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Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Review: A G Noorani

This is the second part of documents on 1939. The first part, also edited by Mushirul Hasan, was reviewed earlier by this writer (“Turning point”, Frontline, July 4). This volume contains useful documents that throw light on Jinnah’s calculations immediately before the Muslim League adopted the Pakistan resolution on March 23, 1940.

The Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, reported to the Secretary of State for India, Marquess of Zetland, on February 28, 1939, his interview with Jinnah. “I asked him what suggestions he had to make, to which he replied that, while he did not reject the federal idea, it must be a federation which would ensure an adequate equipoise between Muslim and Hindu votes, and in which there should be an appropriate balance between the communities. I asked him how he contemplated securing this, to which he replied that he had in his mind the manipulation of territorial votes and the adjustments of territorial divisions so as to bring it about. He blushed a little as I pressed the implication of these suggestions upon him, but in the end maintained that at any rate his project for the carving up of this country was a better one than Sikander’s.”


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