London (Sep. 8)
Despite the early hour, many were on hand to greet Ghandi when the liner “Rajputana” called at Port Said to-day, the “Daily Express” reports from Port Said to-day. As soon as the vessel had anchored, it proceeds, Shaukat Ali, the Moslem leader, came on board. The couple embraced in affectionate fashion – a most significant gesture in view of the differences between the Hindus and Moslems.
A settlement of the Hindu-Moslem controversy must this time be reached, the “Manchester Guardian” declares. The Hindus, it says, are thoroughly alarmed by the attitude of the majority party in the Moslem delegation, and they are well aware that in any demands which it chooses to make as against the Hindus it can rely on the support of the majority of the Moslem community.
INDIAN MOSLEMS AND PAN-ISLAMISM
There has been in the air, it continues, a scheme for securing for the Moslems political domination in Northern India. Moslems have a small majority in the population of the Punjab and Bengal. That is to be made the basis for a guaranteed statutory majority in the Legislatures of those provinces, which, under the new Federal Constitution, are to receive the fullest possible measure of autonomy and independence. Simultaneously the North-west Frontier Province, Sindh, and, if possible, Baluchistan, with their overwhelming Moslem majorities, are to attain the same autonomous status. Intrigues have already been set on foot to make impossible the position of the Hindu ruler of the great Moslem State of Kashmir. Islam may thus hope for political control both of the area where the army is recruited and stationed and also of the two great ports, Calcutta and Karachi. As to the gap between Bengal and the Punjab, it is spanned by the “Mogul Corridor”, a chain of cities and districts where the descendants of the aristocracy of the Mogul Empire are still rich and influential. Thus Hindu India would be cut off from the outer world by a chain of Moslem States might make common cause with Afghanistan, once a province of the Mogul Empire.
Have the Moslems of India so late in the day become genuinely infected with the Pan-Islamic idea? the “Manchester Guardian” asks. It is true, it says, that the policy of securing a Moslem majority in the Punjab and Bengal and holding the Hindu minority as hostages for the welfare of Moslems in other provinces commends itself to many as the most effective “safeguard” obtainable. But Pan-Islamism, it finds, is merely an opium dream in which the Indian Moslem likes to indulge when he has been crossed and annoyed. At the bottom he knows that he is and always must be an Indian as well as a Moslem. He wishes to see India self-governing just as much as the Hindu, only he is determined to secure as much political power as is needed to safeguard Moslem culture and Moslem interests.
Some interest is to be attached to these reports in view of the information obtained by the J.T.A. last week (given in the J.T.A. Bulletin of the 2nd. inst.), that Shaukat Ali intends to utilise the opportunity afforded him by travelling to London on the same boat with Ghandi, in order to try to win his support, in return for certain concessions to the Hindus, for his scheme to restore the Caliphate as the symbol of Pan-Islamism, with its seat in Jerusalem.