Former head of Amnesty India, which claims to be a humanitarian organisation, Aakar Patel, has decided it is time for him channel the spirit of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and make an elaborate defence for the creation of Pakistan. During an elaborate meltdown on micro-blogging site Twitter, Aakar Patel said it was time for Muslims in India to demand proportional representation in the Parliament and elected bodies.
Aakar Patel whitewashed the real reasons behind the creation of Pakistan and claimed that partition occurred because the Congress at the time refused to accede to the ‘legitimate’ Muslims demand for proportional representation. He claimed that Independent India has proved Jinnah correct. Thus, the ‘humanitarian activist’ blames Hindus for the Muslim demand to establish a separate Islamic state.
Aakar Patel also said that Indian Muslims should demand proportional representation. A ‘proportional representation’ would mean that a certain number of seats in elected bodies would be reserved for Muslims. Some individuals also take it to mean that a certain number of positions within the bureaucracy and the Army should be reserved for Muslims.
The activist also said that he does not agree with a ‘soft approach’ and insisted that a constitutional change from political parties on proportional representation is the minimum that Indian Muslims should accept.
While inciting Indian Muslims to demand reserved seats or separate electorates, Aakar Patel insisted that the “Hindu Rashtra will not concede rights”, implying that it is a legitimate demand.
The activist also made an ardent defence of Jinnah, the Jihadist who called for a ‘Direct Action Day’ that directly led to the massacre of Hindus. He said that Jinnag was a ‘South Bombay Gujju’ and more ‘urbane’ than the average Indian, as if that excused his Jihadist inclinations.
Quite conveniently, for a person who belongs to the coterie of individuals that accuses Narendra Modi of working against India’s constitutional valuers, Aakar Patel appears only ever willing to the opinions of the Constituent Assembly on the matter. The issue of separate electorates was discussed by the Constituent Assembly of India, charged with drafting the Constitution, and it was summarily rejected for its communal hues.
Shri R.K.Sidhva said during a debate on the matter, “My Friend, Mr. Muhammad Ismail, while arguing yesterday stated that without separate electorates the Muslims will not get justice and they will not get that representation which they desire. If my Friend, Mr. Muhammad Ismail even at this stage believes in the two-nation theory-communalism-then certainly he will have no place. But there are many persons like Mr. Lari, who told his co-religionists that “even at this stage you are talking of the two-nation theory and separate electorate: please forget all this.””
He also elaborated on why the system of proportional representation will never work in India. He stated, “In a small group this system can be exercised. Besides, those who are acquainted with the system know that proportional representation is cumbersome process and it has to be understood by an intelligent person. Mr. Lari wants to introduce this system in an electorate ranging from 50,000 to a lakh of voters. In Belgium and Switzerland there are hardly a few lakhs of population leave aside the small number of voters in their constituencies. In our country there are 40 crores of people and we have constituencies with voters numbering from 50,000 to a lakh. A system of proportional representation cannot work here. From the material supplied by the Constituent Assembly Office I find that in one country they experimented with this system and they had to revert to the majority ballot box system. In a general election this system can never work.”
Even Jawaharlal Nehru was against separate electorates as he believed it would create enmity between the majority and minority communities. Nehru remarked, “As soon as you get something that can be called political democracy, then this kind of reservation, instead of helping the party to be safeguarded and aided, is likely actually to turn against it. But where there is a third party, or where there is a n autocratic monarch, or some other ruler, it is possible that these safeguards may be good. Perhaps the monarch may play one off against the other or the foreign ruler. But where you are up against a full-blooded democracy, if you seek to give safeguards to minority, and a relatively small minority, you isolate it. May be you protect it to a slight extent, but at what cost? At the cost of isolating it and keeping it away from the main current in which the majority is going.”
“It is a bad thing for any small group or minority to make it appear to the world and to the majority that “we wish to keep apart from you, that we do not trust you, that we look to ourselves and that therefore we want safeguards and other things”,” he added. The strongest words, however, came from from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who said, in no uncertain terms, that separate electorates have no place in India.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was then the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Minorities, said, “Those who claim that in this country there are two nations and that there is nothing common between the two, and “that we must have our homeland where we can breather freely”, let them do so. I do not blame them. But those who still have that idea that they have worked for it, that they have got it and therefore they should follow the same path here, to them I respectfully appeal to go and enjoy the fruits of that freedom and to leave us in peace. There is no place here for those who claim separate representation.”
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel did not stop there. He continued, “For a community to think that its interests are different from that of the country in which it lives, is a great mistake. Assuming that we agreed today to the reservation of seats, I would consider myself to be the greatest enemy of the Muslim community, because of the consequences of that step in a secular and democratic State. Assume that you have separate electorates on a communal basis. Will you ever find a place in any of the Ministers in the Provinces or in the Centre? You have a separate interest. Here is a Ministry or a Government based on joint responsibility, where people who do not trust us, or who do not trust the majority cannot obviously come into the Government itself. Accordingly, you will have no share in the Government. You will exclude yourselves and remain perpetually in a minority.”
It is important to remember that the stalwart of the independence era was speaking at a time when the country had just recently undergone a partition. Quite clearly, he was not willing to tolerate irrational demands from the Muslim community at such a time. It was also clear that the demand for separate electorates was made by only the Muslim community and others such as Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs did not really feel the need for it.
Thus spoke the venerable Patel, “I remember that the gentleman who moved the motion here last time, in August 1947, when asking for separate electorates, I believe, said that the Muslims today were a very strong, well-knit and well-organised minority. Very good. A minority that could force the partition of the country is not a minority at all. Why do you think that you are a minority? If you are a strong, well-knit and well-organised minority, why do you want to claim safeguards, why do you want to claim privileges? It was all right when there was a third party: but that is all over. That dream is a mad dream and it should be forgotten altogether. Never think about that, do not imagine that anybody will come here to hold the scales and manipulate them continuously. All that is gone. So the future of a minority, any minority, is to trust the majority.”
Therefore, the question regarding the issue of separate electorates is one that has already been settled. It was settled during the Constituent Assembly debates itself. Hence, for activists such as Aakar Patel to rake up the issue now is a pathetic attempt to incite Indian Muslims on the promise of mythical carrots that do not exist.
There is absolutely zero chance that separate electorates will be accepted in India without a great deal of bloodshed and communal strife. There was also great consent among the politicians of the independence era that separate electorates fanned the sentiments of separatism which contributed to the formation of Pakistan. That ‘human rights activists’ of 2020 are demanding something that has the potential to unleash an era of unbridled calamity only speaks volumes about where their loyalties lie.