Occum’s razor, Pakistan and Jogendra Nath Mandal

“The principal objectives that prompted me to work in co-operation with the Muslim League was, first that the economic interests of the Muslims in Bengal were generally identical with those of the Scheduled Castes…and secondly that the Scheduled Castes and the Muslims were both educationally backward.”

–          Jogendra Nath Mandal in his resignation letter to Liaquat Ali Khan

William of Occum, a British philosopher came up with a problem solving principle, which was named after him- Occum’s razor. What it states is if there are multiple explanations for a phenomenon, explanation with least assumptions should be selected. In other words go for simplest explanation.

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There are many books which explain what lead to partition on India. They analyse a lot on what happened between 1940 to 1947, and end up blaming Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru or Jinnah. Many leftist historians use Occum’s razor to explain partition. India is depicted as upper caste Hindu dominated state, indirectly ruled by zamindars and industrialists, which endangered economic, political and religious freedom of minorities, lower castes and tribals, and Pakistan was outcome of this.

partition

But Occum’s razor can also lead to wrong conclusions, because at times complexity cannot be ignored. Jogendra Nath Mandal was leader of scheduled castes in Bengal, he was quite influential in politics of Bengal, infact he managed to get Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar elected to constituent assembly of India from Bengal.

mandal

He was also one of the founding fathers of Pakistan, and member of their constituent assembly. He became first law and labour minister of Pakistan. In Bengal, most of the landowners were upper caste Hindus while Muslims and Scheduled Castes were cultivators. He believed that, Scheduled Castes will have equality (as caste Hindus will cease to dominate) and freedom from oppression of Hindu landlords and money lenders (who also happened to be caste Hindus); besides M.A. Jinnah had assured them freedom to practice religion in his speech of 11th August 1947.

jinnah

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

― Muhammad Ali Jinnah

But Jogendra Nath Mandal soon realised reality was complex. First, his demand to have two more Scheduled Caste members as ministers was ignored by Liaquat Ali Khan, then Prime minister of Pakistan. Secondly, Hindu- Muslim riots made him realise that, post Jinnah, Pakistan was very different from what he had thought. In 1950 he resigned from cabinet and returned to India.

“It is with a heavy heart and a sense of utter frustration at the failure of my lifelong mission to uplift the backward Hindu masses of East Bengal that I feel compelled to tender resignation of my membership of your cabinet.”

–          Jogendra Nath Mandal in his resignation letter to Liaquat Ali Khan

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