Stop Making Excuses For The Clergy

This article is a few weeks old and was written by in response to an earlier article by the impugned author.  It is now relevant again.  Courtesy Daily Times.

VIEW: Stop making excuses for the clergy —Aisha Sarwari

Shackled by obscurantism dogging the masses with religious war and decrees, Pakistan is taking a sad turn away from its manifest destiny

Historically, the latter-day self-styled champions of Islamic ideology in our country were almost entirely opposed to the creation of Pakistan. Yet so entrenched is the state indoctrination of the Pakistani mind that it is unable to break free from the idea that Pakistan was created for faith. Shahid Ilyas — who hails from Waziristan — makes a similar mistake in his piece ‘Stop blaming the West’ (Daily Times, June 2, 2010). Indeed it is erroneously titled. It should have been titled, ‘Stop blaming the Islamic parties and Afghan jihad’. That is what the writer is asking us to do. I, for one, did not understand how the title of the article corresponded with its contents.

His claim is that Pakistan took the trajectory it did because it was founded in the name of Islam. The truth is that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was neither the proponent of an exclusivist ideology nor a promoter of any religious cause. His creation, Pakistan, emerged from an epic struggle; a democratic, plural and fair fight for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, after a union had been marked out as an option by the majority party.

Jinnah was a proponent of the separation of religion and state, and had a deep sense of fair play for all citizens. Look at his cabinet when his party formed the first government of Pakistan: a Hindu for the post of law minister and an Ahmedi, Sir Zafrullah Khan, at the post of foreign minister.

The essence of the League’s struggle was economic and political. The Muslim League comprised the petit bourgeoisie from Punjab to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan, Muslim minority areas in undivided India, and Bengal. In the Muslim League’s camp were Ismailis, Ahmedis, Shias, Sunnis and other heterodox elements of Muslimdom. The Indian Congress Party, on the other hand, consciously promoted an orthodoxy amongst its Muslim members by and large. The maulanas of Deoband and other doctors of religion were firmly in their camp. It goes without saying that every Islamising impulse in Pakistan has come from groups opposed to the creation of Pakistan. This is a fact of history deliberately being swept under the rug.

This divide was a fact greater than the gentlemanly conduct of a seasoned lawyer and politician who was secular to the core. And this divide had less to do with the irreconcilable differences in religion than it had to do with a system of egalitarian division of resources in the region and the deep historical sense of disenfranchisement in both communities.

Jinnah never stated that Pakistan was to be a theocracy; in fact he laid it out in plain words: “Pakistan is not to be a theocracy to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.” Jinnah was a man who parroted no one in the religious frenzy worked up by Gandhi during the Khilafat Movement. Jinnah opposed the Khilafat Movement for fear that such politicisation of Islam would lead to a mob hysteria that would not be contained in the call for independence, shadowing it with violence. Jinnah, after the creation of Pakistan, left no doubt as to the ethos of the state in his address to the Constituent Assembly in 1947 — “You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan, you may belong to any caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Jinnah abhorred prejudice, intolerance or presumptuousness in the company he kept — a friend of Sarojini Naidu, a disciple of Tilak, an admirer of Gokhale, a follower of Ambedkar and a husband to a feisty independent Parsi girl, Ruttie Jinnah. He dined with the British, refused a bribe-coated bone from Gandhi to run the prime ministership of United India and struggled with himself as he returned to England in self-exile in the 1930s in disgust with Indian politics. No matter what page you find yourself reading from his life, Jinnah comes out “incorruptible”, as defined by his political rival Nehru.

The turning point, as historians call it, was when Jinnah hit a wall with the Congress Party leadership, which he broke away from and joined the Muslim League. The conflict was simple: give the minority community safeguards from a tyrannical majority, address their political and economic insecurities and let us work together for a greater India. This demand was rejected by the ever-centralising Congress Party, now aptly drawn out in Jaswant Singh’s new book. Providing a group their rightful safeguards was a just demand, and its rejection clarified to Jinnah the conceited unwillingness on the part of the Hindu leadership riding the high wave of Gandhi’s Hindu revivalism. No principled politician could be expected to stand by and watch. Jinnah’s astute legal brilliance made him take the demand to its logical course, for not a vindication but a fair playing field for a people who were different in that terrain. Jinnah stood for the rights of a minority community.

Had the leadership of Pakistan that followed Jinnah respected his wishes, Pakistan would now be far ahead in world politics and economics. Shackled by obscurantism dogging the masses with religious war and decrees, Pakistan is taking a sad turn away from its manifest destiny. Driving down Jinnah will only strengthen obscurantism and nothing else.

My suggestion to Shahid Ilyas is to stop making excuses for the clergy by trying to create a link between sectarian terror and the principles on which Pakistan was founded. Pakistan was founded on the principle of justice, fair play and equality for all citizens of Pakistan and this is what we need to get back to.

Aisha Sarwari is a writer based in Lahore. She can be reached at aisha_sarwari@yahoo.com

71 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

71 responses to “Stop Making Excuses For The Clergy

  1. Bin Ismail

    Well said Aisha Sarwari. A bold and brilliant article indeed.

    In 1953, during the proceedings of the Munir-Kayani Commission, Justice Munir asked one of the Maulanas if he still continued to endorse that verse, which was once their key slogan – “yeh Quaid-e Azam hai keh hai Kafir-e Azam”. With brazen audacity, the maulana replied in affirmative.

    The embarrassment for the maulvis was not only due to Pakistan, a project they had so religiously opposed. It was also the person of Jinnah, they simply could not reconcile with. How could a clean-shaved, modern, secular-minded man so mesmerize the Muslims of India, that they would turn their backs on the clergy? Thus it was with vindictive venom, that they hit back as soon as Jinnah died, to complete their unfinished mission – the reversal of Pakistan.

  2. Majumdar

    Was Pakistan created in the name of Islam?

    Or was it created in the name of the social, political and economic interests of the South Asian Muslims which wud find its expression in a Muslim majority but nonetheless secular, progressive, welfare nation-state.

    As far as the Founder of Pakistan is concerned, the answer is clearly #2.

    But what about the people who helped him found the state of Pakistan or more importantly the people for whom Pakistan was founded. That is somewhat more debatable. The answer for that possibly lies somewhere in between #1 and #2- for bin Ismail bhai perhaps closer to #2, for Mustafa Shaban bhai perhaps closer to #1.

    Regards

  3. Bin Ismail

    @ Majumdar (June 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm)

    “…..Was Pakistan created in the name of Islam?

    Or was it created in the name of the social, political and economic interests of the South Asian Muslims which wud find its expression in a Muslim majority but nonetheless secular, progressive, welfare nation-state…..”

    When we use the phrase “…interests of the South Asian Muslims…”, we find ourselves not precisely corresponding to the rhythm of the Jinnah-led movement. In my opinion, the expression “…interests of the Muslim-majority states of undivided India…” would be closer to reality.

    Again, “undivided India” or “British India” would be, in the geo-political sense more correct, because “South Asia” would, I suppose, be a canvas larger than what Jinnah had before him. So, essentially we’re talking about the Muslim-majority states of undivided India.

    Jinnah’s historical words, “….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan” (14 November 1946), clearly rule out that the efforts were for the “Muslims of India” as is believed generally nowadays. And this quote is not of the 20s or 30s, it’s as late as 14/11/47, precisely nine months prior to independence. Jinnah was a man of very calibrated words and deliberate speech. I think he felt compelled to use the phrase “believe me” to allow no room for doubt about his vision and struggle. Had his struggle been for the larger Muslim community, he would have encouraged Muslims from all over India to move over to the newly born Pakistan, something not only he did not do, but also did not favour.

    The communal riots depicted a typical South Asian mob mentality, manifesting as widespread violence with colossal life loss. This led to large scale migrations from either side. Otherwise, Jinnah’s advice to the Muslims of post-independence India was to stay in India and serve their country with loyalty and commitment.

    As for “the people who helped him found the state of Pakistan” few shared Jinnah’s nerves of steel and unflinching resolve, the resolve that was needed to hold the clergy at bay.

    Regards.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    Bin ismail please respond to Shahid Illyas’ article in DT today.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  5. Majumdar

    Ismail bhai,

    In my opinion, the expression “…interests of the Muslim-majority states of undivided India…” would be closer to reality.

    I see.

    So why did the Bong/Punjoo/Sindhi Hindoos and Sikhs didn’t see it that way. And why did Muslims of minority provinces vote with their feet for Pakistan.

    Regards

  6. Jamal

    Pakistan’s Medieval Constitution
    6/21/10

    It is the only Muslim nation to explicitly define who is or is not a ‘Muslim.’

    In the early hours of May 28, Khalid Solangi was shaken awake by his wife. She told him that she’d heard news of a bloody attack on two Ahmadi mosques in Pakistan. Khalid’s older brother, an Ahmadi Muslim American, had recently flown to Lahore for a wedding and they feared he was one of the victims. “My wife said to me, ‘Your brother has never missed the Friday prayer.'”

    And so Khalid dialed his sister-in-law’s number. She confirmed the worst: Her husband had called from his cellphone minutes earlier, asking her to pray for him and the others trapped inside the mosque. “The next thing we heard was that my brother had been martyred,” said Khalid. “He had gone to Pakistan for a wedding. He didn’t even live there.”

    When the dust from the bombs settled and the Taliban gunmen stopped their shooting, nearly 100 innocent Muslims lay dead inside the mosques where they had gathered for Friday prayer. This wasn’t the first act of terror committed against this minority Muslim sect.

    Since 1953, when the first anti-Ahmadi riots broke out in newly independent Pakistan, the Ahmadi community has lived under constant threat. In 1974, Pakistan amended its constitution to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims.

    Ten years later, among a slew of anti-blasphemy laws—one of them famously known as “Ordinance XX”—the military dictator Zia ul-Haq made it a crime for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims. They were forbidden from declaring their faith publicly, using the traditional Islamic greeting, and referring to their places of worship as mosques. In short, virtually any public act of worship or devotion by an Ahmadi can be treated as a criminal offense punishable by death.

    Unsurprisingly, attacks on the Ahmadi community followed. In 2005 eight Ahmadis were gunned down in a mosque in a small town in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. A year later a mob burned down Ahmadi homes and shops in a small village in the province, forcing more than a 100 Ahmadis to flee.

    Last winter, while I was home in Lahore, I drove to a beige building near my house to get my passport renewed. The officer, in a small effort to assist me, made Xs next to the lines that needed my signature. First I signed the badly photocopied sheet, again and again. Then I found myself being asked to confirm that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad—a 19th century Punjabi reformer and founder of the Ahmadi movement—was an “imposter.”

    This is standard. Every Pakistani Muslim applying for a passport must sign a statement deriding Ahmad, but I had forgotten about the procedure.

    I asked the officer what would happen if I didn’t sign above the line. He looked at me blankly: “You don’t want passport?”

    Later that day I went with my friends to a restaurant in Old Lahore—the city’s historic quarter—where cramped alleys lead to centuries-old Mughal mosques, forts and gateways. We ate kebabs and shared a hookah. On our way home, passing Lahore’s busiest road, I saw a banner on a building facing the Lahore High Court: “Jews, Christians and Ahmadis are enemies of Islam.” We passed a patch of grass where a bronze statue of Queen Victoria had once stood. It has been replaced by a tall glass box containing a Quran.

    That the Ahmadi movement agrees with every tenet of Islam, save the additional belief that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came to the Muslim community as a promised messiah, is irrelevant. The legal system has left minorities such as Christians and Hindus, and within Islam, Ahmadis and Shiites, socially and politically isolated.

    Routinely, the graffiti along Lahore’s stylish boulevards will proclaim that Shiites are infidels. More than 100 Christian houses were burned in a town in central Pakistan last year over a claim that a Christian had defiled the Quran. That same year, 37 Ahmadis were charged under the blasphemy laws.

    Link: tinyurl.com/3xqlt4y

  7. Ally

    Its time we followed bangladesh and removed ALL religion from politics… thats how these clergy get their power… there is no alternative, no inbetween, we have to go full out secular… Ataturk had the right idea!

    Unless we remove religion from Politics the country will continue to spiral into backwardness. There is no other alternative!

  8. Tilsim

    Whilst Bin Ismail and Aisha Sarwary make very reasonable points about Jinnah’s intentions for Pakistan, the fact of the matter is that the army, the people of Pakistan and their political representatives have been turning Pakistan into a theocratic state since it’s inception. It seems to be a done deal now. Any change here would require quite a lot of selling as to why a secular state might infact be in the interest of everyone. The political parties (other than MQM) seem to have made up their mind that a demand for secularism is a vote loser. I think for now we should focus on insisting that the State provide an open environment, ethics, fairness and equality to all it’s citizens. We should insist that the State not become a fundamentalist country with a narrow vision and implementation of Islam. We should insist that the State is not just de facto Mullah rule through the back door. The way things are going with political opinion that is first and foremost threat facing the country.

  9. Jamal

    Hate Speech

    A strong case can be made against the JI leader for fomenting aggression and religious persecution under the country’s laws regarding hate speech and incitement to violence. – Photo on file

    The street power and political clout wielded by Pakistan’s religious right have resulted in the state and society being held hostage by extremist elements. The latter stop at nothing to further their agenda of inciting hatred, divisiveness and violence. The latest example is that of the Jamaat-i-Islami chief, Syed Munawwar Hasan, who during a sermon in Lahore on Friday threatened a fresh movement against the Ahmadi community if it “did not accept their minority status” and the government kept silent about “their blasphemous and unconstitutional activities”.

    Mr Hasan did not specify any particular instance substantiating his charges, leading one to read his comments as hate speech and also as an attempt to blackmail the government into further victimising an already persecuted community. Given the incendiary passions the issue arouses, any call by religious parties in this context is certain to be attended by violence. A strong case can be made against the JI leader for fomenting aggression and religious persecution under the country’s laws regarding hate speech and incitement to violence.

    Even beyond this particular case, it has now become a matter of urgency that the government show an active and uncompromising stance on the issue of hate speech and incitement to violence or other sorts of criminal activity. Pakistan’s polity is already rent by religious, ethnic and sectarian divisions. Allowing irresponsible and divisive opinions to be aired publicly will deepen these fissures. Once it begins, the process of religious, ethnic and other communities being pitted against one another will prove difficult to bring under control. Spiralling violence, particularly in view of other issues being faced by the country such as militancy and terrorism, can then be expected. It is in the interests of both the state and citizenry to take a stand against inflammatory hate speech and lobby for the prosecution of those who break the law.

    Dawn Editorial

  10. banjara286

    @tilsim,
    states do not have a religion; people do. the constitution does need some work in this area no matter which way one looks at it.

    over and above that, no constitution gives a state the right to persecute its minorities to the point that basic living becomes a living hell for them as it has for ahmadis, christians and hindus in pakistan.

    if even demanding that a state live up to its fundamental obligations to protect the lives and civil right of its citizes at any cost is a vote loser, then i am all for losing votes (though i am absolutely certain that standing up for what is morally right will not only not weaken
    the political standing of a party, it will strengthen it instead).

  11. Mr.Jamal……very very very heartbreaking.

    “Right” is always Wrong!

    We need a modern Che Guevara against them who can reply in the same coin!

  12. Kaalket

    Do i understand it correct that Muslims and Islam are 2 separate entities and do not reflect each others qualities and not synonymous with each others ? In both cases ,Pakistan will remain failure unless it opens up its border for Muslims in India to migrate there freely. Muslims in India are part owners of Pakistan as the area was allocated in their name. Bengalis took their portion in 1971 but IM has yet to take their portion of bounty .

  13. Bin Ismail

    @ yasserlatifhamdani (June 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm)

    YLH:

    I carefully went through the article of Shahid Ilyas (June 21, 2010) in Daily Times. I’ve selected five key quotes from this article. My response to these words is as follows:

    1: “…..Pakistan today has ‘a loud minority’ that publicly condemns all streams of Islamist violence…..”

    Yet the loudness of this ‘loud minority’ is inaudible because this loudness is muffled by the deafening silence of the insensitive silent majority.

    2: “…..Sir Syed Ahmad Khan emphasised that Muslims stay away from the Indian National Congress, on the basis of religion…..”

    Not because he was laying the foundation of a Two Nation Theory or was politicizing Islam, as the writer would like to believe, but for the simple reason that he wanted to ensure that instead of wasting their time in politics, Muslim students would get themselves engaged in some serious study.

    3: “…..In his famous Allahabad address in 1930 he stated, “Islam does not bifurcate the unity of man into an irreconcilable duality of spirit and matter. In Islam, God and the universe, spirit and matter, church and state, are organic to each other…..”

    The inherent flaw in this statement is that Iqbal assumes that God is to the universe what spirit is to matter and church is to state. God created the universe. Spirit did not create matter, neither did the church create the state. So Iqbal’s logic doesn’t really seem to work.

    4: “…..In a message to the Frontier Muslim Students Federation on June 18, 1945 he says, “Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope, others will share with us.” In his presidential address to the All India Muslim League on March 23, 1940, he invokes Islam as the basis of inspiration for action. He stated, “Come forward as servants of Islam, organise the people economically, socially, educationally and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody…..”.

    Elsewhere, Jinnah defines this Muslim ideology as “Islam and its idealism” based upon three fundamental principles – Equality, Justice and Fairplay. He said, “…Islam and its idealism have taught Equality, Justice and Fairplay to everybody.”[25 January 1948]. Muslim Ideology should not be mistaken for a theocracy, because Jinnah clearly said, “…make no mistake – Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it.”[19 February 1948 ]. With reference to the next quote, it should be noted that Jinnah talks about organizing “the people economically, socially, educationally and politically” – but not religiously. This clearly means that the intended service to Islam was not envisaged as a religious one, but in the sense of bringing general benefit to the people.

    5: “…..Had Islam not been central to the creation of Pakistan…..”

    Pakistan’s present ordeal does not owe its existence to its genesis – but to its subsequent hijack.

    Regards.

  14. Bin Ismail

    @Majumdar (June 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm)

    “…..So why did the Bong/Punjoo/Sindhi Hindoos and Sikhs didn’t see it that way. And why did Muslims of minority provinces vote with their feet for Pakistan…..”

    The exodus of Hindus from what became Pakistan and the exodus of Muslims from what is now India, has nothing to do with Jinnah and everything to do with the communal riots that took place around independence. The Muslims of Hindu-majority states who voted for the ML agenda, was not because they all had plans to move to Pakistan, but because they were convinced that Jinnah’s was struggling for a just cause.

    Regards.

  15. Bin Ismail

    Erratum: “…..they were convinced that Jinnah was struggling for a just cause.”

    Sorry for the typo error.

  16. bciv

    @Bin Ismail

    If I could just add one point to your excellent analyses. re. no 2 only, Sir Syed’s main reason to ask the muslims to stay away from congress was because the british view of musalman loyalty had begun to change slightly only 1870’s onwards and was still rather fragile even after the inception of congress. the syed saw the hope of muslims being able to arrest and reverse their decline – particularly devastating since 1857 – in being a part of pax britannica. so the reason for telling them to avoid congress, i believe, was not at all directly to do with TNT, since TNT leaves out the major factor that was the raj’s relationship with muslims and the muslim subjects’ with the raj. and, indeed, the state of ruin of muslims and their retrogressive stubborness and reaction. otherwise, sir syed had supported the formation of the congress and his supported the founding fathers who were his friends.

  17. Tilsim

    @banjara 286

    “states do not have a religion; people do. the constitution does need some work in this area no matter which way one looks at it. ”

    I regret that is not quite correct. Kindly look up State Religion under Wikipedia. There is quite an extensive note on this topic. There are many States with an official religion. In England, the Anglican Church is the State religion. However England and the English are one of the most tolerant nations on Earth. We Pakistanis can learn from them.

    Secularism is not a guarantee for religious freedom. One can look to the French revolution in 1789. Wikipedia cites these state policies:

    * the deportation of clergy and the condemnation of many of them to death,
    * the closing, desecration and pilaging of churches, removal of the word “saint” from street names and other acts to banish Christian culture from the public sphere
    * removal of statues, plates and other iconography from places of worship
    * destruction of crosses, bells and other external signs of worship
    * the institution of revolutionary and civic cults, including the Cult of Reason and subsequently the Cult of the Supreme Being,
    * the large scale destruction of religious monuments,
    * the outlawing of public and private worship and religious education,
    * forced marriages of the clergy,
    * forced abjurement of priesthood, and
    * the enactment of a law on October 21, 1793 making all nonjuring priests and all persons who harbored them liable to death on sight.

    All of that in catholic France. In modern times, China’s persecution of the Falon Gong is another example of state persecution of a religious minority in a secular or in this case, perhaps an atheist state.

    So the point I am making is that we should be insisting on the repeal of laws that are repressive on minorities and insisting that the state guarantees an open environment, ethics, fairness and equality to all it’s citizens. This debate does not have to be done in a secularism versus Islam context necessarily. In fact, I believe the environment in Pakistan is such at present that it will be self defeating.

    The examples to change things are there within Islamic history itself. I have read that in medieval Islam, even incestous marriage was allowed for Zororastrians because medieval Islamic jurists said that this was accepted in their religion! So in the context and reality of modern day Pakistan, it’s more a question of whether one accepts the steady creep towards the Taliban and Wahabi interpretation of Islam or whether we examine and remind people of other interpretations from our own history and traditions. I think this approach may resonate better with public opinion.

  18. Tilsim

    @ Bin Ismail

    “The exodus of Hindus from what became Pakistan and the exodus of Muslims from what is now India, has nothing to do with Jinnah and everything to do with the communal riots that took place around independence”

    Yes, but one can’t discount the fact that religious minorities in the new dominion of Pakistan may also have felt very threatened of their political status by the religiously loaded rhetoric of the Muslim League workers (notwithstanding Jinnah’s secular credentials and pleas). Their doubts have subsequently been proven in the way the state became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

  19. yasserlatifhamdani

    Bin Ismail.. Respond by writing an article in DT. We all need to respond to Shahid Ilyas’ garbage.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  20. Vijay Goel

    All very confusing!! If MAJ was for secularism but used religion for Political and Economic emancipation and the Theologists felt that their religion was safe in erstwhile Hindustan and when Pakistan was achieved then the Theologists felt that since their territory was used to get Political power then why not take advantage, then it all seems a Power Game. Maybe use of wrong means to get a rightful end. The rightful end being Political Power. Every citizen in a democracy has a right to Political power. However we need to draw a line and not whip up emotions to a level where the results negate what we intrinsically stand for. The victory then is just a pyrrhic one. Lot of work now needs to be done.

  21. kashifiat

    “The \\essence// of the League’s struggle was economic and political.”

    One of the most stupid comment and deliberate distortion of history by a specific, narrow mindset of liberal fascists lobby

  22. yasserlatifhamdani

    Kashifiat…

    Pray tell why did Maulana Maududi so vehemently oppose Jinnah and the Muslim League?

    You are sadly one of the stupidest and most uneducated people commenting on this stuff.

    A pork-eating, whiskey drinking Shia Khoja barrister did not give two hoots about “priests with a divine mission”. This is what you don’t understand. You can go on denying history…but you won’t be able to paint a beard on Jinnah atleast so long as I am alive… So go on… Follow up with that threat …have me killed.

  23. Majumdar

    Ismail bhai,

    The exodus of Hindus from what became Pakistan has nothing to do with Jinnah

    You are putting the cart before the horse. Punjoo/Bong Hindoos/Sikhs rejected Pakistan demand long before the communal riots.

    So we come back to the same question: Why did non-Muslim Punjoos/Bongs reject a demand which (allegedly) had nothing to do with religion or communal identity?

    The Muslims of Hindu-majority states voted for the ML agenda, was not because they all had plans to move to Pakistan because they were convinced that Jinnah’s was struggling for a just cause.

    So 97% of Muslims of Hindu majority states were convinced that Jinnah’s was a just cause, and perhaps the same number of Hindus thought that Jinnahs was an unjust cause!!!

    And if Pakistan had nothing to do with religion or religious identity, what was this “soldiers of Islam” business in his March 23, 1940 speech???

    Regards

  24. Junaid

    <i“The \\essence// of the League’s struggle was economic and political.”

    This fact is confirmed by Maulana Israr in one of his Ramzaan video lectures which I saw and heard myself on a recorded DVD.

    Maulana Israr’s actual words in the DVD are

    Pakistan was not created in the name of Islam. It was created because of the fear of the Hindu majority

    I will have to go through 14 DVDs to find out which one it is but it is surely there.

  25. Majumdar

    Ismail bhai,

    {{{
    2: “…..Sir Syed Ahmad Khan emphasised that Muslims stay away from the Indian National Congress, on the basis of religion…..”

    Not because he was laying the foundation of a Two Nation Theory or was politicizing Islam, as the writer would like to believe, but for the simple reason that he wanted to ensure that instead of wasting their time in politics, Muslim students would get themselves engaged in some serious study.

    }}}

    Now this is of course rubbish. His speeches to UP Muslims in Lucknow opposing Muslim participation in INC and the reasons thereof is public. I am surprised that you haven’t read them.

    Regards

  26. @Majumdar

    Not being an expert on the subject, it is nevertheless tempting to point out that the event that made the biggest impression on him during his life seems to have been the Indian Mutiny.

    Is it difficult to believe that he would be on the verge of paranoid about Indian Muslims yet again getting into trouble with the British, this time through the INC and its bids for autonomy? It does seem that in such a situation, a responsible leader would tell his flock to stay well away from any complications with the rulers.

  27. Majumdar

    Dada,

    That may well have been the case. But it is worthwhile to read his Lucknow and Meerut speeches in 1887. Some of the sentiments that he expresses – for instance the inequity of Rais being subjected to rule by darzis- can be considered fairly Gandhian in nature.

    Incidentally he was opposed not only to political participation but also competitive examinations.

    Regards

  28. Majumdar

    Incidentally in the speech referred to Sir Syed on one hand advices his folks to stay away from troubles and at the same time reminds them that they are of the same stock which caused the whole of Asia and Europe to tremble.

    Regards

  29. bciv

    @majumdar

    to address your point about the views of the non-muslim minority in punjab and bengal, even before the wholesale communal riots began. I guess you mean hindu and sikh non-muslims only? Do you mean just before the communal riots or even before the congress press laying into the AIML like it did?

    You can educate me about the situation inthe Punjab, but Lahore – the city of lala lajpat rai – was a stronghold and even the ‘birthplace’ of the mahasabha. any non-english press in lahore was mahasabhite. and we know how mahasabha and congress accommodated each other.

    In the 1945/6 elections in the punjab, politics was also clearly played, on communal grounds, by both sides. Then there were the riots.

    So what is your analysis, exactly, and your conclusions?

  30. @Majumdar

    Difficult to reconcile these sentiments. Frankly, it sounds racist.

  31. yasserlatifhamdani

    A Muslim speaking so soon after the end of the mughal empire saying this would be very different from a muslim saying it now…

    Sir Syed was a man of the Ashrafia …not a populist. His achievement of introducing Muslims to modern education and thereby jump starting the process that created a Muslim bourgeoisie can not be under appreciated.

    We are the inheritor of that legacy and it doesn’t matter what other impulses Sir Syed was subject to.

  32. Yasir Qadeer

    The apologists for these so called champions of religion or Islam for that matter need to take a hike. These are the people who are indirectly fulfilling their objectives. How can you justify the loss of lives, infrastructure and above all hope due to the stupidity of the clergy?

  33. bciv

    sir syed did not include bengalis in his defintion of indian or indian muslim, it would seem from some of his utterances. he also emphatically refused to accept that urdu was a muslim language. in his view, urdu was the quintessential composite indian culture where both its creation and adoption were equally shared between hindus and muslims.

    but hakim ajmal khan held the same, even more acute (in terms of reservations and quotas for muslims), views as sir syed, perhaps less sophisticated/elaborate, yet he was a president of congress and is included in the standard (‘official’) roll of indian freedom fighters. sir syed is not.

  34. bciv

    hakim ajmal was also a leader o the muslim league. he presided over its annual session even the year he was president of congress, i believe. it seems bathing in the ganga of congress washed you pure. sir syed made the ‘unforgivable mistake’ of asking muslims to stay away. mohammad ali jauhar was discarded for daring to fall out with congress. the nazaria e pakistan types feature him prominently in their list of heroes even though he (and his brother) had been at the forefront of shouting jinnah off the stage and out of congress. his brother did become part of the AIML later.

  35. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Sir Syed’s contribution as an educationist for Muslims is something that the subcontinent’s Muslims cannot thank him enuff for. But sometimes he is made out to be a Western style liberal which is something that has to be countered.

    Civvie mian,

    I was responding to Ismail bhai’s theory of the Pakistan movement being a demand of the Muslim majority provinces- I was merely pointing out that the Pakistan was a demand of the Muslim majority of the Muslim majority provinces not of all inhabitants of the Muslim majority provinces.

    In short the geographical (as opposed to communal) nature of the Pakistan demand needs to be debunked.

    Regards

  36. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    I do not write India’s history books (although I share my name with some great Indian historians). I hope do not intend to hold me responsible for how Indian Muslim leaders are depicted in Indian historiography.

    Regards

  37. yasserlatifhamdani

    Not a western style liberal but the originator of the process that created a westernized Muslim bourgeoisie.

  38. bciv

    re. western style liberal

    sir syed was liberal enough for jamal al din afghani to have labelled him a heretic. but not enough to be considered an ‘Islamic apologist’ as some have labelled syed ameer ali et al.

    maulana azad was a follower of afghani of course. so were the JUH types. Azad did modulate his views somewhat as he became more and more dependent on congress for political relevance as well as some historical longevity. but he never abandoned the JUH. he survived in history as long as the congress narrative survived, i guess. the infamous 30 pages didn’t do him any favours though, despite his efforts at remaining diplomatic and not revealing much. even an independent scholar like rajmohan gandhi attacked him in a markedly un-scholarly manner.

  39. bciv

    ….and even afghani was and is considered by many as some kind of an anti-imperial modernist.

  40. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    sir syed was liberal enough for …..

    Of course everything is in a proper context. On PTH, I may be labelled a Hindoo rightwinger, on bharat rakshak forum I may get dubbed a raving pinko and closet jihadi…..

    Regards

  41. bciv

    In short the geographical (as opposed to communal) nature of the Pakistan demand….

    it had to be a bit of both for the AIML to have had any chance of winning the mandate to speak for all Indian muslims. being purely identity based would have made little sense to the muslim majority regions. while a regional movement would have had no resonance with the muslims of muslim minority provinces. yet, the fact remains, that at the all-india level, hindus were a majority.

  42. bciv

    bharat rakshak forum I may get dubbed a raving pinko and closet jihadi…..

    to borrow from your own words, regardless of who you are praying behind, there is always someone praying behind you.😉

  43. Majumdar

    And more importantly you need to be more wary of people who are praying behind you ….

    Regards

  44. Sadia Hussain

    Politics and religion are two separate domains, when these two are intertwined they by-product is a radicalized society. We need to rectify the mistakes our past and alienate the clergy from politics. The society is increasingly becoming intolerant and a lot of this can be attributed to religious organizations that overtly and covertly support militants.

  45. swapnavasavdutta

    Bin Ismail,

    It may be true but sure seems bizzare that Jinnah and AIML wanted to protect hindus and
    sikhs and untouchables of Muslim majority provinces along with off course
    Muslims of Muslim majority provinces and Hindu
    majority provinces, from the tyranny of unjust Hindus of Hindu majority provinces
    (represented_by/gathered_in) INC, using principles
    of Islam

  46. Prasad

    For whatever it was worth, MAJ’s inprinciple agreement with congress (on partition) was to ensure a Muslim Majority state ( albeit equitable one without prejudice – in MAJ’s own words). I would assume it was only due to the fact that ML knew they couldnt muster majority in Undivided India and further ML’s lack of trust on INC’s governance/their secular credentials or probably lack of visibility on pro minority policies

    It made sense in that highly vitiated atmosphere that MAJ and Nehru parted ways on the basis of religious majority (there was no other basis for East Bengal to be tied with Pakistan)

    MAJ and Nehru having achieved the partition preferred to go secular (this is evidently seen in the actions of both the leaders). We could certainly see it in Nehru. I am sure had MAJ lived for atleast another decade, he would have done an equivalent one. So far so good

    The story takes a twist when the Govt in Pakistan takes a decision to go with ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ in 1956

    The wahabi clergy from then on is on an endless cleansing spree and the entire world is bearing the brunt. The enormity of proportion of brainwashed youth absolutely convinced about their nation /their faith taking a beating worldwide is ALARMING to say the least.

    The story is irreversible. Not sure of the quantum of destruction…All beginning with countries imposing their ‘islamic ‘ ideology on people

  47. Bin Ismail

    Vijay Goel (June 22, 2010 at 7:12 am)

    People generally fail to distinguish between the following 4 terms and interchange them with considerable liberty:

    1.Islam
    2.Muslims
    3.Muslim-majority states
    4.Politico-economic wellbeing of Muslim-majority states

    Out of these 4, the latter is what Jinnah actually strived for. Jinnah saw the Indian states as comprising of 2 sub-categories:

    1.Muslim-majority states
    2.Hindu-majority states

    Of these 2, the politico-economic condition of the former was evidently precarious. Jinnah stood to struggle for them. He was essentially a pro-minority activist. Muslims were not the only minority who caught his eye. His concern for the community of the Untouchables was even greater. He said, “in the name of Humanity, I care more for them [the Untouchables] than for Mussalmans. ” [address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934]. One could argue that this was mere rhetoric, but then how much of rhetoric do we otherwise come across in the meticulous and dispassionately practical speeches of Jinnah.

    Moreover, Jinnah never envisioned Pakistan and India as rival neighbors, one representing Belief and the other Disbelief – certainly not. In November 1946, he said, “The two states [Pakistan and India] will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe Doctrine more solid than in America.”

  48. Bin Ismail

    @Majumdar (June 22, 2010 at 9:16 am)

    My apologies for my rubbish. What I was referring to was Sir Syed’s insistence on Muslim students keeping themselves more focused on their education, politics being undoubtedly a major distraction.

    I agree with Vajra that the events of the mutiny of 1857, not only had left an indelible mark on him, they continued to haunt him long afterwards.

    Sir Syed was also extremely vexed with the Muslim clergy’s fatwas against Muslim children acquiring “Farangi taaleem”. He had realized that if Indian Muslim children remained deprived of English education for long, they would become as a community, increasingly inconsequential, in the Indian panorama.

  49. Bin Ismail

    @swapnavasavdutta (June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm)

    It’s not so bizarre if you appreciate it as an effort to secure the Muslim-majority provinces en bloc, from the possibility of being politically and economically subdued by the conglomerate of Hindu-majority states.

  50. Kaalket

    Bin Ismael,
    Muslims boast about thousand years of islamic rule over India while being in “monority” as well alien then why so much heart burn if Hindus were to rule as per Jinnah’s theory? And that too over their own land !!

  51. shiv

    @bin Ismail
    People generally fail to distinguish between the following 4 terms and interchange them with considerable liberty:

    1.Islam
    2.Muslims

    Forgive me for including only the first two of four terms quoted. The latter two were irrelevant to what I have to say.

    Pakistanis are the people who are maximally confused about the difference between Islam and Muslims. The fact that Jinnah may or may not have had such confusion, or whether assorted kafirs have this confusion merely serves to hide the fact that a huge number Pakistani Muslims think they represent Islam.

    Is a Muslim wrong or right in thinking that he represents Islam, or that he and his thoughts and actions are a summary of Islam?

    If a Muslim thinks he represents Islam, how do you tell him that he does not represent Islam without yourself being accused of being an Islamophobe?

    Many democratic societies care for Muslims (eg Denmark) but are accused of being anti Islam

    Many “Islamic countries”, including Pakistan care for Islam but do not give a rats ass for Muslims.

    Did Jinnah care for Muslims or Islam?

    If there is confusion about Islam and Muslims, it is because Muslims themselves, usually Pakistanis, interchange usage to suit them

    And why should there not be confusion?

    After all, when a Muslim, especially a Pakistani is questioned – his first defence is that people are “anti-Muslim”. Can an anti-Muslim person not be against Islam? The term “Islamophobe” was apparently coined by a Pakistani in response to discrimination against Muslims, not Islam. So what the fuq is anyone supposed to think?

  52. Syed

    @Shiv, @Kaalket

    I think we are getting bogged down by semantics.
    Surely, different terms mean different ideas to different people (e.g. Islam, Muslims, Islamophobe etc.). Can we agree that everyone should have the right to freely practise their faith without hindrance from state and with full protection? This freedom could be called just about anything (e.g. secularism, true Islamic spirit, post-modernism …).

    The second question is how much can a government aid or enable a religion. If there is a State Religion isnt that a contravention of secularism? Maybe or maybe not (e.g. Queen in UK is also the head of the Anglican Church).

    In Pakistan’s case we need to achieve the first step before we can get to answering this next question.

  53. yasserlatifhamdani

    Queen of England is a bad example always. Britain is a constitutional monarchy which is largely symbolic. Its working otherwise is completely secular.

    If Pakistan wishes to be a symbolic Islamic republic … for some weird undefined reason …so be it. It cannot however persecute its minorities and break covenants to which it is not only signatory but has ratified.

  54. Kaalket

    Syed ,
    Its not a matter of semantic but of clarity . In 47, was the issue ” Islam in Khatre me” or the safeguarding the interests of Muslim majority states ? lets not forget that Ammi _Abbu of Pakistani movement was UP walas who held extreme positions regarding religion. Do you have answer to the question that why such heartburn at so called Hindus ruling India , their own land when Muslims boast Hajaar Saal rule or yiu think you folks have divine right to rule in the name of religion?

  55. Bin Ismail

    @Ally (June 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm)

    “…..Its time we followed bangladesh and removed ALL religion from politics… thats how these clergy get their power… there is no alternative, no inbetween, we have to go full out secular… Ataturk had the right idea!

    Unless we remove religion from Politics the country will continue to spiral into backwardness. There is no other alternative!…..”

    Very well said. You’ve hit the nail on its head.
    Regards.

  56. Bin Ismail

    @ Majumdar (June 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm)

    “…..Pakistan was a demand of the Muslim majority of the Muslim majority provinces not of all inhabitants of the Muslim majority provinces…..”

    The demand for Pakistan was indeed for “all inhabitants” of the Muslim-majority states of undivided India. Jinnah said, “I am not fighting for Musims – believe me – when I demand Pakistan.” He was indeed not fighting exclusively for Muslims. He was fighting for “all inhabitants” of the Muslim-majority states.

  57. Bin Ismail

    @Kaalket (June 23, 2010 at 4:24 am)

    “…..Muslims boast about thousand years of islamic rule over India while being in “monority” as well alien then why so much heart burn if Hindus were to rule as per Jinnah’s theory? And that too over their own land !!…..”

    Muslims or Hindus or anybody can ignorantly boast about anything. Boasting is an argument for nothing. This thousand year rule was not “Islamic”. We are talking about rulers who were incidentally Muslim. There was nothing at all “Islamic” about their rule.

    Jinnah was not expecting any “Vedic” rule from the Congress. He simply wanted to ensure a safer future for the Muslim-majority states. It was not a “Hindu rule over Muslim subjects” scenario that he was concerned about. It was the possibility of the Muslim-majority states sliding further down, in a situation where they did not have a certain degree of autonomy.

  58. Bin Ismail

    @shiv (June 23, 2010 at 7:43 am)

    In response to the questions you’ve raised:

    1. “Islam” is a revealed religion, a path that leads man to God’s nearness and love. A “Muslim” is simply someone who, subscribes to this faith and in his own estimation, follows Islam.

    2. Jinnah was essentially a pro-minority activist. He once said, while talking with reference to the Shudra community: “In the name of Humanity, I care more for them (Shudras) than I do for Mussalmans”.

    3. Essentially, Religion needs to be separated from State. This would be a huge service to Religion and State both.

    Regards.

  59. skyview

    to bin ismail

    “In the name of Humanity, I care more for them (Shudras) than I do for Mussalmans”

    Idealist sentences are the bread and butter of politicians. Did he really care, did he really do anything for them?

    Islam CLAIMS to be a revealed religion. Muslims BELIEVE islam to be a revealed religion. Don’t forget these crucial words – otherwise you are guilty of dangerous deceit.

    Hence the agreement with your last point – namely that state and religion need to be strictly separated. Religions are based entirely on BELIEFS – the state is not based and cannot be based too much on beliefs.

  60. Vijay Goel

    @ Bin Ismail Sy Bin my I wrongly posted my response to you on “Whu pakistan is not a nation” You are welcome to read it sy 4 the mistake.

  61. shiv

    @bin Ismail

    . He simply wanted to ensure a safer future for the Muslim-majority states. It was not a “Hindu rule over Muslim subjects” scenario that he was concerned about. It was the possibility of the Muslim-majority states sliding further down, in a situation where they did not have a certain degree of autonomy.

    Let us accept this as perfectly true to avoid the endless arguments that will otherwise crop up. But Independence and the creation were not a one man affair. It was not Jinnah alone. It was the work of many others. So while this story puts Jinnah on a pedestal it also ignores the role of others who had other plans for Pakistan. Prominent among those were the mohajirs who migrated out of Muslim minority states to Pakistan who had no role on either side in the murders of partition. In your version of history, Jinnah had no role for them either. They were an inconvenience who had to be accepted in the name of Islam. The mohajirs of course played a role in killing democracy in Pakistan. naturally – they were the “uninvited Muslims” and they had to look after themselves. And they did. They had the educational skills to run the bureaucracy while the dumb Punjabis and Sindhi feudals had the land and power.

    @bin Ismail
    Jinnah was essentially a pro-minority activist. He once said, while talking with reference to the Shudra community: “In the name of Humanity, I care more for them (Shudras) than I do for Mussalmans”.

    Fine – so Jinnah was yet another claimant to informed humanism in an era when Gandhi played this game better than anyone else.

    Again Jinnah was a lone and ignorant Macaulayite voice among a scheming population who were the Muslim equivalent of “Mooh mein Ram, haath mein churi”

    A lot of Hindus converted to Islam and among them were Brahmins and Kshatriyas apart from lower caste Hindus. (For example many “Butts” are Brahmin priest class converts, and Wanis were banias – oh the despicable brahmin-bania nexus!)

    Typically Brahmin and other high caste converts were close to the center of power and never ever intended to develop humanism of the Macaulayite Jinnah variety which called for this love for shudras.

    This has had an impact on post 1947 society in India and Pakistan. In India legislation and other factors have actually gradually reduced the viciousness of caste discrimination to the point of virtual elimination in some areas – and for decades now Indian have seen a gradual breakdown of caste barriers along with a massive rise in power and wealth of the old middle and lower castes. A whole lot or India’s ugly short dark skinny rice eating software folks come exactly from those classes whom you say Jinnah loved more than Mussalmans.

    But like a time capsule from pre-independence India those barriers appear to be still alive in Pakistan. I am amazed at how the civilizational memories have been kept intact in Pakistan. Jinnah’s much vaunted humanist dream is invisible as far as I can tell.

    Honestly – do you guys still maintain caste barriers? Just curious and please don’t give me any drivel about “no caste in Islam”. Maybe Pakistan has a bigger claim on Hinduism (whatever that means) than India – given that some Hindus are unhappy about secularism. Pakistan has done a better job of maintaining all those caste layers and attitudes as far as I can tell.

    Are there any scholarly works about Caste in Pakistan – or is the topic shunned because honesty would give the dirty kafir Indians an advantage and sully Pakistani honor and dignity?

  62. shiv

    Ok my own archives tell me that an article by Raza Rumi of PTH exists about caste in Pakistan.

  63. Bin Ismail

    @ yasserlatifhamdani (June 22, 2010 at 7:10 am)

    For your information, Nusrat Pasha has responded to Shahid Ilyas’ article, titled “The will of the father of this nation”. Let’s see if DT accepts it.

  64. Kaalket

    Bin Ismael,
    Question is WHY not accept the alleged Hindu rule over Hindustan ? Muslims popuation under this rule of Hindus have increased manyfold while Non Muslims in Pakistan have been disappearing at the speed of sound . These Hindus have built better instituions in so called “Soth Ascia”.
    You can compare this Hindustani Hanood rule with Pakistani Muslim rule and judge for yourself who has been done better. Turn out Jinnah was wrong in getting Islamic fever in 47 and he is proven wrong now in nation building also : His comletely unfounded fears cost millions of life. The fears are the product of prejudice and ignorance and cant lay down the foundation of any thing beautiful or constructive. We see the result now . There was no need to run away from competion in education and intellectual, scientific pursuit of knowledge instead rubbing shoulder with educated ,intelligent folks could have been benefitial and inspiring . But past is past and we wish you good luck in your Muslim/islamic path . To be true to Jinnah, Islam or the fears of 47, Pakistan must invite and open door for the Muslims of South Asia so they are not deprieved of this freedom and dream. IMHO, both Muslims and kaffir will welcome this honest gesture.

  65. Honestly corrupt

    @Bin Ismail…. you are a revealed man of a revealed religion. Happy? Sir, Logic is a word with different meaning in dictionary.

  66. Bin Ismail

    @Kaalket (June 24, 2010 at 7:42 am)

    Jinnah’s “fears” as you call them were based on pragmatism, just as your logic is based on prejudice.

    @Honestly corrupt (June 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm)

    Thank you for yet another revelation.

  67. Bin Ismail

    @Kaalket (June 24, 2010 at 7:42 am)

    “…..Question is WHY not accept the alleged Hindu rule over Hindustan ?…..”

    Question is why not pursue a complete segregation of Religion and Statecraft at all levels, and in all the countries of the Subcontinent?

  68. Bin Ismail

    @skyview (June 25, 2010 at 12:47 pm)

    No disrespect, but the best part of these discussions with you, Sir, has been the fact that most of us were able to ignore most of your comments. That is what allowed the discussion to proceed.

    Regards.

  69. OMLK

    @skyview

    just to add a little perspective; have you ever considered the fact that it is not only religion that is based on beliefs?

    To me, saying that the non-religious knowlege possesed by man, scientific or other, is beyond the realm of belief; in other words is perfect to qualify as the objective truth, is down right arrogant. In my opinion, man lives his life based on some belief system. Religion is needlessly trashed as based on belief and hence “fascist”.

    Also your description of Islamic monotheism has one fundamental mistake: and that mistake is use of the word “our” in the sentence, ” Our god is one, and truth is one, hence our god (or god-concept ) is THE truth”. Now there is no concept of “our” God is Islamic monotheism, as God being one and God being just, is then by definition equally caring and equally just to all his creations; and not just the Muslims. In fact this is also what the Quran states.

  70. skyview

    to bin ismail

    Without me the discussion not only proceeded but ended in making Pakistan the glorious show-room for mankind.

    to OMLK

    Religion is based on beliefs. Science is not based on beliefs but contains in itself the constant re-examination of data and theories. A belief held for a short working time (at most a decade or so) is not to be equated with belief that cannot be questioned (over 1000 years and more).

    Since gods are many hence the “our” god concept holds even when the word “our” remains unspoken. The kuranic god is the muslims’ god – declaring him to be everyone’s god is an attempt to intimidate and manipulate. The huge number of non-muslim humans attacked/killed/terrorized/looted for his sake means that he has long ago lost the right to be called everyone’s god.

  71. Bin Ismail

    @skyview (June 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm)

    “…..Without me the discussion not only proceeded but ended in making Pakistan the glorious show-room for mankind…..”

    Nobody’s claiming glory. Nevertheless, prudence would demand that your gloriously biased utterances be ignored.