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Jinnah was then Right, Vindicated Today

Chakar The Great

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( Great article)

The gradual rise of Hindu nationalism, and the institutionalization of violence against minorities – especially Muslims – in India has bewildered those who once insisted that the creation of Pakistan was a muddled and unruly idea.
Their theory was that the significant Muslim minority in the region would have been better off in a united ‘democratic, secular and modern India’ than in a country ‘made in the name of Islam.’ By this, those airing this view often meant a state dominated by theocrats.

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However, the question they are asking now is, ‘What happened to India?’ The problem, I believe, is that they have always had a rather myopic understanding of the historical process that led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

The process that they chose to understand the 1947 split was largely informed by the nationalist intelligentsia of India which was working closely with India’s founding party, the Indian National Congress (INC).

According to this intelligentsia, Pakistan’s creation was a purely ‘communal’ event driven by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an ‘egoistical’ and ‘pro-British’ lawyer who worked in concert with Muslim landed elites and religionists to violently break India into two.
Unfortunately, the failure of Pakistan’s early ruling circles to formulate a nationalistic whole through a democratic and constitutional means created windows for the aforementioned narrative to enter and proliferate across certain intellectual circles in Pakistan.
Not only this, but through the same window also came narratives framed by certain politico-religious groups who had actually opposed the creation of Pakistan.

Partition was understood and debated by all the above-mentioned groups on purely ideological terms. This ignored the many economic and political nuances which led the All-India Muslim League (AIML) to demand a separate Muslim-majority country. It became a debate between disparate ideological stands i.e., secular vs. Islamic.
So what was the historical process that led Mr. Jinnah to strive so steadfastly for Pakistan? Even a brief study of this process can also explain the recent rise of Hindu nationalism in India. Did Mr. Jinnah see it coming? I believe he did.


According to the eminent sociologist, the late Hamza Alavi, the nature of one of the main stimuli behind the movement that was launched by Mr. Jinnah for the creation of Pakistan was economic rather than religious. Alavi was of the view that the movement (later dubbed the Pakistan Movement) was mostly initiated and navigated by the urban Muslim ‘salaried classes’ of India who were competing for jobs against their Hindu counterparts from the same classes.

In his 1945 book, The Muslim League 1942-45, the Canadian scholar W. C. Smith wrote that from the early 20th century onwards, as more Muslims got educated, they struggled to get suitable jobs because they were a minority. However, as Dr. Mubarak Ali demonstrated in many of his works, another reason the Muslims of India felt that they were lagging behind in this context was the manner in which the lives of thousands of young Muslims were disrupted by the Khilafat Movement (1919-1924). Many leaders of this movement had asked the Muslims to leave their studies and jobs. Some even propagated migrating to Afghanistan.

Indeed, the religious dimension of the Khilafat Movement was prominent, but many of Jinnah’s critics fail to mention that he vehemently opposed the movement. In a letter to INC leader Mahatma Gandhi that he penned in 1919, Jinnah wrote that nothing good can come out of this movement and that it would just end up unleashing religious passions. This is exactly what happened. The AIML was formed in 1906 as a political extension of the Muslim scholar Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s endeavors in the field of education. Khan and then AIML wanted to make sure that the Muslims of India continue pursuing modern education so that they could effectively compete with the Hindus in the job market. But the Hindu majority was too overwhelming in size and influence. Some commentators and historians in India and Pakistan still maintain that AIML was simply a party of Muslim landed elites who wanted to safeguard their personal interests. Especially since the INC was gradually moving towards adopting a more populist stance which could threaten these interests once the British exited India and left behind a Hindu-dominated set-up.


In his 1979 book, State and Society in Pakistan, the well-known economist and author Shahid Javed Burki agrees that between 1906 and the late 1930s AIML was dominated by landed elites. But he dismissed the claim that it was the same ‘party of feudals’ which created Pakistan ‘with the help of religionists.’ Burki demonstrated that by the time Mr. Jinnah took control of the party in the late 1930s, the party began to be dominated by Muslim ‘salaried classes’ or the urban middle-classes. Burki informed that the land administration system introduced by the British favoured the traditional Muslim landed elite, and it was this elite which formed the AIML. However, he added that after 1937, social and political groups belonging to the middle-classes took control of the party.
Burki wrote that these groups had nothing in common with the Muslim landed elites. And since many of them began to see the INC as a Hindu-dominated party, and were naturally alienated by the more belligerent Hindu nationalist groups, they began to support the AIML, especially in the cities.So, according to Burki’s detailed study, it were the Muslim middle-classes, or Alavi’s ‘salaried classes,’ that dominated the AIML from 1937 till 1951. They almost completely sidelined the influence of the landed elites in the party.

Also, the religious dimension in AIML that the party’s Pakistani and Indian critics like to point out, only emerged during the 1945-46 provincial elections in India. What these critics somewhat sheepishly disregard is the fact that due to the importance of these elections on which the existentialist fortunes of the AIML lay, Jinnah had not only allowed making room for certain religious groups, but also communists!

AIML’s 1944 manifesto was authored by a communist, Danyal Latifi, and mostly promoted by the party’s youth and women’s wings, both of who were dominated by urban middle-class groups. The manifesto explains the Muslims of India as a separate ethnic and cultural entity compared to the Hindus. It explains Islam as an inherently modern, progressive and pluralistic faith.


During a party convention in Karachi just months after Pakistan’s creation, a man stood up and shouted, ‘We had told people Pakistan was to be an Islamic state…!’ Jinnah immediately asked the man to sit down. ‘The party had said no such thing’, Jinnah replied. ‘Some people might have done so to get votes…’

In the anthology, The Islamic Connection, the French political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot wrote that eminent Muslim nationalist scholars, from Sir Syed to Muhammad Iqbal, emphasized on formulating a unique blend of modernity and spirituality to construct an equally distinctive strand of South Asian Islam that would be different from the political aspects of the faith that were emerging in conservative Arab monarchies at the time, especially Saudi Arabia.

Sir Syed constantly underlined his South Asian roots; and Iqbal, in an address to AIML in December 1930, said: “The truth is that Islam is not a Church.... I, therefore, demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim State in the best interests of India and Islam. For India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam (it is) an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian Imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its law, its education, its culture and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times.


Jinnah was quite clear what Pakistan was to be. His first address to the new country’s first Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 actually reads like a manifesto, proclaiming the emergence of a modern entity that, even though having a Muslim majority, would not be a theocracy but a meritocratic, pluralistic and progressive country, unimpeded by ‘Hindu majoritarianism’ and volatile Hindu nationalism (Hindutva).

It is especially the second bit which left many early post-Partition Indian historians, and, later, some Pakistani commentators, feeling irate. They had continued to explain Hindu nationalism as something that only existed on the fringes of Indian polity, whereas, according to them, the theocratic impulse was more mainstream in the Pakistan Movement. It was not.


Hindu nationalism in the shape of distinct militant Hindu groups, and within factions inside the otherwise ‘secular’ INC, was not such an obscure occurrence as it was made out to be. But this aspect of Indian polity was skilfully kept just underneath the surface by INC’s populist and quasi-socialist politics. However, once the number and influence of the Indian middle-classes began to dramatically increase from the 1980s onwards, and as India began to liberalize its economy, the economic tensions between Hindu and Muslim salaried classes that Alavi spoke of, surfaced again.

No wonder then, according to various analysis of the elections in India between the 1990s and 2019, an increasing number of Indian middle-classes voted for the Hindu nationalist BJP because they believed that its policies would keep the possible economic expansion of the increasing Muslim minority in check. So whereas the AIML had envisioned a modern separate state that would safeguard the economic interests of South Asia’s Muslim bourgeoisie, the Indian bourgeoisies have gone the other way by finally undermining the old ‘pluralistic’ edifice of the INC and adopting more radical and assertive strands of Hindu nationalism.


Because, even though, this strand was present in the various INC governments that ruled India till the 1980s, it was largely kept under wraps until it exploded onto the surface with the growth of the Hindu middle-classes. They began to see Muslim minority as an economic threat. The issue of what happened to Pakistan after Jinnah’s demise in 1948 cannot be judged as a result of the founders not having a cohesive vision or that they were being driven by a ‘communal’ or theocratic impulses. They were not.


But, yes, the vision did become muddled after Jinnah’s demise in 1948 and then Liaquat Ali Khan’s death in 1951. Burki explains this by suggesting that after Liaquat’s passing, the party fell into the hands of Ghulam Muhammad who lacked a constituency in the middle-classes. As a consequence, he reoriented the party’s alignment with the landed elites and, later, religious groups.

This formula, Burki wrote, became a norm among others who came after Ghulam Muhammad, even though in his later studies, Burki added that the political and economic influence of the landed elites began to recede in the 1980s. Interestingly, he also pointed out that even though the Pakistani bourgeoisie began to increasingly occupy the space left behind by the landed elites, many segments of this class became strongly associated with religious groups.

Alavi explained this phenomenon as post-Partition Muslim salaried classes in Pakistan, in the absence of Hindu counterparts, began to compete among themselves on the basis of ethnicities and then sects and sub-sects.

Even though it is true that Mr. Jinnah harboured hopes of a united India, but after 1940 he had made up his mind to invest all his political energies and intellectual capital in creating a separate Muslim-majority country. He seemed to have anticipated the pitfalls (for India’s Muslims) of an undivided post-colonial India. Pitfalls that eluded many intellectuals even after the creation of Pakistan but, thanks to Modi, have now become all too obvious.

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of various books including End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.
E-mail: nadeemfparacha@gmail.com
 

Thamizh Puli

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no need for elaborate tilts at the windmill. It is plain and simple.
For decades in the name (pseudo)secularism, the Hindu majority was kept subservient to all sorts of things (not necessarily to other religions). Hindu temples were robbed, institutions of learning were robbed, Hindu lands were robbed - again not by any one specific religious group but by so called secular groups.
Then the Hindus woke up, elected a government that wasn't shy to say Hindus are great.
This makes the minority religions a bit nervous but they will adjust to the new long overdue reality.
 

Chakar The Great

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no need for elaborate tilts at the windmill. It is plain and simple.
For decades in the name (pseudo)secularism, the Hindu majority was kept subservient to all sorts of things (not necessarily to other religions). Hindu temples were robbed, institutions of learning were robbed, Hindu lands were robbed - again not by any one specific religious group but by so called secular groups.
Then the Hindus woke up, elected a government that wasn't shy to say Hindus are great.
This makes the minority religions a bit nervous but they will adjust to the new long overdue reality.

If we go by your logic, India would have been a super power by now. Yet you are a poor, over populated, religiously polarized and divided into casts society and the future is bleak.

If you have nothing meaningful to add, stop commenting on the thread.

so jinnah would have been wrong had there been no rss?
stop this trend please..

Did you even read the article?
 

masterchief_mirza

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If we go by your logic, India would have been a super power by now. Yet you are a poor, over populated, religiously polarized and divided into casts society and the future is bleak.

If you have nothing meaningful to add, stop commenting on the thread.



Did you even read the article?
Outstanding article. Nails it perfectly.

The narrative of India being secular and good while Pakistan is Islamic and bad is rebuffed brilliantly.

I personally think it was an act of pure survivalist instinct, to counter the existential threat from a bitter maniacal population, determined to rewrite history itself through bloodshed and expulsion.

Pakistan actually has similarities with Israel that sometimes we choose to ignore.

Pakistan never split India into two. This is historical falsification that must be countered vigorously. Rather, a stronger argument could be made that Nehru's India split mughalistan into three.
 

Thamizh Puli

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If we go by your logic, India would have been a super power by now. Yet you are a poor, over populated, religiously polarized and divided into casts society and the future is bleak.

If you have nothing meaningful to add, stop commenting on the thread.

did you mix up threads ? your reaction has no relevance to my points.

Great how?.. murdering, raping, lynching, mob violence, communal riots, shameless discrimination etc

not really, those are the techniques your kind employs perhaps. In India it is different - it starts with democratically electing the correct people. You wouldn't get it unless you give up your prejudices
 

W.11

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some pakistanis also believe jinnah was a british agent he played into british divide and rule etc. muslims in up and bihar who went through hindu terror only know why they supported creation of pakistan.

regards
 

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