Jinnah’s two-nation theory was always a logically weak construct. The notion that people who had lived close together for centuries suddenly constituted two different nations because of their faith ignored the many different strands that make up the fabric of national identity. Since Pakistan came into being, the idea of a Muslim majority being a sufficient basis for nationhood has been exposed as a thoroughly bad one. Nevertheless, to advance his demand for Pakistan, Jinnah pushed his theory. The reality is, having governed much of the subcontinent for centuries until the British seized control, the Muslim upper class never reconciled to the idea of becoming a minority under Hindu rule.
But even at Partition in 1947, the two-nation theory stood exposed as a feeble justification for Pakistan’s creation when millions of Muslims were left behind in India. There is some evidence to indicate that Jinnah was appalled by the sight of traumatised refugees trekking into Pakistan in their hundreds of thousands, carrying their few possessions. He might have demanded the creation of Pakistan, but he had not bargained for the horrors of Partition. Luckily for him, he died long before the second setback to his two-nation theory came in 1971. As Pakistan’s most populous wing became Bangladesh following a bloody civil war, it became clear that religion was too thin a glue to hold the country together. Since then, Sindhi and Baloch nationalists have demanded their own states. The Mohajirs, descendants of Indian Muslims who migrated to Pakistan, have asserted their ethnic identity.
Secular Pakistanis draw comfort from Jinnah’s speech of August 11, 1947, made to the Constituent Assembly in which he clearly indicated the direction he wanted the new state to take—a ringing declaration of secularism. However, if one quotes the speech to most young Pakistanis today—specially those who have been through the state education system—they will be baffled. They will ask: “But if Jinnah wanted a secular state, why did he demand the partition of India?”
The reality is that Jinnah, although personally thoroughly liberal and secular, was a politician, and sent different messages to different audiences. So to his August 11 speech, mullahs can produce many others made to conservative crowds in which he spoke of an Islamic state. This ambiguity has manifested itself throughout Pakistan’s troubled history. But the rousing slogan of ‘Pakistan ka matlab kya? La Ilahah Illilah!’ still resonates louder than ever. Over time—and specially since Zia-ul-Haq’s rule in the ’80s—the outward expressions of religiosity have come to dominate every aspect of Pakistan’s existence. Indeed, Pakistani generals soon saw the effectiveness of using zealots as armed auxiliaries, first in Afghanistan, then in Kashmir. But the chickens are coming home to roost in the form of the Taliban and its offshoots.
But if the cost of Partition has been high for Pakistan, India has not escaped unscathed. I often get e-mails from Indian readers expressing satisfaction over Partition. “Just think,” they write, “how much worse our situation would have been had Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims been a part of India.” To my Pakistani readers, I say that had Partition not taken place, there would have been around 450 million Muslims in undivided India, hardly a small minority. And I tell my Indian readers that in a united India, we wouldn’t be spending the insane amounts on defence we do today.
(Irfan Husain is a columnist for the Dawn group, Pakistan.)
Irfan Hussain gives a rare glimpse into the psyche of Pakistani people when he says “Muslims could not live first with Hindus, then with Bangladeshis and now with Shias” (Still Afester). The whole story can be summed up in that—Pakistan was built on the wrong edifice by Jinnah. But they say wars are fought in the ‘minds of generals’. Jinnah and Nehru made themselves immortal in the respective histories of their countries but left the people of both to suffer.
The creation of Pakistan is the best thing to have happened to India. If nothing else, it has ensured the existance and relative safety of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and other non-Muslims in a secular India. Why, it has even ensured that Muslims like the Ahmadis, Memons and Shias, considered Kaffirs and butchered in Pakistan, have thrived and prospered in India. In an undivided India, fundamentalist nutcases like the Taliban, Hafiz Saeed, Hamid Gul and Mullah Omar would have been Indian, and would have made life hell for everyone else. The Government of India should give Jinnah a posthumous Bharat Ratna for coming up with the idea of Pakistan.
Based on just one speech addressed to the Pakistan constituent assmbly,Jinnah is called secular.Contrarily Jinnah was a fanatical Muslim.Just look at these incidents.He ordered Direct Action in 1946 in which hundreds of Hindus were killed in Calcutta alone.He never asked the Muslims of Naokhali to stop killing of helpless Hindus.As against this Gandhiji walked to Naokhali to save Hindus.When Muslims of West Pakistan were killing Sikhs and Hindus,he never went to the streets to ask his fellow Muslims to stop killing.This,even after he became the Governor-geaneral of Pakistan.Then he sends Pathan tribals to Kashmir valley in 1948 to indulge in lagescale killing of Hindus.Well,the good news is that Wahabis want his Mausoleum to be uprooted,in Karachi.
"To my Pakistani readers, I say that had Partition not taken place, there would have been around 450 million Muslims in undivided India, hardly a small minority"
Thank God that did not happen!! There would be no hindu left if partition had not happened. Just look at Kashmir to see what happened to hindus when muslims are in a majority.
We will take back Pak and Bangladesh in time but for now, the status quo works quite well. The only glitch is PoK-which we need to take back.
"And I tell my Indian readers that in a united India, we wouldn’t be spending the insane amounts on defence we do today" - probably not - but we;d have spent it on internal security. witness Lebanon, and now Syria and Iraq. From the Indian side of the fence, one thing that should have been done was a proper population exchange (it has been done before with reasonably good results - between Greece and Turkey, for example). Actually this was proposed by Muslim League at partitiion - but vetoed by Gandhi and Nehru, I believe.
Partition failed because Nehru Gandhi opted for incomplete Partition resulting in the endless past , present and future problems for India and creating scope another Partition incited by Pakistan.
It was clear Muslims could not live with Hindu Majority .
So the process of Partition should have been implemented in its totality and fairness .
The post Partition logic oft touted that Pak for Muslim majority areas and vice verse is totally fraudulent,false and an illusory one.
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