India-Pakistan relations

India’s High Commissioner in London on the state of India-Pakistan relations, 20th October 1947 (DO 142/24)

Transcript

13. In fact the General situation will continue, to remain in “negative control” until the psychological position improves and confidence is restored. A number of tendencies are still preventing this. The vast movement of refugees in both directions in the Punjab (conservative estimates put the figure up to date at 4 million) and the lesser movements elsewhere cause a general feeling of instability. The long range exchange of arguments between the Deputy Prime Minister (India) and the Prime Minister, Pakistan, which continued during the week, regarding the migration of populations only aggravate this. In addition, “the constant demands of the leaders of the majority’ communities” as H.S. Suhrawaddy recently said “for reiterated and fulsome expressions of loyalty to the state by the minorities are fast assuming the proportions of sadism”.

These demands are not infrequently but also illogically followed by remarks of the kind recently made by the President of the U.P. Congress Committee that he knew the Muslim leaguers had always tried to “betray the country and therefore they would now be given their proper place. Again the bitter attitude of refugees is a constant hindrance to better relations between the communities. In Delhi for example where, as Gandhi recently said “there was no love lost between the Hindus and Muslims whose hearts were still estranged” the well-to-do Sikh and Hindu refugees from the West Punjab who have had to abandon their business and property are vehement in their criticisms of the weak attitude adopted by the Nehru Government and demand that the wealthy Muslims of Delhi should as a corollary be sent to Pakistan. Added to this are the continued harassments to the minorities in both Dominions by petty officialdom and the undeniable feeling of the general public in many affected areas that they do not want to see minorities back again in their midst. Until all these tendencies can “be counteracted there can “be no real restoration of confidence. And until this does take place there can be no return to normal conditions of life.

Return to The Road to Partition 1939-1947