AN APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY M. E. A. BAIG The...
AN APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY
M. E. A. BAIG
The bugbear of Indian social life is Hindu-Muslim disunity, which is badly exploited
by interested parties for selfish political purposes. Mr. Baig, in this address which was
recently delivered at the Tata School, considers our Social System, Separate Electorate and
the lack of a real National Language and Script to be at the root of our communal dishar-
mony. He calls attention, somewhat pungently though, to certain popular and provoking
attitudes of "hidden Hinduism", and makes a vigorous plea for self-decommunalization.
His suggestions are constructively radical and deserve the serious consideration of all
Indian patriots.
Mr. Baig, who is associated with many progressive movements, is an ex-Sheriff of
Bombay.
0 give one's views of the reasons for communal disharmony and to sug-
gest methods to achieve unity is a task bristling with dangers and diffi-
culties. If one surveys the political scene with special reference to the
communal question the intense depression that is created is only increased
by the conviction that everybody concerned is to blame and nobody at all is in-
nocent. Brave, therefore, is he who essays this task. Furthermore, it is a
problem with so many aspects, each of which is so mutually interdependent
and interacting, that it requires careful study which few, and certainly not
myself, have been able to give to it. Let me, therefore, at the very commence-
ment safeguard myself by telling you that the views and suggestions I place
before you are those that I have arrived at myself from my own very limited
study and experience. I should also make it clear that I am discussing
communal disharmony and not political freedom and, therefore, I have not
gone very deeply into the reasons for the present deadlock nor suggested any
means of solving it. I am concerned only with communal harmony and
disharmony.
Now, to commence with, I object to the very phrase " T h e Communal
P r o b l e m " for I suggest that there is no communal problem in the singular or
All-India sense. The so-called communal problem is the sum of a number of
local communal problems each of them being entirely different and each,
therefore, requiring an entirely different solution. In Bengal, for instance,
the problem is largely agrarian, a problem between landlord and tenant
which, by an unfortunate coincidence, falls into communal lines. It has also a
rural-urban aspect. For instance, the overwhelming majority of the primary
producers of jute in East Bengal are Muslims whereas the middlemen and
the industrialists and all those who really reap the profits from jute are nop-

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 257
Muslims. It is, therefore, fundamentally, an economic problem which has
taken a communal aspect and its solution has absolutely nothing to do with
religion and little to do with politics. Its solution depends on a reorganisation
of the economic structure of Bengal by such means as the abolition of the per-
manent settlement and also by ensuring that the primary producer while he
reaps his jute reaps also the profit that is due to him. In the Punjab, on the
other hand, it is a triangular problem—Hindu, Muslim and Sikh—which can
only be solved by the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of the Punjab and no one else.
In the North-West Frontier Province and in Madras there is no com-
munal problem for when a minority is less than 5 per cent it cannot claim to
be considered a minority. Bombay is in much the same position. Muslims
here are 9 per cent and we can only exist, in spite of every possible safeguard,
through the good-will of the majority. Assuming that the Hindu bears ill-
will towards the Muslim, which is the basis of the Muslim communal case,
the Hindu is in such a great majority that all the separate electorates in the
world and even doubling our numbers in the Legislature through weightage,
will not help us very much. Our only hope is to create amongst the Hindus
the maximum amount of good-will towards the Muslims so that, as they advance
educationally, economically and in other ways, they take the Muslims along
with them. One of the chief causes of communal disharmony has been that
the Hindu has forged ahead leaving the Muslim behind. Communalism, as
it is understood, is, therefore, against Muslim interests in Bombay; hence
Muslims will be the greatest beneficiaries of nationalism. Conversely, com-
munalism is in the interest of the Hindu majority and nationalism involves
a certain amount of sacrifice on their part.
I, therefore, consider it a fundamental mistake to think, so far as com-
munal unity is concerned, on All-India terms. Fundamentally we are provin-
cial and will be such constitutionally also since the new constitution to be
forged we hope, after the war will certainly be based on residuary powers
in the Provinces at the very least if not on even greater decentralisation. The
Centre, therefore, is given up for all intents and purposes (however much the
recent famine may have brought out India's economic unity and the need of a
strong Central Government) and, in future, the centre of political gravity
will be the Provinces. In fact one thing the recent famine has shown up is
the weakness of the Centre which, incidentally, has its own lesson to those
Muslims who are being constantly bluffed by the bogey of a Hindu*ridden
Centre. The Centre will be so weak (and is so weak) that it matters little
if it is all Hindu or all Muslim and if the League opinion can be appeased by
a fifty-fifty Central Government, I would advise the Hindus to jump at it.
While we are talking about the Muslim League Policy let me point out

258 M. R. A. BAIG
how the League's own policy proves my point, namely, that the communal
problem cannot be settled on All-India lines. The League's solution is Paki-
stan; but what Pakistan solves I really do not know. There are 40 per cent
of Hindus in the Pakistan areas and 20,000,000 Muslims in the non-Pakistan
areas. Even assuming that there is an All-India communal problem, all that
is achieved is that this problem is divided into two. In both these areas the
problem will remain to be solved as much after Pakistan as before and if
all kinds of guarantees and safeguards can be given to the minorities in the
Pakistan areas, they can be equally given to the minorities in All-India.
At any rate, why should the Hindu minority accept from the Muslim majority
what the Muslims themselves are not prepared to accept from the All-India
Hindu majority ? And as for the 20,000,000 Muslims left out of Pakistan,
they are quietly jettisoned and forgotten. A most effective and satisfactory
solution to a difficult problem ! What Pakistan does solve, however, is the
Congress-League problem since, after Pakistan, the League will rule undis-
turbed over Pakistan and the Congress over the rest. But what it does not
solve is the Hindu-Muslim problem which, if anything, will become more
acute.
I also object very strongly indeed to the approach to the problem,
which has become very prevalent lately, as a means of getting rid of the
British. There is no doubt that we must get rid of the British and there is
also no doubt that to do so communal unity is absolutely necessary. But
communal unity is an end in itself and should be pursued irrespective of
whether we get rid of the British or not. I am highly suspicious of those
who are prepared to give all kinds of concessions to Muslim communalists in
order to make them line up in an anti-British front because I am certain
that as soon as the British problem has been solved their interest in the
communal problem will also come to an end. Please, therefore, do not
consider communal unity as a means to an end but as an end in itself
irrespective of anything and everything else,
Further, I deprecate the tendency, which is also very prevalent, of
putting the whole blame for communal disharmony on British shoulders and
then after saying " W h a t can we do while the British are here to divide and
r u l e " doing absolutely nothing at all. I am afraid the British serve as a
first class alibi for those who have done nothing for communal unity and in-
tend to do nothing, but require something with which to appease their
very guilty consciences. Do not consider for a moment that I do not
consider the British guilty. If anybody has any doubts about their policy of
divide and rule, let him read " T h e Communal T r i a n g l e " by Ashok Mehta
and Achut Patwardhan. This is a first class exposure of two sides of the

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 259
triangle, the British and the Muslim. But it is completely silent about the
Hindu side which is, in my opinion, the most to blame. It is the most to
blame for in the final analysis a minority dances to the tune played by the
majority. If the majority is national the minority will be national, and if
the minority is communal it is because the majority is so. Of this state of
affairs, the British have taken the fullest advantage, and why should they
not ? The fault is ours and the responsibility of solving it is also ours; on
our priority list of National Needs, Communal Unity and not Quit India
' should be the first. In fact, I may say that the Mahatma's change of attitude
from maintaining that communal unity must come first to that of the British
must quit first, robbed the dynamic appeal of "Quit I n d i a " of Muslim
support from the very start.
Another unfortunate habit of ours is that of treating the symptoms
rather than the disease; it is this more than anything else that explains our
complete failure to solve this problem. The reasons for our differences have
never been properly analysed and attacked at the very root. An outstanding
example of this attitude is the recent agitation against the Pentangular
Cricket Tournament. Every sensible person must condemn communal cricket
but will stopping the Pentangular bring it to an end ? Communal cricket
will exist as long as there are communal gymkhanas, and as long as they
exist it is natural that one gymkhana will play the other at various games.
If the Hindu and Muslim gymkhanas play quietly on each other's grounds,
as they may do every week-end, nobody complains. But let them play at the
Brabourne Stadium and protests are loudly made. Many, many of those who
object to the Pentangular are themselves members of communal clubs, and
few Hindus realise the tremendous set-back that has been given to national
unity by the Congress Government and many prominent Congressmen being
associated with the Hindu Swimming Bath at Chowpatty. Only the other
day when arguing against Pakistan with some Muslim students, I was bluntly
told " W h y do you talk to us ? Pakistan is a big matter. Let the Hindus
first give a lead in small matters. Let them, for instance, close their
" P a k i s t a n " swimming bath and then we will discuss P a k i s t a n . " Therefore
if you wish communal sport to end, do not attack matches by gymkhanas
but attack the gymkhanas themselves. There are many prominent Congress-
men and alleged nationalists who are members of communal bodies of which
we are aware. I have not, I am sorry to say, found public opinion focussed
in their direction.
The whole approach to Hindu-Muslim Unity is thus based on treating
the symptoms rather than the disease. Take the cry of Congress-League
Unity. Assuming that the League represents the Muslims, which it does not,

260 M. R. A. BAIG
and assuming the implication inherent in this cry, that the Congress
represents the Hindus, which it does not either, a Hindu-Muslim Pact may be
arrived at and everybody will be happy. But a Hindu-Muslim Pact is not
Hindu-Muslim Unity for under a Pact Hindus will remain Hindus and Mus-
lims will remain Muslims—both carefully watching each other for any infringe-
ment of the Pact. The word we should use is National Unity which would
make us cease thinking as Hindus and Muslims but as Indians, whatever our
religion may be.
This attitude cannot be brought about by half-a-dozen leaders, how-
ever eminent and representative, sitting round a table and signing a joint
document of which the very basis will inevitably be the preservation of the
interests and existence of the signatories, their communities and their
parties. It can only be brought about by a positive attempt of decommuna-
lisation by every one of us in this room and outside. Few of us are doing
this and most of us are trying for Congress-League Unity. But as long as we
continue to do so, real communal unity will not be achieved.
Vigorous self-decommunalisation is, therefore, the first step towards
National Union but it is unfortunate that so little is actually being done in
this direction. I am afraid I have to say that there is a distinct difference
between Hindu Nationalism and Muslim Nationalism. I have found Muslim
Nationalism to be first pro-Hindu-Muslim Unity and then, if anything, anti-
British. Hindu Nationalists are first anti-British, and Hindu-Muslim Unity
is generally grouped in their minds with anti-untouchability, prohibition and
other desirable reforms. Many, many Hindus, quite sincerely believe that
they can remain Hindu in thought, culture, appearance and habits and yet be
nationalists. There is a widely prevalent belief that Hindus are Indians and
Muslims Muslims. Of course, neither the Hindus nor Muslims as such are
Indians, and nothing should be Indian that is not partly Hindu and partly
Muslim.
Let me give you some examples. If you refer to Dr. Shyama Prasad
Mookerjee, you will call him a Bengalee. But if you refer to Mr. Fazul Haq,
you automatically call him a Bengalee Muslim. Why 1 They are both
Bengalees, and this is even more strange since the Muslims are in a majority in
Bengal and, if anything, they should be Bengalees, and the Hindu, the extra.
Let me give you another case. Recently, a new Dewan was appointed in
Cutch. A few months ago when he was in Bombay a very prominent Cutchee,
very popular in Nationalist circles, called on him. The Dewan in the course
of conversation stated that during his next visit to Bombay, he would like to
meet some Cutchees of Bombay. A few weeks ago he came and a party was
held in his honour. The Dewan found that only Hindus had been invited, and

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 261
asked why that was s o ! His host was astonished. "But you said you
wanted to meet Cutchees, you did not say Muslim." But are not the
Muslims of Cutch Cutchees ? Mr. Meherally is a Cutchee and so is Mr. Jinnah.
How can you blame anyone thinking himself a Muslim first as long as this
attitude persists. It occurs even in business relations. The Devkaran Nanji
Bank is considered an "Indian" Bank. But the Habib Bank is a "Muslim"
Bank. Even the Tatas, in the minds of most people, are still a "Parsee"
firm. But the Birlas or Dalmias, who very probably do not employ a
single non-Hindu, are "National" enterprises. Do not think that I have
given isolated cases. This attitude that the Hindu is an Indian and the
Muslim is a Muslim is more the [rule than the exception and its existence
is one of the prime causes of communal disharmony.
If, therefore, we want national unity we must have a clear under-
standing of nationalism. I have said earlier that the chief characteristic of
Hindu Nationalism is anti-Britishism. I am afraid that in the majority of
cases it is the only characteristic. Anti-Britishism is undoubtedly an in-
evitable and even a healthy manifestation of nationalism but it is not nation-
alism. Nationalism should be Indianism as opposed to Hinduism or Mus-
limism and that is the one thing it really is not. That is why nationalism is
so suspect amongst Muslims. Muslims would have no objection to Indianism
but they strongly object to hidden-Hinduism.
Let me give you a case. For years there has been in Bombay the
Grain Dealers' Association of over 2,000 members of which I do not think a
single one was a Muslim. Yet this Association was a strongly nationalist
organisation. It was affiliated to the Indian Merchants' Chamber and it was
one of the props of the Congress. Its Committee were all Congressmen and
from every point of view it was a strong nationalist body. But was it? All that
it was Was a Hindu anti-British body and nothing else. Came rationing, and
Government decided to deal with the grain dealers through the Association.
This meant that the Muslim grain dealers would have been left entirely out
of the rationing scheme. Some of them came to me, and I convened a
meeting of them and formed (and you cannot blame us) a Muslim Grain
Dealers' Association. I then took them to Mr. Gorwalla and got the Associa-
tion recognised, and later we were given our full quota of ration shops.
There are nearly 400 Muslim grain dealers in Bombay, the very existence of
which the nationalist association was blissfully unaware. Once the Muslims
were organised and had their quota of ration shops, I spoke to Mr. Rattansey
Devji and suggested that we bring the leaders of the two Associations together.
This we did and amidst great cordiality and Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, we
have formed a Grain Dealers' Federation which, I am glad to say, is working
9

262 M. R. A. BAIG
as one body without the slighest trace of Hindu-Muslim feeling. Now it has
become a national body but it is not one Association but a Federation, the
larger half of which is Hindu in composition and the smaller half Muslim in
name and composition. We hope eventually to make it into one Association
but the point is that all these years the Hindus, while they considered them-
selves perfectly national, made not the slightest attempt to associate anybody
except Hindus with them. You will say that nothing prevented the Muslims
from joining. True, nothing prevents them joining the Congress but while
certain attitudes exist, they just don't.
Let me give another case. The other day I read that Mr. K. M. Munshi
had been elected President of a Committee to write a History of India. On
this Committee there was not a single Muslim name. I wonder what kind of
Indian History they are going to write, yet I am sure that they are perfectly
satisfied with their own composition. Take the case of the Maharashtra
University Committee. Here is another glaring example of considering
Hindus as Maharashtrians and Muslims merely as Muslim. In spite of there
being thousands and thousands of Muslims in Maharashtra, even with
Marathi as their mother tongue, not a single Muslim was appointed on the
Committee till loud protests were made when one was hurriedly nominated
some weeks after the Committee was announced. Please forgive me giving
so many examples but theories are based on data and the data to prove my
point is overwhelming. It is this attitude which I refer to as hidden-Hinduism
and it is this attitude that keeps communal disharmony alive. Be careful,
therefore, of your use of the word "national". No hundred percent Hindu
or Muslim, however patriotic or anti-British he may be, is a nationalist. A
nationalist is one who thinks of India as a nation and who is an Indian first
and last. How many of our national Leaders stand this test ?
I have spoken of the need to decommunalise ourselves. Here again
let us attack the disease and not the symptom. What is it that makes
us communal ? I do not believe that it is our different religions. It is our
social system that is to blame. We are not even Hindus and Muslims, for our
social system has divided us into a thousand distinct ethnological groups quite
apart from our large provincial divisions. Khojas marry Khojas and are
Khojas first and last. Bhatias marry Bhatias and are Bhatias first and last.
This creates a strong exclusive mentality so well brought out by the tremen-
dous nepotism that is such a glaring feature of our life. Fundamentally, few
people are " a n t i " anybody else but the social system, and the joint family
system in particular, makes them so " p r o " themselves that they have no time
for anybody else. We are nepotistic rather than communal and a very large
part of what is considered as communalism is nepotism pure and simple. The

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 263
solution, therefore, is not social reform, which again treats the symptom, but
to attack the disease which is our many, many distinct ethnological groups.
These must be shattered before any real national union can take place, and
the only remedy I can see is inter-marriage. In no other country in the
world could one seriously put this forward as a national need since marriage
is essentially a personal affair and you cannot dictate or command that one
person should fall in love with a member of another community. In India,
fortunately, marriages based on love are still rare and arranged marriages the
general rule. If, therefore, once inter-marriage is generally advocated,
thousands of such marriages could be arranged with little difficulty. By
inter-marriage I do not mean only Hindu-Muslim marriages; I fully realise
these would be more difficult, but Hindu-Hindu and Muslim-Muslim inter-
marriage is vitally necessary. Bhatia and Lohana, J a t and Rajput, Gujarati
and Maharatta, Brahmin and non-Brahmin, Khoja and non-Khoja, Shia and
Sunni and so on. Just see what happens in other countries of the world.
Let us take England. A young Scot leaves Scotland and settles in London.
In all probability he will meet some nice English girl down there and marry
her; so will his son and soon that family is neither English nor Scottish but
British of Scot extraction.
In India, on the other hand, there are Gujarati merchants settled for
generations in Madras and Sindhi merchants settled in Bombay. Yet, every
generation will go back for his wife not only to his Province but, perhaps, to
the very village he came from originally. It is this sort of thing that keeps us
in such distinct ethnological groups. It is absolutely ridiculous that in 1944
two young Hindus or Muslims living, perhaps, next door to each other,
should not be allowed to marry but must go miles and miles away to find
their respective wives or husbands. W h a t we need are Indian families of
Gujarati or Maharatta or Punjabi extraction. India, today, is a basket of
eggs, and as long as we remain in different shells it matters little how
much these shells are in contact with each other in the same basket. What
we have to do is to break the shells that keep us as many different eggs. And
this is only possible through inter-marriage and I place this before you not
as an ideal but as a serious and perfectly practicable proposition.
As we are divided and sub-divided by our social system so are we divided
by the many languages we speak; another vital need therefore is an All-India
language. A very interesting symposium called the " N a t i o n a l Language of
I n d i a " edited by Dr. Z. A. Ahmad has been published by Kitabistan and I
would advise you all to read it. The general concensus of opinion is that the
language, loosely known as Hindustani, has a 75% common vocabulary whether
spoken by Muslims or Hindus. Muslims use more Persian and Hindus use

264 M. R. A. BAIG
more words of Sanskrit origin but 75% of the vocabulary is common. It is
also admitted that while this language is known as Hindustani, few use this
term. The Muslims call it Urdu and the Hindus call it Hindi.
I believe that the use of names such as Hindi and Hindustani
is a great psychological mistake. Urdu is a national language evolved
through years of Hindu and Muslim cultural contact and, as stated by Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru, is essentially an Indian language and has no place out-
side. If, therefore, it is considered that there are too many Persian words,
the solution is to lessen them and to introduce more Sanskrit words. To state
it differently the opposite of Persianized Urdu should not be Sanskritized
Hindi but Sanskritized Urdu. Even in writing, Urdu could be written
in either Persian or Nagari Script. But the word Urdu should be retained and
the murder of this word, for it is virtually murdered, constitutes a great
psychological set-back to national u n i t y . Even Mahatma Gandhi neatly
dropped Urdu in inventing the phrase Hindi-Hindustani. I believe very
strongly that the word Urdu should be used to describe the national language
but if people cannot bring themselves to use this word, then let us drop both
Urdu and Hindi and use Hindustani. Unfortunately the word Hindi is being
brought more and more into use and this word is, frankly, a constant irritant
to Muslim opinion.
I have, of course, been dealing so far with our fairly common spoken
language. W h e n we come to the written language we are, of course, imme-
diately faced by the script problem. The concensus of opinion in the sympo-
sium was that both scripts should be taught and either used in accordance to
the preference of the writer. This is a decision based on evasion and is
therefore very unsatisfactory. Just imagine the strain to which the child is
exposed. He will have to learn his provincial script, then Persian and Deva-
nagari and, when he goes in for higher education, the Roman script. I believe
the solution lies in adopting an adapted Roman script both for our national
as well as our provincial languages. We will never have a real national
language as long as it is in two scripts; for, Muslims will only use one and
the Hindus the other, and in a national language we must understand not only
what the other speaks but also what he writes. Roman script, scientifically
adapted to Indian conditions, will enable a basic natural language to crystal.
lise; it will facilitate inter-provincial cultural contacts since, if we can at
least read the other provincial languages, we can more easily pick up a
working knowledge; and finally Roman script will make easy the learning
of English without which no higher education is possible, and which will be
absolutely necessary in the very small world that will emerge after this war.
Another great advantage of this script will be that it will pave the way for

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 265
mass literacy. In order to print Hindustani or Urdu it requires 650 matrices
in the Persian or Arabic script. Nagari necessitates 350 matrices but the
Roman script will require only 60. Our many languages are, therefore, a
very definite cause of our disharmony and I put forward for a solution Urdu
as the national language written in an adapted Roman script which should also
be the script for our provincial languages. For the sake of compromise,
however, I would be prepared to drop the word "Urdu" and accept
"Hindustani" but, under no circumstances, " H i n d i " .
I have so far dealt with the social system and with language and I now
come to politics. While it is not religion but our social system that is to blame
for our communal differences, it is neither religion, nor our social system
nor communal differences that is to blame for our political differences. Let
us consider for a minute the functions of a Government. Its functions are
best brought out by its departments. The departments of the Bombay
Government are as follows:—Political and Services, Finance, Finance
(Supply), Revenue, Home, Legal, General and Public Works. Now neither
the most orthodox Brahmin nor the most fanatical Muslim can evolve a
communal policy with regard to say the P. W. D. or Revenue or Law and Order
or Finance. It is true that the communal question would arise in Education
and the Services but both these points could easily be met.
We have political differences because we have political parties on a
communal basis and this is due to one reason and one reason alone, and that
is separate electorates. A separate political party is a natural corollary to
separate electorates and when that separate party is in opposition its duty is
to oppose. But its opposition is not due to communal differences but to
party differences which is very different indeed. This is the disease in our
body politic, and all the safeguards, guarantees, pacts and resolutions are
merely treatments of the symptoms. National Unity is impossible as long as
separate electorates exist and every possible attempt must be made, and no
cost is too high, to get the Muslims into joint electorates. As things are, noth-
ing is being done to give the Muslims any faith at all in joint electorates or
to feel that under them any Muslims that remotely represent them will ever
be returned.
Some of you will immediately point to Mr. Masani and to Mr. Meher-
ally. With all respects, Mr. Masani's election as Mayor is not due to joint
electorates but due to reservation of seats. While he is in every way fully
fitted to be the first citizen of Bombay, he is so to-day because he is a Parsee,
whose turn it was, and the only Parsee available in the Congress Municipal
Party. Mr. Meherally is a typical example of my point that there is a diff-
erence between Muslim nationalism and Hindu nationalism, Mr. Meherally

266 M. R. A. BAIG
is an Indian first and last but, apart from the relations and personal friends,
has no roots in and little contact with the Muslim masses. In his last election
he got, I believe, 80 Muslim votes. Many of his colleagues, on the other
hand, have only roots in the Hindu masses and have no thoughts or contacts
outside. He is, I am proud to say, an Indian. They are Hindus who have
signed the Congress Pledge and that is the utmost that can be said of them.
Do not, however, imagine that I brand all Hindus thus. Many, many
Hindus, especially the younger ones who think entirely on economic lines,
and such as those who belong to Mr. Masani's group, are Indians first and last
and have no trace of Hinduism in them. Neither are all nationalist Muslims
like Mr. Meherally. There is today, in Bombay, a Muslim journalist who
holds a Congress seat in the Assembly who is daily advocating in his paper a
Government of Allah under which all Hindus will either have to be converted
or else penalised. How such a person is allowed to remain in the Congress
I really do not know. But, I repeat, after giving this matter every considera-
tion, that the average nationalist Muslim is as much nationalist as anti-
British and least of all communal whereas the average Nationalist Hindu is
primarily anti-British, secondly communal and lastly national. This has
given nationalism a Hindu atmosphere and contributes greatly to communal
disharmony.
Every attempt must, therefore, be made to introduce joint electorates
and, however difficult it may be and however long it may take, you may rest
assured that in spite of a thousand Congress-League Pacts until there are
joint electorates there will not be national union. This necessitates great
broad-mindedness and statesmanship from members of the major community,
qualities completely absent in past negotiations. The plan t h a t holds the
field is joint electorates with reservation of seats of which a variation was the
Scheme known as the Mohomed Ali Formula under which there would be
joint electorates with reservation of seats but with the proviso that no can-
didate would be declared elected unless he had secured 40% of the votes cast
by his own community, and secondly, at least 5% of the votes cast by other
communities wherever he was in a minority of 10 or less per cent, and 10%
votes where he was in a larger minority or in a majority. This scheme, very
fair on the surface since the Muslims are guaranteed as many seats as their
numbers justify, is however regarded by the Muslims with intense suspicion
and I am very doubtful whether they will under the present circumstances
agree. " T h e whole object of election", say the Muslims, " i s to send to the
Legislature a representative. Muslims may be returned but whom will they
represent? In the average electorate Hindus predominate and the Muslim
returned will be their representative and not o u r s . " Such an argument has

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 267
some substance in a province such as Bombay but what about the Muslim
majority provinces such as the Punjab and the North West Frontier ? I can see
no possible objection on the part of the Muslims to the introduction of joint
electorates in the Muslim majority provinces and if the problem is, as I have
suggested, tackled on a purely provincial basis and if the Congress and
League High Commands keep their heavy hands off, it is quite possible that
the local leaders would come to a perfectly satisfactory arrangement which,
after all, is theirs and nobody else's business.
Now what about the Muslim minority provinces? The Muslim fear here
undoubtedly holds good. I have already referred to Mr. Meherally's election.
The Muslims should be proud of him and nothing that he will do will be against
Muslims and everything that he will do will be for the benefit of the Muslims
as much as anybody else. But with the wide gulf that separates the Hindu
and Muslim masses, which not even hunger has been able to bridge, you cannot
blame the Muslims for not considering anyone, however competent, who has
been elected on practically entirely a Hindu vote as a Muslim representative.
The plain fact is that as long as we are Hindus and Muslims, the minority is
entitled to representatives who will advocate the minority's point of view.
Under joint electorates they fear that the elected representatives will advocate
only the majority point of view; their fears must be met since joint eletorates
can be introduced only with their agreement and not by force. To meet this
fear I have a suggestion to make which is very simple and that is to give the
Muslims two votes. This may sound startling and even unfair at first sight,
but my suggestion is that in the general constituencies everybody should vote
and that in addition there should be special Muslim constituencies in accord-
ance with their numbers. That is, the Muslim constituencies will be supple-
mentary and not complementary. By this scheme Muslims are guaranteed
their proportional number of representatives of their own choosing and have,
in addition a chance of increasing their number through the general elector-
ate. But against this privilege they must be prepared to give up weightage.
There is nothing new in this suggestion except that it will be applied
to Muslims and not to special interests. Every member of the University
Senate and of the Merchants' Chamber, to give two examples, already have
two votes; so I cannot see any great objection to giving Muslims two voles.
On the other hand, there will be the great advantage in getting them into
joint electorates. This will be a good test for the Hindus also; if they play
the game fairly and a sufficient number of Muslims are returned, then the fear
of joint electorates will prove to be false, and we will be in a position to take
the next step. Some communal Hindus may say that by this means the
Muslims may get more seats than their numbers warrant. The answer to

268 M. R. A. BAIG
this is that provided the extra Muslims are returned from a joint electorate
what does it matter ? They are, technically, representatives of both Hindus
and Muslims and, if a n y t h i n g more of the Hindus.
I fully realise that my suggestion is in no sense a solution and might
well be said to have the vices of both systems and the virtues of neither.
This, actually, is the only reason why it might be considered at all as I will
attempt to explain. At present there seems to be no reason whatsoever why
Muslims should give up separate electorates. There are, on the other hand,
many reasons why they should retain them. First, there is the open en-
couragement to the League's attitude given by the British Government and the
repeated assurances given to them couched in such language as to encourage
them to " s t i c k to their g u n s " provided, of course, that those " g u n s " are
pointed at the Congress. Listen, for instance, to the stirring words of
Mr. Churchill. After a long diatribe against the Congress in Parliament on
September 10, last year, he said : —
"Outside that party, and fundamentally opposed to it, are 90
million Muslims in British India who have their rights of self-expres-
sion. . . . . I t i s fortunate, indeed, that the Congress Party has n o
influence whatever with the martial races on whom the defence of
India, apart from the British forces, largely depends. Many of these
races are divided by unbridgeable religious gulfs from the Hindu
Congress and would never consent to be ruled by them, nor shall they
ever be against their will so subjugated."
I have described Mr. Churchill's words as stirring and 1 think it is a
correct description. If such words do not " s t i r " disharmony none will. If
they are not an open invitation to intransigence and separatism, I do not
understand English. Secondly, there is the tragic history of past communal
negotiations and the criminal stupidity of Hindu Leaders. The tragedy is
heightened by the fact that in many of these negotiations Mr. J i n n a h was the
chief advocate of joint electorates and his experiences are fresh in his mind.
I would advise political students to study the proceedings of the All Parties
National Convention at Calcutta over 15 years ago at which the Muslims were
prepared to accept joint electorates, which broke down on the issue whether
the Muslims should have 331/3% or 30% of seats in the Central Legislature, and
the negotiations in London which preceded the Communal Award. A study
of such negotiations will give political students a greater sympathy for the
Muslim case. It must be recognised that though Mr. Jinnah has, today, lost
all sense of proportion, he is largely what some criminally stupid Hindu
leaders have made him.
Lastly, it must be remembered that separate electorates have built up

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 269
their own vested interests. The members of the Muslim political caucus that
controls Muslim polities are entirely dependent on separate electorates for
their return to the Central and Provincial Legislatures and fully realise that
under any system of joint electorates, an entirely different type of Muslim
will he returned. Therefore, they will be very careful not to adopt any
measure in which there is the slightest risk of self-liquidation.
Under my scheme their position is secure but side by side with the
" v i c e " of separate electorate is the "virtue" of joint electorate. Therefore,
while it is no solution, I claim that it is an advance on the present position.
Apart from constituting electorates in which Hindus will have to canvass
Muslim votes—an excellent brake on their communalism—it will greatly
stimulate nationalism amongst the Muslims. In the final analysis Muslim
nationalism is the solution to Muslim communalism but today few politi-
cally minded Muslims can be national or socialist minded and yet hope to be
returned from a communal electorate. Whether even this scheme will be
accepted I cannot say but the fact that Muslims are guaranteed represent-
atives of their own choosing in accordance with their numbers and, in
addition, not only the opportunity of increasing their numbers but also of
being able, to use their votes to return those Hindus whom they find more
sympathetic, are advantages which merit serious consideration.
I have now given you what I consider the three main reasons for com-
munal disharmony or, as I would prefer to term it, lack of national union.
These are our Social System which is National Enemy No. 1; Separate Elec-
torates and the lack of a real National Language and Script. These are
questions which lie at the very roots of our way of life and to dig them out
we will have to dig deep. What about the questions that lie on the surface?
Never dismiss a point as being just superficial. It is the superficial that the
eye sees first and the brain grasps the most easily. Therefore, it is with no
hesitation nor apology that I now deal with the superficial. I have already
referred to the Hindu Swimming Bath. I would like to refer to it in greater
detail. As far as Bombay is concerned, the Congress Government while in
power passed no Act which was remotely anti-Muslim. They, however, made
many mistakes in detail and there was, undoubtedly, a certain amount of
nepotism. Their greatest mistake was not forming a Coalition Government-
even this profound mistake pales into insignificance, as far as the public is
concerned—but giving land for this Bath and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel per-
forming the opening cermony. It is all very well asking the Muslims to
cease being communal but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the
gander. Even to-day a very prominent Congressman, who is I believe still
in jail, is the Honorary Treasurer. His resigning from the Swimming Bath
10

270 M. R. A. BAIG
Committee will do more for his country than spending the rest of his life
in jail.
Another superficial question about which I hold strong views is the
question of dress. I can see no reason why people, who need not do it, cling
to denominational dress. Let me tell you that I feel much more comfortable
talking to a Hindu in trousers than in a dhoti or to a bareheaded Muslim to
one wearing a fez. Just think what happens in our mind as we go down
any main street. We see two Parsee ladies standing before a shop window;
a Borah is standing at the door of his shop; three Hindu clerks are walking
along, and so on. As long as this mental census goes on, we cannot help but
think on communal lines and communal thinking is the father of communal
disharmony. Have you ever seen a photo of the Congress" Cabinet? Because
they are dressed differently, the two figures that stand out are Dr. Gilder and
Mr. Nurie. All this is very unhealthy. Long before we can have a common
identity or ideology, we must, at least, have some degree of common appear-
ance and if you ask me to make a list of single factors that will contribute to
national union, very high in the list will be a pair of trousers. Of course,
I fully realise that in a country in which every anna counts, trousers are
ruled out by considerations of cost alone. But what about those of us who can
afford to drop denominational dress ? I believe that they should do so. 1
am convinced that it will make a great psychological difference.
Another plea I should like to make is for more understanding of other
peoples' objections and a positive attempt to meet those objections. Let me
give you a case which is, perhaps, unimportant. Take the singing of Bande
Mataram. Though this song originally appeared in an anti-Muslim book
and in fact was the anthem of those who went to drive out Muslims from
Bengal, I fully realise that not one per cent of those who sing it even know
this fact and all sincerely regard it as a true National Anthem. I also
realise that not one per cent of Muslims were aware of the origin of the song
or objected to it. But this is no longer so. Thanks to Muslim League
propaganda, every Muslim considers Bande Mataram anti-Muslim. Then
why should we not drop it ? We are prepared to die for our country; we are
prepared to go to jail for years and years for our country; but we are not
prepared to stop singing Bande Mataram. Where is our sense of proportion?
Just imagine what the psychological effect would be if the Congress stated
that in view of Muslim objection they would gladly drop Bande Mataram
and adopt say Hindusthan Hamara which has the supreme advantage of
having been written by a Muslim.
Now I have asked you to be clear in your mind about the word
"national". I also ask you to be clear in your mind about the word

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 271
"majority". Let me tell you at once that I do not agree with those who say
that democracy is unsuited to India. The greatest good of the greatest
number can be the only basis for any action, and likewise the rule of the
majority the only rule. But what is meant by "majority"? Obviously, a
major cross-section of the people and that is the whole point. The majority
should be horizontal and not vertical, and the whole trouble in India is that
the majority is vertical. In India, therefore, the greatest good of the greatest
number should mean the greatest good of the greatest cross-section. It is
because of the vertical aspect that majority rule has become Hindu rule and
there is so much of what I have described as hidden-Hinduism in democracy.
The Mahasabha, for instance, is technically correct, indeed, in saying that
since the Hindus are in a majority, what is for the good of the Hindus is
good for India and is perfectly democratic according to accepted standards.
The fear of the vertical majority is another of the chief causes of communal
disharmony. When you talk of democracy, therefore, remember that it
means the greatest good of the greatest cross-section and not the greatest
good of the greatest community.
This, of course, is for the Hindus to remember but what about the
Muslims? Muslims should remember that the vertical majority is the direct
corollary of separate electorates and the fact that it operates against the
Muslims is au argument in favour of joint electorates. There is little use in say-
ing that democracy is unsuited to India, meaning thereby that it is unsuited
to the Muslims of India. It is for the Muslims to make democracy suitable
by converting the dreaded majority from vertical to horizontal through joint
electorates. The cross-section can only be reached through electorates.
One method of forming the cross-section that has been suggested and is,
in some quarters, actually being canvassed, is the Statutory Coalition. As
long as we have our vertical divisions, I quite agree that a coalition govern-
ment is the obvious remedy, but I am against making the coalition statutory.
We should refuse to assume that vertical divisions will continue for all time
and the coalition should be considered as making the best of a bad job. It
is, therefore, essentially a make-shift and a temporary expedient. To make
it statutory would stabilise and perpetuate, even statutorily, a situation we
wish gradually to bring to an end.
There is a greater objection still. While, at first sight, a statutory
coalition would appear to lessen communalism through the formation of a
joint government, it might actually increase it. If a coalition government is
statutory, it means that no government can be formed till the minority agrees
to join it. This places too great a weapon in the hands of the minority. By
holding up the formation of the government till their demands are met, a

272 M.R.A. BAIG
minority can make the most exaggerated demands, and, even after the
formation of the government, can constantly hold over the heads of the majo-
rity the threat of resignation till their demands are granted. To reduce it
to the absurd, the 5% Muslims of Madras and the 5% Hindus of the North
West Frontier Province could dictate any terms they like to the 95% majority.
I do not say that this is likely to happen but it is by no means beyond the
bounds of possibility. Therefore, while agreeing that as long as separate
electorates exist, there should be coalition governments, I believe that the
coalition should be by convention and not by statute.
My last point which some will, perhaps, consider to be the most im-
portant, is the economic aspect. Economically, the first thought of both the
Hindus and Muslims is bread, and the only difference seems to be that the
Hindus blame the British and the Muslims blame the Hindus for the lack of
it. A good government, which will raise the economic position and the
standard of living of the masses is, of course, the solution and this can only
be on a national basis. For instance, only debt redemption and cheap credit will
considerably improve the position; for, the Hindu Bania and the Muslim Pathan
have contributed as much as anybody to communal disharmony. But, as I have
already said, all this can only be on a National or All-India or All-Provin-
cial basis. It has no communal aspect, though it can bring about great com-
munal reactions for the good.
But communal disharmony is, unfortunately, common among the
middle-class, and though the middle-class is microscopic, due to our social
and ethnological differences, the masses more naturally follow their own middle-
class. Politically they have no other alternative owing to the existence of
separate electorates. The Muslim middle-class is, economically behind the'
•. Hindu middle-class, and this is a problem to which I have devoted some
special study. My conclusion is it is largely the Muslims' own fault that
they are behind, and the remedy is for the Muslims themselves to be more
commercial minded. Business firms may belong to members of certain
communities but business is becoming more and more joint-stock; and
assuming that Messrs. Walchand & Co. is entirely Hindu and that even the
Managing Agency Firm of Tata Sons is predominantly Parsee, any Muslim can
share in their activities and prosperity by buying shares of their companies.
But a communal case exists in the sphere of employment. While I have come
across no Muslim who does not employ Hindus, there are hundreds and hundreds'
of Hindu firms which do not employ a single Muslim. This is wrong and it is
a reason why these firms are, in Muslim eyes, Hindu firms instead of busi-
ness firms of whom the proprietors or managers are Hindus. I realise the diffi-
culty of finding suitable Muslims for mercantile posts. But it is a question

PROBLEM OF COMMUNAL DISHARMONY 273
of supply and demand. There is practically no demand and hence the supply
is small. Let there be a positive demand and, if not immediately, very soon
there will be adequate supply. Greater employment of Muslims by Hindus
will contribute much to communal harmony amongst the middle-class, which
in turn, will for certain influence the masses very quickly.
Now to conclude. I have placed before you what are my personal
views on this very difficult and highly controversial question and, perhaps, I
have emphasised what others would not and have left out what others would
emphasise. This is inevitable in any personal approach. Let me now place
before you the conclusions I have arrived at:—
I believe that, as a first step, we should develop and encourage healthy
provincialism. If it is said that there is no such thing as an Indian, there is
certainly no such thing as a Hindu or Muslim either. The whole concept of
a Hindu nation and a Muslim nation is false. But there are, undoubtedly,
such people as Bengalees, Gujaratis, Maharashtrians, etc., which include
people of all faiths. We should, I suggest, develop this tendency. Some
may say that by encouraging provincialism, instead of a Hindu-Muslim pro-
blem we shall have a dozen inter-provincial problems. I do not think so. if
we can make Mr. Fazlul Haq and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee into good
Bengalees first and Mr. K. M. Munshi and Sir Sultan Chinoy into good
Gujaratis first, to make them into good Indians it will be comparatively
simple. It is the first river that is difficult to cross. Moreover, geographical
and cultural patriotism is never so strong as ethnological patriotism and the
former can be extended; the latter cannot.
Consider how little we in Bombay have exploited the Gujarati langu-
age. It is the mother tongue of the Jains, Bhatias, Lohanas and all the
Hindus of Gujarati; it is the mother tongue of the Khojas, Bohras, Memons
and several other Muslim communities of Gujerat, and it is the mother tongue
of the Parsees. Have we ever tried to bring together the Gujarati-speaking
people? We have in Bombay a great Gujarati revivalist, author and politician
who heads all kinds of Gujarati movements. I have not seen non-Hindu
names associated with him. He typifies the Hindu nationalist to whom I
have referred earlier. In his mind only Hindus are Gujaratis and as for the
Muslims and Parsees, they may be in Gujarat but they are not of it. His
communalism is greater than his knowledge; for, 99% of the Muslims of
Gujarat are converts, so even ethnologically they are as much Gujarati as
any Jain from Ahmedabad. We have here a great bond which we should
weld. I do not think that pure religion is to blame for our' disharmony but
I repeat that our Social System is our National Enemy Number One. To
break this system will require great sacrifices and will involve social boy-

274 M R. A. BAIG
cott, ostracism and excommunication. Yet it must be done and Young
India must do it.
I believe that Separate Electorates are our Political Enemy Number
One and that the solution to this lies in the Hindus winning the confidence
of the Muslims not by words but by deeds. It is ironical that the Muslims
should feel compelled to cling to separate electorates when, in actual fact,
such electorates are against their interests. Separate electorates perpetuate
a communal majority and are, therefore, to the advantage of the majority.
Only through joint electorates will the Muslims be able to break the vicious
circle of Hindu rule. While, therefore, the majority must be statesmanlike
and generous, the Muslims must also be prepared to take a risk which, in the
long run, is in their favour. In the Muslim majority provinces there is not
even a risk. Joint electorates are in their favour from every point of view.
I believe that the adoption of a common script is essential and that
this should be the Roman script scientifically adapted. I know all the argu-
ments against it and we may certainly lose something by its adoption. But
I am convinced that we will gain much more, much of which may not
be apparent at present.
I believe that freedom from want is one of the chief antidotes to
communal disharmony but not the chief one. We hear a lot from Bengal
about the famished thinking only of food and not of religion or community.
I do not doubt it. Self-preservation is the strongest instinct. But I believe
that this is so only while there is no food. As soon as food is forthcoming,
the vicious circles of our social and political systems will immediately again
begin to rotate and make themselves felt.
I believe that the chief solution is self-decommunalisation. Political
freedom may be secured by an ingenious constitution swollen with safe-guards,
guarantees to minorities, charters of right and so on ; but that will not bring
about National Union. A Hindu-Muslim Pact will undoubtedly produce the
right atmosphere in which unifying forces can work but we will not become
national from the top but from the bottom by each one of us divesting our-
selves of our communal attitudes. British propaganda is notoriously bad but
during their anxious time, they produced a slogan which was an inspiration.
This was the single sentence : "It all depends on me". I commend this
slogan to you. National Union will only come when all of us say to ourselves
and mean i t : "National Union depends on me". My last words, therefore,
are : Let us decommunalise ourselves. Let us think big; Let us think cul-
turally; Let us think Provincial; Let us think INDIAN.