Gandhi-Jinnah Talks 1944

Gandhi-Jinnah Talks:

It is to be mentioned that Gandhi requested Jinnah to hold talks on the basis of Rajagopalachari Formula. Gandhi’s offer to negotiate with Jinnah on the basis of partitioning India created a sensation and particularly provoked the indignation of the Hindu and Sikh minorities in Punjab and the Hindus of Bengal. A could be expected, the most bitter criticism was made by the Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar asserted that “the Indian provinces were not the private properties of Gandhiji and Rajaji so that they could make a gift of them to anyone they liked”.

The Gandhi-Jinnah talks commenced on 9 September, 1944, and continued till 27 September, but the two failed to reach an agreement. The main points of difference may be summed up as follows-

(1) Gandhi did not accept the view that the Indian Muslim constituted a separate nation which Jinnah regarded as the fundamental principle on which the claim for Pakistan rested. Gandhi would regard India as one family consisting of many members, and the Muslims were merely one of them.

(2) Gandhi proposed that only the Muslims living in Baluchistan, Sindh, N.W.F.P. and parts of the Punjab, Bengal and Asam, who desired to live in separation from the rest of India, should form the new State. Jinnah insisted that Pakistan should include all the six Provinces mentioned above, subject to territorial adjustments that might be agreed upon as indicated in the Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League in 1940.

(3) Gandhi held that the separate Muslim State should be formed after India was free, but Jinnah urged for an immediate and complete settlement.

(4) Gandhi “suggested that there should be a treaty of separation to provide for the efficient and satisfactory administration of foreign affairs, defence, communications, customs, commerce and the like, as matters of common interests; but Jinnah was clear that all these matters, which were the life-blood of any state, could not be delegated to any common central authority of government”.

The Gandhi-Jinnah talks did not bring the two communities nearer each other, but two results followed. In the first place, Jinnah was placed on a high pedestal and there was an inordinate accession of strength to the Muslim League.

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