jinnah_and NeruAccording to the letter of Pandit Jawaharlal Neru dated January 18 1938 and February 4 1938 , Jinnah had accused All India Congress Party for receiving  Rs. five lakhs and trying to crush Urdu in favor of Hindi.  In the letter of February 4 1938, Neru rejected the allegations by mentioning that no one even donated Rs. 5000 to the All Indian Congress Party. Moreover, the Congress Ministry in Madras introduced identical text-books in scripts Devanagri and Urdu with the consent of Jamia Millia and with the option that the students could elect the script.

In the letter February 4 1938, Neru indicated that somewhere Jinnah in his speeches accused the Indian Congress for misleading Hindus and he wanted to bring the Congress High Command to its senses. Jinnah mentioned in his Calcutta speech, “I have long long ago, months ago now, thrown out a challenge to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and I throw out a challenge now, -Let him come and sit with us and let us formulate a constructive program which will give immediate relief to the poor”, according to the Neru’s letter dated February 4. In the same letter, Neru again demanded Jinnah to substantiate his claims and refused to accept that Jinnah challenged him earlier than the speech he delivered in Calcutta (see the quotes above).

Jinnah replied to Neru on February 17 1938 and brushed away all the above complaints and grievances by considering them as of trifling character or arguing that they were misreported or misquoted in the Indian press. He also refuted that he challenged the Neru in one of his speeches. In the letter, he, however, mentioned that he was ready to substantiate anything he said provided they were quoted correctly in the press.  In the same letter, he showed interest to discuss the communal differences face to face than by correspondence.

The charges were indeed not of trifling in nature and he should have clearly answered the issues that were raised in Neru’s letters instead of brushing away and proposing for meeting.  Neru was correct in stating in his letter dated February 25 1938 that if Jinnah deemed that he was misquoted then he should have issued press statement correcting the misrepresentation.

Nadeem Yousaf

16 October


Pirzada, S.S (1977): Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah’s Correspondence (Third Revised and Enlarged Edition); East and West Publication; Karachi

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