Tara Singh Malhotra - Bad Relation With Muslims, Akali Dal Merges With Congress

Bad Relation With Muslims, Akali Dal Merges With Congress

Through his editorials in Akali-te- Pardesi and Akali Patrika he was able to create an impression that the Sikh interests would never be secure under Muslim rule. He was emphatic that the Sikhs had suffered due to communal attitude of the government and accused the government for not providing protection to the Sikhs in the riots at Kot Fateh Khan, Ahla and Amritsar. He condemned the Muslim officials for demonstrating sympathy with their community. The termination of services of five teachers of Khalsa College, Amritsar and the case of embezzlement of Gurdwara funds was considered a deliberate attempt by Sir Sikandar Hyatt Khan to undermine the strength of the Akalis in the province. An important aspect of this struggle of Master Tara Singh against the Unionist government was that he got cooperation neither from the moderate, loyalist Sikhs nor from the Congress party which he had supported earlier. Noteworthy in this context is the fact that the personal enmity between Master Tara Singh and Sir Sunder Singh Majithia became public. Master Tara Singh's fears were further augmented by the Sikander-Jinnah Pact of October 1937. It was a development of great significance, according to which, all Muslim member of the Unionist party would join the Muslim league and would follow its policies in all India matters and would remain independent of Muslim league in the provincial matters.

The Sikander-Jinnah Pact led ultimately to sharp polarisation in the politics of Punjab. It changed the politics of Punjab because it afflicted shock to the Hindus and the Sikhs of the Punjab, who considered Sir Sikander, first as a Punjabi and then as a Muslim. It led to an agreement of views among the political Sikh group of loyal and moderate Sikhs and of Master Tara Singh that Sir Sikander had ceased to practice non-communal politics. The 'Pact' again forced Master Tara Singh to change his attitude towards the Congress party and once again the Shiromani Akali Dal called upon all the Sikh members of the Punjab assembly to separate themselves from the Unionist government and join the Congress party. As a reaction to the pact, Dr. Satyapal, representative of the Punjab Congress, G. C. Narang, representative of the Punjab Hindu Sabha and Master Tara Singh, representative of the Shiromani Akali Dal reached an alliance with the aim of building a strong opposition to the Sikander and the Muslim League.

On 5 March 1937 in the working committee meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal, it was decided that the Akalis would also become the members of the Congress to keep its flag high. Soon the decision to merge the Dal in the Congress was also taken on 14 June 1937. At the All India Akali Conference held at Rawalpindi in November 1938, the Congress flag was flown side by side with the panthic flag. The policy of the Unionist government was declared to be communal and Congress was seen as a truly national organisation. Master Tara Singh continued this policy first of cooperation and then of collaboration with the Congress until World War II. The Congress leaders knew that Master Tara Singh was the only unyielding and fearless kind of person who could put up a relentless fight against the British. Master Tara Singh on the other hand, based his policy towards the Congress on the resolution passed by the Congress party in Lahore in 1929, assuring the Sikhs and other minorities that, the Congress will not agree to any constitution which does not satisfy them (the Sikhs). But after the indirect support of the Congress to the Communal Award, he held the Congress responsible for backing out of its promise as Gandhi had bound himself and the Congress to the Communal Award through the Poona Pact. After the Sikander-Jinnah Pact the complexities of the situation again forced Master Tara Singh to adopt a policy of cooperation with the Congress. But the relations soon became problematic, as both the parties could not fulfill the expectations set upon them.

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