal, the pressure increased on the British to accept a political Partition of India as a way to avoid a full scale civil war. Britain capitulated.

Britain Concedes Demand for Partition

Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, took the responsibility to partition British India and to hand over power to the INC in India and ML in Pakistan. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was given the task of drawing the dividing line between India and Pakistan. On July 18, 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act that approved independence for India and the partition arrangement. The task of dividing India is given to Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The dividing line between India and Pakistan is called Radcliffe line. Radcliffe was not willing to draw the line in three months but he was forced to do so. The line was released on August 17, 1947.

Horrors of Partition

Large scale religious rioting, looting and ethnic cleansing started in Punjab, Sindh and Bengal as soon as the lines were established. About 145 lakh people left their homes with whatever little they could carry and crossed the borders to reach the relative safety of religious majority. Women faced unimaginable atrocities. Based on 1951 Census of displaced persons, 72,26,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 72,49,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. About 112 lakh people switched countries in the west, with Punjab accounting for most of it. 53 lakh Muslims moved from India to West Punjab in Pakistan and 34 lakh Hindus and Sikhs moved from Pakistan to East Punjab in India. About 12 lakhs moved in each direction to and from Sind. About 33 lakh Hindus fled from East Pakistan to Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. The newly formed governments of India and Pakistan were completely unequipped to deal with migrations of such staggering magnitude, and massive violence and slaughter occurred on both sides of the border. Estimated number of deaths varies from around 500,000 to 10 lakhs.

Conclusion

The struggle for independence after 1858 was both non violent and violent. INC spearheaded the non violent struggle while Azad Hind Fauj, Indian Sailors and countless individuals and groups took the violent path. Both contributed. Conspicuous by their absence was Muslim League, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. They joined hands amongst themselves to keep themselves and the British in power and to keep INC out of power.

The prime reason for partition was the insecurity in the minds of the Muslim minority created by the demand that Indian Muslims give up their way of life and adopt Hindu culture or Hindutya as defined by RSS. After 1940, the Muslim League insisted on Partition and creation of Pakistan and took to violence to get their way. RSS is now in power and Hindi and Hindutya is on their agenda. Can we prevent history from repeating itself?

(Please forward this article to as many young people as you can. Feel free to translate and publish on any forum)

Do We Know the Real BJP

November 21st, 2017

Do We Know The Real BJP?

The run up to the 2019 general elections have started with some important states going to the polls. The Hindutya Brigade, the moral police and the “Go-Rakshaks” are having their free run with official patronage, taking charge of institutions, and dividing up society based on religion, caste and ideology. The “Modi Wave” is on the wane over unfulfilled promises and a down turn in the economy though his speeches still enthral people. The time is coming for us to vote again. Should we not know a little more about the origin, ideology and economic policies of the BJP?

BJP is the successor of Bhartiya Jan Sangh. In 1977, when the Emergency was lifted, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janta Party. Janta Party defeated the incumbent Congress in the 1977 general election. The Janata party broke up in 1980 after internal power struggles. The members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvened to form the BJP. BJP won only two seats in the 1984 general elections. It became the largest party in the parliament in 1996. It was invited to form the government but lost the trust vote. Thus the first BJP government lasted only 13 days. General Elections were held again in 1998. BJP led coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed a government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This time the government lasted 13 months before it was toppled. NDA returned to power in the fresh elections which followed. The NDA government, again headed by Mr. Vajpayee, lasted a full term in office. The NDA suffered an unexpected defeat in the 2004 general elections. The BJP swept to power in 2014 under the leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi with an overwhelming majority.

Origin of BJP

Bharatiya JanSangh (BJS)

Dr. S P Mukherjee founded the BJS on 21 October 1951 in Delhi with the help of Mr. MS Golwalkar, the Sarsangchalak of RSS and became its first president. BJS was meant to be a national alternative to Congress. The party was a proponent of Hindu Nationalism. After the death of Dr. Mookerjee, the RSS elements in the party forced out politicians with different ideology and made it the political arm of the RSS. The BJS was thus ideologically close to the RSS and derived most of its workers and leaders from the RSS ranks. In the 1952 elections, the BJS won three seats in the Parliament. Many BJS leaders also initiated a drive to ban cow slaughter nationwide in the early 1960s.

It is of interest to note that Dr. S P Mookherjee, the founder of BJS started his political career in Congress in 1929 before switching over to Hindu Mahasabha. He was the President of Hindu Mahasabha from 1943 to 1946 and joined the Interim Cabinet formed after Independence as Minister for Industry and Supply. He resigned from Hindu Mahasabha and founded BJS. Dr. Mookherjee resigned from the Nehru Cabinet on 8 April 1950. Dr. Mukherjee was firmly against the establishment of minority commissions and guarantee of minority rights. He was strongly opposed to Article 370 which gives special status to J&K and wanted it abrogated. This agenda of BJS has been espoused by the BJP.

Hindu Mahasabha

The Hindu Mahasabha is a political party formed in 1909 to protect the rights of the Hindu community in British India. It was a reaction to the formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906 and the creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Moreley-Minto reforms of 1909. Mr. Veer Savarkar was its president from 1937 to 1941. He enunciated the concept of “Hindutva” and played a role in formation of RSS in 1925. Hindu Mahasabha had profound influence on the RSS, the Sangh  Parivar and the BJP’s ideology and functioning.

The Hindu Mahasabha identified India as a “Hindu Nation” and believed in the primacy of Hindu culture, religion and heritage. The Mahasabha considers Sikhs, Jains and Budhists to be Hindus in terms of national and political identity. It calls Islam and Christianity to be foreign religions. They also consider that Indian Muslims and Christians are descendants of Hindus who were converted by force, coercion or economic inducements. The party called for the re-conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism and this “Ghar Wapsi has been organized by RSS and VHP in many parts of India. The Hindu Mahasabha opposes Westernization, which it regards as a decadent influence on Indian youth and culture. It calls for a revival of Sanskrit and the primacy of Hindi. The Mahasabha opposed socialism and communism as foreign ideologies. It continues to support the caste system and argues against reservation which it regards as the political appeasement of lower castes. RSS supremo, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat has often spoken in favour of doing away with caste based reservation in education and government jobs. In 2015 vice president of Hindu Mahasabha, Sadhvi Deva Thakur, stoked a controversy saying Muslims and Christians must undergo sterilisation to restrict their growing population which was posing a threat to Hindus. It will be clear that RSS and BJP has inherited much of its ideology and political thinking from the Hindu Mahasabha.

Rashtriya Sayam Sevak Sangh (RSS)

Mr. K B Hedgewar, a political activist in Nagpur was troubled by the weaknesses of the Hindu society against foreign invasions. He was impressed with Hindu Mahasabha leader Veer Savarkar’s concept of Hindutya. He visited Savarkar in March 1925 and discussed ways of organising a Hindu Nation. He started RSS in September that year with the aim of creating a Hindu Nation. Mr. Golwalkar assumed command of RSS after Mr. Hedgewar. He said that the religion of India is Hinduism. “Those only are nationalist patriots, who with the aspiration to glorify the Hindu race and Nation next to their heart are prompted [...] to achieve that goal.” The rest are “traitors and enemies to the National Cause”.

Role in India’s Freedom Struggle

Hindu Mahasabha and RSS did not actively participate in the Indian Freedom movement. They did not participate in Mahatma Gandhi’s non cooperation movement of 1930 and actively opposed the Quit India Movement of 1942. In 1939, when Congress ministries resigned in protest against the Viceroy announcing India’s participation in the World War II without consulting the Indian people. Hindu Mahasabha seized the opportunity and joined hands with the Muslim League and other parties to form governments in Sindh, NWFP, and Bengal. It is a travesty of justice that RSS and its political wing the BJP who did not participate in the Indian Freedom Struggle and formed opportunistic coalition with Muslim League to share political power are lecturing all sections of society on “Patriotism”.

Political Ideology of BJP

The first is subjugation of individual freedom. Pandit Deem Dayal Upadya headed BJS after the death of Dr. Mookherjee. He had joined RSS in 1937 and was sent by RSS to BJS as Dr. Mookherjees deputy. His doctrines were adopted by the BJS in 1965 as its official doctrine. Upadhyaya rejected individualism. In line with his thought, BJP has been trying to restrict individual rights like right to free speech and right to eat, dress and marry as per ones choice.

The second is Hindutva. Hindutva is a term popularised by Veer Savarkar in 1923. The BJP adopted it as its official ideology in 1989. Savarkar defined a Hindu as one who was born of Indian parents and regarded India as his motherland. It included the followers of all Indian religions including Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, but excluded the followers of “foreign religions” such as Islam, Christianity, Judaisim and Zoroastrianism.

The BJP advocates social conservatism in women’s rights, dressing, and free mixing. It is against love marriage and women frequenting pubs and clubs. Unquestioned obedience of elders is desirable.

BJP advocates the abrogation of Article 370. It favours the building of a Ram Temple at Ayodhya over the Babri Masjid. It is also for the implementation of a uniform civil code.

Economic Policies of BJP

There is considerable difference on economic issues between BJP and RSS. According to Mr. Upadhyaya, the primary concern in India must be to develop an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center stage.  RSS seeks to strike a balance between the Indian and Western thinking on economic development. It is against rapid industrialization, consumerism in Indian society, social disparities and regional imbalances in economic growth which have failed to alleviate poverty in the country. This has been rejected by BJP under Vajpayeeji and Modiji. Both followed neo-liberal economic policies which favour the rich and multinationals at the expense of the ordinary Indian.

Non State Actors of BJP

RSS is the patron of BJP as well as a non state actor. The RSS established a number of non political organisations after Independence to carry its ideology to various sections of the society. We know them as the “Sangh Parivar”. The most important among them is the “Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) which was set up in 1964 with the objective of protecting and promoting the Hindu religion.  VHP cadres are used to further BJP’s agenda of Hindutva, seeking votes on basis of religious ideology like construction of Ram Mandir and starting Shiv Pooja at the Taj Mahal. It supports Hindu militancy in the form of moral policing, “Go Rakshaks” and fighting CPM cadres in Kerala, Trinamool Congress Cadres in West Bengal and militant secularists in Karnataka.

The VHP was founded in 1964 by Mr. M S Golwalkar, head of RSS and Mr. S S Apte who became its founder and first general secretary. Its stated objective is “to organise and consolidate the Hindu society and to serve and protect the Hindu Dharma.” It has been involved in controversial issues such as banning of cow slaughter, prevention of religious conversion, and reconversion of Muslim and Christian converts. The organisation has been described as “extremist”or “militant” for its activities like spearheading the Ram Janmabhoomi movement that led to the demolition of Babri Masjid. Human Rights watch believes that VHP and Bajrang Dal had been involved in riots against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Their members have been involved in lynching of Muslims and Dalits suspected to be involved in smuggling cattle or consuming beef. They have been involved in forcible separation of mixed religion couples and even killing them. They have vandalized churches on suspicion of converting Hindus to Christianity. In such activities they are provided assistance and protection by the administration in BJP ruled states. Offenders on bail are provided jobs in public sector units. The BJP leader from the VHP, Acharya Giriraj Kishore has said that the life of a cow was worth more than the lives of five Dalits.

Conclusion

BJP is the political wing of RSS and the Sangh Parivar. Our President, Vice President, Prime Minister, most of the Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states, BJP legislators and office bearers are from the Sangh Parivar. Its mission is to gain and hold political power so that the Sangh Parivar can pursue their Hindutva agenda unhindered and make India a Hindu Rashtra. Its economic policies are elitist, focussed on bullet trains, expressways and airport and eliminating social security measures like subsidies and MNREGA. Its neo-liberal policies are aimed at gaining accolades from the World Bank, IMF and foreign investors.

I am not here to tell you who you should vote for. We are adults and should be free to do our own thing. Only, we should know what we are doing and the consequences.

Indian Elections: Verdict 2014

May 22nd, 2014

Indian Elections: Verdict 2014

by

Col (Retd) Bhaskar Sarkar VSM

www.bhaskarsarkar.com : www.twitter@COLSARKAR

The much hyped Modi wave (or shall we call it a Tsunami?) has proved to be a reality. The Tsunami has swept away a decadent, arrogant, corrupt Congress party. No tears will be shed for arrogant and corrupt leaders like Kapil Sibal, Sivprakash Jaswal, Praveen Bansal, Naveen Jhindal, Beni Prasad Yadav, Dayanidhi Maran, A Raja etc. The Tsunami has cut Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, JD(U) down to size and hopefully liberated Indian politics from caste and religious considerations and vote bank politics. It may have changed the way politics is practiced in our country. It is only fair that we give the devil his due. I congratulate Mr. Modi and his support organizations for their wonderful and unprecedented achievement.

The Congress Party

Contrary to popular belief, I think that except during early period of rule of Indira Gandhi, the Congress Party has been run by power brokers like the “Syndicate” in the name of the Gandhis. Indira Gandhi destroyed the Syndicate but create her own power brokers. Rajeev Gandhi was controlled by his mother’s power brokers who prevented Mr. Clean from tackling corruption, nepotism and crony capitalism which started and flourished under Nehru. Rajeev and Sonia Gandhi, in spite of their Aam Admi orientation (Rajeev started Panchayeti Raj and devolution of power and Sonia brought in MGNREGA, Right to Forest Produce Act, RTI Act) have not been able to reign in corruption. Most of the money meant to alleviate the hardship of the common man was siphoned off by the power brokers and government servants and only 20 to 25 % reached the targeted beneficiaries. Congress has paid the price for their benign tolerance of corruption and has become a joke. They got only 2 out of 80 in UP and MP and failed to open its account in five states. Hopefully Congress Party and its power brokers and wheeler dealers will remain powerless for the next 10 to 15 years.

Regional Parties

The caste and religion oriented parties SP, BSP, RLD and JD(U) have been decimated. DMK, BSP and RLD have not won a single seat and I pray it remains that way for ever. However AIDMK in Tamil Nadu, TMC in Bengal and BJD in Orissa have held the Modi Tsunami at bay. They will remain a power to recon with as long as they have the confidence of their electorate and preserve our federal constitution.

Left Parties

The left parties like the RSS are unwilling to adapt to changing social realities and stick to their out dated ideologies. RSS ideology still has a fair degree of support. The left has almost no support outside Kerala and Tripura. It could win only one seat in West Bengal, a state they misruled for over 35 years.

Aam Admi Party

They are the babes in the game. They have a great ideology and a charismatic leader in Arvind Kejriwal. They promised much after their impressive showing in the Delhi state elections but failed to deliver in the Lok Sabha Elections. However, in Delhi and Punjab, they have emerged as the real opposition to NDA. I hope some of their egoist leaders have been chastened and that they have learned from their mistakes. Their performance has been disappointing for their supporters but BJP started with 2 seats in 1984 and came to power in 1998 (14 years). AAP has started with 4. I expect it to be a force to recon with in 5 years and a contender for power in 10.

Conclusion

India is different from most of the developed and developing nation because our electoral system with many left oriented parties is more democratic than most. In the developed countries like the US the percentage rich and middle class who vote are more than the poor who vote. In India it is the poor and middle class who vote. Our voter turnout cannot be matched by any other country. Hence, in India, the government has to do more for the struggling majority to win elections. Europe and the US and BRICKs countries like Brazil, China, South Africa have long abandoned the poor and youth and forced them to eke out a miserable existence in slums and rural areas. I am glad that our electoral system forces leaders to provide for the struggling majority and our federal structure ensures that no central government can dominate the entire country.

Decisive leadership is necessary in the economic policy field. First of all we need to decide whether we are going to remain a socialist welfare state with a strong public sector to compete with the private and keep our focus on upliftment of the struggling majority or we are going to follow the neo-liberal market oriented policies of the West which empower investors and corporations and weaken governments. Then there is always a middle path which has to be discovered and defined. Decisiveness is necessary to go after tax cheats and black money, against corporate fraud and profiteering.

Decisive leadership is necessary in many spheres other than the economy. Decisiveness is necessary to deal with various kinds of mafia (real estate mafia, illegal mining mafia, petroleum product adulterating mafia, public distribution system controlling mafia and so on). Decisiveness is necessary in dealing with corruption and inefficiencies in government departments, in defense preparedness, foreign policy, setting plan targets and dealing with MNCs. A degree of decentralization to ministries with checks and balances is necessary for speedy development.

I feel that a strong feeling of nationalism is necessary in our leadership to deal with an exploitative world. The US has fined Credit Swiss Bank $2.6 Billion for helping US citizen avoid tax. Will we do the same to foreign banks in India who are doing the same in India in the name of wealth management? We need some one who will. If EU bans our mangoes, why should we not do the same for olive oil and other EU agricultural products? After all horse meat was found in beef products in EU. See how China is trying to cow down Vietnam and Philippines into letting them lord over the South China Sea and Parcel Islands. It could be our turn next

BJP has won a land slide victory. Rajeev Gandhi did the same in 1984 but could do nothing beyond what power brokers allowed him to. Who knows if Modi will be able to follow a development agenda or will be pushed by RSS on a different path? All we can do is to watch what happens in the next 5 years and then decide how we vote.

I end by wishing Mr. Modi and his team the very best and hope that he will take India and its struggling majority to a new era of peace and prosperity.