Saturday, May 27, 2006

Steps to Partition - 2

Another popular argument about Partition (prevalent mainly among Pakistanis) is that Partition was thrust upon Muslims by a Hindu majority unwilling to grant them sufficient constitutional safeguards. Jinnah, we are told, advocated Pakistan only as a bargaining position. It was Hindus, the Congress and Gandhi that partitioned India.

On a somewhat unrelated note, it is claimed that the idea that Pakistan began with the Arab invasion of Sindh circa 700 AD is one created by Pakistani military dictator Zia-ul-Haq in the 1970s, during his Islamization drive.

If one takes that position seriously, one must then parse these speeches carefully.
(from )

Some speeches of Jinnah

From 'Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-e-Azam', ed. Khurshid Yusufi, Publ. Bazm-e-Iqbal, Lahore, Volumes II and III.

1. Speech at a Lunch given by Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor, Muslim University, Aligarh, March 8, 1944(full text)

Responding to the toast, Mr. Jinnah who looked very happy in the midst of the members of the Muslim University referred to the rousing reception they had given him at the station which had almost crushed and suffocated him.

Proceeding, he remarked that it was a fact that there were two parties - Congress and the British Government - when they started their organisational activities. But, thank God, through the efforts of their workers, including the Vice-Chancellor they had made every Mussalman conscious of his position and the seven years' struggle of the Muslim League had raised the Mussalmans to the position of a nation whose voice was heard not only in India, but all over the world.

Pakistan, the Quaid-e-Azam remarked, was not the product of the conduct or misconduct of the Hindus. It had always been there; only they were not conscious of it. Hindus and Muslims, though living in the same towns and villages, had never been blended into one nation; they were always two separate entities.

Tracing the history of the beginning of Islam in India, he proved that 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. In a gathering of European and American officials he was asked as to who was the author of Pakistan. Mr Jinnah's reply was 'Every Mussalman.'

Now the question is how to get Pakistan? Raising his eye-brows and speaking in grim tones, Mr. Jinnah said, "not by asking, not by begging, not even by mere prayers but by working with trust in God. Inshallah! Pakistan is now in your hands."

The Dawn, March 10, 1944

2. Presidental Address at the 27th Session of the All India Muslim League, Lahore, March 22, 1940(excerpt)

..A leading journal like the London Times commenting on the Government of India Act 1935, wrote, " Undoubtedly the difference between the Hindus and Muslims is not of religion in the strict sense of the word but also of law and culture, that they may be said, indeed, to represent two entirely distinct and separate civilisations. However, in the course of time, the superstitions will die out and India will be molded into a single nation.'.

So, according to the London Times, the only difficulties are superstitions. These fundamental and deep-rooted differencs, spiritual, economic, cultural, social and political, have been euphemised as mere 'superstitions.' But surely it is a flagrant disregard of the past history of the subcontinent of India as well as the fundamental Islamic conception of society vis-a-vis that of Hinduism to characterise them as mere 'superstitions.'

Nothwithstanding a thousand years of close contact, nationalities, which are as divergent today as ever, cannot at any time be expected to transform themselves into one nation merely by means of subjecting them to a democratic constitution and holding them forcibly together by unnatural and articifical methods of British Parliamentary Statute. What the unitary government of India of 150 years had failed to achieve cannot be realised by the imposition of a central federal government. It is inconceivable that the fiat or the writ of a government so constituted can ever command a willing and loyal obedience throughout the subcontinent from various nationalities except by means of armed force behind it.

The problem in India is not of an inter-communal character but manifestly of an international one, and it must be treated as such..."

3. Speech at the meeting of the Muslim University Union, Aligarh, March 10, 1941(excerpt)

... Hindus and Muslims differ fundamentally. But even amongst the Hindus themselves there are castes sub-castes and numerous other divisions exclusive of each other and 60 millions of depressed classes are considered untouchables. The irony of the situation is that the Hindu caste community which is not only least fitted but unfit for any experiment in the realm of democracy is clamouring for and is falling head over heels in love with democracy. The Hindu leaders are doing great harm to the interest of the country by ignoring realities and building on sand.

It was after mature consideration that the Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution popularly known as Pakistan. Pakistan has been there for centuries. It is there today and it will remain till the end of the world. They are our homelands. They were taken from us and we want them back. What title have Hindus to it? I maintain that it is more in the interests of Hindus themselves. The League advocates independent states for the Mussalmans where they are in a majority and as well for Hindus where they are in a majority that is the Hindu zones. Surely they ought to be contented with that. Their dream to rule over the whole of India will never materialise.

Archives of Freedom Movement, Vol. 237


Rajan P. Parrikar said...

One wonders what Jinnah's position was apropos of Jews and Israel. Taking Jinnah's views to a logical conclusion gives the Jews a solid case. This then means that the Pakistani position vis-a-vis Israel runs afoul of Jinnah's 'logic.' What a tangled web muddle-headed minds weave!

Arun said...

Some of Jinnah's statements can be found here.