Many of you must have not heard about Jogendra Nath Mandal who propelled Dalit and scheduled caste activism. You may be surprised to know that he was the first law minister of Pakistan after the partition of India and Pakistan. In 1950, he returned to India after resigning from his post.
I would like to take you back in 1940 when All India Muslim League passed the resolution for the establishment of a separate country for the Muslims of British India. After a few years, some people began to call it the Pakistan Resolution as the objective of the resolution was to create Pakistan.
Mandal began his political journey as a leader of the Scheduled Caste communities in Bengal. He contested the Bengal Legislative Assembly election and became a member. Mandal along with B. R. Ambedkar established the Bengal branch of All India Scheduled Castes Federation (AISCF) in which B. R. Ambedkar was appointed as a national leader.
Dr. Ambedkar considered the society and nation above everything else. Mandal had different views on minorities. He believed that there should not be any discrimination among minorities in the name of religion. Muslim League took advantage of Mandal’s ideology and decided to join hands with Mandal. Jogendra Nath came close to Muslim League with all MLA and supported them. Muslim League kept Mandal under the illusion, stating that minorities will be granted all equal rights in Pakistan. On 16 August 1946, Muslim League announced ‘Direct Action’ in Kolkata to fulfill the demand for an “autonomous and sovereign” Pakistan which resulted in the worst communal riots. A massive massacre of Hindu men, women, and children happened, in which several Hindus were killed. Hindus were forcefully converted to Islam and Hindus women were brutally raped and murdered. Mandal accepted that he still was with the Muslim League while Hindus were being assassinated.
Eventually, the Muslim League succeeded in creating Pakistan and Mandal was appointed as a law minister in Pakistan. Mandal put his conditions in front of Pakistan that Scheduled Caste Hindus should be given equal rights in Pakistan and there should not be any discrimination in the name of religion. Pakistan agreed with his conditions, but Pakistan’s real face subsequently came to the fore and turned down all conditions made by Mandal. Hindus were given two options. Either to convert to Islam or to ready for die. The violence broke out and Hindus were being forced to convert to Islam. Dalits faced the wrath from Muslims and many Hindus were being killed and Hindu girls were forced to convert to Islam.
When Mandal raised his voice against the atrocities on Hindus, Muslim leaders suppressed his voice. Despite the massacre, Mandal was defending the Pakistan government. Hundreds of Hindus were being killed every day and Mandal went on to see dogs eating Hindus corpses in villages, Pakistan. In 1950, 10,000 Hindus were killed in Dhaka because some Hindu MLA resigned from Assembly. Mandal then realised that Hindus would never be given equal rights in Pakistan. He repented for his mistake and remembered Ambedkar’s words who clearly said, “The Muslim invaders, no doubt, came to India singing a hymn of hate against the Hindus” Ambedkar Criticized Muslims for their aggression against Hindus.
At last, Jogendra Nath Mandal resigned from his post and returned to India on 8 October 1950, leaving lakhs of Hindus behind in Pakistan in their condition.