Checkout › Forums › Civil Law Discourse › Jinnah’s letter to Nehru – Safeguarding rights and interests of Mussalmans with regard to their religion, culture, language (17/03/1938) › Reply To: Jinnah’s letter to Nehru – Safeguarding rights and interests of Mussalmans with regard to their religion, culture, language (17/03/1938)
MOHAN DAS GANDHI TO M A JINNAH
September 22, 1944
Your letter of yesterday (21st inst.) so disturbed me that I thought I would postpone my reply till after we had met at the usual time. Though I made no advance at our meeting, I think I see somewhat clearly what you are driving at. The more I think about the two nations theory the more alarming it appears to be. The book recommended by you gives me no help. It contains half- truths and its conclusions or inferences are unwar¬ranted. I am unable to accept the proposition that the Muslims of India are a nation distinct from the rest of the inhabitants of India. Mere assertion is no proof. The consequences of accepting such a proposition are danger¬ous in the extreme. Once the principle is admitted there would be no limit to claims for cutting up India into numerous divisions which would spell India’s ruin. I have therefore suggested a way out. Let it be a partition as between two brothers, if a division there must be.
You seem to be averse to a plebiscite. In spite of the admitted importance of the League, there must be clear proof that the people affected desire partition. In my opinion, all the people inhabiting the area ought to express their opinion specifically on this single issue of division. Adult suffrage is the best method, but I would accept any other equivalent.
You summarily reject the idea of common interest between the two arms. I can be no willing party to a division which does not provide for the simultaneous safe¬guarding of common interests such as defence, foreign affairs and the like. There will be no feeling of security by the people of India without a recognition of the natural and mutual obligations arising out of physical contiguity.
Your letter shows a wide divergence of opinion and outlook between us. Thus you adhere to the opinion often expressed by you that the August 1942 resolution is “inimical to the ideals and demands of Muslim India”. There is no proof for this sweeping statement.
We seem to be moving in a circle. I have made a suggestion. If we are bent on agreeing, as I hope we are, let us call in a third party or parties to guide or even arbitrate between us.
Gandhi-Jinnah Talks, p. 22