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Apr 2015

 Pakistan, a new country with a new name emerged on the world map in August, 1947. Most of the narratives which have appeared since; largely in Pakistan and in the West, have made it amply clear that the Muslim leaders of that time including, the ulama and the Muslim institutions stood for separation and nothing else but separation from the Hindus of India. In the process, the narratives have also brought to light the fact that the Muslim community of the subcontinent had adopted both violent means as well as constitutional to achieve their objective. For example, in 1945-46 election Muslims of India overwhelmingly voted for the creation of Pakistan.  Thereafter, leaders like Premier Suharwardy of Bengal Province had orchestrated the Great Calcutta Killing in August 1946. Both the political leaders of the Muslim League as well as the Muslim clergy when they toured across the length and breadth of India, had stressed the fact that the choice before the Muslims was either Pakistan or Kaffiristan. The citizens of India would like to know why do we have Hindu-Muslim issues even after the creation of separate homeland for Muslims?  Why did not Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, in their life time inform the public of India about the reasons for the vivisection of India? Why did they keep silent?

The reasons for this silence on the subject are : Firstly, Gandhi and Nehru had treated the division of India as a territorial demand by the League and not a demand based entirely on religious grounds. Secondly, both Gandhi and Nehru spent their entire political careers in convincing the British rulers that the League did not represent the Muslims of India and Jinnah was not their leader. Congress leadership and the Congress Party represented the entire sub continent. Thirdly, since the League had  succeeded in achieving Pakistan, both Gandhi and Nehru had no answer to the question: Why were Muslims allowed to stay on in India after conceding a separate homeland for the sub-continental ummah? Fourthly, Nehru, who had ruled India up to 1964  saw to it that no one in the Government raised any question about  Pakistan nor were the academic community allowed to discuss debate, and write about Pakistan. Hence, this complete draught on Indian contribution to the literature on Pakistan.

Professor Venkat Dhulipala's volume Creating A New Medina (Cambridge University Press, 2015) provides a fresh insight into the emergence of Pakistan.  He has surveyed the contributions already made by well known scholars on the subject and reaches the conclusion that the roots of the demand for a separate homeland lie in Islamic theology and the architects of this demand were the Muslims leaders of United Provinces. These included Muslim elites, Maulvis and Maulanas and Muslim Institutions such as the Darul Uloom and the Aligarh Muslim University in particular.  In the words of Professor Dhulipala: My study argues that far from being a vague idea that accidentally became a nation-state, Pakistan was popularly imagined in United Province as a sovereign Islamic State, a New Medina, as it was called by some of its proponents. In this regard, it was not just envisaged as a refuge for the Indian Muslims, but as an Islamic utopia that would be the harbinger for renewal and rise of Islam in the modern world, act as the powerful new leader and protector of the entire Islamic world and, thus, emerge as a worthy successor to the defunct Turkish Caliphate as the foremost Islamic power in the twentieth century. This study specifically foregrounds the critical role played by a section of the Deobandi ulama in articulating this imagined national country with an awareness of Pakistan's global historical significance, a crucial narrative that has been written out of most accounts of the Partition. It highlights their (Maulanas and Maulvis and institutions) collaboration with the League leadership and demonstrates how together they forged a new political vocabulary using ideas of Islamic nationhood and modern state to fashion the most decisive arguments for creating Pakistan.  …This celebration of the nation's geo-body was accompanied by invocation of the hostage population theory, which held that hostage Hindu and Sikh minorities inside Pakistan would assure Hindu India's good behavior towards its own Muslim minority. Deobandi ulama led by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, founder of the Jamiatul Ulama-i-Islam and later acclaimed as Pakistan's Shaikhul Islam declared that Pakistan would recreate the Islamic utopia first fashioned by the Prophet in Medina, inaugurating an equal brotherhood of Islam by breaking door barriers of race, class; sect, language and region among Muslims and establishing an example worthy of emulation by the global ummah. Usmani further prophesized that just as Medina had provided the base for Islam's victorious spread in Arabia and the world wide beyond, Pakistan would become the instrument for the ummah's unification and propel its triumphal rise on the global stage as a great power.

Muslim League's Islamic Credentials: As early as 1937 Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi had declared that the League was the sole representative of the Indian Muslims. His disciple Usmani carried the thesis to its logical conclusion. It is worth noting that the League after 1940 had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Syed Sulaiman Nadwi, reputed scholar of Nadwatul ulama of Lucknow to craft an Islamic constitution for Pakistan. Further, after the results of the provincial election in 1945, Abdus Suttan Butla, a supporter of League wrote in the Dawn: The Muslims of U.P. have proved that though their province is not in Pakistan yet they are solidly behind the Muslim League which regularly claims to represent the Muslims of India Not only that. U.P. Advocate General Mohammad Waseem appeared as a counsel for Pakistan before the Boundary Commission.

Late Sir Aga Khan in his autobiography published from London in 1954 says that the independent state of Pakistan was born in the Muslim University at Aligarh.  Earlier in 1941 on his visit to Aligarh M.A. Jinnah had paid a handsome tribute to the students of the University by describing it as an arsenal of Pakistan. In the words of Zia-ul-Hasan Faruqi, Aligarh had become the training centre of the Mujahideen-i-Pakistan. The establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885 was accompanied by a call for Muslim separatism by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of AMU. In his anti-Hindu speeches at Lucknow (1887) and Meerut (1888) he exhorted the Muslims not to join the Congress and declared in no uncertain terms that Hindus and Muslims were two nations in India. The demand for separate electorates and Muslim participation in all institutions and departments in 1906 amounted to working out the next stage of the policy introduced by Syed Ahmad Khan says Dr. Aziz Ahmad, a renowned Muslim scholar. As for the role of Jinnah in the creation of Pakistan, Dr. Aziz points out: He (Jinnah ) did not lead, but was led by the Muslim consensus. His role was that of a sincere and clear headed lawyer who could formulate and articulate in precise constitutional terms what his client really wanted. (Studies In Islamic Culture In the Indian Environment, OUP, 1964)  Commenting on the desire of Muslims, Professor M. Mujeeb, Vice-Chancellor of Jamia-Millia has written that in order to convince the British rulers that all Muslims wanted separation from India, they had overwhelmingly voted for it in the general elections held in 1945-46.  Justice M.C. Chagla, in his autobiography Roses In December has observed that had the U.P. Muslims not insisted on the partition of India there would have been no Pakistan.

Justice G.D. Khosla, ICS, had views on the demand for Pakistan which are worth quoting: The Muslim League demand for Pakistan was based on the hypothesis that Hindus and Muslim constitute two separate nations, each entitled to separate and exclusive homeland where they would be able to develop their culture, traditions, religion and polity. On any other ground, the partition of the country and the setting up of a separate Independent State for the Muslims would have been indefensible. But the two nation theory brought the problem of minorities into greater prominence than ever before… No matter where the lines of demarcation were drawn there would be Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs on either side of it…Jinnah made desperate efforts to evade the issue of promising protection and rights of citizenship to minorities but the nature of his demand was wholly inconsistent with these promises. How could millions of aliens (Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians)  acquire the rights of citizenship and equal status with the nationalss of Pakistan; and if they could, why divide India? Jinnah could find no answer to these questions and he was finally compelled to suggest an exchange of population.

Pakistan  :  The New Medina

In their demand for Pakistan, the ulama of Deoband (UP) stressed that the creation of Pakistan would amount to the establishment of a new Medina.  Shabbir Usmani while addressing the U.P. Muslims pointed out that creation of Pakistan had a special significance for the minority province Muslims. He noted that just like the first Pakistan was created in Medina, away from Mecca by the Prophet the second Pakistan too was being established away from their homeland in U.P. The role of minority province Muslim was therefore very similar to that of the original muhijirin who had accompanied the Prophet to Medina in order to help establish Pakistan. The original muhajirin were ghair Pakistanis (non-Pakistanis) who had leveled the ground in Medina and laid the foundation for the settlement of the Muslim community in that holyland. In the same way, Usmani noted, with pride, the modern day ghair Pakistanis also had left their homesteads in order to co-operate with local Pakistanis who he likened to the ansar (helpers) of Medina to create Pakistan. They were doing this even though they clearly knew that they would not be leaving their homeland in Hindustan for good. Ghair Pakistanis were making tremendous sacrifices and paying for the establishment of Pakistan since they did not want to be a hindrance in the path of the two-third of their nation (Pages 373-374 of the book).

Ulama and the Pakistan Movement

In the Mughal period, the country became fundamentalist. The Ulema were opposed to Akbar's policy of Sulh-i-kul, peace with all. Abdul Qadir Badayuni, the ulama-historian declared that kafirs were enemies of Islam and advised Muslims to abandon Hindu practices and customs. Poet Iqbal had observed that Aurangzeb's life and activity was the starting point of growth of Muslim nationalism.

The madrassas or Islamic seminaries had produced a class of ulema who believed that non-Muslims in general and Hindus in particular, are two opposing forces. Maulana Rida Khan of Barailly was an eminent theologian of the Ahle-i-Sunnat. He told had advised Ali Brothers (Maulana Mohammad Ali and Maulana Shaukat Ali) that he was opposed to Hindu Muslim unity. The ulema of the Barelvi school were staunch supporters of the Pakistan through their madarassa at Patna and the ulama of the Firangi Mahal at Lucknow fully supported Pakistan movement. Of all the Muslim seminaries, that of Deoband is ranked next only to Al- Azhar in Egypt.  Ideologically, it derives its inspiration from Shah Walliullah. The dominant group of the Deobandi ulama, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Hind in 1942 declared that : the federal Parliament should be composed on a basis of parity between the Hindus and the Muslims.  Further, no bill or proposal would be presented in the Federal Parliament if 2/3rd majority of the Muslim members considered it prejudicial not only to their religion or cultural as well as political interests. The Supreme Court should have equal number of Muslims and non-Muslims. As Professor P. Hardy put it: '….. by 1945-46, the unsophisticated Muslim voter might well wonder whether what the ulema of the Jamiat and the Muslim League were offering him differed only in the wrapping.

Shabbir Ahmad Usmani declared in 1945 that the results of accepting the theory of united nationhood would be as disastrous as Akbar's Din-i-Ilahi. He founded the Jamaiat at Calcutta in 1945. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi declared that there could be no real cooperation between the Hindus and the Muslims because of long standing animosity between the two. Mohammad Shafi, the Chief Mufti of Deoband held that opposition to Pakistan movement was un-Islamic.  Abdul Hai Siddique of Bengal declared in 1947 that it was the obligation all Muslims to strengthen the Muslim League. This is the command of the Quran. A Maulana of 24 Parganas declared that the Pakistan movement was actually started and carried on inter-alia by Khawaja Arif Sani, Syed Ahmad Barelvi, Maulana Kasem (the founder of Deoband) and Maulana Ashraf Thanawi.

Maulana Mohammad Ali formulated the concept of Universal Islamic Brotherhood (the millat) in 1916 in the following words: It is not only one God, one Prophet and one Kaaba that the Muslims of this world have in common, but in every degree of longitude and latitude they hold the same view of the relations of husband and wife, and child, of master and slave and of neighbourhood.

And in the twentieth century they follow the same laws and traditions as they did in the sixth century. In other words Muslims considered themselves as Khadim-i-kaaba and not as Kkadim-i-Hind. In 1928, he elaborated: there are two divisions in which the world is divided-the world of Islam and the world of kaffirs. Allah's Prophet has ordered that all Muslims are brothers, the kaffirs form one millat and the Muslims form another. Poet Iqbal propounded the doctrine of nationality based on religion. He declared that the only basis of nationality (Quran) was religion. Nationality based on race, language, territory was accursed. These were un-Islamic concepts.

As M. R. A. Baig , aptly put it : To the Muslim the Hindu next door is a fellow citizen, but the Algerian, Indonasian and even Pakistani is a brother.

Islamic Conception of History: The historical process is special for Islam.  And in some ways history is more significant for Muslims than it is for almost any other group. Much of the same logic applies to questions of social relationships. One cannot adequately understand the role of Islam until one has appreciated the role of society. What, then, is Islam? To begin with, Islam is a religion. To the Muslims, Islam is the religion of God. This means a great many things; among others, that it began Not in the seventh century A.D., but at least on the day of creation if not before. When God created the world, He proclaimed that the forces of nature would operate according to the pattern that He presented.  God has not left mankind without guidance. On the contrary; as soon as man was created he was told what the moral law is.  In Islamic terms, Adam was the first Prophet or messenger.  Among the numerous persons, whom God has chosen from time to time to convey his message are Adam, Abrahaman, Moses and Jesus.  In this way, then, Islam, which had existed from eternity came down into history in the seventh century A.D. and began its final, full career among man. 

The only statement of its message whose text has been accurately preserved, is that in the Arabic recitation (Quran) where it appears in all its fullness, and in language of limpid clarity and surpassing beauty.  Muhammad was the messenger of God.  The year of this Islamic era-1A.H. (622 A. D.), the year when the nascent Muslim community came to political power.  Muhammad and his small body of followers, having shifted from Makkah to Madinah, established themselves as an autonomous community; and Islamic history began.  Salvation in Islam is, admittedly, by faith, for the Hindus, ultimately history is not significant; for Christians it is significant but not decisive; for the Muslims history is decisive but not final.  Islam begins with God, and to Him it well knows we shall return. 

The first formative centuries of Islam led to the conquest of Jerusalem, Damascus, the Nile valley and the Tigris- Euphrates, of North Africa and Spain and of central Asia and into India. The centre of this unifying force was religious law. Which regulated with its powerful sweep everything from prayer rites to property rights.  The law gave unity to Islamic society, from Cordoba (Spain) to Multan (India) says the renowned Professor Wilfred Cantwell Smith.

Objective Resolution of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (1949)

It read : “The State is not to play the part of a neutral observer, wherein the Muslims may be merely free to profess and practice their religion, because such an attitude on the part of the State would be the very negation of the ideals which prompted the demand of Pakistan, and it is these ideals which should be the corner-stone of the State which we want to build. The State will create such conditions as are conducive to the building up of a truly Islamic Society, which means that the State will have to play a positive part in this effort”.   


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