The Muslims began distrusting the Hindus and then the Hindu and Sikhs also got convinced that mutual co-existence was impossible.
It was the, Hindus’ and Sikhs’ desire for Partition that made him a mass leader without any masses behind him in his struggle for unity.
The Muslims had already declared him to be their enemy. When different segments of people wanted partition, what could he or the Congress do but to accept it? At his daily prayer meeting on 4th June 1947 Gandhi said:
“The demand has been granted because you asked for it. The Congress never asked for it…. But the Congress can feel the pulse of the people. It realised that the Khalsa as also the Hindus desired it.”
Spcialists and Gandhians appealed to Gandhi to launch a struggle for unity bypassing the Congress leaders.
Gandhi pointed out that the problem was not that he was unwilling to go ahead without the Congress leaders.
After all, few had agreed with his assessment in 1942 that the time was right for a struggle of the Quit India type, and yet he had defied their counsels and he had been proved right.
The crucial lacuna in 1947 was that there were no ‘forces of good’ upon which he could ‘build up a programme’.
He confessed, ‘Today I see no sign of such a healthy feeling. And, therefore, I shall have to wait until the time comes.”
The time never came for political developments were moving at too fast a pace. Partition was announced on 3rd June and implemented on 15th August 1947.
Gandhi’s advice to Congressmen, conveyed in his speech to the AICC meeting on 14th June 1947, was to accept Partition as an unavoidable necessity for the present, but not accept it in their hearts and fight to reverse it later, when passions would subside.