Opinion: Did Jinnah Wrong Us In Making Pakistan?

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PKKH Exclusive | By Aneela Shahzad

Ayesha Jalal in her book The Sole Spokesman, first published in 1985, has presented a sharp scrutiny of the personality of the Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah;alleging him to have made such political decisions that suited his personal ambition of making Pakistan,while in doing so,he deliberately set aside the interests of the Muslims who were not to be a part of the Pakistan-to-be.

According to her, Jinnah claimed to be the sole spokesman of all Indian Muslims, not only in provinces wheretheywere in a majority but also in provinces where only a minority was represented; and thatthe political geography of the subcontinent guaranteed that there would always be as manyMuslims outside a specifically Muslim state as inside it.

In the first chapter of her book, she asserts, The Cabinet Mission sought to solve the problem of British strategic interests in India by giving both the claimants some part of what they wanted; aPakistan trimmed to the bone (Scheme B), or a central government stripped of most of its real powers, and not worth much (Scheme A) Once the Cabinet had given the go-ahead (in March-April 1946), the way was clear to offer Jinnah the alternatives of a small Pakistan with sovereign rights and treaty relations with Hindustan, or a larger Pakistan inside a federation with Hindustan.

She furthers her argument by counting the many merits that would come with a Pakistan inside a larger Hindustan; there was to be no union legislature,and any question at the center on which the two federal units failed to agree would be referred back to their respective group legislatures;agreement would not be imposed by central dictate, but by agreement between two federated governments; the Muslim-majority areas would have complete control over all their affairs except those specifically given to the center; and at the center they would meet the Hindus on a level where it was States which counted and not the number of individuals in them.

Ayesha argues that in making an East and West Pakistan with ~95 million Muslims inside, the Quaid had left the same number or more, helpless at the hands of the Hindus in Hindustan.

The rhetoric embraced by Ayesha Jalal seemed attractive to many, and her stance has been widely quoted by those who hold the liberal and secular ideology in Pakistan; to advance their interest of denouncing the very need of Pakistans existence and to build the idea that a secular India has been better off in safeguarding the interests of its multiple minorities than a mutilated, moth-eaten Pakistan spree with divides and decadence, has been.

But there are some serious issues that have to be taken inregardabout her work. Most ironically,Ayesha has based her full analysis from within the bookish accounts of official correspondence between the select elite representatives of the Hindus, Muslims and the British. Secondly,her towering conclusions are extracted from all that had happened between 1946 and 1947, i.e. from the Cabinet Mission to the making of Pakistan. Was history made in two years and between three men? Could Jinnah have been the sole spokesman without the consent of all the learned members of the League,from all over the Subcontinent, behind him?

It is an irony that the writer can talk about provisions offered in the legislation, disregarding the hard fact that in a democracy, legislation is a continuously evolving phenomenon, depending upon no other factor more than of majority. One cannot blindfold oneself of the reality that legislature does not give the provision of rioting, apartheid and war, but these still happen. That if the Quaid would had secured all therights thatthe Muslims of the subcontinent did not even deserve as a minority, the Congress could have voted those rights off in its first session. A writer, who can fancy for a federating unit within a larger India, might have some explanation then, as to how India has federated Kashmir so far or how it has not turned the province of Hyderabad that it forcibly snatched from Pakistan into a Naxalite Center of Terror.

Perhaps if the writer would have taken her reference from only as early as the 1937 elections, she would have known the reasons for the Quaid to forsake the Congress in the first place and the reasons why the Muslims from throughout the subcontinent denied the Congress as their representative and gathered around the Muslim League and hence around the Quaid as their sole representative and their sole spokesman.

The history of the birth of this nation-state Pakistan, conceived in the name of Islam, was not written in closed rooms, as the writer might have presumed;but the fact is that it was written by the vehement commotion stirred throughout the Muslim community of the subcontinent. It is an irony to note that the provinces thatwereeventually not to be a part of the separate Pakistan were the ones most vigorously active in the political and public support of this state-to-be. The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (present Uttar Pradesh) are considered as the place of origin of the Pakistan Movement; Bombay, Aligarh, Delhi, Patna, Lukhnow, Calcutta, Allahabad and many central cities saw grand processions around the Quaid and other leaders of the League.

The question is why where all these Muslims so enthusiastic for Pakistan and the answers are two; firstly the Muslims of the subcontinent were knit in the dream of a separate homeland which was to become a fortress of Islam, wherein their worldview of a pure practicing Islamic culture was to become a possibility and they did not care which parts would eventually not make it into the final map. Secondly the Pakistan that was in the perception of the League was not compromising the Muslim majority states that are within India now. The map for a Sovereign Islamic State presented by Chaudry Rehmat Ali as far as1940 showsthe vision harbored by the leaders:

 

The Map given by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, M.A., L.L.B., and Barrister-at-Law;on 8 March 1940, he proposed a new scheme for the establishment of Pakistan, Bangalistan East Bengal and Osmanistan.

Ayesha argues that the British and the Congress went on to every step to make a compromise with the League but every time they moved forward Jinnah would raise the bar higher and demand more. She draws a picture of a vicious, stubborn man, lacking the foresight required to see the hell he was pushing his people towards. In her ending notes, she says:

But Pakistans founding fathers were so imbued with the politics of rancor against India that they failed to realize that in giving up all say in Indias affairs by becoming a separate state and simultaneously choosing to foster enmity with India, they willfully created a dangerous situation for Pakistan.

Does she mean to say that by staying inside India as a province, Muslims would have been safer and would have enjoyed more civil liberty then they do in Pakistan? Yes they could have been, but only by subsiding into an identity of Indian only and by disowning the Islamic identity. In fact, Ayesha makes it clear that in her sight, for Muslims to seek an identity on the basis of their religion, was their gravest misdoing and they would have been better off in being Indian then being a majority in Pakistan. She says:

Before 1937, Muslim politicians made sense (to me); they were Indians who wanted safeguards as Muslims against Hindu majority rule. After Jinnah, the two nation theory formulation and demand for parity took center-stage;after 1937-38, many Muslim politicians became Pakistanis and stopped making sense.

The truth is that both schemes prepared by the Hindu-British connivance, were devised to leave the Muslims in a calamitous position; Scheme B: a Pakistan trimmed to the bone, meant freedom and sovereignty at the cost of a miserable economy and a compromised army; OR Scheme A: a central government stripped of most of its real powers, meant to give all possible concessions to the League on paper now, and once they are part of India, India would be sovereign and not any of its minority.

Does it suit a people to choose meager Resources over Freedom; does it suit the Mard e Momin to forsake his Kuddi and Kuddari for the fear of food and comfort?Ayeshasees the same events with a different angle, for her IndianizedIslam, which really means amalgamation into their culture, was not a heavy price to be paid; she therefore expresses confusion over why the Muslims turned into Pakistanis after 1937; for her, after seeing all the atrocities that the Hindus were capable of, the Muslims should have kept fighting for more legislature, declaring the Hindus as their permanent kings for their permanent superiority in number.

It is ultimately upon the reader now to decide if Jinnah wronged us for making an independent sovereign Islamic Pakistan; or isitthe likes of AyeshaJalal whowant to wrong us of our freedom and our sovereignty, and who think that after 3 wars, Kashmir and conniving interference into our soil, we should seek safe-haven in the laps of Cruel Mother-India, Again!!

Aneela Shahzad is an editor at PKKH.tv and can be contacted viainfo@pakistankakhudahafiz.com,and you canalso find heratAneela Shahzads Blog.

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Discussion3 Comments

  1. The greatest tragedy of the two centuries of colonization of the sub-continent is that as soon as our bright and gifted – gifted with the limited resources of the State – are able to raise themselves slightly higher up the intellectual (or is it pseudo-intellectual?) ladder, they, like some predatory insect – some member of the arachnid order or the female Chinese Mantis, pounce on and try to obliterate, denounce and devour the very source that has brought them to the position where they are. And invariably they do this overseas – is it to please the masters of their adopted country? – or to serve some grand design by providing some false geo-political basis. And of course the west lionizes them.

    Ayesha Jalal is not the only one. Salman Rushdie is the prime example. What is sad about Ayesha is that she is a slur on the Manto name. Saadat Hassan was devoted to the Quaid-e-Azam and left a promising career in Bombay to come to Pakistan and even when he faced hardship in Lahore, he – unlike Sahir Ludhianvi – refused to go back to Bombay despite the entreaties of his friends there. According to Wikipedia, ” Ayesha Jalal is a Pakistani-American historian. She is the Mary Richardson Professor of History at Tufts University and a 1998 MacArthur Fellow. The bulk of her work deals with the creation of Muslim identities in modern South Asia.” I would assume that she would have US citizenship.

    The least that Pakistan can do is cancel her Pakistani citizenship, if she still has one. She doesn’t need it. She has no use for it. We don’t need her. We have no use for her!

  2. The Fact that people in Pakistan , Ayesha not being the only one, are still, after 65 years, seriously debating whether partition of India was necessary or prudent. This itself is a message.
    No one in India debates whether independance from british was necessary or not.

  3. aneela you put too much focus on religion and islamic culture of indian muslim. but for any comuunnity living in social life it is there economic and social status that concern most.i think demand of pakistan is more about safeguardin economic status of muslim from hindus as it was seen in punjab and bengal. even bengal muslim mostaly supported pakistan due to economic reasons due to permanent settlement which filled hindu lanlords,,,,AFTER 20 YEARS IT IS ONLY ECONOMIC PROBLEM WHICH MAKE PEOPLE OF BENGAL TO HAVE BANGLADESH….AGAINST ISLAMIC COUNTRY PAKISTAN……NOW SEPARATION IN BALUCHISTAN IS ONLY DUE TO ECONOMIC REASONS…..WHERE IS QUESTION OF ISLAM AND ISLAMIC CULTURE BECAUSE ALL ARE MUSLIMS

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