Mahatma Gandhi Part III: Gandhi’s Final Battles, Reconciliation Between Hindu’s and Muslim’s, and the End of the War for an Independent India
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Following a deluge of negative publicity related to the British governments control of India, Mahatma Gandhi (pronounced “mah-hot-mah gaan-dee”) was invited to the round table discussions regarding India’s future in September of 1931 which was held at St. James’ Palace. Gandhi was ill equipped prior to entering the meeting, stating to a friend, “I am absolutely blank, but perhaps God will help me collect my thoughts at the proper time. All I have to say is, we want independence”. Gandhi attended the meeting as the representative of India’s Congress Party, the organization initiating the movement for independence and freedom for India. Also present were several minorities including Sikhs, Muslim’s, Hindu’s, and the Dalit Caste often referred to as “the untouchables”, referred to as such for sins believed to have been committed by these individuals during an earlier incarnation (e.g. committing homicide in a previous life etc.). These groups were concerned with how their rights would be affected in a newly independent India, and therefore were requesting separate representation.
The most significant of these groups was the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Muslim League was the largest minority group, bringing with them trepidation of what a Hindu led India would force unto Indian Muslim’s. Because of this, the Muslim League wanted separate electorates and their own designated seats in Congress which would be kept permanently for Muslim’s to occupy. The concept of developing a Muslim nation (e.g. Pakistan which was created in 1947) separate of India had not yet been devised by this point, aside from a few students attending Cambridge University in England with Jinnah not embracing this idea until the 1940’s.
Because Muslim’s felt increasingly alienated by Gandhi and his negotiation strategies, the seeds of partition had become sewn which would come to fruition almost 2 decades later with the fracturing of Indian state, creating the new nation of Pakistan. The exact causes of partition are complex and remain controversial during the modern day, however Gandhi’s refusal to negotiate with additional delegates is virtually unanimously agreed upon as a catalyst which helped propel this fracture.”