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Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Founder of Pakistan was no doubt a great leader of the modern age, who not only led his people to independence but founded a separate homeland for Muslims where they could live independently and cultivate their culture and civilisation. This was a far greater achievement of the Quaid than any other national liberation leader.

Other leaders struggled for independence within states already in existence, the Quaid alone sought a separate homeland where none had existed. This he achieved almost single-handed and constitutionally, and in the teeth of opposition.

A great historian Stanley Wolpert paying a great tribute to the Quaid has summarised the greatness of Mr Jinnah in the following words:

"Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three. Hailed as "Great Leader" (Quaid-i-Azam) of Pakistan and its first Governor-General, Jinnah virtually conjured that country into state hood by force of his indomitable will."

The Quaid-i-Azam was the champion of Hindu Muslim unity. He spent his energies towards its attainment. His efforts were appreciated and he was acknowledged by the Hindus themselves as the "Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity". But the force of emerging conditions soon led to change his outlook and adopt a different course.

At the All India Muslim League Session at Lahore on March 23, Quaid-i-Azam 1940 discussed this point and said:

"I may explain that the Musalmans, wherever they are in a minority, cannot improve their position under a united India or under one Central government. Whatever happens, they would remain a minority, by coming in the way of the division of India they do not and cannot improve their own position. On the other hand, they can, by their attitude of obstruction, bring the Muslim homeland and 60,000,000 of the Musalmans under one government, where they would remain no more than a minority in perpetuity".

The demand for separate homeland on the basis of Two Nation Theory was an expression of deepest emotions of the Muslims of the sub-continent for their political & cultural identity, whose roots were embedded in the State of Medina founded by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at Medina in 622A.D. Thus, Pakistan was created as the first Muslim State after the establishment of the State of Medina on the basis of Two Nation Theory and for the preservation of the culture and civilisation, Language and literature and Islamic way of life of the Muslims of the sub-continent.

Before discussing in detail the historical background of the Two Nation Theory it is necessary to explain why Hindus and Muslims could not coalesce into one nation although they lived together for at least seven centuries.

In his speech at Aligarh on March 8, 1944 the Quaid answered this question as under:

"Pakistan started the moment the first non-Muslim was converted to Islam in India long before the Muslims established their rule. As soon as a Hindu embraced Islam he was outcast not only religiously but also socially, culturally and economically. As for the Muslim, it was a duty imposed on him by Islam not to merge his identity and individuality in any alien society. Throughout the ages Hindus had remained Hindus and Muslims had remained Muslims and they had not merged their entities - that was the basis for Pakistan."

An awareness of a separate Muslim nationhood in the subcontinent can be traced back to a thousand years when it was noticed for the first time by Abu Rehan al-Beruni, who visited India in the ninth century and wrote in his famous work "Kitab-al Hind" as under:

"For the reader must always bear in mind that the Hindus entirely differ from us in every respect, many a subject appearing intricate and obscure which would be perfectly clear if there were more connection between us. The barriers which separate Muslims and Hindus rest on different causes."

Discussing the social structure of the two nations, Hindus and Muslims, Al-Beruni further wrote:

"Secondly, they totally differ from us in religion, as we believe in nothing in which they believe, and vice versa. On the whole, there is very little disputing about theological topics among themselves; at the utmost, they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or their property on religious controversy. On the contrary, all their fanaticism is directed against those who do not belong to them - against all foreigners. They call them maleech, ie impure, and forbid having any connection with them, be it by intermarriage or any other kind or relationship, or by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because thereby, they think, they would be polluted".

This consciousness of a distinct national identity was later stressed by Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Sani (d.1624), Shah Wali Ullah Dehlavi (d.1762) Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed (d. 1831) and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (d.1898).

In the beginning of his career, Sir Syed Ahmed's concept of nation was vague and confusing. Sometimes he said that the entire humanity was one nation. Sometimes he believed that people living on one land are comprised of a nation. But after the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan came to adopt a correct view of nation.

The slogan of one Indian nation from the platform of the Congress did not appeal to the Muslims of the sub-continent. The Congress again and again preached the doctrine of one nation, that is to say all those who inhabited this country (the sub-continent) made one nation. It made Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and other Muslims realise that actually the Hindus constituted a separate nation, having nothing common with the Muslims and that they could not live together any more with Hindus. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had predicted this in 1867, when a few influential Hindus at Banaras, contemplated the removal of Urdu and Persian languages from courts and offices to replace these languages by Hindi in Deonagri script. After this incident Sir Syed expressed his views before Mr Shakespeare, an English officer and his friend at Banaras as under:

"It was not possible for the Hindus and Muslims to progress as a single nation and any one to work for both of them simultaneously. I am convinced that both these nations will not join whole-heartedly in anything. At present there is no open hostility between the two nations. But on account of the so-called educated people it will increase in future and he who lives, will see."

The later happenings convinced Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to plead two nation theory. In one of his lectures at Ludhiana he said:

"Remember a nation is nothing unless it is a nation in real sense. All individuals joining the fold of Islam together constitute a nation of Muslims. As long as they follow and practice this beloved religion, they are a nation. Remember you have to live and die by Islam and it is by keeping Islam that our nation is a nation. Dear children, if someone becomes a star of the heaven and ceases to be a Muslim what is he to us? He is no longer a member of our nation."

Other Muslim leaders who often referred to the Muslim community as a nation or nationality were, Sir Agha Khan (1877-1951), Justice Ameer Ali (1849-1928), Choudhry Rahmat Ali (1895-1951) and others. Later on, in the beginning of the twentieth century, Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar (1878-1931) also declared that there were two nations in the sub-continent.

Allama Iqbal, our national poet and philosopher, went a step further and vigorously proclaimed the need of a separate state for the Muslims of the sub-continent:

In his presidential Address at the Twenty First Session of the all India Muslim League at Allahabad on December 29 1930 Allama Iqbal announced that the Muslims demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is, therefore, perfectly justified.

Allama Iqbal also desired that the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Balochistan should be amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslims State appeared to him to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India. He considered India as the greatest Muslim country in the world.

According to Allama Iqbal a separate Muslim State within the sub-continent would not be a theocracy. "It would provide" said Iqbal, "on the other hand, an opportunity for Islam to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilise its laws its education, its culture and bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times".

In the entire struggle of the Muslims of the sub-continent for a separate homeland, the attitude of the Indian National Congress and its leadership was one of stiff opposition and antagonism. In fact the Hindus did not reconcile to the Muslim demand for a separate state as declared in the Lahore Resolution in 1940. It was described by Gandhi as a "suicide", a "sin" and "a vivisection of mother India" which could be allowed only over his dead body. Gandhiji in a letter to the Quaid-i-Azam, in September 1944, wrote that the Hindus and Muslims were not two nations but one. He said that Mr Jinnah's contention was wholly unreal. He further explained in his letter: "I find no parallel in history for a body of converts and their descendants claiming to be a nation apart from the parent stock. If India was one nation before the advent of Islam, it must remain one in spite of the change of faith of a very large body of her children."

In his presidential address at the Special Pakistan Session of the Punjab Muslim Students Federation on March 2, 1941 discussing the cultural difference of two nations the Quaid said:

"We are a nation, (cheers.) And a nation must have a territory. What is the use of merely saying that we are a nation? Nation does not live in the air. It lives on the land, it must govern, and it must have territorial state and that is what you want to get. (cheers).

He continued: "Our demand is not from Hindus because the Hindus never took the whole of India. It was the Muslims who took India and ruled for 700 years. It was the British who took India from the Musalmans. So, we are not asking the Hindus to give us anything. Our demand is made to the British, who are in possession. It is an utter nonsense to say that Hindustan belongs to the Hindus. They also say that Muslims were Hindus at one time. These nonsensical arguments are advanced by their leaders. They say, supposing an Englishman becomes a Muslim in England, he does not ask for Pakistan. Have you got eyes to see and don't you have brains to understand that an Englishman, if he changes his religion in England, he, by changing his religion, still remains a member of the same society, with the same culture, same social life and everything remains exactly the same when an Englishman changes his faith? But can't you see that a Muslim, when he was converted, granted that he was converted more than a thousand years ago, but of them, then according to your Hindu religion and philosophy, he becomes an outcast and he becomes a maleech (untouchable) and the Hindus cease to have anything to do with him socially, religiously and culturally or in any other way? He, therefore, belongs to a different order, not only religious but social, and he has lived in that distinctly separate and antagonistic social order, religiously, socially and culturally.

The only solution for the Muslims of India which will stand the test of trial and time, is that India should be partitioned so that both the communities can develop freely and fully according to their own genius economically, socially, culturally."

Discussing the aims and objects of the creation of Pakistan, in a message to the Frontier Muslim Students Federation in June 1945, the Quaid had declared:

"Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology which has to be preserved and which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which we hope others will share with us."

Subsequently, the general elections of 1945-46 which were held on the basis of Separate Electorate proved the "Two Nation Theory", when All India Muslim League won 30 seats reserved for the Muslims and 86.6 percent of the total Muslim votes and in the Provincial Assemblies won 428 seats out of 492 Muslim seats, thus endorsing its claim of being the sole representative of the Muslims of India. The landslide victory of the All India Muslim League blasted the claim of the Indian National Congress that it represented the whole of India. Thus the demand for separate homeland based on Two Nation Theory was proved beyond any doubt. Ultimately British India was divided and Pakistan was created on the basis of Two Nation Theory on August 14, 1947.

(The writer is a Director, Quaid-i-Azam Academy, Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004


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