Chapter 28
Politics and Constitution, 1947-58

HISTORICAL 'ifs' are fascinating things, and much has been written about them -- with one curious exception. Few writers bother about the medical ones; about the occasions when human affairs might have taken a different course, but for the state of health of importantly-placed men. A dramatic recent instance will jump to some minds: would the British people have been involved in the humiliation of 1956 at Suez, if their Prime Minister had not had disease of the gall-bladder? Other instances will be thought of, ancient and modern; L'Étang, a doctor -- probably the chief present-day writer on the subject -- has collected a startling array of twentieth-century ones.1 But all the thirty or so eminent men, whose physical condition at historically crucial junctures he discusses, were European or American. Asian leaders might offer an inquirer richer opportunities, for two reasons. Not only have they been less studied; in their part of the world, sheer personality certainly has a bigger impact on events than in the more educated, established democracies of the West.

Pakistan started her independent national life under a leader of extraordinary ability and prestige. Almost any constitutional, or political, or social innovation that Mr. Jinnah chose to ask for, during those early days, her people would have accepted readily. He wielded authority of an unquestioned, overriding, personal sort such as in India Mr. Nehru has never quite achieved, nor perhaps wanted. And besides having this, he to a unique extent controlled the actual levers of power. He was simultaneously Governor- General of Pakistan; President of her Constituent Assembly; and President of her main political party, the Muslim League. But within less than thirteen months of her coming into existence, he was dead.

What would have happened -- here come two big 'ifs' together -- if he had not died then, but lived for another ten years; and if, instead, the illness that killed him had removed Mr. Nehru? Though crude, when put in this form, these linked questions are not chimerical -- as we shall explain. And it may be said at once that, had the two things postulated taken place, the entire South Asian scene, as

____________________
1
See Bibliography.

-229-

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Pakistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Maps 10
  • Part I 11
  • Chapter I - The Idea 13
  • Chapter 2 - The Land 33
  • Chapter 3 - Some Social Problems 48
  • Part II 67
  • Chapter 4 - Retrospect, 1857-1946 69
  • Chapter 5 - Towards Civil War 80
  • Chapter 6 - Trouble in the Armed Forces 86
  • Chapter 7 - The Cabinet Mission's Plan 96
  • Chapter 8 - Civil War -- I 108
  • Chapter 9 - Change of Viceroys 120
  • Chapter 10 - The Sikh Problem 131
  • Chapter II - Civil War -- II 137
  • Chapter 12 - Civil War -- III 147
  • Part III 167
  • Chapter 13 - Birth of a Nation -- I 169
  • Chapter 14 - Birth of a Nation -- II 182
  • Chapter 15 - Mainly About Kashmir 192
  • Chapter 16 - Defence and Foreign Affairs 212
  • Chapter 17 - Some Economic Problems 223
  • Chapter 28 - Politics and Constitution, 1947-58 229
  • Chapter 19 - Military Revolution 246
  • Postscript 262
  • Bibliography 265
  • Maps 269
  • Index 271
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