History Of Gandhi Jinnah Nehru And Chatterjee History Essay

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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi also referred as Mahatma (great soul), was born on 2nd October 1869 in Porbandar was a great Indian political and ideological leader during the Indian independence movement. He initiated resistance to tyranny (Satyagraha) by use of mass civil resistance. His philosophy was firmly based on the principle of non-violence (Ahimsa) as he applied it in the political arena on large scale. His values and leadership enabled India to gain its independence and also motivated civil rights movements and freedom across the globe. In his early life he studied law in England London University and also trained as a barrister. He strictly observed Hindu precepts of abstinence from alcohol, promiscuity and meat, (Gandhi 1997).

During the resident Indian community struggle for civil rights, this was the first time Gandhi employed civil disobedience as an emigrant lawyer in South Africa. He also organized protests for farmers, peasants and urban laborers due to discrimination and extreme land taxes after returning to India in 1915. He eventually rose to the helm of the Indian National Congress in 1921 and led a nationwide campaign in reducing poverty, encouraged religious and ethnic peace, promoting women's rights, putting an end to untouchability and boosted financial independence. Most importantly he aimed for the attainment of independence from foreign power the Swaraj, (Gandhi 1997). In 1942, he started the quit India movement and demanded immediate independence for India from the Britons.

Gandhi was in actual fact a man of religion, a Hindu to the deepest depths of himself and yet his idea of religion had nothing to do with any doctrine, customs or rituals. He was mainly concerned with his solid belief in the moral law, the law of the truth non violence and love that all appeared to be the same thing to him. His life was modest as he lived in a self sufficient residential community wearing his well known attire, the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl that was woven from yarn he spun himself. He fed on simple vegetarian foodstuff as he was a Hindu, tried out for a while with a fruitarian diet, and also carried out long fasts that symbolized self-purification and social protest. Gandhi also spent a couple of his years in prisons both in South Africa and India. As an Ahimsa proponent, he advocated for truth as a principle and encouraged others to follow suit. He was later assassinated by Nathuram Godse a Hind nationalist in 1948 as he was entering a platform ready to address a prayer meeting.

His contributions in India

Gandhi breathed new life in to the lives of many Indian's he arrived at time when India was in a political quagmire experiencing exploitation. Since he hailed from the millions of Indians speaking their language he sensitized them drawing their attention to get off the backs of the British who constantly exploited them and fight for political freedom. The spirits of his teachings were "fearlessness (Abhaya) and truth, and action allied to these, always keeping the masses in view" (Nehru 2004). The prevailing impulse in India under the British rule was persistent fear, oppressing, strangling fear. It was against this pervading fear of the state that Gandhi refused and told the people not fear.

His time in congress was characterized by democratic mass reorganization bringing new change into its constitution, before the congress was only talking and passing resolutions. He actively condemned terrorism as a basic policy of the congress. After realizing that the major props of British rule was use of fear, reputation, prestige and certain classes of people whose vested interest were focused on British rule, Gandhi attacked their foundations making them give up their titles and became symbols of degradation.

Since the older congress were used to a life of laxity and compromise, some of its members fell away due to Gandhi's powerful wave that swept through the country. Mr. M. A. Jinnah was one of them, he fell out with congress not because of the difference in opinion about the Hindu Muslim question but because he found it difficult to fit in and adapt to the fresh and advanced ideology. He never liked the company of ill-dressed people, who conversed in Hindustani and occupied the larger part of congress. Jinnah's thought of politics was of an advanced variety more appropriate to the legislative chamber. In fact for many years he felt out of place and even resolved to leave India forever, he settled down in England for quite a long time.

Life of Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah also known as Quaid-e-Azam was born on 25th December 1886 in Wazir mansion in Karachi was a politician, lawyer, statesman and fonder of Pakistan. In the year 1913, he became the leader of All India Muslim League until the period of Pakistan independence and later crowned the first governor general of Pakistan in 1947 until 1948 when he died at the age of 71. His prominence rose in the Indian National Congress at the start as he vocally expounded on the ideas of Hindu and Muslin unity.

In 1916, he significantly helped in shaping the Lucknow Pact involving the Muslim League and the Indian national congress and later turned out to be a key principal in the All India Home Rule League. In safeguarding of the Muslim political rights in the self governed India, Jinnah proposed a fourteen point constitutional reform plan that resulted in him breaking ranks with the Congress in 1920. He went ahead to disapprove Mohandas Gandhi's law of violating non cooperation movement against the British.

Later on, he advocated the two nation theory accepting the purpose of establishing a separate Muslim state in accordance with the Lahore Resolution. Having support of a block of Muslims, the league garnered a majority of reserved Muslim seats in the 1946 elections. Jinnah with the support of Muslim decided to call for a Direct Action Day after the British and Congress backed out of the cabinet mission plan. There were massive rioting in Calcutta between Hindus and Muslims due to the direct action instigated by the Muslim league and its splinter volunteer groups.

As the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress were unsuccessful in finding an agreement regarding a power sharing pact for one united India, it then finally resulted both the parties and the British to push for an agreement for independence of Pakistan and India. Jinnah, the first governor general of the new Pakistan led serious efforts in laying down the base of the new state of Pakistan, outlined key national policies and reformed millions of Muslim refugees that had migrated from India.

Life of Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru born in 1861 got his education in India and Britain where he attended the independent boy's school harrow and Trinity College in Cambridge. He was a renown Indian statesman the first and longest serving Indian prime minister in 1947 to 1964. He was one of the key figures in the Indian independence movement and elected by the Indian National Congress to occupy the office of prime minister of independent India and re elected in 1952 during the first general election which the Congress Party won. Nehru was one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement and played a vital role in the international post war era politics.

As the son of a politician Motilal Nehru, he became the leader of the left wing of the Congress Party at a fairly young age. Under the mentorship of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, he rose to become the Congress president. Nehru was a charismatic radical leader who called for India's complete independence from the British rule. Throughout the extensive struggle for India's independence he was in the long run recognized as Gandhi's political successor. Also in his entire life he was an advocate for Fabian socialism and the public sector as a way by which long standing tests of economic development would be solved by poor nations and states. At one time he became a subject of speculation during the final days of British rule in India as to whether he was involved romantically with Edwina Mountbatten the wife of the last viceroy of India.

On the 15th august 1947 the day India gained its independence Nehru was the one who raised the flag of independent India in New Delhi. Furthermore, his admiration of the merits of parliamentary democracy, broadmindedness' and secularism together with his concerns for the poor and less fortunate in the society, are known to have guided him in the formulation of socialist policies that have influenced India until today. These also were a reflection of his socialist origin of his world view, later on his daughter Indira Gandhi and his grandson Rajiv Gandhi served as prime ministers of India.

Nehru was actively involved in the economic policies of India presiding over the introduction of a modified Indian edition of state planning and control over the economy. He established the planning commission of India and in 1951 drew the first five year that chartered government's investments in agriculture and industry. He lobbied for land redistribution and initiated programs to restore irrigation canals, dams and also extensive use of fertilizer to increase agricultural production.

His contributions with Congress

In 1932 the congress lay bewildered and scattered after the enormous oppression unleashed by the government on the civil disobedience movement. This made Gandhi while in yeravda prison, declare that he would fast until death in protest of Ramsay Macdonald's grant of a separate electorate to the unhappy classes in India. Nehru was totally annoyed with Gandhi on this issue as he felt more important issues would fade into the background after a great deal of sacrifice and heroic endeavor. He was against Gandhi's religious and sentimental approach to political matters and his repeated references to God in relation with it. He became so upset when he saw the lack of precision with regard to the political goals of the national movement. More evidently he was one of the principal leaders of the congress who time and again demanded that nationalism be given a more specific economic and social idea.

Having a nationalist thought, he argued that social justice for the people cannot be provided within the previous framework since it is dissolute, old-fashioned and incapable of dynamism. He championed for the creation of new institutional frameworks that will embody the spirit of progression and modernity for the attainment of social justice for all (Chatterjee 1986). Nehru saw the ever-present problem of communalism that always dogged Indian patriotism in the 20th century as a simple and needed easy solution. The fundamental political prerequisite was the lawful assurance of full and equal rights of citizenship without religious, linguistic or other cultural biasness.

Nehru was extremely conscious of the enormous cultural gap that separated 'the them from the me'. In his writing from the book The discovery of India, he was quoted "India was in my blood and there was much in her that instinctively thrilled me…I approached her almost as an alien critic, full of dislike from the present as well as for many other relics of the past that I saw"(Nehru, 2004).

Partha Chatterjee

Partrha Chattrejee born in 1947 in Calcutta completed a PhD in political science. Academic life connects disciplines such as politics, international relations, history, sociology and anthropology including other interests such as music, theatre and soccer. Furthermore, he has extensively written on the developments of disciplinary boundaries, the challenges of categorization in the social and political arenas and disowns the self evident definitions' imposed from western notion on others.

His work mainly focuses on nationalism, colonialism, modernity, religion, post colonialism and the idea of the nation state. With special reference to India, his arguments are that the theory of a nation state is the one formed in western social scientific thinking hence may never work for all states. The realistic problem according to Chatterjee is that the post colonial administration assumed a model of nation state and therefore blinded themselves to fresh possibilities of thinking beyond western categories.

In his analysis of the collected works of Mahatma Gandhi, Chatterjee attempts to systematically expose his ideas on the state nation and the society in the Hind Swaraj. He analyses some of the fundamental elements of Gandhi's politics pointing out the Indians moral failure "the English have not taken India; we have given it to them" (Chatterjee, 1986). Generally what appears to be a critique of western civilization turns out to be a total moral critique of the fundamental aspects of a moral civil society.

He argues that the framework of a universal modernity will certainly structure the world to a profoundly colonial pattern. On the other hand the framework of democratic realization will pronounce modernity itself as unsuitable and deeply flawed. He supports his assertion by insisting that it is only by sorting out the two interrelated issues that are, civil society or modernity and political society or democracy that we will eventually start to see the proportions of power and political strategy. Furthermore he reckons that the practices of democracy in India have immensely changed in the last four decades, the project of state led modernization being modified drastically and also various forms of participation of the subaltern classes with governmental issues as well as the representative institutions.

On the part of the governed, they have succeeded in getting out of the harsh opposition from the dominant sectors in bending and stretching rules of the bourgeois politics and balanced bureaucracy to generate new forms of democratic practice. All these are the foundations of the Indian people who fought so hard to ensure balance on the part of the Indian people and the British rule. He recognizes the efforts of the likes of Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi in their efforts to bring sanity in the political rule, interestingly he emphasizes on the notion of nationalism and how it devolves all the way down to various academic disciplines and the society at large.

The relationship between Gandhi, Jinnah and Nehru

In the early years before 1920 we see Jinnah perhaps more effective in his leadership than Gandhi since he had successfully kept the Indian political forces together at the same time exerting pressure on the government. Their political styles were completely poles apart as Jinnah was basically a logician believing in the strength of logic, the efficacy of parliamentary politics and a parliamentarian. Gandhi was sectarian using religion as a personal expression and also a fundamental element of his politics from the very beginning. His leadership had an exclusively religious provincial character as he took politics to the villages of India.

As much as both Gandhi and Jinnah had great achievements to some extent they failed their people. Gandhi was honest and transparent individual living his political life openly with fear of dying a failure. However, the separation of land, the Hindu Muslim rift cannot be really equated to Gandhi's great success. Jinnah on the other hand, never realized what he set out to since the philosophy that underlain Muslims as a separate nation was completely discarded within years of Pakistan independence. Both leaders are seen to forge ahead urging their people to forget the past. Jinnah, on his election as the first president of the constituent assembly of Pakistan is quoted in his speech saying, "the question is whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done…a division had to take place" (Jinnah, 2009).

Jinnah and Gandhi both advocated for Indian independence from British rule but to some extent they shared divergent views about the future constitution. Jinnah was against the idea that congress was pushing the British government to make declarations. He says "you cannot possibly succeed in getting the British out of this country by asking them to make declarations" (Jinnah, 2009). Mr. Gandhi on the other hand said if the minorities are not satisfied (In this case the Muslims led by Jinnah) he was willing to set a tribunal of the highest level and very impartial to settle the dispute. These made Jinnah to have a feeling that congress was being discriminatory and undermined the Muslim community since the minorities have the ability to elect their representatives for their purpose.

In the quest for India's independence it is evident that congress through their leader wanted full support of the Muslims. Being a Hindu leader Gandhi says, "To me, Hindus, Muslims, Parsaris, Hajirans are all alike… I cannot be frivolous when I talk of Qaid-i-Azam Jinnah, he is my brother" Jinnah wonders and rejected the offer in his opinion Congress were not fighting the British but instead were looking for a constituent assembly which the Muslims never wanted. The aspect of religion also emerged as Jinnah is constantly seen dissatisfied with involving religion in politics, something which Gandhi was employing. He questions why Mr. Gandhi does not acknowledge that congress is Hindu and why he is not proud to say I'm Hindu as congress had a solid Hindu backing "I am not ashamed to say I am a Musalman…Muslim league has a solid backing of Musalmans of India, why then all this coumaflage"(Jinnah 2009).

Another issue that was eminent and promoted the split was the Hindu Muslim situation. As Jinnah puts it, for a long time Musalmans were regarded as a minority, "the musalmans are not a minority but a nation by any definition" (Jinnah, 2009). The Muslims in India vowed never to accept a constitution that would necessarily lead to a Hindu majority government. However both Jinnah and Gandhi accepted the fact that this division of Muslims and Hindus was one of the greatest impediments in the way of India to attain freedom and independence and learnt a lesson out of it. The acceptance of the notion that what exists is every man is a citizen an equal citizen in the political sense.

On the part of Nehru, he found it difficult to accept and acknowledge Hindu parity with Muslims. At the time congress was under the leadership of Nehru and Gandhi, they could never agree to the devolution of power in the hands of the people and more badly they would not give the Dalits or the scheduled classes a detached electoral and elect their own leaders. Jinnah succeeded in the right to detach electorate for the Muslims while Nehru and Gandhi wanted to continue keeping everyone under the diktat of the Brahman leadership. Due to the hard work of Jinnah, almost two thirds of the Muslim population escaped the enslavement.

To be fair enough to fall back and admit to the stereotype of Jinnah than seeing him for what he was, the most brilliant Asian lawyer who pressed for a constitutional case for Pakistan and won his disagreement against Nehru, Gandhi and the entire Congress and the British Empire. Although it is believed that he failed in his pursuit to remain with a unified India while guaranteeing the Muslim fraternity equal rights, my general understanding of Jinnah is that he never in actual fact abandoned the idea of a united India. For him a united India included Pakistan, he called upon Pakistanis based on the Muslim majority provinces of the northwest and east as a means of acquiring a considerable amount of power at the all India centre (Jolly 2001).

The British government at the start refused to invite the Muslim League in forming a government but due to the constant pressure of the Direct Action Day, they complied. The Muslim league under the leadership of Jinnah accepted the proposed cabinet mission plan, Nehru and the leadership of Congress also accepted it but later on turned it down. This was because they could never accept equality between the Muslims and Hindus. At the occasion when Jawaharlal Nehru made his well known statement that nobody was in a position to reject and stop the constituent assembly to enhance the powers of the centre, it obviously became untenable for Mr. Jinnah to give in to the cabinet mission plan. This was the moment we start to see unsettledness of the Muslim League and the onset of the movement for Pakistan as a sovereign state.