While the Muslim League led by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah accepted the British Cabinet Mission's plan of May 16, 1946 to grant broad autonomy to states within united India, the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress rejected it.
The Cabinet Mission plan envisaged a united independent India with the Muslim-majority provinces grouped together with Sind, Punjab,Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province forming one group, and Bengal and Assam forming another. It provided for the Hindu-majority provinces in central and southern India to form another group. It gave the central government in Delhi the power to handle defense, currency, and diplomacy, and the rest of powers and responsibility to the provinces, coordinated by groups.
After rejecting the Cabinet Mission plan, the Hindu leadership proceeded to vehemently oppose the inevitable creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Since its unsuccessful bid to stop the Partition in 1947, the Hindu leadership of India has made every effort to make Pakistan fail, starting with the division of assets of British India. Pakistan was allocated 17.5% of the assets and liabilities. Cash was held by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that delayed the transfer of Rs. 750 million for several months after the partition in an attempt to strangle newborn Pakistan in its cradle. In addition, Pakistan was allocated 165,000 tons of military hardware of which Pakistan received only about 20,000 tons by September 1948. The rest of the 145,000 tons never came to Pakistan.
Why is it that India has worked hard to make Pakistan fail? To answer this question, let us look at how various leaders, strategists and analysts see the India-Pakistan relationship:
Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution's Stephen Cohen:
“One of the most important puzzles of India-Pakistan relations is not why the smaller Pakistan feels encircled and threatened, but why the larger India does. It would seem that India, seven times more populous than Pakistan and five times its size, and which defeated Pakistan in 1971, would feel more secure. This has not been the case and Pakistan remains deeply embedded in Indian thinking. There are historical, strategic, ideological, and domestic reasons why Pakistan remains the central obsession of much of the Indian strategic community, just as India remains Pakistan’s.”
Hindu RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar described as "worthy of worship" by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
"Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers. The Race Spirit has been awakening.”
Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's Defense Minister Krishna Menon:
"In Pakistan's view the Partition is only the beginning. Her idea is to get a jumping-off ground to take the whole of India.....it was from the Mughals that the British took over (India). Now the British having gone, they (Muslims) must come back (to rule all of India)"
"The reason Britain partitioned India was to fragment Hindu areas into political entities and ensure Pakistan's emergence as the largest and most cohesive political power in the subcontinent. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to fragment India. Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in 1948 and subsequent wars are part of this continuous exercise. The Kargil war and the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir are the latest example of this pressure. India has not been decisive and surgical in resisting Pakistani subversion. India has voluntarily given concessions to Pakistan despite defeating it in all major conflicts. Pakistan's long term objective is to ensure that India does not emerge as the most influential power in the South Asian region. The Pakistani power structure has a powerful antagonism toward Hindu-majority civil society in India. Pakistan has sought the support of a large number of Muslim countries and Asian and Western powers (China and the US) to keep India on the defensive. Pakistan's continued questioning of Indian secularism, democracy and constitutional institutions is a deliberate attempt to generate friction within India. Pakistani support of the secessionist and insurgent forces in Jammu and Kashmir, in Punjab and in the north-eastern states of India confirms this impression."
India's Hindu leadership continues to live under the long shadow cast by centuries of Muslim rule of the Subcontinent. Many independent historians believe that India's Muslim rulers were generally quite benevolent, a characterization contested particularly by right-wing Hindu followers of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They see present-day Pakistan as an extension of India's Muslim rule and fear being dominated by Muslims yet again, a fear articulated by India's first defense minister Krishna Menon. India's Hindu leadership needs to overcome this irrational fear to work with Pakistan to build the foundations of a better and more peaceful future for their children in South Asia.
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