Home English Articles Muslims can’t claim as separate entity in India after partition

Muslims can’t claim as separate entity in India after partition

Representation image

Those who remained in India after the Partition believed that in the Indian Republic there was to be only one nation, the Indian Nation, and no community could remain a separate entity on the basis of religion

A group of Muslim leaders representing Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bombay, with anxiety written on their faces, called on Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Delhi’s Imperial Hotel on the eve of his departure for Karachi in early August 1947. They asked the Qaid what is to happen to the one’s being left behind. What was in store for them? He said they would have to look after themselves. They protested that they needed better protection and should not be left at the mercy of the Hindus. After all, they pointed out, it was because of them that Pakistan, the Muslim homeland had been created.

Looking sternly at them, Jinnah said, “You are mistaken; the whole world knows that it is I who single-handedly brought Pakistan into existence. I am its sole creator. No one else can take credit for it.” Replying to a similar question a few days earlier, Jinnah had said that they would look after themselves. He was not interested in their fate.

How ironical that it was the Muslims of Bombay, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who were the first ones to respond to the call of Jinnah for Partition and enthusiastically supported the movement for Pakistan. They became its vanguard. They were so fanatically charged by Jinnah’s slogan of “Islam in danger” and frightened by the bogey of Hindu domination constantly raised by him that they were easily misled.

They failed to ask themselves how could the creation of a State in the faraway North-West — comprising of parts of Punjab, Sind, the Frontier and Baluchistan and still further in the North-East — consisting of part of Bengal and Assam —provide any security to the rest of the Muslims living in Hindu-dominated regions and spread over cities, towns and villages.

Despite this, the Hindus and Sikhs have provided them with the warmth of security and more. In fact, the minorities, largely a euphemism for Muslims, enjoy greater privileges than the majority. Remember Articles 25 to 30 of the Constitution. The Hindus have more than compensated the Muslims for the betrayal by their leaders. Yet, they protest against what they feel they do not have and entirely overlook the fact that their glass is more or less full.

Historian Francis Robinson had much to say about the Muslims in Hindu majority provinces, especially in Uttar Pradesh and their role in creating Darul Islam in the Indian sub-continent.

As a specimen, “Uttar Pradesh Muslims, were at the heart of Muslim separatism. They mainly founded and, with the exception of Bombay-based Jinnah, mainly led the organisation which represented Muslim interests in Indian politics. Syed Ahmed Khan founded in 1875 the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, which directed early Muslim political activity and nurtured many Muslim League politicians.

He followed this up with the establishment of the All India Muslim Education Conference in 1886, which helped him impress his political will upon Indian Muslims.

In 1906, large numbers of Muslims from Uttar Pradesh flocked to Dacca to find the All India Muslim League. In this organisation, the secretaryship was the most powerful position; between 1906 and 1910 it was held by Muslims in Aligarh, and between 1910 and 1926 by Muslims in Lucknow.

After World War I, Muslims from the same provinces set up an association of Indian ulema and made the Central Khilafat Committee an organisation of all-India importance.” The same Uttar Pradesh is still our largest State. The Indians need to look after it in order for history to not repeat itself.

Moreover, Uttar Pradesh is the cultural home of sub-continental Muslims. Aligarh, along with its university, is the cradle of separatism and Jinnah was forthright enough to call it the arsenal of Pakistan. More recently, we know that Deoband is the birthplace of Taliban which is wreaking havoc in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. The Aligarh students had campaigned in Punjab widely and vigorously for the League’s cause for Partition in 1945.

When some Punjabis asked them what was there in it for them as their province Uttar Pradesh would not be included in Pakistan, the reply reportedly was: “For the service of Islam. Historian Venkat Dhulipala in his eminent work, Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India has said that the new homeland was for setting up another Medina.” British Prime Minister Clement Attlee sent a three minister Cabinet Mission to India to work out a constitutional settlement for the Congress-League dispute in early 1946.

Having heard out Jinnah, a member expressed anxiety at the huge number of Hindus remaining under Muslim rule if the demanded Pakistan were to come about. Jinnah’s reply to this anxiety was that there will be many Muslims under Hindu rule in Hindustan. So, in case Pakistan misbehaves with the minority, Hindustan can do  the same. As it happened in 1948, Pakistan pushed out Hindus through ethnic cleansing.

As a consequence of the Muslim League having directed the Great Calcutta Killings of August 1946, riots broke out in a number of places in the country. Jinnah used these disturbances as a reason for demanding a population transfer. In The Transfer of Power 1942-47 edited by Penderel Moon, I.C.S, and others and published by the British Crown, Jinnah is quoted as saying, “The exchange of populations will have to be considered seriously.” This shows that he was logical as well as pragmatic in his approach.

Prof M Mujeeb, former vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, commented that “if Mr Jinnah was sincere regarding Muslims as a separate nation and demanding a separate territory for them, it was his obvious and inescapable moral duty to define the boundaries of Pakistan, territorial as well as its citizenry.”

The only one who was quick to respond to Jinnah’s Pakistan resolution of 1940 was Dr BR Ambedkar who published, in the same year a book entitled Thoughts of Pakistan (published by Thacker and Company of Bombay). He explicitly argued “Hindus have a difficult choice to make: To have a safe army or a safe border? Is it in their interests to insist that Muslim India remain part of India so that they may have a safe border, or is it in their interest to welcome its separation from India so that they may have a safe army? Which is then better for the Hindus? Should the Musalmans be outside and against or should they be inside and against? If the question is asked of any prudent man, there will be only one answer, namely, that if the Musalmans are to be against the Hindus, it is better that they should be outside and against, rather than inside and against. This is the only way of getting rid of Muslim preponderance in the Indian army.” No other Hindu was bold enough to even think through the far reaching ramifications of Partition.

Dr Durga Das Basu, the constitutional expert in his book, Introduction to the Constitution of India, made interesting comments, “Muslims obtained the Partition of India on their own demand on the footing of the ‘two-nation’ theory, and even after the Partition, a section of the Muslim community preferred to remain in India out of their own choice; nobody compelled them to remain in divided India.”

When the Muslims opted to remain in divided India, they did not enter into any covenant with the Government of divided India. No observation of Maulana Azad can be enforced as a legal covenant in an international court.

Dr Basu went on to quote a 1955 apex court judgement: “Those who preferred to remain in India after the Partition, fully knew that the Indian leaders did not believe in the two-nation or three nation theory and that in the Indian Republic there was to be only one nation — the Indian Nation — and no community could claim to remain a separate entity on the basis of religion.”

All these efforts for Pakistan, the New Medina, were from eminent Muslims like Mohsin al-Mulk, Viqar ul-Mulk, the Ali brothers, Khaliq Uz Zaman, Raja of Mahmudabad, Liaquat Khan, all from Uttar Pradesh, apart from Jinnah and Aga Khan who were from Bombay.

In fact, if not for the Uttar Pradesh leaders, the League could not have been built nor would the Partition have been possible.

Prafull Goradia
(The writer is a well-known columnist and an author)

Courtesy: Daily Pioneer


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here