The proposed homeland for India's Muslims envisaged in the Lahore Resolution of 1940 was a federation of sovereign and autonomous units. However, in actual practice, Pakistan's federal configuration began in 1947 with five provinces and ten princely states. Bahawalpur and Khairpur, Kalat, Mehran, Makran and La Bela of Blochistan province and four north western frontier states of Swat, Chitral, Dir and Amb and the provinces of Punjab, Sind and NWFP, Blochistan and East Bengal. At present it comprises Punjab, NWFP (re-named as Khyber Pakhtunkhawa), Blochistan and Sind.
Pakistan army is now fully engaged in fighting insurgency in Blochistan and the turbulent tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The rise of radical elements like the Taliban and other fundamentalist organizations have added a third dimension to the problem of terrorism in the country. With limited resources available at its command Pakistan is not in a position to continue its conflict with India on its eastern border. Hence the eagerness of Islamabad to settle Kashmir issue with India.
In response to the question raised by Ms Seema Chisti whether polarization we see in today's India goes back in time, Professor Thapar says: It begins with colonial scholarship and it begins with James Mill who wrote a book perioding Indian History into the Hindu, Muslim and British periods and introducing the two nation theory. The stand taken by Professor Thapar is completely flawed and distorts historical facts. Islam divided humanity into momins (faithful) and kafirs (infidels) and the world into Darul Islam (world of peace) and Darul Harb (world of conflicts). In this context Professor Bernard Lewis observes: It was a Muslim duty - collective in attack, individual in defence - to fight in the war against the unbelievers. In principle this war is to continue until all mankind either embraces Islam or submitted to the authority of the Muslim State. Until the purpose was achieved there could theoretically be no peace.
Muslim rulers who ruled large parts of India for nearly seven centuries, persecuted the Hindus of this country. The persecution of the Hindus was massive. Professor Sri Ram Sharma whose book The Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors was published in 1940 writes that the Sultanate in India was based on the distinction between its Hindu and Muslim subjects. The Hindus had to pay Jizya (poll tax) personally to the Qazi or any other state designated Muslim official. Most Muslim rulers also collected a pilgrimage tax from the Hindus. Ala-ud-Din had ordered a scheme of confiscating taxation leaving the Hindu only their daily needs. Public worship of Hindu idols was forbidden. Hindus were not allowed to hold positions of importance; they were mostly employed for keeping revenue records. Another distinction existed in the sumptuary laws that were enforced. Fatawa-i-Alamgiri declared that Hindus were not allowed to look like the Muslims. The underlying idea was that Hindus should look humble. Ala-ud-Din had forbidden Hindus to wear rich dresses, ride horses and drive in carriages and palanquins. There were laws against blasphemy during the rule of Sikander Lodi, a Hindu was beheaded who maintained that Hinduism and Islam were both true. The laws relating to apostasy were strictly enforced. ;
Conversion of Muslims to Hinduism or reconversion of Hindu converts to Islam was not permitted.
Professor Thapar would be aware that the Muslim League at its session in Lahore in March 1940 had declared Muslims as a Nation and demanded a separate homeland. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had repeatedly declared that though Muslims and Hindus had lived together for a thousand years there was nothing in common between the two communities and peaceful coexistence between the two was not possible. Had it been possible, India would not have been divided and millions of Hindus/Sikhs not made homeless for no fault of their.
As an historian, Professor Thapar, should not forget that the seeds of two-nation theory were sown by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, generously watered by Allama Iqbal and Rahmat Ali and brought to fruition by Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah.
Mr. Azam Khan, a Minister in the Government of Uttar Pradesh, has written a letter to the U.N. Secretary General seeking intervention of the United Nations to look into the miseries of the minorities in India. Hindu-Muslim problems are nothing new. There were no Hindu-Muslim issues to sort out when Muslims ruled large parts of India for nearly seven centuries (1207-1857). The communal riots made their appearance with the disappearance of Muslim rule in India. Writing about treatment of Hindus by Muslims, Sir Percival Griffiths (The British Impact on India,1952) says: We read there frequently of periods when the Hindus suffered extreme persecution and the annals of the Muslim are full of blood thirsty gloating over the wholesale massacre and oppression of infidels. The jizya or poll-tax on the Hindus was a marked feature of Muslim rule… and eighteenth century India stood sharply divided between Hindus and Muslims. What is today called communal dissention was thus the permanent and inevitable legacy of centuries of Muslim rule. V.P. Menon, the last Constitutional Adviser to the Governor-General of British India in his book The Transfer of Power in India writes: The Congress had accepted the division of the country on two considerations. In the first place, it was clear from the unyielding attitudes of the Muslim League that a united India would either be delayed or could only be won at the cost of a civil war. Secondly, it was hoped that the establishment of a separate Muslim State would finally settle the communal problem which had for so long bedeviled Indian peoples and thwarted all progressive aspirations. It is in this contest, Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah and seven other Muslim League leaders had demanded an exchange of population.
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was one of the few Hindu leaders who had supported the proposals mooted by the Muslim League leaders. Unfortunately, both Gandhi and Nehru did not agree. Hindu-Muslim problems would have become a thing of the past, had the logical corollaries were followed.