Barrister Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan but it is not he who created it, though that is what most people believe. The real founders of Pakistan were the British, and Jinnah was their creature or agent in every sense of the word. They paid him for it, which means they were his paymasters, literally, and he was on their pay-roll for nearly ten years before Pakistan was torn away from India. Partition of India was not a simple affair between a few Indian politicians hungry for power, and the British. Behind the Partition was a deep-seated strategy, in fact, an international conspiracy, with the British as ringmaster, and Jinnah, a mere advocate, their agent.
From the days of Curzon, the British were trying to have a big swath of land—a country, infact—between India and imperial Russia, then under the Czars. Curzon and his bosses in London were obsessed by the idea that the Czars of Russia were bent on conquering India and adding it to their empire. The Russian empire was a growing power and straddled two continents. Even Napoleon had failed to shake it up. As for the British, India was a jewel in their crown, and imperial consuls like Curzon were determined to keep it from falling into alien hands.
The British wanted a buffer state between India and the rest of Asia, particularly Russia, for if the Russians did manage to cross into India, they would do so through the passes in Afghanistan, then as now, a lawless state ruled by brigands. The Russians were pressing the local ruler, Dost Mohammad for concessions that, if given, would pave the way for the Czar’s troops to pour south over the Hindu Kush, as the Moghul invaders had done. The British army set off to forestall the threat by removing Dost Mohammad from the throne and packing him off to India. He was replaced by a puppet, Shah Shuja, in his place.
But it didn’t work out the way they had planned. Two years after Kabul was taken, the Afghans rose against the invaders with such ferocity that the British accepted a truce and promised to withdraw under a guarantee of safe passage. But the Afghans did not spare the British. Every one of the British invaders was slaughtered on his way back to India through the passes. Some 20,000 soldiers and officers, including thousands of Indians, were involved and only one man was spared, a doctor, who managed to return to Lahore alive.
After that, the British gave up all efforts to set up a buffer state between India and the rest of Asia, until they realised there was a readymade buffer state inside India itself, provided it could be properly organised to serve their purpose—the Muslims of India. They had tried this in other places like Israel and Ireland, and had largely succeeded. India would be a big catch provided a big chunk could be carved out, and the British turned their attention to dismantling India on religious basis and they concentrated on this until they left India—divide and rule, or rather, divide and leave.
They started looking for a man to suit their requirements. And zeroed on Jinnah. They found in him the right man for their nefarious job. By 1930 or so, the Congress party under Gandhi was gathering support at such speed that it was clear the country would break free from the British sooner or later. In 1929, Nehru became Congress president, the youngest man to achieve such high office, and that must have put off Jinnah:.The British were looking for a Muslim who would have no compunction in having a deal with them, as long as he remained No. 1.
The rise of young fiery men like Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose was a signal to the likes of Jinnah, who was now being increasingly marginalised in the Congress, that his days were numbered. By the end of the decade, he decided to emigrate to London, winding up his establishment in India, to seek his fortune. His personal life was a mess—his Parsee wife had walked out on him—but he was not very successful in London also, as, he was essentially an advocate, not a lawyer, and found it difficult to adjust to London life. This is when the British stepped in.
It is said that he was befriended by British intelligence in London. This was in the 1930s when India, under Gandhi, had taken increasingly to agitational ways, and the whole country was seething under British repression. The thirties were also a period of economic and financial uncertainties and difficulties in India—as also elsewhere in the world—and that was also a factor. The British decided to play a two-way game. They wanted Jinnah to play a key role in the Partition of India which they were bent on and Jinnah wanted funds for tightening his own grip on the Muslim League, which depended for funds on Muslim princes and zamindars. In any case, the League was becoming rudderless in Jinnah’s absence in London and his first job was to get it in line again.
Several papers about financial transaction between the British and Jinnah, which had remained sealed until 1995, were released a few years ago and are now available in British Library in London. According to Muzaffar Husein, a reputed journalist and columnist who has specialised on Pakistan and Muslim affairs in India, has now written an article in which he says, on the basis of papers in the British Library, that the British were secretly paying Jinnah Rs 30 lakh a year (or about 225,000 pounds sterling) from 1935 onwards. The British have always been in the habit of bribing Indian politicians with cash—the latést example, along with Jinnah, being comrade MN Roy, the so-called radical humanist who was paid Rs 18,000 a month during the Second World War through his trade unions.
Rs 30 lakh a year is equivalent to Rs 90 crore a year at today’s prices, and amount to Rs 1,000 crore during the twelve years between 1935 and 1947 during which the payment was made. This was the amount collected by Jinnah & Co. to work against India and to divide India to suit the purposes of the British. Mr Muzaffir Husein’s article appears in Saamana, dated September 21, 2009. Saamana is a Marathi daily published from Mumbai.
I suspect that Nehru knew about this, which may be another reason for antipathy between him and Jinnah. Nehru had high-level contacts in London from 1930 onwards, when he was a regular visitor to London and participant in several conferences in the British capital as well as Europe. It is unlikely that he was unaware of the goings-on between Jinnah and the British, and was probably kept informed by the British themselves who had a soft corner for Nehru and saw him as a future prime minister of India. Nehru had high-level friends like the Mountbattens even then and had an inside line to the Labour Party through men like Krishna Menon and others who were active in British politics. I have a feeling that Nehru knew, not to put a fine point on it, that Jinnah was a British agent, which may be one reason, and powerful one, to keep away from him and also to keep him away from the Congress. When Gandhi met Jinnah in August or September 1944 for the famous Gandhi-Jinnah talks, Nehru, who was in jail at the time, was furious, and told his colleagues that nothing would come out of them.
After all this, can you really say Jinnah was a great patriot? The British too don’t come out very well from this scandal. They did manage to get India divided, but it was not much of a victory. The British are nowhere in the picture in the subcontinent and in Pakistan, it is the Americans who rule the roost. In fact, Pakistan is not a country any more and is referred to as Af-Pak, as if it was a tank regiment, not a nation. In fact, Pakistan is not so much a country as a mess. What do you expect for a measly 30 lakh a year!