Pathway to Pakistan

The idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of subcontinent took shape through a process of evolution. It started with the realization of the fact that the Muslims of south Asia are quite different from the Hindus and their future in a democratic India would be at stake23rd March is observed as Pakistan Day every year. It commemorates the Twenty Seventh session of All India Muslim League which held at Lahore from March 22-24,1940.It’s eminence is because of the resolution which demanded a sovereign and separate state for the Muslims of South Asia. Later on, this resolution popularly becomes known as Pakistan Resolution.

It was through Pakistan resolution that All India Muslim League and Muslims of United India committed themselves to the creation of Pakistan, as their final objective. It provided the Muslim League with an ideology, philosophy and purpose for a political movement. Pakistan Resolution brought the Muslims under the flag of All India Muslim League and it emerged as sole representative body of the Muslims. This resolution also proved that as a separate nation, Muslims know their right of having a government of their choice, in a state of their own. It gives a revolutionary turn to the Muslim politics in Sub-continent.

The passage of this resolution was not all of sudden. History takes its final shape under the influence of various factors and events. Some events affect the history in such a way which changes the course of history. There was number of events which forced the Indian Muslims towards the demand of a separate homeland for the Muslims.

The war of 1857 was the ultimate blow to the rule of Muslims in India. The departure of Muslims from the throne of India, bring them under the colonial rule of British. Hindus were shrewd enough to make alliance with new rulers, as it was just change of masters for them. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the leader of Muslims in the second half of the 19th century, who was in favor of Hindu-Muslim Unity. However, it was 1867, when Hindi-Urdu controversy at Banaras, convinced him that Muslims and Hindus can not go together for long. In 1885, Indian National Congress started its political career, but its Hindu character become more clear when the portion of Bengal taken place.

There are long list of happenings which taken place since 1857 till the demand of a separate homeland for the Muslims out of united India. Initially, Muslims wanted safeguards in united India but circumstance forced them to aspire for separate state. In this perspective, the promulgation of the government of India act 1935 and formation of congress ministries proved to be final nail in coffin of united India.

The introduction of the government of India Act 1935 proved very decisive move. It changed the mind set of the Muslims. The elections under the act of 1935 were a turning point in the history of united India. This act allowed certain amount of ‘’Provincial autonomy” to the Indians. It was to the extent that every provincial government was free to formulate and execute their own programs and be responsible to their own legislation. Other aspect of the act of 1935 was that it gave a large proportion of the local population, the opportunity to exercise some powers and voice their opinion. To be able to vote, there was property qualification. The limited franchise meant that the majority of the people still did not have the right to vote. The property qualification, however, was lowered which gave the right to vote to a total of 35 million people. It was just one-quarter of the adult population.

It is clear that the All India Muslim League was not satisfied with the India act of 1935, but it still decided to go for election. The Muslim League seen a ray of hope in the sections regarding provincial autonomy and self-government.

The Muslim League contested election but the results could not favor it. The Muslim League captured around half of all the Muslim seats and did well in the united provinces, Madras and Bombay. Out of the eleven provinces of British India, the Congress won majority in five and managed coalition governments in another three. The out come of the election proved that Muslim League have it’s support more in Muslim Minority provinces, rather than in Muslim majority provinces. This was due to sense of insecurity which was prevailing among the Muslims in Muslim minority areas.

Even before the formation of their government, congress started to unveil their future designs. It was definitely against Muslims. During elections campaign in 1937, Nehru stated at Calcutta that “there were only two parties in the sub-continent, namely, the British government and the National Congress –to vote against the Congress is to vote for the continuance of British domination”. There was negation of Muslims nationalism. The Muslim League and Muslims of India were not ready to accept this position. M.A Jinnah had challenged the claim of Nehru and responded that “there was also a third party and that were the Muslims of India”.

After the election, the refusal of the congress to form coalition governments in association with the Muslim League amounted to a reiteration of the same claim.

The period from July 1937 to October 1939, when congress ministries ruled eight out of eleven Indian provinces, was extremely crucial in the history of Hindu Muslim relation. It was for the first time that responsible and self governments were installed in the provinces. However, during this phase, the congress governments adopted such policies, which left no doubts that it was nothing but a Hindu body. This was the first time, when Muslims realized what this meant to them.

Dr. Saeedud Din Dar writes in his book “Ideology of Pakistan” about congress ministries that

“Congress attitude was arrogant and humiliating for the Muslims. Their policies aimed at the establishment of Ram Raj in the garb of “Indian Nationalism” They devised and manifested economic measures as to hit the interests of the Muslims. The Muslims were discriminated in the courts. Their religious sentiments were injured by playing music before the mosques. Stopping slaughtering of cow by force and sometime even stopping ‘Azan’. But worst was education policy. Its objective was to impose Hindu ideas and by subtle methods to prepare a generation which would cease to be Muslims in thoughts, character and action”.

During this period, the congress was aiming at nothing short of drowning Muslim identity and culture in a wave of Hindu nationalism. The congress alienated the Muslims by adopting such policies which were directly injustice to their social, political and religious emotions. It widens the further gulf between two nations.

The reign of terror and prosecution was, however, terminated only after the breakout of would war second in Europe when congress ministries had to resign from office on 31st October, 1939. On this occasion, the Muslim League celebrated December 22, 1939 as “Deliverance Day”. The year 1939 concluded with dim prospects of Hindu-Muslim unity.

Above mentioned circumstances provided a perfect opportunity for the Quaid-e-Azam to remind Muslims that this would be their fate in a congress dominated India. This period proved beyond any doubt that political domination of Hindu would be detrimental to the cause of the Muslims.

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was presiding over the 27th session of All India Muslim League at Lahore, where Pakistan Resolution was passed. During his presidential address, he could not forget the bitter experience under Congress rule. He said that;

“We had to face the Vidya Mandar in Nagpur. We had to face the wardha scheme all over the India. We had faced the ill-treatment and oppression on Muslims in the Congress-governed provinces. We had to face the treatment meted out to Muslims in some of Indian states, such as Jaipur and Bhavnagar”.

He was so much annoyed by the Indian National Congress and British that, he said

“Situated in India as we are, we naturally have our past experience, particularly from the experience of the past two and half years of Provincial constitution in the Congress-governed provinces, we have learnt many lesions. We are now, therefore, very apprehensive and can trust nobody”.

He further said that

“We never thought that the Congress high command would have acted in the manner in which they actually did in the Congress-governed provinces”.

The period of Congress rule (1937-39) proved to be blessing in disguise for the Indian Muslims. This short period convinced Muslims to demand for a separate homeland rather then striving for protection and safeguards in united India. This phase proved to be beginning of the end of united India. All weapons of aggression and shrewdness were freely used against the Muslims to intimidate and force them to give up their demand for a separate homeland. But Quaid-e-Azam stood like rock against this storm of Hindu and British opposition, and rejected their objection against Pakistan. He continued to articulate the demands of Muslims and mobilized them successfully the creation of Pakistan and On 14th august, 1947, this dream turned into reality.

. On the historic Independence Day, when the Pakistan came into being, let us renew our pledge to work with utmost dedication for the maximum good of the maximum number to make Pakistan a welfare state in reality, which should be the sole purpose of the men at the helm of affairs. We should try to resolve our differences through mutual consultation and with the sense of accommodating each other. It will help us to get on our ultimate destiny which is prosper, developed, democratic and moderate Pakistan.

Daily DAWN, August 14,2008

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