17 March 1938
Dear Pandit Jawaharlal,
I have received your letter of the 8th of March 1938. Your first letter of the 18th of January conveyed to me that you desire to know the points in dispute for the purpose of promoting Hindu-Muslim unity. When in reply I said the subject matter cannot be solved through correspondence and it was equally undesirable as discussing matters in the press, you, in your reply of the 4th of February, formulated a catalogue of grievances with regard to my supposed criticism of the Congress and utterances which are hardly relevant to the question for our immediate consideration. You went on persisting on the same line and you are still of opinion that those matters, although not germane to the present subject, should be further discussed, which I do not propose to do as I have already explained to you in my previous letter.
The question with which we started, as I understood, is of safeguarding the rights and the interests of the Mussalmans with regard to their religion, culture, language, personal laws and political rights in the national life, the government and the administration of the country. Various suggestions have been made which will satisfy the Mussalmans and create a sense of security and confidence in the majority community. I am surprised when you say in your letter under reply, ‘But what are these matters which are germane? It may be that I am dense or not sufficiently acquainted with the intricacies of the problem. If so, I deserve to be enlightened. If you will refer me to any recent statement made in the press or platform which will help me in understanding, I shall be grateful.’ Perhaps you have heard of the Fourteen Points.
Next, as you say, ‘Apart from this much has happened during these past few years which has altered the position.’ Yes, I agree with you, and various suggestions have appeared in the newspapers recently. For instance, if you will refer to the Statesman, dated the 12th of February 1938, there appears an article under the heading ‘Through “Muslim Eyes’ (copy enclosed for your convenience). Next, an article in the New Times, dated the 1st of March 1938, dealing with your pronouncement recently made, I believe at Haripura sessions of the Congress, where you are reported to have said: ‘I have examined this so-called communal question through the telescope, and if there is nothing what can you see.
This article in the New Times appeared on the 1st of March 1938, making numerous suggestions (copy enclosed for your convenience). Further you must have seen Mr Aney’s interview where he warned the Congress mentioning some of the points which the Muslim League would demand.
I consider it is the duty of every true nationalist, to whichever party or community he may belong to make it his business and examine the situation and bring about a pact between the Mussalmans and the Hindus and create a real united front and it should be as much your anxiety and duty as it is mine, irrespective of the question of the party or the community to which we belong.
Now, this is enough to show to you that various suggestions that have been made, or are likely to be made, or are expected to be made, will have to be analysed and ultimately I consider it is the duty of every true nationalist, to whichever party or community he may belong to make it his business and examine the situation and bring about a pact between the Mussalmans and the Hindus and create a real united front and it should be as much your anxiety and duty as it is mine, irrespective of the question of the party or the community to which we belong. But if you desire that I should collect all these suggestions and submit to you as a petitioner for you and your colleagues to consider, I am afraid I can’t do it nor can I do it for the purpose of carrying on further correspondence with regard to those various points with you. But if you still insist upon that, as you seem to do so when you say in your letter, ‘My mind demands clarity before it can function effectively or think in terms of any action. Vagueness or an avoidance of real issues could not lead to satisfactory results. It does seem strange to me that in spite of my repeated requests I am not told what issues have to be discussed.’ This is hardly a correct description or a fair representation, but in that case I would request you to ask the Congress officially to communicate with me to that effect, and I shall place the matter before the Council of the All-India Muslim League; as you yourself say that you are ‘not the Congress President and thus have not the same representative capacity but if I can be of any help on this matter my services are at the disposal of the Congress and I shall gladly meet you and discuss these matters with you’. As to meeting you and discussing matters with you, I need hardly say that I shall be pleased to do so.