THE creation of Pakistan is viewed differently by different historians and analysts. In Pakistan political circles attribute it to the “Two-Nation Theory, which maintains that Indian Muslims and Hindus are two distinct nations. Majority of the Indians believe that the British policy of “divide and rule” was responsible for the partition of India. Many people think that misconception about the rationale behind the creation of Pakistan has been a cause of religious intolerance and violence in India and Pakistan. In his book, “Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence” by Mr. Jaswant Singh, former External Affairs Minister of India, claims; “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Centralized Policy” was equally responsible for partition, and that Jinnah is unjustly portrayed and considered as a “demon” solely responsible for the partition of India, by Indian thinkers and politicians”. — It is in this, a false ‘minority syndrome’ that the dry rot of partition first set in, and then unstoppably it afflicted the entire structure, the magnificent edifice of a United India. The answer (cure?), Jinnah asserted, lay only in parting, and Nehru and Patel and others of the Congress also finally agreed. Thus was born Pakistan”.
The policies of the British rulers along with the rise of Hindu nationalist movements from early 20th century onwards convinced the Muslims that they would not be able to protect their religious, political and economic interests after the departure of the British, because of Hindus’ hegemonic designs. A turning point came in 1900, when the British administration in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh acceding to Hindu demands, made Hindi the official language. Shuddhi Karan or purification of the followers of other faiths by converting them to Hinduism initiated by Arya Samaj (a Hindu fundamentalist movement) also stirred Muslim’s concerns about their faith. The All India Muslim League was founded on December 30, 1906, in the aftermath of the partition of Bengal, on December30, 1906 in Dhaka. A resolution, moved by Nawab Salimullah and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan, declared: “The Musalmans are only a fifth in number as compared to the total population of the country, and it is manifest that if at any remote period the British government ceases to exist in India, then the rule of India would pass into the hands of that community which is nearly four times as large as ourselves … our life, our property, our honour, and our faith will all be in great danger, when even now that a powerful British administration is protecting its subjects, we the Musalmans have to face most serious difficulties in safeguarding our interests from the grasping hands of our neighbours”.
The goal of Muslim League at this stage was protecting Muslim liberties and rights, promoting understanding between the Muslim community and other Indians, educating the Muslims and discouraging violence. However, several developments over the next thirty years, including Hindu-Muslim riots, led to a re-evaluation of the League’s aims. The League gradually became the representative body of Indian Muslims. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah became its President in 1916. He negotiated the Lucknow Pact with the Congress leaders. Congress conceded to the principle of separate electorates and weighted representation for the Muslim community. However, Jinnah left Congress in 1920, when he became convinced that the Congress would renounce its support for separate electorates for Muslims.
Meanwhile, Muslims’ belief about their nationhood was vindicated by V D Savarkar at the 19th Session of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1937. The father of the Hindu fundamentalist ideology propounded the ground-breaking idea of the Two-Nation Theory or ethnic exclusivism, which profoundly influenced the top Muslim League leadership.In 1940, Quaid-e-Azam called a general session of the Muslim League in Lahore. In his speech, he advocated the Two-Nation Theory, and the reasons for demanding a separate homeland for Muslims. The resolution that had been drafted by a committee appointed by the Quaid rejected concept of a united India, because of the increasing Hindu-Muslim violence. The resolution, moved in the general session by AK Fazal-e-Haq, the Chief Minister of Bengal, and supported by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, was adopted on 23 March 1940. The Resolution read as follows:
“No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign … That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in minority”.
The political developments that led to the adoption of Pakistan Resolution, and its text itself unambiguously point to Muslims’ apprehensions about the protection their “life, property, honour and faith”, in the united India dominated by the Hindu majority as the reason for the creation of Pakistan. Any efforts made to transform Pakistan into an exclusively Muslim state, besides contradicting the spirit of Pakistan Resolution; “That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for the protection of religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities”, provides justification to Hindu fundamentalists to transform India into a Hindu state. It is provided in the constitution of Pakistan that no law, contrary to the teachings of Islam, can be implemented in Pakistan. To implement the true spirit of Pakistan Resolution, it is mandatory to provide constitutional safeguards to the religious minorities that no law, contrary to the teachings of their religions, can be enacted in Pakistan, and to gain moral grounds to voice concerns about the suppression of rights and freedom of Muslims by the BJP government in India.
— The writer, a retired Brig, is professional educationist based in Islamabad.