.. By Gen Raza Muhammad Khan (R)
THE British ruled India for over a century after deposing, displacing or marginalizing Mughal and other Muslim rulers, through exploitation of disunity and dispersion among them, in connivance with Rajput and Maratha Hindu monarchs.
But as descendants of a conquering and ruling people in India for 800 years and adherents of Islam, the Muslims found it difficult to accept British domination and detested Hindu rule that epitomizes caste discrimination and pantheism, as against Islam’s monotheistic faith.
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was born, which aspired to gain supremacy in a one-man, one-vote democratic dispensation in the whole of India, in the future.
This gave rise to consensus among Muslims that if the Islamic way of life could not be preserved in an all-India set up, it should be salvaged, wherever possible.
This sentiment was accordingly theorized by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1886, who pronounced Muslims and Hindus as two separate nations.
When Bengal was divided in 1905 for administrative reasons by the British, the Congress vehemently opposed it, as it gave preponderance to, and benefited the Muslims.
To protect Muslim interests and enhance their political empowerment in British India, the All India Muslim League (AIML)was born at Dacca in 1906, at the residence of Nawab Salim Ullah, who was appointed as its first VP and Aga Khan III, elected as the First President of AIML, (a position that he ably held for 12 years).
Though Bengal’s division was undone six years later to appease the Hindus, but it gave impetus to Muslim nationalism and the “Two Nations Concept” in India.
In 1926, the RSS was secretly established, to fight the Muslims and it grew exponentially on that manifesto.
This led, in 1929, to Quaid’s Fourteen Points, for constitutional reforms to safeguard the political rights and defence of Muslims in a self-governing India.
Further, in 1930, Iqbal, as president of AIML, envisioned a separate home land for Muslims, through merger of Muslim majority provinces of India.
Eventually these notions were formalized through the AIML Resolution of 23 March 1940.
On this occasion, the Quaid argued: “—Muslims should have their own separate homeland outside of Hindu-majority India, where Islam is the dominant religion”.
Thereafter, this Resolution became the guiding beacon for the Pakistan Movement, till partition of India.
Also, hereafter, the Muslim League, led by the Quaid, developed into a formidable political organization with necessary unity of command, executive structure, communication framework, legal powers, persuasive ability and consistency, for the creation of Pakistan.
In 1944, Gandhi proposed to achieve independence from the British jointly and to settle the issue of Pakistan later, but Jinnah rejected this.
In 1946,when the British Cabinet Mission asked to rationalize the demand for Pakistan’s creation, the Quaid stated: “Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religions, cultures, philosophies, social customs and literature…
they derive their inspiration from different sources of history; they have different epics, different heroes, and ways of life.
To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.
Unless there are essential uniting forces — how are you to put — Muslims together with a majority, whose way of life is so different?
In 1946, the AIML secured most of the Muslim votes in elections for interim government in India, which further legitimized the demand for Pakistan.
To prevent Pakistan’s creation, Gandhi even offered the post of PM of a united, interim Indian government to the Quaid, but he rejected it.
Ultimately, due to the untiring efforts of the founding fathers,( including Liaquat Ali Khan, Abdur Rab Nishtar, Zafarullah Khan, Khwaja Nazimuddin, Huseyn Suhrawardy, A K Fazlul Huq, Khaliq uz Zaman, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Ms.
Fatima Jinnah and others) for over 60 years, Pakistan appeared on the world map. After Pakistan’s creation, the Quaid called it “the premier Islamic State— a bulwark of Islam” with a feeling of joyful and genuine pride.
He also declared: “Our constitution shall be democratic, embodying the essential principles of Islam.
Our decisions in state affairs shall be guided by — consultations, as taught by the Almighty”.
These matters were enshrined in the constitution, through the Objectives Resolution of 1949 and they remain inviolate since then.
The birth of Pakistan was also accompanied by a cost unprecedented in history, when a million innocent people were killed by Hindu and Sikh mobs and 11 million displaced.
This sacrifice must never go in vain.Did East Pakistanis abandon the Two Nations Theory in 1971?
Not really, as the break-up of Pakistan was abetted by India and a host of pro-Indian, militant, East Pakistani Hindu intellectuals, among 23 percent of Hindu population.
The two nations became ‘three’ after 1971, which is analogous to two Muslim brothers, deciding to build separate homes without abandoning their religious affinities.
Besides, Bengali nationalism cannot unite Indian Bengal with Bangladesh. Consequently, Bangladesh joined the OIC in 1974 and their masses have never repudiated Islamic nationalism, despite external and internal efforts to secularize the country.
Actually, the ‘Two Nations Theory”, has been re-validated by the present Indian rulers, through their policies of discrimination, victimization and Hiduisation, of their Muslim population.
This calls for our deep gratitude to the Almighty and our ancestors, for our freedom, despite resistance by the British, Hindu majority and even some Muslim scholars.
Let’s also resolve on this Pakistan Day, to follow the Quaid’s counsel: “We won the battle for Pakistan’s freedom, but the grimmer war for its preservation and building Pakistan on sounder foundations has to be fought to a successful conclusion”.
Muslims must also recognize that major challenges, facing them globally, like Islamophobia, Muslim’s maltreatment, Kashmir and Palestine could be faced only through pan-Islamic sorority.
—The writer is former President NDU.