12 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 12


Sta,—The minority problem has been put forward as the cause retard- ing India's progress. I wish to lay before the readers a solution coming from the Congress in the Presidential speech of Maulana Abu( Kalam Azad It is important because people here are almost ignorant of it.

(a) Whatever constitution is adopted for India, there must be fullest guarantees in it for the rights and interests of minorities.

(2) The minorities should judge for themselves what safeguards are necessary for the protection of their rights and interests. The majority should not decide this. Therefore the decision in this respect must depend upon the consent of the minorities and not on a majority vote. • The manner in which the Congress has dealt with this problem today in connexion with the Constituent Assembly throws a flood of light on these two principles and clarifies them. The recognised minorities have a right, if they so please, to choose their representatives by their votes. Their representatives will not have to rely upon the votes of any other community except their own.

So far as the question of the rights and interests of the minorities is concerned. the decision will not depend upon the majority of the votes in the Constituent Assembly. It will be subject to the consent of the minority. If unanimity is not' achieved on any question, then an impartial tribunal, to which the minorities have also consented, will decide the matter. This last proviso is merely in the nature of a provision for a possible contingency, and is most unlikely to be required. If a more practical proposal is made, there can be no