The title of the book Muslim Against Partition by Shamsul Islam published recently is intriguing. Does it mean that Muslim leaders who fought for the creation of a separate homeland for the Indian Ummah did not exist? Does it mean that if they did exist, they did not make statements in favour of creation of Pakistan? Should we disbelieve the statements made by such Muslim eminences like Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Mohsinul Mulk, Justice Ameer Ali, Maulana Mohammed Ali, Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Chaudhary Rahmat Ali, Sir Aga Khan and, Quai-de-Azam Jinnah, and Professor M. Mujeeb to recall a few, in this respect?
The Muslim League was founded at Dacca in 1906. Until 1940, Muslim Leaders demanded safeguards for the Muslim community. Having achieved whatever they desired, as a minority, they declared themselves a Nation in 1940 and demanded a separate homeland called Pakistan. In the 14 day discussions held between Gandhi and Jinnah at Bombay in September 1944, no agreement was reached on the conditions of partition. Jinnah struck to his demand for the creation of Pakistan, as according to him, Muslims satisfied all the criteria of a Nation. In 1946, Muslim League launched Direct Action at Calcutta which resulted in the killing of Hindus in large numbers. Since the Simla Conference had failed to achieve anything, the British rulers decided to hold general elections in 1945-1946. Muslim League had one point agenda: Creation of Pakistan. Muslims, under the given system of election, overwhelmingly voted for Pakistan. British rulers were left with no alternative but to Divide and Quit.
What kind of a historian is Shamsul Islam who wants us to ignore the valiant efforts put in by the aforesaid leader of the Muslim community? Shamsul Islam, as a teacher, has no business to distort historical facts. If this is what he had been teaching the students of Delhi University, than Allah save them from such distorted analysis and thinking.
DEFINING ISLAM :
To understand the history of the emergence of Pakistan or the Partition of India, one must know what Islam is? According to Professor Bernard Lewis, it is difficult to generalize about Islam. The word is commonly used in two related but distinct meanings as the equivalents of both Christianity and of Christendom. In one sense, it denotes religion and in another the civilization. The word Islam denotes fifteen centuries of history and in space, the realm of Islam extends from Morocco to Indonesia from Khezakistan in central Asia to Senegal. In Africa the European historians treated as a dark interlude, the period between the decline of ancient civilization and the rise of modern civilization. Whereas Islam was the leading civilization in the medieval world. Christianity and Islam are in many ways sister civilizations. Besides resemblances, there are profound disparities between the two. These differences are more profound in the relation between government, religion and society. The founder of Christianity bade his followers: render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things which are God's. Christianity grew and developed as a religion of the down trodden until Emperor Constantine, became a Christian. The founder of Islam was his own Constantine and founded his own state and empire. He did not need to create a Church. The dichotomy of regnum and sacerdotium, an integral part of the history of Western Civilization had no equivalent in Islam. During Prophet Muhammed's life time, the Muslims became at once a political and religious community with the Prophet as head of the state. In pagan Rome, Caesar was God. For Christians, there was a choice between God and Caesar. In Islam, there is no Caesar but only God who is the sole sovereign and the sole source of law. Muhammad is his Prophet. When Muhammad died in 632 AD his spiritual and prophetic mission to bring the God's book to mankind was complete. What remained was the religious task of spreading the God's revelations until finally all the world accepted it.
THE HOUSE OF WAR:
One of the basic tasks bequeathed to Muslims by the Prophet was jihad meaning striving in the path of God. In the early chapters of the Quran, dating from the Meccan period, the word meant moral striving. In the later chapters, promulgated in the Medina, the word has a more explicitly practical cannotation. The military meaning is unequivocal. According to Islamic law, it is lawful to wage war against four types of enemies: infidels, apostates, rebels and bandits. However, only the first two count as Jihad. For most of the fourteen centuries, Jihad was most commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defense or advancement of Muslim power. The first jihad was waged by Prophet against the rulers of Mecca in the month of Ramdan, January 630 AD.
THE HOUSE OF ISLAM:
In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses, the house of Islam (Dar-al-Islam), in which Muslim governments rule and Muslim law prevails and House of war (Dar-al Herb)- the rest of the world inhabited and ruled by infidels. The House of Islam (Dar-al-Islam) is a country wherein the edicts of Islam are fully promulgated. In a state brought under Muslims, all those who do not embrace the faith are placed under certain disabilities. They can worship God according to their customs, provided they are not idolators but it must be done without any ostentation. Whilst churches and synagogues may be repaired, no new place of worship can be erected. The construction of churches or synagogues in Muslim territory is unlawful; this being forbidden in the tradition; idol temples must be destroyed, and idolators suppressed by force in all countries according to a strict Muslim law. What the Islamic State (ISIS) is doing in Syria and Iraq corresponds to the tenets of Islam, according to the leaders of the ISIS.
IDEOLOGICAL UNDERPINNING OF PAKISTAN
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's Statement (1887-88)
No single individual had a greater responsibility for the recovery of Muslim political influence after the Mutiny than Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. His greatest contribution to the Muslim recovery was the establishment of the Muhammdan Anglo Orential College at Aligarh in 1875. It produced political leaders like Maulana Mohammed Ali, leader of the Khilafat Movement; Khawaja Nazimuddin and Liaquat Ali Governor General and Prime Minister of Pakistan respectively. Syed Ahmed was knighted in 1876 and sat as Member of the Governor General's Legislative Council from 1878 to 1883. In this capacity, his most notable action was his successful insistence that Muslims should receive separate nomination to the local self government institutions which were created by Lord Ripon. His speech on this occasion deserves to be quoted at some length for its influence on subsequent Muslim political thought. The system of representation by election means the representation of the views and interests of the majority of population and in countries where population is composed of one race and one creed, it is no doubt the best system that can be adopted. But in India where caste distinctions still flourish and where religious distinctions are still violent, he was convinced that the introduction of the principle of election, pure and simple, for the representation of various interests on the local boards and the district councils would be attended with evils of greater significance. Therefore the system of election, pure and simple, cannot be safely adopted. The larger community would totally override the interest of the smaller community.
Towards the end of Syed Ahmad's life the Indian National Congress was founded. It pressed for an increase in representative government for India and recruitment of Indians for government services by open competitive examination. Syed Ahmed opposed the Congress demand. His speeches on the subject delivered at Lucknow and Meerut in 1887-88 greatly influenced the subsequent demand for Pakistan. He declared in these speeches: If in your opinion the peoples of India do form one nation, then no doubt competitive examination may be introduced. Have the Mohammadans attained to such a position as regard higher English Education which is necessary for higher appointments as to put them on a level with Hindus? Most certainly not. The proposals of the Congress are exceedingly inexpedient for a country which is inhabited by two different nations….Now suppose that all the English were to leave India then who would be rulers of India? Is it possible that under these circumstances two nations... the Mohammadan and Hindus could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power? Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is to desire the impossible and the inconceivable.
Syed Ahmed died in 1898. In politics he had stated that the Muslims were a nation who could not and must not be submerged in a system of government by majority vote. The Pakistanis therefore rightly claim him as one of the fathers of their country. (The Making of Pakistan, by Richard Symonds, Faber and Faber, London, 1949).
Justice Ameer Ali (1849-1928) :
A barrister of Lincoln's Inn, he was the first Indian Muslim to become a High Court Judge and the first Indian to be a member of the British Privy Council. In 1891 he published The Spirit of Islam. Ameer Ali took little part in politics. One occasion, in which he intervened was of considerable importance. In 1909, he led a deputation and persuaded a somewhat reluctant Secretary of State, Lord Morley, to grant the Muslim separate electorate in the reforms of 1909. And this was done.
Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938) is universally recognized in Pakistan as the great poet and Father of the idea of Pakistan. In 1930-32 he attended the Round Table Conference in London. Like Syed Ahmed, he was opposed to Muslim participation in the Indian National Congress and in favour of communal elections and separate communal representation in the services. In two important speeches delivered towards the end of his life, he foresaw the development of Pakistan. In 1930 in his presidential address to the Muslim League, ten years before the League adopted this programme of Pakistan, he stated. He would like to see the Punjab, North West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North Western Indian Muslim State, appears to be the final destiny of the Muslims at least of North West India. The life of Islam as a cultural force in this country very largely depends on its civilization in a specified territory… the principle that each group is entitled to free development on its own lines. None of the three leaders - Syed Ahmed, Ameer Ali and Iqbal - was a politician but each one emphasised the need for separate Muslim electorates. Pakistan came into existence because, inspite of the safeguards which were from time to time offered them, the majority Indian Muslims did not eventually feel that their religious, economic, cultural, and political rights would be secure in independent India. The Partition of India took place because the Indian Muslims felt themselves to be Muslims before they were Indians.
Maulana Mohammad Ali:
In thundering statements made at Aligarh and Ajmer in 1925, Maulana Mohammad Ali had condemned Mahatma Gandhi. In his words: However pure Mr. Gandhi's character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of religion inferior to any Mussalman, even though without character. Later when asked to clarify at Lucknow, he was more eloquent and said I hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi.
At the Round Table Conference which was inaugurated by King GeorgeVI on 12th November, 1930 he had observed: Make no mistake about the quarrels between Hindus and Mussalmans…. I belong to two circles of equal size but which are not concentric, one is India and the other is the Muslim World… We are not nationalist but supera nationalists.
Choudhry Rahmat Ali's statement (1933):
Everything separated the Hindus from the Muslims, geography, race, heart and soul, religion, culture, history, tradition, literature, economies, tip of inheritance, customs, calendars, and dress and food. Pakistan was not to be the home land for the Muslims of Hindustan. Pakistan was to be the land of the millet, a moral anchor for the Muslims of Hindustan. In 1940, to win the support of Muslims of Hindustan Jinnah subtly changed the goal: Pakistan was to be the homeland of the Muslims of Hindustan and not merely the land of the millet carved out lands in land in which they were in a majority. Earlier, in 1928, a book titled The Indian Moselims an Indian Mohammedan was published in London. It stressed that within the frontiers of India lived two nations, the Hindus and the Muslims.
ROLE OF THE BRITISH :
It has often been maintained by pseudo-secularist-Hindus that the British are primarily responsible for India's communal conflict. The British, when they conquered India, found communal disunity but hardly that they caused it. The British found India disunited and left India disunited. The British cannot be blamed for conceding separate Muslim electorates either. The principle had already been successfully urged by Syed Ahmad, in the 19th century, and his desciple Mohnsinul Mulk. The creation of Pakistan cannot solely attributed to Jinnah. Jinnah, the unquestioned leader of the Muslims only guided rather than caused the movement towards Pakistan. If there had been no Jinnah, it still seems probable that there would have been a Pakistan.
PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS 1937:
Parting of ways between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League took place after the Congress won majority in most of the Provinces including the United Provinces. Negotiation between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League broke down. They simply did not commence in 1938 and 1939 because of the insistence of one side and sturdy refusal on the other, of the prior recognition of the Muslim League as the sole representative of Muslim opinion and of the Congress as a Hindu organization, says Professor Beni Prasad (India's Hindu-Muslim Questions, George Allen and Unwin, 1939.)
MUSLIMS ASK FOR PAKISTAN:
At the Muslim League session held at Lahore in 1940, Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah formally proposed the demand for a separate homeland for Indian Muslims. This was called Pakistan. It took no more than six years to achieve the goal of Pakistan. In their demand before the Indian National Congress and the British rulers, the Muslims led by Jinnah insisted upon the rulers: Divide and Quit; Whereas Gandhiji suggested to the British: Quit and leave the question of Pakistan to be settled later between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. Because of the riots unleashed by the Muslims, British had to divide and quit India in 1947.
HINDUS BLAMED FOR PARTITION:
Shamsul Islam, author of the book, Muslims Against Partition lays the blame of Partition on Hindu leaders like Malaviya and Lajpat Rai. In this context, it needs to be mentioned that in 1916 Lucknow Pact was signed between the Congress and the Muslim League which formally recognized the principle of separate electorate for Muslims in minority provinces. At the Lahore session of the Muslim League held in 1924, Muslim League resolved that while minorities were to be given special consideration in representation, no majority was to be turned into a minority in provincial legislature. The move was intended to ensure statutory majority for Muslims in Punjab and Bengal Provinces. At the same time separate electorates and weightage for Muslims in Minority Provinces were to continue. If the Muslims remained adamant in their demand, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Lajpat Rai declared then it would be better to divide the Punjab into two provinces - one for the Hindu-Sikh and the other with a Muslim Majority. Lajpat Rai also warned that it would not mean a united India. It is in this context that, “Divided India was considered a solution to Hindu-Muslim issues in 1924” and not as taken out of context by Shamsul Islam in his book.
Shamsul Islam also blames the Hindus for propagating the Two-Nation theory. In his words: The fact should not be over looked that long before the appearance of Muslim advocates of the two-nation theory, Hindu nationalists had propounded this idea. In fact, Muslim League Leaders borrowed heavily from the Hindustava School of Thought… Those were Raj Narain Basu (1826-1899) and Naba Gopal Mitra (1840-1894). This is arrant non-sense. Shamsul Islam ignores the fact that during the six century Muslim rule of Bengal, they had persecuted the Hindus to no-end. It is only after the battle of Plassey that Hindus were able to observe their religious festivals. Hindus did not throw out the Muslim invaders like the European did after the destruction of Granada, the last Muslim State in Western Europe, in 1492. They had given Muslims three options: embrace Christianity, face death or go back to Arabia. Hindus could have followed the Christian example.
JINNAH'S STATEMENT IN 1944, AT AMU, ALIGARH:
He said: Pakistan was not the product of the conduct or misconduct of Hindus. It had always been there, only they (Hindus) were not conscious of it. Hindus and Muslims, though living in the same towns and village had never been blended into a nation, they were always two entities. Pakistan started the moment the first non-Muslim was converted to Islam in India long before the Muslim established their rule. As soon as a Hindu embraced Islam, he was outcast not only religiously but also socially, economically and culturally. As for the Muslim, it was duty imposed on him by Islam not to merge his identity and individuality in any alien society. Throughout the ages, Hindus had remained Hindus and Muslims had remained Muslim, and they had not the merged their entities, this was the basis for Pakistan (8 March, 1944).
Earlier, in 1940, Jinnah had declared that: It is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolves a common nationality. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literature.
Professor M. Mujeeb writes that the Party which demanded the creation of Pakistan, a separate homeland for the Indian Muslims, was the Muslim League. In the election held early in 1946, which proved decisive, it secured 425 out of 492 seats reserved for Muslims in the Centeral and different Provincial Legislatures. It could be said, therefore, that Indian Muslims were overwhelmingly in favour of Pakistan (Islamic Influence On Indian Society by Prof. M. Mujeeb, Vice Chancellor Jamia Millia).
1945-46 GENERAL ELECTIONS:
After the break down of the Simla Conference held in 1945, the British decided to hold elections in India to test the demand for Pakistan. Earlier, after the Lahore Resolution of Pakistan (1940), Gandhiji had asked for referendum to know the wishes of the people. The Muslim League won 453 seats out of a total 524 Central and Provincial Legislative seats. The verdict settled once and for all two key issues: (a) Muslim League represented the Muslims of India and (b) majority of Muslims stood for Pakistan. Gandhi admitted defeat.