• December 11, 2023

Jogendra Nath Mandal’s Resignation letter To PM Liaqat Ali Khan

My dear Prime Minister

It is with a heavy heart and a sense of utter frustration at the failure of my lifelong mission to uplift the backward Hindu masses of East Bengal that I feel compelled to tender resignation of my membership of your cabinet. It is proper that I should set forth in detail the reasons which have prompted me to take this decision at this important juncture of the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent. 

1. Before I narrate the remote and immediate causes of my resignation, it may be useful to give a short background of the important events that have taken place during the period of my co-operation with the League. Having been approached by a few prominent League leaders of Bengal in February 1943, I agreed to work with them in the Bengal Legislative Assembly. After the fall of the Fazlul Haq ministry in March 1943, with a party of 21 Scheduled Caste M.L.A.s, I agreed to cooperate with Khwaja Nazimuddin, the then leader of the Muslim League Parliamentary Party who formed the Cabinet in April 1943. Our co-operation was conditional on certain specific terms, such as the inclusion of three Scheduled Caste Ministers in the Cabinet, sanctioning of a sum of Rupees Five Lakhs as annual recurring grant for the education of the Scheduled Castes, and the unqualified application of the communal ratio rules in the matter of appointment to Government services. 

2. Apart from these terms, the principal objectives that prompted me to work in co-operation with the muslim league was, first that the economic interests of the muslimsin bengal were generally identical with those of the scheduled castes. Muslims weremostly cultivators and labourers, and so were members of the scheduled castes. Onesection of muslims were fishermen, so was a section of the scheduled castes as well, andsecondly that the scheduled castes and the muslims were both educationally backward. Iwas persuaded that my co-operation with the league and its ministry would lead to theun dertaking on a wide scale of legislative and administrative measures which, while promoting the mutual welfare of the vas bulk of bengal’s population, and underminingthe foundations of vested interest and privilege, would further the cause of communalpeace and harmony. It may be mentioned here that khwaja nazimuddin took threescheduled caste ministers in his cabinet and appointed three parliamentary secretariesfrom amongst the members of my community.

Suhrawardy Ministry

3. After the general elections held in march 1946 mr. H. S. Suhrawardy became the leaderof the league parliamentary party in march 1946 and formed the league ministry inapril 1946. I was the only scheduled caste member returned on the federation ticket. Iwas included in mr. Suhrawardy’s cabinet. The 16th day of august of that year wasobserved in calcutta as ‘the direct action day’ by the muslim league. It resulted, as youknow, in a holocaust. Hindus demanded my resignation from the league ministry. My

Life was in peril. I began to receive threatening letters almost every day. But I remained steadfast in my policy. Moreover, I issued an appeal through our journal ‘jagaran’ to the scheduled caste people to keep themselves aloof from the bloody feud between the Congress and the Muslim League, even at the risk of my life. I cannot but gratefully acknowledge the fact that I was saved from the wrath of infuriated Hindu mobs by my caste Hindu neighbors. The Calcutta carnage was followed by the ‘noakhali riot’ in October 1946. There, Hindus, including scheduled castes, were killed, and hundreds were converted to Islam. Hindu women were raped and abducted. Members of my community also suffered loss of life and property. Immediately after these happenings, I visited Tipperah and Feni and saw some riot-affected areas. The terrible sufferings of Hindus overwhelmed me with grief, but I still continued the policy of cooperation with the Muslim League. Immediately after the massive Calcutta killing, a no-confidence motion was moved against the suhrawardy ministry. It was only due to my efforts that the support of four Anglo-Indian members and of four scheduled caste members of the assembly who had hitherto been with the Congress could be secured, but for which the ministry would have been defeated.

4- October 1946 most unexpectedly came to me through Mr. Suhrawardy: the offer of a seat in the interim government of India. After a good deal of hesitation and being given only one hour to take my final decision, I consented to accept the offer, subject to the condition only that I should be permitted to resign if my leader, Dr. Br Ambedkar, disapproved of my action. Fortunately, however, I received his approval in a telegram sent from London before I left for Delhi to take over as a law member. I persuaded Mr. Suhrawardy, the then chief minister of Bengal, to agree to take two ministers in his cabinet in my place and to appoint two parliamentary secretaries from the scheduled case federation.

5-I joined the Interim Government on November 1, 1946. After about a month, when I paid a visit to Calcutta, Mr. Suhrawardy apprised me of the communal tension in some parts of East Bengal, especially in Gopalganj Subdivision, where the Namahsudras were in the majority. He requested that I visit those areas and address meetings of Muslims and Namahsudras. The fact was that Namahsudras in those areas had made preparations for retaliation. I addressed about a dozen largely attended meetings. The result was that Namahsudras gave up the idea of retaliation. Thus, an inevitable and dangerous communal disturbance was averted.

6- After a few months, the British Government made its June 3 Statement (1947), embodying certain proposals for the partition of India. The whole country, especially the entire non-Muslim India, was startled. For the sake of truth, I must admit that I have always considered the demand of Pakistan by the Muslim League as a bargaining counter. Although I honestly felt that in the context of India as a whole, Muslims had legitimate cause for grievance against upper-class Hindu chauvinism, I held the view very strongly indeed that the creation of Pakistan would never solve the communal problem. On the contrary, it would aggravate communal hatred and bitterness. Besides, I maintained that it would not ameliorate the condition of Muslims in Pakistan. The inevitable result of the partition of the country would be to prolong, if not perpetuate, the poverty, illiteracy, and miserable condition of the toiling masses of both states. I further apprehended that Pakistan might turn out to be one of the most backward and undeveloped countries in Southeast Asia.

7-I must make it clear that I have thought that an attempt would be made, as is being done at present, to develop Pakistan as a purely Islamic state based on the Sharia and the injunctions and formulae of Islam. I presumed that it would be set up in all essentials after the pattern contemplated in the Muslim League resolution adopted in Lahore on March 23, 1940. That resolution stated inter alia that,

 (I) geographically contiguous areas are demarcated into regions which should be constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the northwestern and eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent States in which the Constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign and

(II) adequate effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the Constitution for minorities in these units and in these regions for the protection of their religious cultural political administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them Implicitly in this formula were

(a) that North Western and Eastern Muslim zones should be constituted into two independent states; 

(b) that the constituent units of these states should be autonomous and sovereign; 

(c) that minorities guarantees should be in respect of rights as well as of interest and extend to every sphere of their lives; and 

(d) that constitutional provisions should be made in these regards in consultation with the minorities themselves. I was fortified in my faith in this resolution and the professions of the League Leadership by the statement Qaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was pleased to make on August 11, 1947, as the President of the Constituent Assembly, giving solemn assurance of equal treatment for Hindus and Muslims alike and calling upon them to remember that they were all Pakistanis. There was then no question of dividing the people on the basis of religion into full-fledged Muslim citizens and zimmies [1] being under the perpetual custody of the Islamic State and its Muslim citizens. Every one of these pledges is being flagrantly violated, apparently to your knowledge and with your approval, in complete disregard of the Qaid e Azam’s wishes and sentiments and to the detriment and humiliation of the minorities.

8. It may also be mentioned in this connection that I was opposed to the partition of Bengal. In launching a campaign in this regard I had to face not only tremendous resistance from all quarters but also unspeakable abuse, insult and dishonour. With great regret, I recollect those days when 32 crores of Hindus of this Indo-Pakistan Sub- continent turned their back against me and dubbed me as the enemy of Hindus and Hinduism, but I remained undaunted and unmoved in my loyalty to Pakistan. It is a matter of gratitude that my appeal to 7 million Scheduled Caste people of Pakistan evoked a ready and enthusiastic response from them. They lent me their unstinted support sympathy and encouragement. 

9. After the establishment of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, you formed the Pakistan Cabinet, in which I was included, and Khwaja Nazimuddin formed a provisional Cabinet for East Bengal. On August 10, I had spoken to Khwaja Nazimuddin in Karachi and requested that he take two Scheduled Caste Ministers in the East Bengal Cabinet. He promised to do the same sometime later. What happened subsequently in this regard was a record of unpleasant and disappointing negotiations with you, Khwaja Nazimuddin, and Mr. Nurul Amin, the present Chief Minister of East Bengal. When I realized that Khwaja Nazimuddin was avoiding the issue with this or that excuse, I became almost impatient and exasperated. I further discussed the matter with the presidents of the Pakistan Muslim League and its East Bengal Branch. Ultimately, I brought the matter to your attention. You were pleased to discuss the subject with Khwaja Nazimuddin in my presence at your residence. Khwaja Nazimuddin agreed to take one Scheduled Caste Minister on his return to Dacca.

As I had already become skeptical about the assurance of Khwaja Nazimuddin, I wanted to be definite about the timeframe. I insisted that he must act in this regard within a month, failing which I should be at liberty to resign. Both you and Khwaja Nazimuddin agreed to the condition. But alas! You did not perhaps mean what you said. Khwaja Nazimuddin did not keep his promise. After Mr. Nurul Amin became the Chief Minister of East Bengal, I again took up the matter with him. He also followed the same old, familiar tactics of evasion. When I again called your attention to this matter prior to your visit to Dacca in 1949, you were pleased to assure me that minority ministers would be appointed in East Bengal, and you asked for 2/3 names from me for consideration. In deference to your wish, I sent you a note stating the Federation Group in the East Bengal Assembly and suggesting three names.

When I made inquiries as to what had happened on your return from Dacca, you appeared to be very cold and only remarked, “Let Nurul Amin return from Delhi”. After a few days, I again pressed the matter. But you avoided the issue. I was then forced to come to the conclusion that neither you nor Mr. Nurul Amin had any intention to take any Scheduled Caste Minister in the East Bengal Cabinet. Apart from this, I was noticing that Mr. Nurul Amin and some League leaders in East Bengal were trying to create disruption among the members of the Scheduled Caste Federation. It appeared to me that my leadership and wide-spread popularity were considered ominous.

My outspokenness, vigilance, and sincere efforts to safeguard the interests of the minorities of Pakistan in general and of the Scheduled Caste in particular were considered a matter of annoyance to the East Bengal government and a few League leaders. Undaunted, I took a firm stand to safeguard the interests of the minorities in Pakistan.

10. When the question of the partition of Bengal arose, the Scheduled Caste people were alarmed at the anticipated dangerous result of partition. Representations on their behalf were made to Mr. Suhrawardy, the then Chief Minister of Bengal, who was pleased to issue a statement to the press declaring that none of the rights and privileges hitherto enjoyed by the Scheduled Caste People would be curtailed after partition and that they would not only continue to enjoy the existing rights and privileges but also receive additional advantages. This assurance was given by Mr. Suhrawardy not only in his personal capacity but also in his capacity as the Chief Minister of the League Ministry. To my utter regret, it is to be stated that after partition, particularly after the death of Qaid-e-Azam, the Scheduled Castes have not received a fair deal in any matter.

You will remember that from time to time I brought the grievances of the Scheduled Castes to your attention. On several occasions, I explained to you the nature of inefficient administration in East Bengal. I made serious charges against the police administration. I brought to your attention incidents of barbarous atrocities perpetrated by the police on frivolous grounds. I did not hesitate to bring to your attention the anti-Hindu policy pursued by the East Bengal government, especially the police administration and a section of Muslim League leaders.

11. The first incident that shocked me took place at a village called Digharkul near Gopalganj, where, on the false complaint of a Muslim, brutal atrocities were committed against the local Namahsudras. The fact was that a Muslim who was going in a boat attempted to throw his net to catch fish. A Namahsudra who was already there for the same purpose opposed the throwing of the net in front of him. This was followed by some altercation, and the Muslim got annoyed and went to the nearby Muslim village and made a false complaint that he and a woman in his boat had been assaulted by the Namahsudras. At that time, the S.D.O. of Gopalganj was passing in a boat through the canal, who, without making any inquiries, accepted the complaint as true and sent armed police to the spot to punish the Namahsudras. The armed police came, and the local Muslims also joined them. They not only raided some houses of the Namahsudras but mercilessly beat both men and women, destroyed their properties, and took away valuables. The merciless beating of a pregnant woman resulted in an abortion on the spot. This brutal action on the part of the local authority created panic in a large area.

12. The second incidence of police oppression took place in the early part of 1949 under P.S. Gournadi in the district of Barisal. Here, a quarrel took place between two groups of members of a union board. One group, which was in the good books of the police, conspired against the opponents on the plea of being Communists. On the information of a threat of attack on the police station, the O.C., Gournadi, requisitioned armed forces from the headquarters. The police, helped by the armed forces, then raided a large number of houses in the area and took away valuable properties, even from the house of absentee owners who were never in politics, far less in the Communist Party. A large number of people over a wide area were arrested. Teachers and students of many high English schools were Communist suspects and unnecessarily harassed. This area being very near my native village, I was informed of the incident. I wrote to the District Magistrate and the S.P. for an inquiry. A section of the local people also prayed for an inquiry by the S.D.O. But no inquiry was held. Even my letters to the district authorities were not acknowledged. I then brought this matter to the attention of the highest authority in Pakistan, including yourself, but to no avail.

13. The atrocities perpetrated by the police and the military on innocent Hindus, especially the Scheduled Castes of Habibgarh in the District of Sylhet, deserve description. Innocent men and women were brutally tortured, some women ravished, their houses raided, and their properties looted by the police and the local Muslims. Military pickets were posted in the area. The military not only oppressed these people and took away stuff forcibly from Hindu houses, but also forced Hindus to send their women-folk at night to the camp to satisfy the carnal desires of the military. This fact I also brought to your attention. You assured me of a report on the matter, but unfortunately, no report was forthcoming.

14. Then occurred the incident at the Nachole in the District of Rajshahi, where, in the name of the suppression of Communists, not only the police but also the local Muslims, in collaboration with the police, oppressed the Hindus and looted their properties. The Santhals then crossed the border and came over to West Bengal. They narrated the stories of atrocities wantonly committed by Muslims and the police.

15. An instance of callous and cold-blooded brutality is furnished by the incident that took place on December 20, 1949, in Kalshira under P.S. Mollarhat in the District of Khulna. What happened was that late at night, four constables raided the house of one Joydev Brahma in village Kalshira in search of some alleged Communists. At the scent of the police, half a dozen young men, some of whom might have been Communists, escaped from the house. 

The police constable entered the house and assaulted the wife of Joydev Brahma, whose cry attracted her husband and a few companions who escaped from the house. They became desperate, re-entered the house, and found four constables with only one gun. Perhaps that might have encouraged the young men who struck a blow on an armed constable who died on the spot. The young men then attacked another constable when the other two ran away and raised an alarm, which attracted some neighboring people who came to their rescue. As the incident took place before sunrise when it was dark, the assailants fled with the dead body before the villagers could come. 

The S.P. of Khulna and a contingent of military and armed police appeared on the scene in the afternoon of the following day. In the meantime, the assailants fled, and the intelligent neighbors also fled away. But the bulk of the villagers remained in their houses, as they were absolutely innocent and failed to realize the consequences of what was happening. Subsequently, the S.P., the military, and the armed police began to mercilessly beat the innocents of the entire village, encouraging the neighboring Muslims to take away their properties. 

A number of people were killed, and men and women were forcibly converted. Household deities were broken, and places of worship were desecrated and destroyed. Several women were raped by the police, military, and local Muslims. Thus, a veritable hell was let loose not only in the village of Kalshira, which is 1-1/2 miles in length with a large population, but also in a number of neighboring Namahsudra villages. 

The village of Kalshira was never suspected by the authorities to be a place of Communist activities. Another village called Jhalardanga, which was at a distance of 3 miles from Kalshira, was known to be a center of Communist activities. This village was raided by a large contingent of police on that day for the hunt of the alleged Communists, a number of whom fled away and took shelter in the aforesaid house of village Kalshira, which was considered to be a safe place for them.

16. I visited Kalshira and one or two neighboring villages on February 28, 1950. The S.P., Khulna, and some of the prominent League leaders of the district were with me. When I came to the village of Kalshira, I found the place desolate and in ruins. I was told in the presence of S.P. that there were 350 homesteads in this village; of these, only three had been spared and the rest had been demolished. Country boats and heads of cattle belonging to the Namasudras had been all taken away. I reported these facts to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and Inspector General of Police of East Bengal, as well as to you.

17. It may be mentioned in this connection that the news of this incident was published in the West Bengal Press, and this created some unrest among the Hindus there. A number of Kalshira sufferers, both men and women, homeless and destitute, had also come to Calcutta and narrated the stories of their sufferings, which resulted in some communal disturbances in West Bengal in the last part of January.

18. It must be noted that stories of a few incidents of communal disturbance that took place in West Bengal as a sort of repercussion of the incidents at Kalshira were published in exaggerated form in the East Bengal press. In the second week of February 1950, when the Budget Session of the East Bengal Assembly commenced, the Congress Members sought permission to move two adjournment motions to discuss the situation created at Kalshira and Nachole. But the motions were disallowed. The members of Congress walked out of the Assembly in protest. This action of the Hindu members of the Assembly annoyed and enraged not only the ministers but also the Muslim leaders and officials of the province. This was perhaps one of the principal reasons for the Dacca and East Bengal riots in February 1950.

19. It is significant that on February 10, 1950, at about 10 o’clock in the morning, a woman was painted red to show that her breast was cut off in the Calcutta riot and was taken around the East Bengal Secretariat in Dacca. Immediately, the government servants of the Secretariat stuck to work and came out in procession, raising slogans of revenge against the Hindus. The procession began to swell as it passed over a distance of more than a mile. It ended in a meeting at Victoria Park at about 12 o’clock in the afternoon, where violent speeches against the Hindus were delivered by several speakers, including officials. The fun of the whole show was that while the employees of the Secretariat went out of procession, the Chief Secretary of the East Bengal Government was holding a conference with his West Bengal counterpart in the same building to find out ways and means to stop communal disturbances in the two Bengals.

20. The riot started at about 1 p.m. simultaneously all over the city. Arson, looting of Hindu shops and houses, and killing of Hindus, wherever they were found, commenced in full swing in all parts of the city. I got evidence even from the Muslims that arson and looting were committed even in the presence of high police officials. Jewelry shops belonging to the Hindus were looted in the presence of police officers. They not only did not attempt to stop looting but also helped the looters with advice and direction. Unfortunately for me, I reached Dacca at 5 o’clock in the afternoon on the same day, February 10, 1950. To my utter dismay, I had the occasion to see and know things from close quarters. What I saw and learned from firsthand information was simply staggering and heartbreaking.

21. The reasons for the Dacca riot were mainly five:

(i) To punish the Hindus for the daring action of their representatives in the Assembly in their expression of protest by walking out of the Assembly when two adjournment motions on Kalshira and Nachole affairs were disallowed. 

(ii) Dissension and differences between the Suhrawardy Group and the Nazimuddin Group in the Parliamentary Party were becoming acute. 

(iii) Apprehension of the launch of a movement for the re-union of East and West Bengal by both Hindu and Muslim leaders made the East Bengal Ministry and the Muslim League nervous. They wanted to prevent such a move. They thought that any large-scale communal riot in East Bengal was sure to produce reactions in West Bengal, where Muslims might be killed. It was believed that the result of such riots in both East and West Bengal would prevent any movement for the re-union of Bengals. 

(iv) A feeling of antagonism between the Bengali Muslims and non-Bengali Muslims in East Bengal was gaining ground. This could only be prevented by creating hatred between Hindus and Muslims in East Bengal. The language question was also connected with it, and 

(v) The consequences of non-devaluation and the Indo-Pakistan trade deadlock on the economy of East Bengal were being felt most acutely in urban and rural areas, and the Muslim League members and officials wanted to divert the attention of the Muslim masses from the impending economic breakdown through some sort of Jihad against Hindus.

22. During my nine days’ stay in Dacca, I visited most of the riot-affected areas of the city and suburbs. I also visited Mirpur under P.S. Tejgaon. The news of the killing of hundreds of innocent Hindus in trains on railway lines between Dacca and Narayanganj and Dacca and Chittagong gave me the rudest shock. On the second day of the Dacca riot, I met the Chief Minister of East Bengal and requested that he issue immediate instructions to the district authorities to take all precautionary measures to prevent the spreading of the riot in district towns and rural areas. On February 20, 1950, I reached Barisal town and was astounded to learn of the happenings in Barisal. In the district town, a number of Hindu houses were burned, and a large number of Hindus were killed. 

I visited almost all the riot-affected areas in the district. I was simply puzzled to find the havoc wrought by the Muslim rioters even at places like Kasipur, Madhabpasha, and Lakutia, which were within a radius of six miles from the district town and were connected with motorable roads. At Madhabpasha Zamindar’s house, about 200 people were killed and 40 injured. A place called Muladi witnessed a dreadful hell. At Muladi Bandar alone, the number killed would total more than three hundred, as was reported to me by the local Muslims, including some officers. I visited Muladi village also, where I found skeletons of dead bodies at some places.

 I found dogs and vultures eating corpses on the riverside. I got the information there that after the whole-scale killing of all adult males, all the young girls were distributed among the ringleaders of the miscreants. At a place called Kaibartakhali under P.S. Rajapur, 63 people were killed. Hindu houses within a stone’s throw of the said Thana office were looted, burned, and inmates killed. All Hindu shops in Babuganj Bazar were looted and then burned, and a large number of Hindus were killed. From the detailed information received, the conservative estimate of casualties was placed at 2,500 killed in the District of Barisal alone. The total casualties of the Dacca and East Bengal riots were estimated to be in the neighborhood of 10,000. The lamentation of women and children who had lost their all, including near and dear ones, melted my heart. I only asked myself, “What was coming to Pakistan in the name of Islam?”

23. The large-scale exodus of Hindus from Bengal commenced in the latter part of March. It appeared that within a short time, all the Hindus would migrate to India. A war cry was raised in India. The situation became extremely critical. A national calamity appeared to be inevitable. The apprehended disaster, however, was avoided by the Delhi Agreement of April 8. With a view to reviving the already lost morale of the panicky Hindus, I undertook an extensive tour of East Bengal. I visited a number of places in the districts of Dacca, Barisal, Faridpur, Khulna, and Jessore. I addressed dozens of largely attended meetings and asked the Hindus to take courage and not leave their ancestral hearths and homes. I had this expectation that the East Bengal government and Muslim League leaders would implement the terms of the Delhi Agreement. But with the passage of time, I began to realize that neither the East Bengal government nor the Muslim League leaders were really earnest in the matter of the implementation of the Delhi Agreement. The East Bengal government was not only ready to set up machinery as envisaged in the Delhi Agreement but also was not willing to take effective steps for the purpose. A number of Hindus who returned to their native villages immediately after the Delhi Agreement were not given possession of their homes and lands, which were occupied in the meantime by the Muslims.

24. My suspicion about the intention of League leaders was confirmed when I read editorial comments by Moulana Akram Khan, the President of the Provincial Muslim League, in the “Baisak” issue of a monthly journal called ‘Mohammadi’. In commenting on the first radio broadcast of Dr. A.M. Malik, Minister for Minority Affairs of Pakistan, from Dacca Radio Station, wherein he said, “Even Prophet Mohammed had given religious freedom to the Jews in Arabia”, Moulana Akram Khan said, “Dr.Malik would have done well had he not made any reference in his speech to the Jews of Arabia. It is true that the Jews in Arabia had been given religious freedom by Prophet Mohammed, but it was the first chapter of history. The last chapter contains the definite direction of Prophet Mohammed, which runs as follows: “Drive away all the Jews out of Arabia”. Even despite this editorial comment by a person who held a very high position in the political, social, and spiritual life of the Muslim community, I entertained some expectation that the Nurul Amin Ministry might not be so insincere. But that expectation of mine was totally shattered when Mr.Nurul Amin selected D.N. Barari as a Minister to represent the minorities in terms of the Delhi Agreement, which clearly states that to restore confidence in the minds of the minorities, one of their representatives will be taken in the Ministry of East Bengal and West Bengal Govt.

25. In one of my public statements, I expressed the view that the appointment of D.N. Barari as a Minister representing the minorities not only did not help restore any confidence but, on the contrary, destroyed all expectations and illusions, if there were any in the minds of the minorities about the sincerity of Mr.Nurul Amin’s government. My own reaction was that Mr.Nurul Amin’s government was not only insincere but also wanted to defeat the principal objectives of the Delhi Agreement. I again repeat that D.N. Barari does not represent anybody except himself. He was returned to the Bengal Legislature Assembly on the Congress ticket with the money and organization of the Congress. He opposed the Scheduled Caste Federation candidates. Some time after his election, he betrayed the Congress and joined the Federation. When he was appointed Minister, he had ceased to be a member of the Federation too. I know that East Bengal Hindus agree with me that, by antecedents, character, and intellectual attainments, Barari is not qualified to hold the position of Minister as envisaged in the Delhi Agreement. 


26. I recommended three names to Mr.Nurul Amin for this office. One of the people I recommended was an MA, LL.B., Advocate, Dacca High Court. He was Minister for more than 4 years in the first Fazlul Huq Ministry in Bengal. He was chairman of the Coal Mines Stowing Board, Calcutta, for about 6 years. He was the senior vice president of the Scheduled Caste Federation. My second nominee was a B.A., LL.B. He was a member of the Legislative Council for 7 years in the pre-reform regime. I would like to know what earthly reasons there might be for Mr.Nurul Amin not selecting any of these two gentlemen and appointing instead a person whose appointment as Minister I strongly objected to for very righteous considerations. Without any fear of contradiction, I can say that this action of Mr.Nurul Amin in selecting Barari as a Minister in terms of the Delhi Agreement is conclusive proof that the East Bengal Govt. was neither serious nor sincere in its professions about the terms of the Delhi Agreement, whose main purpose is to create such conditions as would enable the Hindus to continue to live in East Bengal with a sense of security for their life, property, honor, and religion.

27. I would like to reiterate in this connection my firm conviction that the East Bengal government is still following the well-planned policy of squeezing Hindus out of the province. In my discussion with you on more than one occasion, I gave expression to this view of mine. I must say that this policy of driving out Hindus from Pakistan has succeeded completely in West Pakistan and is nearing completion in East Pakistan too. The appointment of D.N. Barari as a Minister and the East Bengal Government’s unceremonious objection to my recommendation in this regard strictly conform to the name of what they call an Islamic State. Pakistan has not given the Hindus complete satisfaction and a full sense of security. They now want to get rid of the Hindu intelligentsia so that the political, economic, and social life of Pakistan may not be influenced in any way by them.

29. Coming now to the present condition and the future of Hindus in East Bengal as a result of the Delhi Agreement, I should say that the present condition is not only unsatisfactory but absolutely hopeless and that the future is completely dark and dismal. The confidence of Hindus in East Bengal has not been restored in the least. The agreement is treated as a mere scrap of paper by the East Bengal Government and the Muslim League. The fact that a pretty large number of Hindu migrants, mostly Scheduled Caste cultivators, are returning to East Bengal is no indication that confidence has been restored. It only indicates that their stay and rehabilitation in West Bengal or elsewhere in the Indian Union have not been possible. The sufferings of refugee life are compelling them to go back to their homes. Besides, many of them are going back to bring movable articles and settle or dispose of immovable properties. The fact that no serious communal disturbance has recently taken place in East Bengal is not to be attributed to the Delhi Agreement. It could not simply continue even if there were no agreement or pact.

30. It must be admitted that the Delhi Pact was not an end in itself. It was intended that such conditions would be created, as they might effectively help resolve so many disputes and conflicts existing between India and Pakistan. But during this period of six months after the agreement, no dispute or conflict has really been resolved. On the contrary, communal propaganda and anti-India propaganda by Pakistan, both at home and abroad, are continuing in full swing. The observance of Kashmir Day by the Muslim League all over Pakistan is an eloquent proof of communal anti-India propaganda by Pakistan. The recent speech of the Governor of Punjab (Pak) saying that Pakistan needed a strong army for the security of Indian Muslims has betrayed the real attitude of Pakistan towards India. It will only increase the tension between the two countries.

31. What is the current condition in East Bengal? About fifty lakh Hindus have left since the partition of the country. Apart from the East Bengal riot of last February, the reasons for such a large-scale exodus of Hindus are many. The boycott by Muslims of Hindu lawyers, medical practitioners, shopkeepers, traders, and merchants has compelled Hindus to migrate to West Bengal in search of their means of livelihood. The wholesale requisition of Hindu houses, even without following due process of law, and the non-payment of any rent whatsoever to the owners have compelled them to seek Indian shelter. Payments of rent to Hindu landlords were stopped long before. Besides, the Ansars against whom I received complaints all over are a standing menace to the safety and security of Hindus. Inferences in matters of education and methods adopted by the Education Authority for Islamization frightened the teaching staff of secondary schools and colleges out of their familiar moorings. They have left East Bengal. As a result, most educational institutions have closed.

I have received information that sometime ago the Educational Authority issued a circular in secondary schools enjoining the compulsory participation of teachers and students of all communities in recitation of the Holy Koran before school work commenced. Another circular requires headmasters of schools to name the different blocks of the premises after 12 distinguished Muslims, such as Jinnah, Iqbal, Liaquat Ali, Nazimuddin, etc. Only very recently, in an educational conference held at Dacca, the President disclosed that out of 1,500 high English schools in East Bengal, only 500 were working. 

Owing to the migration of medical practitioners There are hardly any means of proper treatment for patients. Almost all the priests who used to worship the household deities at Hindu houses have left. Important places of worship have been abandoned. The result is that the Hindus of East Bengal now have hardly any means to follow religious pursuits and perform social ceremonies like marriage, where the services of a priest are essential. Artisans who made images of gods and goddesses have also left. Hindu Presidents of Union Boards have been replaced by Muslims by coercive measures with the active help and connivance of the police and Circle Officers. Hindu headmasters and secretaries of schools have been replaced by Muslims. The lives of the few Hindu government servants have been made extremely miserable, as many of them have either been superseded by junior Muslims or dismissed without sufficient or any cause. Only very recently, a Hindu Public Prosecutor of Chittagong was arbitrarily removed from service, as has been made clear in a statement made by Srijukta Nellie Sengupta, against whom at least no change of anti-Muslim bias, prejudice, or malice can be leveled.

32. The commission of thefts and dacoities, even with murder, is going on as before. Thana offices seldom record half the complaints made by Hindus. The fact that the abduction and rape of Hindu girls have been reduced to a certain extent is due only to the fact that there is no caste Hindu girl between the ages of 12 and 30 living in East Bengal at present. The few depressed-class girls who live in rural areas with their parents are not even spared by Muslim goondas. I have received information about a number of incidents of rape of Scheduled Caste girls by Muslims. Full payment is seldom made by Muslim buyers for the price of jute and other agricultural commodities sold by Hindus in market places. As a matter of fact, there is no operation of law, justice, or fair play in Pakistan, so far as Hindus are concerned.

33. Leaving aside the question of East Pakistan, let me now refer to West Pakistan, especially Sind. The West Punjab had, after partition, about a lakh people of Scheduled Castes. It may be noted that a large number of them were converted to Islam. Only four out of a dozen Scheduled Caste girls abducted by Muslims have yet to be recovered, in spite of repeated petitions to the Authority. The names of those girls and the names of their abductors were supplied to the government. The last reply recently given by the officer-in-charge of the recovery of abducted girls said that “his function was to recover Hindu girls, and ‘Achhuts’ (scheduled castes) were not Hindus”. The condition of the small number of Hindus that are still living in Sind and Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, is simply deplorable.

 I have got a list of 363 Hindu temples and gurdwaras in Karachi and Sind (which is by no means an exhaustive list) that are still in the possession of Muslims. Some of the temples have been converted into cobbler’s shops, slaughterhouses, and hotels. None of the Hindus have come back. Possession of their landed properties was taken away from them without any notice and distributed amongst refugees and local Muslims. I personally know that 200 to 300 Hindus were declared non-evacuees by the custodian a pretty long time ago. But up until now, properties have not been restored to any one of them. Even the possession of Karachi Pinjirapole 

[2] has not been restored to the trustees, although it was declared non-evacuee property sometime ago. In Karachi, I had received petitions from many unfortunate fathers and husbands of abducted Hindu girls, mostly from Scheduled Castes. I drew the attention of the 2nd Provisional Government to this fact. There was little or no effect. To my extreme regret, I received information that a large number of Scheduled Castes who are still living in Sind have been forcibly converted to Islam.

34. Now, this being in brief the overall picture of Pakistan so far as the Hindus are concerned, I shall not be unjustified in stating that Hindus of Pakistan have to all intents and purposes been rendered “stateless” in their own houses. They have no other fault than that they profess the Hindu religion. Declarations are being repeatedly made by Muslim League leaders that Pakistan is and shall be an Islamic state. Islam is being offered as the sovereign remedy for all earthly evils. In the matchless dialectics of capitalism and socialism, you present the exhilarating democratic synthesis of Islamic equality and fraternity. In that grand setting of the Sharia, Muslims alone are rulers, while Hindus and other minorities are zimmies who are entitled to protection at a price, and you know more than anybody else, Mr.Prime Minister, what that price is. After an anxious and prolonged struggle, I have come to the conclusion that Pakistan is no place for Hindus to live and that their future is darkened by the ominous shadow of conversion or liquidation. 

The bulk of the upper-class Hindus and politically conscious scheduled castes have left East Bengal. Those Hindus who will continue to stay accursed in Pakistan will, I am afraid, in gradual stages and in a planned manner be either converted to Islam or completely exterminated. It is really amazing that a man of your education, culture, and experience should be an exponent of a doctrine fraught with so great a danger to humanity and subversive of all principles of equality and good sense. I may tell you and your fellow workers that Hindus will allow themselves, whatever the treat or temptation, to be treated as Zimmies in the land of their birth. Today they may, as indeed many of them have already done, abandon their hearts and homes in sorrow but in panic. Tomorrow, they strive for their rightful place in the economy of life. Who knows what is in the womb of the future? When I am convinced that my continuance in office in the Pakistan Central Government is not of any help to Hindus, I should not, with a clear conscience, create the false impression in the minds of the Hindus of Pakistan and peoples abroad that Hindus can live there with honor and with a sense of security in respect of their life, property, and religion. This is about Hindus.

35. And what about the Muslims who are outside the charmed circle of the League rulers and their corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy ? There is hardly anything called civil liberty in Pakistan . Witness for example, the fate of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan than whom a more devout Muslim had not walked this earth for many years and of his gallant patriotic brother Dr. Khan Sahib. A large number of erstwhile League leaders of the Northwest and also of the Eastern belt of Pakistan are in detention without trial. Mr. Suhrawardy to whom is due in a large measure the League’s triumph in Bengal is for practical purpose a Pakistani prisoner who has to move under permit and open his lips under orders. Mr. Fazlul Haq, that dearly loved grand old man of Bengal, who was the author of that now famous Lahore resolution, is ploughing his lonely furrow in the precincts of the Dacca High Court of Judicature, and the so called Islamic planning is as ruthless as it is complete. About the East Bengal Muslims general, the less said the better. They were promised of autonomous and sovereign units of the independent State. What have they got instead ? East Bengal has been transformed into a colony of the western belt of Pakistan, although it contained a population which is larger than that of all the units of Pakistan put together. It is a pale ineffective adjunct of Karachi doing the latter’s bidding and carrying out its orders. East Bengal Muslims in their enthusiasm wanted bread and they have by the mysterious working of the Islamic State and the Shariat got stone instead from the arid deserts of Sind and the Punjab. 

36. Leaving aside the overall picture of Pakistan and the callous and cruel injustice done to others, my own personal experience is no less sad, bitter, and revealing. You used your position as the Prime Minister and leader of the Parliamentary Party to ask me to issue a statement, which I did on September 8th. You know that I was not willing to make a statement containing untruths and half-truths, which were worse than untruths. It was not possible for me to reject your request so long as I was there working as a minister with you and under your leadership. But I can no longer afford to carry this load of false pretensions and untruth on my conscience, and I have decided to offer my resignation as your minister, which I am hereby placing in your hands and which, I hope, you will accept without delay. You are of course at liberty to dispense with that office or dispose of it in such a manner as may suit adequately and effectively the objectives of your Islamic State.


Yours sincerely,

Sd./- J.N. Mandal

8th October 1950

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