Pakistan’s Jinnah

By Ayesha Siddiqa             Dawn, 19 Feb, 2010

 Some time ago, I had a chance to read veteran columnist Ardeshir Cowasjee’s article ‘Bring back Jinnah’s Pakistan’ in which he talked about the founding father’s liberal vision for the country.

 Mr Cowasjee’s argument was that the state envisioned by Mohammad Ali Jinnah would have been governed by a different set of social norms than the one in place today.

I would like to inform the respectable writer that while he is searching for Jinnah’s Pakistan, we might be threatened with the eventuality of losing Pakistan’s Jinnah.

A journalist friend was recently presented with a historic photograph of the founding father in which he was holding his pups.

 I am glad it was given to a friend rather than a foe because there is always the possibility these days that the person presenting the photograph would be accused of being a foreign agent for distributing such photographs of Jinnah.

 We shouldn’t be surprised if in a few years’ time we come across a doctored photograph of the founding father in a turban and a beard to prove a certain point.

There are now devious elements who are tinkering with Jinnah — the person — and his narrative. We are being told that all those details which describe the Quaid-i-Azam as a man with western liberal habits are but a conspiracy and a figment of the imagination of enslaved minds.

 We are being told that Jinnah never had a lifestyle that might not get the approval of the puritanical-religious crowd in the country. The purpose behind altering details of Jinnah’s personality is the first step towards changing the national narrative.

The next step will be to argue that Jinnah wanted a state where only a certain school of thought could live. Others would have the status of second-class citizens or be shunned, or put in jail for their alternative identity.

But why is a liberal Jinnah unpalatable to these people? Mohammad Ali Jinnah could have hidden his identity as a liberal as he concentrated on the legal case of getting a separate state for the Muslims of India.

 He didn’t hide his reality or make an effort to adapt to what the majority of the people followed because in his mind the new state could allow for all creeds, castes and religions.

The Muslims of India had not struggled to move away from the dominance of one culture to the dominance of another. This would be a country where people of different religions could proudly become equal citizens.

In a speech in 1948, Jinnah had said: “We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.

 We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”

Having access to modern forms of media, these characters seem to be assisted by ‘ghost warriors’ in creating a new national narrative formulated on the basis of a post-modernist agenda.

 The country’s survival, hence, does not any longer depend on the struggle of its citizenry to make its political system work, but on establishing an imagined political system which these people guarantee their followers will rid the state of all its evils. Based on puritanical norms, the new political system, which they call the ideal khilafat, can do wonders.

These people are not the Taliban, nor are they even a single bunch of people. There are several layers operating at various levels and in different forms.

 There are those that market the traditional religious identity and then there are others who appeal to the secular. Not to forget those who sell high doses of what they term ‘nationalism’ while pursuing a very western, liberal kind of lifestyle.

Very few people realise that the country’s national narrative is being strategically and cunningly reorganised and rewritten. The underlying norm of the new narrative is a puritanical version of religion and history.

 In the process, the nation-state is being stretched and society adjusted to meet the challenges of the new version of nationalism.

What goes without saying is that there is probably very little space for those who do not conform to the description of an ‘ideal’ citizen. The description not only extends to those condemned as ‘enemies of the state’ but also others who cannot fall into the category of this description due to their peculiar caste, creed, faith, ethnicity, or other factors.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform Mr Cowasjee that the new perimeters of citizenship define a citizen and give him/her rights on the basis of their putative relationship with religion as interpreted by a certain set of people.

 This is no longer about a pluralistic state and a multi-polar polity. Therefore, the new narrative makes it imperative for this ‘gang’ of people to kidnap Pakistan’s Jinnah.

Can the honourable columnist and citizen do something about getting the founding father back? Surely, there will be those willing to fight for his recovery or even pay a ransom to do so.

52 Comments

Filed under Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pakistan, Partition, Religion, secularism

52 responses to “Pakistan’s Jinnah

  1. ylh

    Wow. Much respect for Ayesha Siddiqua!

  2. mazbut

    There is the same old rhetoric in the essay, viz, fear of religion taking over the so-called liberal vision of a people none other than Muslims themselves. All details of Jinnah’s life and his struggle for Pakistan have been duly documented and it’s just a phobic idea that anyone would be able to tamper with it. The main
    apprehension here seems to be against theocracy and voicing secularism. Okay, that’s not a bad aspiration but first change the majority of the country to that idea before maligning them for their beliefs and democracy.
    Khilafat has lost its meaning….
    if this is the kind of democracy we are forced to live in then what is fascism? Cite me a single word from Jinnah which lends support to the present state of Pakistan. This condition has not been brought about entirely by the religious element-it’s mainly liberals who have smeared up the national fabric. Liberals have been observed to be more corrupt than the religious element and always at the helm head of the affairs of Jinnah’s Pakistan. Then what’s there to ensure that the same corrupt so-called liberal element would only be able to save Pakistan’s Jinnah in its real form and figure??

    I do not believe that minorities in Pakistan are suppressed in any form other than prescribed to certain limits excepted in the Constitution.

  3. Sadia Hussain

    The vision of Jinnah’s Pakistan was liberal progressive state and there cannot be any varying account in this. The question remains where did we lose this vision? That happened over a period of years and for this all successive regimes are to be blamed from ayub, Bhutto and the last nail in coffin Zia!

  4. mazbut

    Frankly speaking, a so called ‘liberal progressive state’ for Muslims could have served well in United India, why did Jinnah opt for a ‘separate homeland for Muslims” where Muslims won’t be allowed to live as their faith commands??

    What is important, the single speech of Jinnah usually referred to by pro-secular elements to change the shape of Pakistan or the unanimous Constitution of 1973???

  5. wonderful article i love to reading her articles

  6. Bin Ismail

    @Sadia Hussain
    “Where did we lose this vision ?”Good question. The day we adopted the Objectives Resolution was the day we lost the vision of Jinnah’s Pakistan. I tend to respectfully disagree with those who believe that Jinnah’s Pakistan died with the creation of Bangla Desh. I am inclined to believe that Jinnah’s Pakistan went into dormancy the day the Objective’s Resolution was adopted.

    @mazbut
    Indeed, the 1973 Constitution may have been unanimous, but sometimes nations make unanimous mistakes too. The more fortunate nations exercise introspection and pragmatism and correct their unanimously committed errors. The less fortunate ones never seem to get over the euphoria of unanimity and prolong their errors. Even the party that made this constitution, is now lamenting over the fact that it’s present state has become incorrigible. A constitution that is incapable of conclusively defining whether the country’s system would be a parliamentary one or a presidential one, is indeed nothing to brag about. Whereas the 1973 Constitution has already undergone 17 amendments, Jinnah’s historical address of 11th August 1947 remains unaltered and is as applicable today as it was 62 years ago.

  7. Khullat

    @mazbut
    I think, your notion that a “liberal progressive state for Muslims could have served well in United India”, is a self-contradictory one. You see, United India would have been a state, and a state within a state does not really work. So if Pakistan had to be a state, it had to be separate. As to,”why did Jinnah opt for a separate homeland for Muslims”, he did not opt for a separate homeland exclusively for Muslims, in the first place. If he did, we would have to believe that Jinnah was ignorant of the fact that Muslims in India outnumbered the Muslims in Pakistan, and obviously Jinnah was not hoping for a mass exodus of Muslims from India into Pakistan. Pakistan was never meant to be a homeland for Muslims exclusively. Every single speech of Jinnah rejects this. Pakistan was demanded to secure a safe economic and social future for the Muslim-majority provinces of India. We should be mature enough to appreciate the difference between creating a country in the name of Islam and creating a country comprising of Muslim-majority provinces, with the aim of securing their vulnerable economic interests. Pakistan was meant to be a homeland for all those living in this country – be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Parsi or Sikh – a secular state is what Pakistan was meant to be.

  8. mazbut

    <<<<<Pakistan was meant to be a homeland for all those living in this country – be they Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Parsi or Sikh – <<<<<

    <<<<< for all those living in this country<<<<<<

    @khullat
    If it were so then what was the need for the Muslims of India to migrate to the new Islamic country and for Hindus to move to Hindu India????

    <<<<<<<<Christian, Hindu, Parsi or Sikh<<<<<<<<< Excepting the declared holy places of Muslims, who says people of different religions cannot live in an Islamic state??

    @ Bin Ismail

    If you were supposed to be correct then what may be needed would be yet another NRO to change the shape of the Constitution and affirm the so-called
    democracy.

    <<<<<<<Jinnah’s historical address of 11th August 1947 remains unaltered and is as applicable today as it was 62 years ago.<<<<<<<<<<

    this ain't no word of Bible……In democracy the word of the people matters, not personalities.

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    “what is more important… 1973 constitution or speech of Jinnah”

    Speech of Jinnah hands down. The constitution of 1973 is a horrible document …

    Then you ask why a separate state…. I think for one thing it is now an accepted truth that Jinnah was not aiming for a complete separation from India.

    Pakistan had to do with Muslim middle classes seeking political and economic space. Even if Pakistan was 100 % Muslim, secularism would make sense because there is no consensus on Islamic law etc.

    Btw what Islamic state has a Hindu law minister? Jinnah appointed a Hindu law minister who had nothing to do with Islamic law …

  10. mazbut

    <<<<<<<<<<<The constitution of 1973 is a horrible document …<<<<<<<<<<<<

    here you are 'condemning' democracy! Isn't that a self-defeating statement by you??

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<it is now an accepted truth that Jinnah was not aiming for a complete separation from India.<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    If that be taken true then the existing Pakistan does prove to Jinnah's unfortunate mistake!

    <<<<<<<<<<<Even if Pakistan was 100 % Muslim, secularism would make sense because there is no consensus on Islamic law etc.<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    I agree but your statement is too much of a wide ball.
    If the prevailing king of justice can't give justice Islam at least have best provision for it. There is not much of a controversy on the straight forward penal modus operandi for most of the criminal and moral infractions. It amazes me to find Muslim wary of their own holy scriptures and try to shun it through lame excuses. If that attitude has to be continued the no one should expect Muslims to ever stand on their own feet!

    <<<<<<<<<<what Islamic state has a Hindu law minister? Jinnah appointed a Hindu law minister who had nothing to do with Islamic law <<<<<<<<<<<

    You seem to be oblivious of the fact that Pakistan is still pursuing the Colonial law of 1800's, your Civil procedure code dated as back as 1908, not to speak of earlier law books! Jinnah had no choice then,,,,he didn't even live long enough to raise the Constitution…and had to go by the colonial English laws. Perhaps you are aware of the fact that even the non -Muslim British magistrates and judges in their time had on hand a Book on Islam and adjudicated according to Islamic tenets of every sect…mainly Sunni or Shiites. The British though secular in their views had respect for law and justice for the common man and adjudicated according to their faiths!

    Let's get out of 'worship of the Dead' and their odd exclamations to suit their personal interests or interests of their time!

    Hope you are keeping fine…
    some days ago happened to see you on the tv…but you didn't put up a fight there as you do here!! lol

  11. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut

    In response to your worthy comments :
    #1:Following your logic, if the migration of Muslims to Pakistan proves that Pakistan was made in the name of Islam, then the migration of Hindus from Pakistan to India should prove that today’s India was founded in the name of Hinduism.
    #2:It does not require an NRO to put a constitution right. It requires awareness at the level of the people. Pakistan had its first constitution in 1956, the second one in 1962, and the third one in 1973. True, Jinnah’s August 11 ’47 speech ‘aint no word of Bible’, but then the ’73 Constitution aint no Quran either. In democracy, people matter, but so do personalities, specially when they’re as great as Jinnah.
    #3:Condemning a certain document does not mean condemning democracy. If personalities are not divine neither are people and parliaments. Parliaments make mistakes. Don’t tell me you consider the ’73 constitution the word of God.
    #4:Until Gandhi, Nehru and Patel did not dump the Cabinet Mission Plan, Jinnah was not for a separate state. The Cabinet Mission Plan was the last hope for keeping India undivided. The Congress leadership blew it. The only way forward then, was a separate state – and Jinnah moved on.
    #5:The legacy of the colonial law is not confined to Pakistan. Bangla Desh and India share this legacy.
    #6:Nobody’s worshipping the dead. Pakistanis admire Jinnah because his principles are as much relevent and alive today as they were six decades ago.

  12. mazbut

    1…India was a Hindu state and remains to be a Hindu state.
    The inherent hatred shown by Hindus toward Muslims and Christians needs no comments. The recent ‘scene’ on My Name Is Khan’ is a glaring example of the hoax which India boasts under the cover of “secularism’ and democracy!

    A matter of common sense: Muslims fled India because they had got their ‘home land’ and Hindu fled from their homeland because they already had their homeland and didn’t want to suffer alien treatment as those Muslims who stayed back in pre-partition India. At least Hindus who stayed back in India aren’t being treated as ‘aliens’; as a matter of fact they ‘virtually rule”, financially and economically, most of Interior Sindh.

    2 true, the constitution is not a word of Quran neither Jinnah a prophet. But comparatively, collective judgment such as Constitution is more important than the word of a single man!
    I do not doubt the status of Jinnah but after all he was a human being, a remarkable lawyer… and in bad health too ….when he made his inconsistent remarks.

    Jinnah today only remains to be hung in nicely framed in portraits in government offices or on the currency notes where most of the people like to see him! I say this because there is no such thing as Jinnah bade us to observe .. Unity faith discipline.

    3. When Parliaments make mistakes it’s again the Parliament which corrects it….not personalities.
    the present situation arose from flailing of the Constitution by a person (the dictator Musharaf) by passing NRO and other stupid ordinances not ratified or if ratified by puppet parliament.

    4. Pakistan was created by default as a result of the blunders committed by Gandhi and his coterie ….
    Jinnah cashed the situation!

    5. Those countries are NATIONS in the true sense of the word…are you???
    you are Panjabi, Pathan, sindhi, Baluchi, Seraiki, Muhajir, Chitrali , etc etc
    First deserve then desire!!

    6. True…..Jinnah was a man of principles, are you??
    Unity…..no
    Faith…. moribund
    Discipline…no

  13. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut

    Well said. I admire your introspection – the first step towards renaissance. Now my opinion on your points:
    #1:Agreed. India is not secular. Muslims are doing well only to extent of Bollywood, hardly elsewhere.Their Secularism and our State Religion both are a drama. I could hardly disagree on that. But if they choose to prolong their drama, that does not mean that ours too must not end. Let’s go for real secularism – the kind that Jinnah wanted.
    Commonsense:there were widespread communal riots on both sides of the border. The mob-vioence and mass killings forced Muslims to migrate to Pakistan and Hindus to migrate to India. As simple as that.
    #2:Collective misjudgment leads to collective disasters. The tested wisdom of a single man is better specially when supported by rational arguments. If this nation does not follow the rational advice of its founder, the discredit is due unto the nation – not the founder.
    #3:When parliaments make mistakes, they are obliged to correct themselves – an obligation not always met.
    #4:Jinnah endorsed the Cabinet Mission Plan. Gandhi, Nehru and Patel made an exit. There was no other plan on the table to keep India undivided. Jinnah was morally bound to move on, as any good leader would. He showed perseverance and moved on undaunted. The Congress did the cashing bit.
    #5:Good introspection. Nobody said anything about deserving. The issue at hand was the shared legacy of inherited colonial law, not deserving and desiring. Anyway, good point.
    #6:I never said I was. God save me from such self-indulgence. Again, the issue at hand is that Jinnah’s principles are as much relevant and alive today as they were six decades ago. Pakistan has to revert to Jinnah’s vision and principles – and revert now.

  14. Khullat

    @Bin Ismail
    Well said. You’ve hit the nail on it’s head.

  15. Khullat

    Pakistan’s Jinnah Zindabad.
    Jinnah’s Pakistan Zindabad

  16. mazbut

    @ Bin Ismail

    I have full respect for your aspirations but given the eunuch rulers and the shameless majority devoid of honor all that you aspire for is not more than a mere wishful thinking. Let’s first try to become an honorable nation and then talk Jinnah!!
    regards

  17. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut
    The shameless majority also happens to be the silent majority. We have to speak out. True, the journey to honour may be a long one, but we would have to begin by speaking out. In fact, I would respectfuly suggest that let’s talk Jinnah.
    Best Regards

  18. mazbut

    @ Bin Ismail

    You seem to be naive…..or a true admirer of Jinnah as one ought to be. the point is that the ‘silent majority’ doesn’t sit on the computer like us and read these dispatches…hence all this is not to much avail, except argument for the sake of argument.

    You—we—ought to get out and float a Jinnah campaign from institution to institution, from the students to the working class…if we expect to seek practical outcome. But, before we embark on this ”mission’ the question of law and justice precedes and ofcourse for your—our—security we cannot trust our government or administrative deptts.
    Then , should we engage a team of guards or the so called ”gun men” for our security???

  19. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut
    I am indeed an admirer of Jinnah – good guess. I may well be naive too – an interesting assessment. But resigning ourselves to the generally dismal situation would be naivity of an even higher order. Each one of us should do the best that can be done, and contribute positively.

  20. B. Civilian

    mazbut vs. mazbut

    the shameless majority devoid of honor

    here you are ‘condemning’ democracy! Isn’t that a self-defeating statement by you??

  21. mazbut

    @ B. Civilian

    Why do you forget what an american attorney had once remarked about Pakistani’s selling their ……..for much lesser reward money?? Was he representing a ”democratic’ government or were his remarks ‘democratic”?
    Boy, democracy is not the end of the world!!
    SITAROAN SAY AAGAY JEHAN AUR BHI HIEN!!

  22. B. Civilian

    “SITAROAN SAY AAGAY JEHAN AUR BHI HIEN!!”

    bon voyage

  23. Bin Ismail

    ABBHI ISHQ KAY IMTIHAN AUR BHEE HAIN

    The first and immediate “imtihan” at hand is to bring back the secular Pakistan that was envisioned by Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

  24. mazbut

    @
    Bin Ismail

    If Pakistan had to be a secular state what was the need to create it? Wasn’t India enough to satiate their desire?? It appears some people do not realize the significance of Muslim sentiment in Pakistan and perhaps want to march back to their original place of being ie secular India.

  25. B. Civilian

    mazbut

    that old trick wouldn’t work. it’s hopeless.

    if i’d take a stand against the danger of majoritarianism (pre-1947), rest assured that my stand would be 1000x stronger against supporters of a theocracy (post-1947).

  26. mazbut

    @ B. Civilian

    Theocracy would be the worst thing I would ever like to see but not the existing type of diabolic type of democracy around!!

  27. B. Civilian

    mazbut

    work for its evolution. show some patience since its early days. and lets hope every generation does its bit in terms of struggle and even sacrifice, if necessary, for democracy. lets concern ourselves with our share of responsibility for now.

    otherwise, to oppose even democracy itself through legal and constitutional methods is your democratic right.

    again, if my stand against the danger of majoritarianism was precisely in order to prevent the degradation of democracy it entails, then, by definition, my stand against anyone opposing democracy – no matter at how diabolical a stage of its evolution – would be 1000x stronger.

  28. mazbut

    <<<<<<<<<<<<cy – no matter at how diabolical a stage of its evolution – would be 1000x stronger.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    but you will not get nowhere!!
    You seem to forget that we have a large and ambitious army too!

  29. B. Civilian

    but you will not get nowhere

    i shall remember to thank you once i get there. in the meanwhile, allow me to ignore you.

    as for your own journey, like i said before: bon voyage.

  30. mazbut

    yeah, ignorance is bliss. Ignore!

    viva Ignorance!

  31. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut

    I somehow couldn’t ignore your following comment :

    “If Pakistan had to be a secular state what was the need to create it? Wasn’t India enough to satiate their desire?? It appears some people do not realize the significance of Muslim sentiment in Pakistan and perhaps want to march back to their original place of being ie secular India.”

    The issue is not actually very perplexing.

    #1: India is NOT secular. I think we agreed on that earlier. Let’s stop moving in circles. India’s secularism is a myth – and a very conspicuous one.
    Mosques, churches, gurdwaras – nothing is safe from Hindu fanaticism. Plus the state too, is visibly anti-minority. So even if someone chooses to march back, it won’t be towards a ‘secular’ India.
    #2: ‘Secularism’ means to dissociate State from Religion. No bias for or against any religion or religious denomination at the state level. Now this was a luxury that was visibly not available in India, around the time of independence, specially in view of the attitude problems of Patel and Nehru.
    #3: Please try to differentiate between creating a country in the name of Islam and pursuing a secure economic future for the Muslim-majority ‘states’ of the subcontinent. Don’t you see any difference between the two? The Muslim-majority states of India were lagging behind economically. They needed leg-room. The last hope for that judicious and equitable leg-room within an undivided India was the Cabinet Mission Plan.
    Jinnah endorsed it. the Congress leadership dodged it. Like any courageous leader with honour, Jinnah moved on. The only option left now was a separate state comprising of Muslim-majority states.
    #4: Let me repeat : We have to be able to appreciate the difference between creating a country in the name of Islam and pursuing a safe economic future for the Muslim-majority states of the subcontinent. In 1947, the issue at hand was not the ‘significance of Muslim sentiment’, it was the significance of the political and economic future of the Muslim-majority states.

    Viva Awareness !

  32. Nusrat Pasha

    “Pakistan’s Jinnah” remained boldly pro-minority and pro-oppressed throughout his brilliant career.
    Muslims were a minority in India. He rose to defend their case. He was even more concerned about the Shudras or untouchables – the most oppressed and vulnerable of all minorities of India.
    He even wrote to Gandhi, expressing his deep concern. His fight was basically a pro-minority one. The following words of Jinnah testify to this :

    1. “….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan.” (Press Conference, 14 November 1946)

    2. “….in the name of Humanity, I care more for them (the Untouchables) than for Mussalmans. ” (Speaking about the Shudras or Untouchables, during his address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934 )

    Such was Pakistan’s Jinnah. Viva Jinnah.

  33. B. Civilian

    mazbut

    i expect you know the difference between ignorance and ignoring the ignorant. i’m sure you are not that ignorant. you’ve stated your position, and i’ve stated mine. there is nothing more to say but for each of us to do what we think is necessary to achieve what we each think is best. whatever this struggle is, it is obvious to me that we’ll not be standing on the same side. so, to ignore repetitions of an already stated position is the best thing to do.

  34. mazbut

    <<<<<<<In 1947, the issue at hand was not the ’significance of Muslim sentiment’, it was the significance of the political and economic future of the Muslim-majority states.<<<<<<<<

    One cannot separate the significance of Muslim sentiment from the significance of political and economic future of the Muslim-majority states as Jinnah only won the case of Pakistan because of Muslim vote.

    India is not secular in the real sense nor Pakistan is Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the real sense.
    Jinnah's Pakistan and Gandhi's India–where do they stand??

    I think the topic is now almost exhausted and we are trying to repeat and reiterate the same story….
    I'll rather ignore discussing further in this matter as
    the arguments are now stretching down to unnecessary ''trolling''!

    Political leaders are wont to make political statements during their speeches and this is the reason the Shudars he tried to 'appease' in one of his speech referred to in here did not back him up during the movement.

    Movements are for a specific cause for specific people. You can see this 'drama' around you even now!

  35. Majumdar

    Mazbut bhai,

    ……………Political leaders are wont to make political statements during their speeches and this is the reason the Shudars he tried to ‘appease’ in one of his speech referred to in here did not back him up during the movement………

    The “Shudars” of East Bengal did back him up during the movement and without their votes perhaps only half a Pakistan wud have been obtained. And they paid a heavy price for it. Perhaps the “Shudars” of the rest of India behaved wisely in staying clear of Jinnah sahib and his AIML.

    Ismail bhai,

    Mosques, churches, gurdwaras – nothing is safe from Hindu fanaticism.

    You are right. There is no mosque, church or gurudwara left intact in India.

    Regards

  36. mazbut

    @ Majumdar
    Welcome!
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<The “Shudars” of East Bengal did back him up during the movement and without their votes perhaps only half a Pakistan wud have been obtained. And they paid a heavy price for it. Perhaps the “Shudars” of the rest of India behaved wisely in staying clear of Jinnah sahib and his AIML.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Ouch! I overlooked the great contribution of Bengal to the Pakistan movement! Shudras or non-Shudras,they were let down by Jinnah's two-nation theory and had to finally break off. What is now left is certainly not Jinnah's Pakistan and, given the persisting ethnic, linguistic, religious and sectarian issues, any attempt to make it so would only be unnatural! Note the current controversy on the status of Urdu as the national language!!

  37. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut
    #1 : Please don’t tell me you really cannot see any difference between ‘sentiments’ and ‘economic interests’.
    #2 : Jinnah never envisioned an ‘Islamic Republic’. This was a latter diversion. India too is not exactly adhering to Gandhi’s non-violence. But latter diversions cannot be attributed to pioneers.
    #3 : Jinnah’s conduct proves that he stood for principles, not appeasing anybody.

    @Majumdar
    #1 : The state of Shudars in India is even more pathetic. What does that prove? Jinnah’s pro-minority policy was abandoned by those who succeeded him. After Bangla Desh came into being, they too had swings to and away from secularism.
    #2 : The 2-nation theory was not a “Muslim:Hindu” equation in the religious sense. It was a “Muslim-majority states:Hindu-majority states” relationship theory, in the politico-economic sense.

    It was nice communicating with you all. Regards.

  38. Majumdar

    Ismail bhai,

    The state of Shudars in India is even more pathetic. What does that prove?

    Half of East Bengal’s “shudars” left EB for India, how many Indian “shudars” have left India?

    And what does this statistics prove?

    Regards

  39. Milind Kher

    Reviving Jinnah’s Pakistan will be the greatest challenge any nation has ever faced in the history of mankind.

    Yet, let us hope that Pakistanis fight for it and achieve it.

  40. Gorki

    Bin Ismail:
    “‘Secularism’ means to dissociate State from Religion. No bias for or against any religion or religious denomination at the state level. Now this was a luxury that was visibly not available in India, around the time of independence, specially in view of the attitude problems of Patel and Nehru”

    Could you elaborate on this?
    Specifically which act or part of Nehru’s attitude was a problem?
    Regards.

  41. Bin Ismail

    @Majumdar
    It proves that the poor Shudars went out of the frying-pan, and into the fire.

    @Gorki

    #1. With the advent of the British, western education was introduced to India. The maulvis declared Western education heresy. It took barely a couple of decades for Hindus to take the lead in education, among the 2 communities. Muslims began to lag behind and the lag began to increase.
    #2. The Hindu-majority states, collectively became more established in terms of education, economy, commerce and industry. Within an undivided India, it was not Islam that was as risk. It was the conglomerate of Muslim-majority states that was at risk of being economically subdued by the relatively more consolidated conglomerate of Hindu-majority states.
    #3. The Cabinet Mission Plan proposed a confedation, comprising of 3 units – today’s Pakistan, today’s India and today’s Bangla Desh.
    Leaving the ministries of Communications, Foriegn affairs and Defense with the Centre, it was proposed that the rest would be with the confederating units, and the eventual future of the union would later be decided through a referendum.
    #4. Jinnah endorsed the plan but Gandhi, Nehru and Patel adopted evasive measures and the plan failed. This was the last hope for keeping India undivided, and there was no alternate plan on the table and the Congress knew this. There are documented statements by both Nehru and Patel highlighting their inflexibility.
    #5. Jinnah moved on. A separate state comprising of Muslim-majority provinces, was now the only realistic option, which then was pursued by Jinnah – and these states opted to be led by none but him.

  42. Nusrat Pasha

    History has its own significance, but what really matters now is that Pakistan, India and Bangla Desh have to secularize themselves in the truest sense of the word. This appears to be the most realistic formula now. Secularism does not mean being anti-religion. Secularism simply means to separate religion from state and state from religion. Religion should be the business of the individual and statecraft should be the business of the state.

    Anti-Muslim episodes in India will arouse anti-Hindu sentiments in Pakistan and vice versa, and this region will never be able to disengage itself from this vicious circle. True secularism needs to be adopted on either side.

  43. Gorki

    Bin Ismail:
    I am still unclear about your line of reasoning so let me try again:

    Are you in any way implying that Nehru’s opposition to the CMP was because he had a problem with the following statement?

    ‘Secularism’ means to dissociate State from Religion. No bias for or against any religion or religious denomination at the state level.”

    Regards.

  44. Bin Ismail

    @Gorki

    You’ve said, “I am still unclear about your line of reasoning”, with reference to my comment [1:41 am, 27/2/]: “Secularism means to dissociate State from Religion. No bias for or against any religion or religious denomination at the state level. Now this was a luxury that was visibly not available in India, around the time of independence, specially in view of the attitude problems of Patel and Nehru.”

    It’s not that Jinnah was expecting Nehru to run India according to the Vedic law. I’ve explained the nature of the risk in my next comment addressed to you [11:25 pm, 27/2]: “The Hindu-majority states, collectively became more established in terms of education, economy, commerce and industry. Within an undivided India, it was not Islam that was as risk. It was the conglomerate of Muslim-majority states that was at risk of being economically subdued by the relatively more consolidated conglomerate of Hindu-majority states. “Most certainly Jinnah was not expecting Nehru to launch a Shuddhi Movement to forcibly convert Muslims to Sanatan Dharm. What he was perceiving was that the Congress would eventually maneuver to deprive the Muslim-majority states of ‘economic autonomy’, not religious freedom, by using the larger conglomerate of Hindu-majority states as a lever and their greater representation in the Parliament as a fulcrum. It goes without saying that such a threat, although economic, would still have contravened the secular philosophy.

    For a constitutional lawyer of international repute, of the stature of Jinnah, it was not too tasking to figure out what the Cabinet Mission Plan of 16th May 1946 entailed, and the commitments required. The CMP had proposed 3 sub-federations within India, with the provision of opting out of the federation after 10 years. The 3 sub-federations corresponded more or less to today’s Pakistan, today’s India and Bengal & Assam. This was very obviously the last hope for keeping India undivided. Jinnah accepted the plan first. The reluctance on the part of the Congress became apparent by the fact that they endorsed it a month later and that too with hazy a commitment. Merely 3 days later, in a press conference, Nehru was asked whether the Congress had accepted the plan in its entirety or not. Upon his ambiguous and non-committing reply, the pressman asked, “Does this mean that the Congress will be at liberty to modify the plan, including the grouping part of it? Nehru replied, “Yes”. With all due respects to Nehru, rendering his own commitment to the CMP doubtful, and moreover publicly, was certainly not conducive to keeping India undivided. Plans do not go ahead without unequivocal commitment, and neither did this one.

    The CMP died. There was no other plan on the table.Jinnah moved on and Pakistan came into existence.

    Although the Congress manifesto was a secular one,there were strong undercurrents of religious bias – not so favorable towards the Muslim-majority states. Jinnah’s perception of the commitment deficit on the part of the Congress was clearly vindicated by India’s latter handling of the states of Hyderabad Deccan, Junagadh and Kashmir.

  45. mazbut

    Secularism, in its intrinsic form, cannot be defined as “”“ dissociation of the State from Religion.” It actually means “”association of all religions in the state”. Has anybody ever thought who are the ‘real’
    beneficiaries of such a system??? A look at the econo-political situation and structure of the so-called secular countries speaks out for itself.

  46. Gorki

    Bin Ismail:

    Nehru rejected the CMP because he believed in a strong center and wanted to build a uniform state based not on a understanding between groups and group identities but on a simple contract between an individual and the state. It had nothing to do with being non-secular.

    While one may find faults with his reasoning, (which is a different discussion altoghether) this in no way dilutes out the fact that never once in his long political career did he ever say, write or act in any way that was not clearly secular.

    In fact in this one respect, his record is stellar and he stands far taller than other giants; Patel, Azad or even Gandhiji and MAJ himself.

    Regards.

  47. vajra

    @mazbut

    I am sorry, that is flatly contradictory to the original concepts and development of those concepts. I agree that your formulation is enticing. Unfortunately, a brief look, not at the present, as you have suggested, but at the past, indicates very, very clearly that secularism was born out of innately religious regimes that sought to put bureaucratic principles (bureaucracy was not always thought of, particularly in sociological terms, with the contempt with which we contemplate it today) in place of the earlier religious principles of governance, justice and a theological underpinning of the social structure.

    It is worth reminding ourselves that those states, where the secular principle was first articulated and experimented with, and thereafter developed, were themselves multi-religious complexes. The difference was that one out of its different religions was recognised as the state religion, and thereafter the position was sought to be altered so that by the elimination of this one religion from public affairs, all citizens could be viewed as equal.

    It would appear that all three successor countries to British India made some basic mistakes in their consideration of the facts and theories surrounding secularism.

    This was prior to the philosophical developments which led to other formulae which dealt with ‘nations’ and with identity, some of which are easily to be identified as enemies of secularism, simply because the politics of identity is inimical to the politics of no identity.

    In terms that I have been trying with little success to explain to friends outside India, this shows immediately the workings of Indian society at the moment.

    The secularism of all religions, Gandhi’s formulation, was taken up by the Indian state as an underpinning factor, an ideological rather than constitutional directive. This was vulnerable enough to the increasing encroachment of majoritarian beliefs into day to day practices, customs and ceremonies; it became quite irrelevant when it came to the gradual awakening of the identity-compromised, the scheduled castes, the forest tribes, and the mountain tribes. As far as these identity groups were concerned, secularism and strict equality could be sought after their own situation in the state was rectified.

    This might take generations, and during that period, the groups in question don’t see secularism as critical. They see empowerment as critical. While they might fall in with the idea of secularism equalling all religious beliefs and all religions, your formulation, this can happen long, long afterwards, as far as they are concerned. And it will be another long struggle after that to banish religion from public life, which personally, without dismissing your views, is the position to strive for.

    At the moment, what you see in India is firstly, the mirror image of what you see in Pakistan, with the difference that the identities seeking self-expression are different in the two states concerned; secondly, you see the breakdown of the concept of secularism because the religious divide is no longer the critical divide.

    I am sorry if this sounds dismissive of the original driving force for the creation of the present three states. It is not meant to be. Instead, please understand this to be an effort at pointing out to those who have read this far that alternative identities surface in a state after the original strong identity driver is dissipated or given full and triumphant expression. Also that during these periods of the emergence of alternative identities, religion and its treatment in the state, which I am equating with the extent of secularism in the state, is minimised, in order to make space for the shifted focus of identity struggle.

    I hope that this addresses the problem you brought to our attention.

  48. Bin Ismail

    @mazbut & vajra

    I respect your respective definitions and perspectives of the term ‘secular’. Allow me to summarily share mine with you. In my opinion, a secular state can be described along the following lines :
    #1: Secularism does not mean an anti-God, anti-religion, Godless or religionless system.
    #2: Secularism simply means that the state will not hold the religious affiliation of the citizen to the advantage or disadvantage of the citizen.
    #3: There will be no State Religion in place.
    #4: No particular religion or adherents of a particular religion will enjoy state-granted privileges, exclusive to that religion.
    #5: Adherents of all religions, without exception will enjoy equal civil rights and have equal civil responsibilities.

    @Gorki

    I most sincerely respect, both, your point of view and your admirations for Nehru, even if I do not happen to share them. You had asked for an elaboration of my viewpoint, which I have put forth. Which leader stands taller than whom, is an endless debate that is founded more on competitive and less on comparative analysis.

    It was a pleasure exchanging views with you all.

    Best Regards
    Bin Ismail

  49. Bin Ismail

    Dear all, you may find this link interesting :

    http://secularpakistan.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/state-religion/

    Best Regards
    Bin Ismail

  50. Bin Ismail:

    You are a kind man and a gentleman.
    Thanks for your courtsey.

    Regards.

  51. B. Civilian

    Gorki

    “in this one respect, his record is stellar and he stands far taller than other giants; Patel, Azad or even Gandhiji and MAJ himself.”

    if only MAJ had at least one of the following luxuries, to highlight just a few of the major ones:

    he happened to be a majority leader and could have the double benefit of most of his community having little need to stick to identity and little fear from its own reactionaries to the extent of even accomodating them within the political fold or even party, or

    had he agreed with nehru as to the degree to which democracy can and may be blind to contemporary realities of idenitity (ie based on factual effects of this subjectivity whether you agree with the subjectivity itself or not), or

    the community he led was at par with the rest in terms of modernity, and

    the majority party had not exploited this by co-opting the reactionaries and priests from within MAJ’s community (in terms of identity) and used them against and to discredit MAJ at even a personal level, quite happy to hit below the belt.