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The Birth of Pakistan

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 The Birth of Pakistan and The Survival of India

The rationale of 1947 In no major religion are the word and the deed so closely connected as in Islam. Hence the power of the mullah, who is the interpreter and teacher. The clergy had influence not only in the Muslim court, but also in the daily life of the community through its control over the educational system. The mullah had no wish to relinquish his hold over the law and education which would guide and shape the Muslim community; he could never want a society in which law and education became a function of the state. And so a section of priesthood took the lead in the effort to create the cultural and emotional separation between Hindus and Muslims as the prelude to geographical separation. Its primary target was the urban and semi-urban middle class, whose voice was much stronger than its numbers. Its principal weapon was fear - and here it got the invaluable help from Hindu fanatics whose excesses were propagated as the reality of Hindu mass opinion and whose fantasies were repeated as a forestate of things to come, if the Hindus ever acquired power. The war cry was that the Muslim was in danger. The first solution `constitutional guarantees' of security. Later, no `guarantees' were found sufficient and the demand was changed to that for a separate country, where the clergy would protect itself with a theocractic constitution.... The Muslim masses never showed any support for the Muslim League until madness siezed the sub-continent in 1946 and 1947.

The landlords gladly joined hands with the clergy. The all India Muslim League, formed in 1906, was the product of the alliance bewteen the clergy and landlords. The efforts to inject hatred into the sensitive provinvce of Bengal, where the Muslims were in a majority, but the Hindu landlords held the economic power, had already begun. One of the constant sources of tension used to be cow-slaughter, with mullahs claiming beef as a birth-right and their Hindu equivalents demanding that the community protect the holy cow by killing Muslims.

There was an interesting conversation this author had with general Zia ul Haq of Pakistan in 1982. Said the general : `I wish that Indian Muslims establish their own identity, as Indians and as Muslims. It would be a matter of great pride for me to see that the Indian Muslims take pride in calling themselves Indians first and Muslims next. I would be a very proud man listening to that'. Excellent, but if it is possible for Muslims to be Indians, and proud ones at that, then why was Pakistan torn out of the country?

The most serious problem that Muslim League faced was that the party created in the name of the Muslims was not getting their support. If any thing, Muslims seemed more attracted to the Congress platform. It needs to be mentioned here that neither the Congress, nor the Muslim League were parties in the formal sense; they were movements, one for the independence of the country and one for the protection of the Muslims. Senior leaders like Jinnah held important positions in both organizations in the 1920s without any confusion.

In 1937 presidential election address to the Muslim League, Jinnah told the Muslims that there were forces which would `bully you, tyrannize over you and intimidate you'. In 1938, he said that the Congress wanted the Muslims to `submit unconditionally to the Hindu Raj... the high command of the Congress is determined to crush all other communities and culture in the country and to establish the Hindu Raj'. Indian nationalism was defined as a slavery of the Muslims.

But Jinnah and the Muslim League discovered that the Muslim masses did not share their view at all. The Muslim League was decisively rejected in the 1937 elections. It is ironical that the only elections that the Muslim League won were those held in 1946, on the eve of partition. The League could not win an election even in the country it had created, Pakistan. Defeat at the polls did not dampen the Muslim League's desire for power. It had to sustain the fiction that only the League could protect the Muslim interest. Jinnah was most anxious to get into power in the crucial United provinces and asked the Congress to form a coalition with the League, despite the fact that the Congress had won a majority on its own. Predictably, the only demand that Jinnah made was that the Congress should not appoint any Muslim ministers from its side, but behave in practice like a Hindu party.

The League proposed that if its demands were accepted, this could become the basis on which the Hindu-Muslim conflict could end, and a common front be built against the British. But it was impossible to see how the congress could accept the League's terms which would, in effect, destroy the legitimacy of its claim to represent every Indian irrespective of religion, caste or creed in the common struggle for freedom from colonial rule. The congress would not become a de facto Hindu party. The fight against the proposed coalition was taken up most actively by Congress socialists and Muslim congressmen who felt that any deal with the League would be a betrayal of all that they stood for.

Who was right? Was Nehru correct in describing the Muslim League as only the creation of the elite, with no relationship to the needs of the masses? The proof can only be found in practice, in the fundamental nature of Pakistan that was created. It is quite clear now how the landlord-clergy alliance shared out Pakistan. While the landlords and capitalists allowed the clergy to make Pakistan a religious state, the clergy allowed the landlords guaranteed property rights and the capitalists unbridled control over economy.

Theocracy and landlordism/capitalism are the two pillars of Pakistan and Bangladesh. No matter who comes to power, whether the leader be in uniform or not, these two things will never be tampered with. Any one making even a mild effort to challenge these will be removed from power. Jinnah's belief that he had created Pakistan was an illusion which everyone encouraged because they needed a leader of his extraordinary determination, talent and sophistication. And it is true that without such qualities as Jinnah had, Pakistan might never have become a reality.

Gandhi was a Gujarati and the man who destroyed his dream of a free and united India was also a Gujarati, whose parents came from a village about thirty miles south of Gandhi's ancestoral home.

Jinnah was the archetypal `confirmed bachelor', with the habits characteristic of an Indian gentleman returned from England. His portraits dominate the offices of the Islamic government of Pakistan, but general Mohammed Zia ul Haq must be a very relieved man that Mr Jinnah, the `father of Pakistan', is not alive today - or he would have to be flogged in public for his personal habits. Mr. Jinnah not only chain smoked, but also liked whisky and was not averse to pork. His life was that of an upper-class-liberal - which indeed Jinnah was for most of his life.

In 1916, at the age of 39, Jinnah fell madly in love with his Parsi friend's 16 year old daughter Ruttee. Ruttee's father tried his best to stop the marriage, even by going to court; but on her 18th birth day the spirited Ruttee, carrying nothing with her except her pet poodles, walked out of her home to marry the man she loved. But the marriage did not last. After 7 years, when Jinnah was 48 and Ruttee 25, they separated. Ruttee died in 1929. Jinnah wept like a child when he buried her. The last thing that Jinnah ever did, before leaving Bombay on his way to the new country in 1947 was to visit her grave. Only his sister Fatima accompanied him to Pkaistan.

 Jinnah's only child Dina, refused to go to Pakistan. The Jinnah who had married Ruttee, had changed; he was now the commander of the forces of Islam. Dina wanted to marry a Parsi, and Jinnah became furious when he heard this. There were millions of Muslim boys, he told her, from whom she could choose. Dina replied that there had been millions of Muslim girls available, and yet Jinnah had chosen to marry a Parsi. The only answer that Jinnah had was to disown his daughter. He never called her `Dina' again, referring to her whenever necessary as Mrs. Wadia.

It was after he had got his Pakistan that Jinnah discovered that he did not know what to do with it. Suddenly he had become a liberal again. At a press conference in 1947, a journalist asked him if Pakistan would be a religious state. Replied Jinnah, `You are asking an absurd question. I do not know what a theocractic state means'. On August 11th, the day when he became the President of the Pakistan constituent Assembly, he told the house: `we are starting the state with no discrimination. We should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as the citizens of the nation' Liaquat Ali Khan, Jinnah's successor, echoed the liberal sentiments of the Quaid-e-azam. He said: `The flag of Pakistan, is not the flag of any one particular party or community. This flag will stand for freedom, liberty and equality of all those who owe allegiance to the flag of Pakistan... As I visualize, there will be no special previleges, rights for any particular community or individual'. But then - why create Pakistan?

Pakistan was conceived in the 30s, launched in the 40s, distorted in the 50s, choked in the 60s and decimated in the 70s.

Mullah Power in Pakistan


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