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.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
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.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT