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The First Sindh Provincial Muslim League Conference

Karachi Sindh

presidential address

OF MR. M. A. JINNAH

READ ON 8th OCTOBER 1938.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank you for the honour you have done me by asking me to preside over this All Sindh Muslim League Conference. Sindh has a wonderful history behind it and it gives me a peculiar pleasure that I should have the privilege of presiding over a great conference of Muslims. I most heartily congratulate you for having established the District Muslim Leagues in almost all of your Districts and having organized the Musalmans of Sindh in the manner in which you have done within such a short time. This great political consciousness and awakening that has taken place among the Musalmans of Sindh is a great pointer and I feel confident that with the help of your self-less leaders and workers Sindh will come into its own and set an example to the rest of India. You know the efforts of the All India Muslim League to Separate Sindh were seriously started in 1927 and the demand to separate Sindh was incorporated in the Delhi Muslim League proposals in March 1927. It was a hard and arduous struggle but notwithstanding the strenuous opposition from various quarters ultimately it was decided to separate Sindh from Bombay Presidency as an independent Province with a constitution on an equal footing with the rest of the provinces of the British India. Now that your Province is an independent entity the greatest responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Musalmans of Sindh for the welfare and the progress of your Province. Not long ago the Musalmans in Sindh were divided and turn into groups but today I am happy to find that there is a wonderful public spirit, solidarity and unity demonstrated and with proper organization if you mobilize and harness your powers there is nothing to prevent the Muslim league of your Province from assuming the reigns of the Government of your province. It is in your hands now. You must remember that it is your duty and responsibility which calls upon you to conduct the affairs of the Government of Sindh. The constitution enacted by the Government of India Act of 1935, although it incorporates many objectionable features, yet you should utilize it with your majority strength successfully for the economic, social, educational and political uplift of the people of Sindh and in particular of the Musalmans. I feel confident that mainly the Musalmans of Sindh and the right thinking Hindus will realize that the progress and the welfare of the Province lies in maintaining the high principles of justice, fairplay and friendly co-operation amongst the people of Sindh.

While speaking in this great city and the capital of Sindh, Karachi with its magnificent position that it occupies, the wonderful sea port and constituting as it does the first home-land of Musalmans, it gives me no small pleasure that I should preside over a conference of the kind the like of which has never before taken place in Sindh and you can well imagine my surging emotions when I tell you that Karachi is my birth place and I cannot adequately express how deeply anxious I am for its welfare and how cordially I wish your Province to rise to its full stature and play your great and rightful part in the Counsels of Muslim India. Musalmans of Sindh have another sacred duty to perform and a far graver task in front of them and it is that aspect which I want to impress upon you. In the All India Muslim struggle against the various forces which are out to destroy and divide the Musalmans by means of corruption and dishonest propaganda you have to guard yourself against it and stand solid behind the All India Muslim League which is the only authoritative and representative organization of the Musalmans of India. It is an irony of fate that the two provinces for which the All India Muslim League fought successfully that is Sindh and the North West Frontier Provinces, should remain outside the ken of the All India Muslim League. But I am glad that Sindh Musalmans have now realized. The Wonderful rally on their part is a bright sign and new chapter in the History of the All India Muslim League. North West Frontier Province for which the Muslim League fought against every machination including the opposition on the part of the Congress itself against our demand that it should have the consti­tution and reforms on an equal fooling with all the other provinces of the British India should remain, when liberated under the heel of Wardha.

But I feel confident that it will not be very long before the Musalmans of North West Frontier Province will come home on the platform of the All India Muslim League and work as loyally and faithfully as any Musalman under the banner and the flag of the All India Muslim League and those who have and are still misleading the Pathans will meet with their ''Nemesis".

The struggle that we are carrying on is not merely for loaves and fishes, minister ships and jobs, nor are we opposed to the economic, social and educational uplift of our countrymen as it is falsely alleged. We want to make every contribution to the uplift of our people particularly the Musalmans. Do not believe when you are told that the policy and program of the League is reactionary. No honest man who has studied the policy and program of the League can conscientiously truthfully say that it is anything but fully national and most progressive. Yet Muslim League and its leaders are daily misrepresented and vilified. Truth is suppressed and falsehood is broadcast in the Congress press and news agencies; of course we having no press. But the greatest misfortunes of India is that the High Command of the Congress has adopted a most brutal, oppressive and inimical attitude towards the All India Muslim League since they secured the majority in the six provinces. After they decided to accept office and work the constitution when we were ready and offered our hand of co-operation as we had already made it clear before and after the elections also the first demand was that the League must liquidate itself and we were told that it represents nobody except few estimable middle class gentlemen. And secondly the decision was taken that we must be treated as an anathema and the League groups in the various legislatures were boycotted by the Congress. And the members of the League party in the legislatures were to be treated as untouchables and that no one was to be included in the ministry of those provinces from amongst the representatives of the League party unless they unconditionally  signed the pledge, the policy, and the program of the Congress which honestly speaking is much worse than that of the All India Muslim League and more communal, in fact, except that we stand for the adequate and effective safeguards for the rights and interests of the Musalmans and that we do not agree with false creed of "truth and nonviolence" which is observed and honoured more in breach. They were asked to abjure their party and forego their creed, policy and program which is far more honest and straightforward and practical. They started in the legislatures with a song of "Bande Matramn” which is not only idolatrous but in its origin and substance a hymn to spread hatred for the Musalmans. And they in their wisdom tried and are persisting now and compelling the school authorities to sing “Bande Matram” at congregations and school gatherings although it is admitted that it is not a national song. They have persistently hoisted tri-colour flags in a most aggressive and offensive manner on all Government and public institutions irrespective of the feelings of others although it is admitted that it is not a national flag. They started "the Muslim Mass Contact" which is not only silly but dangerous and some wise-acre amongst them think that this will bring about the destruction of the communal award or at any rate nullify its object and destroy the true strength of Muslim representation in the various legislatures, and further thereby force every Muslim to submit to the membership of the Congress. They have been forcing radical changes in the educational system of the Provinces and to run the department on Wardha scheme which has assumed the name of "Vidhyia Mandir" and make Hindi compulsory in the guise of Hindustani but highly Sanskritised as "Lingua Franca" of India and leave no stone unturned to suppress Urdu which is the language of the largest number of Musalmans in India and thus give a death blow to their culture and their solidarity. Every available post or job is reserved for the Congressmen or those Musalmans who are prepared to desert or vilify the League. The "Civil Liberties" has assumed new definition. That in the absence of "Swadeshi Laws" "lawless and reactionary laws" such as the "Criminal Law Amendment Act" and "Section 144" are to be freely utilized against, those persons who disobey or differ from the Congress Ministries and particularly in the case of the members of the Muslim League. Measures are brought in, bills have been passed and laws have been enacted which are obviously highly detrimental to the interests of the Musalmans. For instance amend­ments of the franchise system of voting and representation of minorities, in Munici­pal Local and Districts Boards. The Muslim Press is terrorized under threat of penalty of forfeiture of securities and in some cases the obnoxious executive orders have been passed and securities of some Muslim Urdu papers have been forfeited. Is this the national programme that is being pursued for the advancement of the people of this Country which will achieve freedom and independence of India? If this is the foretaste on the threshold of the limited and restricted authority and power enjoyed by the Congress, I shudder to think what would be the fate of ninety millions of Musalmans in this country if the Congress were incharge of full and plenary powers of the Government of India; and yet the other day the President of the Congress had the temerity in speaking at the Haripura Congress Session in February 1938 to solemnly ask "I would put it to the members of the minority communities in India to consider dispassionately if they have any thing to fear when the Congress programme is put into operation." So far I have not dealt with the cases of maltreatment and tyranny and persecution regarding which columns and columns have been filled by newspapers-specially in three Provinces of Bihar, U. P. & C. P. and we are awaiting the report of the committee that has been appointed. I hope that the report will be out before the next Session of Muslim League in December 1938.

It is common knowledge that the average Congressman whether he is a member by conviction or "convenience" arrogates to himself the role of a ruler of this country and although he does not possess the educational qualifications, training and culture and traditions of the British Bureaucrat he behaves and acts towards the Musalmans in a much worse manner than the British did towards Indians. The Supreme Command may well deplore corruption, untruthfulness and violence and may further deplore the faked register of membership of the Congress by "convenience",

These are a few characteristic features of the Congress programme so far regarding the Musalmans. But we are told very recently in your city by a high authority that surely the fact that the Governors have not yet thought fit to interfere or exercise their special powers is a proof-positive and shows that the Musalmans are not only justly and fairly treated but they are dealt with handsomely and generously. I know that Governors and the Governor-General have failed the minorities and spe­cially the Musalmans. But on the other hand we are told that there is a gentlemen's agreement and a Secret understanding between the British Government and the Congress in consequence of which assurances were given that such powers will not be exercised, and so it is obvious that the Congress Ministries are getting the longest rope with the result that the foolish policy of the Congress is responsible not only for intense bitterness between the two sister communities but among the various classes and interests. It has resulted in serious clashes and conflicts and ill-will, which are bound to recoil in the long run on the progress and welfare of India. It seems that Congress is only tumbling into the hands of those who are looking forward to the creation of a serious situation which will break India vertically and horizontally. But this is not all. Now let us turn to Bengal, Punjab and Assam. In these Provinces there happens to be a predominant Muslim voice in the Ministr­ies and hence they are made the target and the object of final destruction by the Congress High Command. In Bengal the move to defeat Fazl-ul-Huq Ministry has ignominiously failed. In Punjab various efforts are made to weaken the Ministry of Sir Sikandar Hayat. But in Punjab they have not yet dared to table a no confidence motion because Punjab Ministry cannot yet be bent. In Assam Mr, Saadullah's Ministry resigned. Immediately the Congress President went post-haste with other henchmen and agents to help the birth of a so called Congress Ministry in utter disregard of all their previous professions and declarations and contrary to their avowed determination to have nothing to do with coalition and he gathered together various groups all and sundry. But in forming the Ministry Mr. Bordoloi was not able to announce the name of even one of the three Muslim Ministers who were to be included in the Ministry. Apart from the methods adopted further to move the President for adjournment of the Assembly 'Sine die' was hardly creditable, and for a great party, not to face the legislature knowing full well that they had not the majority at their back was shere Cowardice. It is under threat of suspension of oath taking ceremony that the President and Congress party agreed to the sessions of the Assembly being called at an early date, and up to the present moment Mr. Bordoloi has not been able to get more than one of the three Muslim Ministers, and he is still hunting for the remaining two Muslim Ministers. When 56 members of the Assembly out of 107 are not only against the so called Congress Ministry but have tabled the vote of no confidence, I congratulate the President, Mr. Bose, for his statesman-like achievement for this still born child which he is now anxious to feed by means of oxygen and bring it to life by appealing to the European planters to come to his rescue. The Congress High Command is obsessed with one idea and determined to divide the Musalmans and particularly to break the solidarity of the Muslim League, no matter how low they may have to stoop. They rave no scruples or any standard or principle in their methods. Their policy is based on arrogance and opportunism and unfortunately they are at the present moment getting the support of a large body of Hindus who have respect for the Congress and they are being fully exploited. Not only that but even Mr. Gandhi who has acquired the spiritual influence over a large body of the Hindu public and with his halo of Mahatma is used by those who surround him. He often tries to get out of the awkward corners by falling back upon his inner voice or the voice of silence and relies upon the fact that he is not even a four anna member of the Congress; and he deplores corruption, untruthfulness and violence and pleads to his utter helplessness for the decisions of Congress High Command. This grand Fascist Council, the working Committee which is named "the shadow cabinet" of a parallel Government of India is supposed to speak on behalf of “the Indian Nation” Some of its antics remind one of a clown imitating the artist in a circus. During the critical situation about the end of September last this so called shadow cabinet continually sat in sessions and kept vigil as the All India Congress Committee had entrusted them with a power to take such decisions as they thought proper with regard to the question of India's part in the event of the war breaking out. So to begin with a sympathetic message was sent by the High Command to the Government of Czechoslovakia and the Mahatma and the Working Committee were continuing the vigil waiting for the Whitehall to approach Mahatma Gandhi, But the war is averted and soon now the vigil will terminate and India must breathe a sigh of relief as we are saved from the Congress decision with regard to the war for the moment. So now this is the situation and position that we have to face. It is no use relying upon anyone I else. We must stand on our own inherent strength and build up our own power and forge sanctions behind our decisions. Today we are told that even for the purpose of a settlement of Hindu Muslim question we do not represent the Musalmans of India and we are required to prove the position and status of ours by 14 service and merits "before the mighty High Command. Gentlemen! The meaning is clear. It is no use our blaming others. It is no use our accusing our opponents only; it is no use our expecting our enemies to behave differently. If the Musalmans are going to be defeated in their national goal and aspirations it will only be by the betrayal of the Musalmans among us as it has happened in the past. For the renegades and traitors I have nothing to say, they can do their worst. But I appeal most fervently to those Musalmans who honestly feel for their Community and its welfare and those who are misled or misguided and indifferent, to come on to the platform of the Muslim League and work under its flag; and please close your ranks and file and stand solid and united at any and all costs and speak and act with one voice.

Here I wish to make it clear that I am not fighting the Hindu Community as such nor have I any quarrel with the Hindus generally for I have many personal friends amongst them; but the Congress "High Command" is in my opinion the greatest enemy of India's progress and for the matter of that even of the interests of Hindus. Although there are many Hindus who entirely condemn them and are completely fed up with them yet a large body of the Hindu public is still hypnotized and mesmerized by them by their Seductive and abusive propaganda and disingenu­ous catch words and Slogans. Will they get their freedom of judgment and action!

With regard to the tragedy of Palestine that is going on at present and the ruthless repression that is practised against the Arabs because of their struggle for the freedom of their country, I need hardly tell you that we had most convincing proofs demonstrated all over India that the heart of every Musalman is with them in their brave and wonderful struggle that they are carrying on against all odds and in spite of their being "defenseless". According to the resolution of the All India Muslim League Council, 26th of August was observed all over India as the Palestine day and from all accounts I can say without exaggeration that thousands and thousands of meetings were held all over India fully and fervently sympathizing with those who are fighting for their country's freedom. Musalmans’ heart is wounded and lacerated when they hear the news and the accounts of ruthless and tyrannical repression and repression of those brave Arabs and I know that the entire Muslim world is watching the doings of Great Britain there.

I may inform you that the Muslim League Council appointed a special committee at their meeting of the 30th July 1938 to consider the question of sending racial deputation abroad specially to Palestine and England and directed the committee to consider the ways and means by which an effective pressure can be brought to bear upon the British Government. And that committee recently met at Badaun and have in response to the invitation from the Egyptian Parliamentary Committee for the Defense of Palestine chosen five representatives on behalf of the All India Muslim League to attend the Parliamentary Congress of Arabs and Muslim countries which will be held in Cairo starting from the 7th October 1938 with a view consider the present situation in Palestine. Three of our representatives, Mr. Khaliquzzaman, Mr. Abdur Rahman Siddiqui and Maulana Mazhar Uddin out of the five appointed have already left India and are on their way to Cairo. Further according to the instructions of the Egyptian Parliamentary Committee we have netified that if any other member of the Muslim League party in legislature desires to participate in the Congress the invitation will be issued to him by the Secretary, All India Muslim League, We shall await the results of the deliberations and the decisions of that Congress and then I may assure you that the All India Muslim League will do all that lies in its power to help the cause of the Arabs in Palestine. I am glad here to note that Congress Working Committee also at Delhi has passed a resolution. That having regard to its importance it was moved by the chair without any comments. This is an indication of the superficial interest the Congress takes in matters which the Musalmans consider nearest and dearest to their heart.

During the recent times Great Britain has thrown her friends to the wolves and broken her solemn promises. Only those succeed with the British People who possess force and power and who are in a position to bully them. They have also let down and thrown the Musalmans of India to the wolves. I am sure that there will be no peace in the Near East unless they give an honest and square deal to the Arabs in Palestine. In India I may draw the attention of His Majesty's Government and the British Statesmen who I am sure are not under any delusion that Congress represents the people of India or Indian nation, for there are 90 millions of Musalmans. And I would draw their attention and here also of the Congress High Command and ask them to mark, learn and inwardly digest the recent upheaval and its consequent developments which threatened the world war. It was because the Sudeten Germans who were forced under the heel of the majority of Czechoslovakia who oppressed them, suppressed them, maltreated them and showed a brutal and callous disregard for their rights and interests for two decades hence the inevitable result that the Republic of Czechoslovakia is now broken up and a new map will have to be drawn. Just as the Sudeten Germans were not defenseless and survived the oppression and persecution for two decades so also the Musalmans are not defenseless and cannot give up their national entity and aspirations in this great continent. Here also I may mention the Frontier policy of the Government of India which the sooner it is given up the better and methods of reconciliation are resorted to instead. I will therefore appeal to the British Government to review and revise their policy with regard to the Palestine, Waziristan and Musalmans of India and the Islamic powers generally. It is in the interest of Great Britain to seriously consider the reorientation in the light of the developments that have taken place during the last two decades.

To the Musalmans therefore I say go forward and organize your people all over India and if reasons and arguments fail our ultimate resort must depend upon our own inherent strength and power. I do not despair nor need we fear the consequences in this great struggle of life and death which involves the destiny of 90 millions of our people.

 

© Fayaz Sindhi 2010