The Undefined Equilibrium between Pakistan and Islam. Part 4: The Unsustainable Equilibrium

By Adnan Syed
Throughout Pakistani history, the nation has struggled with two basic questions:
1)      Pakistan was attained in the name of Islam. What does this mean?
2)      Did Pakistan fulfill the objectives of Two Nation Theory within the United India? It seems that Pakistan resulted in a rather bifurcated Indian Muslim polity.
Both questions are delicately intertwined. A right wing religious leader will pounce on both statements and proclaim that the resulting Muslim Pakistan justifies a total promulgation of Islam across all spheres of the Pakistani society. The personal and civil code named Shariah and the Quranic injunctions should be the sole basis of all laws of the land. Pakistan and Islam are the same, at an individual level, as well as the state level.
However, this is the exact scenario that Quaid and Liaqat Ali Khan had explicitly mentioned what Pakistan would not be. Both of them had explicitly said on more than one occasion that Pakistan was not going to be a theocratic state, governed by a divine mission.
At the same time, we clearly see during our Independence Movement that Islam was invoked time and again. Here exists an apparent contradiction that affects Pakistan to this day.
It is important to note that two simultaneous developments were taking place in the politics of the Muslim League during 1930s and 1940s:
1) Quaid was actively uniting the Indian Muslims under one umbrella. He was invoking Islamic ideals as well as the rich Islamic history to communicate with the disparate group of Indian Muslim. Yet we never see Quaid proclaiming that Pakistan would be running on the basis of Sharia or theocratic rule. At the same time, we also never see Quaid invoking the word “secular” in public speeches. From Quaid’s various statements that we have studied before, Quaid’s message must be understood from all of his statements spread across pre and post Pakistan’s independence. Quaid looked for a democratic Muslim Majority State inspired by the Islamic ideals, where majority Muslim nation, along with its non-Muslim neighbours will coalesce into a unified Pakistani nation state.
2) Muslim League was interacting with the majority Congress Party based on the equitable power sharing formula that would be afforded to the sizeable minority Muslims. As Cripps observed in 1946 “The principle of majority rule, which the Mahasabha invoked in their Memorandum, could not be applied in an unmodified form where there was a perpetual majority and a perpetual minority”.
Jinnah’s call for Pakistan was the demand for a Muslim majority state, but Muslim League did not look for partition as the first and foremost alternative. Jinnah looked to negotiate to the hilt to preserve the Indian federation while Congress contemptuously looked upon the demand of Pakistan that was becoming the rallying cry of the rapidly uniting Indian Muslim. As late as June 06, 1946 Muslim League had accepted the Cabinet Mission that looked for Indian federation to stay federally united in the form of grouped provinces. Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan was alive even under the boundaries of a united India.
In the complex politics of the 20th century United India, we must realize that Quaid and Muslim League afforded the majority Congress Party every opportunity to keep the Indian federation alive. They fought for Pakistan as a Muslim nation either within or outside the boundaries of the Indian federation against an obstinate majority party that never afforded them the respect they deserved. As HM Seervai said “First and foremost, Jinnah’s policies must be judged as a reaction to the policies of the Congress and its leaders: Gandhi, Nehru and Patel…The Congress under Nehru (after 1937) went beyond contemptuous words and treated Muslim League’s offer of cooperation with disdain…. Nehru in effect challenged Jinnah to establish the position of the Muslim league by its inherent strength”[1]
And lo and behold, Jinnah did rise up over the next 10 years to rightly become the sole spokesman of the Indian Muslims. As dispassionate history observers eye the partition politics with an inquisitive lens, they find to the surprise of many that the Muslim League’s stance was a direct result of an obstinate leadership of the majority party. Starting with Azad, then Seervai, Ayesha Jalal, and now Jaswant Singh, we see time and again that the term divisionary politics is a wrong label for the partition politics. It was an unfortunate result of the two parties representing two most populous blocks of votes, who were not talking effectively to each other in an environment filled with mistrust and outright contempt. Seervai dispassionately says in his pointed analysis: “That the fears of the Muslim community (that is would be permanently dominated by the Hindu Raj) were genuine is beyond dispute…It is reasonable clear that it was Congress which wanted partition. It was Jinnah who was against partition, but accepted it as the second best”.[2]
Quaid and Muslim League fought for the safeguard of the rights of the Indian Muslim nation. Pakistan and Islam was their rallying cry to unite the disparate group of Indian Muslims. They may not have achieved Pakistan in their ideal form. Yet at the end of a tremendously volatile political environment, Muslim League ended up with Pakistan. It was a not the ideal solution for the Muslim League demands, yet Pakistan still represented a monumental achievement. History seldom turns its wheels to generate ideal solutions when it comes to nation states. Modern states are products of often cataclysmic historical events. Pakistan still represents a proud geographical product of the Muslim aspirations as they transformed their ideas of a separate nation within India towards a tangible reality.
Yet we must admit at the same time that there was a strong religious theme that underpinned the Pakistan Movement. Jinnah established Islam and the Muslim identity as the medium of communication with the disparate mass of Indian Muslims; from a deeply conservative Muslim Pathan to a sophisticated UP urbanite to a Bengali Muslim, Jinnah spoke of a Muslim nation united by its religion.
But Pakistan must look back at Quaid, Liaqat Ali Khan and the Muslim League leadership to analyze what the leadership did and did not say when it came to religion and Pakistan. Pakistan must realize that Islam was a uniting factor and was therefore invoked in the struggle for Pakistan. Yet the complete rule of Sharia or divine text was explicitly negated by our founding fathers. We must stop turning Quaid into a theocrat or an avowed humanist/ secularist. He was neither. We get strong hints for his respect for religious ideals, but at the same time we see his idea of a state where every single person living in Pakistan would be known and treated as Pakistani first and foremost in a Liberal Muslim Democratic State.
Pakistan has always been aware of the founding fathers disregard for the complete theocratic rule. Yet Pakistan has never reconciled itself to a sustainable state where the concept of a democratic Muslim State is in peaceful harmony with the role of religion in the affairs of the state.
We hear the echoes of the inexactness in the first Constituent Assembly speeches by the ruling desk. We hear it in the words of Liaqat Ali Khan as he pounded his justification of introducing Sovereignty of the Almighty into the affairs of the state, while maintaining at the same time that sovereignty rests with people. All that time LAK avoided the thorny issues that were severely critiqued by the alarmed Pakistanis including its select intelligentsia, its non Muslim members and Justice Munir and Justice Kiyani in 1954. The two justices alarmingly pondered upon the insidious effects of a state unsure of the role of religion in its midst, and consistently held hostage by the religious right, that was bent upon introducing complete Islam into the state offices.
We hear the echoes of the hollow inexactness with the uneven treatment of Islam by the framers of our various Constitutions in 1956, 1962, and 1973. Pakistani legislatures looked to proclaim Islam as the official state religion, yet they failed to reconcile it satisfactorily to their idea of the liberal democratic state that Quaid had envisaged where everyone was equal first and foremost; without any basis of caste or creed.
More alarmingly, the critical Munir-Kiyani Report had established some fifty five years ago that our efforts since March 7, 1949 to incorporate religion into our constitutional framework were not simply at odd with the idea of a democratic state; these efforts had begun to destabilize the nascent nation. Our makeshift approach to incorporate religion into the affairs of the state also gave the necessary ammunition to the religious right, who have rioted on the streets first to declare Ahmedis non-Muslims, then to Islamize the nation, and more recently encouraging Pakistan to embark on a risky strategy of supporting a nebulous concept of worldwide anti-infidel Jihad.
The inexactness of the concept is embedded in the inherent dichotomy of the term Democratic Liberal Muslim state. If Muslim term is used strictly for Muslim majority living in Pakistan, we have a good concept of the state that has an overwhelming Muslim majority yet the state does not differentiate between Muslims and non Muslims.
Unfortunately, the Muslim League leaders right after partition, and our subsequent so called liberal and socialist leaning politicians looked for a democratic Muslim state where Islam has some say in the affairs of the state. The popular leaders did not endorse the religious right’s extreme stance, yet they did include a healthy dose of Islam into Pakistan without ever being convinced what was the proper level of that medicine.
We know for the last 55 years from the interviews with religious right by Munir-Kiyani panel that democracy is incompatible with an Islamic state. We also know that the sovereignty is never accorded to people since people have no powers to abrogate religious edicts in the affairs of the state. Yet, we pursue this utopian vision of an Islamic democracy, without ever taking a moment to ponder if our ideals are mutually exclusive and grounded in futility. Our 62 years history is a merciless example of this futility that we have suffered in our quest for an Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
We can mark the date of introduction of Objectives Resolution as the pivotal moment in our history when we embarked on this self destructive path. Yet do we need keep lamenting only at our continuous misfortune and we begin to do something about it?
Let us calmly accept that a liberal democratic Muslim Pakistan cannot have religion even half governing the affairs of the state. The state cannot be liberal or democratic since the will of people will always be checked against a religious arbiter. Who will decide how much part religion will play in the affairs of the state. Who will ensure that religion cannot be used to blackmail politicians or public figures? Who can ensure that a person who calls himself a Muslim, yet practices a variation of faith in his house will have the exact same rights as the majority sect follower will have? Equally importantly, what if political movements based on Islamic ideals run smack against the interests of Pakistan?
All of the above questions have troubled Pakistan and kept it in a state of an unsustainable equilibrium throughout its history. With the passing of Objectives Resolution, we see a logical pattern developing: Within 4 years, Punjab was on fire in the movement against Ahmedis. Despite his reformist credentials, Ayub Khan shamelessly tried to use religious right against his opponent Miss Fatimah Jinnah to proclaim that a woman cannot rule the country. The 1971 tragedy was abetted by the rightist parties actively supporting ethnic cleansing of Bengalis, while exhorting Islam in their efforts to keep Pakistan united. Bhutto invoked Islam to de-Muslim the Ahmedi sect, yet the tactic used by his very opposition in 1977 was the restoration of The Order of the Prophet (Nizam-Musafa), as Bhutto was termed anything but Islamic. Zia-ul-Haq took his use of Islam to new heights and unleashed one of the worst decades that Pakistan witnessed in terms of human right abuses. We saw Nawaz Sharif scaling new heights for invoking Islam during his second term, and introducing much feared constitutional amendment to give himself almost absolute powers.
Through Pakistani history, the state fought three major wars with India. However, the term “Jihad” increasingly entered the Pakistani vocabulary with the Islamization of the state. Over time, Pakistan indulged in one of the most lethal self destructive strategies ever adapted by one of the ten most populous countries in the world. A whole collection of private religious inspired militia was allowed to mushroom on Pakistan’s Western borders to fight on Pakistan’s behalf in Kashmir and Afghanistan.
Remarkably, among all this turmoil, Pakistanis kept defeating the attempts to completely Islamize the country. Yet little by little, a lot of ground has been lost to the right. Result: Pakistan is a quasi-Islamic Muslim state, where penal code is a bizarre mix of Islamic and secular penalties. The constitution calls Pakistan an Islamic Republic, and explicitly demands its citizens to prove their Islamic credentials, or be termed non-Muslims.
Pakistan’s biggest failure has often been termed its “intellectual failure”. The policy of the state stayed vested in select political parties with their agendas and failed governance. All that time, except a few lonely voices in the political wilderness, or scattered left wing intelligentsia, the popular opinion makers never once questioned the wisdom of mixing the religion with Pakistani governance. The country was at best run on ad-hoc platform for its 62 years, where the failures of the previous government were more often the reason for the existence of the new one, rather than anything else. The common theme among the opposition slogans against the existing governments has remained Islam; that Islam is being pushed to sidelines, or the government is not Islamic enough. All that time, not a single person can quantify how much Islam is appropriate or inappropriate for Pakistan.
The most damning evidence of the uncertainty regarding the extent of religion in our country’s affairs was laid bare by the rise of Taliban. For almost two decades, Pakistani state encouraged the deadly militia steeped in an extremist ideology to foster in the madrassahs spread across the country. For years, Pakistani policy makers used them to install strategic depth in the West, and excursions in the Eastern border, without any serious thought to the consequences of an army of fanatics co-religionists ready to take on the world.
It has taken 15 years after the creation of Taliban for Pakistan to realize that the religious Frankenstein is not going to tolerate Pakistan itself if Pakistan comes in path of the divine way. And that the hundreds of thousands of Madrassah graduates have their hatred channelled towards their own country now, in the name of Islam.
Tehrik Taliban Pakistan and Al-Qaeda never cease to invoke the Nazaria Pakistan to appeal to Pakistani conscience. Aymen Al-Zawahiri invoked the Nazaria Pakistan at least six times in his August 2008 address to the Pakistani people[3]. TTP leaders Baitullah Mehsud frequently mentioned that since Pakistan was attained in the name of Islam, and since Mehsud was a soldier of Islam, he was fighting a battle on Pakistan’s behalf. The Jihadists are committed to die for their cause. They cite verses from Quran to prove their causes. And they want to use Pakistani soil for their cause; because in their eyes Pakistan and Islam are synonymous.
As convoluted as the whole picture seems, we further find that these anarchist groups are openly supported (financially and morally) by mainstream religious parties in Pakistan who pray for Mujahedeen (who are in a state of active war against Pakistan) and our religious leaders call Baitullah Mehsud an Islamic martyr.
We can all condemn the religious right and say that they never represent true Islam. Which begs the next very simple question: who represents true Islam by the way? You, me, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, A Shia Imam in Pakistan, an honest policeman making 8,000 rupees a month to support his five person family and getting killed by the bomber, an otherwise pious and devout 18 year old who will become a suicide bomber, or an army jawan trying to stop that suicide bomber from exploding and killing everyone around them.
Over years, we had looked to introduce the religion as a final arbiter in the affairs of the state. Yet no single major religion remained a single body and a unifying force in political terms in our known recorded history. Now as Taliban fight us in the name of Islam, we struggle to find our reasons to fight them. We know we don’t want the version of Islam that Taliban want to bring to us by sword; yet we don’t know what version of Islam we ourselves would like to have. For the last 60 years, we have failed to find our very raison-d’être. The crisis facing Pakistan today will reappear in the future in some different form in coming decades, if we continue our confused ways. Problem is not just that Pakistan has not defined its enemy very well; problem is that Pakistan has not defined itself fully well.
Taliban represent an extremely toxic version of the religiosity that increasingly polarizes the Pakistani society. The society does not tolerate a minority sect openly practicing its faith. This is a state that has come down to singling out non-Muslims by official policies; where Christians and Hindus live in fear of their increasingly fanatical Muslim neighbours. And where almost a thousand Hindu families migrate to India annually; their future seemingly bleak in Pakistan.
The dangerous equilibrium that Pakistan has experienced in its last six decades is untenable, and Pakistan cannot continue forward like this. Yet there are some rays of hope here:
1) Pakistan has shown a remarkable penchant for returning to democracy. The one constant clamour (in addition to Islam) we hear in Pakistani history is for the return of democracy. For a country to face as much turmoil as Pakistan has, it is remarkable that the Pakistani society has never allowed undemocratic rule to flourish for too long
2) It is also clear that Pakistanis have never embraced the idea of religion fully governing their state. The right wing parties have never gained more than 10% of the popular vote in the elections
3) Importantly, Pakistan now boasts one of the freest print and electronic media among the Third World as well as Muslim countries. A free media can only help initiate the discussions of topics considered taboo before. That intelligentsia can finally openly question the paradox that has plagued Pakistan since its birth, and continues to trouble her to this day
The religious right has constantly portrayed separating Islam from politics as something completely Unislamic. This successful portrayal of secularism as a Godless entity that will condemn Islam to obscure corners has been a defining theme of the religious parties in Pakistan. The belief permeates so deeply that no single popular leader has ever come out openly and said that Islam is our religion, yet treating it as our raison d’être and state policy has served neither Pakistan nor Islam. No one has yet shown courage and point out the massive gorilla that lurks in our conscience; that our affinity for our religion is expressed wrongly when practiced in the name of our country. Muslim Nationalism does not equate to an Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
We have to put a stop to mixing religion with politics. We need to stop invoking Islam, period. Pakistan is a Muslim country, inhabited by more than 95% of the population that claims to be Muslims. They have every right to practice their faith, irrespective of their sect, their revered religious leaders, or their ways of practicing their religion. Every man and woman has the same rights, honour and protection whether they are Salafi Sunni, Ahle-Hadith, Deobandis, Barelvis, Shias, Ismailis, Ahmedis, Hindus, Sikhs, or Zoroastrians. All of their prayer halls are equal in the eyes of law. Law is the same for every single person, irrespective of his caste and creed. Pakistan was made to safeguard Muslim interests in the Indian Sub-Continent, but the safeguard need not to come at the price that people from other creeds have to pay.
The worst liberals can do is to believe that the 62 years of baggage will disappear sometime soon. Even worse would be the use of anything but the popular vote or democratic process to bring about the change. The fight for the secular and humanist principles would have to be fought in the minds of the Pakistani population. We have to make Pakistanis understand that the freedom of religion does not encompass single religion or sect. Or that free practice of religion in our private lives can only be ensured by removing it from the affairs of the state. Secularism is not the absence of religion in the society; it is the equality and protection of every single creed within the society.
Equally important is the realization that secularism is not the panacea of all of Pakistan’s ills. Pakistan has suffered from bad governance and incomplete rule of law. Yet, our failure to stand behind a singular inclusive vision of Pakistan has surely contributed towards our political instability and our haphazard approach in national politics and foreign policies.
What we make of the state is how the state will be defined in the decades to come. Our quest for extrapolating Muslim identity to an Islamic identity was a mistake. But nations learn from their mistakes, and move on to become stronger nations. There is no reason Pakistan cannot do that. The last thing we would need is to revisit the same questions decades from now, as we face another catastrophe in the future. You and I may be long gone by that time. For our future generations and for Pakistan however, I suspect by that time it will be probably be too little, too late.
The search for Pakistan’s progressive identity has to be employed by the liberal pen, some of that is employed here at the Pak Tea House. The change has to be strictly constitutional. This is a slow and painstaking process and may take decades, but it will be well worth it; for the founding leader who wanted to see a progressive Pakistan, and for the future generations yet to come, who we hope will not see the turmoil that our past and present generations have painfully experienced.

[1] Partition of India: Legend and Reality by HM Seervai

[2] ibid


Filed under Islam, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pakistan

90 responses to “The Undefined Equilibrium between Pakistan and Islam. Part 4: The Unsustainable Equilibrium

  1. Luqmaan

    >(now please don’t start abusing me for speaking
    >out. If you need date/year/context when Jinnah
    >spoke for Shahria in Pak, let me know decently. I
    >will supply that.)

    That’s sagacious. There is still hope. Now, if you do this for every line you write, you will be such a darling.

    Yes, date year and context needed.
    Don’t go back on this promise.


  2. bonobashi

    A Daniel come to judgement.

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    Here is where I disagree… first of all let us establish the absolutely certain in what Jinnah wanted vis a vis Pakistan:

    1. Equal Rights for all regardless of religion caste or creed.

    2. Sovereignty resting with the people

    3. Unfettered Freedom of religion and conscience

    4. Religion as personal matter.

    5. State impartial to religious considerations of its citizens/subjects.

    To me this is a secular state.

    The important distinction here is that of nation and state… Furthermore now it is abundantly clear that Jinnah’s Pakistan was a confederated unit of an over all Indian Union. What then was Jinnah’s vision of a state? Would there be Islamic laws in this state?

    And this issue of Jinnah referring to Sharia as alleged by that Hindu Nationalist fellow… Jinnah referred to Sharia in his now famous letter to Pir of Manki Sharif. He spoke of affairs of Muslim community being run by Manki Sharif. Those familiar with the legal usage of “Sharia” know that Jinnah the lawyer was referring to the personal law of the Muslims….

    In India today the affairs of Muslim community are run by Sharia as well… what does that mean? That India is not secular? Remind me why the secular Congress in the secular parliament of secular India over turned the Supreme Court Judgment in Shah Bano case? Was it not but a twisted application of the same principle?

    British form of secularism as well as jurisprudence leaves a lot of room for personal law as well as canonical law’s voluntary application in contract, business transactions etc.

    Jinnah was a secularist in the British not the French tradition.

  4. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Yes, date year and context needed.
    Don’t go back on this promise.

    Do you need this anymore as the greatest Pakistan Tea House already removed my post?

  5. AZW


    Agree with all the points you have mentioned. His humanist outlook appears in his correspondence e.g. in his letter to Gandhi in 1940, he mentioned “I know of no religion apart from human activity, that provides a moral basis for all other activities”.

    Yet, in my view calling him a secular leader is not correct. Yes we have his Aug 11, 1947 speech that was in complete accordance with secular principles. But he spoke at other instances and other venues as well, and his message must be taken as a whole. I find it interesting that he invoked Islam (the Muslim identity medium) even when he spoke against theocracy and a divinity inspired government.

    Decca speech on March 21, 1948. “Make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who of whatever creed are themselves willing to play their part as true and loyal citizen of Pakistan”

    Radio speech in Feb 19, 1948 : “The great majority of us are Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). We are members of the brotherhood of Islam in which all are equal in right, dignity and self-respect. Consequently, we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake : Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it.”

    There are also references to Islam as a way of living that at times infringe heavily on pure secular principles, which way you will look at.

    Speech at the Frontier Muslim League Conference on November 21, 1945:

    “We have to fight a double edged battle, one against the Hindu Congress and the British Imperialists, both of them being capitalists. The Muslims demand Pakistan where they could rule according to their own code of life and according to their own cultural growth, traditions and Islamic laws.”

    (He does not mention private family law or laws at the state level. I just do not see secularism in these words).

    In a message to NWFP Muslim Students Federation in April 1943, he said:

    “You have asked me to give a message. What message can I give you? We have got the great message in the Quran for our guidance and enlightenment

    I do believe he was a humanist and his idea of a democracy leaned more towards secular principles than anything else. Yet his message as a whole cannot call him a pure secularist in that sense. He had political considerations in invoking Islam, but his references to Pakistan as “laboratory of Islam” or “Islamic laws in Pakistan” are at direct odds with the image of a secular leader.

    I really wish he came out more forcefully to follow up his speech on Aug 11. Yet he did not, and even with a backdrop of a tumultous Pakistan, it was probably a mistake on his part not to reiterate the secular principles he has unquivocally invoked in his speech to the Constituent Assembly. It is my view that by invoking him as a complete secular leader, we distort his vision; his vision of a Muslim majority state where everyone is equal, yet Islam inspires the law of the land. But sovereignty still rests with people (they can still devise laws even if they are odds with the religious edicts).

  6. Luqmaan

    >Do you need this anymore as the

    Any honest person would 100% still provide the context and date…..regardless.

    Kyonki ab yeh aapki izzat ka sawaal hai.


  7. Hayyer

    In the years Jinnah led the movement for Pakistan he was a political leader fighting for a cause based on Muslim identity. It would not have been easy for him to avoid even the slightest reference to Islamic laws. If Jinnah gave a thousand speeches and only ten of them have an Islamic bias, does it classify him as one or the other. I would go with the nine ninety. As a politician leading a movement for a promised land for Muslims he had no choice but to speak in an Islamic idiom some of the time at least.
    I was not hopeful of a resolution of the issues that emerged with the first part of the piece; they haven’t been resolved-Probably they cannot.
    A Muslim majority state, like any other secular state can either be a secular democracy, or, it can be a religious democracy. Once the religious genie is brought the state must embrace the philosophy of the faith.
    The difficulty of course is- what philosophy, as brought out in the Munir report. I gather Pakistan politicians use religion as a gimmick. Gimmickry then undermines the state.
    In India religion has crept in even when politicians do not mention Hinduism. In some state governments it is insidiously present. Someone like Modi can create a Hindu state only by projecting himself as a victim of Muslims.
    The difficulty posed by the OR has never been resolved. You need consistent political campaigning for that.
    I don’t know what to make of Dubai where they allow pork and alcohol, or Sharjah where alcohol gets you jailed but not pork, but these are not democracies. Maldives while allowing serving of alcohol by hotels does not allow individual import. Malaysia is a unique example. What is the will of the people of Pakistan? If the religious right cannot win more than 11% of the vote in Pakistan why are the mainline politicians so pusillanimous?

  8. YLH


    The confusion clearly is on the word “secular”. I am not sure what you mean by it but all western laws are derived from Judaeo-Christian civic sense… and are inspired by religiously. Not long ago Christianity was part of common law and there were religiously inspired Blue laws in Secular US. My own reading of Jinnah’s life and politics leads me to believe that there was certainly no real meaning beyond this.

    When I speak of Jinnah’s Pakistan or a secular Pakistan I mean the five points I mentioned above which no one can deny as being part of Jinnah’s vision – the irreducible minimum. This to me is secularism or the essence of it anyway.

    In any event it is a mistake to try and make Jinnah into an ideologue. He was parliamentary politician forced to assume a mass agitational role. Like Gandhi, he too resorted to the same vague appeal to mobilize the masses …and was forced to couch his ideas in rare and vague Islamic terminology – the Islamic idiom as Hayyer calls it. All the references made to Islam should be read in this light… One reference that you haven’t quoted is “Islam does not have an ecclesiastical state”. December 17, 1947…

    The opposite of theocracy cannot be a hyphenated democracy based on religious laws. A smart politician may call it an Islamic Democracy …but the opposite of a theocracy is a state where “priests with a divine mission” don’t set the agenda… Add to this Jinnah’s promises of complete equality to all non-Muslims… Jinnah’s famous reference to catholics and protestants and his promise that there would be no religious caste or color bar… And sovereignty resting with the people.


    1. No priests with a divine mission

    2. No religious sectarian or color bar for any citizen of Pakistan.

    3. Religion as personal faith of an individual.

    4. Sovereignty resting with the people not a deity.

    I think this is a purely secular vision – as secular as any in the world but one which is not necessarily anti-religion or sees Islam as a polar opposite of secularism.

    In any event it is clear that Jinnah did not want to create Pakistan as a separate sovereign state … What then was his vision for a grand confederation of India?

    Many of these things get answered if we read in detail Gandhi’s account of his Gandhi-Jinnah talks in 1944.

  9. Bloody Civilian


    re. your comment above

    from the same facts and snippets, i draw a conclusion slightly different than yours. jinnah’s was a triple-edged battle: to represent the muslims of india (so identity could not be escaped)in negotiating a just settlement with the INC, hoping that the british would play fair referee, and – most importantly – to wean the muslims away from the ‘ulema’ by taking the intiative away from the reactionaries. this did not allow him the luxuries that, say, nehru had… where nehru himself admitted that many a congressman was a hindu mahasabha-ite at heart, yet the majority community did not need to identify itself as anything other than ‘indian’… and congress could remain responsive to mahasabha’s concerns without employing ‘communal’ discourse.

    a small breakaway group from the deobandis did come over to the pakistan movement, mainly for its own reasons. the barelwis (not all e.g. the ahrars) got co-opted by the muslim league, mainly in the punjab (in bengal the muslim league didn’t face the same problem as they did with the unionists), and rather late in the day. they didn’t stay long… at all, repented and were co-opted by the deobandis (many arriving in pakistan well past aug 1947) instead. pir manki, for example, even joined bacha khan as the true flag-bearer of sharia and asked for forgiveness for ever falling for jinnah.

    the militant khaksars were a funny lot. they were muslim league’s goons for a while, against congress’s ahrar… as far as muslim-on-muslim violence was concerned. a few khaksars even participated in street fights with the khudai khidmatgars. anayatullah (aka allama mashriqui) was a variant of maudoodi, just more ridiculous. he had been linked with attempts on jinnah’s life, and later were also accused of the murder of dr khan sahib.

    jinnah successfully took the initiative away from the ‘high church’ – the ‘low church’ didn’t matter as much – and also from ‘political islam’ of the maudoodi variety. he neutralised, to a very large extent, the parochialism of muslim majority provinces. he delivered the two successes to congress. the secularist nehru was not interested in either.

  10. karun1


    congratulations for writing such a beautiful and scholarly piece(all 4)

    the major attraction of the piece is its unbiased stance (wherever possible)

    However as a suggestion, if you could substitute wherever you have used ‘we’ with pakistan, the subjective element in your prose will go out and it will look more objective and unbiased. just an aesthetic correction as i see it. No big deal if you choose to retain it as it is.

    Congratulations once again!! Bravo!

  11. Gorki

    Many people have already written many insightful comments about the series of essays that Adnan wrote.
    That someone could write such well balanced yet equally well researched articles with proper references, at a short notice says a lot about the skills and the dedication of this gentleman and his colleagues who inspired and cooperated on this project.
    Such an effort should not go waste and it is my hope that it will be produced into a book of a pamphlet for a wider audience, both in Pakistan and abroad.

    Pakistan today is facing a major war and a reassessment of its priorities and is being watched with keen interest the world over. It is also my hope that such well thought out and lucid articles will continue in the future so as to build a momentum in favor of a broad based and enlightened society.
    Who knows, some day it may be known as the country which led to a worldwide Islamic reformation and subsequent renaissance.
    Such a goal would be a fitting tribute to its founders.

    Here below I humbly write down my own thoughts that were generated directly after reading the series.

    1. Indians have very little to gloat about and a lot to be scared of; reading Adnan’s account and a timely reminder in TM’s boastful posts, one is struck by the fact that secularism and the enlightenment principles that we take for granted are like a small fragile oil lamp casting a little glow in the darkness and assailed by angry winds from time to time. India too retains a strong chauvinistic streak and a bunch of unscrupulous men ready to exploit mass sentiments against minorities. It just so happened that we were a little lucky and Pakistan was a little unlucky in the crucial early years that made all the difference. Even today we cannot take it for granted.

    2. Most people agree that MAJ’s early death, the absence of any major urban infrastructure the crush of refugees and a war torn messy divorce with India were major misfortunes that seriously handicapped the young nation; a far smaller number realize that the partition of Punjab and Bengal was particularly harmful since it ensured that non Muslim minorities never achieved a critical mass to provide a noisy counterweight to the religiously inspired extreme trends in politics. Politicians as a rule are an unscrupulous lot; it is quite likely that if many of them were dependent on minority votes to put them in office they would just as shamelessly have discovered the virtues of secularism as they ditched it when it was clear that such a strategy did not bring any electoral benefits.

    3. Even less appreciated fact (but mentioned at least at one occasion by YLH) was the voluntary concession by the new nation of a developed brand name: India. Imagine if, by you can that if the new nation was named say ‘Mughalistan’ or West India or even better India 2.0 (new and improved version); it would have addressed the question of an identity and purpose; it would then become state with an instantly recognized roots, traditions, culture etc. It could then become a custodian of Mughal greatness; a repository of all that was good and memorable about the Islamic presence in the Sub continent.

    4. Adnann’s reproduction of Sri Chandra Chattopadhyay’s speech in opposition to the OR was a poignant reminder that sometimes one can determine with pinpoint accuracy the exact time a noble ideas dies. For that was the hour and the minute that Jinnah’s Pakistan died. Reading the speech gave me goose bumps; it reminded me of another great orator named Cicero, who delivered an almost similarly prophetic speech 2000 years before, to his republic’s senate. He too was trying to rally a lost cause as senators too selfish or too fearful to act chose to remain silent while their republic died in front of their eyes.

    5. Reading that account, I also realized what MAJ had feared; that if the Hindu Mahasabhaites won by brute majority; he could some day be the man giving that kind of a speech! Also the words of that speech with minor changes should keep even the Indian secularists and patriots awake at night, for we too are not out of the woods yet. Watching the antics of Shiv Sena and the Thackaray clan among others we must remember that such a speech is possible in India too and the day it was ever delivered in the parliament, that day our Republic too will die.

    6. BC I think made a very important point that gets lost in the cacophony of allegegations against MAJ. The demand for Pakistan was first and foremost a demant for political space and political rights for the Muslims of India; even if Islam was called upon as a unifier for such a demand. One can remain secular even as one demands for political rights of a religous minority (a concept lost on men like a certain doctor who loves to hate).

    7. Majumdar wrote some very sensible comments; the friendship between India and Pakistan cannot be willed by a bunch of peaceniks; it will only occur when the two peoples realize its mutual benefits and not a moment before. For this to happen, both sides will have to make similar degree of advances in providing a large number of their citizens a liberal education, a secularism polity a relatively thriving democratic process (free of the fear of a take over by the armed forces) and perhaps rising expectations of prosperity via free trade.

    Thus I cannot think of more appropriate closing paragraph than the one Adnan wrote:

    The search for Pakistan’s progressive identity has to be employed by the liberal pen, some of that is employed here at the Pak Tea House. The change has to be strictly constitutional. This is a slow and painstaking process and may take decades, but it will be well worth it; for the founding leader who wanted to see a progressive Pakistan, and for the future generations yet to come, who we hope will not see the turmoil that our past and present generations have painfully experienced.


  12. Tathagata Mukherjee


  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Mukherjee,

    I answered your lie in my post above – I took your question and answered it in detail – the Sharia that you claim Jinnah allegedly promised is already enforced in the Republic of India. Now no need to repeat yourself. The only thing that is on thin air is your claim that you have anything worthwhile to say or add.

  14. AZW

    For Gorki Ji, PMA, YLH, Bonobashi, and all others who have given kind words for this series, thank you.

    The idea of this series came out of the comments section of “Pakistan’s timely response to Taliban Thugs”. This series would not have been possible without all your ideas and musings.

    I started reading more about the early years of Pakistani history, trying to make sense of a mess that Pakistan finds itself in now. There were strong indications that Pakistan’s descent into the current all enveloping religious frenzy, started a long time ago. I still think the series is a rather desolate read; for a country that was borne out of such a misery, it kept floundering and trying to find the right equilibrium for the messy arrangement it chose for itself.

    But Pakistan still has hope. It has shown a remarkable affinity towards democracy and still has an active liberal school of thought that we see here at PTH and other places. Is that much progressive thought good enough to overcome the dark clouds circling Pakistan? I sincerely hope so.

    I can already see there are a few sections in the series that need further work, especially Quaid’s idea of Pakistan and how his use of Islam as a unifying force among Muslims overwhelms his progressive and secular democratic ideas.

    Mr. Mukherjee:

    Please post your reference about Jinnah’s repeated proclaimations for Shariah. I haven’t found it, haven’t heard about it except Pir of Manki Sharif letter (that YLH has amply explained it), or an interview to Osmania University students in 1941 I guess, where it is hard to establish if the full transcript is available or not. Be assured that your non-abusive comments will not be deleted in this thread.


  15. ylh

    The interview with Osmania University students is where Jinnah held up Kemalist Turkey as a model for Muslim states. That is conveniently left out by those who quote it.

  16. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Now, coming back to the issue of Jinnah’s support to Sharia, Quranic based state of Pakistan- I have the following speeches of Jinnah espoused Islamic, Sharia based state of Pakistan.

    (1) Jinnah authored a statement published in the Khilafat on 30th June, 1937 before Jhansi election

    (2) On November 1945 Jinnah wrote to the Pir Sahib of Manki Sharif in NWFP.

    (3) Addressed the students of Edwardes College, Peshawar on April 18, 1948.

    (4) Muslim League Council in Karachi on December 14, 1947

    (5) At Karachi Bar Association on January 25, 1948, Jinnah stated that the people who were rejecting the idea of an Islamic state were indulging in mischief and reiterated that the constitution of Pakistan would be based on the Sharia.

    Guys, I have other worthwhile things to do than engaging Pakistanis or remaining Islamic separatist/self hating psuedos from India. Because its futile.

    Some 25 years back, we used to spend time in Coffee House, College Street, Calcutta. Its no more possible because of various commitments. Also, they are different from Pakistanis, or seperatists/self hating psuedos from India.

    Frankly speaking, I would not have visited PTH if its domain name were

  17. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Yasser>>the Sharia that you claim Jinnah allegedly promised is already enforced in the Republic of India


    I doubt your position. Sharia has many components and only PERSONAL LAWS (that too those which will NOT CLASH WITH INDIAN CONSTITUTION’S EQUALITY OF PEOPLE irrespective of caste, color, religion, sex…) will be applicable. Its also goes against directive principles of Indian constitution.

    Indian Penal Code , not sharia based code is in place.

    Neither Qaza courts are allowed in India.

    I mean, you should read the manifesto/proceedings of Jamat E Ulema Hind from 1945 onward or recent times to see what they demanded and how much is implemented.

    Also, now and then Indian Courts pass judgements giving rights to Muslim Women. A month or so back it happened again.

  18. Tathagata Mukherjee

    During recent Jaswant Singh’s Jinnah controvery, Mark Tully wrote a candid piece in the India Today- “With its stand, the Congress has revived the bitterness of Partition. The Congress has also incidentally played into the hands of BJP hardliners by supporting their point of view”.

    If Jinnah were to be exhonerated, then Nehru, Gandhi would have to be blamed which no Congress, least the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, can afford.

    Continued terrorism, Islamism are adding more bitterness to the whole situation.

  19. YLH

    Dear Tagatha,

    I don’t think you’ve gotten the point or can understand what has been written above.

    The two known references to Sharia are the letter to Pir of Manki Sharif and the misquoted Bar Association Address. (Your 1, 3 and 4 don’t even refer to Sharia or anything like that). While I acknowledge that Mullahs and people like you deliberately misquote these (and this is where Jinnah becomes responsible as well), they don’t quite mean nor can they mean what you want them to mean.

    In his alleged letter to Pir of Manki Sharif (a Barelvi not Deobandi religious leader), Jinnah said that the affairs of the Muslim community shall be run according to Sharia. This is a reference to personal laws. And it was obviously limited by Jinnah’s five dozen speeches (not just 11th August) in which he promised equality of citizenship regardless of religion in Pakistan. Therefore it could only have the meaning that it has in India. When the Congress sponsored (in my opinion unnecessarily) the Act overturning the Shahbano verdict by SC… it actually applied the same principle except under the influence of the Deobandis (in Pakistan, the Muslim Family Laws allow for alimony and the SC judgement would have been acceptable) ….

    On the second issue, you are deliberately misquoting Jinnah. What he said was “Why such nervousness that Pakistan’s constitution will be in conflict with Sharia?” … Jinnah the modernist was convincing his constituents that the modern democratic constitution he had clearly outlined for Pakistan was in no way against the spirit of Islam … Once again you can’t take this statement to mean what Maulvis have taken it to mean. Instead it was a Modernist lawyer-politician convincing his constituents that his way was Islamic and that they should not be misled. At this time Mr. Jinnah was under attack from two different corners… the Mullahs (who had opposed Jinnah and Pakistan Movement) who were claiming that Jinnah was going to make Pakistan an irreligious state… and 2. Secular ex-Congressmen and Unionists …as well as some Muslim Leaguers who were now claiming that Jinnah had been chastened and had realized that he was wrong and therefore was going to make Pakistan a secular state…

    Jinnah was using the Islamic idiom to convince his constituents that the only way forward was a modern democratic secular state… this is in perfect harmony with what he said through out his life as well as a million times during the Pakistan Movement – that Pakistan would be based on equality of citizenship and all modern concepts of democracy and freedom of religion and speech.

    Did his ambiguity or usage of the Islamic idiom leave room for Mullahs to operate… unfortunately yes… but to say that he did not want a secular state … or instead wanted an Islamic state based on sharia… flies in the face of reality.

    Therefore I suggest you consider the proposition that Jinnah’s references were limited to what you’ve yourself suggested… to amend slightly:

    Sharia has many components and only PERSONAL LAWS (that too those which will NOT CLASH WITH JINNAH’S IDEAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL EQUALITY OF PEOPLE irrespective of caste, color, religion, sex…) will be applicable.

    The British idea of law and jurisprudence allows this position. Therefore Jinnah was a secularist in the British tradition.

    Now enough said and I am not going to repeat myself.

  20. Bloody Civilian


    Please send it to a couple of good publications in pakistan. newspapers. preferrably in 4-parts as originally. and seeing your talents as a translator, an urdu translation would bring this to those who most need to read it.

    we would be even more grateful to you than we already are.

  21. karun1


    your research is impressive. needless to say Adnan himself has not left Jinnah entirely blameless for the secular/islamic mess.

  22. D_A_N

    @Tatagatha Mukherjee…

    ‘Frankly speaking, I would not have visited PTH if its domain name were’

    and yet, here you are and remain unfortunately. Without point or relevance.

    Forcing the rest of us to bask in the over powering aroma of a continuous stream of brain farts eminating from you.

    However, I can see that at least Karun is a fan of Eu de Mukherjee…

  23. zafar


    As always, in PGW’s language, deep calls to deep. How can you keep them apart?

  24. Tathagata Mukherjee

    YLH>>>>Jinnah was using the Islamic idiom to convince his constituents that the only way forward was a modern democratic secular state…this is in perfect harmony with what he said through out his life as well as a million times during the Pakistan Movement – that Pakistan would be based on equality of citizenship and all modern concepts of democracy and freedom of religion and speech.
    When debate about what Jinnah wanted Pakistan to become was going on in Pakistan, I think it was Maududi who asked this question- If Jinnah were to set up a “modern democratic secular” state, why he demanded partition and setup the second secular democratic state?

    Jinnah wanted an Islamic state. Many times he spoke on those lines. I am not historian, neither I know Urdu. Its very much possible Urdu Press have more detailed analysis, speech, how people looked at Jinnah rather than splitting hair on limited English documents, info available.

    Also, English section of Pak (or for that matter in India) press differs with its Urdu press and has a complete different take on Jinnah and his project of Pakistan. Its like the muslim period of Indian history. There are apologists who deny things like temple breaking for religious purpose. But when we read the original sources in Arabic/Persian language, we can understand what actually happened, or motives behind those.

    Also, innumerable associates of Jinnah, League leaders spoke on why Islamic state was required to be established in the name Pakistan.

    Jinnah NEVER registered his opposition to it.

  25. Bloody Civilian

    neither I know Urdu

    either you have not bothered to read the four parts of this series of articles, or you don’t know english either.

    go and read, in an earlier part of this series of articles, what jinnah said to the rajah of mehmoodabad.. for just one example (there are numerous, several reproduced within this quartet).

    or are you so blinded by “eu de mukherjee” that you read little other than what you yourself write?no wonder you wrote “read my first post- its a beautifully written piece.” 😀 but would it hurt to read the article you’re pretending to comment upon?

  26. Tathagata Mukherjee

    DAN- It was more of a comment how (unfortunately) Pakistan as a state is seen today by outsiders and it raises flag at different levels whenever big brothers of the country you live see things related to pakistan, whether its a visa, travel to pak or web browsing.

    It did not demean PTH.

  27. Gorki

    “If Jinnah were to set up a “modern democratic secular” state, why he demanded partition and setup the second secular democratic state”

    Because Jinnah knew there were the Ratha-yatris (the kind you admire and who are trying to make the remaining secular state a Hindu version of what Maududi types did to Pakistan) on one hand and the Maududi types on the other! Both were communal extremes. Jinnah like Nehru was a centrist!!

    Whether you agree or not you know Nehru’s solution. MAJ’s solution was two even balanced parts INSIDE the Indian Union in which each community had a numerical majority in one side and thus provide the checks and balances needed to keep both secular!!

  28. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Because Jinnah knew there were the Ratha-yatris (the kind you admire and who are trying to make the remaining secular state a Hindu version of what Maududi types did to Pakistan) on one hand and the Maududi types on the other!

    Once again, I have no time or energy or see any purpose in engaging an Indian on a Pak website on Ayodhya.

    Would just say this- Why are you supporting Babur’s vandalism over Ram, very foundation of Indian Civlization?

    Nobody is saying, today’s muslims are responsible for demolition and setting up Babri there. But why are you supporting Babur over Ram?

    Innumerable requests were made to relocate Ayodhya atructure, but socalled Communist historians allied with Islamists and asked for Ram’s birth certificate. And we know what happened.

    Read rebuilding of Somnath after independence. A mosque was there and had to be relocated for rebuilding the grand temple.

    There is a limit of everything man ! If you think your hostility towards Ram will lead you anywhere, let me tell you it shall not.

  29. Gorki

    Dear TM:

    First Thing first. So I hope that even if you may not agree with MAJ’s solution but at the very least I hope you now understand his reasoning.

    Now coming to Ayodhya.
    Here I am neither against Ram or for anyone else. Ancient Indian civilization is my civilization too and I take a just pride in it. I too want to pass it off to my children just as my ancestors passed it to me.
    My only problem is that:

    1. I don’t need a divisive debate to pick on a minority community to restore my pride in it. My pride comes from helping build a better homeland for all Indians. I want to forget and forgive all that was brutish and nasty in the past but remember great men and follow in their footsteps.

    2. I repect the Law of the land as supreme; anyone who wants to change the status quo (concerning anything, be it a structure, personal law or a geographic wonder) is welcome to use legal means to do so.

    3. What I can not stand for is mob justice. Even you, TM, (if you consider yourself an Indian enough), should feel the pain of an innocent life lost to ANY mob because the blood that is spilled is Indian. Such lawlessness has to be opposed the same way when the Khalistani terrorists (who wanted to drive out Hindus from Punjab,) were fought each bullet for pain full bullet by the Punjab police; which happend to be 85 % Sikh themselves.


  30. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >> I repect the Law of the land as supreme; anyone who wants to change the status quo (concerning anything, be it a structure, personal law or a geographic wonder) is welcome to use legal means to do so.

    Lo ! Behold ! Rule of Law applies on Ayodhya, not on Shah Banu, or Rashdie, or Taslima. Right?

    Its this double standard of a large section of Indian Muslims(educated as well as Mullah) along with psuedos pushed BJP to the center stage.

  31. Gorki

    Oh Dear Tathagata,
    What are we going to do with you?
    Ideology gets in the way of context and you want to do only selective reading?
    Calm down long enough so you can read the entire point. I repeat it here:

    2. I repect the Law of the land as supreme; anyone who wants to change the status quo (concerning anything, be it a structure, personal law or a geographic wonder) is welcome to use legal means to do so.

    And I will spell it out:

    Structure = Temple\Masjid issue
    personal law = Shah Bano
    geographic wonder = ………………..
    (I leave this was a little home work for you to figure out what I mean)

    Hint: I believe Lord Ram too would like a short cut for the navy ships 😉 )


  32. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Stop playing same old Muslim League politics. Hurt mentality. Its not going to help, rather do great(er) harm to your community as well as the country’s social cohesion.

    EVERY INDIAN IRRESPECTIVE OF RELIGION, CASTE, CREED, SEX MUST HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS. That’s the postion of BJP/Advani. This is true secularism.

    As India got divided in the name of religion, and also it follow secular democratic principles, its must that these equality are ensured.

    Successive Govts followed politics of religiously rallying Minorities, particularly Muslims. Its this that has done greeatest damage to them.

  33. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>I believe Lord Ram too would like a short cut for the navy ships

    If Congress has guts under its Italian leadership, let them blast Ram Sethu. We will see the fun.

    There was a time when in the deep south, Periyar used to use choicest words against Ram in public meeting, even slap idols with chappal ! Now, if DMK allows that to happen, most probably their ministry will be sacked.

    Its a different india today. You though live in fossiled form in the past.

  34. Ali Abbas

    First of all, Adnan should be commended for writing an insightful, though provoking and well researched article.

    Just some thoughts. As a Pakistani, whenever I tried to analyse the root problems of religious extremism in Pakistan, I found myself being emotionally unable to go past Jinnah. Only with age and maturity, have I begun to realize that the problems we face today lies in our very genesis. YLH is correct regarding MAJ’s August 11 speech, in that it was the very definition of the secular concept. However, too much had already ensued since then and the Jinnah who eloquently defending nationalist heros like Bhagat Singh and took a principled stand against the Khilafat Movement 2 decades earlier, had been pushed into playing the communal politics of North Indian muslim and hindu elites.

    Does Pakistan really have a basis of existence when even in the 1946 elections, the ML was barely able to form govts. in Bengal and Sindh. What was the need for a muslim democracy when the proposed Indian state was already going to be on democratic lines. Whats so different in a muslim democracy? Is there no concept of recognizing the fact that muslims are various tribes, nations and sects. If so, then how can different muslim ethnic groups and sects be lumped into one vague idea of a “muslim democracy”. What about the sizeable muslim populations in South India? What was their narrative in this movement of nawabs and aristocrats.

    Jinnah was a man of integrity, intelligence and courage but I have to admit now that he was also confused about the role of religion and politics. He talks about Islam and democratic ideals being synonymous for the last 13 centuries; this is the height of confusion!

    Adnan makes a very strong point as to how much religion has to be infused into the national narrative/ideology/identity and the clear answer is zero! Mixing religion with the formulation of laws is disasterous for both and corrupts mutually. Religions provide a moral compass and political systems like democracy have laws that are formulated by elected representatives.

    Today, it is the misuse of religion that is tearing Pakistan apart. The only possible way forward is to start afresh; give Jinnah and Iqbal their intellectual due but not place their every word as the gospels. Pakistan has to drop the Islamic Republic from its name and realize that whether 95% or 99% or 0.9% of its population claims to be muslim, it can only survive and solve its myriad problems from a secular outlook. And I will take the more pronounced French version over the weaker and diluted English version anyday!

  35. yasserlatifhamdani

    Mr. Mukherjee,

    Jinnah did register his opposition. Read all four parts again.

    And why did Jinnah make Pakistan- well you could start by reading Jaswant Singh’s book and maybe you’ll find your way to H M Seervai.

    Anyway someone put this crook on spam.

  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS Jinnah kicking out Raja of Mahmudabad of the Muslim League is not registering protest?

    At the very least crooks like Tagatha can read the four part series by Adnan in detail.

  37. Gorki

    Dear Tathagata:
    1. This discussion started with MAJ’s position. Since you have not responded to it, I take it that you understand MAJ’s position (no sarcasm intended, I am just checking so we can rest that issue)
    2. The second issue though about India, is of relevance here too at the PTH, so I will go into it further.
    3. I agree with you here:
    “EVERY INDIAN IRRESPECTIVE OF RELIGION, CASTE, CREED, SEX MUST HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS. That’s the postion of BJP/Advani. This is true secularism.”

    First the issue I agree upon. You should know that politicians the world over, try to cut corners (and mess with laws trying to win elections). It is nothing new. You keep on bringing the Shah Bano case, which no one is defending here. If Advani and co. did not like it they should have introduced a bill in the parliament to overturn the bill when they formed a majority. They did not. No matter even now people like you can hire an attorney and file a case in the courts to argue that it interferes with the fundamental rights of a Muslim woman to equality.

    May be you will win. Certainly the liberal society will back you. This is how things are done in civilized way. (Your friend Karun will tell you that here in the US the abortion rights is a lightening rod and bitterly divides the society; yet people have been trying to upturn the Roe vs. Wade case for more than 30 years; legally but without success. Yet there has been very little violence very little demagoguery the kind the Shiv Sainiks indulge in, in India.) The problem is you link the majoritarian sponsored campaign of intimidation, murder and mayhem with this that I find highly repulsive. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Each of them, Rajiv Gandhi and LK Advani hurt my republic by weakening its institutions. One is no better than the other.

    Now the part I disagree with you. Listen to yourself;

    You wrote: “If Congress has guts under its Italian leadership, let them blast Ram Sethu. We will see the fun”
    I have several problems with that:
    1. You equate all non BJP with the congress. What about us who don’t like the congresses policies but detest BJP’s methods? What if the scientific community thinks that Ram Setu is a natural rock formation and the Supreme court agrees with it? Does that give you the right to veto by threatening lawlessness?
    What if another idiot wants to call the moon Chandra Devta? Do we call off Chandrayaan?

    Again other societies too have faced this faith versus science debate and have negotiated them, not always satisfactorily for all but reasonably.

    Even today, debate rages over the intelligent design in the US yet no one threatens us by saying dare you do this or that but in India people like you wear the threat of violence on your sleeve and yet invoke Gandhiji when it suits you!!

    The more important problem I have is with you calling ‘Italian leadership’.
    Before I go into it let me say that I too feel a little insulted that we Indians indulge in this degree of hero worship.
    Yet by questioning the leadership, you question the millions of Indians who went out and voted in a free and a fair election to vote exactly the party in power which had a former Italian citizen as its leader.

    Do you Tathagata Mukerjee feel that just because you can write a sentence or two in English you are better than those who voted for the congress?

    Do you believe in free elections or only on the condition that your side wins?
    You may have a very high opinion of yourself but Mr. Mukerjee; you should understand that India is far more than just the congress and the BJP electoral politics.

    You may call me self hating or any other names and slogans you may have learnt but I proudly call myself a democratic Indian; first and last.

    My religion, is the laws and the spirit in which our republic was founded and for which thousands gave their all, including their lives.

  38. yasserlatifhamdani

    Also could someone tell me why if – as Tagatha quotes him- Maududi was so confident that Jinnah wanted an Islamic state, did Maududi then oppose Jinnah so bitterly when Jinnah was alive?

  39. Gorki

    The problem is you link the majoritarian sponsored campaign of intimidation, murder and mayhem with this =with things like the Shah Bano case; that I find highly repulsive. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  40. Mr. Ali Abbas, very perceptive comment, not everything Jinnah, Gandhi said or Jaswant Singh is saying is gospel.

  41. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Vikram,
    Have you read Jaswant Singh’s book? He has argued much of what Ali Abbas has written. Agreed about Jinnah, Gandhi and Nehru.
    I agree in part with Ali Abbas. However I don’t think it represents confusion as much Jinnah’s deliberate use of Islamic idiom to make his ideas more plausible for his constituency.

    For example the 13th centuries ago quote… this is from 17th July 1947… at a press conference… after Jinnah spoken at length about equal rights for minorities in Pakistan, a journalist posed the question:

    Question: “Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic state?”
    Mr. M.A. Jinnah: “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.”
    A correspondent suggested that a theocratic State meant a State where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and Non-Muslims would not be full citizens.
    Mr. M.A. Jinnah: “Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck’s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”

    Mr. Jinnah was hedging a question that was aimed at giving the Mullahs ammunition or . This was not an ideological commitment. Note that he didn’t say that he didn’t know what a theocratic or a secular state meant… he said he didn’t know what a theocratic state meant. Jinnah also described Secular Turkey as the perfect Muslim state. Now I criticize Jinnah on this point just like I criticize Gandhi on the issue of Khilafat and his usage of religion -both Hindu and Islamic.

    Like Ali Abbas, I too am more inspired by the younger Jinnah … the opponent of Gandhi’s Khilafat Movement, the defender of Bhagat Singh… but I also realize that for any Muslim leader to be a mass leader (which Jinnah wasn’t till 1940 despite his incredible popularity) he would have use the Islamic idiom….

    The most successful of all such leaders of Kemal Ataturk. I recommend that people kindly read his speeches from 1919 to 1927…. each action is justified with a reference to Islam and Jehad… Kemal Ataturk’s appeal to religion was much more vociferous and straight than Jinnah’s…. Kemal Ataturk read poems praising the Muslim and Turk… ended speeches with prayers to the Holy Prophet (PBUH)… even gave Jumma Khutbas …and used his credentials as “Gazi” of the Ottoman Empire to his advantage…


  42. yasserlatifhamdani

    Karun mian,

    No need to pollute this board. Tagatha’s misquotes have been exposed. Now you and tagatha can tag along somewhere else.

  43. karun1

    and Yes i respectfully beg to differ from Jinnah’s brand of secularism and believe that our destiny should be in finding the highest common factor than to be reduced to finding the lowest common denominator.

    @YLH patience and respect(even for adversaries) are the hallmarks for the stuff you intend to take forward in pak.

  44. karun1

    by the way why are u calling him ‘Tagatha’

    Tathagata is a beautiful name of Buddha, the enlightened one.(lit. “thus-come-one” or “thus-gone-one”)

  45. yasserlatifhamdani

    Precisely the reason I am not calling Tathagata…

    I am watchful of Buddhist sensibilities.

    And I intend to promote intolerance and hatred for all Krooks with the capital K… including but not limited to Kashifiat and Karun.

  46. Majumdar

    Tagutha means devil, no?


  47. karun1


    you have my whole-hearted support for the secular battle in Pak. just the small diff: ‘ i need not share your enthusiam on jinnah’. its only a minor irritant i suppose.

    May Victory be yours! (jai ho ;))

  48. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagatha writes :

    “I myself gave five examples when Jinnah himself raised Islamic State/Sharia issue in Pakistan. Show me he later disowned those comments.”

    No you didn’t. Disabuse yourself of this false notion. You gave what you thought were these five examples which you could distort in typical Mullah fashion. This has already been explained above…. what Jinnah was saying was that a fair democratic system based on equality of citizenship, religious freedom and state’s impartiality to faith is Islamic and according to Sharia… marked difference from what you and your brothers the Maududists want to extract out of it.

    Since Maulana Maududi is your guru and you are making references to the Urdu press… if Maududi was so convinced that Jinnah was talking about an Islamic state… he would not have opposed him so vociferously…

    I quote Maududi’s … “Muslims and the Present Political Turmoil” (Vol.III) First Edition published from Delhi. Jamaat-e-Islami claims that the whole Two Nation Theory project was derived from Maududi’s writings which is completely untrue. Maududi described the idea of Muslim Nationalism as unlikely as a ”chaste prostitute”.

    He wrote:

    ” Who are the Muslims you are claiming to be a separate nation? Here, the crowd called Muslims is full of all sorts of rabble. There are as many types of characters in this as in any (other) heathen people”. (Vol. III, P.166)

    “If you survey this so-called Muslim society, you will come across multifarious types of Muslims, of countless categories. This is a zoo with a collection of crows, kites, vultures, partridges and thousands of other types of birds. Every one of them is a ’sparrow’. (Ibid. P.31)

    “Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic“. (Ibid. P.37)

    “To pronounce these people fit for leading Muslims for the simple reason that they are experts of Western type politics and masters of Western organizational arts, and are deeply in love with their people, is a manifestation of an unislamic viewpoint and reflects ignorance of Islam”. (Ibid. P.70)

    “Even with a microscopic study of their practical life, and their thinking, ideology, political behaviour and style of leadership, one can find not a trace of Islamic character.”

    “In no Muslim League resolution, or in a speech by a responsible leader of the League it has it been made clear that their final goal is of establishing an Islamic system of government. Those who believe that by freeing Muslim majority areas rule of Hindu majority, an Islamic government will be established here in a democratic set up, are wrong. In fact what will be achieved will be a heretical government by Muslims, indeed worse than that.” (Ibid. P.130-32)

    So … those liars from the Jamaat-e-Islami which take Jinnah’s references to Islam and twist them had in 1940s claimed exactly the opposite.

    Maududists and their counterparts in India are shameless people.

  49. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Ali Abbas>>Mixing religion with the formulation of laws is disasterous for both and corrupts mutually. Religions provide a moral compass and political systems like democracy have laws that are formulated by elected representatives.

    Religion is not necessarily a bad thing. Look at two greatest reformer, activist, political leaders of last century- Gandhi (You pakistanis may have a different take on Gandhi, but you cannot deny his achievement) and Dr. King Junior- both were religious people and changed the world in most profound way.

    The problem starts when someone starts saying- MY RELIGION IS THE ONLY TRUTH, ALL OTHERS ARE HEATHEN/INFIDELS.

    Absence of religion is NOT necessarily good. The greatest killer in world history is Communism, the Godless doctrine, that killed 100 million people mostly religious minorities in last 100 years. Look at the Nazis too.

    Most number of Muslims got killed in USSR under Stalin and China.

    Much of India’s problem would have been solved, at least that of Indian Muslims, had they showed respect to Gandhian way of things. I posted somewhere a quote on Indian Muslims and their refusal to respect Gandhian principles causing big problem by Madhu Kishwar, a respected scholar.

    Religious Conversion (Gandhi wanted a Hindu to become better Hindu, a Muslim to be become better Muslim and so on), respect for cow (Gandhi once stated – “India’s freedom can wait for protection of Cow” which means cow protection to him was equal or more important than getting freedom) and Ram Rajya- these are three basic things of Gandhian philosophy.

    But Indian Secularists refuse to follow footsteps of Gandhi on these for mere votebank politics, cause much dislocation in the society. These are cause of most of today’s problem.

  50. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>Yet by questioning the leadership, you question the millions of Indians who went out and voted in a free and a fair election to vote exactly the party in power which had a former Italian citizen as its leader.

    India today follows worst features of socialism, worst features of capitalism and worst features of feudalism. Much of that is thanks to this dynasty of Gandhi-Nehru.

    Its really amazing an indian in 21st century is supporting dynasty that has done greatest damage to indian democracy, bureaucracy, judiciary, governance, economy…..anything you name it.

    Ram Guha in a recent piece in the Telegraph, Calcutta stated that shd open your eyes-

    From the time she split the Congress in 1969, Indira Gandhi worked systematically to dismantle the institutions and procedures of constitutional democracy. This she did by privileging loyalty over competence — in her party, in her council of ministers, in the legislative and judicial branches of government. Ministers, Congressmen, bureaucrats, judges, and in time even ordinary citizens — all were encouraged to lay their liberties at the feet of this Great Woman, the submission conveyed in the slogan, “Indira is India, India is Indira”.

    It is important to note that this undermining of democratic institutions was well under way before the imposition of the Emergency in 1975. By suppressing freedom of expression and jailing Opposition politicians, the Emergency completed a process begun in the late 1960s. Shortly after its imposition, Indira Gandhi introduced a further departure from democratic functioning by naming her second son, Sanjay, her heir apparent. The locus of decision-making now shifted from the prime minister’s office to the prime minister’s house.

  51. Luqmaan

    >India today follows worst features of socialism,
    >worst features of capitalism and worst features of
    >feudalism. Much of that is thanks to this dynasty
    >of Gandhi-Nehru.

    Yea true. One one hand it is the congressmen who take every opportunity to worship the dynasty. But one thing you have to concede is that Rahul is really resurrecting the party and can be counted on to give you Indians a true democracy. Now congress having retained Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh and Haryana, three more states can be counted as “dead” for your kind of mathematics.

    On the other hand the BJP is doing everything possible to shield and woo Varun and Meneka and hence can directly be accused of following the worst features of the very same feudalism (but strangely they accuse only the congress of doing it and when they do it themselves, it is perfectly allright). But you have to concede that Varun after threatening to behead muslims is following in the footsteps of Mussolini and Hitler and after the initial drama of giving you a democracy will slowly switch over to Fascism.


  52. Luqmaan


    Will you again miss the whole point and hide somewhere else?


  53. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>But you have to concede that Varun after threatening to behead muslims is following in the footsteps of Mussolini and Hitler and after the initial drama of giving you a democracy will slowly switch over to Fascism.

    hehe…where did you find this?

    Sorry to say, this is the problem of most of the Muslims !! Can be very easly instigated !

    No wonder, media/political parties use these as vote. It becomes a competition between Maya and Congress.

    All these were hypes prior to election, and you don’t even know the fate of the case before the court.

  54. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>But one thing you have to concede is that Rahul is really resurrecting the party and can be counted on to give you Indians a true democracy

    Yes, we saw the true democracy under his father Rajiv too ! Isn’t it?

    In the original Congress, or even today’s BJP, or Communist Parties one can become a leader based on NOT his birth, or staus. Not in the Congress Party.

  55. Gorki

    Much of India’s problem would have been solved, at least that of Indian Muslims, had they showed respect to Gandhian way of things

    “Mark you this, Bassanio,
    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
    (Merchant of Venice: Act I scene 3)

    Well, Well, Well!!
    If it isn’t our friend Tathagata, again; this time extolling the virtues of Gandhianism itself; all for the benefit of the Muslims of India!!
    Wonder if this kindly advice also applies to Hindu supremacists of India who boast how they will cut down the hands of another or how they will prevent any Muslim MP to win elections. 😉

    “Its really amazing an indian in 21st century is supporting dynasty that has done greatest damage to indian democracy……”

    Tathagata; Mere Bhai, Buddha’s namesake;
    Please read it again, slowly if you can and try to understand what I said. I repeat:

    “Before I go into it let me say that I too feel a little insulted that we Indians indulge in this degree of hero worship.
    Yet by questioning the leadership, you question the millions of Indians who went out and voted in a free and a fair election to vote exactly the party in power which had a former Italian citizen as its leader.”

    This means, I too feel bad that the tendency to hero worship in India makes it seem that the Gandhi family is indispensible, yet I feel the verdict of the Indian electorate is sacrosanct. If the Indian electorate wants them to run the country I don’t think we elitist should feel that our opinion is better than theirs. Till they get confident enough, we may have to live with this necessary evil in the larger interest of the democratic process.

    I must say that it is getting very tiring, trying to reason with you.
    I say one thing but you will only hear what you insist on hearing. You are tone deaf to the rest that you want to ignore.
    So here is my solution. I am going to lay out my position in a point form, whenever you feel the urge to shoot off a post directed to me, read it first.

    1. Unlike you, I do not support any one party or any one platform. My loyalty is to ALL the people, the constitution and the secular and inclusive spirit of the republic of India. On this point, there is no compromise.
    2. As I am not a congress party supporter (I have never voted for it in my life) yet respect any legal government that is voted in power as a citizen of my land.
    3. I reserve the right to oppose and criticize its policies, legally and peacefully whenever I feel its policies deviate from my value system.
    4. I strongly deplore the threat of violence as political tool (or the campaign of intimidation and demagoguery people like Varun Gandhi indulge in).
    5.I think it is cowardly to use justice the kind that was administered in Ayodhya and Godhara and consider the perpetrators of such acts no different than the Khalistani terrorists or the attackers of Mumbai last year. All of these elements are an enemy of my people and my republic.
    6. For India to reach its potential it has to live in a peaceful and a prosperous neighborhood.
    The next time you get an urge to say anything to me, please refer to these five points. You will get my answer to your post without even taking the trouble of posting it.

    I will elaborate the last point a little bit. You earlier quoted some armchair strategist who wrote an unstable Pakistan is in India’s interest.
    I don’t have the time but kindly email him with a question:
    “Can he (or you) quote an example of any country, no matter how militarily powerful, that feels permanently safe if it shares a border with a failed or failing state?

    I OTOH can cite several examples to the contrary: Take Israel, a military superpower, which has the most peaceful border with the most stable of its adversaries (Egypt) and is less peaceful as the neighborhood gets more unstable.
    Thus from more to less peaceful order is Syria>Southern Lebanon>West Bank>Gaza.
    Notice Gaza has perhaps a million people only and is a desolate strip of hellhole yet it remains the most troublesome. No amount of savage military solutions work in the long run in this place.

    Other examples abound; ask him which failed state would idiots like him would like Pakistan to turn into: Afghanistan, Somalia or Chechyna?

    Even non-failed, friendly states are a pain in the neighborhood if they are worse off economically than a neighbor. You may ask Karun who will tell you that US may be a superpower for the world but in parts of Southern California, Texas, New Mexico etc. the illegal human and drug traffic makes it more like a third world country in spite of its best efforts.

  56. Gorki

    Tathagata Bhai:
    You quoted Ramachandra Guha on Indira Gandhi. I agree with everything he wrote about her and strongly deplore her government for the havoc it wreaked on India’s institutions and the mothods it often employed.
    However this is what the same Ramachandra Guha wrote about Nehru in his book review of a book written about him by a foreign author:

    “In this and his other books, Crocker’s style is ironic, detached and understated, as befits a scholar-diplomat. This makes his praise of Nehru all the more remarkable – but not, however, unmerited. For Nehru’s task was altogether more difficult than that of any other modern politician. Amid the wreckage of a decaying empire a nation had been built anew, constructed from a hundred diverse and frequently warring parts. To be sure, Nehru had great helpers: colleagues within the Congress Party, such as Vallabhbhai Patel and C Rajagopalachari, and critics outside to keep him honest, such as JB Kripalani and BR Ambedkar. But it was Nehru who was in the lead, and Nehru who alone had what we would now call the “vision thing” – to wit, the capacity to imagine a modern constitutional democracy into being, in a society riven by orthodoxy and hierarchy and beset by the complications of colonialism. Reading Walter Crocker, one gets the sense that while Nehru made mistakes, others in his place would have made more serious ones.

    These statements, plucked from various points in the book, sum up Nehru the man, and Nehru the politician, better than any other work I have seen:

    His (Nehru’s) first concern was to see that India did not fall apart. To this end he encouraged a nationalism that would make Indians feel that they were Indians instead of feeling that they were Tamils or Punjabis or Dogras or Assamese or Brahmans or Kshatriyas or this or that caste, as they are apt. He gave special consideration to the Muslims as to induce them to feel Indian. For the same reason Christians and other minorities could always be sure of Nehru’s unflinching protection. The “Secular State”, that is to say a non-Hindu and all-Indian State, was fundamental to this concern.

    The great bulk of the people of India sensed, and they never lost the sense, that Nehru only wanted to help them and wanted nothing for himself; and that he was a ruler who had pity and kindness.
    Nehru had conflicts with other [Indian] leaders, such as Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Patel, over Socialism; with Subas Chandra Bose over the Fascist approach; and with Jinnah over the status of the Muslims. Nehru’s contests were always over ideas, never over any personal interests of his own, although he waged them without quarter and provoked a good deal of personal enmity.

    Nehru might have been ignorant or misguided about some matters, and about some persons, but he was always disinterested, always concerned with what he thought would help Indians or mankind. We can be certain that there will be no revelations to make about him of the kind which are often made about celebrities; not even revelations like those of Churchill’s disagreeableness. Nehru’s private face differed scarcely at all from his public face. “

    I wonder if you agree with RCG here.

  57. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>But it was Nehru who was in the lead, and Nehru who alone had what we would now call the “vision thing”


    Wrong. When Azad left the post of Congress Presidence and new leader was elected, Nehru got endorsement ONLY from AICC. Patel got endorsement from all state committees.

    It was Patel who took his nomination back and Nehru became President and later PM. If Patel latched on, Nehru would have lost it handsomely.

    What you read now is a fabicrated history. nehru was a great failure.

    Kashmir, China, Tibet, economic policy, imported secularism- all these are still biting India and will continue to do.

    At very last state of his life, Nehru inducted Indira into politics. That was the start of the dynasty. Once she took the power, rest is history.

  58. Tathagata Mukherjee

    But I agree with Ram Guha, dynasty truely started flourishing and damaging India since the time of Indira. Nehru had grand ideas, but all failed ideas.

  59. Tathagata Mukherjee

    >>The “Secular State”, that is to say a non-Hindu

    Hehe..Continue to play same old Muslim League Politics ! No wonder, BJP rising because of that.

    That’s the reason, even in Calcutta/Bengal, ruled by communists for last 3 plus decades with no BJP MLA, Muslims will not get housing which is pretty much same situation in Ahmedbad/ Mumbai /Blore/Delhi !

    Sorry for the candid talk.

  60. Majumdar

    Tatha da,

    Patel was the choice of INC, it was Maulana Gandhoo who imposed Nehru on INC/India/Hindoos. A classic case of two a-holes supporting each other.

    Kashmir, China, Tibet, economic policy, imported secularism- all these are still biting India and will continue to do.

    You are right on the the first four counts but secularism (imported or otherwise) was a good choice although it is debatable that secularism is purely JLN’s legacy.


  61. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Yes, Majumdar- you perfectly fit to the what somebody wrote famously-

    “The preference of large sections of the Muslim leadership and westernised Muslim intelligentsia for a Nehruvian brand of secularism has proved to be very harmful for Muslims in the long run. In the process they have rejected & ridiculed Gandhi’s approach to inter-community harmony largely because they are uneasy with his use of certain Hindu symbols. This has strengthened the feeling that the Muslim leadership is innately hostile to the Hnidus who are rooted in their own faith and is comfortable only with westernised Hindus like Nehru who are contemptuous of their own culture, religion and people”

  62. Tathagata Mukherjee

    That’s the reason whether its BJP ruled Ahmedabad, or left ruled Calcutta- Muslims face same problem.

  63. Tathagata Mukherjee

    Or what Mushirul Hasan (?) once stated- (Indian) Muslims demand secularism, but never thinks it will be applicable to them !!

  64. Majumdar

    Tatha da,

    Muslims in large parts of NWFP (esp the Waziristan region) have adopted Gandhiji’s philosophy- look where it has landed them!!!


  65. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tagatha mian,

    You are the perfect poster child for the dictum: “Little knowledge is dangerous”.

    When we speak about the Khilafat Movement, Jinnah’s representation on behalf of his constituents to Lloyd George is not the issue at hand… it is the Khilafat Movement which used religious slogans for mass action. Jinnah opposed it stridently…and vociferously… because to him this was using an extra-territorial demand for local politics.

    Achyuth Patwardhan, one of the Socialist stalwarts in the Congress, has given a remarkably candid and self critical analysis of the Congress Party vis-a-vis Khilafat: ‘It is, however, useful to recognise our share of this error of misdirection. To begin with, I am convinced that looking back upon the course of development of the freedom movement, THE ‘HIMALAYAN ERROR’ of Gandhiji’s leadership was the support he extended on behalf of the Congress and the Indian people to the Khilafat Movement at the end of the World War I. This has proved to be a disastrous error which has brought in its wake a series of harmful consequences. On merits, it was a thoroughly reactionary step. The Khilafat was totally unworthy of support of the Progressive Muslims. Kemel Pasha established this solid fact by abolition of the Khilafat. The abolition of the Khilafat was widely welcomed by enlightened Muslim opinion the world over and Kemel was an undoubted hero of all young Muslims straining against Imperialist domination. But apart from the fact that Khilafat was an unworthy reactionary cause, Mahatma Gandhi had to align himself with a sectarian revivalist Muslim Leadership of clerics and maulvis. He was thus unwittingly responsible for jettisoning sane, secular, modernist leadership among the Muslims of India and foisting upon the Indian Muslims a theocratic orthodoxy of the Maulvis. Maulana Mohammed Ali’s speeches read today appear strangely incoherent and out of tune with the spirit of secular political freedom. The Congress Movement which released the forces of religious liberalism and reform among the Hindus, and evoked a rational scientific outlook, placed the Muslims of India under the spell of orthodoxy and religious superstition by their support to the Khilafat leadership. Rationalist leaders like Jinnah were rebuffed by this attitude of Congress and Gandhi. This is the background of the psychological rift between Congress and the Muslim League’

    Jinnah opposed it in those terms. He warned Gandhi against using false religious frenzy of Khilafat… Jinnah was amongst the Muslims who welcomed the abolition of the Khilafat…

    Furthermore… Jinnah was a Shia… and the sunni concept of Khilafat like Sunni Sharia was untenable and unacceptable to him whether you and your Mullah brothers on this side of the border accept it or not.

    Attn: Moderators…

    I am not sure who keeps approving this fool’s posts. I want him off and I hope you will delete his posts henceforth.

  66. Gorki


    You continue to indulge in selective reading and as always you miss the point entirely.

    For example here below you found RCG’s writing a good remedy to open other peoples’ eyes:

    “Ram Guha in a recent piece in the Telegraph, Calcutta stated that shd open your eyes….” (Tathagata Mukherjee; Oct 23, 2009 7:16 AM)

    But when the same Ram Guha also said:

    “But it was Nehru who was in the lead, and Nehru who alone had what we would now call the “vision thing”

    And now the same Tathagata said:
    “Wrong…..” Tathagata Mukherjee Oct 23, 2009 11.03 AM)

    (Translation: Thanks, but no thanks; now I want to keep my own eyes closed!)

    I rest my case. 😉 😉 😉

    Besides RCG was not talking about who was endorsed or who was not, he was talking about Nehru’s vision and his efforts on its behalf.
    But I take it that this is too subtle for you and you do not get this part.
    Anyway, since these are RCG’s words and not mine, for further discussion on this topic, please take it up with RCG directly, and whom you quoted in the first place.

    For any posts directed at me, kindly read (re-read if necessary) my 5 +1 points posted earlier.

    This is how it works. For example, before you write the following:
    “At very last state of his life, Nehru inducted Indira into politics. That was the start of the dynasty.”
    Read points 1and 2. You will understand my reply.

    And BTW, next time you get an urge to advise Indian Muslims to follow Gandhiji, consider forwarding the same advice to all your heroes: Varun, Modi, Advani and a certain Tathagata Mukerjee.

  67. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    I think it is high time you posted a complete expose of Gandhiji like you did on chowk- all his racist, casteist, fascist, misogynist, bigoted karnameys and statements.


  68. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Majumdar bhai,

    That was another time and another place. So long as I am amongst Indians who admit that Gandhi was a mortal human being who made mistakes and keep enough room for other points of view that do not necessarily extol Gandhi, I am not inclined to bash him.

    Indeed … so long as such admission is made across the board, we may even concede reluctantly that my hero, Mr. Jinnah, too was after all a mere mortal despite the appearance of invincibility that he portrayed.

  69. Bloody Civilian

    it is interesting, to say the least, to see those gandhi considered to be fascists, invoking him.

  70. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    The Indians on this forum are mature enuff to appreciate a full monty done on the G-man provided it is done with facts, logic and a bit of elan (as you successfully did on another forum).


  71. Archaeo


    And I would object to it as strongly as I object to pestilential Indians who carry their dirty linen to this forum for washing.

    Gandhi has his good and bad points. Is PakTeaHouse the place for discussing them? I believe not, not except in the context of a discussion relating to Pakistan, its raison d’etre, its foundation, its current history, and its immediate future. And then he ought to be fitted in honestly, not to drag him into controversy.

    Not that I am personally affected; instead, it’s lack of fairness which bothers me. It wasn’t fair to let trolls bring up Indian matters; why should it be different for friendlies?

    By all means, do this sort of thing on Chowk.

    Reading Christopher Hitchens on Mother Theresa is not for weak stomachs, but he is not the last word on her. She is far from perfect: a Catholic Nazi, insistent on obstructing birth control to her last breath; a person with two sets of values, one for the poor, who were not to divorce, in line with the Mosaic dictum which Jesus firmly reiterated, and one for the rich Princess Diana.

  72. Archaeo

    (continuing the previous post)

    But that doesn’t mean that each and every one of us has to take refuge in knowledge of these shortcomings, among others even more damaging, or to sneer at the titanic effort that she and her nuns mounted, or to take up the matter on an irrelevant forum.

    The possibility of criticising someone is not sufficient reason to criticise that person.

    This is in sharp contrast to religious leaders who have been punished severely on this forum – by Pakistanis, whose forum it is – because of the damage they have caused by misleading people to believe in undemocratic, non-secular things and by direct damage to Pakistan’s integrity.

  73. Majumdar


    I don’t mean to hijack a Pakistani forum. It is just that Gandhi is very much a part of the subcontinent’s shared past and is in many ways responsible for the going ons in Pakistan. To that extent an article on Gandhi wud be relevant to this forum. However, if it takes up too much bandwidth it may as well be avoided.


  74. PMA

    Archaeo (October 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm):

    And I would object to it as strongly as I object to pestilential Indians who carry their dirty linen to this forum for washing……Gandhi has his good and bad points. Is Pak Tea House the place for discussing them? I believe not, not except in the context of a discussion relating to Pakistan, its raison d’etre, its foundation, its current history, and its immediate future……….And then he ought to be fitted in honestly, not to drag him into controversy. Not that I am personally affected; instead, it’s lack of fairness which bothers me…….

    It wasn’t fair to let trolls bring up Indian matters; why should it be different for friendlies?

    By all means, do this sort of thing on Chowk.”

    I agree with Archaeo. And Tatha Gata Mukherjee; please go away. This forum is not about you.

  75. lal

    …we may even concede reluctantly that my hero, Mr. Jinnah, too was after all a mere mortal despite the appearance of invincibility that he portrayed….

    now u r a statesman

  76. Gorki


    I respect your feelings.
    This is the second time Majumdar Da has tried to incite YLH to write derogatory stuff about MKG and second time YLH has politely turned him down.
    YLH has thus risen in many eyes.

    Majumdar Da, OTOH seems to get ever more desperate since his abuses keep getting shriller.

    Kindly do me a favor, please don’t take the bait and say anything in return that MKG would not have approved of.

    I have two important meetings to go to so can’t write much right now but will get to this issue later.
    Like they say:
    ‘Watch this space’


  77. YLH


    If that happened, we certainly missed it. Still this is not the space to bash Gandhi… so be off.

  78. Bloody Civilian

    ponder if i use..

    what’s left to ponder?

  79. Gorki

    So Majumdar Da is itching for YLH to do a ‘chowk style full Monty’ on Gandhi assuming that perhaps readers on the PTH are unaware of his shortcomings.
    I think he could save everybody a lot of effort by directing them to one of the several sites run by a Moin Ansari, who has made it his life’s work to bash everything Indian, especially MKG.
    Here the reader can read a full document running into 145 pages, cataloguing every little unflattering detail under such catchy titles such as ‘G the wife beater, G the pedophile to G the friend of Hitler.

    One can find not only such old trivia as G slept naked with girls and had enemas, was having sex while his father was dying or that his son came drunk at his funeral but also in-depth articles about G the racist, G the political failure, G the British stooge etc.
    His non violence is duly recorded as hypocrisy and the site is peppered with computer generated caricatures of MKG. I am sure all that dirty laundry can be aired and has been aired by others too. Since there are so many aspects to this man, one can even pick and choose.

    The question is; which MKG does Majumdar want YLH to attack and more importantly why? There are broadly speaking, four aspects to the man; his personal life, his political actions, his political legacy and his philosophy; ‘soul force’ he called it, Gandhianism as others label it.

    His personal failures have been well documented; his sexual theories and actions, his failure as a father and a husband, his eccentric obsession with cleansing, fasting etc.
    However these are usually attacked by petty little men like Moin Ansari who seem to have spent a quarter of a century turning their hatred of him and India into a fine art. It can’t be just this since Majumdar Da is more sophisticated than that.

    His political legacy too is irrelevant today since hardly anywhere in India, much less in the world does anyone remember his silly theories about nature cure, Khadi or the Panchayat Raj; some of his early programs such as battles against untouchability or for communal harmony too have been expropriated by others; political parties who turned them into a vote getting ploy to a point as to render it all into an irrelevant farce.
    Non violence too, has now become a cliché in India and the World; his nation puts his picture on the currency notes and takes pride in building thermonuclear bombs and supersonic missiles. So it can’t be this either.

    That leaves us with Gandhi’s place in history and his philosophy: Gandhianism. Before I get into it, let me say that I don’t want to argue whether his program A or B was a success or a failure, whether he drove out the British or they left on their own.

    Let me, for the sake of argument, concede everything that Majumdar Da wants us to believe; that all his political moves were colossal failures, that the British would have left on their own, that his support for Khilafat was all wrong that he could have saved Bhagat Singh but did not.
    Yet even Gandhi’s worst critics can not seriously accuse him of introducing religion into politics or of patronizing the scheduled castes to keep them in subjugation.
    Gandhi or no Gandhi, religion and its divisions were always a part and parcel of life in India.
    Take one example of one community among the many; the Sikhs. Their prayer ends daily with an ‘Ardas’ that recites a litany of heroes, starting from the Sikh martyrs Arjun Dev (1606) through Teg Bahadur (1675) all the way through the 1984 riots. This Ardas is recited daily and its legends are a part of every day Sikh life. MAJ was sadly right that Hindus and Mussalmans were always two peoples with separate mythology separate heroes and even separate drinking water at public places! Long before Gandhi came to the scene, the British had cleverly exploited this chasm through symbols and mythmaking. Thus it is irrelevant whether the doors of Somnath were indeed looted by Ghazanavis or not; the British did encourage their Sikh soldiers to believe that they were restoring their pride by bringing them back when they invaded Afghanistan using Sikh troops.

    Similarly, the Hindu upper classes had had a couple of millennia to try to assimilate the untouchables before Gandhi showed up; yet no one dared or cared. These lowest of the low were hardly even acknowledged till his campaigns shammed the upper classes into action.
    Gandhi is attacked mercilessly for preferring Nehru over Patel for the congress leadership; yet consider the context. It was a terrible time for Muslims in India and the bleeding and bruised nation needed a man who was the preferred choice not only of the congressmen but the entire nation. Nehru by far was the most popular among all Indians while there was a lingering hesitation in the minorities (unfairly, I must add) regarding Patel. The nation needed to heal under a universal statesman and Nehru was the man.

    Yet what bothers Gandhi’s critics terribly is the lasting and near universal appeal of this man. Ask a Russian, a pole an African or a European, which Indian do they recall, Gandhi wins hands down. Critics like to dismiss this as a result of clever marketing. Yet long before Louis Fischer’s book was made into a movie, Gandhi was still the most recognized face of India.
    It is all the more remarkable that when he first came to India, the country was practically illiterate, media was non existent and all communications were tightly controlled by a hostile and a suspicious foreign government. When he first started, he offered his followers neither worldly riches nor otherworldly salvation; still his message spread.

  80. Gorki


    The reason for the above phenomenon was that Gandhi promised his followers one thing that all humans crave; a sense of empowerment and justice but with dignity.
    In addition, he brought out the best out of all whom he met; namely courage and goodness.

    All human beings possess both the good and bad within them and both can be brought out. The other day someone named Ummi boasted on the PTH that he could bring the worst out of YLH. Sure he could but it does not endear him to others. Gandhi OTOH, made people feel noble by bringing out their own best from them. By showing a poor, illiterate villager to refuse to be exploited, and also to then stand fast in the face a lathi wielding policeman, gave him a sense of righteousness, but more importantly, a fearless dignity.
    Not satisfied with that, Gandhi, with an iron self discipline, learnt early to triumph over one fatal human flaw in himself; hatred.
    No one or nothing could drive him to anger. Combined with it was his capacity to patiently demonstrate the righteousness of his cause not only to his followers (which is easy for charismatic leaders) but also to his bitterest critics and opponents.
    He had the magic to make his opponents empathize with his cause! Like I said, he could bring the best out of others. It was this last capacity that I believe separates Gandhi not only from all other leaders of his century; but perhaps his millennia.

    The mistake that people like Majumdar Da make even to this day is that they fail to either understand this phenomena or else dismiss it as a cliché.
    Gandhi could only do this because he was facing the gentle British; they feel; Hitler would never had put up with such non sense they say. Yet they fail to understand that it was not Gandhi the man at work but phenomenon that he unleashed; he labeled it the soul force. Today many call it Gandhianism.

    In all fairness, MKG did not discover this, he merely harnessed something that has been around for ever and adapted it to the India of 20th century.
    Twenty centuries before him a young trouble maker was crucified by an empire that had knocked out contenders like Hannibal and took pride in their no nonsense approach and the fact that they could use controlled violence to keep peace. A century before they had proudly adorned their main highway, the Via Apia with bodies of 6000 crucified rebel slaves to make this point. Yet even that empire could not stop the spread of the idea of this one rebel who used a similar force of human empathy.
    It wasn’t that they did not resist; their Emperor, Diocletian threw the full might and fury of his empire against them but lost.
    Similarly, a little known mystic named Teg Bahadur journeyed to Alamgir Aurangzeb’s court to reason out with him. He was put to sword for his troubles; yet that man’s death unleashed such powerful forces that it brought down an empire in less than a century.
    When asked why he was throwing his life away like that, he too claimed to have an invisible soul force that would change the empire.
    In both these cases, the followers of these men were a handful of the lowest of the low, yet they had been imbued with a sense of dignity and righteousness. In the end, they won.
    Gandhi is admired today because he could master such a force. He did not create anything new but like a Pele playing soccer or an Elvis making music, he was a once in a lifetime artist who specialized in the art of channelizing human virtue. By channelizing it he made the millions who followed him feel like supermen too, even if for that fleeting moment.

    Majumdar likes to talk about the pride of Indic peoples. Fine, it is how this pride is displayed that makes all the difference.
    TM thinks Advani’s Rath Yatra is that pride and calls it the largest mass movement in history. Yet see what it does.
    Imagine a Shiv Sainik, after the bhang powered euphoria and hubris of the mob mentality wears off; I can not imagine him feeling very good when he recalls the smell of burnt huts, the desperate shrieks of raped teenagers, then more cries as their breasts mutilated, they are burnt alive, all to the demonic chants of sectarian slogans. Imagine the hangover and the shame the following day when he takes off his saffron scarf and goes back to his mundane miserable life; again a nobody.

    Contrast this with the pride of a Dandi marcher, recalling even decades later, how he once refused to be cowed down by the sight of charging horsemen and stood up as a man; a moment when he had become a superman!

    Gandhi is celebrated by the entire human race not so much for what he was, but for what and who we are. When we all look collectively at the 20th century, we see a century that was by far the bloodiest in history; the faces that peek back at us are faces that make us feel uneasy like that Shiv Sainik, those of Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Even the giants we see are flawed; Churchill the racist, Roosevelt with his Japanese concentration camps.
    Then we search harder for the faces that would make us feel better again, human again, and we see MLK and Nelson Mandela and towering behind them, a small half naked Fakir.

    We like to believe we too are supermen; that we stand for justice and we are fearless. That we too are noble and that we have conquered hatred. We want to identify with such an individual and we find one such man, about whom Nehru said to Churchill:
    ‘We Indians don’t hate the British because when we were struggling for our independence, we were lead by a man who taught us two things; never be afraid of anyone and never hate any one. We were never afraid of you then and we don’t hate you now.”

    It is only appropriate that such a man gave his life trying to do one last right thing; to force his own angry and hate filled countrymen to give Pakistan what was its rightful share.
    In that one final act, he took our collective sins upon himself but kept our conscience as a nation and restored to us our dignity.
    Shades of another man, 20 centuries before.


  81. karun1


    if you ever stand for an election in India, count one vote from my side irrespective of whoever is your opponent.

    @bc I have not yet come out of the childish habit of throwing bricks if someone throws stones at you. needs more work, have patience. there is hope….

  82. YLH

    Gorki sb,

    I am almost tempted now to produce some of the gems from Gandhiji’s collected works which would make Churchill look like an angel in comparison.

    But I will not… I request however that you don’t test my patience 🙂

  83. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Yet what bothers Gandhi’s critics terribly is the lasting and near universal appeal of this man. Ask a Russian, a pole an African or a European, which Indian do they recall, Gandhi wins hands down. Critics like to dismiss this as a result of clever marketing.”

    Ok there you have it. I can’t resist it any longer because if I don’t answer this, then no one will… I am not going to talk about the two obvious complaints against Gandhi… his introduction of religious clergy into politics and his racism against people of African origin that is rampant in his writing.

    First of all let me tell you in all honesty… it was nothing but clever marketing… clever marketing long before Attenborough had an idea which germinated into that fantastic film “Gandhi” which may I say is a discredit to the political genius of the man. And you know who did the Marketing… it was the British believe it or not. How many colonial empires do you know of that imprison rebels on one side and then erect statues for him infront of court houses on the other? How many statues of Nelson Mandela did South African Apartheid regime erect? None. Gandhi’s statues outside government buildings date back to the 1930s (one such statue was in front of the Sindh High Court building which was under threat after 1947 till Jinnah saved it with the help of Cowasjee’s father… today it is in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad)

    I challenge everyone who has access to a library in the west to investigate what I am about to say:

    Gandhi was – whether people here like it or not- a vaccine… that the British introduced in the body politic of India. He was introduced deliberately and one would not be giving him his due if one claims that he was inadvertently a pawn.

    Gandhi…the Kaiser-e-Hind… served two different purposes for the British.

    1. His civil disobedience campaign managed to take the wind out of the sails of the constitutional movement for dominion status… people often misconstrue when I say this. What I mean is that a roundtable conference was scheduled for 1921 which was postponed by the British under this pretext (and Gandhi was the one who refused it) …

    2. On the other side the mass movement drained recruits for the revolutionary movement being waged by Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

    Let us do away with this clever fiction. Gandhi did not drive the British out. Gandhi helped them stay atleast a decade or two longer than they were going to… Those familiar with the political style of the west know what I am talking about… there is every likelihood that Gandhi was propped up and created into a Mahatma to mislead the people.

    Now… one can say that British did create movements and destroy them when they needed to. One could even say that the British after 1939 saw Jinnah as the counter-weight to Gandhi and the Congress… but there is one difference: Jinnah used the British to his advantage not vice versa.

    As for Nehru’s statement to Churchill… I don’t know why the question would come up… the Congress and the British were always part of a mutual admiration society… with the exception of a few honest men here and there… like Wavell and Wyatt… I must say Nehru’s statement – the second time I have read it – sounds even more dishonest than the first time I read it.

    To be honest I would choose a Churchill over a Gandhi any day of the week. The rest of you are free to choose Gandhi…

  84. Archaeo


    NO! NO!

    Take a deep breath and count to ten…..
    OK, make that a hundred, just to be on the safe side!


    Now LOOK what you’ve done!!!

  85. yasserlatifhamdani


    The truth is that Gandhi was a very smart politician …. the more I read about him, the more I realize how much he needed the British and how far the British were willing to go to keep him in charge.

    Gandhi for all his social conservatism, appeals to ancient Indian wisdom and for a free India etc remained at home in the British Empire which sustained him. His solution was of moderate advance to Dominion status and I am sure that had he been his own master after 1935…. he would have figured out a way to keep India united…

    But Gandhi was swept away by a flood… and what I find odd is Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s statement because Nehru opened floodgates… Gandhi did not lead Nehru… it was Nehru who led Gandhi after the 1930s…

    There is a very interesting letter from Nehru to Gandhi … in the late 1920s. I can assure you that nothing Jinnah and Gandhi ever wrote to each other could ever be as caustic as what Nehru wrote to Gandhi in that letter. In this letter Nehru really exposes Gandhi as a weak leader incapable of taking India to any kind of workable future. The response from Gandhi was equally stern… after which Nehru changed his tune altogether apologizing for the first letter. Nehru realized at that time that Gandhi had to be played and toyed with in a different manner altogether. And that is precisely what Nehru did.

    I think Nehru – had he not made his blunders and alienated Jinnah and the Muslim League- was a far better leader than Gandhi for many reasons…

  86. Bajrajogini


    Not to run down the plausible account that you have presented, it is now clear why Majumdar loves this account.

    It fits precisely and beautifully into the parallel narrative told in Bengal. According to that narrative, most of which is not known at all in the rest of India or Pakistan, or when known, is brushed under the carpet with an extremely embarrassed air, after the First Partition of Bengal, the one nobody likes to talk about, there was a deep and well-rooted terrorist movement which sprang up in Bengal.

    These were terrorists, no apologies, no qualms, in fact, terrorists who assassinated a well-loved and popular British magistrate just to make the point that individual personalities had nothing to do with their struggle, and the only good British were dead British.

    It was led by Anushilan – the followers, a name which followers of Islamic history will acknowledge with a wry smile – and Jugantar – those who would change the age, those who would change the times. The narrative is too long for these columns, too alien for all save those who remember that the East Bengal narrative was also theirs at a point of time. Suffice it to say that large swatches of Calcutta are named after the terrorists of those days – Binoy, Badal and Dinesh in place of the central Lal Dighi, the ancient bathing tank which pilgrims coming down the trail which is Chitpore Road today used before completing their dangerous trip to Kalighat the next morning; Khudiram in place of a commonplace street, named after the teenaged assassin who went to the gallows for his murderous attack; Bagha Jatin, who was quite atypical and fought his pursuers to a standoff before running out of ammunition and dying in a hail of gunfire; Surya Sen, who led an armed gang on the police headquarters and the armoury in Chittagong (recognise the pattern? this was in the third decade of the twentieth century). They were heroes to the difficult people of Bengal, and bred another crop of terrorists fifty years later.

    To that breed of people to whom terrorism can be justified, proving that Gandhi was a house negro is very pleasing. It allows their preferred story to stand out in full, gory Technicolor. They will not substitute the legal path for the Gandhian, illegal but non-violent part; they will use your criticism of that illegal but non-violent part to reject the non-violent and embrace the violent.

    The fact that you are quoting facts, Yasser, does not in the least diminish the fact that this is what enemies of law and order, those who would promote violence as fair and conscionable in the face of terrible oppression, would like to hear. You have to remember that this servile behaviour, which may well have delayed independence, as you have argued, also was the only alternative to an entire nation slowly turning anarchist. What is happening around us – around you more than around me – is symptomatic; it is bad enough without having had a legitimised tradition of terrorism, without having Anushilan + Jugantar + Hindustan Socialist Party + BBD + Khudiram + Bagha Jatin + Master Da + Anant Singh + Bhagat Singh + Azad as part of the mainstream narrative.

    There is a logical dilemma here: we accept the legal, or the illegal but non-violent or the illegal and violent. Not all three, not all together. This is with regard to our individual personal moral choice, and it is not an historical judgement. In the historical judgement, all three happened; that is fact, and we deny it at our peril.

    Returning to the moral choice. You have – had – wisely chosen to stand by the legal; I admired that choice, many of us admired that choice, many of us re-set our moral compass relating to the independence struggle to the cardinal points explained by you, and one or two others, following Ayesha Jalal. It is better left at that.

    Gorki is one of the nicest people on earth, if his views as he expresses them are to be taken into account. An unfortunate byproduct of this niceness is that he doesn’t stop to think through what he is saying before launching into lyrical praise of whoever, whenever becomes the object of his devotion. Please don’t fall prey to the temptation of straying from the straight and narrow path into the pleasant garden path of beating up an easy target, because your arguments will be misused by fools, and more important, by knaves to promote the third path, illegal and violent. And in today’s context, to provide ammunition for that third faction is so easy, and happens with such little consciousness of what is happening, that it is all the more important for us to pick carefully what we will say and what we will not say.

    In plain words, it is important for us to fight united against the third option, the illegal and violent option, before sorting out who did what to whom between the first, legal and the second, illegal but non-violent options. Any diversion of effort, or of mental capacity at this stage is dangerous. You must have noticed already how attractive violence is to a certain type of mind; this type spans not only the suicide bomber in a middle-class household, or from a dispossessed background, it spans the fundamentalist, the bigot, the fascist, and the ultra-militaristic. We can find it not merely among the uneducated, where our cliche-ridden mind bids us to find it, among the lumpenproletariat; we also find it in unexpected places, especially among the ill-formed, warped minds of youngsters entering into or emerging from a technical education with no balancing knowledge of the humanities.

    It is not a good moment to distract attention from the legal path, the secular and democratic path. In particular, the danger to us is not from the Gandhian path, but from the terrorist path. All the energy that all of us have ought to be concentrated on promoting the legal, secular and democratic, or in barring the doors to the illegal violent path. This particular passage was a distraction, a ‘snare and a delusion’; I strongly suggest a more concentrated use of wax in your ears, and a resistance to the siren-songs and hip-swaying of Majumdar. The very thought should be a sobering and a corrective influence.

  87. Bajrajogini


    In your response to Archaeo, you have hit upon one of the lesser known streams of the very large number of by-plays in the independence movement – the complex way in which Nehru moved forward. There is a common delusion among us who have studied the matter in whatever depth that we were dealing with a deluded dreamer. No deluded dreamer makes it to the upper reaches of either politics or of corporate life, irrespective of urban legends to that effect.

    This was an astute observation of yours, that Gandhi was a thinking, planning politician. It does not gainsay some extraordinarily obtuse behaviour, which is a hallmark of both Hindu and Muslim politicians, then and now; of not understanding the complexities and by-ways of the other religion and its adherents. You have already mentioned Gandhi’s ‘Himalayan blunder’ and I will not waste time on that. Having said that, he was not a push-over. And only youthful rashness and a rush of blood to the head could have brought Nehru to have made that premature criticism, most untimely from Nehru’s own point of view.

    However, I urge you to let this discussion rest until calmer times. At this moment, the barbarian is at the gate. Let us concentrate on that, and on drilling into the wandering minds of many among us that an illegal, violent option is not an option, can never be an option.

  88. yasserlatifhamdani

    I agree…. let this discussion rest… because we are all on the same side.

  89. PMA

    Gorki: You are a passionate man. Passionate about your country India and her founding fathers. But why here; why here at Pak Tea House? The space dedicated to the issues related to Pakistan. Indian commenters on this site say that they come here to learn about Pakistan. But all you people do is promote your own and in the process skew what ought to be purely Pakistani forum. Please lay Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru to rest. Please. Would ya.

  90. Gorki

    PMA Sahib:

    Your point is well taken and I agree that this is a Pakistani forum to discuss Pakistani issues.
    I apologise for taking valuable space.
    In my defense I can only say that I stepped in only when it became apparent that the discussion was deteriorating fast to the point where nothing worthwhile was being posted other than inflammatory insults with a sole purpose to get a reaction from the opposite side.

    I put down my personal beliefs in an attempt to stop this mud fight from developing.

    As I said, I sincerely apologise for that.