Jinnah and Tilak: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle
The distinguished Indian lawyer and writer, A. G. Noorani, urges his readers in this incisively argued book to look again at some of the key events and personalities in the struggle against British colonial rule in India. He begins with 'the forgotten comradeship' between Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Whatever their other differences, both felt passionately about the cause of Indian freedom. Jinnah defended Tilak in his trial in 1916 on sedition charges, and ultimately secured his acquittal. The full text of the legal proceedings, including Jinnah's powerful speeches for the defence, are included as an appendix. After Tilak's death in 1920, Jinnah continued to work closely with political leaders of all persuasions and was regarded by the British as one of their most formidable opponents. Noorani argues that only in 1937, following the conflict over the formation of the provincial ministry in the United Provinces, did Jinnah abandon his hopes of working jointly with Congress to achieve independence.
Noorani is firmly of the view that Jinnah wanted a loose confederation in which the rights of the Muslim population were fully guaranteed rather than the separate state of Pakistan as it eventually emerged in 1947. He discusses Jinnah's tactics during the crucial months in 1946 when the Cabinet Mission Plan was on the table, and argues that the Plan offered a viable possibility of avoiding Partition. In his opinion, the blame for its failure rests squarely with Congress and with Gandhi in particular, although trust and imagination were in short supply on all sides. The book includes three additional essays by the author, on respectively why the Suhrawardy-Bose plan for a united Bengal failed, the failure to provide effective safeguards for minorities in the partition scheme, and the Haroon report of 1940, together with the text of some key documents.
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