Labour Monthly, March 1943
Source: Labour Monthly, March 1943, pp. 93;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.
September 19th, 1942.
ALL-IN national unity, based on communal harmony and Congress-League joint front, is to-day an urgent and pressing necessity to solve the present national crisis, to win National Government from the hands of the British imperialist bureaucracy and to defend our Motherland against the Fascist aggressor. This has brought the controversy of Pakistan versus the unity of India sharply to the forefront. The Communist Party, therefore, lays down the main principles of the Communist policy on this issue.
1. The Communist Party draws together the toilers of all castes, communities and nationalities in common class organisations (Trade Unions, Kisan Sabhas, etc.). It unites them politically as the vanguard of the united national front for achieving the freedom of our country and democracy. This is the cornerstone of the policy of achieving communal unity.
2. To build the united national front of the peoples of the various communities and nationalities that inhabit India, for the defence and freedom of our country, it is, however, necessary to dispel the mutual distrust and suspicion that exists among them. This is a remnant of memories of past historical oppression and of present social inequalities arising out of the feudal-imperialist exploitation. For this purpose, the basic rights of the communities and nationalities must be recognised and they must be made an essential part of the programme of the united national front.
3. The programme of the U.N.F. must declare that in Free India, there will be perfect equality between nationalities and communities that live together in India. There will be no oppression of one nationality by another. There will be no inequalities or disabilities based on caste or community. To ensure this, the national movement must recognise the following rights as part of its programme for national unity.
(a) Every section of the Indian people which has a contiguous territory as its homeland, common historical tradition, common language, culture, psychological make-up and common economic life would be recognised as a distinct nationality with the right to exist as an autonomous state within the free Indian union or federation and will have the right to secede from it if it may so desire. This means that the territories which are the homelands of such nationalities and which to-day are split up by the artificial boundaries of the present British provinces and the so-called “Indian States” would be reunited and restored to them in free India. Thus free India of to-morrow would be a federation or union of autonomous states of the various nationalities such as the Pathans, Western Punjabis (dominantly Muslims), Sikhs, Sindhis, Hindusthanis, Rajasthanis, Gujerathis, Bengalis, Assamese, Beharies, Oriyas, Andhras, Tamils, Karnatikis, Maharashtrians, Keralas, etc.
(b) If there are interspersed minorities in the new states thus formed, their rights regarding their culture, language, education, etc., would be guaranteed by Statute and their infringement would be punishable by law.
(c) All disabilities, privileges and discriminations based on caste, race or community (such as untouchability and allied wrongs) would be abolished by Statute and their infringement would be punishable by law.
4. Such a declaration of rights, in as much as it concedes to every nationality, as defined above, and therefore to nationalities having Muslim faith, the right of autonomous state existence and of secession, can form the basis for unity between the National Congress and the League. For this would give to the Muslims wherever they are in an overwhelming majority in a contiguous territory which is their homeland, the right to form their autonomous states and even to separate if they so desire. In the case of the Bengali Muslims of the Eastern and Northern Districts of Bengal where they form the overwhelming majority, they may form themselves into an autonomous region as the state of Bengal or may form a separate state. Such a declaration therefore concedes the just essence of the Pakistan demand and has nothing in common with the separatist theory of dividing India into two nations on the basis of religions.
5. But the recognition of the right of separation in this form need not necessarily lead to actual separation. On the other hand, by dispelling the mutual suspicions, it brings about unity of action to-day and lays the basis for a greater unity in the free India of to-morrow. National unity forged on the basis of such a declaration and strengthened in the course of joint struggle in the defence of our motherland is bound to convince the peoples of all Indian nationalities of the free Indian union or federation that will emerge after the war of liberation is won, for the common defence of freedom and democracy achieved and to build on that secure basis a greater and grander unity of India than our country has ever seen.
In spite of the apparent conflict and seemingly insoluble difficulties, the burning desire for unity is taking firmer hold of the people who to-day follow the Congress or the League. Under the stress of the growing menace of Fascist invasion and of the present national crisis, the leaderships of the two organisations also have moved closer together and in the direction of the very solution given in this resolution. There is no room whatsoever for defeatism on the question of unity. The Communist Party calls upon all patriots to join hands with it in popularising the principles laid down herein and thus speed up the realisation of Congress-League Unity, which is to-day the only path of national salvation for our Motherland in the hour of her gravest peril.