By Ishtiaq Ahmed
When the Hindu members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly expressed their worries about ‘sovereignty over the entire universe belonging to God’, Liaquat Ali Khan assured them that a Muslim state should have no problem in having a non-Muslim as prime minister. However, this was not true
Jinnah wanted to establish a Muslim-majority state, but not a Muslim-majoritarian state that would privilege Muslims over non-Muslims in their status and rights as citizens; hence he spoke of Pakistani nationalism and not Muslim nationalism when on August 11, 1947 he addressed the Pakistan Constituent Assembly:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state…We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state…Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”
Stanley Wolpert, who is considered a sympathetic biographer of Jinnah, has noted that when Jinnah was delivering his address even his immediate disciples were visibly confused and shaken. What Jinnah was doing was repudiating the basis of nationhood on which he had demanded Pakistan: that Muslims were a separate nation from other communities of India. Now, he seemed to champion inclusive nationalism. Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur mentioned (‘Whose progeny? — I’, Daily Times, June 20, 2010) the 1928 Nehru Report as having made the same pledge. In fact, this was explicitly stated in the Nehru Report: “There shall be no state religion; men and women shall have equal rights as citizens.”
Filed under Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, History, Identity, Islam, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan
At PTH, we have argued for the partition as a nuanced set of events that were characterized by extreme mistrust between the two major political forces of that time. These major parties harboured deep distrust against each other. The Muslim League politics increasingly focused on the idea of Pakistan as a bargaining chip to win the rights for the sizeable Muslim majority within the United India. The British hurry to leave the United India, emergence of Muslim League as the sole spokesman for the Muslims, and Congress unwillingness to recognize the Muslim nation demands within the United India resulted in a bloody and messy partition. We still live with the scars of the partition that resulted in one of the largest uprooting and human migration of modern times. Continue reading
Filed under culture, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, History, Identity, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, secular Pakistan
I was informed that this article has resulted – to put it euphemistically- in giving wedgies to quite a few chaddiz over at Bharatrakshak.com (as I had predicted in the article). So I dropped by and just as I predicted… their rear is entirely up in smoke. And the responses are hilarious. One genius is suggesting that Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind are “secular” and the Majlis-e-Ahrar were good guys (that they laid the foundation of Anti-Ahmadiyya bigotry and led the movement for Islamization in Pakistan is just an inconvenient side-point for these geniuses). Mohandas Gandhi- whether someone admits it or not- is the father of politicization of religion. He brought Mullahs into politics deliberately to sideline the liberals. Jinnah and his ilk were only using the tools that were left to them. No wonder Hindu fascist chumps from Bharat Rhakshak think Jamiat-e-ulema-hind were harmless. The only harm JUH and Deobandi Islam ever did was to Muslims by stifling their progress. After all the latest edict from the “Secular” Deoband is that banking is haram for Muslims. Brilliant… what more could Hindu communalists ask for.
Update: Responses to Nusrat Pasha’s article confirm the Gandhian mindset amongst Indians and I use the word Gandhian in the most uncharitable sense of the word. Gandhi – whatever his intentions- made a crucial mistake of driving down Muslim liberals and allying himself with Islamo-fascists- same Islamo-fascists who are responsible for much of the problems in the Muslim world. In the Urdu language, the word “taya” is used for an uncle who is older than one’s father. If Gandhiji is estopped from claiming fatherhood of political Islam, he must surely rank as the taya of political Islam in South Asia. Same thing is happening today. Many Indians – who have a vested interest in bolstering liberals – are so seized with nationalist bigotry and hatred that is ingrained in them against Pakistan and Jinnah that they are gleefuly celebrating Pakistan’s descent into chaos. Well my little short-sighted friends, if we in Pakistan fall – yes we the liberals you hate so much- you will be faced with a darkness that you can seldom conceive and which you barely realize at this moment. Then your little “secular deoband” fantasy will quickly turn into something you have no understanding of.
From Daily Times today
VIEW: The J-man and his Pakistan —Yasser Latif Hamdani
Jinnah was, and remained so, till the end of his life a classical liberal schooled in the Victorian era. His economics and politics was based on liberal and limited government protecting and forwarding the cause of freedom of speech, religion, press and also markets
It has been pointed out, quite justifiably, that most of my articles, if not all, refer to Jinnah and his conception of Pakistan in some form or the other. I can assure you that this reference is quite deliberate on my part for primarily two reasons. The first reason is that Jinnah was, as the Americans would say, the man, indeed our ‘main man’, or as I like to call him affectionately the J-man. Those who have had the opportunity of studying abroad and have read about Jinnah in our college libraries there can seldom recognise the sky blue sherwani topi-clad fellow with a similar name who is found on the walls of our government offices. Continue reading
Few nations are as fortunate as us, in that the founder of our nation has left behind for us explicit guidelines and profound words of guidance, in relation to the involvement of Religion in matters of the state.These words of wisdom embody the Will of Jinnah to the nation he founded. This nation still has hope if it succeeds in reverting to Jinnah’s Will :
1 : “….Religion should not be allowed to come into Politics….Religion is merely a matter between man and God”.[Jinnah, Address to the Central Legislative Assembly, 7 February 1935].
In this principled statement Jinnah draws a clear line between Politics and Religion, and also defines the parameters of Religion by the words “between man and God”. This statement of his harbours the soul and spirit of Secular Statecraft.
2 : “….in the name of Humanity, I care more for them [the Untouchables] than for Mussalmans. ” [Jinnah, Speaking about the Shudras or Untouchables, during his address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934].
Jinnah’s pro-minority thinking is once again patent from these words. These words were not uttered before a Hindu gathering, which if they were, could have led some to argue that perhaps he was trying to win their favour. These words were, in fact, uttered during his address at a Muslim League session.
3 : “….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan.” [Jinnah, Press Conference, 14 November 1946] Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
If you don’t nip a lie in the bud, it grows to be a tree. This is what has happened to the nationalist mythology perpetuated by General Zia. I don’t like wasting my weekly space in Daily Times to argue it out with specific lies of specific authors – which is why I tend to record my dissent here on PTH.
In his article today in Daily Times, Shahid Illyas, the self professed Pakhtun Nationalist and “secularist”, has reproduced the severally debunked and illogical arguments of the Jamaat-e-Islami and other Mullahs in Pakistan to bolster his own indefensible positions vis a vis Bacha Khan and Faqir of Ipi. Mr. Illyas is not bothered with the utter bankruptcy of his argument so long as he gets to abuse Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement. He is also unconcerned what his half truths would do to the cause of secularism. Like Ishtiaq Ahmed (and scores of other spent forces in our history ala Aga Shorish Kashmiri) he is seized with an irrational hatred for Jinnah, Sir Syed and the secular liberal leadership that Pakistan jettisoned – primarily through 1969’s education policy that specifically sought to down play Sir Syed’s and Jinnah’s modernity because it did not gel with the demands of Yahya’s political expediency. It is ironic that while Illyas criticizes Pakistan’s poor education system, he quotes Pakistan’s official narrative as the gospel truth. Continue reading
And how it could become one.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy Himal South Asia, June 2010
Pakistan has been a state since 1947, but is still not a nation. More precisely, Pakistan is the name of a land and a people inside a certain geographical boundary that is still lacking the crucial components needed for nationhood: a strong common identity, mental make-up, a shared sense of history and common goals. The failure so far to create a cohesive national entity flows from inequalities of wealth and opportunity, absence of effective democracy and a dysfunctional legal system.
While it is true that most Punjabis think of themselves as Pakistani first and Punjabi second, this is not the case with the Baloch or Sindhis. Schools in Balochistan refuse to hoist Pakistan’s flag or sing its national anthem. Sindhis, meanwhile, accuse Punjabis of stealing their water, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) runs Karachi on strictly ethnic grounds, and in April the Pashtun of NWFP successfully had the province officially renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (against the wishes of other residents). In getting a job, caste and sect matters more than ability, and ethnic student groups wage pitched battles against each other on campuses throughout the country. Continue reading