India: Partition or Strong National State or Centre of Supra-National State?
It is difficult to discover a just balance between one's hopes and fears or to prevent one's wishes colouring the thinking of one's mind. Our desires seek out supporting reasons and tend to ignore facts and arguments that do not fit in with them. I try to reach that balance so that I may be able to judge correctly and find out the true basis for action, and yet I know how far I am from success and how I cannot get rid of the multitude of thoughts and feelings which have gone to build me up and to fence me in with their invisible bars. So also others may err in different directions. An Indian's and an Englishman's view of India and her place in the world will inevitably diverge and differ, conditional as each is on a different individual and national past. The individual and the national group fashion their own destiny by their actions; these past actions lead to the present and what they do to-day forms the basis of their tomorrows. Karma, they have called this in India, the law of cause and effect, the destiny which our past activities create for us. It is not an invariable destiny and many other factors go to influence it, and the individual's will is itself supposed to have some play. If this freedom to vary the results of past action were not present, then indeed we would all be mere robots in the iron grip of an unavoidable fate. Yet that past Karma is a powerful factor in shaping the individual and the nation, and nationalism itself is a shadow of it with all its good and bad memories of the past.
Perhaps, this past inheritance influences the national group even more than the individual, for large numbers of human beings are driven more by unconscious and impersonal urges than the individual, and it is more difficult to divert them from their course. Moral considerations may influence an individual but their effect on a group is far less, and the larger the group the less is their effect on it. And it is easier, especially in the modern world, to influence the group by insidious propaganda. And yet sometimes, though rarely, the group itself rises to a height of moral behavior, forcing the individual to forget his narrow and selfish ways. More often the group falls far below the individual standard.
War produces both these reactions, but the dominant tendency is a release from moral responsibility and the collapse of the standards that civilization has so laboriously built up. Successful war and aggression lead to a justification and continuance of this policy, to imperialist domination and ideas of a master race. Defeat results in frustration and the nursing of feelings of revenge. In either event, hatred and the habit of violence grow. There is ruthlessness and brutality, and a refusal even to try to understand the other's viewpoint. And thus the future is conditioned and more wars and conflicts follow with all their attendant consequences.
The last 200 years of enforced relationship between India and England have built up this Karma, this destiny, for both of them, and it continues to govern their relations to each other. Entangled in its meshes, we have thus far struggled in vain to rid ourselves of this past inheritance and start afresh on a different basis. The last five years of war have unhappily added to that past evil Karma and made reconciliation and a normal relationship more difficult. That record of 200 years, like all else, is a mixture of good and evil. To the Englishman the good outweighs the evil, to the Indian the evil is so overwhelming that it darkens the whole period. But whatever the balance of good and evil there might be, it is obvious that any relationship that is enforced produces hatred and a bitter dislike of each other, and out of these feelings only evil consequences can flow.
A revolutionary change, both political and economic, is not only needed in India but would appear to be inevitable. At the end of 1939, soon after the war started, and again in April, 1942, there seemed to be a faint possibility of such a change taking place by consent between India and England. But those possibilities and opportunities passed because every basic change was feared. But the change will come. Has the stage of consent passed? In the presence of common perils the past loses some of its obsessions and the present is viewed in terms of the future. Now the past has returned and has been grievously added to. The receptive mood has changed and become hard and bitter. Some settlement will come sooner or later, after more conflict or without it, but it is far less likely to be real, sincere, and co-operative. More probably it will be an unwilling submission on both sides to overriding circumstances with continuing ill-will and distrust. No attempted solution which assumes even in principle the retention of India as part of the British empire has the slightest chance of acceptance of adoption. No solution which retains feudal relics in India can possibly last.
Life is cheap in India and when this is so, life is empty and ugly and shoddy and all the horrid brood of poverty envelop it. There is an enervating atmosphere in India, due to many causes, imposed or inherent, but essentially the resultant of poverty and want. We have a terribly low standard of living and a very high rate of dying. Industrially developed and rich countries have a way of looking at undeveloped and poor countries just as the rich man looks on the poor and unfortunate.
The rich man, out of his abundant resources and opportunities, develops high standards and fastidious tastes and blames the poor for their habits and lack of culture. Having denied them the opportunity to better themselves, he makes their poverty and its attendant evils justifications for a further denial.
India is not a poor country. She is abundantly supplied with everything that makes a country rich, and yet her people are very poor. She has a noble heritage of culture-forms and her culture-potential is very great; but many new developments and the accessories of culture are lacking. This lack is due to many causes and largely to deliberate deprivation. When this is so, the vital energy of the people must overcome the obstacles in the way and fill the lack. That is happening in India to-day. Nothing can be clearer than the fact that India has the resources as well as the intelligence, skill, and capacity to advance rapidly. She has the accumulated cultural and spiritual experience of ages behind her. She can progress both in scientific theory and the applications of science and become a great industrial nation. Her scientific record is already noteworthy, in spite of the many limitations she suffers from and the lack of opportunity for her young men and women to do scientific work. That record is not great considering the size and possibilities of the country, but it is significant of what will happen when the energies of the nation are released and opportunities are provided.
Only two factors may come in the way: international developments and external pressure on India, and lack of a common objective within the country. Ultimately it is the latter alone that will count. If India is split up into two or more parts and can no longer function as a political and economic unit, her progress will be seriously affected. There will be the direct weakening effect, but much worse will be the inner psychological conflict between those who wish to reunite her and those who oppose this. New vested interests will be created which will resist change and progress, a new evil Karma will pursue us in the future. One wrong step leads to another; so it has been in the past and so it may be in the future. And yet wrong steps have to be taken sometimes lest some worse peril befall us; that is the great paradox of politics, and no man can say with surety whether present wrong-doing is better and safer in the end than the possibility of that imagined peril. Unity is always better than disunity, but an enforced unity is a sham and dangerous affair, full of explosive possibilities. Unity must be of the mind and heart, a sense of belonging together and of facing together those who attack it. I am convinced that there is that basic unity in India, but it has been overlaid and hidden to some extent by other forces. These latter may be temporary and artificial and may pass off, but they count to-day and no man can ignore them.
It is our fault, of course, and we must suffer for our failings. But I cannot excuse or forgive the British authorities for the deliberate part they have played in creating disruption in India. All other injuries will pass, but this will continue to plague us for a much longer period. Often I am reminded of Ireland and China when I think of India. Both differ from India and from each other in their past and present problems, and yet there are many similarities. Shall we have to tread that same path in the future?
Jim Phelan in his 'Jail Journey' tells us of the effect of jail on human character, and everyone who has spent a long time in prison knows how true his statement is: The jail...acts as a magnifying glass on human character. Every tiny weakness is brought out, emphasized, wakened, until presently there is no more of the convict with the weakness but only a weakness wearing convict clothes.' Some such effect is produced on national character by foreign rule. That is not the only effect, for noble qualities also develop and strength is gradually built up through resistance. But foreign authority encourages the former and tries to suppress the latter. Just as we have convict warders in prison whose chief qualification is to spy on their fellow-convicts, so in a subject country there is no lack of puppets and sycophants who put on the livery of authority and act on its behalf. There are others also who do not consciously line up in this way but who are nevertheless influenced by the policies and intrigues of the dominant power.
To accept the principle of a division of India, or rather the principle that there should be no enforced unity, may lead to a calm and dispassionate consideration of its consequences and thus to a realization that unity is in the interest of all. Yet obviously there is the danger that once this wrong step is taken, other like ones may follow in its train. The attempt to solve one problem in the wrong way may well create new problems. If India is to be divided into two or more parts, then the amalgamation of the major Indian states into India becomes more difficult, for those states will find an additional reason, which they might not otherwise have, for keeping aloof and holding on to their authoritarian regimes [It may be said that the Indian Stales as a whole, while anxious to maintain their internal autonomy, are equally desirous of having a strong federal India of which they are members with equal rights. The proposal to divide India has been vigorously opposed by some of the leading ministers and statesmen of the states, and they have made it clear that, if such a division lakes place, the states might well prefer to keep to themselves and not tie up with either part of divided India. SirC. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, the Dewan of Travancore and one of the ablest and most experienced of states' ministers (though with a reputation for autocratic methods and a suppression of those of whom he does not approve) is a strong advocate of the internal autonomy of the states. He is at the same time an aggressive and persistent opponent of 'Pakistan', or any other suggested division. In an address delivered on October 6th, 1944, before the Bombay branch of the Indian Council of World Affairs, he said: 'The states, in other words, should, and in my view would, come into a scheme whereby the various political and administrative units in India, while exercising a full measure of autonomy in local matters, would co-operate with other units in the composition and working of the central legislative and executive organizations. Such organizations will function effectively within and without the limits of India as national and coordinating as well as representative bodies. Within the limits of India the relationship between the units will be one of equality and there will be no question of paramountcy as such inter se, though the rights residual and otherwise of the centre will have to be firmly established and implemented.' He further says: 'My point is this, namely, that treaty rights or no treaty rights, no Indian state has a right to exist which does not come into any scheme by which there is created a central direction or central control of matters that appertain to the Indian states and British India alike, or which does not loyally conform to all political arrangements that may be arrived at for the governance of India and all ideologies that may be evolved as the result of free and equal discussion and resultant compromises.' '/ wish to emphasize strongly, though I know I shall evoke a certain amount of controversy, that no Indian state has the right to exist unless it is abreast of, if not ahead of, British India in the things that matter in relation to the well-being of the people'.
Another fact that Ramaswami Aiyar emphasizes is that there is no getting away from the fact that it is impossible to deal with 601 states on an equal footing. He thinks that in a new constitution for India these 601 states will have to be reduced to something like fifteen or twenty, the others being absorbed into the larger units, province or state.
Ramaswami Aiyar apparently does not attach very much importance to this internal political progress of the states, or at any rate considers this a secondary matter. Yet the lack of this, especially in the states otherwise advanced, inevitably leads to ceaseless conflict between the people and the state authorities].
Any division of India on a religious basis as between Hindus and Moslems, as envisaged by the Moslem League to-day, cannot separate the followers of these two principal religions of India, for they are spread out all over the country. Even if the areas in which each group is in a majority are separated, huge minorities belonging to the other group remain in each area. Thus instead of solving the minority problem, we create several in place of one. Other religious groups, like the Sikhs, are split up unfairly against their will and placed in two different states. In giving freedom to separate to one group, other groups, though in a minority, are denied that freedom and compelled to isolate themselves from the rest of India against their emphatic and deeply felt wishes. If it is said that the majority (religious) must prevail in each area, so far as the question of separation is concerned, there is no particular reason why the majority view should not decide the question for the whole of India. Or that each tiny area should not decide its independent status for itself and thus create a vast number of small states—an incredible and fantastic development. Even so it cannot be done with any logic, for religious groups are intermingled and overlap in the population all over the country.
It is difficult enough to solve such problems by separation where nationalities are concerned. But where the test becomes a religious one it becomes impossible of solution on any logical basis. It is a reversion to some medieval conception which cannot be fitted into the modern world.
If the economic aspects of separation are considered it is clear that India as a whole is a strong and more-or-less self-sufficient economic unit. Any division will naturally weaken her and one part will have to depend on the other. If the division is made so as to separate the predominantly Hindu and Moslem areas, the former will comprise far the greater part of the mineral resources and industrial areas. The Hindu areas will not be so hard hit from this point of view. The Moslem areas, on the other hand, will be the economically backward, and often deficit, areas which cannot exist without a great deal of outside assistance. Thus the odd fact emerges that those who to-day demand separation will be the greatest sufferers from it. Because of a partial realization of this fact, it is now stated on their behalf that separation should take place in such a way as to give them an economically balanced region. Whether this is possible under any circumstances I do not know, but I rather doubt it. In any event any such attempt means forcibly attaching other large areas with a predominantly Hindu and Sikh population to the separated area. That would be a curious way of giving effect to the principle of self-determination. I am reminded of the story of the man who killed his father and mother and then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.
Another very curious contradiction emerges. While the principle of self-determination is invoked, the idea of a plebiscite to decide this is not accepted, or at most, it is said that the plebiscite should be limited to Moslems only in the area. Thus in Bengal and the Punjab the Moslem population is about 54 per cent or less. It is suggested that if there is to be voting only this 54 per cent should vote and decide the fate of the remaining 46 per cent or more, who will have no say in the matter. This might result in 28 per cent deciding the fate of the remaining 72 per cent.
It is difficult to understand how any reasonable person can advance these propositions or expect them to be agreed to. I do not know, and nobody can know till an actual vote takes place on this issue, how many Moslems in the areas concerned would vote for partition. I imagine that a large number of them, possibly even a majority, would vote against it. Many Moslem organizations are opposed to it. Every non-Moslem, whether he is a Hindu, or Sikh, or Christian, or Parsee, is opposed to it. Essentially this sentiment in favour of partition has grown in the areas where Moslems are in a small minority—areas which in any event, would remain undetached from the rest of India. Moslems in provinces where they are in a majority have been less influenced by it; naturally, for they can stand on their own feet and have no reason to fear other groups. It is least in evidence in the North-West Frontier Province (95 per cent Moslem), where the Pathans are brave and self-reliant and have no fear complex. Thus, oddly enough, the Moslem League's proposal to partition India finds far less response in the Moslem areas sought to be partitioned than in the Moslem minority areas which are unaffected by it. Yet the fact remains that consider-able numbers of Moslems have become sentimentally attached to this idea of separation without giving thought to its consequences. Indeed, the proposition has so far only been vaguely stated and no attempt has been made to define it, in spite of repeated requests.
I think this sentiment has been artificially created and has no roots in the Moslem mind. But even a temporary sentiment may be strong enough to influence events and create a new situation. Normally, adjustments would take place from time to time, but in the peculiar position in which India is situated to-day, with power concentrated in foreign hands, anything may happen. It is clear that any real settlement must be based on the goodwill of the constituent elements and on the desire of all parties to it to co-operate together for a common objective. In order to gain that any sacrifice in reason is worth while. Every group must not only be theoretically and actually free and have equal opportunities of growth, but should have the sensation of freedom and equality. It is not difficult, if passions and un-reasoning emotions are set aside, to devise such freedom with the largest autonomy for provinces and states and yet a strong central bond. There could even be autonomous units within the larger provinces or states, as in Soviet Russia. In addition to this, every conceivable protection and safeguard for minority rights could be inserted into the constitution.
All this can be done, and yet I do not know how the future will take shape under the influence of various indeterminate factors and forces, the chief of these being British policy. It may be that some division of India is enforced, with some tenuous bond joining the divided parts. Even if this happens, I am convinced that the basic feeling of unity and world developments will later bring the divided parts nearer to each other and result in a real unity.
That unity is geographical, historical, and cultural, and all that; but the most powerful factor in its favour is the trend of world events. Many of us are of opinion that India is essentially a nation; Mr. Jinnah has advanced a two-nation theory and has lately added to it and to political phraseology by describing some religious groups as sub-nations, whatever these might be. His thought identifies a nation with religion. That is not the usual approach to-day. But whether India is properly to be described as one nation or two or more really does not matter, for the modern idea of nationality has been almost divorced from statehood. The national state is too small a unit to-day and small states can have no independent existence. It is doubtful if even many of the larger national states can have any real independence. The national state is thus giving place to the multi-national state or to large federations. The Soviet Union is typical of this development. The United States of America, though bound together by strong national ties, constitute essentially a multi-national state. Behind Hitler's march across Europe there was something more than the nazi lust for conquest. New forces were working towards the liquidation of the small states system in Europe. Hitler's armies are now rapidly rolling back or are being destroyed, but the conception of large federations remains.
Mr. H. G. Wells has been telling the world, with all the fire of an old prophet, that humanity is at the end of an age—an age of fragmentation in the management of its affairs, fragmentation politically among separate sovereign states and economically among unrestricted business organizations competing for profit. He tells us that it is the system of nationalist individualism and uncoordinated enterprise that is the world's disease. We shall have to put an end to the national state and devise a collectivism which neither degrades nor enslaves. The prophets are ignored and sometimes even stoned by their generation. And so Mr. Wells' warnings, and those of many others, are voices in the wilderness so far as those in authority are concerned. Nevertheless, they point to inevitable trends. These trends can be hastened or delayed, or if those who have power are so blind, may even have to wait another and greater disaster before they take actual shape.
In India, as elsewhere, we are too much under the bondage of slogans and set phrases derived from past events, and ideologies which have little relevance to-day, and their chief function is to prevent reasoned thought and a dispassionate consideration of the situation as it exists. There is also the tendency towards abstractions and vague ideals, which arouse emotional responses and are often good in their way, but which also lead to a woolliness of the mind and unreality. In recent years a great deal has been written and said on the future of India, and especially on the partition or unity of India; and yet the astonishing fact remains that those who propose 'Pakistan' or partition have consistently refused to define what they mean or to consider the implications of such a division. They move on the emotional plane only, as also many of those who oppose them, a plane of imagination and vague desire, behind which lie imagined interests. Inevitably, between these two emotional and imaginative approaches there is no meeting ground. And so 'Pakistan' and 'Akhand Hindustan' (undivided India) are bandied about and hurled at each other. It is clear that group emotions and conscious or subconscious urges count and must be attended to. It is at least equally clear that facts and realities do not vanish by our ignoring them or covering them up by a film of emotion; they have a way of emerging at awkward moments and in unexpected ways. And decisions taken primarily on the basis of emotions, or when emotions are the dominating consideration, are likely to be wrong and to lead to dangerous developments.
It is obvious that whatever may be the future of India, and even if there is a regular partition, the different parts of India will have to co-operate with each other in a hundred different ways. Even independent nations have to co-operate with each other, much more so must Indian provinces or such parts as emerge from a partition, for these stand in an intimate relation-ship to each other and must hang together or deteriorate, disintegrate, and lose their freedom. Thus the very first practical question is: What are the essential common bonds which must bind and cement various parts of India if she is to progress and remain free, and which are equally necessary even for the autonomy and cultural growth of those parts. Defence is an obvious and outstanding consideration, and behind that defence lie the industries feeding it, transport and communications, and some measure at least of economic planning. Customs, currency, and exchange also, and the maintenance of the whole of India as an internally free-trade area, for any internal tariff barriers would be fatal barriers to growth. And so on; there are many other matters which would inevitably, both from the point of view of the whole and the parts, have to be jointly and centrally directed. There is no getting away from it whether we are in favour of Pakistan or not, unless we are blind to everything except a momentary passion. The vast growth of air services today has led to the demand for their internationalization, or to some form of international control. Whether various coun-tries are wise enough to accept this is doubtful, but it is quite certain that air developments can only take place in India on an all-India basis; it is inconceivable for a partitioned India to make progress in regard to them in each part separately. This applies glso to many other activities which already tend to outgrow even national boundaries. India is big enough as a whole to give them scope for development, but not so partitioned India.
Thus we arrive at the inevitable and ineluctable conclusion that, whether Pakistan comes or not, a number of important and basic functions of the state must be exercised on an all-India basis if India is to survive as a free state and progress. The alternative is stagnation, decay, and disintegration, leading to loss of political and economic freedom, both for India as a whole and its various separated parts. As has been said by an eminent authority: 'The inexorable logic of the age presents the country with radically different alternatives: union plus independence or disunion plus dependence.' What form the union is to take, and whether it is called union or by some other name, is not so important, though names have their own significance and psychological value. The essential fact is that a number of varied activities can only be conducted effectively on a joint all-India basis. Probably many of these activities will soon be under the control of international bodies. The world shrinks and its problems overlap. It takes less than three days now to go right across the world by air, from any one place to another, and to-morrow, with the development of stratosphere navigation, it may take even less time. India must become a great world centre of air travel, India will also be linked by rail to western Asia and Europe on the one side, and to Burma and China on the other. Not far from India, across the Himalayas in the north, lies in Soviet Asia one of the highly developed industrial areas, with an enormous future potential. India will be affected by this and will react in many ways.
The way of approach, therefore, to the problem of unity or Pakistan, is not in the abstract and on the emotional level, but practically, and with our eyes on the present-day world. That approach leads us to certain obvious conclusions, that a binding cement in regard to certain important functions and matters is essential for the whole of India. Apart from them there may be and should be the fullest freedom to constituent units, and an intermediate sphere where there is both joint and separate functioning. There may be differences of opinion as to where one sphere ends, and the other begins, but such differences, when considered on a practical basis, are generally fairly easy of adjustment.
But all this must necessarily be based on a spirit of willing co-operation, on the absence of a feeling of compulsion, and on the sensation of freedom in each unit and individual. Old vested interest have to go; it is equally important that no new ones are created. Certain proposal, based on metaphysical conceptions of groups and forgetting the individual who comprise them, make one individual politically equal to two or three others and thus create new vested interests. Any such arrangement can only lead to grave dissatisfaction and instability.
The right of any well-constituted area to secede from the Indian federation or union has often been put forward, and the argument of the U.S.S.R. advanced in support of it. That argument has little application, for conditions there are wholly different and the right has little practical value. In the emotional atmosphere in India to-day it may be desirable to agree to this for the future in order to give that sense of freedom from compulsion which is so necessary. The Congress has in effect agreed to it. But even the exercise of that right involves a pre-consideration of all those common problems to which reference has been made. Also there is grave danger in a possibility of partition and division to begin with, for such an attempt might well scotch the very beginnings of freedom and the formation of a free national state. Insuperable problems will rise and confuse all the real issues. Disintegration will be in the air and all manner of groups, who are otherwise agreeable to a joint and unified existence, will claim separate states for themselves, or special privileges which are encroachments on others. The problem of the Indian states will become far more difficult of solution, and the states system, as it is to-day, will get a new lease of life. The social and economic problems will be far harder to tackle. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of any free state emerging from such a turmoil, and if something does emerge, it will be a pitiful caricature full of contradictions and insoluble problems.
Before any such right of secession is exercised there must be a properly constituted, functioning, free India. It may be possible then, when external influences have been removed and real problems face the country, to consider such questions objectively and in a spirit of relative detachment, far removed from the emotionalism of to-day, which can only lead to unfortunate con-sequences which we may all have to regret later. Thus it may be desirable to fix a period, say ten years after the establishment of the free Indian state, at the end of which the right to secede may be exercised through proper constitutional process and in accordance with the clearly expressed will of the inhabitants of the area concerned.
Many of us are utterly weary of present conditions in India and are passionately eager to find some way out. Some are even prepared to clutch at any straw that floats their way in the vague hope that it may afford some momentary relief, some breathing space to a system that has long felt strangled and suffocated. That is very natural. And yet there is danger in these rather hysterical and adventurist approaches to vital problems affecting the well-being of hundreds of millions and the future peace of the world. We live continually on the verge of disaster in India, and indeed the disaster sometimes overwhelms us, as we saw in Bengal and elsewhere in India last year. The Bengal famine, and all that followed it, were not tragic exceptions due to extra-ordinary and unlooked for causes which could not be controlled or provided for. They were vivid, frightful pictures of India as she is, suffering for generations past from a deep-seated organic disease which has eaten into her very vitals. That disease will take more and more dangerous and disastrous forms unless we divert all our joint energies to its uprooting and cure. A divided India, each part trying to help itself and not caring for, or co-operating with, the rest, will lead to an aggravation of the disease and to sinking into a welter of hopeless, helpless misery. It is terribly late already and we have to make up for lost time. Must even the lesson of the Bengal famine be lost upon us? There are still many people who can think only in terms of political percentages, of weightage, of balancing, of checks, of the preservation of privileged groups, of making new groups privileged, of preventing others from advancing because they themselves are not anxious to, or are incapable of, doing so, of vested interests, of avoiding major social and economic changes, of holding on to the present picture of India with only superficial alterations. That way lies supreme folly.
The problems of the moment seem big and engross our attention. And yet, in a longer perspective, they may have no great importance and, under the surface of superficial events, more vital forces may be at work. Forgetting present problems then for a while and looking ahead, India emerges as a strong united state, a federation of free units, intimately connected with her neighbors and playing an important part in world affairs. She is one of the very few countries which have the resources and capacity to stand on their own feet. To-day probably the only such countries are the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Great Britain can only be reckoned as one of these if the resources of her empire are added to her own, and even then a spread-out and disgruntled empire is a source of weakness. China and India are potentially capable of joining that group. Each of them is compact and homogeneous and full of natural wealth, manpower, and human skill and capacity; indeed India's potential industrial resources are probably even more varied and extensive than China's, and so also her exportable commodities which may be required for the imports she needs. No other country, taken singly, apart from these four, is actually or potentially in such a position. It is possible of course that large federations or groups of nations may emerge in Europe or else-where and form huge multi-national states.
The Pacific is likely to take the place of the Atlantic in the future as a nerve centre of the world. Though not directly a Pacific state, India will inevitably exercise an important influence there. India will also develop as the centre of economic and political activity in the Indian Ocean area, in south-east Asia and right up to the Middle East. Her position gives an economic and strategic importance in a part of the world which is going to develop rapidly in the future. If there is a regional grouping of the countries bordering on the Indian Ocean on either side of India—Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Siam, Java, etc.—present day minority problems will disappear, or at any rate will have to be considered in an entirely different context.
Mr. G. D. H. Cole considers India to be itself a supra-national area, and he thinks that in the long run she is destined to be the centre of a mighty supra-national state covering the whole of the Middle East and lying between a Sino-Japanese Soviet Republic, a new state based on Egypt, Arabia, and Turkey, and the Soviet Union in the north. All this is pure conjecture and whether any such development will ever take place no man can say. For my part I have no liking for a division of the world into a few huge supra-national areas, unless these are tied together by some strong world bond. But if people are foolish enough to avoid world unity and some world organization, then these vast supra-national regions, each functioning as one huge state but with local autonomy, are very likely to take shape. For the small national state is doomed. It may survive as a culturally autonomous area but not as an in-dependent political unit.