By Yasser Latif Hamdani
In response to my article in Daily Times where I spoke about the menace of Maududism and its sordid history in Pakistan, several sections in India took umbrage to that part of the article in which I wrote about Mahatma Gandhi’s role in bringing Islamic religious clerics into the forefront of political struggle in South Asia. This is the same section that would rather I had drawn a line linking Islamic extremism to Pakistan’s creation. I would have done so gladly but that would be tantamount to denying history.
The problem with nationalist histiography is that it is unable to fully grasp or articulate nuanced realities that don’t fit in with the binary of good v. evil. Indian nationalist mythology is no different. The naive view amongst those Indian authors taking only a very superficial view of history is that Indian partition was brought about by Muslim religious fanatics and those who opposed it were somehow secular and moderate. This binary then affects their entire view of history where they seek – quite unconvincingly- to imagine an unbroken link from Akbar to Darashikoh to Maulana Azad as a strand in South Asian Islam committed to Hindu Muslim Unity. This again bears no semblance to actual history. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Some people believe that if you repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth. Making the rounds on the internet these days is a “suddenly discovered” interview of Maulana Azad which he allegedly gave to Agha Shorish Kashmiri of Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam in April 1946.
Well I hate to break it to all of you – Agha Shorish Kashmiri was a fraud and the interview itself was most probably cobbled together through excerpts from Azad’s book “India Wins Freedom” and his famous address to the Muslims left behind in India in Jamia Masjid- both easily available texts. Before I come to the actual nature of the forgery, let us re-cap for a second what this creature Majlis-e-Ahrar was and just how deep its motivation ran in discrediting Pakistan and the leadership of Mr. Jinnah who Majlis-e-Ahrar considered an outright Kafir. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, a group of Islamic fanatics closely allied to the Congress party, was one of the most rabid anti-Pakistan movements around. Continue reading
I was intrigued by this interview of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad given to the famous journalist Shorish Kashmiri for a Lahore based Urdu magazine, Chattan, in April 1946. This interesting document has been discovered and translated by a former Indian minister Arif Mohammad Khan. Covert Magazine and newageIslam website have recently published it. The contents of this interview are difficult to agreed with. Azad is speaking from a nationalist angle, anti-Pakistan movement platform.
However, the narrative has some interesting observations and predictions for Pakistan that cannot be rubbished simply because Azad was a Congressite. This interview was conducted over a period of two weeks (parallel to the proceedings of the Cabinet Mission) and has not been documented in any book except that of Kashmiri’s book on Abul Kalam Azad, which has been out of print for decades. Its discovery is a welcome step towards better historiography on both sides of the border.
Q: The Hindu Muslim dispute has become so acute that it has foreclosed any possibility of reconciliation. Don’t you think that in this situation the birth of Pakistan has become inevitable?
A: If Pakistan were the solution of Hindu Muslim problem, then I would have extended my support to it. A section of Hindu opinion is now turning in its favour. By conceding NWFP, Sind, Balochistan and half of Punjab on one side and half of Bengal on the other, they think they will get the rest of India — a huge country that would be free from any claims of communal nature. If Continue reading
I saw this film a while back but I decided to check it out again and was surprised by how close it came to admitting the truth about partition. Here is a sample.
Beena Sarwar writing for the DAWN
Most people are unaware that prior to Hafeez Jullundhri’s Persianised lyrics being adopted as the national anthem in the 1950s, Pakistan had a national anthem — commissioned and approved by no less a person than Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The lyricist was the Isa Khel (Mianwali)-born Jagannath Azad, son of the renowned poet Tilok Chand Mahroom (who won accolades for his rendering of naat at mushairas). A few bloggers have made mention of this in the past but I learnt of it recently through an unexpected source — an article on the history of Pakistan’s flag and national anthem in PIA’s monthly Hamsafar magazine (‘Pride of Pakistan’, by Khushboo Aziz, August issue). Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Jaswant Singh’s 670-page book on Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has reignited the debate on Partition. From an academic point of view, however, he doesn’t seem to have said anything out of the ordinary. Much of this was first stated by Maulana Azad in his “India Wins Freedom”. In the intervening years between Azad and Jaswant Singh, several perceptive historians and authors, many from India, also presented a similar view of history, chief amongst them H M Seervai with his classic “Partition of India: Legend and Reality”. However, there is a new angle in Singh’s biography that is as much an indication of where things are moving in India as much as it is a historical context. Continue reading
In the summer of 2005, I picked up a copy of Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan from New Delhi’s Khan Market, a market located near Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s former residence, 10 Aurangzeb Road. Along with me, many others in journalistic and academic circles were buying books written on Pakistan’s founding father. Our interest in Jinnah and curiosity about his role in history had been piqued by a statement made by Lal Krishan Advani, the president of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Continue reading