Sunday, July 5, 2015

Communist Party of India's Homage to Gandhiji October 2, 1947 // Communist Party's Appeal to the People of Pakistan August 15, 1947

These documents are part of a publicly accessible archive on the history of India and Pakistan. (Other papers are available under the label Archive of historical documents

CPI homage to Gandhi (File CPI/117, PC Joshi Archive, JNU)
https://tinyurl.com/qc9yqz5

The first document is a pamphlet entitled On his 79th birthday: Our Homage and Our Pledge. It contains selected citations from Gandhi's speeches and writings, on immediate matters such as communal violence, attempts at transfer of population and peace committees. The preface to this pamphlet speaks of how ‘in his grand old age, the father of the nation has been fearlessly stirring the conscience of the nation on the most vital issues on which depends our future.. by his personal intervention in defence of the Hindu minority in Noakhali, then of the Muslim minority in Calcutta and now in Delhi he has demonstrated how courage and confidence can be roused in the minority and a sense of shame in the majority for being misled by a handful of reactionary hate-mongers, and bonds of fraternity restored among the common people.. let us make the nations homage to Mahatma Gandhi the culmination of a peoples peace campaign in which Congressmen, Nationalist Muslims, Leaguers, and all Left parties and popular organizations participate.’ It quotes Gandhi on the most tragic feature of the partition then unfolding: ‘The transfer of population will be a fatal snare and it will mean nothing but greater misery. It is a shame for both. I claim myself to be equal servant of all. I wish India and Pakistan can unitedly make up their minds against the transfer of population.’ The preface ends with the hope that the Indian people would soon ‘be able to declare before millions of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Touchables and Untouchables, that the riot-demon stands buried and the minorities shall enjoy the protection of the living wall of the majority.. thus alone can we defeat the anti-national communal reactionary. And play our proud role in shaping the destiny of the new world.’

NB: I have written an article using this text as part of my analysis of the vocabulary of minority and majority.  The article also cites the Communist Party of Pakistan's leaflet marking the first anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan in 1948. The article may be read here: The Philosophy of Number

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The second document is the CP's Appeal to People of Pakistan, issued in August 1947. (File CPI/117, PC Joshi Archive, JNU). Significantly, it refers to itself as the Communist Party in Pakistan (second last paragraph). The pamphlet may be read here: 
https://tinyurl.com/ntz9ceo

Historians of the Indian independence movement and of the early history of Pakistan may find it of interest to compare the 1947 text with the analysis presented a year later, in 1948:
Communist Party of Pakistan's 1948 Document 'Who Rules Pakistan?

Also see
Remembering Gehal Singh, who gave his life for communal harmony