“It is a mistake to equate the demand for Pakistan with the partition of India” Ayesha Jalal, Pakistani historian and author of The Sole Spokesman, picks through the tangle of the Jinnah controversy with Shoma Chaudhury
By Shoma Chaudhury
What strikes you, personally, as the sharpest irony of the Jinnah- Jaswant Singh controversy and its fallout in India?
What strikes me as most ironic is the extent to which the ”’secular’ Congress and the ‘communal’ BJP end up subscribing to the same common idioms of Indian nationalism when it comes to Pakistan and its most potent symbol, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Jinnah of the 1916 Lucknow Pact where Sarojini Naidu hailed him as the “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”; Jinnah of the 1940 Lahore Declaration and two-nation theory; Jinnah who wanted Pakistan to be a “laboratory of Islam”; the secular Jinnah of the August 11 1947 address. And the Jinnah of the personal domain: a Parsi wife, smoking, drinking. How is one to reconcile all these? Were these all stages in the evolution of Jinnah’s political thinking, or were they expedient positions?
Like any other successful politician, Jinnah changed tactics without losing sight of his ultimate strategic objectives in response to shifting political dynamics during a career spanning several decades. Only a most superficial and politically tainted understanding of Jinnah can lead to the conclusion that there was an irreconcilable contradiction between his early career when he was hailed as the ‘ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity’ and his later years when he orchestrated the demand for a Pakistan in order to win an equitable share of power for Muslims in an independent India. Continue reading
Today was a usual day despite the platitudes churned out by the media and the struggle to ‘celebrate’ something. Naeem Sadiq’s email was instructive as it said many things that I wanted to write today:
I decided not to celebrate the 14th August this year, to record my personal grief, shame and solidarity with the innocent citizens of Gojra, who were killed , wounded and burnt, for belonging to the same God, but a different religion. In my room I will fly the Pakistan flag at half mast, I will put my TV off, have none of those “milli naghmey” and sing no national anthem. I am sad, ashamed and distressed. I will call up all my Christian friends to say I am deeply sorry and I apologise.
I do not wish to celebrate the birthdays of a land where the Mullahs spread hate from the minarets of their mosques. Where 20,000 Muslims unite to kill a few hundred Christian men, women and children. Where the administration provides bullet proof vehicles and multi layer protection to its leaders but will do nothing to protect the life and property of its ordinary citizens. I am ashamed that not one person, the CM, the PM, the Governor or the President resigned from his job as an admission of failure to perform their primary duty.
There are plenty of flags, parades, speeches and ceremonies, but no real sense of guilt, remorse, or reform. The Dawn newspaper alone has 24 ‘ad’ nauseam ads, sponsored by the government departments, with the tax payers’ money, most carrying the pictures of four members of the same family. All under the garb of a “Happy Birthday to you, dear Pakistan”. The theft and plunder of peoples’ money does not pause for rest, even on the 14th day of August. Should not a state, at a minimum, protect the life and property of all its citizens, to deserve ‘a happy birthday’.
I love my country, this is the only one I have. It is our identity and our future but being a Pakistani is a painful compromise with so much that is not in our grain. In one year, we have treated millions in the northwest like cattle, burnt non-Muslims and our state has withdrawn behind high fences and barriers leaving the citizens to deal with the menace that is not of their making. The Baloch Pakistanis are alienated and the Sindhis are fearful of the coming storms. The leader of urban Sindh calls Partition the biggest mistake and the poor ..well they are just toiling despite sixty two years of Independence. The recent success of the military operation is a glimmer of hope.
Let us pray that next year things are not as grim as they are today.
What can I give to Pakistan as a present on its 62nd Birthday, What else than an article on its chequered history and identity. Bertrand Russell famously said,” There are three great civilisations in East i.e. India, China and Islam”. Pakistan is blessed to be located at the crossroads of all these great civilisations. In my humble opinion this is the biggest strength of Pakistani identity. Continue reading
Filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, ancient civilisations, Architecture, baluchistan, Citizens, cricket, culture, dynasties, Environment, Europe, FATA, Heritage, History, human rights, Identity, India, Iran, Islam, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Karachi, Kashmir, Languages, Left, Literature, Media, minorities, Music, North-West Frontier Province, Northern Areas, Pakistan, Partition, Peshawar, Politics, Punjabi, quetta, Religion, Rights, Sindh, south asia, Sufism, Taliban, Terrorism, Travel, Urdu, USA, youth
Posted by Raza Rumi
Usman Sadozai, an active member and visitor and soon to be an author of PTH has contributed the selection of this post and the thoughts for a preamble.
Following on from our thread “Partition of India: The Dialogue Continues”, here is the next part in the series of articles by A G Noorani appearing in The Hindu’s Frontline magazine in 2005. The story of Partition has recently attracted much interest from both sides of the border. Our continuing series has generated some involved, informed and (predictably) occasionally heated debate amongst many of our readers. The present interest is a result of Pakistan regularly occupying global headlines, for all the wrong reasons as far as Pakistanis are concerned. Many Indians want to know, especially since 26/11, what makes Pakistan tick. Pakistanis want to find out where and how did we go wrong in our worryingly tumultuous history. Continue reading
Recent transfers and postings in the Punjab – a usual ritual after a change in the government – reminded me of the clear advice that the founder of Pakistan had furnished immediately after the creation of Pakistan. The extracts below are courtesy a friend who circulated these via email. We have gone adrift. Continue reading
Filed under Jinnah, Pakistan
The First War of Indian Independence- 1857: reclaiming of the Indian nations’ voluntary unity against imperialism
Contributed by Javed Inayat via email.
A slave nation cannot establish a classless society, abolish exploitation and bring about equality among men (people). For such a nation, the first and foremost task is to break the chains of imperialist domination that bind it. In other words, revolution in a slave country has to be anti-imperialist and anti-colonial. (Collective Works of Bhagat Singh, p.15)
A close examination of anti-imperialist history of India indicates that the First War of Indian Independence – 1857 provided the voluntary bases for the unity of all Indian nations in their struggle against British imperialism. The historical events that followed the First War of Indian Independence testify that both the voluntary bases for the unity of different people and the anti-imperialist struggle in India were lost out to the Indian elite (the present Bharati and Pakistani ruling classes) – the loyal servants and the products of imperialism, and the tools of oppression of the diverse and different nations of India. Consequently, the national question in India remains unresolved and the goal of Indian Independence Movement continues to be unaccomplished. The reclaiming of the Indian nations’ voluntary unity in their contemporary struggle against national oppression and imperialism would, this paper suggests, be a right course to take for bringing the revolutionary struggle in India back on its track. Continue reading
Posted by Shaheryar Ali
15th August was the anniversary of Partition of India which is celebrated as “freedom” by both India and Pakistan to misguide their people. A great tragedy where million were killed and which has sowed the seeds of continuous hatred in both countries. In Pakistan situation demands a re assessment of of the concept of freedom, to challenge the official propaganda and their historical revisionism. The only people who benefited from partition are the ruling elite of both countries , which in order to keep their rule want to continue their politics of hate, segregation and communalism.The dreams of freedom were broken soon after 1947 when people realized that it was just a change of masters.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the famous communist poet of Pakistan echoed these sentiments in his revolutionary poem “14 August , Subeh e azzadi” where he said:
Ye dagh dagh Ujala , Ye Shub guzedda shaher
Intazar tha jis ka , ye wu shaher tu nahi!!
The tragedy of partition has been lamented by all progressive writers, Manto’s Toba Tek Singh” has acquired an epic status in this respect. In this age of confusion and capitalistic right wing media invasion, we must keep our ideology and ideas clear. Dr Mubarak Ali, the eminent Pakistani historian has published a brilliant article which was published in the Daily Dawn on 14th August 2008. He asks a simple question, should we celebrate independence or mourn it?
Changing concept of independence By Mubarak Ali Continue reading