The effort of enroll “Satyagraha” volunteers continues to be the main activity of the Congress, Circular issued from the All-India Congress Committee Allahabad to all Provincial Congress Committees, envisage the holding of at least one meeting in every village the chief task of the speakers being inform villagers of the villagers of the attitude of Congress towards the present war and the consequences that emerge from it. The Provincial Congress Committees have been advised that in enrolling active ‘Satyagrahas’ quality if of more importance than quantity, and that only congress members should be enlisted. In case non-Congressmen wish to join, they must become at least primary members of Congress. The circulars also advise the formation of camps, ‘shibirs’ and ‘ashrams’ and organizing of meetings among the volunteers who should be taught simple drill and First Aid. They may, in batches of two or three, visit Harijans and members of the majority communities in their homes. Regular fortnightly reports of provincial activities have been called for by the All-India Congress Committee Office. However, efforts to secure volunteers have not met with much response. The public at present have lost interest in the Congress movement and most Hindus feel that, however successful the Congress movement and most Hindus feel that, however successful the Congress movement and most Hindus feel that, however successful the Congress may be elsewhere, in Sind it is not likely to provide them with what they need most namely, security in their villages.
The Forward Bloc of the Congress have announced that Satyagraha is not included, in their program. It was stated that through the Bloc did not preach violence, yet the public should demand facilities for military training to fit them for the use of weapons for the defense of the country. Much more extreme is a leaflet issued by the Sind Communist Party, which criticizes Mr. Gandhi’s proposed Civil disobedience movement and says that a vigorous attack by the masses is required to put Imperialism to an end; it looks forward to the day when the Indian Army should open fire on their British rulers. It states that the proposed Civil disobedience movement, if started will be even more limited than the movement of 1930-31. ‘Hartals’ by workers and students are forbidden and peasants are not to be allowed to participate. If young congressmen, workers and peasants join the struggle, or students organize ‘Hartals’ and demonstrations, Mr. Gandhi has threatened to stop the movement which is to be confined to batches of spinner ‘Satyagraha’ only. The reason for this restriction is that Mr. Gandhi knows that in present circumstance if the movement spreads among the masses it will be very difficult to stop or control it, and the masses will destroy not only Imperialism but also Capitalism, to which Mr. Gandhi is wedded. The scheme is therefore, useless and worthless, and it is the duty of communists and supporters of revolution to warn the public of the danger of this proposed ‘Satyagraha’. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Second Half of April 1940, 6th May 1940.]
Congress activities during the fortnight were mainly confined to the holding of meetings on the 1st of September in pursuance of the appeal issued by the All-India Congress Committee. A public meeting was organized in Karachi at the Rambagh Recreation Ground which was attended by about six hundred persons. Portraits of Stalin, Marx and Lenin and placards bearing the following inscription were displayed on the dais: “We condemn and reject the Viceroy’s announcement”. The usual slogans were raised. Dr. Popatlal A. Bhootpatkar, M.L.A., in his speech observed that the meeting was organized to express disapprobation of the announcement of His Excellency the Victory. He discussed the various attempts made by Mr. Gandhi to meet the wishes of the Viceroy, which, however, did not bear fruit. He said that it was a pity that Indians remained hungry and poorly clad in spite of the immense quantity of grain and cotton produced in the country. The British agreed with Hitler to take a plebiscite in Rhineland. The Viceroy should also take a plebiscite in India. He exhorted the people to show before the Working Committee meets that they were ready and would not be satisfied without attaining Swaraj Dr. Choithram P. Gidwani, Mr. Lalji Mahrotra, Mayor of Karachi, and Mr. R. K. Sidhwa, M. L. A, ex-Mayor, also spoke in the same strain. Meetings were also organized by the Satyagraha Committees of Larkana, Ratodero, Kambar and Nasirabad in Larkana district on the 1st of September. At all these places processions of Hindus were taken out attended by about 100 to 300 persons, who sang national songs and shouted slogans. The processions were followed by public meetings in which the resolution passed by the All-India Congress Committee was re-affirmed. [No. P.25 H(S)/40, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the first half of September 1940, 21st September 1940.]
The most important political event of the week was the reshuffling of the Ministry due to the intervention of Moulana Abul Kalam Azad. So far the only result has been the resignation of Mr. G. M. Sayed, a Moslem Leaguer, and his replacement by the Honorable Khan Bahadur Allah Bakhsh. The Honorable Khan Bahadur Allah Bakhsh belongs to the Azad Muslim Party and his inclusion in the Ministry has been welcomed by the Congress and some members of the Hindu Party but not in Muslim League circles. Together with the change in the Ministry, an Advisory Committee of sixteen Members of Legislative Assembly has been formed including all the Honorable Ministers to advise the Cabinet on matter of policy and legislation. Mr. G. M. Sayed has been appointed Secretary of this Committee. The Sind Legislative Assembly met on the 37th November for the first time since the last Budget Session and is now in session. It is reported that the Congress leaders of the Province have been instructed by Moulana Abul Kalam Azad not to participate in the present Satyagraha movement until such times as conditions in the Province improve. A procession of about 300 students was taken out and a meeting was held to observe Anti-Repression Day on the 10th November. Resolution were adopted condemning the acts under which persons striving to free India were being sent to prison and also condemning the action taken by the Madras Government in “terrorizing the students” No particular political activity was visible elsewhere in the Province. [No. P.25 H(S)/40, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of November 1940, 5th December 1940.]
The Rambaugh Ward Congress Committee organized a public meeting at Karachi on the 21st December to congratulate Congress leaders on their arrest. The enrolment of Satyagraha volunteers continued during the fortnight. Satyagarha Council duly filled in by candidates desirous of offering Satyagraha and the total enrolment upto the end of the fortnight was one hundred and ninety. Dr. C. P. Gidwani, the Provincial Congress President left the Lahore on the 25th December in order to meet Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and to prevail upon him to permit the Congress to launch Satyagraha in Sind. The doctor is expected to proceed to Wardha also to seek Mr. Gandhi’s Permission for the Satyagraha as he thinks that normal conditions now prevail in the province. Congress circles here feel, however, that Mr. Gandhi will not permit the starting of Satyagraha before however that Mr. Gandhi will not permit the starting of Satyagraha before April next. According to Press reports some Congressman and others are endeavoring to prevent the inclusion of Sind in the Satyagraha campaign.
[No. P.25 H(S)/40, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of December 1940, 4th January 1941.]
Dr. Choithram P. Gidvani, President of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee, was arrested at Karachi on the 31st January for a speech delivered at Lahore. A boilable warrant was received from the Punjab Government, but the Doctor refused to offer bail and was consequently arrested. His arrest without any previous communication with the Government of Sind, the first news received in Karachi was from a Press report, has given the Congress a leg-up in this Province and a number of meetings congratulating Dr. Choithram were held before his departure for Lahore. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of January 1941, 8th February 1941.]
The arrest of Dr. Choithram P. Gidvani, President of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee, aroused a certain interest and a number of meetings congratulating him on his arrest were held. Congress propaganda for the present is directed towards Hindu-Muslim unity and no anti-war activities are reported. Political interest in the Province now centers round the question of the fulfillment of the so-called “Azad Pact”, the contents of which have not been made public and are said to be known to the signatories only. It is felt that unless there is a reshuffling of the Cabinet, the ministry will be faced with a no-confidence motion when the Assembly meets on the 26th instant. The Honorable Khan Bahadur M. A Khuhro, Minister, Public Works Department, has gone to Dehli to acquaint Mr. M. A. Jinnah with the situation and to seek his advice. A meeting of the Sind Forward Bloc was held in Karachi in which the attitude of Congress Rightists towards the disappearance of Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose was condemned. Resolutions were passed eulogizing the services of Mr. Bose and expressing anxiety at his disappearance. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the first half of February 1941, 18th February 1941.]
Congress propaganda consists rightly of a few flag salutation ceremonies and speeches on Hindu Muslim Unity. No anti-war or objectionable speeches have come to notice. The Karachi District Congress Committee has expressed its disapproval of the proposed bill to increase the salaries of the members of the Legislative Assembly. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, 19th June, 1941.]
About half a dozen Congress meetings were held in different parts of the province. Speeches bearing on the Congress constructive program and Hindu-Muslim unity were made. The Local Congress Committee also organized a public meeting at Karachi to congratulate Lakhmichand Kinger, a Congress worker who has recently been convicted under the Defense of India Rules for making an objectionable speech.
The Sind Forward Bloc held a Conference on the 20th, 21st and 22nd June at Karachi under the chairmanship of Hamiduddin Dilbar of Dehli. It was very poorly attended. Speeches were made attacking the Congress leadership, which was characterized as capitalistic in outlook, and eulogizing the revolt of Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose. The disappearance of Mr. Bose was compared to the exile of Shiri Ramchandra, of Lenin and Lala Lajpatral. Congress was accused of falling to achieve Hindu-Muslim unity and ‘Charkha’, ‘Khadi’ and non-voilence were condemned, Resolutions were also passed supporting the workers and peasant movement. Khaskar activities have ceased and the movement is moribund for the present. Muslim League propaganda in the mofussil is on the increase but a large conference which was to have been held in the Nawabshah District on the 6thinstant has been banned on account of an outbreak of cholera.
[No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of June 1941, 5th July, 1941.]
Concerning the Congress there is nothing of interest to report. The Sind Muslim League intends to hold a conference at Hyderabad in September 1941, and it is proposed to ask the Honorable Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan to preside. The League received the Government decision to ban the conference at Sakrand in the Nawabshah district with some resentment and Mr. M. A. Jinnah sent a wire to His Excellency the Governor asking for his intervention. In view of the large number of cholera cases in the neighboring districts of Larkana, Dadu, and Sukkur and of the fact that cases were occurring in the Nawabshah district itself, it would have been most inadvisable to allow the conference to be held. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, the second half of July 1941, 19th July, 1941.]
Congress propaganda included the usual Flag salutation ceremonies and a few meetings. Mahatma Gandhi is understood to have issued instructions to the Provincial Congress Committees that the principles of non-violence must be strictly followed even in the event of Congress members being attacked by dacoits. In pursuance of these instructions. Peace Brigades have been formed. Apart from the most fervent followers of Mahatma Gandhi, the people of the Province, however, are very skeptical of the efficacy of non-violence. The Hindus particularly are insistent in their demands for more gun licenses. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of July 1941, 5th August, 1941.]
A number of Congress meetings were held in the Province in connection with the Tilak Week, which was observed between the 27th July and 1stAugust. The audiences were mainly composed of Hindus. At some of these meetings the speakers indulged in anto-Britain and anti-war remarks. Swami Krishanand, while speaking in Karachi, depreciated the present inactivity on the part of the leaders and the policy of Mahatma Gandhi. He asserted that India that India could never obtain Swaraj unless she embraced the British Government. He added that non-voilence could never bring about the freedom of any country. Another speaker referred to an article of Professor Harold Laski in the “National Herald” and commended his observations that this war was being fought for world domination between two Imperialism. Tributes were paid to the part played by the late Mr. Tilak in the cause of India freedom and it was observed that he was the First Indian leader to realize that freedom for this country could be achieved only by suffering and not by clamoring for a few jobs and offices. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the First half of August 1941, 20th August, 1941.]
There is not much going on in the Congress camp, but there is a cleavage of opinion between the two groups of Congress in Sind, one welcomes the continuance of support the present Ministry and the other criticizes the Congress High Command’s attitude but in any case both abide by the High Command’s decision. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of October 1941, 7th November, 1941.]
The recent decision of the Congress Working Committee in regard to the war has been welcomed in local Congress circles. There is much relief on the retirement of Mahatma Gandhi from the Congress leadership as it is generally realized that a more realistic approach is called for interview of Japan’s entry into the war. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the second half of December 1941, 6th January, 1942.]
The celebrations following “Gandhi Jayanti” which consisted of thirty three Congress meetings, a number of ‘prabhat pheris’ and processions has given an impetus to Congress propaganda in the province. The presence at some of the meetings of Dr. Choithram P. Gidwani, President of the Sind Provincial Congress Committee, Hashoo T. Kewalramani and other Congressman, who were undergoing sentences under the Defense of India Rules, and have been recently released, led to an outburst of anti-British feelings. Dr. Choithram declared that he was anxious to see the end of British rule in the same way as the British wanted to see the end of Hitler, Swami Krishnanand, leader of the Forward Bloc, in one of the public meetings convened to celebrate “Gandhi Jayanti”dubbed all those who gave help to Britain in this war as “Shaitans” Mr. R. K. Sidhwa remarked that the British had entered Iran with Imperialistic motives. Dr. Choithram P. Gidvani is touring the province addressing public meetings. He has been expressing regret at the decision of Mahatma Gandhi to exclude Sind from the pale of Satyagraha. The students of Karachi held a public meeting to congratulate Hashu T. Kewalramani and Kazi Mujtaba, the former on his premature release and the latter on the removal of the order restricting him to a village in the Karachi District. Speeches were made exhorting the students to line up with anti-Imperialistic forces, and to foster Hindu-Muslim unity. The Sind Assembly Congress Party met recently and approved of the decision of the All-India Congress Parliamentary Board and Mahatma Gandhi to continue support to the present Ministry, in spite of the fact that the Premier continues to be a member of the National Defense Council. It disapproved the action of Mr. R. K. Sidhwa in accompanying the Honorable Premiere to Wardha without consulting the members of the party and it is understood that Mr. Sidhwa has apologized. It also passed resolutions expressing satisfaction at the application of the Jagirdari Act to the whole of the Province and urging Government to grant immediate relief to the people of Rohri Division whose crops have failed owing to water deficiency. The Muslim League is inactive. A private meeting of the Lasbella State National Party was held on the 29thSeptember, in which resolutions were passed sympathizing with those members of the Party who had been arrested and requesting the Baluchistan and Lasbella authorities to release them. Ahmed Lassi advised the party to start propaganda against the Jam Saheb and the Vazir of Lasbella who alone were alleged to be responsible for the arrest of the members of the lasbella National Party. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the First half of September 1941, 17th October, 1941.]
Five public meetings mostly attended by students were held. Speeches eulogizing the services of Mahtma Gandhi were made. Dr. Popatlal A. Bhootpatkar, M.L.A., speaking at one of the meetings, remarked that the British Government had created Hindu-Muslim disorders by introducing separate electorates and communal ratios in the services. A congress Conference was held Khanpur, Shikarpur Taluka, Sukkur district, on the 10thand 11th September under the Chairmanship of Dr. Gobindram Punjabi. It was attended by about 500 persons on each day. The main speaker was Mr. C.T. Valecha, M.L.A., who indulged in some anti-British remarks and said that India was being unnecessarily dragged into the war. Resolutions were passed requesting Government to control the abnormal rise in the prices of foodstuffs and other articles and to grant more gun license to the villagers and deploring the alleged attitude of the British Government in not paying need to the welfare of Indian people.
The Congress who proposed to resign from Karachi Municipal Corporations as a result of the decision of the Corporation to give flags and bunting free to the Karachi War Fete, have been told that the matter was too trivial to be made an issue for resignation. As a result of the meeting of Mahatma Gandhi and continue to give support to the present Ministry. There seems to be no desire on the part of the Congressmen to disregard these instructions most probably because Congress is not prepared to allow the formation of a Muslim League Ministry, the only alternative to the present one. The Honorable Premiere left Karachi on the 30th September for Allahabad, where he is to see Moulana Abul Kalam Azad in the Naini Jail before proceeding to attend the meeting of the National Defense Council. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of September 1941, 6th October, 1941.]
In a few Congress meetings held in the fortnight under report stress was laid on the Congress constructive program, particularly Hindu-Muslim unity. Congressmen, as a whole, seem to be exercised over the increased war effort in the mofussil. It is understood that Professor Ghanshyam Jethanand, M.L.A., has sent his resignation from the Sind Legislative Assembly through the Sind Provincial Congress Committee as a mark of protest against the action of the Government in permitting local bodies to give contribution to the war funds. It is also understood that Messrs. Parsram Tahilram and Lalji Mehrotra (the latter an ex-Mayor of Karachi) have sent in their resignations from the Corporation to the All-India Congress Committee for approval and transmission to the Mayor of Karachi, as a result of the decision of the Karachi Municipal Corporation to give flags and buntings free for the Karachi War Fete. The Muslim League is jubilant over the resignation of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan and Sir Muhammad Saadullah from the National Defense Councul and resolutions were passed at public meetings held in Karachi and Larkana expressing full confidence in Mr. Jinnah and congratulating Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan and Sir Muhammad Saadullah and Nawab of Chhatari on their resignations from the National Council. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the First half of September 1941, 22nd September, 1941.]
Congress has not been very active. The usual flag Salutation ceremonies were performed at Hyderabad, where an effort is being made to bring about Hind-Muslim unity and do village uplift work. The Hyderabad Congress Committee Corporation to lend flags and buntings etc., required for the Karachi War Week Fete free of charge. The Congress members of the Legislative Assembly seem to be much concerned with the increasing association of the public in the war effort and there are differences of opinion among them on the question whether they should resign or not from the legislative Assembly and local bodies. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of August 1941, 6th September, 1941.]
Congress propaganda is more or less at a stand –still. The Sind Provincial Congress Committee has decided to abolish the Sind Supreme Satyaraha Council in view of the remote possibility of ‘Satyagaraha’ being allowed in Sind. It is expected that order ‘Satyagraha’ committees will similarly be liquidated. It is rumored that Mahatma Gandhi may visit Sind with a view to stimulate propaganda for Hindu-Muslim unity. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of May 1941, 14th June, 1941.]
A deputation of Congressmen is to leave shortly for Wardha to seek permission from Mahatma Gandhi to start ‘satyagraha’ in this Province. A Sind Provincial Azad Muslim Party has been formed by the Honorable Pir Illahi Baksh, Minister of Education. The Party will consists of nationalist Muslims and will opposite the Muslim League. The party proposes to start a Sindhi daily paper. Master Tarasingh, the well-known Sikh Leader from Amritsar has been to Karachi to preside over an Akali Conference and he addressed meetings of Sikhs in which he attacked the Muslim League and ridiculed the Pakistan idea. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the First half of April 1941, 21st April, 1941.]
Congress activities at present are in the main confined to the holding of meetings but on the whole these meetings are but poorly attended and there is some feeling that it is difficult to maintain public interest in Congress affairs in the absence of permission to indulge in Satyagraha. Swami Govindanand, leader of the Forward Bloc has stated that the Forward Bloc can no longer function in view of the disappeared of Mr. Subhas Chandra Bose. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of April 1941, 4thApril, 1941.]
The deputation of Congressmen who interviewed Mahatma Gandhi in Wardha were refused permission to start ‘satyagraha’ in this province. They were advised to concentrate on constructive work. Congress observed Jallianwala Bagh Day on the 13th April. Mass meetings were held in Karachi and Hyderabad, in which anti-British and objectionable speeches were made. At Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas, large pictures depicting in a Lund manner Jallianwala Bagh incident were prominently displayed in processions. Dr. Popatlal A. Bhootpatkar, M.L.A., speaking at Karachi, remarked that although Indians were unable to take revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh the death grip in which the British were involved at present was a retribution for the Indian blood that was shed at Jallianwala Bagh. Another speaker stated that events like Jallianwala Bagh are to be welcomed, for freedom could not be achieved till incidents like Jallianwala Bagh shocked the Indian people and prepared them for sacrifices. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the Second half of April 1941, 3rd May, 1941.]
There have been no Congress activities worthy of notice. The Arya Samaj celebrated their Golden Jubilee at Sukkur. The speeches were more religious than political. A resolution was passed urging upon the Government to introduce Hindi in Government schools and to give grants-in-aid to private schools teaching Hindi. [No. P.25 H(S)/41, HOME DEPARTMENT (SPECIAL), SIND Secretariat, Karachi, Report for the First half of May 1941, 19th May, 1941.]
The two Hindu members have at present hardly any following in the Assembly, and Nihchaldas is working ceaselessly against them. The picketing has been rather disgraceful. The possibility of adopting this form of coercion seems to have been first mooted as a possibility in the meetings of the Hindu Independent Party, and when Gokuldas and Hemadas broke away and joined the Ministry, Nihchaldas at once issued a statement to the press that he hoped the new ministers would not be picketed. This of course, was entirely of a piece with Brer Rabbit’s advice to BrerFox not to throw him in the briar patch, and was just as successful. Next day both Ministers were picketed mainly be schoolchildren and woman under Congress incitement, and a crude bomb was thrown one night outside Hemandas’s residence. It was one of the ingredients in this bomb which provided the clue which has led to the discovery of the amateur bomb factory and the arrests referred to in the official report. [D.O.No. 414/F.R, 5th November 1942]