“After anxious and prolonged struggle I have come to the conclusion that Pakistan is no place for Hindus to live in and that their future is darkened by the ominous shadow of conversion or liquidation.”

 

(Jogendra Nath Mandal in his

resignation letter to then Prime

Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, October 1950)

Born to the untouchable caste in Bengal in 1904, Jogendra Nath Mandal started his political career as a leader of the Scheduled Caste communities of Bengal. He was skeptical of Congress because of the domination of high caste Hindus in the party. Instead, Mandal decided to join Muslim League in 1943 since he saw the interests of lower caste Hindus of Bengal more closely aligned with those of the Muslims. Both, for example, were relegated to the same lower social and economic strata of a society controlled by high caste Hindus. Mandal held prominent positions within Muslim League and was one of the nominations of the party for interim Government of 1946. After the formation of Pakistan, he became the first Law and Labor minister of the country. When Jinnah was to be sworn in as the first Governor General, he asked Mandal to preside over the ceremony. After the death of Jinnah, however, the situation of minorities in the country only grew bleaker over time. Mandal’s moral consciousness did not allow him to be a part of such a governance and wrote a detailed, scathing resignation letter to Liaquat Ali Khan. He went back to India and died in Bangaon in 1968.

Jogendra Nath Mandal played a significant role in the formation of this country. His subsequent disappointment is indicative of Pakistan’s betrayal to its minorities, a betrayal which has continued to this day.