Sunday, July 10, 2005
Noah’s Ark and the Congress
In an excellent historical essay about how the Congress party tried "to incorporate representative members of all of India’s human species" in the years after 1916, Mukul Kesavan writes:
The Congress in the Twenties didn’t really believe that it represented the Muslims, but it had begun to believe that perhaps mobilization was a better route to roping in wary political constituencies such as the Muslims rather than negotiations with elitist organizations. From the late Twenties this was certainly Nehru’s position and it wasn’t an unreasonable one. The Congress may not have had the Muslims at that time, but neither did any Muslim party. The League was dormant, the Khilafat Committee, thanks to Ataturk’s abolition of the Sultanate, had fallen through one of History’s many manholes and there were no new candidates in sight.Read the full piece, part of an ongoing series. I was particularly intrigued by the bit where he writes about Mahatma Gandhi "ruthlessly pressing [BR] Ambedkar with a fast-unto-death till Ambedkar agreed to give up separate electorates in exchange for more reserved seats." What fun.