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M K GANDHI’s LETTER TO M A JINNAH
September 24, 1944
I have your two letters of September 23 in reply to my letters of the 22nd and 23rd.
With your assistance, I am exploring the possibili¬ties of reaching an agreement, so that the claim embod¬ied in the Muslim League resolution of Lahore may be reasonably satisfied. You must therefore have no appre-hensions that the August resolution will stand in the way of our reaching an agreement. That resolution dealt with the question of India as against Britain and it cannot stand in the way of our settlement.
I proceed on the assumption that India is not to be regarded as two or more nations but as one family consisting of many members of whom the Muslims living in the north-west zones, i.e. Baluchistan, Sind, North- West Frontier Province and that part of the Punjab where they are in absolute majority over all the other elements and in parts of Bengal and Assam where they are in absolute majority, desire to live in separation from the rest of India.
Differing from you on the general basis, I can yet recommend to the Congress and the country the acceptance of the claim for separation contained in the Muslim League resolution of Lahore of 1940, on my basis and on the following terms:
The areas should be demarcated by a Commission approved by the Congress and the League. The wishes of the inhabitants of the areas demarcated should be ascertained through the votes of the adult population of the areas or through some equivalent method.
If the vote is in favour of separation it shall be agreed that these areas shall form a separate State as soon as possible after India is free from foreign domination and can therefore be constituted into two sovereign independent States.
There shall be a treaty of separation which should also provide for the efficient and satisfactory administra¬tion of foreign affairs, defence, internal communications, customs, commerce and the like, which must necessarily continue to be matters of common interest between the contracting parties.
The treaty shall also contain terms for safeguarding the rights of minorities in the two States.
Immediately on the acceptance of this agreement by the Congress and the League the two shall decide upon a common course of action for the attainment of independence of India.
The League will however be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress may resort and in which the League may not be willing to participate.
If you do not agree to these terms, could you let me know in precise terms what you would have me to accept in terms of the Lahore resolution and bind myself to recommend to the Congress? If you could kindly do this, I shall be able to see, apart from the difference in approach, what definite terms I can agree to. In your letter of September 23, you refer to “the basic and fundamental principles embodied in the Lahore resolu¬tion” and ask me to accept them.
Surely this is unnecessary when, as I feel, I have accepted the concrete consequence that should follow from such acceptance.
Gandhi-Jinnah Talks, p. 26-27