Jinnah And Urdu-Bengali Controversy

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

This is a quick blog to correct a historical fallacy.  A false impression persists – thanks to people like Amar Jaleel and the like who in the right royal Urdu press fashion have a hard time sticking to the facts- that Jinnah- who according to Jaleel was drugged or cornered into making the speech in question- somehow told Bengalis to outlaw Bengali language when he declared Urdu to be the state language of Pakistan.  This is historically inaccurate. This blog is not to discuss whether Jinnah’s declaration was politically suave or naïve but to set the record straight about what it was that Jinnah said which laid foundations for the Urdu-Bengali discord in Pakistan and led to Pakistan ultimately declaring both Urdu and Bengali the “national languages” of Pakistan.  Ironically Jinnah did not even use the term “national language”, drawing the very valid distinction between a state language or lingua franca and a national language.

The two speeches that are  at the center of controversy were made on 21st and 24th of March, 1948 at a public meeting and then at Dacca University convention.   In both speeches Jinnah took a consistent stand:

  1.  The people of Bengal were free to choose Bengali as the official language of the Bengal province.   This he said very clearly and unambiguously on both occasions and the premier of Bengal – Khawaja Nazimuddin also reaffirmed this.
  2. Urdu alone would be the state language and the lingua franca of the Pakistan state.
  3. Bengali – like other provincial languages- could be the official language of the East Bengal province but not the Pakistan state and the Pakistan center (Jinnah’s words).

 (See Pages 150 and 158 of “Jinnah Speeches And Statements 1947-1948” Millennium edition Oxford University Press-  he said “Realizing, however, that the statement that your Prime Minister made on the language controversy, left no room for agitation, in so far as it conceded the right of the people of this province to choose Bengali as their official language if they so wished, they changed their tactics. They started demanding that Bengali should be the state language of the Pakistan centre, and since they could not overlook the obvious claims of Urdu as the official language of a Muslim state, they proceeded to demand that both Bengali and Urdu should be the state languages of Pakistan.  Make no mistake about it.  There can only be one state language if the component parts of this state are to march forward in unison, and in my opinion,  that can only be Urdu”)

It may be remembered that in this – wrong or right- Jinnah’s policy was identical to India’s policy of constitutionally elevating Hindi and English.   Jinnah did not go even that far and described in the proper constitutional manner Urdu as the state language not a national one.  Urdu was to be – in the real sense of the word- a lingua franca for the diverse people of Pakistan.

The problem with Amar Jaleel – who recently appeared on Vussatullah’s show on Dawn News Urdu Service-  is that in his zeal for an otherwise good cause,  he liberally twists the facts.   For example in the show in question he declared amongst other things – as obiter dicta – that Gandhi had fasted in his last days to have wheat exported to Pakistan.  Frankly I don’t know where he got this from.  In reality however Pakistan connection in Gandhi’s fast was purported to be vis a vis Indian government’s refusal to give Pakistan its share of the treasury.   However what was hilarious was his claim that Jinnah was cornered by people to make this statement.

Amar Jaleel’s cause is righteous.   All Pakistani languages must be equally respected and given an equal status in the republic as languages of the people of Pakistan.  However should he murder history and discredit himself by repeating this lie or does he believe that the longer it goes unnoticed, it might one day be taken up as the truth?

I have always felt that the writers of the Urdu press are given to exaggeration and embellishment, even if they are not right-wingers and pro-Jamaat-e-Islami fanatics  but even self styled champions of leftists, liberals and ethno-nationalists.   In this respect at least one hopes that Dawn News Urdu Service will bring some balance to the force.

115 Comments

Filed under Bangladesh, History, Languages, Liberal Democratic Pakistan

115 responses to “Jinnah And Urdu-Bengali Controversy

  1. hoss

    First let me clarify something here. Amar Jalil is a famous Sindhi writer. He has written tons of short stories, novels and other satirical work in Sindhi. He writes a column for Daily Jang in Urdu in his own inimitable satirical style.
    It is hard to comment on this blog post before looking at either the video or the transcript of what he actually said. I would also like to see some links or a complete transcript of Jinnah’s two speeches. The controversy was not about state language. It was about declaring Bengali one of the National languages. There really was not reason to have Urdu as the National or even a state language because it did not meet any criteria. It was not a language of any Pakistan province nor was it ever used as official language in the provinces that made up Pakistan except for Punjab.

  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    Well I have given a reference quite clearly and I have quoted the relevant text as well.

    The complete speeches and transcripts are available in Oxford University Press’ “Jinnah: Speeches And Statements 1947-1948” … 1997 Millennium Edition… Oxford University Press… the relevant pages are 150 and 158.

    The controversy might have been what you make it… but frankly we are only interested in what was actually said.

    “The controversy was not about state language. It was about declaring Bengali one of the National languages.”

    Precisely and it finds no basis in what Jinnah said in those two speeches.

  3. I dont know whether its correct to liken Nehru’s vision of Hindi-English, as the state-level languages, with the pursuit of Urdu as the state language in Pakistan. Hindi, at the time of independence, was probably spoken by a larger portion of the Indian population (although largely concentrated in the North West and Central parts). Plus the amount of autonomy granted to regional languages by the Nehru government was enough to satiate any regional-linguistic demands. I’m not sure what having a provincial language meant in a very centralized state structure such as the one we had at the time of independence. Maybe Jinnah would have moved on to give more regional autonomy, at least in cultural terms, but that is just a hypothesis on our part.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    Umair,

    The state structure of India and Pakistan were similarly centralized … infact constitutionally India was more so than Pakistan, because Pandit Nehru retained the dreaded Section 93 (power of the center to dismiss the provincial legislature) of the GOIA 1935 which Jinnah expunged … (Jinnah’s actions against Khan ministry were under 51-5 which dismissed ministry but not the legislature).

    The valid distinction is that a lot more people spoke Hindi.. whereas allegedly only a few spoke Urdu … though that itself is not without controversy (Urdu was widely understood and spoken in regions that form Pakistan and Bangladesh as well… “Hindustani” i.e. Urdu and Hindi depending on script and sanskritization was the language more or less all people of British India understood)… but suffice to say most people in Pakistan did not see Urdu as their “mother tongue” …. (did most Indians see Hindi as their mother tongue or Lingua Franca ?) …. this is precisely what made Urdu the perfect choice for those who favored it as it was considered a neutral language. Other schemes were outlandish…. Aga Khan at one point suggested Arabic. Bengalis were ready to accept Arabic btw.

    Then you say … “autonomy granted to regional languages” and ask the question … “what would a provincial language mean”? You’ve answered your own question. The statement of “your Prime Minister” Jinnah refers to purported to give similar cultural autonomy. The mistake we made instead was to accept the Bengali demand of equality with Urdu… Pakistan sought to solve the issue by giving Bengali and Urdu equal status in 1956 constitution… Legally constitutionally there is no distinction to be drawn here… I think we all have a knack of complicating simple issues… and the issue here is not whether Jinnah was right or wrong… but whether there is any justification in this claim that Bengalis were asked to give up Bengali ….

  5. hoss

    “About language, as I have already said, this is in order to create disruption amongst the Mussalmans. Your Prime Minister has rightly pointed this out in a recent statement and I am glad that his Government has decided to put down firmly any attempt to disturb the peace of this province by political saboteurs, their agents. Whether Bengali shall be official language of this province is a matter for the elected representatives of the people of this province to decide. I have no doubt that this question shall be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants ‘of this province at the appropriate time. “
    “Let me tell you in the clearest language that there is no truth that your normal life is going to be touched or disturbed so far as your Bengali language is concerned. But ultimately it is for you, the people of this province, to decide what shall be the language of your province. But let me make it very clear to you that the State language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan. Without one State language, no Nation can remain tied up solidly together and function. Look at the history of other countries. Therefore, so far as the State Language is concerned, Pakistani language shall be Urdu. But, as I have said, it will come in time.
    “Quite frankly and openly I must tell you that you have got amongst you a few communists and other agents financed by foreign help and if you are not careful, you will be disrupted. The idea that East Bengal should be brought back into the Indian Union is not given up, and it is their aim yet, and I am confident –I am not afraid, but it is better to be vigilant –that those people who still dream of getting back East Bengal into the Indian Union are living in a dream-land.
    Islam has taught us this, and I think you will agree with me that whatever else you may be and whatever you are, you are a Muslim. You belong to a Nation now; you have now carved out a territory, vast territory, it is all yours; it does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi, or a Pathan, or a Bengali; it is yours. You have got your Central Government where several units are represented. Therefore, if you want to build up yourself into a Nation, for God’s sake give up this provincialism. Provincialism has been one of the curses; and so is sectionalism –Shia, Sunni, etc. “

    The above are some relevant quotes from Jinnah’s 1948 speech. Two things are clear; Jinnah was confirming and endorsing an earlier announcement by the Prime Minister Liaquat declaring Urdu to be the sole state or national language. He associated that one language to one nation of Muslim and Pakistani. This was clearly a horrible political mistake in Bengal where the driving force behind support for Pakistan was Bengali Nationalism. So I don’t see anything wrong when Amar Jalil says Jinnah was high or on drugs when he made that speech. I think we need that kind of openness in Pakistani media where untouchables are flipped, turned over and their political follies are discussed threadbare.
    There was no reason for Urdu to be the national or the sole national or the state language in Pakistan. He did say that Bengali could be a provincial language. But Bengalis did not need his permission for that. Bengali was already the official language in Bengal and the medium of instruction. By adding Urdu as national language he surely made them feel like they were not the majority but just a province that must follow the center’s diktat.
    Anyway, read the speech and his tirade against the communists and others who opposed the center on the language issue.

  6. YLH, your hypothesized rationale for Jinnah being justified in specifying Urdu as the ‘state’ language of Pakistan is not very convincing. The number of Bengali speakers far outnumbered the speakers of any other language in the Pakistan of 1947. And like Hoss pointed out, the Bengalis did not need permission from anyone else to officially endorse their language.

    In India, the real compromise worked out in the Constituent Assembly was that both Hindi and English will be the official languages of the Union. It was really the equalization of Hindi and English at the level of the Union Government that broke the deadlock.

  7. ylh

    Hoss,

    Your longer quote says the same thing I am afraid.

    I am afraid it does not say National language anywhere in this quote either. Can you show me where it says that? It talks of state language. It also says that Bengali can be the official language of the province.

    So you don’t have a point as usual hoss mian. What is with you and Qari Jaleel types that makes you act like insecure fanatics? Shouldn’t force of logic be enough that you have to distort history?
    Vikram,

    Can you tell me what “rationale” it is that has been proven wrong?

    That is just wordplay and really bad one.ys the one
    Like Hindi or English in India, Urdu is and was always the only language understood by most people of every ethnic group in Pakistan.
    I am not sure what it is that you think I am wrong about … Perhaps Punjabi should be the “national” language of Pakistan. This business of national and official is of later origin for us.
    Maybe you’ll enlighten me about the number of Indians who state Hindi to be their “mother tongue”?

    Stop this sophistry and making these strawman fallacies for god’s sake.

  8. ylh

    PS Hoss mian, Amar jaleel’s claim was that Jinnah’s speechwriters wrote the speech for him and that the speech “banned” Bengali language.
    Where does it ban Bengali language is all I am asking?

    So your little spiel is as usual completely off the mark.

  9. Luq

    >So your little spiel is as usual completely off the mark.

    Kam se kam is aspect mein bande ki consistency ki daad dene chahiye…..nahin?

    Luq

  10. ylh

    Lol yeah.

    Well I throw in the towel … And other geniuses. Their force of logic has made me admit that “jinnah was bad bad man” (to be pronounced and spoken aloud in a Ukranian accent “Jinnah was baid baid mane no?”)

    My point unfortunately remains where it is:

    1. Where in the speech do the words “national language” occur?

    2. Where has Bengali been banned in the speech?

    Just see Hoss mian skirt around these questions again.

  11. Hayyer

    What Jinnah said clearly relegated Bengali to the status of a regional language. That must have been difficult for Bengali nationalists to swallow.
    The terms ‘state language, lingua franca, national language’ mean different things. The ‘language of the state’ is what we in India call the official language. The official languages of the Union of India are Hindi and English. The States have their own official languages. Hindi is the official language in the largest number, all of North India in fact except Punjab and J&K.
    The Union Government while communicating with State Governments must use English if the official language of the State is not Hindi. It may communicate in Hindi with States whose official language is Hindi.
    All official documents of the Union Government must issue in English as well as in Hindi.
    Hindi is the lingua franca of large parts of India but not all. It is not spoken or understood in most of South India, even in Chennai and Bangalore. In Kolkatta till some years ago Bengalis living in North Kolkatta would have difficulty uttering a coherent sentence in Hindi. So Hindi is even now, not the lingua franca of India. In rural Kashmir an Urdu speaker may have difficulty finding his way about.
    India had at last count 15 national languages. Every official language of a State is also a national language. The official language of Nagaland is English.
    The language riots of 1965 ensured that English will continue in perpetuity as an official language of the Union. There is an official language department in the central government to look after Hindi.
    Hindi is a lingua franca between vast sections of Indians but not all. Sometimes it is English as say between a North, East or West Indian visiting rural Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala or Mizoram Nagaland, Arunachal, Meghalaya or even Orissa. In Pakistan’s context Urdu could not have been a lingua franca between its two wings because Bengalis except in Dhaka perhaps would not have understood Urdu much.
    Jinnah’s mistake if I may be allowed the liberty of calling it so, was to equate Urdu with patriotism. Hindi chauvinists often made this same mistake in the first few decades after independence and it almost broke the country. Indians whose mother tongue was other than Hindi did not feel any the less Indian because they spoke Bengali or Kannada, and they declined, sometimes violently to being force fed with the language.
    It is remarkable that the wider spread of Hindi in India in recent decades owes more to Bollywood and to cricket commentaries in that language than to all mighty campaigns of the Union Government.
    Urdu chauvinism in Pakistan comes from the same population stock as Hindi chauvinism does in India. This is called the Hindi heartland, or sometimes, the cow belt. People from here tend to believe that they occupy a higher niche of Indian-ness than those living in the North, East, West or South. Perhaps this sentiment carried into Pakistan after 1947.
    It is not surprising that the Gujrati Gandhi and Jinnah advocated the languages of North Central India. There was a belief in the early years that the nations needed one language to form and strengthen national identity. It has been conclusively proved in India at least that this is not so. Within India there are multiple identities and that is the only way it can be.

  12. ylh

    Hayyer,

    I agree with your post.

    The point I have been hesitant to spell out is that contrary to some claims above, Urdu was understood much more commonly in the Pakistani population both East and West than Hindi was in post Independence India.

    I am not an Urdu-chauvinist but simply setting the record straight.

    Jinnah’s equation of Urdu to patriotism had the reasons that you’ve listed. I think it was the Urdu-Hindi divide that fuelled Muslim-Hindu divide …because TNT itself germinated in Sir Syed’s mind after Hindi-Urdu conflict of 1867. So Urdu was seen as a national symbol much more than Islam.

    Doesn’t make it right or wrong but my point was limited to the fact that state language is not the same as national language and that Bengali was not banned but instead was given the status of Official provincial language.

  13. ylh

    And later Bengali became the national language of Pakistan under constitution of 1956 … along with Urdu.

  14. vajra

    HEALTH WARNING: THIS HAS VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE THREAD.

    @ylh
    @Hayyer

    On a totally different axis, considering that YLH is trying to bring hom the subtle but real distinction between a state language and the national language, it might be useful to comment on Hayyer’s specific mentions.

    1. The Union Government while communicating with State Governments must use English if the official language of the State is not Hindi. It may communicate in Hindi with States whose official language is Hindi.

    An unfortunate decision. It is unfair to the civil servant who does not speak Hindi, and puts a premium on appointing only locals; a certain degree of cross-pollination of ideas and cultural borrowing is sacrificed. Innumerable Tamilian and Malayali gentlemen, not to mention Kannadigas and Telugus, have contributed to Bengal; many of them took the trouble of picking up Bengali and Hindi, some didn’t. The same applies to, for instance, to Gujarat, where the father of the white revolution was hardly a son of the soil.

    2. It is not spoken or understood in most of South India, even in Chennai and Bangalore. …….. So Hindi is even now, not the lingua franca of India.

    Hmm. Since my first visit to Chennai, in 1976, when it was truly easier to speak to the railway porters in English than in Hindi, Tamil Nadu has changed. There was not a single salwar-kameez to be seen; it was all either full saris or pavades. All this has been overtaken by salwar-kameez sets, even in the most conservative circles. Similarly, there are faint traces of Hindi, especially on digging past 30 or 40 feet. As for Bangalore, my wife is now aggressively chauvinist, ironic for one brought up on a staple diet of Bengali, and harangues the unlucky, but increasing number of locals – auto-drivers, shopkeepers, petty functionaries and the like – who make the terrible mistake of addressing her in Hindi. The point being that Hindi is taking over the town – rapidly.

    3. In Kolkatta till some years ago Bengalis living in North Kolkatta would have difficulty uttering a coherent sentence in Hindi.

    Tell you what, Hayyer-garu; throw in South Kolkata, and you have a deal (I am taking you on trust, on the assumption that your full thought process does not extend to doubting the possibility of coherent sentences in other languages).

    On the other hand, this is less to do with the legendary mental inflexibility and slow intellect of the Bengali, known for his sluggishness in thought and speech, than the tendency of the Hindi majority in the city of Kolkata to think of themselves as the minority and with very defensive attitudes and shrill voices of protest adopt Bengali as a lingua franca – leaving the slow-witted Bengali trying to figure out what hit him.

    This ‘doosra’ in the majority-minority stakes might be considered to begin at the Bengal border, were it not for the fact that Hindi is thriving and well in Assam and places east.

    All Oriyas speak Hindi, even in Kolkata; it has to do with their resentment of cultural chauvinism and the perceived domination of Bengal. Similar to Assamese resentment, expressed with far more bloodshed.

    So what is on display is not so much a reluctance to speak Hindi, as a puzzling counter-current of adoption of Bengali. In passing, do please consider the phenomenon of ‘prabashi’ Bengalis, the kind who grope around for the equivalent of a Hindi ‘hai’, and use the unfortunate apabhramsa ‘hochhe’ in Bengali instead; this leads to Calcutta wags calling their insufficiently articulate up-country brethren ‘hochhe’ Bangalis. There is a pun here comprehensible only in Bengali.

    My tongue is beginning to hurt, I shall proceed to remove it from its parked position in my cheek.

    4. Sometimes it is English as say between a North, East or West Indian visiting rural Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Kerala or Mizoram Nagaland, Arunachal, Meghalaya or even Orissa.

    True, very true. A personal observation: up to twenty years ago, Hindi anywhere in Tamil Nadu, except possibly the OTS in Chennai, was unthinkable. I found English far more convenient in the cities, sometimes even in the larger towns, than Hindi, and a little Tamil went a long, long way; rather a Bengali reaction, but there we are, that’s the way the linguistic chauvinism biscuit crumbles.

    Karnataka is going through its own angst; it is trying to get out from under the shadow of Tamil and build its own cultural and linguistic heritage. In this fraternal war, English, which was the earlier lingua franca, suffered at the hands of the Kannada chauvinists. However, Bangalore is very comfortable in English, and also in Hindi. Further north, even though they were the well-springs of Canarese, now Kannadiga cultural reactions, Hubli and Dharwar are strong centres of Hindi. Belgaum is very staunchly Maratha, but allows Hindi as a stalking horse.

    Andhra Pradesh cities and Kerala cities are largely Hindi-speaking; it is only in the country that one has to dredge out one’s feeble Tamil and inflict these atrocities on the patient listener.

  15. hoss

    “Where in the speech do the words “national language” occur?”

    The first thing you learn in politics is parsing the language and the words and symbols used by the politicians. He was making a prepared speech and every word of that was carefully written because the controversy has emerged even before he arrived in Dacca.

    Now read his language.
    “Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan. Without one State language, no Nation can remain tied up solidly together and function. Look at the history of other countries. Therefore, so far as the State Language is concerned, Pakistani language shall be Urdu.”

    Without one state language, no nation can remain tied up…So he clearly associated Urdu with the Pakistani Nation.

    “whatever else you may be and whatever you are, you are a Muslim. You belong to a Nation now; you have now carved out a territory, vast territory, it is all yours; it does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi, or a Pathan, or a Bengali; it is yours.”

    Here again he is asking the people to consider themselves as one nation of Muslims, “you are a Muslim. You belong to a Nation now”

    Within that speech he also said this:” So what is the use of saying “we are Bengalis, or Sindhis, or Pathans, or Punjabi”. No, we are Muslims.” Also this, “About language, as I have already said, this is in order to create disruption amongst the Mussalmans.’

    You can read the whole speech here pakistan.gov.pk/Quaid/speech30.htm

    So his emphasis was clearly on one nation and one language. No matter how literal you are, the clear translation of his speech was that he wanted Urdu as the only national language of Pakistan.

    The question really is what the significance was for being so emphatic over the language issue? It appeared that he traveled to E. Pak just to force Urdu on Bengalis. In this context, it is really important to see what PM liaquat had said about the language and what words he said that flared up a strong resentment and response from Bengalis? Jinnah’s visit was clearly to defuse that situation.

    Besides this controversy one needs to ask why it was necessary to declare Urdu as the only state language. Why not accept all language and declare one as official language, unless the issue was used to flame the already brewing language controversy in India.

    Other than that, Amar Jalil is again right in claiming that someone forced Jinnah to read that speech. No sane politician would go and make that speech threatening and forcing a language on the majority of the country. One must read the whole speech to understand the tone of the speech.

    Bengali was declared a national language within the next three or four years and that later became part of the 1956 constitution. Even in 1956 other languages such as Sindhi, Balochi, Sariaki, pushtoo and Hazara were ignored. What was the harm in declaring them national languages too?

    One more point before I go.

    Urdu was not the most commonly understood language in Pakistan at Partition.
    Hardly 5% Bengali in E. Bengal understood the language. Same was the case with Sindhi, Pathan and Baloch. Sindhi, Bengali and Pashto were the medium of instruction in schools and Urdu was only taught in Punjab. There are still tons of people in Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP that don’t understand and if some do understand, they can’t communicate in the Urdu.

    The interesting part is that English is still the official language.

    No matter how you look at it, it was really stupid of Jinnah to go to Dacca and make that stupid speech.

  16. ylh

    Once again hoss the issue is not how stupid Jinnah was etc etc but whether he declared Urdu to be the “national language” and two whether Bengali was banned by him or his “forced speech”.

    While I do not deny that the nation as an adjunct of the state makes national language virtually indistinguishable from the state but the word “nation” itself was used by Jinnah – being a politician- in different ways at different times. I do not deny that this was a paper speech written by someone else (chaudhry Muhammad Ali) but my point is that there remains a distinction between national language and state language …and that Bengali was not banned.

  17. karunx

    @ vajra

    all that is correct…explains the wider reach of bollywood pointed out by hayyer.

    by the way i heard on TV when the three langugae system was trying to be adopted, haryana had opted to learn ‘telugu’😉

  18. Majumdar

    YLH/HP saeen,

    Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan.

    This sentence was particularly unfortunate and in bad taste. Otherwise the rest of the stuff quoted by HP saeen seems to be in order.

    Regards

  19. Majumdar

    Yasser,

    Aga Khan at one point suggested Arabic. Bengalis were ready to accept Arabic btw.

    Even Hindu Bengalis? Btw, this seems to be a very sensible suggestion to adopt Arabic as Pakistan’s official language. Many dear friends on chowk are of this view.

    The mistake we made instead was to accept the Bengali demand of equality with Urdu…

    So what in your opinion shud have been done instead?

    Regards

  20. ylh

    Urdu should have remained the state language along with English.

    However education and culture should always have been provincial subjects, leaving it to provinces to decide.

  21. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Urdu should have remained the state language along with English.

    This situation wud certainly have been very acceptable in W Pak. The problem is that this wud not have gone down very well (and it didn’t) in E Pak- the rural Bengali peasantry which constituted the large majority of population hardly understood Urdu. Still this wud have passed had it not been for the utterances of Pak’s leaders – all of them foreigners to East Bengal- which appeared a bit like bullying.

    Anyhow, I think the language issue was just a symptom, not the disease- the real issue was that Pakistan shud have been born as two different nations. As long as the fear of the Hindoo remained they remained united, when that receded, they went separate ways.

    Regards

  22. hoss

    “Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan.”

    No wonder every leader after him called every political opponent a Ghadar.
    Jinnah set the tune.

  23. ylh

    I suppose he set the trend in India too when Shaikh Abdullah was imprisoned by Nehru? He even did it in retrospect when he inspired Lincoln to imprison Jefferson Davis and dismiss Georgia state legislature.

    I for one don’t hold it against Z A Bhutto when he called those plotting to create Pakhtunistan from Kabul “ghaddars”.
    Nor do I hold BB’s description of a certain Syed type from Sindh a Ghaddar in any contempt.

    So let us stick to the topic shall we?

  24. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    It may well be justified to call KAGK and his Kashmiri and Naga equivalents traitors. But to say that someone who opposes or seeks to encourage opposition to Urdu/Hindi as the state language of Pak/India as an enemy of the state is a bit harsh, even bordering on intolerance. In any case, hardly a good way of integrating a geographically anomalous entity into one nation, especially where the majority was being asked to adopt an alien language as the state language.

    Regards

  25. ylh

    Well I am not defending Jinnah or his reasons for describing these people as “enemies of Pakistan”.

    My point has been made already.

  26. vajra

    @karunx

    It is quite true that the Mumbai film had a major contribution to make towards cultural integration. Their contribution to linguistic synthesis was very positive. It is quite another thing whether their presumably sincere and well-meaning attempts were entirely well-directed, or well-thought-out. Their approach to the sensitive matter of religion was plastic-bottomed, to say the least. But to understand those issues, in fact to understand what YLH is saying about MNIK, we have to stand back a bit.

    There are of course very deep reserves of feeling behind what YLH has flung in front of us. What was pre-eminent in the minds of a minority, Muslims, was the need to protect their religious practices, their cultural distinctions, whether or not these were observed as strongly as some purists might have sought being a different matter, and their legacy of imperium. What was pre-eminent in the minds of other minorities, Sikhs as a religious minority, the Dravidians as a linguistic congeries of minorities, the tribals of central India and the tribals of eastern/ north eastern India as ethnic minorities and the lower castes as a social minority, was the preservation of their level of existence against further depredations by the brute majority, the caste Hindu.

    In Pakistan, it seems that once the Muslim homeland was achieved, other drivers, other compulsions took over. Quite clearly, for the Bengali Muslim, it was not enough to be Muslim, it was increasingly important to be Bengali as well. Bengali was the new ‘minority’ in Pakistani politics, ironically so, given their relative numbers. It is clear that the other linguistic and ethnic groups thought similarly, but none so deeply and with such a sense of deprivation and being discriminated against as the Bengali. Significantly, it seems, to an outsider at least, that it was after 71 that the other ethnicities become more aggressive in their approach. I hope somebody will comment on this, either to refute or to corroborate, and throw some light on the matter, although among the regulars, there have been some clear statements, not entirely beyond controversy.

    Coming back to India and to the transmutation of the quest for survival among the minorities, of those named above, the Sikhs obviously sought and achieved a Sikh majority state, by the simple expedient of letting go the Hindu majority areas; the Dravidians primarily through the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, and the growth of an expressive, populist political ethos in the state, led by cinema idols, but supported by a parallel movement in Andhra Pradesh, and the remove-Hindi campaigns, not to mention the support for the LTTE and subsequent minor movements within Tamil Nadu; the tribals through armed struggle, first in the north-east, presently in the jungle heartland; and the social minority by mountaining attacks on the heart of social fundamentalism through use of the political mechanism.

    So what is happening? It appears that as each identity signifier gets resolved, another, deeper underlying, perhaps initially not so urgently felt, takes its place. An example is Telingana, or Telengana. The initial minority and identity impulse was Telugu identity. Over the years, however, the Hyderabad districts, the Telengana districts, have achieved a different understanding of their identity. It is no longer enough to be Andhra/Telugu. They now aspire to a separate administrative bloc, concentrating on their peculiar dry-land problems, which the boisterous Andhra land-barons from the lush, river-deltas of the coast never could understand.

    It is possible through this process of discovering deeper identities to understand the politics of the Indian nation. It seems possible to tie together the schmalzy religious formulation of the Mumbai film, the deep anger of the Bengali Muslim, the Sangh Parivar movement and a number of other issues into a single paradigm.

    Just to touch on this very, very lightly, the Mumbai film industry’s depiction of religion reflects a general conviction that the religious identity crisis has been permanently solved by the creation of Pakistan, and the venting of the pent-up feeling of the Muslim minority. It amounts to stating that whether they lived in Pakistan or not, the creating of a Muslim (not necessarily Islamic) homeland permanently met the demands of the Muslim Indian. Therefore, those who remained behind in India were depicted as harmless, mazhar- and temple-visiting, Hindu- and idol-tolerant sweetie-pies who would never hurt a fly, and spent their final years as blind, pious, children of God popular with the children of the locality. This was in line with the residual One Nation myth which was the antidote to the Two Nation model.

    The Mumbai model really claims that religion doesn’t matter, now it is a question of class struggle, or of social difficulties faced by upwardly mobile social integrationists. Religion as a divisive or edgy force, for good or for worse, comes in only when the significant other, Pakistan, is depicted trying to destroy this fixed order of things, using religious fundamentalists and terrorists, using religion as sort, to influence silly individuals who do not understand that religion was important only as a way to make friends with the neighbours, one’s own neighbours in the chawl, not the strange creatures across the border. Mumbai sincerely believes that the religion thing is no longer important, and it’s time to get back and get to grips with other important matters.

    In this view, then, the BJP and the Sangh Parivar is irrelevant, and its objectives are hilarious. Because of the deep-rooted nature of the underlying beliefs which support this paradigm, it does not seem that a hard look at the issue, something on the lines of Khuda ke Liye, is practically impossible.

    It should be possible to explore most of the other manifestations mentioned above, in terms of the same paradigm: that each level of discovery of identity and subsequent resolution, comes with an automatic door into the next layer of identity.

    Left to itself, presumably Pakistani politics and national development will follow these identical steps. Each crisis of identity will be met by a response, and if successful, it will give way to a deeper level of identity which seemed less important earlier, and gains in importance only due to the resolution or to the sublimation of the earlier quest for identity.

    It is precisely because there is a counter-current, a secular, democratic and liberal current that these divisions between top-down and bottom-up, of ethnic identity politics opposed to strong-centre politics, have become so important. These are in fact the two contending forces seeking to replace the religious identity as the central theme for the nation, and not always successful because the religious identity of Pakistan is in fact so strong that it still holds out against the counter-currents; it still suppresses the next layer of identity very successfully.

  27. Majumdar

    Dada,

    Very well-written as usual.

    the religious identity of Pakistan is in fact so strong that it still holds out against the counter-currents

    Baluchistan perhaps is the exception but the Baloch don’t have the numbers to do anything about it. Neither can the Indians- thanks to Pokharan- Chagai and the geography.

    Regards

  28. vajra

    @Majumdar

    The Iranians are a bigger threat than any of us realise. I have become very fond of my Pakistani friends; they face a bigger challenge than they perhaps take into account. Iran has had an imperial past which took in significant parts of Afghanistan and what is today Pakistan. The border has always been a disputed march; it resembles nothing more than the Russo-Polish frontier, or the Franco-German frontier. It is one of the great disputed lands of history, and, for its population, Iran has always boxed above its weight. When Vikrant went to visit Bandar Abbas, the Iranian Navy was no great shakes; but when the escorting destroyers came out of port, they opened up their gas turbines and accelerated massively in a show of bravado, and gave the CO a bad few minutes before getting out of the way. They are far more self-confident today, if such a thing were possible. The world will hear more from them, and soon, at that.

  29. Majumdar

    Dada,

    The Iranians are a bigger threat than any of us realise. ……..Iran has had an imperial past which took in significant parts of Afghanistan and what is today Pakistan.

    So what my father goes.

    Unless Indians are dumb enuff to go the whole hog with the US-Israel axis against Iran for God knows what reason.

    Regards

  30. Majumdar

    In fact, with USA due to withdraw from A’stan, India maybe forced to resurrect the Indo-Russian-Iranian axis.

    Regards

  31. B. Civilian

    1.It is precisely because there is a counter-current, a secular, democratic and liberal current that these divisions between top-down and bottom-up, of ethnic identity politics opposed to strong-centre politics, have become so important.

    2.the religious identity of Pakistan is in fact so strong that it still holds out against the counter-currents

    3.Baluchistan perhaps is the exception but the Baloch don’t have the numbers to do anything about it

    how did you get to no.2 from no.1? the military estabishment would wish and ‘strives’ for no.2 to be true, but…. it seems, sometimes, more non-pakistanis are taken in than pakistanis.

    why is it that post-partition india has fared better at absorbing these identity-based fissions?

    why was united, british-ruled, congress-led india not able to absorb the ‘first’ identity ‘split’?
    or, ‘united’, military, dictatorial pakistan the ‘second’?

    other than a thousand miles of india inconveniently in between, causing the pak military to decide to let go (via offering hobson’s choice), what is that different between balochistan and (former) east pakistan?

    even if baloch were the same population as east pakistan, it would only make a difference if pakistan were a democracy. and we know what that difference woud be.

    if iran were to make such a decision, the size of the population of balochistan would hardly be an issue, one way or the other…. again, unless iran wishes to integrate the province and become a non-psuedo democracy.

  32. B. Civilian

    In rural Kashmir an Urdu speaker may have difficulty finding his way about.

    do they do a ‘Practical Kashmiri for Ramblers’ course at muridke?

  33. Hayyer

    BC:
    They well may for all I know, but your Muridke types are led in from the border by a guide system. They interact, once inside with the in situ organization not with ordinary villagers. They are hardly ever to be seen because they dwell in the upper mountain reaches in summer. In winter they move down but are not known to live with village folk for any length of time.
    Your other question is more interesting.

    why is it that post-partition india has fared better at absorbing these identity-based fissions?

    Well obviously because they were known and recognized and given the space. Where space is not given violence results.

    why was united, british-ruled, congress-led india not able to absorb the ‘first’ identity ’split’?
    or, ‘united’, military, dictatorial pakistan the ’second’?
    Again not too difficult. If pre 47 India were a long existing democracy space would have been created. Alternatively, if AIML had no separatist agenda and had just contested elections in a ‘whole’ India it could hardly have done worse than its present position. The minority Muslim states would still have denied political power to their Muslims. One can argue that the seven million or so who migrated are still politically powerless. The Muslim majority states would still be ruled by democratically elected Muslim majorities. And, the central government would have to contend with a very strong Muslim presence, something noticeably absent now in Delhi.
    The Indian Army would be one instead of two at each others throats, and China would not have be friends with one and enemy to the other.

  34. hoss

    I am unable to quote specific points raised by Vajra, B. Civ, and Hayyer now due to BB limitations.
    I got to admit these posts show some phenomenal grasp of issues in Pakistan. It was a pleasure to read them as I have been making somewhat similar themes for a long time with obviously less scholarly expressions.
    A few years ago I had tried to explain to YHL and whosoever read that post that immediately after the partition the politics changed in Pakistan. The people, who were more vocal before the partition, now had very little political backing in the political affairs. The lead should have been with the components that constituted Pakistan rather than the elements that agitated for it in the united India. After the partition the agitator got in to power courtesy Jinnah and they attempted to keep the constituents out of the power.
    There were two opposing groups in Pakistan. One led by the ML and the other led by the people that should really be called the remnants of Congress. Of course the congress group was in disarray but it gained strength when the communists and other liberal elements joined them. The Bengali Language issue banded them together. As the opposition to the ML minority rule grew, the ML leader started relying more on bureaucracy and the army to maintain the power.
    The interesting part was that on August 15 there was a complete role reversal. The ML which stood for partition and a weak center (read CMP) in India, all of a sudden converted into a champion of the unified center. The groups that before partition believed in one Indian nation and unity of center in Delhi turned in to champions of the sub nationalities and a weak center in Pakistan.
    So in a way Jinnah understood what forces were opposing him and he mentioned them in his speech in Dhaka. Since communist were the backbone of opposition by providing the ideological feed, they became the first target. Jinnah riled against them and the Communist Party was banned in 1948 when Jinnah was still alive. Then prominent communists were arrested in 1951.
    The exit of ML streamlined politics in India but the insistence of ML to continue to hold powers without any electoral legitimacy and by hook or by crook, led to Pakistan gradually moving in to first the civil bureaucrat and then under the army’s control.
    Essentially the struggle in Pakistan is still the same. As Vajra mentioned the separation in 1971 was good for Bengalis but sent the other secular groups in Pakistan in tailspin. The one nation and one language group still controls through the army’s help but the secular elements that have more strength in smaller provinces oppose the one nation, one language establishment.
    It is wrong to suggest that secular, nationalist and democratic demands are strong in Baluchistan only. You will hardly find any Sindhi who would support anything other than secularism and democratic rights. Same is the case in NWFP where ANP cadre has many time shown its preference to secularism and national rights including the right to have their language as one of the national language. As I have said it on other threads, the struggle for secularism in Pakistan is tied with the struggle for democracy and national rights and since Jinnah stood for one nation and one language, he is more an establishment figure than a model for secularism and democracy.

  35. ylh

    Hoss mian,

    As usual you are absolutely out of your depth vis a vis the facts.

    The communist party of Pakistan was banned in 1954 not 1948.

    Your analysis is completely off the mark and makes no sense whatsoever.

  36. ylh

    PS if I start pointing out the lies, inaccuracies and the absolutely inverting of facts on their head …especially vis a vis how Muslim League lost power in Pakistan to civil bureaucracy, that Hoss is invented, it will take another article.

    Suffice to say if anyone wants to see why the so called left was discredited in Pakistan, one can take Hoss as a test case. There is nothing to choose between a right wing Mullah and a Sindhi ethno-nationalist like Hoss. My own experience with Sindhis is – and I will now be abused for being a Punjabi chauvinist though I don’t give a damn about it- is that most Sindhis are extremely bigoted when it comes to Islam. Some Sindhis speak of “secularism” only because the state has made an awesome deal of Islam… Otherwise on the nitty gritty, the common Sindhi is much more reactionary, rigid and Islamic-minded than a Punjabi or a Mohajir – the two ethnic groups which today can legitimately hold their own in the 21st century given that they have a semblance of a middle class … Sindh is a feudal society where feudalism plays on religious superstition.

    The only progressives in Sindh are the Hindu Sindhis and they have no truck with the wadera-nawaz politics of GM Syed’s remnants.

  37. @ylh

    All I wanted to say was that Pakistan would have been better off with Urdu/Bengali andEnglish as the official languages at the centre. Your subsequent comments have clarified that this was done later, but I guess it was too late.

    @vajra

    Your explanation does aptly describe a lot of the politics of Republican India. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta put it, politics of identity is bound to thrive in a society that mutilates self-respect.

    However, I dont think the Telangana movement and the recent Maharashtra agitations/troubles are the consequence of simply a layer of identity coming to the fore after the one above has been ‘realized’. There is a very strong element of betrayal and breaking of a contract here. In Telangana, it mainly concerns the distribution of the state’s resources, which many there feel has been unjust.

    Situation in Maharashtra is more complex, a lot of the Hindi speaking middle and upper class, along with other non-Marathi groups are not honoring the unspoken ‘rule’ to learn the local language. And from my interactions with the Hindi middle class, they have no intention of doing so, beating down every attempt to reason with them using the ‘one nation’ and ‘national language’ stick. Marathi people did accept Hindi, but only as a link language, and the understanding was that the Hindi people would eventually learn Marathi. What we have instead is that even 2nd generation children of Hindi migrants dont speak Marathi. The same situation now seems to be developing in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and even Chennai and the consequences could be dire.

    I think social conflict in the sub-continent is here to stay, atleast for the next few generations.

  38. Sorry, last line should read, identity based social conflict.

  39. TKS

    AFAIK at dacca uni speech Jinnah declared – “Urdu and only urdu will be the state language of pakistan.” A student immediately stood up and protested and this was very significant considering the stature of Jinnah.

    Why urdu got preference over bengali? Based on what criteria? As I (and we in bangladesh) understand it, his declaration/preference/insistence was totally illogical. As long as this particular issue is concerned, he behaved like an illogical person. period.

    In your attempt to clear some historical fallacies, may be at the same time you are promoting some.
    [please excuse my poor english]

  40. “but my point is that there remains a distinction between national language and state language …and that Bengali was not banned.”

    I beg to differ. Let us see the chronology of the dispute (from Wikipedia):

    1) In 1947, a key resolution at a national education summit in Karachi advocated Urdu as the sole state language, and its exclusive use in the media and in schools.

    Protests from Bengal followed – Tamaddun Majlish, a Bengali Islamic cultural organisation stipulated Bengali as an official language of Pakistan and as a medium of education in East Pakistan.

    2) The Pakistan Public Service Commission removed Bengali from the list of approved subjects, as well as from currency notes and stamps.

    3) The central education minister Fazlur Rahman made extensive preparations to make Urdu the only state language of Pakistan. So if all of a sudden Urdu became the only state language, the educated society of East Pakistan would become ‘illiterate’ and ‘ineligible’ for government positions.

    3) Assembly member Dhirendranath Datta proposed legislation in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to allow members to speak in Bengali and authorise its use for official purposes. Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan and the Muslim League denounced the proposal as an attempt to divide the Pakistani people, thus the legislation was defeated.

    4) In the height of civic unrest in 1948 over the language issue Governor-General of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah arrived in Dhaka on 19 March 1948. On 21 March, at a civic reception at Racecourse Ground, he claimed that the language issue was designed by a “fifth column” to divide Pakistani Muslims. Jinnah further declared that “Urdu, and only Urdu” embodied the spirit of Muslim nations and would remain as the state language, labelling those who disagreed with his views as “Enemies of Pakistan”.

    5) The Pakistan government later suggested that Bengali be written in Arabic script, as a potential solution to the language conflict.

    6) The protests of the 21st February, 1952 was called to protest the central government’s proposal of writing the Bengali language in Arabic script. Section 144 was imposed.

    7) On 21st of February, 1952 students began gathering on the University of Dhaka premises in defiance of Section 144. The vice-chancellor asked police to stop firing and ordered the students to leave the area. However, the police open fired on the students killing many and arrested several students for violating section 144 as they attempted to leave. Thus the 1952 Bengali language movement gathered much public support.

    8) Even after 1952 repressions against the movement continued. West Pakistani politicians such as Fazlur Rahman aggravated sectional tensions by declaring that anyone who wanted Bengali to become an official language would be considered an “enemy of the state.”

    9) In 1954 police arrested students and other protesters who were commemorating 21st February (the monument was destroyed by police earlier).

    10) The situation changed after the United Front coalition, led by A. K. Fazlul Huq and the Awami League won the elections in 1954.

    On 7 May 1954, the constituent assembly resolved, with the Muslim League’s support, to grant official status to Bengali. Bengali was recognised as the second official language of Pakistan on 29 February 1956, and article 214(1) of the constitution of Pakistan was reworded to “The state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali.”

  41. hoss

    I would actually welcome any lies that you find in what I wrote. Isn’t it the truth that the ML rule transformed in to first the civil Bureaucracy rule and later the army rule? ML did not hold any national elections and the first elections that were held in Bengal saw ML annihilated by Jugtu front. They ran away from the national elections because they knew that their asses would be handed out to them in Bengal and there was no guarantee that they would win in West Pakistan either despite the Jharloo made popular by the various Punjab Muslim league ministries. Once they were pinned for elections in Dec 1958, the army rescued the one nation, one language crowd at the center.
    The reasons behind accepting the Bengali as National language in the 1956 constitution were malicious too. They wanted to win over some Bengali leaders and they did like Suharwardy but the real truth was they wanted to create a one unit in West Pakistan to create a fake parity between the two wings and nullify the Bengal majority. The simple question is when you are declaring Bengali as the national language after so much resistance, why would you not declare other languages as national languages too. So the first it was One National or State language and when they hammered on that, they went for the two national Languages, why not five or six national languages to represent all in Pakistan.
    I never mentioned anything about anyone’s ethnicity because that is not what the debate is all about. But I see that you jump to ethnic slurs as soon as you find yourself in the corner. Lastly, I see that you don’t have a basic understanding of the secularism. A person can be a staunch follower of a religion but he can still be secular and support secularism in state affairs.
    Thanks Rezwan for the rundown of the whole affair.

  42. B. Civilian

    hayyer

    just contested elections in a ‘whole’ India

    do you mean elections with no separate/communal electorates?

    did the successful fission result from a single general election? the cmp was after the elections. did just one election mean that, by the time of cmp, it was already too late?

  43. Sameet

    @Vajra,

    “All Oriyas speak Hindi, even in Kolkata; it has to do with their resentment of cultural chauvinism and the perceived domination of Bengal…..”

    Very true. My uncle, an Oriya, won’t speak in Bengali to another bengali person, even though he is fluent in Bengali, because of the resentment you alluded to. It’s his way of showing his finger at “those damned Bongs” who ruined the economic climate of Eastern India and claimed Rosogulla as their own when it was an Oriya preparation….

  44. B. Civilian

    …..in comparison the awami league contested the election* on the – to many separatist – platform of the ‘six points’. yet, in sh. mujeeb ur rehman’s own words (as reported by asghar khan, sherbaz mazari and others) even till 24 march 1971, it was not too late.

    *pakistan’s very first national election (1945/6 elections were the second under GoIA35)

  45. vajra

    @BC/B Civilian/Bloody Civilian

    By inference. The logic used was that two countries were formed at one instant; one went in a certain direction to a certain extent. On examining the situation of the other, all other conditions being considered equal, there is an apparent retardation seen. If this is to be explained, and if it is not due entirely to other forces, then it has to be ascribed to the residual effect of the original identity adopted.

    The alternative, which perhaps you are pointing us towards, is that in fact, the original identity was discarded at about the same rate as in the control sample, but a unique set of political and sociological circumstances, the intervention of an unsuspected institution in areas beyond its prescriptive scope of work, caused a discontinuity.

    Stripped of jargon, the alternative is to say that the rate of change with regard to identity was about the same in both cases, but in the case of Pakistan, it was distorted by
    1. Weak leadership succeeding Jinnah;
    2. Vulnerability of this weak leadership to blackmail by the mullahs, since the alternative was to accept the democratic overhang of the Bengalis;
    3. A desperate need to perpetuate themselves leading to the arbitrary actions of Ghulam Mohammed, Iskandar Mirza and finally Ayub Khan;
    4. A continuation of this peculiar set of circumstances in later times, through Yahya Khan and Bhutto’s overthrow by Zia, leading to the imposition of parochial laws which disenfranchised significant sections, in an attempt to perpetuate an individual’s grip on power;
    5. A perpetuation of this situation in turn due to geo-political complications, namely, the Afghan situation;
    6. As for the present, joining the dots is I think sufficient.

    If we are to consider the relative strength of these two models, the one I outlined in my original comment, and the one that perhaps you would have preferred to see detailed, we have to consider the role of the elite political establishment in the two countries. In one, due to various factors, some fortuitous, a Constitution happened without too much chicanery or finagling, or interference by selfish people who wanted to stay on in power. In the other, this never really took off, because of the very negative role played by the political leadership in the early years, which resulted in a vacuum filled by the Army.

    In fairness, we must also consider the innate conflict between East and West wings. If Bengal had been a smaller province, if the Pakistani administrative model had been decentralised and oriented towards the greater power of the component states, trouble might have been averted. It was not, the model was centralised, and trouble happened.

    Is this what you are hinting at, and if so, what is your analysis? In this light, what is your reading of the situation? Was Islamism latent in the country, and allowed to grow due to a lack of any reasonable alternative until too late? Or was it an artificial reversal of a natural trend away (a trend towards the relatively more secular issues of provincial power and decentralisation), a reversal authored by a civilian dictator and a military dictator following in quick succession, both of whom had the same objectives?

    @Vikram

    I agree with you that there was a significant loss of detail in the two instances you have cited. This was partly due to some embarrassment at the length of the comment, and some misguided effort at shortening it, resulting in sloppy thinking. Another contributory factor was the Procrustean dilemma of trying to fit the paradigm proposed as being fully considered and argued, when in fact, it needed further refinement.

    While agreeing with you on the Telengana situation, I must point out that betrayal, or the perception that insufficient funds were spent on it (cf. my reference to the blindness of the coastal Andhra landlord to the special arid country characteristics of Telengana and Rayalaseema alike), happens to be one of the triggers of growth of an alternative identity. Many such triggers may be proposed for different specific conditions in the country; these do not, in my view, contradict the paradigm proposed, but are merely increasingly granular detail.

    Do you agree?

    Regarding Maharashtra, the implicit social contract between Marathi-speaking manoos and the Hindi speaking immigrants is an interesting thought. You mentioned the very interesting parallel examples of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai (perhaps the ordering could be different, in terms of the propensity of each to accept Hindi).

    In my view, not to contradict what you have stated, but to broaden the scope, we need to consider that the original conflict in Maharashtra, or, correctly speaking, Mumbai, was not between Marathi and Hindi speakers, but between Marathi and Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam speakers. Seen in this light, the conflict becomes more rounded in nature, less two-dimensional.

    In that context, would you consider the sub-text in each of the specific examples you mentioned? for instance, the conflict between Rekta and Telugu in Hyderabad; the conflict between Kannada and Tamil or Telugu in Bangalore (large parts of KGF are Telugu-speaking, as you know, the Tamilian domination of Bengaluru and certain specific services and trades is common coin, the Tamil Nadu view that Bengaluru belonged to Tamil Nadu rather than to namma Karnataka is well known); and the conflict, far more muted than the previous two cases, in Chennai between Tamil on the one hand and Telugu and Malayalam on the other? This gloss puts rather a different complexion on things, considering the richness of interchange and challenge and response between different linguistic pulls and pushes, and consequent ambiguity in the growth of identity model.

    I would appreciate your comment on this clarification.

    @Sameet

    Finger OK, ‘damned Bongs’ OK (gulp! remind me to change number plates when driving past Bhubaneswar ;-)), but the Rosogulla as Oriya? No way, Jose, not by the hair on Kharavela’s chinny chin chin. That way lies trouble; we will then come to a point where we ‘cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of war’. Let sleeping moiras lie. And do not disturb the shades of K. C. Das’ grandfather.

  46. B. Civilian

    vajra

    yes, that is my argument indeed. islamism was by and large alien to a significant majority even as butto was incorporating it in the form of the 2nd amendment. it did not make any difference to people’s more or less indifference to religion-ism. what it did do though was to give the mullahs a boost in morale and confidence (manifesting itself in PNA’s nizam e mustafa movement, for example).mullahs themselves were more suprised than anyne else. the other guy – who, btw, also thought himself the cleverest man on earth – to give them a pleasant surprise was musharraf in 2002.

    it was not until zia that the very psyche – the pakistani psyche – was altered… almost to the point of brainwashing. zia’s predecessors had helped him in terms of setting a precedent or two, and the state was in no shape to offer resistance to gen. zia. but zia, in fact, did not (and didn’t need to, given his main focus) subvert the existing law that much. indeed, he had the common sense to stop short of bringing the state machinery to a complete halt (something that the likes of hamid gul and aslam beg… and even wannabe ameer-ul-momineen nawaz sharif did not have). his project was to alter the people’s psyche ie identity. in that sense, zia really went for the jugular.

    no predecessor had taken up this project with the same level of seriousness, even though they had exploited it often and unhesitatingly enough for zia to take it to the next level. being naturally a conservative bigot, it was the natural ‘core competence’ for him to use to shore up his power (and it was a natural extension to the nizam e mustafa movement of his enemy’s enemies).

    20 years, great sectarian strife, 9/11 and months of weekly suicide bombings later, a significant number are once again repulsed and alienated from zia-ist indoctrination. many are confused (you know one or two examples here on pth too). a diehard core – somewhat smaller but still bigger than it ever was before 1979 – remains entrenched, and dangerously mutilating in reaction to unrelenting pressure from unprecedented directions.you see two or three examples of this diehad core too on pth, now and then.

    the latent or natural trend is neither islamism nor secularism in the ideal/modern sense. alienism to islamism is what is the underlying psyche and culture here, whether dominated into temporary dormancy or dominant.

  47. B. Civilian

    …. which is about as fertile a ground that you are likely to get in a third world country to push, from the top down, for a secular, liberal democracy.

  48. B. Civilian

    returning to the thread, the speech writer ch muhammad ali was of course the same closet mullah who had maudoodi go free after being condemned to death, formed the nizam e islam party after retiring from civil service, was the man behind the objectives’ resoluton (convinced LAK of its utility) and, as ylh keeps reminding us, had the official record of jinnah’s 11 aug 47 speech altered. he had more in common with zia – military uniform excepted – than just hailing from the same part of east punjab.

  49. vajra

    @B. Civilian (presumably the now-current usage? you might as well go the extra 22 yards and make it B. Civil, thus frightening possible dissidence into submission straight off, erm, the bat, as it were)

    Having got the personal attack out of the way, back to the topic.😉

    Just what I feared, when you first cleared your throat in that portentous way. Ah, well, back to the drawing board. Pity; I thought the paradigm was such a good fit to circumstances all around.

    Would you define Ataturk’s attempt as yet another enforced identity, an artificial, not-natural effort?

    This exchange, and of course the implications of your differences with Hoss, underline the dangers of outsiders, even earnest, eager-to-learn ones with spectacles, trying to get a grip on Pakistan affairs. Regarding the Hoss conversation, leaving aside the friendly exchanges about each other’s intellectual capabilities, his view was rather attractive in the abstract; it’s just that the aberration you have pointed out makes it necessary to attack the dangerous hard-core fundamentalist mass from a centralised (and for the time being centralising) position. Otherwise, in the parallel world case, if no interference had occurred, it would have been natural and reasonable for localised identities to arise, based on provincial linguistic and ethnic sensibilities, and for this to gradually erode the earlier Muslim (not Islamic) identity.

    Would you agree that the paradigm proposed would be aligned with your thinking if amended? The amendment to propose that intervention, a Mussolini or Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao and so on, should be understood to be always possible, and to have special effects, which have to be studied separately, in parallel to the normal life-cycle of identities being discovered in a repetitive kind of way, new ones supplanting, even sub-suming in a way, older ones.

    How would you analyse such interventions? Do they have a natural life-cycle? Do they have a determinate period, after which they suffer catastrophic decline (Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin)? Are these declines always due to wars (assuming for a moment that the Afghan War triggered the end of the Russia that Stalin built)? Can these interventions follow a non-catastrophic ending life cycle? What is the resultant impact on the discovery of identity? While nothing changed for Germany or Italy – cases of stabilised and consolidated identities perhaps – Russia is a textbook example of the pent-up release of popular energies going into identity definition.

    What do you think?

  50. ylh

    Like I said Hoss I would have to waste a lot of time pointing out the utter inaccuracies. Suffice to say your little boo boo about when the Communist Party was banned is an indication of where you stand in terms of veracity.

    Rezwan,

    You “beg” to differ and yet you have not produced a single thing that shows what or how you are differing.

    How is the state language the same as national language …and was Bengali “banned” ?

    The Jinnah quotes have been provided. It clearly says that Bengali could be the official language of Bengal province…but why this insistence on Bengali being the state language of Pakistan?

    Today Punjabis are 55 percent …should they ask for Punjabi as a national language?

    Those who argue the language issue, speak from both sides really.

  51. @ vajra

    Geographical differences are part of the debate, but from my readings, there was a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between Andhra and Telangana that was allegedly not implemented. As you are probably aware, the two regions have quite different histories, one being the centre of the Nizam’s kingdom and the other part of the Madras province. Its quite possible that developmental neglect and misallocation of resources added to an already existing resentment instead of it being the other way around.

    As for Maharashtra, I think the contemporary situation is very different than the one during the genesis of the Shiv Sena. Marathi culture and language (and indeed Indian cultures and languages) are widely perceived to be under great threat, in large part by a globalized, corporatized Bollywood. This article puts things very nicely, http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Citycitybangbang/entry/disowning-the-regional

    The conflict in the 60s was about political goals and to some extent, jobs, the conflict today is about perceived cultural subversion and again to a certain extent, jobs.

  52. Hayyer

    BC: 2:53
    My counterfactual question was in the realm of cloud cuckoo land. With no CMP and no separate electorates ( or even with separate electorates if you will)-All that is now Pakistan plus Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal, Haryana and Indian Punjab as well as West Bengal under Muslim majority governments, democratically elected, plus, a solid 25 percent of the central Parliament members.
    Sonia Gandhi or her substitute would have to compromise with the AIML if hadn’t autodestructed by then every time and on every vote in the legislature. Even Nehru in 1952 elections would have been on the defensive and would not have ridden over the Indian landscape as he did for 17 years.

    YLH:

    “The Jinnah quotes have been provided. It clearly says that Bengali could be the official language of Bengal province…but why this insistence on Bengali being the state language of Pakistan?

    Today Punjabis are 55 percent …should they ask for Punjabi as a national language?”

    That is an interesting question.
    If they do, can they get away with it? But do they even want to-as the Bengalis may have wanted to, if at all?
    Urdu is Pakistan’s predominant literary language but it was not always the lingua franca of the parts that now comprise Pakistan. There may be a case for having four national languages or even five if you include Kashmiri (which is a national language in India). Urdu along with English could be the official language of the centre and of such states as opt for it.
    National language does not mean much in India except the right to have the value of the currency printed on currency notes in that language and the right to speak in and therefore have simultaneous translation facilities in Parliament

  53. ylh

    BC,

    I meant to put a “question mark” after Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. While the speech I quoted seems written, the one on 21st March -when read in entirety” is very much in Jinnah’s own style.

    Here is yet another quote from the same speech that people like Hoss and Rezwan glossed over:

    “Whether Bengali shall be the official language of this province is a matter for the elected representatives of the people of this Province to decide. I have no doubt that this question shall be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants of this Province at the appropriate time”

    Immediately upon the creation of Pakistan several groups started their own propaganda …

    1. The former Congress Mullahs went about declaring that Pakistan would not be an Islamic state and tried to organize opposition in the cities of West Pakistan..

    2. The Fakir of Ipi revolt.

    3. The disturbance created by Sindhis against Mohajir settlement and the constituent assembly’s sovereign decision to make Karachi federal territory.

    4. Insistence by certain non-representative groups in Bengal that Bengali should not just be official provincial language but the “national” language of Pakistan.

    These were all conspiracies in my view. Pakistan was inherently strong and could have overcome these had it not been for the decision to change the federal capital (in part to please Sindhi nationalists and at the behest of establishment goons like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto), Pakistan most likely would have survived the partition of 1971.

    I am still unable to logically comprehend why Bengali had to be imposed on the rest of Pakistan as well. And when it was, it was accepted by all. Currency notes from the era are in Bengali. Even Jinnah’s grave has inscription in Bengali.

    So I am afraid Jinnah was on the dot about the agitation being a conspiracy and as such I am not inclined to believe that the speech was entirely off the mark or foolish.

  54. ylh

    Hayyer,

    National language in Pakistan meant that everything would be in English, Urdu and Bengali. Interestingly many of the forms persist.

    When was Urdu not the lingua franca of Pakistan. This is an extremely controversial matter. My own research shows that “Hindustani” was more less understood in all of North India from Bengal to NWFP. In my opinion that makes Urdu the lingua franca, urdu being the same language in Arabic script.

    There are two things here:

    1. Whether Urdu should have been the national language?

    2. Whether the agitation in Bengal was about Bengali language rights or what?

    ….

    The first question is debatable.

    The second issue is complete misrepresentation by people like Amar Jaleel and the kind.

  55. hoss

    It is correct that CP was banned in 1954 but that is trivial unrelated issue in this debate. I write from memory and can make mistakes in dates but that does not take away the fact that Jinnah and his centralist buddies were totally wrong in insisting on Urdu as being the only state or National Language. It is also childish to insist on where it is written that the Bengali was banned. There is no one that can ban a language. Even the mighty Jinnah did not have that power. The term National and State language were interchangeably used on many occasions by different people at that time. In the 1956 constitution both languages were declared National languages instead of State languages.

    I have made it clear in my previous posts and you have not been able to refute that Jinnah actually meant National Language when he used the term state language.

    Again, instead of threatening to write to correct the record, I am asking you write so that we see how much history you can distort.
    The chronology that Rezwan posted is accurate and is verifiable from many sources.

    Bciv
    “platform of the ’six points’. yet, in sh. mujeeb ur rehman’s own words (as reported by asghar khan, sherbaz mazari and others) even till 24 march 1971, it was not too late.” Bciv

    Honestly Bciv this is pure garbage that many liars like Asghar Khan and Sherbaz Mazari spew out. I did not comment on many lies in Asghar Khan’s video because he has a history of lying about his role. He wrote the letter to Zia inviting for a coup in early April, well before the army was sent on the streets around mid April in Lahore and parts of Karachi.
    Btw, Sherbaz Mazari, Asghar Khan and Begum Nasim Wali Khan were ready to kill Mufti Mehmood and Nasarullah Khan after they consented to an agreement with Bhutto on July 3 or 4, 1977.

    The factual situation is that Pakistan’s fate was sealed immediately after the election results were announced. AL with complete majority and support from NAP in Baluchistan and NWFP would have forever closed the chapter of army rule in Pakistan and that was unacceptable to the Pak army. After the results what happened was just a charade. I know from many accounts that even though both parties were pretending to talk, mostly they never talked even in the closed door meetings.

    I think Bciv has captured the political landscape accurately in his post. B. Civilian February 24, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Appendage: Zia succeeded because of his complete control of the media and specially the TV which at that time was beginning to have an enormous influence over peoples mind. Ten years of pounding took its toll and the irrational trends that have appeared in the Pak society are the direct result of that media/TV campaign. Pakistan always had people like Zaid Hamid in both Punjab and in Karachi (mostly under JI influence) but they never got the celebrity status that they have now.

    Vajra,
    I don’t see much difference with Bciv. Our only difference perhaps would be over the provincial autonomy issue. I generally agree with his posts on this thread. I think a centralized response is possible but the center of the response would be smaller provinces and not exactly the current center of Pakistan.

  56. ylh

    The chronology of Rezwan is not the point. It is what you intend to prove by it.

    Your boo boo about Communist Party is as significant as the discussion on Bengali.

    it is people like you who fail to do your research and make ridiculous claims who distort history.

    The claim made by that Jang columnist Amar Jaleel has always been that Jinnah “banned” Bengali. Therefore show us where he banned Bengali? It is like you claiming that communist party was banned in 1948 while Jinnah was still alive… That would form a very significant portion of your argument had it been true. Your entire edifice has crumbled …because frankly you write everything from “memory”. Perhaps you should eat badaam in the morning.

    The problem with your little description of what went wrong is that the establishment in Pakistan ie Civil bureaucracy in aid of military bureaucracy…relied on your “indigenous” native feudals to crush the Muslim League the main leadership of which was derived from UP etc. the clearest example of this is that Republican Party consisted of Dr. Khan sb, Soomros and even Mr. Bhutto. Republican Party was an “indigenous” party of local elements up in arms against Mohajirs.

    Everything goes back to parochialism … which Sindhis and Punjabi feudals and Pushtuns injected against foreign mohajirs.

    Bengal was alienated by the indigenous people of Pakistan and not by Mohajirs. Yahya Khan, Bhutto and other assorted crooks standing in the way of Bengali constitutional majority were not Mohajirs …

    Instead Sindhi ethno-fascists like G M Syed, Amar Jaleel and well you do randi rona of Urdu as national language only because honest analysis will show that Bengalis like Mohajirs were disliked by Sindhis, Punjabis and Pushtuns for their own parochial provincial reasons.

  57. hoss

    You call this a response… Please post something serious for me to respond.
    What conflict of interest Sindhi or Pushtoon had with Bengalis…What was behind those parochial reasons….

  58. ylh

    “You have not been able to refute that Jinnah meant national language when he said state language”

    On the contrary in the absence of Jinnah using the term “national language” and very clearly using “State Language” and the “language of the Pakistan centre” … It you who had to prove that Jinnah was using the terms interchangeably. Neither you nor anyone else has been able to prove it. The argument that the constitution of 1956 made Bengali and Urdu “national languages” is irrelevant because Jinnah last I checked – from memory- died in 1948.

    The issue in any event was the banning of Bengali language which did not happen.

  59. ylh

    Yes. It is a response you can’t counter.

    Parochialism is a curse. You Sindhi ethno-fascists try to justify it in modern language … It is really simply tribalism.

    Your “secularism” is not one that comes out of constitutional rights, fairplay and other niceties…your “secularism” seems to be a preference of tribal parochialism over religious one.

  60. vajra

    @Hoss

    Yes, by and large I find that BC’s corrections are useful and relevant.

    My original response was based on a note written by YLH on MNIK, the movie, and the question of why religion and religious aspects are so stereotyped in Bombay films. The relevance of Bombay films is that they have in fact in some senses been an integrating influence. Therefore their tropes are worth examining, if only to get an insight into what images and assumptions lie within the mind of the ‘man in the street’. This, surely, must be a cornerstone of any enquiry into current, past and possible future quests for identity.

    Why I mention this is because it led to an attempt to seek a model which covers all historical happenings, and interprets them in identity terms. The first attempt, presented in the original note, failed, not having taken into account the distortions of the military intervention. Perhaps the next attempt will be an improvement; perhaps.

    Now you have presented, and YLH has presented additional inputs. Very interesting ones, I might add, and which have transnational implications. You have pointed out the increasing role of the provinces, and the desirability of a smaller Punjab, or a Punjab in many parts, which is a model sought increasingly by Indian politicians for UP, and which they had implemented, perhaps with completely different motives, in Assam.

    YLH has pointed out that a majority cannot impose its language as the state language. In Pakistan, the ridiculous proposition would have been that all of Pakistan should have spoken Bengali. In India, the ridiculous proposition actually made and still in circulation is that Hindi should be the sole language.

    From a personal point of view, I would like to work out if these two aspects can be included into the ‘identity’ model. The questions that seem to be relevant are :

    1. Should a state restructure itself from time to time to reflect the shifting perception of its citizens regarding their identity? Should smaller states be created, and increase the importance of the particular identity signifier that lies behind them: language, culture, religion, anything other than utilitarian benefit to the citizens?

    2. How should a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic state communicate within itself and with the outside world? Is a national language or a state language an important thing? How have Canada, Belgium and Great Britain handled these issues, and in the past, how had Yugoslavia coped? What are the Chinese doing, and how did the Russians look at this problem?

    The discussions on Pakistan that take place are of relevance, in my humble opinion, on a broader plane, and issues raised here have value for many other countries. This is of course partly a defense against lack of knowledge of some of the details of Pakistan’s immediate past history, a defensiveness that leads to an attempt at generalising issues for broader applicability.

  61. Suv

    @Hayyer
    Kashmiri is not spoken in Pakistan. In fact in Pakistan administered Azad “Kashmir” they speak Mirpuri/Pothowari which is a dialect of Punjabi and is similar to Dogri spoken in Jammu region which is my mother tongue. In erstwhile Northern Areas they speak Balti which is a Tibetan language also spoken in Ladakh

  62. Hayyer

    Suv:
    I am aware that Kashmiri is not spoken in PAK. I suggested it in the aspirational sense.
    Potohari differs from Dogri. Potohari is the dialect of not only Pindi and PAK but also of the Poonchis. They speak right it upto Karnah in fact, but surprisingly, not in the adjoining valley of Gurez where the Dardic language Shina takes over. In fact Dogri is spoken only in the hill tracts between the Ravi and the Chenab. Just beyond Akhnur as you enter Naushera the dialect changes to a Potohari form. And as you leave Jammu town towards RSPora the language is almost purely Punjabi as it is in the border tracts of Suchetgarh and Bishnah. Even Dogri, though it now has the status of a separate language was classified by Grierson as a Punjabi dialect. Also surprising is the fact that in Pathankot the accent is Dogri but the language is Punjabi.
    Balti is spoken right upto Kargil. Though the Kargil language itself is a variation of the Leh language which is in turn almost comprehensible to a Lhasa Tibetan.

  63. ylh

    It is not true that Kashmiri is not spoken in Pakistan. it is quite common in Muzaffarabad and environs …and even in Pakistan proper. There are many Kashmiris settled throughout North of Pakistan.

  64. ylh

    I was asked what the “indigenous” people of Pakistan had against Bengalis. The same thing the smaller provinces have against Punjabis today.

    In any event, can someone explain why Sindh stands in the way of the repatriation of Biharis. That would in my view make the situation quite clear.

  65. Hayyer

    YLH
    Your question goes back to what Vajra had to say. Subcontinental identities are forever forming and differentiating. As you peel or paper over one level of difference another emerges. It is an expression of the inability of sub-continental types to form any consolidated identity whatever.

  66. karunx

    @ hayyer and vajra

    Subcontinental identities are forever forming and differentiating. As you peel or paper over one level of difference another emerges. It is an expression of the inability of sub-continental types to form any consolidated identity whatever.

    and thats why perhaps partition ‘based’ on certain ‘cultural/religio’ identity at that point of time was not a good idea. Right?

  67. Rezwan

    “You “beg” to differ and yet you have not produced a single thing that shows what or how you are differing.

    How is the state language the same as national language …and was Bengali “banned” ?

    The Jinnah quotes have been provided. It clearly says that Bengali could be the official language of Bengal province…but why this insistence on Bengali being the state language of Pakistan?”

    You are stuck with Jinnah’s quote, but ignoring the actions of Pakistan government.

    The first protests started when it was stated that Urdu will be the sole state language and the language of media and schools.

    The Pakistan Public Service Commission removed Bengali from the list of approved subjects which started the apprehensions among Bengalis. That time all the civil service of Pakistan was filled up with Urdu speaking Punjabi elites. Bengalis saw this as a clear intention of creating another colonial rule – where Bengalis – with no knowledge of Urdu falling behind in having their equal rights. Their demand was the status of bengali as an official language alongwith Urdu – not lingua franca of pakistan.

    So the protests began. When Jinnah came and gave that speech there were no talk of assuring Bengalis that they will not be treated otherwise – but they saw that the Bengali language was being relegated and Urdu will be imposed everywhere. He said:

    “Whether Bengali shall be the official language of this province is a matter for the elected representatives of the people of this Province to decide. I have no doubt that this question shall be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants of this Province at the appropriate time”

    But in reality Bengalis saw that the government action was to take steps to use Arabic to write Bengali. How would you feel if your government choose to use roman letters to write Urdu? Do you recognize the implications of such plans – and it can take a nation behind – in terms of literature, literacy etc?

    You see conspiracy in the protests of Bengalis. But I see failure of the politicians failing to create trust among brothers and trying to rule with iron fist. If the decision of United government were taken in 1948, no nationalist movement would have been materialized.

    There were no doubt some nationalist elements but the general public were never against Pakistan. It was Jinnah and subsequent government’s failure to let the disparities and apprehensions grow between two people by proving the nationalists points right. Sheikh Mujib never wanted to break Pakistan – as he was supposed to be the prime minister of the country – but he was denied.

    Earning the trust of Bengali people was a tough ask for the Pakistan government. Besides religion, there was nothing common between these two people. Ethnically, culturally, in their thought, language, way of life-in everyway they were two nations. But the subsequent actions were in no way reconcilliatory:

    “While the state policy on education had kept the East Pakistanis less developed, in the case of recruitment in civil, military and other services the same policy of depriving the Bengalis had been effectively carried out. Having most of the recruitment centres, they had the most advantage. Headquarters of the army, navy, air force and all central government services as well as private employees of all kind were located in West Pakistan. Most of the vacancies are either not advertised in the East Pakistani press or the practical difficulty of being interviewed was present. Moreover, the various recruitment boards consisting mostly of West Pakistanis were not so well disposed to accept an East Pakistani.”

    The list goes on .. but that is another debate – The fear of the implications of Urdu being the sole national language of Pakistan- came true for Bengalis in many ways..

  68. Suv

    @YLH
    Kashmiri may be spoken in some pockets or by some migrants but it is not the mother tongue of any part of Pakistan like Punjabi , Pushto etc

  69. Suv

    @Hayyer
    Pothowari is quite similar to Dogri. There are many people who came from Mirpur to Jammu in 1947 and when you hear them speak, it is mutually intelligible with Dogri. Our kul devta is in Bishnah and I go there for annual festival there, Dogri there is not close to Punjabi as you seem to suggest but is close to Dogri spoken in Jammu. I enjoy watching Pothowari serial “Mai Julya England” on youtube

  70. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Rezwan,

    Perhaps you need to read the blog post again. The issue here is not the discrimination against Bengalis which was a major issue and which was not in any way limited to the language issue… but the allegation that Jinnah “banned” Bengali through his address.

    “You are stuck with Jinnah’s quote, but ignoring the actions of Pakistan government. “

    But the issue here is the claim that Bengali was somehow outlawed when Jinnah spoke at race course and Dacca University which is clearly untrue. However if we look at the actions of the Pakistan government then wasn’t Bengali the “national language” in 1950s… which in any event was an illogical demand on the part of Bengalis who were otherwise justified in most of their grievances against West Pakistan. (Btw let me know if you think Punjabi should be the national language of Pakistan now)

    “But in reality Bengalis saw that the government action was to take steps to use Arabic to write Bengali”

    Someone proposed it but when was it ever implemented? The inscription in Bengali on Jinnah’s Mauseoleum is certainly not in Arabic script.

    “How would you feel if your government choose to use roman letters to write Urdu?”

    Personally I would welcome it. However this is irrelevant because at no point was Arabic script ever used by the government of Pakistan for Bengali.

    “and the language of media and schools. “

    When or where was this stated?

    “The Pakistan Public Service Commission removed Bengali from the list of approved subjects which started the apprehensions among Bengalis.”

    When did this happen? Before March 1948? I’d like to know more about this.

    “That time all the civil service of Pakistan was filled up with Urdu speaking Punjabi elites.”

    The language of the civil service, courts, official business, constitution etc was English and still is English. I am assuming that all Bengalis understood English much better than they understood Urdu.

    “Their demand was the status of bengali as an official language alongwith Urdu – not lingua franca of pakistan.”

    Well like Jinnah said …they were free to adopt Bengali as the official language of East Pakistan. Sindhi enjoys that status in the province of Sindh… and there is official instruction in Sindhi …

    “Sheikh Mujib never wanted to break Pakistan – as he was supposed to be the prime minister of the country – but he was denied. “

    Agreed. He would have made a great Prime Minister … but how is this relevant to the issue I have discussed in the Article above?

    “There were no doubt some nationalist elements but the general public were never against Pakistan.”

    No one said the general public was against Pakistan. After all East Pakistan voted enmasse for Fatima Jinnah in 1965… The reasons for East Pakistan’s separation were rooted in economic and political disenfranchisement .. infact the language issue had been resolved much earlier and could not have been the basis of separation.

    “The list goes on .. but that is another debate”

    It is a completely different debate. But somehow you are insisting on making it part of this debate which has nothing to do with it.

  71. vajra

    @karunx

    Subcontinental identities are forever forming and differentiating. As you peel or paper over one level of difference another emerges. It is an expression of the inability of sub-continental types to form any consolidated identity whatever.

    and thats why perhaps partition ‘based’ on certain ‘cultural/religio’ identity at that point of time was not a good idea. Right?

    Wrong.

    Indians are considered by those Brits who don’t particularly bother with being politically correct as being ‘almost right’; from that point of view, it is a major achievement, a significant improvement of confidence and self-assurance to be completely wrong.

    It was never intended to be a partition, if you have read anything at all, anywhere at all. It was intended to be a homeland for Muslims, which would inspire other Muslims, in Hindu majority areas, the bulk of the land mass, to live with a certain degree of – what was that phrase again? – confidence and self-assurance.

    Such an expedient solution, again, it has to be emphasised, not a partition, but a segregation of the states into three distinct federal compeonents was, from all indications, intended by Jinnah to ensure that a certain balancing of the communities, which would enable both to live with self-respect, and prevent the toxic communal tension which was becoming increasingly prevalent with the reintroduction of religion into politics.

    The irony of the situation is that such a temporary expedient would have been reviewed a few years later, and the final map would have become clearer.

  72. B. Civilian

    YLH

    the language riots, with a few protestors being killed, was much after jinnah’s death. and , like you said, by 1956 the language issue had been laid to rest anyway.

    even the use of the ‘enemies of pakistan’ is unfortunate and loaded only in hindsight, after dictators and usurpers turned it into a convenient label and used it to death.

    rezwan

    i hope you’ve now understood where ylh is coming from.

  73. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    the language riots, with a few protestors being killed,

    I am sure that this was unintentional, but it hurt all the more. How many Bengalis make enough to count? Not from you, of all people.

  74. B. Civilian

    Vajra

    the paradigm is convincing…ly powerful. “intervention, a Mussolini or Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao and so on, should be understood to be always possible, and to have special effects.” indeed.

    whether an identity project is a mere special effect or not depends on two things, i guess

    1. the level of artificiality of the proposed identity and crudeness of the methods adopted

    2.the level of literacy and sophisticaion of the target population

    now even an artificial identity pursued and imposed through very crude methods can have a lasting effect if the project is in place for long enough; say, a couple of generations or more. the lasting effect is not the success of the project, but a proportionate amount of loss of collective memory of what was there before the project began. history can be corrected, and re-read nd refreshed. but history is only an important part and not the whole of identity.

    of course this category of special effect may be a result of unnatural, extra-ordinary events – lasting long enough – which are not directly to do with identity. i’m thinking of the war in afghanistan. or even the drug fuelled violence in, say, columbia? even the ussr wasn’t exactly an ‘identity project’. mao really went after important underpinnings of identity during the cultural revolution, which – albeit very violent – didn’t last long enough. the holocaust was of course almost in a category of its own, and it continues to define a large part of, at least, ashkenazi jewish identity.

    i think my criteria nos. 1 and 2 above can be applied to the bollywood effect. i would like to share my limited thoughts on the short discussion on ‘subcontinental types’ and identity, later. all i can say for now is that there are no subcontinental types or european types or any other types when it comes to identity. identity is primordial (which is not the same as saying it is supreme or supremely important).

    regards

  75. B. Civilian

    vajra

    the ‘few’ was used as a matter of fact given that i don’t know the exact number. perhaps i should have said ‘protestors were killed’. i’ve been given one account that a jeep-mounted machine gun was used in manual-fire mode; at horrendously short range…. point-blank in proportionate terms given the speed and size of the ammunition.

  76. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    Yours of 5:19. Now that is significant value-addition. Let me respond tomorrow.

    It is interesting to note that even if acts of violence, or violent dislocations of people are not intended to affect their identity, these may do so. I suppose if we want to see the effects of such unintended impact on identity due to violence, we should look at contemporary Africa, which has more than its fair share.

    On the whole, I imagine that the Pol Pot experiment in Cambodia was the most deliberate attempt at identity formation in contemporary times.

    May I point out that there is a certain amount of deliberate myth-making taking place in conditions of an economic boom or an educational expansion of significant proportions? Examples are the identity-making exercises of the Sangh Parivar, which are borne aloft by these two factors: the rapid expansion of the middle classes, and the rapid expansion of a neo-literate class, both with little or no knowledge of their own identity, other than the narrowest definitions possible, within family and caste boundaries.

    My question: has there been a significant expansion of technical education in Pakistan over recent decades? Are any numbers available? What has been the impact of this, if the situation exists, on the creation of an earning middle class? What impact will this have on identity definition?

    I am worried that a similar situation will arise in Pakistan, and signs of that are already evident, even here on PTH.

  77. B. Civilian

    hoss

    “[…] would have forever closed the chapter of army rule in Pakistan and that was unacceptable to the Pak army”

    it might have been too late for the army, and therefore for pakistan, the day the election results were announced. but sh mujeeb was left with no other option and possibility only on and after 25 march 71.

    re. zia + tv

    quite right. ptv went ‘coloured’ around the same time as zia came to power. zia gave special attention to tv. the kind of people he put in important positions in ptv, and the many sleepless nights tv producers and directors had for the next 11 years. farooq qaiser told a funny story where people were already having near heart attacks about a phonecall from the president, when all the mard e momin wished to do was convey his appreciation since his daughter loved qaiser’s puppet show.

  78. rex minor

    Are you guys not flogging the dead horse? What about the future course for the country?

    My observation has been that the leaders supporting Urdu language for Pakistan simply wanted to introduce their mother tongue in the country. They could’n care less for the aspirations of the people who were now included in the new State. They found it difficult to swalllow the Bengali language, hence the very kind gesture from the leader!
    People in Punjab, Sindh and NWFP were used to being called illetrates if they did not speak english language, now they had to learn urdu to avoid the illetrate label. The special force of ‘urdu’ speaking were spread all over the country to encourage the locals to understand Urdu! Punjabi language was considered but dropped due to the complicate translation of a simple word ‘SCHOOL”.

    If urdu was understood by all the ethnic groups in Pakistan, how come that even today none of the leaders speak a full sentence without the use of Pak-english? British English was the lingua franca in Pakistan and it is also wrong to assume that the hindustani was understood by people in the NWFP.
    Sorry, if the above is to going to disturb anyone’s theories.

    The creation of Pakistan was a grave historical error, perhaps necessary on account of the hostility from non- muslims, but proved to be a bitter medicine for the indigenous people of west Pakistan as well as East Pakistan. At the time Mr Jinnah’s vision was related to a soda water bottle, and this has since been proven right over a period of sixty odd years. For how many more years the bottle is going to retain the remaining gas is anyone’s guess. As an outsider I would say that the Pushtoons have nothing to gain from remaining a part of the current anarchy, taking casualties from the foreign and Pakistan Army.

  79. “However if we look at the actions of the Pakistan government then wasn’t Bengali the “national language” in 1950s… which in any event was an illogical demand on the part of Bengalis who were otherwise justified in most of their grievances against West Pakistan.”

    Here is an excerpt from an address of welcome by the students of Dhaka University on the 27th November, 1948:

    “We are happy to note that our Central Government, under your wise guidance, has given Bengali an honoured place. This is a step in the right direction which shall go a long way to further strengthen our cultural ties, with our brethren in West Pakistan. Interchange of thoughts and ideas and mutual understanding are essential if we have to develop a homogeneous and healthy national outlook. We have accepted Urdu as our Lingua Franca but we also feel very strongly that Bengali, by virtue of its being the official language of the premier province and also the language of the 62% of the population of the state, should be given its rightful place as one of the state languages together with Urdu. Otherwise we in East Pakistan shall always be under a permanent handicap and disadvantage. Thus alone we shall have full scope of development and forge closer affinity with our brethern of the other part and march forward hand in hand.”

    “But in reality Bengalis saw that the government action was taking steps to use Arabic to write Bengali”

    Someone proposed it but when was it ever implemented? The inscription in Bengali on Jinnah’s Mauseoleum is certainly not in Arabic script.

    The history says otherwise:

    “On 27 December 1948 Mr. Fazlur Rahman, the Education Minister of Pakistan, suggested to the All Pakistan Conference that for the sake of Islamic ideology, the old and traditional scripts or writing systems should be changed in favour of Arabic or Urdu script which should be adopted by all. As a result, the Central Pakistan Education Advisory Board too, at its meeting of 7 February 1949, strongly recommended the Arabic script as the only script for all Pakistani languages. It should be noted that had this recommendation been put into effect Bengali language and literature would have been adversely affected. Arabic was already the common script of the different languages of West Pakistan. The proposed change would affect only one language-Bengali. Such a move again prompted sharp reaction among the students of the Dhaka University. A protest memorandum to the Education Advisory Board was immediately sent.”

    The attempt of introducing Arabic script fot the Bengali languagc, which has a rich heritage and tradition, is an attack on our language, literature and culture. This attempt has created a fear of new colonial design and of slavery in the minds of Bengalis. (Omar 1970: 263).

    Despite the protest, the Pakistan government started twenty adult education centres in different parts of East Pakistan to teach primary Bengali through Arabic script. A huge sum of money was spent on such an experiment. Over and above, the government of East Bengal, in keeping with the spirit of the central government, set up a committee on 9 March 1949 to bring about reforms in the Bengali language. The East Bengal Language Committee submitted its report to the government on 7 December 1950. The Committee had this to say in regard to the style and diction of modem Bengali writing

    1. that the Sanskritisation of the language be avoided as far as possible by the use of simple phraseology and easy construction in vogue in the speech of East Bengal ;

    2. that the expressions and sentiments of Muslim writers should strictly conform to the Islamic ideology. (East Bengal Language Committee Report 1949 : 102-03).

    These and more documents are available are at this site www. 21stfebruary. org

  80. ylh

    Rezwan,

    “History says otherwise”

    How? Again… Let us put aside what a committee said…but was Arabic script imposed on Bengali? The answer is NO. So what history says otherwise?

    There is Pakistani currency with Bengali on it. It is not in Arabic script.
    Unless you can show me examples of this “arabic script” Bengali on any official Pakistani document, frankly you don’t have a point.

    As for the issue at hand, the students address of welcome itself proves the limited point I am trying to make – that the allegation that Jinnah “banned” Bengali is untrue.

  81. ylh

    Rex minor,

    As usual you are completely devoid of any sense common or otherwise and I can’t respond to you.

  82. “but was Arabic script imposed on Bengali? The answer is NO.”

    – This did not happen automatically. The Bengali language movement stopped this attempt.

  83. vajra

    @Rex Minor

    No, we are not flogging a dead horse. If you do not like the subject under discussion, you are welcome to abstain from reading it; it’s still a free Internet, and Allah’s rules don’t apply here, nor are we divided into Pathans and untermensch. Please take your prejudices and mediaeval views elsewhere.

  84. rex minor

    @ YLH,
    I am sorry. I promise not to make any comments on your articles!

  85. ylh

    Ok fine great achievement for you guys but can you tell me how this is relevant to the point I am making here? Did Jinnah recommend or suggest it?
    Even the committee that recommended it did so after he was dead. You have address of welcome for Jinnah at Dacca University that praises him for giving Bengali an “honored place”. Clearly my point has been made.

    The committee you refer to seems to have “recommended” Arabic script in 1949. I don’t hold the brief for their actions. Next you’ll ask me to defend the Objectives Resolution.
    My limited point was that Amar Jaleel was wrong when he claimed that Jinnah “banned” Bengali which everything you’ve quoted proves wrong as well. I don’t even purport to take a position on Urdu as state language … Except that I personally think it was logical given the importance of Urdu in the Muslim nationalist circles.
    Jinnah died in 1948.

    Read the blog again…I am not berating the importance 21st Feb holds for Bengalis …frankly I am indifferent. I think the first line is quite clear where I am coming from.

  86. Oopes sorry – I should have mentioned it. The address of welcome of the students was to Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan on his visit on 27th November, 1948.
    www. 21stfebruary. org/book4_6.htm

    I don’t know Amar Jaleel or what’s his spiel or politics. So will not comment on his actions. My view is that Jinnah did not literally ban Bengali but put a nail in the coffin of the aspirations of the 62% majority by stating:

    1) There can be only one State language
    2) Those who demanded Bengali as a state language – he raged an war on them by naming them enemies of state and fifth columns (does the students’ arguments seem like they were the enemies)?

  87. ylh

    If it was a nail in the coffin then why and how did Bengali come to be Pakistan’s national language (something more than a state language) four short years later.

    The truth is that Jinnah himself was hardly interested in the issue and went to defend Liaqat’s position. And like I said earlier, Jinnah was right in describing those instigating the students in their illogical demand that Bengali should be the “state language” of Pakistan as enemies and fifth columnists. If you read the speech he is not describing the students but those instigating them.

    I am still waiting on an answer to why official language of Bengal province wouldn’t have sufficed? Why should Bengali be put on a different plane than Sindhi, Punjabi or Pushto? They were all regional languages and Urdu was the lingua franca.

  88. “Why official language of Bengal province wouldn’t have sufficed? Why should Bengali be put on a different plane than Sindhi, Punjabi or Pushto? ”

    Because it was the language of the majority (62%) and the working language, not the status mattered for them.

    Here are some excerpts from assembly member Dhirendranath Datta’s speech in 1947:

    “I can assure the House that I do so not in a spirit of narrow Provincialism, but, Sir, in the spirit that this motion receives the fullest consideration at the hands of the members. I know, Sir, that Bangla is a provincial language, but so far our state is concerned, it is the language of the majority of the People of the state. So although it is a provincial language, but as it is a language of the majority of the people of the state and it stands on a different footing therefore. Out of six crores and ninety lakhs of people inhabiting this State, 4 crores and 40 lakhs of people speak the Bangla language. So, Sir, what should be the State language of the State? The State language of the state should be the language which is used by the majority of the people of the State.”

    In the Eastern Pakistan where the People numbering four crores and forty lakhs speak the Bangla language the common man even if he goes to a Post Office and wants to have a money order form finds that the money order is printed in Urdu language and is not printed in Bangla language or it is printed in English. A poor cultivator, who has got his son, Sir, as a student in the Dhaka University and who wants to send money to him, goes to a village Post Office and he asked for a money order form, finds that the money order form is printed in Urdu language. He can not send the money order but shall have to rush to a distant town and have this money order form translated for him and then the money order, Sir, that is necessary for his boy can be sent. The poor cultivator, Sir, sells a certain plot of land or a poor cultivator purchases a plot of land and goes to the Stamp vendor and pays him money but cannot say whether he has received the value of the money is Stamps. The value of the Stamp, Sir, is written not in Bangla but is written in Urdu and English. But he cannot say, Sir, whether he has got the real value of the Stamp. These are the difficulties experienced by the Common man of our State. The language of the state should be such which can be understood by the common man of the State. The common man of the State numbering four crores and forty millions find that the proceedings of this Assembly which is their mother of parliaments is being conduct in a language, Sir, which is unknown to them. Then, Sir, English has got an honoured place, Sir, in Rule 29. I know, Sir, English has got an honoured place because of the International Character.

    But, Sir, if English can have an honoured place in Rule 29 that the proceedings of the Assembly should be conducted in Urdu or English why Bangla, which is spoken by four crores forty lakhs of people should not have an honoured place.”

    Interestingly, in 2002 Bengali has been declared as an official language in Sierra Leone by its president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah thanking for Bangladesh’s contribution in peace keeping efforts of the country. Bangladesh has over 5,300 troops under UN banner.

    We surely can understand why the declaration of official language does not suffice – as it has no meaning and importance if it is not the working language.

    Pakistani national Hamid Hossain wrote in his “Demons of December – Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh” series (google it for the link):

    “In September 1947, government of Pakistan printed currency notes, issued coins, printed money orders and post cards in English and Urdu only.”

    On 15th November, 1947 a circular concerning the examination of Superior Civil Service was issued by Mr. Goodwin, the Secretary of the Central Public Service Commission of Pakistan, stating that the total number of subjects would be 31 including nine languages like Urdu, Hindi, English, German, French, even dead language like Sanskrit and Latin. Bengali was not included in the examination subject list, although it was the language of the majority people of Pakistan.

    The demand was for a working Bengali language not some ineffective official provincial status like Mauri in New Zealand.

  89. ylh

    “62” or 54 percent did not give one federating unit of five federating unit the right to impose its language on everyone else. If a Punjabi tried to impose his language on the rest of Pakistan I would similarly oppose him and Punjabis constitute 56 to 58 percent of the population of Pakistan today.

    Official status for Bengali in East Pakistan obviously meant undoing the wrongs mentioned by Mr. Datta. Urdu was the lingua franca. And last I checked the argument was that no one understood Urdu …literacy rate in W Pakistan was lower than E. Pakistan. So provinces could and should have taken the step of introducing provincial official languages.

    Instead Pakistan went back on a reasonable policy, made Bengali a state language along with Urdu and then applied the spurious One Unit logic to equate West and East. In the process East Pakistan was disenfranchised by 10 percent or more … Instead had East Bengal existed as simply another federating unit, it would have managed both to make Bengali the official language of East Pakistan as suggested by Jinnah and also gotten a fairer share of the pie instead of getting into a pissing match with one-unit champs of the Western wing.

    Today Punjab faces the same problems Bengal did …but the last NFC award shows statesmanship on part of the majority province instead of making claims like “Punjabi should be the state language of Pakistan”.

  90. B. Civilian

    rezwan

    you obviously don’t know about the status of sindhi in sindh as the official language of the province. it was upto dhaka, not karachi, to implement and use bangla as deeply and widely as it wished within the state. by 1956, karachi took up and fulfilled the responsibility anyway. language was no longer the issue as far as facts on the ground go.

    but a year earlier, we had already had the one unit in w.pk. even the dimmest prospects of east pak getting its rights were being extinguished, along with all prospects of democracy. language was a non-issue except that it most easily aroused emotions when otherwise telling the common man about the real issues of lack of representation in the military and bureaucracy, and ‘the jute revenues being stolen’. harping on about it made sense.

  91. B. Civilian

    shows statesmanship

    it did show great national spirit, yes, but sadly a lack of statesmanship. now had there been no boasting about it, or pointing it out again and again (nawaz sharif said something like ‘punjab has made a sacrifice and i hope the other povinces will not forget that’)….😉

  92. yasserlatifhamdani

    Where and how Jinnah saw Urdu in terms of Pakistan… perhaps Jinnah over-played the Muslim angle in his March speeches… but here is a bit of history, I unearthed and popularized from my Daily Times days :

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_19-6-2005_pg7_31

    ‘Jagan Nath Azad wrote Pakistan’s first anthem’

    Daily Times Monitor

    LAHORE: “Aey sarzameen-e-Pak zarrey terey hein aaj sitaron sey tabnak. Roshan hey kehkashan sey kahin aaj teri khak.”(O land of Pakistan, each particle of yours is being illuminated by stars. Even your dust has been brightened like a rainbow.”)

    These are lines from Pakistan’s first national anthem — written by Jagan Nath Azad, well-known Indian writer and intellectual, acceding to the wishes of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, The Hindu newspaper reported.

    Days before his death last year, Azad recalled, in an interview, the circumstances under which he was asked by Jinnah to write Pakistan’s national anthem: “In August 1947, when mayhem had struck the whole subcontinent, I was in Lahore working in a literary newspaper.

    All my relatives had left for India and for me to think of leaving Lahore was painful. My Muslim friends requested me to stay. On August 9, 1947, there was a message from Jinnah Sahib through one of my friends at Radio Pakistan Lahore. He told me ‘Quaid-e-Azam wants you to write a national anthem for Pakistan.’”

    Why him? “The answer to this question,” Azad said in the interview, “has to be understood by recalling the inaugural speech of Jinnah Sahib as Pakistan’s governor general. He said: `You will find that in the course of time, Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.’

    I asked my friends why Jinnah Sahib wanted me to write the anthem. They confided in me that ‘the Quaid wanted the anthem to be written by an Urdu-knowing Hindu.’ Through this, I believe Jinnah Sahib wanted to sow the roots of secularism in a Pakistan.”

    The national anthem written by Azad was sent to Jinnah, who approved it in a few hours. It was sung for the first time on Pakistan Radio, Karachi.

    The situation in Punjab was becoming worse. Azad’s friends told him in September 1947 that it would be better for him to migrate to India. The song written by Azad served as Pakistan’s national anthem for one and a half years. After Jinnah’s death, Hafiz Jallundhari wrote the national anthem.

  93. karunx

    @vajra

    It was intended to be a homeland for Muslims, which would inspire other Muslims, in Hindu majority areas, the bulk of the land mass, to live with a certain degree of – what was that phrase again? – confidence and self-assurance.

    How different is this demand from that of Telengana? Does it mean we have to support any statehood demand based on any identity or perceived injustice.

    btw, the following comment was not in good taste:
    It was never intended to be a partition, if you have read anything at all, anywhere at all.

  94. hoss

    People tend to make up stories, there is no rhyme and reason to the whole BS.
    Jinnah or someone else asked radio Pakistan to get a Natioanl Anthem,they found one urdu poet easily available in that mayhem, asked him to write the anthem and that is the end of the story.
    Jinnah could not read Urdu so he must have asked someone else to read and then he approved it.

    Just the first two lines of the anthem show how poorly written it was.
    Third grade and a take off on Iqbal’s lab pe aati hai dua ban ki tammna meri type of third rate poetry.
    Jagnanath is making up a story. Is there any corroborative evidence?

  95. Majumdar

    The forum has been discussing at cross purposes which is not unusual for a thread highlighting South Asian issues.

    YLH is right in that MAJ never banned Bangla and to that extent there shud be a consensus here. But the real issues which some other folks are highlighting is different and also valid.

    Btw, it wud have been interesting if some Bdeshis cud have been here too. It wud be interesting to know if common Bdeshis (not the chowk/PTH type BDeshis) remember MAJ and if so +vely or -vely. Or has he been confined to history books.

    Regards

  96. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss mian…

    Yawn.

  97. hoss

    “it wud have been interesting if some Bdeshis cud have been here too. It wud be interesting to know if common Bdeshis (not the chowk/PTH type BDeshis) remember MAJ and if so +vely or ”

    TKS
    February 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm
    and Rezwan are both from Bangladesh.
    You can read their comments to see how much they loved Jinnah.

  98. yasserlatifhamdani

    Majumdar,

    I don’t think Jinnah was ever too popular in East Pakistan… except in the urban classes. He was respected but did not necessarily arouse any great feeling… enough in 1965 for Fatima Jinnah to win the vote there, mostly because Shaikh Mujeeb was the organizer of the election campaign.

    The leaders of the Pakistan Movement that were admired widely in East Pakistan/Bangladesh were H S Suhrawardy, Fazl-e-Haq, Abul Hashim and to some extent Khawaja Nazimuddin.

    The problem with Hoss mian however is that he writes everything from memory … and is often wrong about the claims he makes especially vis a vis Jinnah, Pakistan, Politics etc. Case in point -just one of many- communist party’s banning…had I not corrected him he would have gone to declare this a million times … thus inventing a “truth”. The banning of Bengali is a similar “truth” everyone knows everything about.

  99. yasserlatifhamdani

    “But the real issues which some other folks are highlighting is different and also valid. ”

    Those real issues are irrelevant to the discussion here because we were concerned specifically with the claim that “Bengali was banned”… suffice to say no one ever banned Bengali.

  100. B. Civilian

    i doubt b’deshis would be any less misled or ignorant about jinnah than pakistanis… except those who have read jalal and seervai.. and k k aziz if they were able to go past his more overt pakistani nationalism. aziz has documented the mistreatment of bengalis, right from the time of sir syed, better than many others. bengalis had a somewhat decent representation even within the AIML only under jinnah, and it was still short of their fair share… and ended with jinnah’s death.

  101. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    ….aziz has documented the mistreatment of bengalis, right from the time of sir syed,…..

    That reminds me of a couple of famous speeches made by Sir Syed in 1887. I will quote some extracts

    Over all races, not only over Mahomedans but over Rajas of high position and the brave Rajputs who have not forgotten the swords of their ancestors, would be placed as ruler a Bengali who at sight of a table knife would crawl under his chair.

    I can picture Vajra da offending PMA sb on some debate and the annoyed PMA sb lunging at Vajra da with a knife…..

    The whole Council will consist of Babu So-and-so Mitter, Babu So-and-So Ghose, and Babu So-and-so Chuckerbutty

    Regards

  102. ylh

    Majumdar,

    Just to add to BC’s point… Jinnah on the same tour also spoke at length praising the martial spirit of Bengalis (I think it was at the ceremony of the East Bengal rifles) and slammed the British martial race theory. I have the speech somewhere…I’ll quote it later tonight.

  103. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Jinnah on the same tour also spoke at length praising the martial spirit of Bengalis

    I am told that the J-man had a great sense of humour and irony among his many qualities.

    Regards

  104. vajra

    @karunx

    It was intended to be a homeland for Muslims, which would inspire other Muslims, in Hindu majority areas, the bulk of the land mass, to live with a certain degree of – what was that phrase again? – confidence and self-assurance.

    How different is this demand from that of Telengana? Does it mean we have to support any statehood demand based on any identity or perceived injustice.

    No, we do not have to equate each and every demand as it occurs with all the previous ones that have occurred.

    It stands to reason that each has to be evaluated on merit.

    Since you mentioned Telengana, does it not have merit, according to you? Has it not been receiving sufficient political attention? Does that not seem to you to indicate that this is a serious demand and is taken seriously?

    Obviously, if there is a serious demand, it should be considered. The situation that is being sought to be reviewed is the reorganisation of states in 1956; there was nothing sacred about it, and there is no apparent reason not to consider a change in the configuration of the administrative divisions of the Indian nation.

    Considering also the response to identity definition in Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand, don’t you think your question is answered by recent events themselves?

    btw, the following comment was not in good taste:
    It was never intended to be a partition, if you have read anything at all, anywhere at all.

    As for that, we have had such extensive and detailed discussions on the nature of the events of 1947 that any misinterpretation can no longer be seen as accidental. Such misinterpretations will inevitably be seen as deliberate baiting.

    On the subject of tasteful writing, I suggest you re-read your own earlier bad-tempered, belligerent and frequently offensive posts. There is not much good taste displayed on any of those.

    To be honest, responding to your comments is an unpleasant chore. How I wish this would cease.

  105. karunx

    @vajra

    Sorry, I do not agree with you on this, on taking federal polity to farcical levels

    As for that, we have had such extensive and detailed discussions on the nature of the events of 1947 that any misinterpretation can no longer be seen as accidental. Such misinterpretations will inevitably be seen as deliberate baiting.
    **********************************************

    I am sorry no conclusions have been drawn from that and certainly does not absolve either ML or INC for the tragedy of partition.

    I am not sure whether this elaborate discussions concluded partition was right or wrong. (it just tried to apportion the blame of partition fairly.)

    To be honest, responding to your comments is an unpleasant chore. How I wish this would cease

    Well since i have already oulined that i differ on my views of whether partion was necessary/not necessary, rite/wrong , you may desist from trying to proseltyse me to your world views, which implies any further discussion on this front is not required.

    Thanks for your engaging write ups.

  106. vajra

    @karun

    Well since i have already oulined that i differ on my views of whether partion was necessary/not necessary, rite/wrong , you may desist from trying to proseltyse me to your world views, which implies any further discussion on this front is not required.

    Thanks for your engaging write ups.

    Your facts are on part with your attitude; both are defective.

    Nobody tried to proselytise you (I cannot think of any good reason why anyone should); you asked a question – of a sort that should surely have been unnecessary if you had been paying attention or had been trying to absorb what was in front of you – and I answered. With patience out of proportion for the recipient’s deserts, I might add.

    The passage where you sought an answer is copied below, so that you stop thinking that people have nothing better to do than to search you out and swing your enormous intellect to their way of thinking.


    karunx
    February 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm @ hayyer and vajra

    Subcontinental identities are forever forming and differentiating. As you peel or paper over one level of difference another emerges. It is an expression of the inability of sub-continental types to form any consolidated identity whatever.

    and thats why perhaps partition ‘based’ on certain ‘cultural/religio’ identity at that point of time was not a good idea. Right?

    Although you obviously are unaware of these niceties, it is civil to reply to a direct question, no matter how one may regret the loss of time and the waste of effort.

  107. karunx

    @vajra

    you can possibly live with contradictions and very apparent hypocrisy in your views.

    If you really read out the answer you gave to my ‘telengana’/’pakistan’ question, its like giving no answer at all.

    so according to you everything has to be seen in a piece meal fashion with rationality!!!. thats your right vs wrong?

    Pls do not try to be politically correct and rational at the same time. They dont gel together.

    If at all you want to retort to this, pls dont be needlessly abusive.

  108. Sameet

    @Karunx,

    Sorry to butt in on your rather interesting conversation with Vajra, but with regard to the following statement of yours:

    “so according to you everything has to be seen in a piece meal fashion with rationality!!!thats your right vs wrong?”…

    What’s wrong in seeing things rationally? Why should everything be forced to be encompassed into one (probably incoherent?) mega narrative?

  109. vajra

    @karun


    you can possibly live with contradictions and very apparent hypocrisy in your views.

    Which contradiction did you have particularly in mind? Would you mind pointing it out as a horrible lesson for the populace at large?

    If the hypocrisy of my views is quite so apparent, why not show which view, or which views are hypocritical, and in what way?

    Could we have some facts and concrete material in place of these sizzling noises?


    If you really read out the answer you gave to my ‘telengana’/’pakistan’ question, its like giving no answer at all.

    I am afraid that should rightly apply to your response, not to my original answer to your ‘Telengana’/’Pakistan’ .

    I had stated the following (abbreviated here, all the better to see what was stated, and to show how baseless your counter is):

    1. There is no need to consider each demand for autonomy in a uniform fashion. Each needs to be considered separately, on merit.

    2. The demand for Telengana does have merit. It is being considered seriously, except by some lunatics who wish to retain the status quo due to chauvinism of a terribly provincial kind.

    3. Indian states can be re-constituted quite easily. None of them is a sacred cow, most having been put together in 1956.

    4. Indian states have been re-constituted since 1956. The Punjab was divided into the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Assam has been divided into seven components. Finally, recently, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh were constituted.

    Which part of this amounts to “giving no answer at all“? Just out of curiousity, do you actually read what you write?

    so according to you everything has to be seen in a piecemeal fashion with radicalisk Pls do not try to be politically correct and rational at the same time. They dont gel together.

    Yes. Everything has to be logical I believe.

    I am glad to say that neither of your last two sentences could make sense to me.

  110. karunx

    @vajra.

    The tone of your answer suggets all demands for statehood should be met.

    However pls note acc. to many analysts Creation of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh was a folly, Uttaranchal perhaps was a success.

    what iam trying to point out to you is states can be constituted flexibly and on aregular basis, which is why this question is of secondary importance and is being treated as such. It is not as if people of Telengana have been denied ‘fundamental rights’ nor are they being discriminated in jobs/education within Andhra because they are ‘telengana’.

    Well the same argument holds true for vivisection of undidvided india. The ‘fundamental rights’ and ‘opportunity to education/living’ would not have been trampled even under an all Indian congress regime.

    and since the question of statehood/identity was flexible it was not a necessary and sufficient condition to break the nation.

    now questioning pakistan national identity to be a folly or wise decision may or may not be politically correct especially at this site, but perhaps as a sign of maturity even this topic should not be considered a taboo and am sure this is not a closed chapter yet. The jusry is still out on this.

  111. karunx

    @Sameet

    No no one is forcing me or you to adopt a one and all encompassing strategy, but i am questioning whether one strategy namely

    “Subcontinental identities are forever forming and differentiating. As you peel or paper over one level of difference another emerges. It is an expression of the inability of sub-continental types to form any consolidated identity whatever”

    is being consistently applied across two scenarios, Telengana/Pakistan.

    Perhaps all of us should ask the author of this quote Mr. Hayyer himself, of what he thinks of this.

  112. vajra

    @karun

    The tone of my answer indicates that all demands for statehood should be considered. Considered on merit, actually, as my answer indicates clearly.

    Unfortunately in your forced attempts to link the happenings and the situation of today to the happenings and the situation prevailing sixty to sixty-five years ago, it is obviously necessary for you to ignore what is being stated by others that is inconvenient for your own arguments.

    As an example, please consider the clear evidence of my own words, which you have, intentionally or otherwise, distorted:

    1. There is no need to consider each demand for autonomy in a uniform fashion. Each needs to be considered separately, on merit.

    2. The demand for Telengana does have merit. It is being considered seriously, except by some lunatics who wish to retain the status quo due to chauvinism of a terribly provincial kind.

    3. Indian states can be re-constituted quite easily. None of them is a sacred cow, most having been put together in 1956.

    This indicates very clearly that three of your statements really are superfluous or are misleading:

    * I have not suggested that all demands should be met. Please read point 1 again; which part of ‘considered on merit’ is not clear to you? And which part of that sounds as if the consideration apart, the decision should be in favour of formation of a new state?

    * Obviously if this consideration on merit is not followed, mistakes will happen. I am not sure how you or the critics you have cited have come to the glib conclusion that Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh were mistakes, and would be inclined to believe that any reasonable analyst would allow more time for the situation to become clearer, instead of jumping to conclusions.

    * In any case, if states are reconstituted on whims and fancies, they will not be successful; that is why consideration of merit is required.

    * Finally, I do not know in how many different ways my points 3 and 4 can be interpreted, and why you found it necessary to assure us solemnly and earnestly that “what iam trying to point out to you is states can be constituted flexibly and on aregular basis, which is why this question is of secondary importance and is being treated as such.”

    Could you explain why you are trying to point out facts which have immediately prior to your writing been brought to your notice?

    The rest, unfortunately, appears to be fairly well-refined non sequiturs; certainly well-refined, just as certainly non sequiturs.

    First, the people of Telengana might not agree with you that their access to employment is not hampered within Andhra, that they are indeed being discriminated (sic) in jobs/education within Andhra because they are ‘telengana’. The young man who misguidedly set himself on fire and died of his burns did so precisely because he saw his chances of a secure job vanish with the unkept promises for a Telengana State.

    It was never about fundamental rights, it was always about domination, about submersion in an alien culture. It was about the needs, hopes and aspirations of an identity group being challenged and suppressed by a dominant group which either seeks to co-opt that first identity group, or to deny its existence, or to assert that it has no reason to agitate, having no genuine grievances to display. It was this boa constrictor victim fate that exercises the imaginations and the passion of the Telengana people, it was also this that left the Muslim nation shaken and sceptical about a unified India.

    You have frequently asked that you should be treated with more respect and kindness. It is difficult.

    To demonstrate why, let us take the offending three and a half paras of your mail:

    Well the same argument holds true for vivisection of undidvided india. The ‘fundamental rights’ and ‘opportunity to education/living’ would not have been trampled even under an all Indian congress regime.

    What makes you say that? Can you not see for yourself, even without the evidence of official government commissions of enquiry, the heart-rending reality that it is the Brahmins and upper castes that rule the roost? Leaving aside Muslims, even scheduled castes, as well as tribals of both varieties, have risen up in anger and are now, even as you write your glib, dismissive, smug descriptions of a perfect heaven that never existed and will not in future unless we all struggle to bring it about?

    and since the question of statehood/identity was flexible it was not a necessary and sufficient condition to break the nation.

    And who declared this flexible? How and where did you establish this?

    Please try to remember that forming a state, or a geographical entity, does not by itself constitute a protection of identity. As you yourself pointed out, the formation of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh is criticised today. It is criticised because simply setting aside some districts and printing a Gazette notification creating a state does not amount to a recognition and a protection of identity.

    The flexibility of the Indian Constitution with regard to the formation of a state does not amount to satisfaction of the identity needs of a group. There is far, far more to be achieved. A link cannot be drawn between a state and an identity; creation of the state which will house the identity group is only a beginning to the task of freeing the identity group in question, not the end.

    Is it not fair that you should present your arguments and subject them to scrutiny and to refutation and rebuttal before drawing conclusions from them?

    now questioning pakistan national identity to be a folly or wise decision may or may not be politically correct especially at this site, but perhaps as a sign of maturity even this topic should not be considered a taboo and am sure this is not a closed chapter yet. The jusry is still out on this.

    Questioning a state that has existed for sixty years is a mark of maturity? You are to be congratulated on the maturity of the suggestion.

    I should imagine that a sign of maturity which is even more meaningful is to understand the nature of identity formation and recognition, and the subsequent creation of identity politics which furthers these issues.

  113. a j khan

    The problem is not what Jinnah said, but the attitude of Urdu lovers, who made this language controversial.
    In India you will see Hindi- Urdu controversy, In then East Pakistan it was Bangla Urdu controversy, today in Sindh, it is Urdu- Sindhi controversy.
    No one can impose a language. Urdu speaking people think that it is their right to impose Urdu, where as all others think, it is not so. To give it a tall position, it is some time equated with the existenance of Pakistan, other time it is made the language of Islam.
    Urdu has played a divisive role in India, Bangla Desh and Pakistan. It should be taken as language of the Indian Mohajirs and nothing more than that.

  114. blunderer

    The argument/s on this page makes my head spin. No wonder governments of the time didnt want to argue the idea — they would never have finished and halfway through would have descended to fights no doubt. Having read through the above one feels that the best thing for the subcontinent would have been the continuance of the British Raj.