To stop any political maneuvering once and for all, on March 1, 1947, Mashriqi ordered 300,000 Khaksars to assemble in Delhi by June 30th, 1947. The plan was for the Khaksars to take over Viceroy Lodge and important Government offices and installations (including radio and print media). As soon as the Khaksars had completed their mission, Mashriqi planned to announce the end of British rule. These announcements further terrified the rulers because they knew that suppressing such a large number of well-disciplined Khaksars would be impossible. According to the British Home Department’s file, as quoted by Dr. Shan Muhammad in his book: “Government officials apprehended that if the Khaksars were victorious ‘English men, women and children throughout India would be massacred. It would be more disastrous than the mutiny [Royal Indian Navy mutiny in 1946], as it would be a revolution of Muslims throughout India’” (File No. 74/2/40, Pol. Section [I]).
The new Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, who had arrived in Delhi on March 22, 1947 (with the directive to transfer power by June 1948), clearly foresaw the demise of British rule as a result of the imminent coup. Mountbatten fast-forwarded the partition plan so that it could be announced and accepted before the assembly of the Khaksars; he held hurried meetings with Indian leaders and, on May 18, 1947, rushed to England. Within days, he had the said plan approved by the rulers and returned to India in extreme haste on May 31, 1947.
Meanwhile, Mashriqi continued to increase the push for a united overthrow of British rule. On May 14, 1947, in a public meeting in Patna, Mashriqi stated in front of 50,000 attendees:
“The last remedy under the present circumstances is that one and all rise against this conspiracy as one man. Let there be a common Hindu-Muslim Revolution…”
Soon after Mountbatten landed in India, he invited Indian leaders to discuss the Transfer of Power (TOP). The Tribune (Lahore) dated June 03, 1947 reported, “Urgent call for Gandhiji From Mountbatten [June 02]…To-day is Mahatma Gandhi’s day of silence…” According to the web site mkgandhi.org, “He won’t talk to anybody on that day. He would not break this rule for any reason… Likewise, he also did not go for a walk on that day.” And yet Gandhi left “for the Viceroy’s House in response to an urgent telephonic call to meet Lord Mountbatten.” The newspaper further wrote that at 10 am, “Mr. Jinnah, President of the All-India Muslim League, was the first one to arrive, followed in quick succession by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru…” During this rushed meeting, Jinnah, Gandhi, and other leaders accepted the partition plan without even studying its border lines and repercussions.
Prior to the announcement of partition, on June 02, 1947, Mashriqi had once again offered full support to keep the country united. Mashriqi sent an SOS message to Gandhi: “The British are quitting India but leaving it divided…In case you launch a struggle against the division of India on communal or Indian States basis…I respectfully offer about one lakh [100,000]…disciplined volunteers loyally to carry out your orders.” But Gandhi would not go against the British to keep India united.
The next day, on June 3rd, Mountbatten announced the plan in a press conference and declared August 15, 1947, as the date of the Transfer of Power. In the aftermath of this announcement, Jinnah and Gandhi used their influence to ensure that the agreement would also be accepted by the All-India Muslim League and Indian National Congress parties. On June 09, 1947, the All-India Muslim League accepted the partition plan. Allama Mashriqi once again tried to prevent them from dividing the country, but he was “stabbed at a hotel where the Moslem League Council met” (The Canberra Times dated June 11, 1947). A few days later, on June 14, 1947, the Indian National Congress also accepted the partition plan.
The British completed the Mountbatten plan in extreme haste and only allotted a mere 73 days to complete the highly complex division of the country, which would determine the destiny of 400 million people. Gandhi ended his “day of silence” to accept the plan when only a few months prior (on March 31, 1947) he had stated “partition…will be over my dead body.” In fact, just days prior to Mountbatten’s return to India (on May 25, 1947), Gandhi had vehemently spoken in favor of a united India at prayer meetings. Similarly, Jinnah shockingly accepted a “truncated, mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan” (The Tribune, June 04, 1947), when on May 27, 1947 he had said: “I am, therefore, deadly against the partition of Bengal and the Punjab and we shall fight every inch against it.” Mashriqi was stabbed on the same day that the Muslim League accepted the partition plan. And the plan was accepted by all sides only a few weeks prior to the planned assembly of 300,000 Khaksars in Delhi.
So why was the Transfer of Power completed in such haste? While historians have provided some flimsy and illogical reasons, the reality is that there was no compelling reason for this rush, other than Mashriqi’s planned coup. Keep in mind that India was a very lucrative and strategically important country for the British Empire and they would not have abandoned their rule in such a hurry without a very serious threat. It is clear that the British “Transfer of Power” was not a voluntary one; it was the direct result of the actions and threat of the Khaksar Tehrik. The British were in a panic and knew they had no choice but to transfer power…or else their power would be ended by Mashriqi’s coup. And Jinnah and Gandhi knew that in order to maintain their political relevance, they had to accept partition…otherwise Mashriqi would have achieved a united independence for India, leaving no role for them.
Following partition, Jinnah and Gandhi were rewarded for their loyalty to the British. Jinnah was declared the Founder of Pakistan and appointed Governor General and Gandhi was accepted as the champion of India’s freedom. To this day, the British establishment continues to honor them with statues, artifacts in museums, conferences, and articles. As recently as April 22, 2022, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid a wreath at a Gandhi memorial. If Jinnah and Gandhi had truly ended British rule, then why would the British establishment offer their respects? Is there any other example where a Government promotes the people who brought down their rule?
Meanwhile, Allama Mashriqi’s role continues to be suppressed because he opposed the British throughout and forced them to leave India. Mashriqi’s contributions and works have been confiscated, destroyed or concealed and he is not honored with statues or artifacts. Not a single British writer has published a book on Mashriqi (giving him credit for ending British rule) and even the University of Cambridge, where Mashriqi broke all previous academic records, has not placed a plaque or created a Chair to discuss his role in the freedom movement.
The establishments in Britain, Pakistan, and India promote Jinnah and Gandhi (while suppressing Mashriqi) because it maintains the narrative that Muslims and Hindus wanted partition and that it was indispensable. And politicians in Pakistan and India continue to win elections on the back of communal politics. So, keeping communal politics alive benefits the three establishments, while unification would be against their policies and interests.
Jinnah and Gandhi’s politics and support of partition, when Mashriqi was on the verge of toppling British rule, ultimately destroyed the pride of nation; the transfer of power created an inferiority complex among the people and partition resulted in devastating consequences for the region. At least one to two million innocent Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and others were slaughtered. Millions were uprooted and lost their homes. Partition separated blood relatives and tens of thousands of females were raped and abducted. Devastation at this scale has rarely been seen in human history. With partition, two enemy nations came into being and the Kashmir issue began, which resulted in bloodshed that still continues today. Because of the enmity that exists between Pakistan and India, huge sums of money have been spent on building arms, including a nuclear arsenal. And poverty in the region continues to be widespread. By contrast, Allama Mashriqi’s vision of a united India and peace and unity among Muslim, Hindus and all other races would have been much better for the nation and the world. I call upon human rights organization and activists to condemn partition and the Two-Nation Theory. In order for a lasting peace to be achieved, the truth needs to finally be revealed.
Special Note: This piece is not meant to insult or demean anyone, but rather to share Allama Mashriqi’s perspective and unite Muslims, Hindus, and others. Some people have falsely implied that Allama Mashriqi’s movement was violent. This is not true. While Mashriqi was willing to fight for independence, his ultimate goal was to bring peace to the Indian sub-continent. In fact, community service to Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and others was a core part of the Khaksar Tehrik’s ideology and the Khaksars saved the lives of many people across communities.
The writer is the grandson and biographer of Allama Mashriqi. He is a researcher based in the USA. In this piece the author has used information from his research and from family and Khaksars, who were both part of the freedom movement. [email protected]